Summa Th. III EN Qu.59 a.3
Objection: 1. It would seem that Christ did not acquire His judiciary power by His merits. For judiciary power flows from the royal dignity: according to Pr 20,8: "The king that sitteth on the throne of judgment, scattereth away all evil with his look." But it was without merits that Christ acquired royal power, for it is His due as God's Only-begotten Son: thus it is written (Lc 1,32): "The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father, and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever." Therefore Christ did not obtain judiciary power by His merits.
2. Further, as stated above (Article ), judiciary power is Christ's due inasmuch as He is our Head. But the grace of headship does not belong to Christ by reason of merit, but follows the personal union of the Divine and human natures: according to Jn 1,14 Jn 1,16: "We saw His glory . . . as of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth . . . and of His fulness we all have received": and this pertains to the notion of headship. Consequently, it seems that Christ did not have judiciary power from merits.
3. Further, the Apostle says (1Co 2,15): "The spiritual man judgeth all things." But a man becomes spiritual through grace, which is not from merits; otherwise it is "no more grace," as is said in Rm 11,6. Therefore it seems that judiciary power belongs neither to Christ nor to others from any merits, but from grace alone.
On the contrary It is written (Jb 36,17): "Thy cause hath been judged as that of the wicked, cause and judgment thou shalt recover." And Augustine says (Serm. cxxvii): "The Judge shall sit, who stood before a judge; He shall condemn the truly wicked, who Himself was falsely reputed wicked."
I answer that There is nothing to hinder one and the same thing from being due to some one from various causes: as the glory of the body in rising was due to Christ not only as befitting His Godhead and His soul's glory, but likewise "from the merit of the lowliness of His Passion" [*Cf. Augustine, Tract. civ in Joan.]. And in the same way it must be said that judiciary power belongs to the Man Christ on account of both His Divine personality, and the dignity of His headship, and the fulness of His habitual grace: and yet He obtained it from merit, so that, in accordance with the Divine justice, He should be judge who fought for God's justice, and conquered, and was unjustly condemned. Hence He Himself says (Ap 3,21): "I have overcome and am set down in My Father's throne [Vulg.: 'with My Father in His throne']." Now judiciary power is understood by "throne," according to Ps 9,5: "Thou hast sat on the throne, who judgest justice."
Reply to Objection: 1. This argument holds good of judiciary power according as it is due to Christ by reason of the union with the Word of God.
2. This argument is based on the ground of His grace as Head.
3. This argument holds good in regard to habitual grace, which perfects Christ's soul. But although judiciary power be Christ's due in these ways, it is not hindered from being His due from merit.
Objection: 1. It would seem that judiciary power concerning all human affairs does not belong to Christ. For as we read in Lc 12,13-14, when one of the crowd said to Christ: "Speak to my brother that he divide the inheritance with me; He said to him: Man, who hath appointed Me judge, or divider over you?" Consequently, He does not exercise judgment over all human affairs.
2. Further, no one exercises judgment except over his own subjects. But, according to He 2,8, "we see not as yet all things subject to" Christ. Therefore it seems that Christ has not judgment over all human affairs.
3. Further, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xx) that it is part of Divine judgment for the good to be afflicted sometimes in this world, and sometimes to prosper, and in like manner the wicked. But the same was the case also before the Incarnation. Consequently, not all God's judgments regarding human affairs are included in Christ's judiciary power.
On the contrary It is said (Jn 5,22): "The Father hath given all judgment to the Son."
I answer that If we speak of Christ according to His Divine Nature, it is evident that every judgment of the Father belongs to the Son; for, as the Father does all things through His Word, so He judges all things through His Word.But if we speak of Christ in His human nature, thus again is it evident that all things are subject to His judgment. This is made clear if we consider first of all the relationship subsisting between Christ's soul and the Word of God; for, if "the spiritual man judgeth all things," as is said in 1Co 2,15, inasmuch as his soul clings to the Word of God, how much more Christ's soul, which is filled with the truth of the Word of God, passes judgment upon all things.Secondly, the same appears from the merit of His death; because, according to Rm 14,9: "To this end Christ died and rose again; that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living." And therefore He has judgment over all men; and on this account the Apostle adds (Rm 14,10): "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ": and (Da 7,14) it is written that "He gave Him power, and glory, and a kingdom; and all peoples, tribes, and tongues shall serve Him."Thirdly, the same thing is evident from comparison of human affairs with the end of human salvation. For, to whomsoever the substance is entrusted, the accessory is likewise committed. Now all human affairs are ordered for the end of beatitude, which is everlasting salvation, to which men are admitted, or from which they are excluded by Christ's judgment, as is evident from Mt 25,31 Mt 25,40. Consequently, it is manifest that all human affairs are included in Christ's judiciary power.
Reply to Objection: 1. As was said above (Article , Objection ), judiciary power goes with royal dignity. Now Christ, although established king by God, did not wish while living on earth to govern temporarily an earthly kingdom; consequently He said (Jn 18,36): "My kingdom is not of this world." In like fashion He did not wish to exercise judiciary power over temporal concerns, since He came to raise men to Divine things. Hence Ambrose observes on this passage in Luke: "It is well that He who came down with a Divine purpose should hold Himself aloof from temporal concerns; nor does He deign to be a judge of quarrels and an arbiter of property, since He is judge of the quick and the dead, and the arbitrator of merits."
2. All things are subject to Christ in respect of that power, which He received from the Father, over all things, according to Mt 28,18: "All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth." But as to the exercise of this power, all things are not yet subject to Him: this will come to pass in the future, when He shall fulfil His will regarding all things, by saving some and punishing others.
3. Judgments of this kind were exercised by Christ before His Incarnation, inasmuch as He is the Word of God: and the soul united with Him personally became a partaker of this power by the Incarnation.
Objection: 1. It would seem that after the Judgment that takes place in the present time, there does not remain another General Judgment. For a judgment serves no purpose after the final allotment of rewards and punishments. But rewards and punishments are allotted in this present time: for our Lord said to the thief on the cross (Lc 23,43): "This day thou shalt be with Me in paradise": and (Lc 16,22) it is said that "the rich man died and was buried in hell." Therefore it is useless to look forward to a final Judgment.
2. Further, according to another (the Septuagint) version of Nahum 1:9, "God shall not judge the same thing a second time." But in the present time God judges both temporal and spiritual matters. Therefore, it does not seem that another final judgment is to be expected.
3. Further, reward and punishment correspond with merit and demerit. But merit and demerit bear relation to the body only in so far as it is the instrument of the soul. Therefore reward or punishment is not due to the body save as the soul's instrument. Therefore no other Judgment is called for at the end (of the world) to requite man with reward or punishment in the body, besides that Judgment in which souls are now punished or rewarded.
On the contrary It is said in Jn 12,48: "The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge you [Vulg.: 'him'] in the last day." Therefore there will be a Judgment at the last day besides that which takes place in the present time.
I answer that Judgment cannot be passed perfectly upon any changeable subject before its consummation: just as judgment cannot be given perfectly regarding the quality of any action before its completion in itself and in its results: because many actions appear to be profitable, which in their effects prove to be hurtful. And in the same way perfect judgment cannot be passed upon any man before the close of his life, since he can be changed in many respects from good to evil, or conversely, or from good to better, or from evil to worse. Hence the Apostle says (He 9,27): "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the Judgment."But it must be observed that although man's temporal life in itself ends with death, still it continues dependent in a measure on what comes after it in the future. In one way, as it still lives on in men's memories, in which sometimes, contrary to the truth, good or evil reputations linger on. In another way in a man's children, who are so to speak something of their parent, according to Si 30,4: "His father is dead, and he is as if he were not dead, for he hath left one behind him that is like himself." And yet many good men have wicked sons, and conversely. Thirdly, as to the result of his actions: just as from the deceit of Arius and other false leaders unbelief continues to flourish down to the close of the world; and even until then faith will continue to derive its progress from the preaching of the apostles. In a fourth way, as to the body, which is sometimes buried with honor and sometimes left unburied, and finally falls to dust utterly. In a fifth way, as to the things upon which a man's heart is set, such as temporal concerns, for example, some of which quickly lapse, while others endure longer.Now all these things are submitted to the verdict of the Divine Judgment; and consequently, a perfect and public Judgment cannot be made of all these things during the course of this present time. Wherefore, there must be a final Judgment at the last day, in which everything concerning every man in every respect shall be perfectly and publicly judged.
Reply to Objection: 1. Some men have held the opinion that the souls of the saints shall not be rewarded in heaven, nor the souls of the lost punished in hell, until the Judgment-day. That this is false appears from the testimony of the Apostle (2Co 5,8), where he says: "We are confident and have a good will to be absent rather from the body, and to be present with the Lord": that is, not to "walk by faith" but "by sight," as appears from the context. But this is to see God in His Essence, wherein consists "eternal life," as is clear from Jn 17,3. Hence it is manifest that the souls separated from bodies are in eternal life.Consequently, it must be maintained that after death man enters into an unchangeable state as to all that concerns the soul: and therefore there is no need for postponing judgment as to the reward of the soul. But since there are some other things pertaining to a man which go on through the whole course of time, and which are not foreign to the Divine judgment, all these things must be brought to judgment at the end of time. For although in regard to such things a man neither merits nor demerits, still in a measure they accompany his reward or punishment. Consequently all these things must be weighed in the final judgment.
2. "God shall not judge twice the same thing," i.e. in the same respect; but it is not unseemly for God to judge twice according to different respects.
3. Although the reward or punishment of the body depends upon the reward or punishment of the soul, nevertheless, since the soul is changeable only accidentally, on account of the body, once it is separated from the body it enters into an unchangeable condition, and receives its judgment. But the body remains subject to change down to the close of time: and therefore it must receive its reward or punishment then, in the last Judgment.
Objection: 1. It would seem that Christ's judiciary power does not extend to the angels, because the good and wicked angels alike were judged in the beginning of the world, when some fell through sin while others were confirmed in bliss. But those already judged have no need of being judged again. Therefore Christ's judiciary power does not extend to the angels.
2. Further, the same person cannot be both judge and judged. But the angels will come to judge with Christ, according to Mt 25,31: "When the Son of Man shall come in His majesty, and all the angels with Him." Therefore it seems that the angels will not be judged by Christ.
3. Further, the angels are higher than other creatures. If Christ, then, be judge not only of men but likewise of angels, then for the same reason He will be judge of all creatures; which seems to be false, since this belongs to God's providence: hence it is written (Jb 34,13): "What other hath He appointed over the earth? or whom hath He set over the world which He made?" Therefore Christ is not the judge of the angels.
On the contrary The Apostle says (1Co 6,3): "Know you not that we shall judge angels?" But the saints judge only by Christ's authority. Therefore, much more does Christ possess judiciary power over the angels.
I answer that The angels are subjects of Christ's judiciary power, not only with regard to His Divine Nature, as He is the Word of God, but also with regard to His human nature. And this is evident from three considerations. First of all, from the closeness of His assumed nature to God; because, according to He 2,16: "For nowhere doth He take hold of the angels, but of the seed of Abraham He taketh hold." Consequently, Christ's soul is more filled with the truth of the Word of God than any angel: for which reason He also enlightens the angels, as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. vii), and so He has power to judge them. Secondly, because by the lowliness of His Passion, human nature in Christ merited to be exalted above the angels; so that, as is said in Ph 2,10: "In the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth." And therefore Christ has judiciary power even over the good and wicked angels: in token whereof it is said in the Apocalypse (7:11) that "all the angels stood round about the throne." Thirdly, on account of what they do for men, of whom Christ is the Head in a special manner. Hence it is written (He 1,14): "They are [Vulg.: 'Are they not'] all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation (?)." But they are submitted to Christ's judgment, first, as regards the dispensing of those things which are done through them; which dispensing is likewise done by the Man Christ, to whom the angels ministered, as related (Mt 4,11), and from whom the devils besought that they might be sent into the swine, according to Mt 8,31. Secondly, as to other accidental rewards of the good angels, such as the joy which they have at the salvation of men, according to Lc 15,10: "There shall be joy before the angels of God upon one sinner doing penance": and furthermore as to the accidental punishments of the devils wherewith they are either tormented here, or are shut up in hell; and this also belongs to the Man Christ: hence it is written (Mc 1,24) that the devil cried out: "What have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth? art Thou come to destroy us?" Thirdly, as to the essential reward of the good angels, which is everlasting bliss; and as to the essential punishment of the wicked angels, which is everlasting damnation. But this was done by Christ from the beginning of the world, inasmuch as He is the Word of God.
Reply to Objection: 1. This argument considers judgment as to the essential reward and chief punishment.
2. As Augustine says (De Vera Relig. xxxi): "Although the spiritual man judgeth all things, still he is judged by Truth Itself." Consequently, although the angels judge, as being spiritual creatures, still they are judged by Christ, inasmuch as He is the Truth.
3. Christ judges not only the angels, but also the administration of all creatures. For if, as Augustine says (De Trin. iii) the lower things are ruled by God through the higher, in a certain order, it must be said that all things are ruled by Christ's soul, which is above every creature. Hence the Apostle says (He 2,5): "For God hath not subjected unto angels the world to come"---subject namely to Christ---"of whom we speak" [Douay: 'whereof we speak'] [*The words "subject namely to Christ" are from a gloss]. Nor does it follow that God set another over the earth; since one and the same Person is God and Man, our Lord Jesus Christ.Let what has been said of the Mystery of His Incarnation suffice for the present.
TREATISE ON THE SACRAMENTS (Questions -90)
After considering those things that concern the mystery of the incarnate Word, we must consider the sacraments of the Church which derive their efficacy from the Word incarnate Himself. First we shall consider the sacraments in general; secondly, we shall consider specially each sacrament.
Concerning the first our consideration will be fivefold: (1) What is a sacrament? (2) Of the necessity of the sacraments; (3) of the effects of the sacraments; (4) Of their cause; (5) Of their number.
Under the first heading there are eight points of inquiry:
(1) Whether a sacrament is a kind of sign?
(2) Whether every sign of a sacred thing is a sacrament?
(3) Whether a sacrament is a sign of one thing only, or of several?
(4) Whether a sacrament is a sign that is something sensible?
(5) Whether some determinate sensible thing is required for a sacrament?
(6) Whether signification expressed by words is necessary for a sacrament?
(7) Whether determinate words are required?
(8) Whether anything may be added to or subtracted from these words?
Objection: 1. It seems that a sacrament is not a kind of sign. For sacrament appears to be derived from "sacring" [sacrando]; just as medicament, from "medicando" [healing]. But this seems to be of the nature of a cause rather than of a sign. Therefore a sacrament is a kind of cause rather than a kind of sign.
2. Further, sacrament seems to signify something hidden, according to Tb 12,7: "It is good to hide the secret [sacramentum] of a king"; and Ep 3,9: "What is the dispensation of the mystery [sacramenti] which hath been hidden from eternity in God." But that which is hidden, seems foreign to the nature of a sign; for "a sign is that which conveys something else to the mind, besides the species which it impresses on the senses," as Augustine explains (De Doctr. Christ. ii). Therefore it seems that a sacrament is not a kind of sign.
3. Further, an oath is sometimes called a sacrament: for it is written in the Decretals (Caus. xxii, qu. 5): "Children who have not attained the use of reason must not be obliged to swear: and whoever has foresworn himself once, must no more be a witness, nor be allowed to take a sacrament," i.e. an oath. But an oath is not a kind of sign, therefore it seems that a sacrament is not a kind of sign.
On the contrary Augustine says (De Civ. Dei x): "The visible sacrifice is the sacrament, i.e. the sacred sign, of the invisible sacrifice."
I answer that All things that are ordained to one, even in different ways, can be denominated from it: thus, from health which is in an animal, not only is the animal said to be healthy through being the subject of health: but medicine also is said to be healthy through producing health; diet through preserving it; and urine, through being a sign of health. Consequently, a thing may be called a "sacrament," either from having a certain hidden sanctity, and in this sense a sacrament is a "sacred secret"; or from having some relationship to this sanctity, which relationship may be that of a cause, or of a sign or of any other relation. But now we are speaking of sacraments in a special sense, as implying the habitude of sign: and in this way a sacrament is a kind of sign.
Reply to Objection: 1. Because medicine is an efficient cause of health, consequently whatever things are denominated from medicine are to be referred to some first active cause: so that a medicament implies a certain causality. But sanctity from which a sacrament is denominated, is not there taken as an efficient cause, but rather as a formal or a final cause. Therefore it does not follow that a sacrament need always imply causality.
2. This argument considers sacrament in the sense of a "sacred secret." Now not only God's but also the king's, secret, is said to be sacred and to be a sacrament: because according to the ancients, whatever it was unlawful to lay violent hands on was said to be holy or sacrosanct, such as the city walls, and persons of high rank. Consequently those secrets, whether Divine or human, which it is unlawful to violate by making them known to anybody whatever, are called "sacred secrets or sacraments."
3. Even an oath has a certain relation to sacred things, in so far as it consists in calling a sacred thing to witness. And in this sense it is called a sacrament: not in the sense in which we speak of sacraments now; the word "sacrament" being thus used not equivocally but analogically, i.e. by reason of a different relation to the one thing, viz. something sacred.
Objection: 1. It seems that not every sign of a sacred thing is a sacrament. For all sensible creatures are signs of sacred things; according to Rm 1,20: "The invisible things of God are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made." And yet all sensible things cannot be called sacraments. Therefore not every sign of a sacred thing is a sacrament.
2. Further, whatever was done under the Old Law was a figure of Christ Who is the "Holy of Holies" (Da 9,24), according to 1Co 10,11: "All (these) things happened to them in figure"; and Col 2,17: "Which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is Christ's." And yet not all that was done by the Fathers of the Old Testament, not even all the ceremonies of the Law, were sacraments, but only in certain special cases, as stated in the FS, Question , Article . Therefore it seems that not every sign of a sacred thing is a sacrament.
3. Further, even in the New Testament many things are done in sign of some sacred thing; yet they are not called sacraments; such as sprinkling with holy water, the consecration of an altar, and such like. Therefore not every sign of a sacred thing is a sacrament.
On the contrary A definition is convertible with the thing defined. Now some define a sacrament as being "the sign of a sacred thing"; moreover, this is clear from the passage quoted above (Article ) from Augustine. Therefore it seems that every sign of a sacred thing is a sacrament.
I answer that Signs are given to men, to whom it is proper to discover the unknown by means of the known. Consequently a sacrament properly so called is that which is the sign of some sacred thing pertaining to man; so that properly speaking a sacrament, as considered by us now, is defined as being the "sign of a holy thing so far as it makes men holy."
Reply to Objection: 1. Sensible creatures signify something holy, viz. Divine wisdom and goodness inasmuch as these are holy in themselves; but not inasmuch as we are made holy by them. Therefore they cannot be called sacraments as we understand sacraments now.
2. Some things pertaining to the Old Testament signified the holiness of Christ considered as holy in Himself. Others signified His holiness considered as the cause of our holiness; thus the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb signified Christ's Sacrifice whereby we are made holy: and such like are properly styled sacraments of the Old Law.
3. Names are given to things considered in reference to their end and state of completeness. Now a disposition is not an end, whereas perfection is. Consequently things that signify disposition to holiness are not called sacraments, and with regard to these the objection is verified: only those are called sacraments which signify the perfection of holiness in man.
Objection: 1. It seems that a sacrament is a sign of one thing only. For that which signifies many things is an ambiguous sign, and consequently occasions deception: this is clearly seen in equivocal words. But all deception should be removed from the Christian religion, according to Col 2,8: "Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit." Therefore it seems that a sacrament is not a sign of several things.
2. Further, as stated above (Article ), a sacrament signifies a holy thing in so far as it makes man holy. But there is only one cause of man's holiness, viz. the blood of Christ; according to He 13,12: "Jesus, that He might sanctify the people by His own blood, suffered without the gate." Therefore it seems that a sacrament does not signify several things.
3. Further, it has been said above (Article , ad 3) that a sacrament signifies properly the very end of sanctification. Now the end of sanctification is eternal life, according to Rm 6,22: "You have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end life everlasting." Therefore it seems that the sacraments signify one thing only, viz. eternal life.
On the contrary In the Sacrament of the Altar, two things are signified, viz. Christ's true body, and Christ's mystical body; as Augustine says (Liber Sent. Prosper.).
I answer that As stated above (Article ) a sacrament properly speaking is that which is ordained to signify our sanctification. In which three things may be considered; viz. the very cause of our sanctification, which is Christ's passion; the form of our sanctification, which is grace and the virtues; and the ultimate end of our sanctification, which is eternal life. And all these are signified by the sacraments. Consequently a sacrament is a sign that is both a reminder of the past, i.e. the passion of Christ; and an indication of that which is effected in us by Christ's passion, i.e. grace; and a prognostic, that is, a foretelling of future glory.
Reply to Objection: 1. Then is a sign ambiguous and the occasion of deception, when it signifies many things not ordained to one another. But when it signifies many things inasmuch as, through being mutually ordained, they form one thing, then the sign is not ambiguous but certain: thus this word "man" signifies the soul and body inasmuch as together they form the human nature. In this way a sacrament signifies the three things aforesaid, inasmuch as by being in a certain order they are one thing.
2. Since a sacrament signifies that which sanctifies, it must needs signify the effect, which is implied in the sanctifying cause as such.
3. It is enough for a sacrament that it signify that perfection which consists in the form, nor is it necessary that it should signify only that perfection which is the end.
Objection: 1. It seems that a sacrament is not always something sensible. Because, according to the Philosopher (Prior. Anal. ii), every effect is a sign of its cause. But just as there are some sensible effects, so are there some intelligible effects; thus science is the effect of a demonstration. Therefore not every sign is sensible. Now all that is required for a sacrament is something that is a sign of some sacred thing, inasmuch as thereby man is sanctified, as stated above (Article ). Therefore something sensible is not required for a sacrament.
2. Further, sacraments belong to the kingdom of God and the Divine worship. But sensible things do not seem to belong to the Divine worship: for we are told (Jn 4,24) that "God is a spirit; and they that adore Him, must adore Him in spirit and in truth"; and (Rm 14,17) that "the kingdom of God is not meat and drink." Therefore sensible things are not required for the sacraments.
3. Further. Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. ii) that "sensible things are goods of least account, since without them man can live aright." But the sacraments are necessary for man's salvation, as we shall show farther on (Question , Article ): so that man cannot live aright without them. Therefore sensible things are not required for the sacraments.
On the contrary Augustine says (Tract. lxxx super Joan.): "The word is added to the element and this becomes a sacrament"; and he is speaking there of water which is a sensible element. Therefore sensible things are required for the sacraments.
I answer that Divine wisdom provides for each thing according to its mode; hence it is written (Sg 8,1) that "she . . . ordereth all things sweetly": wherefore also we are told (Mt 25,15) that she "gave to everyone according to his proper ability." Now it is part of man's nature to acquire knowledge of the intelligible from the sensible. But a sign is that by means of which one attains to the knowledge of something else. Consequently, since the sacred things which are signified by the sacraments, are the spiritual and intelligible goods by means of which man is sanctified, it follows that the sacramental signs consist in sensible things: just as in the Divine Scriptures spiritual things are set before us under the guise of things sensible. And hence it is that sensible things are required for the sacraments; as Dionysius also proves in his book on the heavenly hierarchy (Coel. Hier. i).
Reply to Objection: 1. The name and definition of a thing is taken principally from that which belongs to a thing primarily and essentially: and not from that which belongs to it through something else. Now a sensible effect being the primary and direct object of man's knowledge (since all our knowledge springs from the senses) by its very nature leads to the knowledge of something else: whereas intelligible effects are not such as to be able to lead us to the knowledge of something else, except in so far as they are manifested by some other thing, i.e. by certain sensibles. It is for this reason that the name sign is given primarily and principally to things which are offered to the senses; hence Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. ii) that a sign "is that which conveys something else to the mind, besides the species which it impresses on the senses." But intelligible effects do not partake of the nature of a sign except in so far as they are pointed out by certain signs. And in this way, too, certain things which are not sensible are termed sacraments as it were, in so far as they are signified by certain sensible things, of which we shall treat further on (Question , Article , ad 2; Article , ad 2; Question , Article ; Question , Article , ad 3).
2. Sensible things considered in their own nature do not belong to the worship or kingdom of God: but considered only as signs of spiritual things in which the kingdom of God consists.
3. Augustine speaks there of sensible things, considered in their nature; but not as employed to signify spiritual things, which are the highest goods.
Summa Th. III EN Qu.59 a.3