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A comparison of views on angels by st augustine and st thomas aquinas

Do they exercise functions of life in the bodies assumed? Whether the angels have bodies naturally united to them? It would seem that angels have bodies naturally united to them. For Origen says Peri Archon i: But it is clear that every created spirit needs corporeal substance.

Therefore angels have bodies naturally united to them. But every animal is composed of body and soul. Further, life is more perfect in the angels than in souls. But the soul not only lives, but gives life to the body. Therefore the angels animate bodies which are naturally united to them. On the contrary, Dionysius says Div. For whatever belongs to any nature as an accident is not found universally in that nature ; thus, for instance, to have wings, because it is not of the essence of an animal, does not belong to every animal.

Now since to understand is not the act of a body, nor of any corporeal energy, as will be shown later I: Even so it belongs to the human soul to be united to a body, because it is imperfect and exists potentially in the genus of intellectual substancesnot having the fulness of knowledge in its own naturebut acquiring it from sensible things through the bodily senses, as will be explained later on I: Now whenever we find something imperfect in any genus we must presuppose something perfect in that genus.

Therefore in the intellectual nature there are some perfectly intellectual substanceswhich do not need to acquire knowledge from sensible things. Consequently not all intellectual substances are united to bodies; but some are quite separated from bodies, and these we call angels. Reply to Objection 1. As was said above I: As this is contrary to Catholic Faithwhich asserts that God is exalted above all things, according to Psalm 8: Bernard's expression can be explained, that the created spirit needs some bodily instrument, which is not naturally united to it, but assumed for some purpose, as will be explained Article 2.

Augustine speaks, not as asserting the fact, but merely using the opinion of the Platonistswho maintained that there are some aerial animals, which they termed demons. Reply to Objection 2. Gregory calls the angel a rational animal metaphorically, on account of the likeness to the rational nature. Reply to Objection 3. To give life effectively is a perfection simply speaking; hence it belongs to Godas is said 1 Samuel 2: Hence an intellectual substance which is not united to a body is more perfect than one which is united to a body.

Whether angels assume bodies? It would seem that angels do not assume bodies. For there is nothing superfluous in the work of an angelas there is nothing of the a comparison of views on angels by st augustine and st thomas aquinas in the work of nature.

But it would be superfluous for the angels to assume bodies, because an angel has no need for a body, since his own power exceeds all bodily power.

Therefore an angel does not assume a body. Further, every assumption is terminated in some union; because to assume implies a taking to oneself [ad se sumere]. But a body is not united to an angel as to a form, as stated Article 1 ; while in so far as it is united to the angel as to a mover, it is not said to be assumed, otherwise it would follow that all bodies moved by the angels are assumed by them.

Therefore the angels do not assume bodies. Further, angels do not assume bodies from the earth or water, or they could not suddenly disappear; nor again from fire, otherwise they would burn whatever things they touched; nor again from air, because air is without shape or color.

On the contrary, Augustine says De Civ. Dei xvi that angels appeared to Abraham under assumed bodies. I answer that, Some have maintained that the angels never assume bodies, but that all that we read in Scripture of apparitions of angels happened in prophetic vision—that is, according to imagination.

Question 51. The angels in comparison with bodies

But this is contrary to the intent of Scripture ; for whatever is beheld in imaginary vision is only in the beholder's imaginationand consequently is not seen by everybody. Yet Divine Scripture from time to time introduces angels so apparent as to be seen commonly by all; just as the angels who appeared to Abraham were seen by him and by his whole familyby Lot, and by the citizens of Sodom; in like manner the angel who appeared to Tobias was seen by all present.

From all this it is clearly shown that such apparitions were beheld by bodily vision, whereby the object seen exists outside the person beholding it, and can accordingly be seen by all. Now by such a vision only a body can be beheld. Consequently, since the angels are not bodies, nor have they bodies naturally united with them, as is clear from what has been said Article 1 ; I: Angels need an assumed body, not for themselves, but on our account; that by conversing familiarly with men they may give evidence of that intellectual companionship which men expect to have with them in the life to come.

Moreover that angels assumed bodies under the Old Law was a figurative indication that the Word of God would take a human body; because all the apparitions in the Old Testament were ordained to that one whereby the Son of God appeared in the flesh.

The body assumed is united to the angel not as a comparison of views on angels by st augustine and st thomas aquinas formnor merely as its mover, but as its mover represented by the assumed movable body.

For as in the Sacred Scripture the properties of intelligible things are set forth by the likenesses of things sensible, in the same way by Divine power sensible bodies are so fashioned by angels as fittingly to represent the intelligible properties of an angel.

And this is what we mean by an angel assuming a body. Although air as long as it is in a state of rarefaction has neither shape nor color, yet when condensed it can both be shaped and colored as appears in the clouds.

Even so the angels assume bodies of air, condensing it by the Divine power in so far as is needful for forming the assumed body.

A comparison of views on angels by st augustine and st thomas aquinas

Whether the angels exercise functions of life in the bodies assumed? It would seem that the angels exercise functions of life in assumed bodies. For pretence is unbecoming in angels of truth. But it would be pretence if the body assumed by them, which seems to live and to exercise vital functions, did not possess these functions. Therefore the angels exercise functions of life in the assumed body. Further, in the works of the angels there is nothing without a purpose. But eyes, nostrils, and the other instruments of the senses, would be fashioned without a purpose in the body assumed by the angelif he perceived nothing by their means.

Consequently, the angel perceives by the assumed body; and this is the most special function of life.

Further, to move hither and thither is one of the functions of life, as the Philosopher says De Anima ii. But the angels are manifestly seen to move in their assumed bodies. For it was said Genesis 18: Further, speech is the function of a living subject, for it is produced by the voice, while the voice itself is a sound conveyed from the mouth. But it is evident from many passages of Sacred Scripture that angels spoke in assumed bodies.

Therefore in their assumed bodies they exercise functions of life. Further, eating is a purely animal function. Hence the Lord after His Resurrection ate with His disciples in proof of having resumed life Luke 24.

Now when angels appeared in their assumed bodies they ate, and Abraham offered them food, after having previously adored them as God Genesis 18.

  1. For Aristotle, even entities like flowers, trees, etc. De Ente et Essentia.
  2. God alone gives first existence to things; after first creation, bodies come from bodies.
  3. An intellectual nature tends to good in general, good under its common aspects, good as such.

Therefore the angels exercise functions of life in assumed bodies. Further, to beget offspring is a vital act. But this has befallen the angels in their assumed bodies; for it is related: Consequently the angels exercised vital functions in their assumed bodies.

On the contrary, The bodies assumed by angels have no life, as was stated in the previous a comparison of views on angels by st augustine and st thomas aquinas Reply to Objection 3.

Therefore they cannot exercise functions of life through assumed bodies. I answer that, Some functions of living subjects have something in common with other operations; just as speech, which is the function of a living creature, agrees with other sounds of inanimate things, in so far as it is sound; and walking agrees with other movements, in so far as it is movement.

Consequently vital functions can be performed in assumed bodies by the angelsas to that which is common in such operations; but not as to that which is special to living subjects; because, according to the Philosopher De Somn. As it is in no wise contrary to truth for intelligible things to be set forth in Scripture under sensible figures, since it is not said for the purpose of maintaining that intelligible things are sensible, but in order that properties of intelligible things may be understood according to similitude through sensible figures; so it is not contrary to the truth of the holy angels that through their assumed bodies they appear to be living men, although they are really not.

For the bodies are assumed merely for this purpose, that the spiritual properties and works of the angels may be manifested by the properties of man and of his works. This could not so fittingly be done if they were to assume true men; because the properties of such men would lead us to menand not to angels.

Sensation is entirely a vital function. Consequently it can in no way be said that the angels perceive through the organs of their assumed bodies. Yet such bodies are not fashioned in vain; for they are not fashioned for the purpose of sensation through them, but to this end, that by such bodily organs the spiritual powers of the angels may be made manifest; just as by the eye the power of the angel's knowledge is pointed out, and other powers by the other members, as Dionysius teaches Coel.

Movement coming from a united mover is a proper function of life; but the bodies assumed by the angels are not thus moved, since the angels are not their forms. Yet the angels are moved accidentallywhen such bodies are moved, since they are in them as movers are in the moved; and they are here in such a way as not to be elsewhere which cannot be said of God. Accordingly, although God is not moved when the things are moved in which He existssince He is everywhere; yet the angels are moved accidentally according to the movement of the bodies assumed.

But they are not moved according to the movement of the heavenly bodies, even though they be in them as the movers in the thing moved, because the heavenly a comparison of views on angels by st augustine and st thomas aquinas do not change place in their entirety; nor for the spirit which moves the world is there any fixed locality according to any restricted part of the world's substancewhich now is in the east, and now in the west, but according to a fixed quarter; because "the moving energy is always in the east," as stated in Phys.

Reply to Objection 4. Properly speaking, the angels do not talk through their assumed bodies; yet there is a semblance of speech, in so far as they fashion sounds in the air like to human voices. Reply to Objection 5. Properly speaking, the angels cannot be said to eat, because eating involves the taking of food convertible into the substance of the eater. Although after the Resurrection food was not converted into the substance of Christ's body, but resolved into pre-existing matter ; nevertheless Christ had a body of such a true nature that food could be changed into it; hence it was a true eating.

But the food taken by angels was neither changed into the assumed body, nor was the body of such a nature that food could be changed into it; consequently, it was not a true eating, but figurative of spiritual eating. This is what the angel said to Tobias: Abraham offered them food, deeming them to be men, in whom, nevertheless, he worshipped Godas God is wont to be in the prophetsas Augustine says De Civ. Reply to Objection 6. As Augustine says De Civ. Hence it is folly to deny it.

But God's holy angels could not fall in such fashion before the deluge. Hence by the sons of God are to be understood the sons of Seth, who were good ; while by the daughters of men the Scripture designates those who sprang from the race of Cain.