Summa Th. I EN Qu.89 a.3
Objection: 1. It would seem that the separated soul knows all natural things. For the types of all natural things exist in separate substances. Therefore, as separated souls know separate substances, they also know all natural things.
2. Further, whoever understands the greater intelligible, will be able much more to understand the lesser intelligible. But the separated soul understands immaterial substances, which are in the highest degree of intelligibility. Therefore much more can it understand all natural things which are in a lower degree of intelligibility.
On the contrary The devils have greater natural knowledge than the separated soul; yet they do not know all natural things, but have to learn many things by long experience, as Isidore says (De Summo Bono i). Therefore neither can the separated soul know all natural things.
I answer that As stated above (Article ), the separated soul, like the angels, understands by means of species, received from the influence of the Divine light. Nevertheless, as the soul by nature is inferior to an angel, to whom this kind of knowledge is natural, the soul apart from the body through such species does not receive perfect knowledge, but only a general and confused kind of knowledge. Separated souls, therefore, have the same relation through such species to imperfect and confused knowledge of natural things as the angels have to the perfect knowledge thereof. Now angels through such species know all natural things perfectly; because all that God has produced in the respective natures of natural things has been produced by Him in the angelic intelligence, as Augustine says (Gn ad lit. ii, 8). Hence it follows that separated souls know all natural things not with a certain and proper knowledge, but in a general and confused manner.
Reply to Objection: 1. Even an angel does not understand all natural things through his substance, but through certain species, as stated above (Question , Article ). So it does not follow that the soul knows all natural things because it knows separate substances after a fashion.
2. As the soul separated from the body does not perfectly understand separate substances, so neither does it know all natural things perfectly; but it knows them confusedly, as above explained in this article.
3. Isidore speaks of the knowledge of the future which neither angels, nor demons, nor separated souls, know except so far as future things pre-exist in their causes or are known by Divine revelation. But we are here treating of the knowledge of natural things.
4. Knowledge acquired here by study is proper and perfect; the knowledge of which we speak is confused. Hence it does not follow that to study in order to learn is useless.
Objection: 1. It would seem that the separated soul does not know singulars. For no cognitive power besides the intellect remains in the separated soul, as is clear from what has been said above (Question , Article ). But the intellect cannot know singulars, as we have shown (Question , Article ). Therefore the separated soul cannot know singulars.
2. Further, the knowledge of the singular is more determinate than knowledge of the universal. But the separated soul has no determinate knowledge of the species of natural things, therefore much less can it know singulars.
3. Further, if it knew the singulars, yet not by sense, for the same reason it would know all singulars. But it does not know all singulars. Therefore it knows none.
On the contrary The rich man in hell said: "I have five brethren" (Lc 16,28).
I answer that, Separated souls know some singulars, but not all, not even all present singulars. To understand this, we must consider that there is a twofold way of knowing things, one by means of abstraction from phantasms, and in this way singulars cannot be directly known by the intellect, but only indirectly, as stated above (Question , Article ). The other way of understanding is by the infusion of species by God, and in that way it is possible for the intellect to know singulars. For as God knows all things, universal and singular, by His Essence, as the cause of universal and individual principles (Question , Article ), so likewise separate substances can know singulars by species which are a kind of participated similitude of the Divine Essence. There is a difference, however, between angels and separated souls in the fact that through these species the angels have a perfect and proper knowledge of things; whereas separated have only a confused knowledge. Hence the angels, by reason of their perfect intellect, through these species, know not only the specific natures of things, but also the singulars contained in those species; whereas separated souls by these species know only those singulars to which they are determined by former knowledge in this life, or by some affection, or by natural aptitude, or by the disposition of the Divine order; because whatever is received into anything is conditioned according to the mode of the recipient.
Reply to Objection: 1. The intellect does not know the singular by way of abstraction; neither does the separated soul know it thus; but as explained above.
2. The knowledge of the separated soul is confined to those species or individuals to which the soul has some kind of determinate relation, as we have said.
3. The separated soul has not the same relation to all singulars, but one relation to some, and another to others. Therefore there is not the same reason why it should know all singulars.
Objection: 1. It would seem that the habit of knowledge acquired in this life does not remain in the soul separated from the body: for the Apostle says: "Knowledge shall be destroyed" (1Co 13,8).
2. Further, some in this world who are less good enjoy knowledge denied to others who are better. If, therefore, the habit of knowledge remained in the soul after death, it would follow that some who are less good would, even in the future life, excel some who are better; which seems unreasonable.
3. Further, separated souls will possess knowledge by influence of the Divine light. Supposing, therefore, that knowledge here acquired remained in the separated soul, it would follow that two forms of the same species would co-exist in the same subject which cannot be.
4. Further, the Philosopher says (Praedic. vi, 4,5), that "a habit is a quality hard to remove: yet sometimes knowledge is destroyed by sickness or the like." But in this life there is no change so thorough as death. Therefore it seems that the habit of knowledge is destroyed by death.
On the contrary Jerome says (Ep. liii, ad Paulinum), "Let us learn on earth that kind of knowledge which will remain with us in heaven."
I answer that Some say that the habit of knowledge resides not in the intellect itself, but in the sensitive powers, namely, the imaginative, cogitative, and memorative, and that the intelligible species are not kept in the passive intellect. If this were true, it would follow that when the body is destroyed by death, knowledge here acquired would also be entirely destroyed.
But, since knowledge resides in the intellect, which is "the abode of species," as the Philosopher says (De Anima iii, 4), the habit of knowledge here acquired must be partly in the aforesaid sensitive powers and partly in the intellect. This can be seen by considering the very actions from which knowledge arises. For "habits are like the actions whereby they are acquired" (Ethic. ii, 1). Now the actions of the intellect, by which knowledge is here acquired, are performed by the mind turning to the phantasms in the aforesaid sensitive powers. Hence through such acts the passive intellect acquires a certain facility in considering the species received: and the aforesaid sensitive powers acquire a certain aptitude in seconding the action of the intellect when it turns to them to consider the intelligible object. But as the intellectual act resides chiefly and formally in the intellect itself, whilst it resides materially and dispositively in the inferior powers, the same distinction is to be applied to habit.
Knowledge, therefore, acquired in the present life does not remain in the separated soul, as regards what belongs to the sensitive powers; but as regards what belongs to the intellect itself, it must remain; because, as the Philosopher says (De Long. et Brev. Vitae ii), a form may be corrupted in two ways; first, directly, when corrupted by its contrary, as heat, by cold; and secondly, indirectly, when its subject is corrupted. Now it is evident that human knowledge is not corrupted through corruption of the subject, for the intellect is an incorruptible faculty, as above stated (Question , Article , ad 2). Neither can the intelligible species in the passive intellect be corrupted by their contrary; for there is no contrary to intelligible "intentions," above all as regards simple intelligence of "what a thing is." But contrariety may exist in the intellect as regards mental composition and division, or also reasoning; so far as what is false in statement or argument is contrary to truth. And thus knowledge may be corrupted by its contrary when a false argument seduces anyone from the knowledge of truth. For this reason the Philosopher in the above work mentions two ways in which knowledge is corrupted directly: namely, "forgetfulness" on the part of the memorative power, and "deception" on the part of a false argument. But these have no place in the separated soul. Therefore we must conclude that the habit of knowledge, so far as it is in the intellect, remains in the separated soul.
Reply to Objection: 1. The Apostle is not speaking of knowledge as a habit, but as to the act of knowing; and hence he says, in proof of the assertion quoted, "Now, I know in part."
2. As a less good man may exceed a better man in bodily stature, so the same kind of man may have a habit of knowledge in the future life which a better man may not have. Such knowledge, however, cannot be compared with the other prerogatives enjoyed by the better man.
3. These two kinds of knowledge are not of the same species, so there is no impossibility.
4. This objection considers the corruption of knowledge on the part of the sensitive powers.
Objection: 1. It would seem that the act of knowledge here acquired does not remain in the separated soul. For the Philosopher says (De Anima i, 4), that when the body is corrupted, "the soul neither remembers nor loves." But to consider what is previously known is an act of memory. Therefore the separated soul cannot retain an act of knowledge here acquired.
2. Further, intelligible species cannot have greater power in the separated soul than they have in the soul united to the body. But in this life we cannot understand by intelligible species without turning to phantasms, as shown above (Question , Article ). Therefore the separated soul cannot do so, and thus it cannot understand at all by intelligible species acquired in this life.
3. Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 1), that "habits produce acts similar to those whereby they are acquired." But the habit of knowledge is acquired here by acts of the intellect turning to phantasms: therefore it cannot produce any other acts. These acts, however, are not adapted to the separated soul. Therefore the soul in the state of separation cannot produce any act of knowledge acquired in this life.
On the contrary It was said to Dives in hell (Lc 16,25): "Remember thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime."
I answer that, Action offers two things for our consideration---its species and its mode. Its species comes from the object, whereto the faculty of knowledge is directed by the (intelligible) species, which is the object's similitude; whereas the mode is gathered from the power of the agent. Thus that a person see a stone is due to the species of the stone in his eye; but that he see it clearly, is due to the eye's visual power. Therefore as the intelligible species remain in the separated soul, as stated above (Article ), and since the state of the separated soul is not the same as it is in this life, it follows that through the intelligible species acquired in this life the soul apart from the body can understand what it understood formerly, but in a different way; not by turning to phantasms, but by a mode suited to a soul existing apart from the body. Thus the act of knowledge here acquired remains in the separated soul, but in a different way.
Reply to Objection: 1. The Philosopher speaks of remembrance, according as memory belongs to the sensitive part, but not as belonging in a way to the intellect, as explained above (Question , Article ).
2. The different mode of intelligence is produced by the different state of the intelligent soul; not by diversity of species.
3. The acts which produce a habit are like the acts caused by that habit, in species, but not in mode. For example, to do just things, but not justly, that is, pleasurably, causes the habit of political justice, whereby we act pleasurably. (Cf. Aristotle, Ethic. v, 8: Magn. Moral. i, 34).
Objection: 1. It would seem that local distance impedes the separated soul's knowledge. For Augustine says (De Cura pro Mort. xiii), that "the souls of the dead are where they cannot know what is done here." But they know what is done among themselves. Therefore local distance impedes the knowledge in the separated soul.
2. Further, Augustine says (De Divin. Daemon. iii), that "the demon's rapidity of movement enables them to tell things unknown to us." But agility of movement would be useless in that respect unless their knowledge was impeded by local distance; which, therefore, is a much greater hindrance to the knowledge of the separated soul, whose nature is inferior to the demon's.
3. Further, as there is distance of place, so is there distance of time. But distance of time impedes knowledge in the separated soul, for the soul is ignorant of the future. Therefore it seems that distance of place also impedes its knowledge.
On the contrary It is written (Lc 16,23), that Dives, "lifting up his eyes when he was in torment, saw Abraham afar off." Therefore local distance does not impede knowledge in the separated soul.
I answer that Some have held that the separated soul knows the singular by abstraction from the sensible. If that were so, it might be that local distance would impede its knowledge; for either the sensible would need to act upon the soul, or the soul upon the sensible, and in either case a determinate distance would be necessary. This is, however, impossible because abstraction of the species from the sensible is done through the senses and other sensible faculties which do not remain actually in the soul apart from the body. But the soul when separated understands singulars by species derived from the Divine light, which is indifferent to what is near or distant. Hence knowledge in the separated soul is not hindered by local distance.
Reply to Objection: 1. Augustine says that the souls of the departed cannot see what is done here, not because they are 'there,' as if impeded by local distance; but for some other cause, as we shall explain (Article ).
2. Augustine speaks there in accordance with the opinion that demons have bodies naturally united to them, and so have sensitive powers, which require local distance. In the same book he expressly sets down this opinion, though apparently rather by way of narration than of assertion, as we may gather from De Civ. Dei xxi, 10.
3. The future, which is distant in time, does not actually exist, and therefore is not knowable in itself, because so far as a thing falls short of being, so far does it fall short of being knowable. But what is locally distant exists actually, and is knowable in itself. Hence we cannot argue from distance of time to distance of place.
Objection: 1. It would seem that separated souls know what takes place on earth; for otherwise they would have no care for it, as they have, according to what Dives said (Lc 16,27-28), "I have five brethren . . . he may testify unto them, lest they also come into the place of torments." Therefore separated souls know what passes on earth.
2. Further, the dead often appear to the living, asleep or awake, and tell them of what takes place there; as Samuel appeared to Saul (1S 28,11). But this could not be unless they knew what takes place here. Therefore they know what takes place on earth.
3. Further, separated souls know what happens among themselves. If, therefore, they do not know what takes place among us, it must be by reason of local distance; which has been shown to be false (Article ).
On the contrary It is written (Jb 14,21): "He will not understand whether his children come to honor or dishonor."
I answer that By natural knowledge, of which we are treating now, the souls of the dead do not know what passes on earth. This follows from what has been laid down (Article ), since the separated soul has knowledge of singulars, by being in a way determined to them, either by some vestige of previous knowledge or affection, or by the Divine order. Now the souls departed are in a state of separation from the living, both by Divine order and by their mode of existence, whilst they are joined to the world of incorporeal spiritual substances; and hence they are ignorant of what goes on among us. Whereof Gregory gives the reason thus: "The dead do not know how the living act, for the life of the spirit is far from the life of the flesh; and so, as corporeal things differ from incorporeal in genus, so they are distinct in knowledge" (Moral. xii). Augustine seems to say the same (De Cura pro Mort. xiii), when he asserts that, "the souls of the dead have no concern in the affairs of the living."
Gregory and Augustine, however, seem to be divided in opinion as regards the souls of the blessed in heaven, for Gregory continues the passage above quoted: "The case of the holy souls is different, for since they see the light of Almighty God, we cannot believe that external things are unknown to them." But Augustine (De Cura pro Mort. xiii) expressly says: "The dead, even the saints do not know what is done by the living or by their own children," as a gloss quotes on the text, "Abraham hath not known us" (Is 63,16). He confirms this opinion by saying that he was not visited, nor consoled in sorrow by his mother, as when she was alive; and he could not think it possible that she was less kind when in a happier state; and again by the fact that the Lord promised to king Josias that he should die, lest he should see his people's afflictions (2R 22,20). Yet Augustine says this in doubt; and premises, "Let every one take, as he pleases, what I say." Gregory, on the other hand, is positive, since he says, "We cannot believe." His opinion, indeed, seems to be the more probable one---that the souls of the blessed who see God do know all that passes here. For they are equal to the angels, of whom Augustine says that they know what happens among those living on earth. But as the souls of the blessed are most perfectly united to Divine justice, they do not suffer from sorrow, nor do they interfere in mundane affairs, except in accordance with Divine justice.
Reply to Objection: 1. The souls of the departed may care for the living, even if ignorant of their state; just as we care for the dead by pouring forth prayer on their behalf, though we are ignorant of their state. Moreover, the affairs of the living can be made known to them not immediately, but the souls who pass hence thither, or by angels and demons, or even by "the revelation of the Holy Ghost," as Augustine says in the same book.
2. That the dead appear to the living in any way whatever is either by the special dispensation of God; in order that the souls of the dead may interfere in affairs of the living---and this is to be accounted as miraculous. Or else such apparitions occur through the instrumentality of bad or good angels, without the knowledge of the departed; as may likewise happen when the living appear, without their own knowledge, to others living, as Augustine says in the same book. And so it may be said of Samuel that he appeared through Divine revelation; according to Si 46,23, "he slept, and told the king the end of his life." Or, again, this apparition was procured by the demons; unless, indeed, the authority of Ecclesiasticus be set aside through not being received by the Jews as canonical Scripture.
3. This kind of ignorance does not proceed from the obstacle of local distance, but from the cause mentioned above.
After the foregoing we must consider the first production of man, concerning which there are four subjects of treatment: (1) the production of man himself; (2) the end of this production; (3) the state and condition of the first man; (4) the place of his abode. Concerning the production of man, there are three things to be considered: (1) the production of man's soul; (2) the production of man's body; (3) the production of the woman.
Under the first head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether man's soul was something made, or was of the Divine substance?
(2) Whether, if made, it was created?
(3) Whether it was made by angelic instrumentality?
(4) Whether it was made before the body?
Objection: 1. It would seem that the soul was not made, but was God's substance. For it is written (Gn 2,7): "God formed man of the slime of the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man was made a living soul." But he who breathes sends forth something of himself. Therefore the soul, whereby man lives, is of the Divine substance.
2. Further, as above explained (Question , Article ), the soul is a simple form. But a form is an act. Therefore the soul is a pure act; which applies to God alone. Therefore the soul is of God's substance.
3. Further, things that exist and do differ are the same. But God and the mind exist, and in no way differ, for they could only be differentiated by certain differences, and thus would be composite. Therefore God and the human mind are the same.
On the contrary Augustine (De Orig. Animae iii, 15) mentions certain opinions which he calls "exceedingly and evidently perverse, and contrary to the Catholic Faith," among which the first is the opinion that "God made the soul not out of nothing, but from Himself."
I answer that To say that the soul is of the Divine substance involves a manifest improbability. For, as is clear from what has been said (Question , Article ; Question , Article ; Question , Article ), the human soul is sometimes in a state of potentiality to the act of intelligence ---acquires its knowledge somehow from things---and thus has various powers; all of which are incompatible with the Divine Nature, Which is a pure act---receives nothing from any other---and admits of no variety in itself, as we have proved (Question , Articles ,7; Question , Article ).
This error seems to have originated from two statements of the ancients. For those who first began to observe the nature of things, being unable to rise above their imagination, supposed that nothing but bodies existed. Therefore they said that God was a body, which they considered to be the principle of other bodies. And since they held that the soul was of the same nature as that body which they regarded as the first principle, as is stated De Anima i, 2, it followed that the soul was of the nature of God Himself. According to this supposition, also, the Manichaeans, thinking that God was corporeal light, held that the soul was part of that light bound up with the body.
Then a further step in advance was made, and some surmised the existence of something incorporeal, not apart from the body, but the form of a body; so that Varro said, "God is a soul governing the world by movement and reason," as Augustine relates (De Civ. Dei vii, 6 [*The words as quoted are to be found iv. 31.]) So some supposed man's soul to be part of that one soul, as man is a part of the whole world; for they were unable to go so far as to understand the different degrees of spiritual substance, except according to the distinction of bodies.
But, all these theories are impossible, as proved above (Question , Articles ,8; and Question , Article ), wherefore it is evidently false that the soul is of the substance of God.
Reply to Objection: 1. The term "breathe" is not to be taken in the material sense; but as regards the act of God, to breathe [spirare], is the same as to "make a spirit." Moreover, in the material sense, man by breathing does not send forth anything of his own substance, but an extraneous thing.
2. Although the soul is a simple form in its essence, yet it is not its own existence, but is a being by participation, as above explained (Question , Article , ad 4). Therefore it is not a pure act like God.
3. That which differs, properly speaking, differs in something; wherefore we seek for difference where we find also resemblance. For this reason things which differ must in some way be compound; since they differ in something, and in something resemble each other. In this sense, although all that differ are diverse, yet all things that are diverse do not differ. For simple things are diverse; yet do not differ from one another by differences which enter into their composition. For instance, a man and a horse differ by the difference of rational and irrational; but we cannot say that these again differ by some further difference.
Objection: 1. It would seem that the soul was not produced by creation. For that which has in itself something material is produced from matter. But the soul is in part material, since it is not a pure act. Therefore the soul was made of matter; and hence it was not created.
2. Further, every actuality of matter is educed from the potentiality of that matter; for since matter is in potentiality to act, any act pre-exists in matter potentially. But the soul is the act of corporeal matter, as is clear from its definition. Therefore the soul is educed from the potentiality of matter.
3. Further, the soul is a form. Therefore, if the soul is created, all other forms also are created. Thus no forms would come into existence by generation; which is not true.
On the contrary It is written (Gn 1,27): "God created man to His own image." But man is like to God in his soul. Therefore the soul was created.
I answer that The rational soul can be made only by creation; which, however, is not true of other forms. The reason is because, since to be made is the way to existence, a thing must be made in such a way as is suitable to its mode of existence. Now that properly exists which itself has existence; as it were, subsisting in its own existence. Wherefore only substances are properly and truly called beings; whereas an accident has not existence, but something is (modified) by it, and so far is it called a being; for instance, whiteness is called a being, because by it something is white. Hence it is said Metaph. vii, Did. vi, 1 that an accident should be described as "of something rather than as something." The same is to be said of all non-subsistent forms. Therefore, properly speaking, it does not belong to any non-existing form to be made; but such are said to be made through the composite substances being made. On the other hand, the rational soul is a subsistent form, as above explained (Question , Article ). Wherefore it is competent to be and to be made. And since it cannot be made of pre-existing matter---whether corporeal, which would render it a corporeal being---or spiritual, which would involve the transmutation of one spiritual substance into another, we must conclude that it cannot exist except by creation.
Reply to Objection: 1. The soul's simple essence is as the material element, while its participated existence is its formal element; which participated existence necessarily co-exists with the soul's essence, because existence naturally follows the form. The same reason holds if the soul is supposed to be composed of some spiritual matter, as some maintain; because the said matter is not in potentiality to another form, as neither is the matter of a celestial body; otherwise the soul would be corruptible. Wherefore the soul cannot in any way be made of pre-existent matter.
2. The production of act from the potentiality of matter is nothing else but something becoming actually that previously was in potentiality. But since the rational soul does not depend in its existence on corporeal matter, and is subsistent, and exceeds the capacity of corporeal matter, as we have seen (Question , Article ), it is not educed from the potentiality of matter.
3. As we have said, there is no comparison between the rational soul and other forms.
Objection: 1. It would seem that the rational soul is not immediately made by God, but by the instrumentality of the angels. For spiritual things have more order than corporeal things. But inferior bodies are produced by means of the superior, as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv). Therefore also the inferior spirits, who are the rational souls, are produced by means of the superior spirits, the angels.
2. Further, the end corresponds to the beginning of things; for God is the beginning and end of all. Therefore the issue of things from their beginning corresponds to the forwarding of them to their end. But "inferior things are forwarded by the higher," as Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. v); therefore also the inferior are produced into existence by the higher, and souls by angels.
3. Further, "perfect is that which can produce its like," as is stated Metaph. v. But spiritual substances are much more perfect than corporeal. Therefore, since bodies produce their like in their own species, much more are angels able to produce something specifically inferior to themselves; and such is the rational soul.
On the contrary It is written (Gn 2,7) that God Himself "breathed into the face of man the breath of life."
I answer that Some have held that angels, acting by the power of God, produce rational souls. But this is quite impossible, and is against faith. For it has been proved that the rational soul cannot be produced except by creation. Now, God alone can create; for the first agent alone can act without presupposing the existence of anything; while the second cause always presupposes something derived from the first cause, as above explained (Question , Article ): and every agent, that presupposes something to its act, acts by making a change therein. Therefore everything else acts by producing a change, whereas God alone acts by creation. Since, therefore, the rational soul cannot be produced by a change in matter, it cannot be produced, save immediately by God.
Thus the replies to the objections are clear. For that bodies produce their like or something inferior to themselves, and that the higher things lead forward the inferior---all these things are effected through a certain transmutation.
Summa Th. I EN Qu.89 a.3