Summa Th. III EN Qu.57 a.5
Objection: 1. It would seem that Christ's body did not ascend above every spiritual creature. For no fitting comparison can be made between things which have no common ratio. But place is not predicated in the same ratio of bodies and of spiritual creatures, as is evident from what was said in the FP, Question , Article , ad 1,2; FP, Question , Article . Therefore it seems that Christ's body cannot be said to have ascended above every spiritual creature.
2. Further, Augustine says (De Vera Relig. lv) that a spirit always takes precedence over a body. But the higher place is due to the higher things. Therefore it does not seem that Christ ascended above every spiritual creature.
3. Further, in every place a body exists, since there is no such thing as a vacuum in nature. Therefore if no body obtains a higher place than a spirit in the order of natural bodies, then there will be no place above every spiritual creature. Consequently, Christ's body could not ascend above every spiritual creature.
On the contrary It is written (Ep 1,21): "God set Him above all principality, and Power, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come."
I answer that The more exalted place is due to the nobler subject, whether it be a place according to bodily contact, as regards bodies, or whether it be by way of spiritual contact, as regards spiritual substances; thus a heavenly place which is the highest of places is becomingly due to spiritual substances, since they are highest in the order of substances. But although Christ's body is beneath spiritual substances, if we weigh the conditions of its corporeal nature, nevertheless it surpasses all spiritual substances in dignity, when we call to mind its dignity of union whereby it is united personally with God. Consequently, owing to this very fittingness, a higher place is due to it above every spiritual creature. Hence Gregory says in a Homily on the Ascension (xxix in Evang.) that "He who had made all things, was by His own power raised up above all things."
Reply to Objection: 1. Although a place is differently attributed to corporeal and spiritual substances, still in either case this remains in common, that the higher place is assigned to the worthier.
2. This argument holds good of Christ's body according to the conditions of its corporeal nature, but not according to its formality of union.
3. This comparison may be considered either on the part of the places; and thus there is no place so high as to exceed the dignity of a spiritual substance: in this sense the objection runs. Or it may be considered on the part of the dignity of the things to which a place is attributed: and in this way it is due to the body of Christ to be above spiritual creatures.
Objection: 1. It would seem that Christ's Ascension is not the cause of our salvation. For, Christ was the cause of our salvation in so far as He merited it. But He merited nothing for us by His Ascension, because His Ascension belongs to the reward of His exaltation: and the same thing is not both merit and reward, just as neither are a road and its terminus the same. Therefore it seems that Christ's Ascension is not the cause of our salvation.
2. Further, if Christ's Ascension be the cause of our salvation, it seems that this is principally due to the fact that His Ascension is the cause of ours. But this was bestowed upon us by His Passion, for it is written (He 10,19): "We have [Vulg.: 'Having'] confidence in the entering into the holies by" His "blood." Therefore it seems that Christ's Ascension was not the cause of our salvation.
3. Further, the salvation which Christ bestows is an everlasting one, according to Is 51,6: "My salvation shall be for ever." But Christ did not ascend into heaven to remain there eternally; for it is written (Ac 1,11): "He shall so come as you have seen Him going, into heaven." Besides, we read of Him showing Himself to many holy people on earth after He went up to heaven. to Paul, for instance (Ac 9). Consequently, it seems that Christ's Ascension is not the cause of our salvation.
On the contrary He Himself said (Jn 16,7): "It is expedient to you that I go"; i.e. that I should leave you and ascend into heaven.
I answer that Christ's Ascension is the cause of our salvation in two ways: First of all, on our part; secondly, on His. On our part, in so far as by the Ascension our souls are uplifted to Him; because, as stated above (Article , ad 3), His Ascension fosters, first, faith; secondly, hope; thirdly, charity. Fourthly, our reverence for Him is thereby increased, since we no longer deem Him an earthly man, but the God of heaven; thus the Apostle says (2Co 5,16): "If we have known Christ according to the flesh---'that is, as mortal, whereby we reputed Him as a mere man,'" as the gloss interprets the words---"but now we know Him so no longer."On His part, in regard to those things which, in ascending, He did for our salvation. First, He prepared the way for our ascent into heaven, according to His own saying (Jn 14,2): "I go to prepare a place for you," and the words of Micheas (2:13), "He shall go up that shall open the way before them." For since He is our Head the members must follow whither the Head has gone: hence He said (Jn 14,3): "That where I am, you also may be." In sign whereof He took to heaven the souls of the saints delivered from hell, according to Ps 67,19 (Ep 4,8): "Ascending on high, He led captivity captive," because He took with Him to heaven those who had been held captives by the devil---to heaven, as to a place strange to human nature. captives in deed of a happy taking, since they were acquired by His victory.Secondly, because as the high-priest under the Old Testament entered the holy place to stand before God for the people, so also Christ entered heaven "to make intercession for us," as is said in He 7,25. Because the very showing of Himself in the human nature which He took with Him to heaven is a pleading for us. so that for the very reason that God so exalted human nature in Christ, He may take pity on them for whom the Son of God took human nature. Thirdly, that being established in His heavenly seat as God and Lord, He might send down gifts upon men, according to Ep 4,10: "He ascended above all the heavens, that He might fill all things," that is, "with His gifts," according to the gloss.
Reply to Objection: 1. Christ's Ascension is the cause of our salvation by way not of merit, but of efficiency, as was stated above regarding His Resurrection (Question , Article , ad 3,4).
2. Christ's Passion is the cause of our ascending to heaven, properly speaking, by removing the hindrance which is sin, and also by way of merit: whereas Christ's Ascension is the direct cause of our ascension, as by beginning it in Him who is our Head, with whom the members must be united.
3. Christ by once ascending into heaven acquired for Himself and for us in perpetuity the right and worthiness of a heavenly dwelling-place; which worthiness suffers in no way, if, from some special dispensation, He sometimes comes down in body to earth; either in order to show Himself to the whole world, as at the judgment; or else to show Himself particularly to some individual, e.g. in Paul's case, as we read in Ac 9. And lest any man may think that Christ was not bodily present when this occurred, the contrary is shown from what the Apostle says in 1Co 14,8, to confirm faith in the Resurrection: "Last of all He was seen also by me, as by one born out of due time": which vision would not confirm the truth of the Resurrection except he had beheld Christ's very body.
WE have now to consider Christ's sitting at the right hand of the Father, concerning which there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father?
(2) Whether this belongs to Him according to the Divine Nature?
(3) Whether it belongs to Him according to His human nature?
(4) Whether it is something proper to Christ?
Objection: 1. It would seem unfitting that Christ should sit at the right hand of God the Father. For right and left are differences of bodily position. But nothing corporeal can be applied to God, since "God is a spirit," as we read in Jn 4,24. Therefore it seems that Christ does not sit at the right hand of the Father.
2. Further, if anyone sits at another's right hand, then the latter is seated on his left. Consequently, if Christ sits at the right hand of the Father, it follows that the Father is seated on the left of the Son; which is unseemly.
3. Further, sitting and standing savor of opposition. But Stephen (Ac 7,55) said: "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." Therefore it seems that Christ does not sit at the right hand of the Father.
On the contrary It is written in the last chapter of Mark (16:19): "The Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up to heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God."
I answer that The word "sitting" may have a twofold meaning; namely, "abiding" as in Lc 24,49: "Sit [Douay: 'Stay'] you in the city": and royal or judiciary "power," as in Pr 20,8: "The king, that sitteth on the throne of judgment, scattereth away all evil with his look." Now in either sense it belongs to Christ to sit at the Father's right hand. First of all inasmuch as He abides eternally unchangeable in the Father's bliss, which is termed His right hand, according to Ps 15,11: "At Thy right hand are delights even to the end." Hence Augustine says (De Symb. i): "'Sitteth at the right hand of the Father': To sit means to dwell, just as we say of any man: 'He sat in that country for three years': Believe, then, that Christ dwells so at the right hand of the Father: for He is happy, and the Father's right hand is the name for His bliss." Secondly, Christ is said to sit at the right hand of the Father inasmuch as He reigns together with the Father, and has judiciary power from Him; just as he who sits at the king's right hand helps him in ruling and judging. Hence Augustine says (De Symb. ii): "By the expression 'right hand,' understand the power which this Man, chosen of God, received, that He might come to judge, who before had come to be judged."
Reply to Objection: 1. As Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iv): "We do not speak of the Father's right hand as of a place, for how can a place be designated by His right hand, who Himself is beyond all place? Right and left belong to things definable by limit. But we style, as the Father's right hand, the glory and honor of the Godhead."
2. The argument holds good if sitting at the right hand be taken corporeally. Hence Augustine says (De Symb. i): "If we accept it in a carnal sense that Christ sits at the Father's right hand, then the Father will be on the left. But there"---that is, in eternal bliss, "it is all right hand, since no misery is there."
3. As Gregory says in a Homily on the Ascension (Hom. xxix in Evang.), "it is the judge's place to sit, while to stand is the place of the combatant or helper. Consequently, Stephen in his toil of combat saw Him standing whom He had as his helper. But Mark describes Him as seated after the Ascension, because after the glory of His Ascension He will at the end be seen as judge."
Objection: 1. It would seem that it does not belong to Christ as God to sit at the right hand of the Father. For, as God, Christ is the Father's right hand. But it does not appear to be the same thing to be the right hand of anyone and to sit on his right hand. Therefore, as God, Christ does not sit at the right hand of the Father.
2. Further, in the last chapter of Mark (16:19) it is said that "the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God." But it was not as God that Christ was taken up to heaven. Therefore neither does He, as God, sit at the right hand of God.
3. Further, Christ as God is the equal of the Father and of the Holy Ghost. Consequently, if Christ sits as God at the right hand of the Father, with equal reason the Holy Ghost sits at the right hand of the Father and of the Son, and the Father Himself on the right hand of the Son; which no one is found to say.
On the contrary Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iv): that "what we style as the Father's right hand, is the glory and honor of the Godhead, wherein the Son of God existed before ages as God and as consubstantial with the Father."
I answer that As may be gathered from what has been said (Article ) three things can be understood under the expression "right hand." First of all, as Damascene takes it, "the glory of the Godhead": secondly, according to Augustine "the beatitude of the Father": thirdly, according to the same authority, "judiciary power." Now as we observed (Article ) "sitting denotes" either abiding, or royal or judiciary dignity. Hence, to sit on the right hand of the Father is nothing else than to share in the glory of the Godhead with the Father, and to possess beatitude and judiciary power, and that unchangeably and royally. But this belongs to the Son as God. Hence it is manifest that Christ as God sits at the right hand of the Father; yet so that this preposition "at," which is a transitive one, implies merely personal distinction and order of origin, but not degree of nature or dignity, for there is no such thing in the Divine Persons, as was shown in the FP, Question , Articles ,4.
Reply to Objection: 1. The Son of God is called the Father's "right hand" by appropriation, just as He is called the "Power" of the Father (1Co 1,24). But "right hand of the Father," in its three meanings given above, is something common to the three Persons.
2. Christ as man is exalted to Divine honor; and this is signified in the aforesaid sitting; nevertheless such honor belongs to Him as God, not through any assumption, but through His origin from eternity.
3. In no way can it be said that the Father is seated at the right hand of the Son or of the Holy Ghost; because the Son and the Holy Ghost derive their origin from the Father, and not conversely. The Holy Ghost, however, can be said properly to sit at the right hand of the Father or of the Son, in the aforesaid sense, although by a kind of appropriation it is attributed to the Son, to whom equality is appropriated; thus Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i) that "in the Father there is unity, in the Son equality, in the Holy Ghost the connection of unity with equality."
Objection: 1. It would seem that it does not belong to Christ as man to sit at the right hand of the Father, because, as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iv): "What we call the Father's right hand is the glory and honor of the Godhead." But the glory and honor of the Godhead do not belong to Christ as man. Consequently, it seems that Christ as man does not sit at the right hand of the Father.
2. Further, to sit on the ruler's right hand seems to exclude subjection, because one so sitting seems in a measure to be reigning with him. But Christ as man is "subject unto" the Father, as is said in 1Co 15,28. Therefore it seems that Christ as man does not sit at the Father's right hand.
3. Further, on Rm 8,34: "Who is at the right hand of God," the gloss adds: "that is, equal to the Father in that honor, whereby God is the Father: or, on the right hand of the Father, that is, in the mightier gifts of God." And on He 1,3: "sitteth on the right hand of the majesty on high," the gloss adds, "that is, in equality with the Father over all things, both in place and dignity." But equality with God does not belong to Christ as man; for in this respect Christ Himself says (Jn 14,28): "The Father is greater than I." Consequently, it appears unseemly for Christ as man to sit on the Father's right hand.
On the contrary Augustine says (De Symb. ii): "By the expression 'right hand' understand the power which this Man, chosen of God, received, that He might come as judge, who before had come to be judged."
I answer that As stated above (Article ), by the expression "right hand" is understood either the glory of His Godhead, or His eternal beatitude, or His judicial and royal power. Now this preposition "at" signifies a kind of approach to the right hand; thus denoting something in common, and yet with a distinction, as already observed (De Symb. ii). And this can be in three ways: first of all, by something common in nature, and a distinction in person; and thus Christ as the Son of God, sits at the right hand of the Father, because He has the same Nature as the Father: hence these things belong to the Son essentially, just as to the Father; and this is to be in equality with the Father. Secondly, according to the grace of union, which, on the contrary, implies distinction of nature, and unity of person. According to this, Christ as man is the Son of God, and consequently sits at the Father's right hand; yet so that the expression "as" does not denote condition of nature, but unity of suppositum, as explained above (Question , Articles ,11). Thirdly, the said approach can be understood according to habitual grace, which is more fully in Christ than in all other creatures, so much so that human nature in Christ is more blessed than all other creatures, and possesses over all other creatures royal and judiciary power.So, then, if "as" denote condition of nature, then Christ, as God, sits "at the Father's right hand," that is, "in equality with the Father"; but as man, He sits "at the right hand of the Father," that is, "in the Father's mightier gifts beyond all other creatures," that is to say, "in greater beatitude," and "exercising judiciary power." But if "as" denote unity of person, thus again as man, He sits at the Father's right hand "as to equality of honor," inasmuch as with the same honor we venerate the Son of God with His assumed nature, as was said above (Question , Article ).
Reply to Objection: 1. Christ's humanity according to the conditions of His nature has not the glory or honor of the Godhead, which it has nevertheless by reason of the Person with whom it is united. Hence Damascene adds in the passage quoted: "In which," that is, in the glory of the Godhead, "the Son of God existing before ages, as God and consubstantial with the Father, sits in His conglorified flesh; for, under one adoration the one hypostasis, together with His flesh, is adored by every creature."
2. Christ as man is subject to the Father, if "as" denote the condition of nature: in which respect it does not belong to Him as man to sit at the Father's right hand, by reason of their mutual equality. But it does thus belong to Him to sit at the right hand of the Father, according as is thereby denoted the excellence of beatitude and His judiciary power over every creature.
3. It does not belong to Christ's human nature to be in equality with the Father, but only to the Person who assumed it; but it does belong even to the assumed human nature to share in God's mightier gifts, in so far as it implies exaltation above other creatures.
Objection: 1. It would seem that it is not proper to Christ to sit at the right hand of the Father, because the Apostle says (Ep 2,4 Ep 2,6): "God . . . hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places through Christ Jesus." But to be raised up is not proper to Christ. Therefore for like reason neither is it proper to Him to sit "on the right hand" of God "on high" (He 1,3).
2. Further, as Augustine says (De Symb. i): "For Christ to sit at the right hand of the Father, is to dwell in His beatitude." But many more share in this. Therefore it does not appear to be proper to Christ to sit at the right hand of the Father.
3. Further, Christ Himself says (Ap 3,21): "To him that shall overcome, I will give to sit with Me in My throne: as I also have overcome, and am set down with My Father in His throne." But it is by sitting on His Father's throne that Christ is seated at His right hand. Therefore others who overcome likewise, sit at the Father's right hand.
4. Further, the Lord says (Mt 20,23): "To sit on My right or left hand, is not Mine to give to you, but to them for whom it is prepared by My Father." But no purpose would be served by saying this, unless it was prepared for some. Consequently, to sit at the right hand is not proper to Christ.
On the contrary It is written (He 1,13): "To which of the angels said He at any time: Sit thou on My right hand, i.e. 'in My mightier gifts,'" or "'as my equal in the Godhead'"? [*The comment is from the gloss of Peter Lombard] as if to answer: "To none." But angels are higher than other creatures. Therefore, much less does it belong to anyone save Christ to sit at the Father's right hand.
I answer that As stated above (Article ), Christ is said to sit at the Father's right hand inasmuch as He is on equality with the Father in respect of His Divine Nature, while in respect of His humanity, He excels all creatures in the possession of Divine gifts. But each of these belongs exclusively to Christ. Consequently, it belongs to no one else, angel or man, but to Christ alone, to sit at the right hand of the Father.
Reply to Objection: 1. Since Christ is our Head, then what was bestowed on Christ is bestowed on us through Him. And on this account, since He is already raised up, the Apostle says that God has, so to speak, "raised us up together with Him," still we ourselves are not raised up yet, but are to be raised up, according to Rm 8,11: "He who raised up Jesus from the dead, shall quicken also your mortal bodies": and after the same manner of speech the Apostle adds that "He has made us to sit together with Him, in the heavenly places"; namely, for the very reason that Christ our Head sits there.
2. Since the right hand is the Divine beatitude, then "to sit on the right hand" does not mean simply to be in beatitude, but to possess beatitude with a kind of dominative power, as a property and part of one's nature. This belongs to Christ alone, and to no other creature. Yet it can be said that every saint in bliss is placed on God's right hand; hence it is written (Mt 25,33): "He shall set the sheep on His right hand."
3. By the "throne" is meant the judiciary power which Christ has from the Father: and in this sense He is said "to sit in the Father's throne." But other saints have it from Christ; and in this respect they are said "to sit on Christ's throne"; according to Mt 19,28: "You also shall sit upon twelve seats, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
4. As Chrysostom says (Hom. lxv in Matth.), "that place," to wit, sitting at the right hand, "is closed not only to all men, but likewise to angels: for, Paul declares it to be the prerogative of Christ, saying: 'To which of the angels said He at any time: Sit on My right hand?'" Our Lord therefore "replied not as though some were going to sit there one day, but condescending to the supplication of the questioners; since more than others they sought this one thing alone, to stand nigh to Him." Still it can be said that the sons of Zebedee sought for higher excellence in sharing His judiciary power; hence they did not ask to sit on the Father's right hand or left, but on Christ's.
We have now to consider Christ's judiciary power. Under this head there are six points of inquiry:
(1) Whether judiciary power is to be attributed to Christ?
(2) Whether it belongs to Him as man?
(3) Whether He acquired it by merits?
(4) Whether His judiciary power is universal with regard to all men?
(5) Whether besides the judgment that takes place now in time, we are to expect Him in the future general judgment?
(6) Whether His judiciary power extends likewise to the angels?
It will be more suitable to consider the execution of the Last Judgment when we treat of things pertaining to the end of the world [*See XP, Questions , seqq.]. For the present it will be enough to touch on those points that concern Christ's dignity.
Objection: 1. It would seem that judiciary power is not to be specially attributed to Christ. For judgment of others seems to belong to their lord; hence it is written (Rm 14,4): "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant?" But, it belongs to the entire Trinity to be Lord over creatures. Therefore judiciary power ought not to be attributed specially to Christ.
2. Further, it is written (Da 7,9): "The Ancient of days sat"; and further on (Da 7,10), "the judgment sat, and the books were opened." But the Ancient of days is understood to be the Father, because as Hilary says (De Trin. ii): "Eternity is in the Father." Consequently, judiciary power ought rather to be attributed to the Father than to Christ.
3. Further, it seems to belong to the same person to judge as it does to convince. But it belongs to the Holy Ghost to convince: for our Lord says (Jn 16,8): "And when He is come," i.e. the Holy Ghost, "He will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment." Therefore judiciary power ought to be attributed to the Holy Ghost rather than to Christ.
On the contrary It is said of Christ (Ac 10,42): "It is He who was appointed by God, to be judge of the living end of the dead."
I answer that Three things are required for passing judgment: first, the power of coercing subjects; hence it is written (Si 7,6): "Seek not to be made a judge unless thou have strength enough to extirpate iniquities." The second thing required is upright zeal, so as to pass judgment not out of hatred or malice, but from love of justice, according to Pr 3,12: "For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth: and as a father in the son He pleaseth Himself." Thirdly, wisdom is needed, upon which judgment is based, according to Si 10,1: "A wise judge shall judge his people." The first two are conditions for judging; but on the third the very rule of judgment is based, because the standard of judgment is the law of wisdom or truth, according to which the judgment is passed.Now because the Son is Wisdom begotten, and Truth proceeding from the Father, and His perfect Image, consequently, judiciary power is properly attributed to the Son of God. Accordingly Augustine says (De Vera Relig. xxxi): "This is that unchangeable Truth, which is rightly styled the law of all arts, and the art of the Almighty Craftsman. But even as we and all rational souls judge aright of the things beneath us, so does He who alone is Truth itself pass judgment on us, when we cling to Him. But the Father judges Him not, for He is the Truth no less than Himself. Consequently, whatever the Father judges, He judges through It." Further on he concludes by saying: "Therefore the Father judges no man, but has given all judgment to the Son."
Reply to Objection: 1. This argument proves that judiciary power is common to the entire Trinity, which is quite true: still by special appropriation such power is attributed to the Son, as stated above.
2. As Augustine says (De Trin. vi), eternity is attributed to the Father, because He is the Principle, which is implied in the idea of eternity. And in the same place Augustine says that the Son is the art of the Father. So, then, judiciary authority is attributed to the Father, inasmuch as He is the Principle of the Son, but the very rule of judgment is attributed to the Son who is the art and wisdom of the Father, so that as the Father does all things through the Son, inasmuch as the Son is His art, so He judges all things through the Son, inasmuch as the Son is His wisdom and truth. And this is implied by Daniel, when he says in the first passage that "the Ancient of days sat," and when he subsequently adds that the Son of Man "came even to the Ancient of days, who gave Him power, and glory, and a kingdom": and thereby we are given to understand that the authority for judging lies with the Father, from whom the Son received the power to judge.
3. As Augustine says (Tract. xcv in Joan.): "Christ said that the Holy Ghost shall convince the world of sin, as if to say 'He shall pour out charity upon your hearts.' For thus, when fear is driven away, you shall have freedom for convincing." Consequently, then, judgment is attributed to the Holy Ghost, not as regards the rule of judgment, but as regards man's desire to judge others aright.
Objection: 1. It would seem that judiciary power does not belong to Christ as man. For Augustine says (De Vera Relig. xxxi) that judgment is attributed to the Son inasmuch as He is the law of the first truth. But this is Christ's attribute as God. Consequently, judiciary power does not belong to Christ as man but as God.
2. Further, it belongs to judiciary power to reward the good, just as to punish the wicked. But eternal beatitude, which is the reward of good works, is bestowed by God alone: thus Augustine says (Tract. xxiii super Joan.) that "the soul is made blessed by participation of God, and not by participation of a holy soul." Therefore it seems that judiciary power does not belong to Christ as man, but as God.
3. Further, it belongs to Christ's judiciary power to judge secrets of hearts, according to 1Co 4,5: "Judge not before the time; until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts." But this belongs exclusively to the Divine power, according to Jr 17,9-10: "The heart of man is perverse and unsearchable, who can know it? I am the Lord who search the heart, and prove the reins: who give to every one according to his way." Therefore judiciary power does not belong to Christ as man but as God.
On the contrary It is said (Jn 5,27): "He hath given Him power to do judgment, because He is the Son of man."
I answer that Chrysostom (Hom. xxxix in Joan.) seems to think that judiciary power belongs to Christ not as man, but only as God. Accordingly he thus explains the passage just quoted from John: "'He gave Him power to do judgment, because He is the Son of man: wonder not at this.' For He received judiciary power, not because He is man; but because He is the Son of the ineffable God, therefore is He judge. But since the expressions used were greater than those appertaining to man, He said in explanation: 'Wonder not at this, because He is the Son of man, for He is likewise the Son of God.'" And he proves this by the effect of the Resurrection: wherefore He adds: "Because the hour cometh when the dead in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God."But it must be observed that although the primary authority of judging rests with God, nevertheless the power to judge is committed to men with regard to those subject to their jurisdiction. Hence it is written (Dt 1,16): "Judge that which is just"; and further on (Dt 1,17): "Because it is the judgment of God," that is to say, it is by His authority that you judge. Now it was said before (Question , Articles ,4) that Christ even in His human nature is Head of the entire Church, and that God has "put all things under His feet." Consequently, it belongs to Him, even according to His human nature, to exercise judiciary power. on this account. it seems that the authority of Scripture quoted above must be interpreted thus: "He gave Him power to do judgment, because He is the Son of Man"; not on account of the condition of His nature, for thus all men would have this kind of power, as Chrysostom objects (Hom. xxxix in Joan.); but because this belongs to the grace of the Head, which Christ received in His human nature.Now judiciary power belongs to Christ in this way according to His human nature on three accounts. First, because of His likeness and kinship with men; for, as God works through intermediary causes, as being closer to the effects, so He judges men through the Man Christ, that His judgment may be sweeter to men. Hence (He 4,15) the Apostle says: "For we have not a high-priest, who cannot have compassion on our infirmities; but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin. Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of His grace." Secondly, because at the last judgment, as Augustine says (Tract. xix in Joan.), "there will be a resurrection of dead bodies, which God will raise up through the Son of Man"; just as by "the same Christ He raises souls," inasmuch as "He is the Son of God." Thirdly, because, as Augustine observes (De Verb. Dom., Serm. cxxvii): "It was but right that those who were to be judged should see their judge. But those to be judged were the good and the bad. It follows that the form of a servant should be shown in the judgment to both good and wicked, while the form of God should be kept for the good alone."
Reply to Objection: 1. Judgment belongs to truth as its standard, while it belongs to the man imbued with truth, according as he is as it were one with truth, as a kind of law and "living justice" [*Aristotle, Ethic. v]. Hence Augustine quotes (De Verb. Dom., Serm. cxxvii) the saying of 1Co 2,15: "The spiritual man judgeth all things." But beyond all creatures Christ's soul was more closely united with truth, and more full of truth; according to Jn 1,14: "We saw Him . . . full of grace and truth." And according to this it belongs principally to the soul of Christ to judge all things.
2. It belongs to God alone to bestow beatitude upon souls by a participation with Himself; but it is Christ's prerogative to bring them to such beatitude, inasmuch as He is their Head and the author of their salvation, according to He 2,10: "Who had brought many children into glory, to perfect the author of their salvation by His Passion."
3. To know and judge the secrets of hearts, of itself belongs to God alone; but from the overflow of the Godhead into Christ's soul it belongs to Him also to know and to judge the secrets of hearts, as we stated above (Question , Article ), when dealing with the knowledge of Christ. Hence it is written (Rm 2,16): "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ."
Summa Th. III EN Qu.57 a.5