Summa Th. I EN Qu.60 a.5

Article: 5 Whether an angel by natural love loves God more than he loves himself?

Objection: 1. It would seem that the angel does not love God by natural love more than he loves himself. For, as was stated (Article [4]), natural love rests upon natural union. Now the Divine nature is far above the angelic nature. Therefore, according to natural love, the angel loves God less than self, or even than another angel.

2. Further, "That on account of which a thing is such, is yet more so." But every one loves another with natural love for his own sake: because one thing loves another as good for itself. Therefore the angel does not love God more than self with natural love.

3. Further, nature is self-centered in its operation; for we behold every agent acting naturally for its own preservation. But nature's operation would not be self-centered were it to tend towards anything else more than to nature itself. Therefore the angel does not love God more than himself from natural love.

4. Further, it is proper to charity to love God more than self. But to love from charity is not natural to the angels; for "it is poured out upon their hearts by the Holy Spirit Who is given to them," as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xii, 9). Therefore the angels do not love God more than themselves by natural love.

5. Further, natural love lasts while nature endures. But the love of God more than self does not remain in the angel or man who sins; for Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiv), "Two loves have made two cities; namely love of self unto the contempt of God has made the earthly city; while love of God unto the contempt of self has made the heavenly city." Therefore it is not natural to love God more than self.

On the contrary All the moral precepts of the law come of the law of nature. But the precept of loving God more than self is a moral precept of the law. Therefore, it is of the law of nature. Consequently from natural love the angel loves God more than himself.

I answer that, There have been some who maintained that an angel loves God more than himself with natural love, both as to the love of concupiscence, through his seeking the Divine good for himself rather than his own good; and, in a fashion, as to the love of friendship, in so far as he naturally desires a greater good to God than to himself; because he naturally wishes God to be God, while as for himself, he wills to have his own nature. But absolutely speaking, out of the natural love he loves himself more than he does God, because he naturally loves himself before God, and with greater intensity.

The falsity of such an opinion stands in evidence, if one but consider whither natural movement tends in the natural order of things; because the natural tendency of things devoid of reason shows the nature of the natural inclination residing in the will of an intellectual nature. Now, in natural things, everything which, as such, naturally belongs to another, is principally, and more strongly inclined to that other to which it belongs, than towards itself. Such a natural tendency is evidenced from things which are moved according to nature: because "according as a thing is moved naturally, it has an inborn aptitude to be thus moved," as stated in Phys. ii, text. 78. For we observe that the part naturally exposes itself in order to safeguard the whole; as, for instance, the hand is without deliberation exposed to the blow for the whole body's safety. And since reason copies nature, we find the same inclination among the social virtues; for it behooves the virtuous citizen to expose himself to the danger of death for the public weal of the state; and if man were a natural part of the city, then such inclination would be natural to him.

Consequently, since God is the universal good, and under this good both man and angel and all creatures are comprised, because every creature in regard to its entire being naturally belongs to God, it follows that from natural love angel and man alike love God before themselves and with a greater love. Otherwise, if either of them loved self more than God, it would follow that natural love would be perverse, and that it would not be perfected but destroyed by charity.

Reply to Objection: 1. Such reasoning holds good of things adequately divided whereof one is not the cause of the existence and goodness of the other; for in such natures each loves itself naturally more than it does the other, inasmuch as it is more one with itself than it is with the other. But where one is the whole cause of the existence and goodness of the other, that one is naturally more loved than self; because, as we said above, each part naturally loves the whole more than itself: and each individual naturally loves the good of the species more than its own individual good. Now God is not only the good of one species, but is absolutely the universal good; hence everything in its own way naturally loves God more than itself.

2. When it is said that God is loved by an angel "in so far" as He is good to the angel, if the expression "in so far" denotes an end, then it is false; for he does not naturally love God for his own good, but for God's sake. If it denotes the nature of love on the lover's part, then it is true; for it would not be in the nature of anyone to love God, except from this---that everything is dependent on that good which is God.

3. Nature's operation is self-centered not merely as to certain particular details, but much more as to what is common; for everything is inclined to preserve not merely its individuality, but likewise its species. And much more has everything a natural inclination towards what is the absolutely universal good.

4. God, in so far as He is the universal good, from Whom every natural good depends, is loved by everything with natural love. So far as He is the good which of its very nature beatifies all with supernatural beatitude, He is love with the love of charity.

5. Since God's substance and universal goodness are one and the same, all who behold God's essence are by the same movement of love moved towards the Divine essence as it is distinct from other things, and according as it is the universal good. And because He is naturally loved by all so far as He is the universal good, it is impossible that whoever sees Him in His essence should not love Him. But such as do not behold His essence, know Him by some particular effects, which are sometimes opposed to their will. So in this way they are said to hate God; yet nevertheless, so far as He is the universal good of all, every thing naturally loves God more than itself.


After dealing with the nature of the angels, their knowledge and will, it now remains for us to treat of their creation, or, speaking in a general way, of their origin. Such consideration is threefold. In the first place we must see how they were brought into natural existence; secondly, how they were made perfect in grace or glory; and thirdly, how some of them became wicked.

Under the first heading there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether the angel has a cause of his existence?

(2) Whether he has existed from eternity?

(3) Whether he was created before corporeal creatures?

(4) Whether the angels were created in the empyrean heaven?

Article: 1 Whether the angels have a cause of their existence?

Objection: 1. It would seem that the angels have no cause of their existence. For the first chapter of Genesis treats of things created by God. But there is no mention of angels. Therefore the angels were not created by God.

2. Further, the Philosopher says (Metaph. viii, text. 16) that if any substance be a form without matter, "straightway it has being and unity of itself, and has no cause of its being and unity." But the angels are immaterial forms, as was shown above (Question [50], Article [2]). Therefore they have no cause of their being.

3. Further, whatever is produced by any agent, from the very fact of its being produced, receives form from it. But since the angels are forms, they do not derive their form from any agent. Therefore the angels have no active cause.

On the contrary It is said (Ps 148,2): "Praise ye Him, all His angels"; and further on, verse 5: "For He spoke and they were made."

I answer that It must be affirmed that angels and everything existing, except God, were made by God. God alone is His own existence; while in everything else the essence differs from the existence, as was shown above (Question [3], Article [4]). From this it is clear that God alone exists of His own essence: while all other things have their existence by participation. Now whatever exists by participation is caused by what exists essentially; as everything ignited is caused by fire. Consequently the angels, of necessity, were made by God.

Reply to Objection: 1. Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xi, 50) that the angels were not passed over in that account of the first creation of things, but are designated by the name "heavens" or of "light." And they were either passed over, or else designated by the names of corporeal things, because Moses was addressing an uncultured people, as yet incapable of understanding an incorporeal nature; and if it had been divulged that there were creatures existing beyond corporeal nature, it would have proved to them an occasion of idolatry, to which they were inclined, and from which Moses especially meant to safeguard them.

2. Substances that are subsisting forms have no 'formal' cause of their existence and unity, nor such active cause as produces its effect by changing the matter from a state of potentiality to actuality; but they have a cause productive of their entire substance.

From this the solution of the third difficulty is manifest.

Article: 2 Whether the angel was produced by God from eternity?

Objection: 1. It would seem that the angel was produced by God from eternity. For God is the cause of the angel by His being: for He does not act through something besides His essence. But His being is eternal. Therefore He produced the angels from eternity.

2. Further, everything which exists at one period and not at another, is subject to time. But the angel is above time, as is laid down in the book De Causis. Therefore the angel is not at one time existing and at another non-existing, but exists always.

3. Further, Augustine (De Trin. xiii) proves the soul's incorruptibility by the fact that the mind is capable of truth. But as truth is incorruptible, so is it eternal. Therefore the intellectual nature of the soul and of the angel is not only incorruptible, but likewise eternal.

On the contrary It is said (Pr 8,22), in the person of begotten Wisdom: "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything from the beginning." But, as was shown above (Article [1]), the angels were made by God. Therefore at one time the angels were not.

I answer that God alone, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, is from eternity. Catholic Faith holds this without doubt; and everything to the contrary must be rejected as heretical. For God so produced creatures that He made them "from nothing"; that is, after they had not been.

Reply to Objection: 1. God's being is His will. So the fact that God produced the angels and other creatures by His being does not exclude that He made them also by His will. But, as was shown above (Question [19], Article [3]; Question [46], Article [1]), God's will does not act by necessity in producing creatures. Therefore He produced such as He willed, and when He willed.

2. An angel is above that time which is the measure of the movement of the heavens; because he is above every movement of a corporeal nature. Nevertheless he is not above time which is the measure of the succession of his existence after his non-existence, and which is also the measure of the succession which is in his operations. Hence Augustine says (Gn ad lit. viii, 20,21) that "God moves the spiritual creature according to time."

3. Angels and intelligent souls are incorruptible by the very fact of their having a nature whereby they are capable of truth. But they did not possess this nature from eternity; it was bestowed upon them when God Himself willed it. Consequently it does not follow that the angels existed from eternity.

Article: 3 Whether the angels were created before the corporeal world?

Objection: 1. It would seem that the angels were created before the corporeal world. For Jerome says (In Ep ad Tit. i, 2): "Six thousand years of our time have not yet elapsed; yet how shall we measure the time, how shall we count the ages, in which the Angels, Thrones, Dominations, and the other orders served God?" Damascene also says (De Fide Orth. ii): "Some say that the angels were begotten before all creation; as Gregory the Theologian declares, He first of all devised the angelic and heavenly powers, and the devising was the making thereof."

2. Further, the angelic nature stands midway between the Divine and the corporeal natures. But the Divine nature is from eternity; while corporeal nature is from time. Therefore the angelic nature was produced ere time was made, and after eternity.

3. Further, the angelic nature is more remote from the corporeal nature than one corporeal nature is from another. But one corporeal nature was made before another; hence the six days of the production of things are set forth in the opening of Genesis. Much more, therefore, was the angelic nature made before every corporeal nature.

On the contrary It is said (Gn 1,1): "In the beginning God created heaven and earth." Now, this would not be true if anything had been created previously. Consequently the angels were not created before corporeal nature.

I answer that, There is a twofold opinion on this point to be found in the writings of the Fathers. The more probable one holds that the angels were created at the same time as corporeal creatures. For the angels are part of the universe: they do not constitute a universe of themselves; but both they and corporeal natures unite in constituting one universe. This stands in evidence from the relationship of creature to creature; because the mutual relationship of creatures makes up the good of the universe. But no part is perfect if separate from the whole. Consequently it is improbable that God, Whose "works are perfect," as it is said Dt 32,4, should have created the angelic creature before other creatures. At the same time the contrary is not to be deemed erroneous; especially on account of the opinion of Gregory Nazianzen, "whose authority in Christian doctrine is of such weight that no one has ever raised objection to his teaching, as is also the case with the doctrine of Athanasius," as Jerome says.

Reply to Objection: 1. Jerome is speaking according to the teaching of the Greek Fathers; all of whom hold the creation of the angels to have taken place previously to that of the corporeal world.

2. God is not a part of, but far above, the whole universe, possessing within Himself the entire perfection of the universe in a more eminent way. But an angel is a part of the universe. Hence the comparison does not hold.

3. All corporeal creatures are one in matter; while the angels do not agree with them in matter. Consequently the creation of the matter of the corporeal creature involves in a manner the creation of all things; but the creation of the angels does not involve creation of the universe.

If the contrary view be held, then in the text of Gn 1, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth," the words, "In the beginning," must be interpreted, "In the Son," or "In the beginning of time": but not, "In the beginning, before which there was nothing," unless we say "Before which there was nothing of the nature of corporeal creatures."

Article: 4 Whether the angels were created in the empyrean heaven?

Objection: 1. It would seem that the angels were not created in the empyrean heaven. For the angels are incorporeal substances. Now a substance which is incorporeal is not dependent upon a body for its existence; and as a consequence, neither is it for its creation. Therefore the angels were not created in any corporeal place.

2. Further, Augustine remarks (Gn ad lit. iii, 10), that the angels were created in the upper atmosphere: therefore not in the empyrean heaven.

3. Further, the empyrean heaven is said to be the highest heaven. If therefore the angels were created in the empyrean heaven, it would not beseem them to mount up to a still higher heaven. And this is contrary to what is said in Isaias, speaking in the person of the sinning angel: "I will ascend into heaven" (Is 14,13).

On the contrary Strabus, commenting on the text "In the beginning God created heaven and earth," says: "By heaven he does not mean the visible firmament, but the empyrean, that is, the fiery or intellectual firmament, which is not so styled from its heat, but from its splendor; and which was filled with angels directly it was made."

I answer that As was observed (Article [3]), the universe is made up of corporeal and spiritual creatures. Consequently spiritual creatures were so created as to bear some relationship to the corporeal creature, and to rule over every corporeal creature. Hence it was fitting for the angels to be created in the highest corporeal place, as presiding over all corporeal nature; whether it be styled the empyrean heaven, or whatever else it be called. So Isidore says that the highest heaven is the heaven of the angels, explaining the passage of Dt 10,14: "Behold heaven is the Lord's thy God, and the heaven of heaven."

Reply to Objection: 1. The angels were created in a corporeal place, not as if depending upon a body either as to their existence or as to their being made; because God could have created them before all corporeal creation, as many holy Doctors hold. They were made in a corporeal place in order to show their relationship to corporeal nature, and that they are by their power in touch with bodies.

2. By the uppermost atmosphere Augustine possibly means the highest part of heaven, to which the atmosphere has a kind of affinity owing to its subtlety and transparency. Or else he is not speaking of all the angels; but only of such as sinned, who, in the opinion of some, belonged to the inferior orders. But there is nothing to hinder us from saying that the higher angels, as having an exalted and universal power over all corporeal things, were created in the highest place of the corporeal creature; while the other angels, as having more restricted powers, were created among the inferior bodies.

3. Isaias is not speaking there of any corporeal heaven, but of the heaven of the Blessed Trinity; unto which the sinning angel wished to ascend, when he desired to be equal in some manner to God, as will appear later on (Question [63], Article [3]).


In due sequence we have to inquire how the angels were made in the order of grace and of glory; under which heading there are nine points of inquiry:

(1) Were the angels created in beatitude?

(2) Did they need grace in order to turn to God?

(3) Were they created in grace?

(4) Did they merit their beatitude?

(5) Did they at once enter into beatitude after merit?

(6) Did they receive grace and glory according to their natural capacities?

(7) After entering glory, did their natural love and knowledge remain?

(8) Could they have sinned afterwards?

(9) After entering into glory, could they advance farther?

Article: 1 Whether the angels were created in beatitude?

Objection: 1. It would seem that the angels were created in beatitude. For it is stated (De Eccl. Dogm. xxix) that "the angels who continue in the beatitude wherein they were created, do not of their nature possess the excellence they have." Therefore the angels were created in beatitude.

2. Further, the angelic nature is nobler than the corporeal creature. But the corporeal creature straightway from its creation was made perfect and complete; nor did its lack of form take precedence in time, but only in nature, as Augustine says (Gn ad lit. i, 15). Therefore neither did God create the angelic nature imperfect and incomplete. But its formation and perfection are derived from its beatitude, whereby it enjoys God. Therefore it was created in beatitude.

3. Further, according to Augustine (Gn ad lit. iv, 34; v, 5), the things which we read of as being made in the works of the six days, were made together at one time; and so all the six days must have existed instantly from the beginning of creation. But, according to his exposition, in those six days, "the morning" was the angelic knowledge, according to which they knew the Word and things in the Word. Therefore straightway from their creation they knew the Word, and things in the Word. But the bliss of the angels comes of seeing the Word. Consequently the angels were in beatitude straightway from the very beginning of their creation.

On the contrary To be established or confirmed in good is of the nature of beatitude. But the angels were not confirmed in good as soon as they were created; the fall of some of them shows this. Therefore the angels were not in beatitude from their creation.

I answer that By the name of beatitude is understood the ultimate perfection of rational or of intellectual nature; and hence it is that it is naturally desired, since everything naturally desires its ultimate perfection. Now there is a twofold ultimate perfection of rational or of intellectual nature. The first is one which it can procure of its own natural power; and this is in a measure called beatitude or happiness. Hence Aristotle (Ethic. x) says that man's ultimate happiness consists in his most perfect contemplation, whereby in this life he can behold the best intelligible object; and that is God. Above this happiness there is still another, which we look forward to in the future, whereby "we shall see God as He is." This is beyond the nature of every created intellect, as was shown above (Question [12], Article [4]).

So, then, it remains to be said, that, as regards this first beatitude, which the angel could procure by his natural power, he was created already blessed. Because the angel does not acquire such beatitude by any progressive action, as man does, but, as was observed above (Question [58], Articles [3],4), is straightway in possession thereof, owing to his natural dignity. But the angels did not have from the beginning of their creation that ultimate beatitude which is beyond the power of nature; because such beatitude is no part of their nature, but its end; and consequently they ought not to have it immediately from the beginning.

Reply to Objection: 1. Beatitude is there taken for that natural perfection which the angel had in the state of innocence.

2. The corporeal creature instantly in the beginning of its creation could not have the perfection to which it is brought by its operation; consequently, according to Augustine (Gn ad v, Gn 4,23 viii, Gn 3), the growing of plants from the earth did not take place at once among the first works, in which only the germinating power of the plants was bestowed upon the earth. In the same way, the angelic creature in the beginning of its existence had the perfection of its nature; but it did not have the perfection to which it had to come by its operation.

3. The angel has a twofold knowledge of the Word; the one which is natural, and the other according to glory. He has a natural knowledge whereby he knows the Word through a similitude thereof shining in his nature; and he has a knowledge of glory whereby he knows the Word through His essence. By both kinds of knowledge the angel knows things in the Word; imperfectly by his natural knowledge, and perfectly by his knowledge of glory. Therefore the first knowledge of things in the Word was present to the angel from the outset of his creation; while the second was not, but only when the angels became blessed by turning to the good. And this is properly termed their morning knowledge.

Article: 2 Whether an angel needs grace in order to turn to God?

Objection: 1. It would seem that the angel had no need of grace in order to turn to God. For, we have no need of grace for what we can accomplish naturally. But the angel naturally turns to God: because he loves God naturally, as is clear from what has been said (Question [60], Article [5]). Therefore an angel did not need grace in order to turn to God.

2. Further, seemingly we need help only for difficult tasks. Now it was not a difficult task for the angel to turn to God; because there was no obstacle in him to such turning. Therefore the angel had no need of grace in order to turn to God.

3. Further, to turn oneself to God is to dispose oneself for grace; hence it is said (Zach. 1:3): "Turn ye to Me, and I will turn to you." But we do not stand in need of grace in order to prepare ourselves for grace: for thus we should go on to infinity. Therefore the angel did not need grace to turn to God.

On the contrary It was by turning to God that the angel reached to beatitude. If, then, he had needed no grace in order to turn to God, it would follow that he did not require grace in order to possess everlasting life. But this is contrary to the saying of the Apostle (Rm 6,23): "The grace of God is life everlasting."

I answer that The angels stood in need of grace in order to turn to God, as the object of beatitude. For, as was observed above (Question [60], Article [2]) the natural movement of the will is the principle of all things that we will. But the will's natural inclination is directed towards what is in keeping with its nature. Therefore, if there is anything which is above nature, the will cannot be inclined towards it, unless helped by some other supernatural principle. Thus it is clear that fire has a natural tendency to give forth heat, and to generate fire; whereas to generate flesh is beyond the natural power of fire; consequently, fire has no tendency thereto, except in so far as it is moved instrumentally by the nutritive soul.

Now it was shown above (Question [12], Articles [4],5), when we were treating of God's knowledge, that to see God in His essence, wherein the ultimate beatitude of the rational creature consists, is beyond the nature of every created intellect. Consequently no rational creature can have the movement of the will directed towards such beatitude, except it be moved thereto by a supernatural agent. This is what we call the help of grace. Therefore it must be said that an angel could not of his own will be turned to such beatitude, except by the help of grace.

Reply to Objection: 1. The angel loves God naturally, so far as God is the author of his natural being. But here we are speaking of turning to God, so far as God bestows beatitude by the vision of His essence.

2. A thing is "difficult" which is beyond a power; and this happens in two ways. First of all, because it is beyond the natural capacity of the power. Thus, if it can be attained by some help, it is said to be "difficult"; but if it can in no way be attained, then it is "impossible"; thus it is impossible for a man to fly. In another way a thing may be beyond the power, not according to the natural order of such power, but owing to some intervening hindrance; as to mount upwards is not contrary to the natural order of the motive power of the soul; because the soul, considered in itself, can be moved in any direction; but is hindered from so doing by the weight of the body; consequently it is difficult for a man to mount upwards. To be turned to his ultimate beatitude is difficult for man, both because it is beyond his nature, and because he has a hindrance from the corruption of the body and infection of sin. But it is difficult for an angel, only because it is supernatural.

3. Every movement of the will towards God can be termed a conversion to God. And so there is a threefold turning to God. The first is by the perfect love of God; this belongs to the creature enjoying the possession of God; and for such conversion, consummate grace is required. The next turning to God is that which merits beatitude; and for this there is required habitual grace, which is the principle of merit. The third conversion is that whereby a man disposes himself so that he may have grace; for this no habitual grace is required; but the operation of God, Who draws the soul towards Himself, according to Lam 5:21: "Convert us, O Lord, to Thee, and we shall be converted." Hence it is clear that there is no need to go on to infinity.

Article: 3 Whether the angels were created in grace?

Objection: 1. It would seem that the angels were not created in grace. For Augustine says (Gn ad lit. ii, 8) that the angelic nature was first made without form, and was called "heaven": but afterwards it received its form, and was then called "light." But such formation comes from grace. Therefore they were not created in grace.

2. Further, grace turns the rational creature towards God. If, therefore, the angel had been created in grace, no angel would ever have turned away from God.

3. Further, grace comes midway between nature and glory. But the angels were not beatified in their creation. Therefore it seems that they were not created in grace; but that they were first created in nature only, and then received grace, and that last of all they were beatified.

On the contrary Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xii, 9), "Who wrought the good will of the angels? Who, save Him Who created them with His will, that is, with the pure love wherewith they cling to Him; at the same time building up their nature and bestowing grace on them?"

I answer that, Although there are conflicting opinions on this point, some holding that the angels were created only in a natural state, while others maintain that they were created in grace; yet it seems more probable, and more in keeping with the sayings of holy men, that they were created in sanctifying grace. For we see that all things which, in the process of time, being created by the work of Divine Providence, were produced by the operation of God, were created in the first fashioning of things according to seedlike forms, as Augustine says (Gn ad lit. viii, 3), such as trees, animals, and the rest. Now it is evident that sanctifying grace bears the same relation to beatitude as the seedlike form in nature does to the natural effect; hence (1Jn 3,9) grace is called the "seed" of God. As, then, in Augustine's opinion it is contended that the seedlike forms of all natural effects were implanted in the creature when corporeally created, so straightway from the beginning the angels were created in grace.

Reply to Objection: 1. Such absence of form in the angels can be understood either by comparison with their formation in glory; and so the absence of formation preceded formation by priority of time. Or else it can be understood of the formation according to grace: and so it did not precede in the order of time, but in the order of nature; as Augustine holds with regard to the formation of corporeal things (Gn ad lit. i, 15).

2. Every form inclines the subject after the mode of the subject's nature. Now it is the mode of an intellectual nature to be inclined freely towards the objects it desires. Consequently the movement of grace does not impose necessity; but he who has grace can fail to make use of it, and can sin.

3. Although in the order of nature grace comes midway between nature and glory, nevertheless, in the order of time, in created nature, glory is not simultaneous with nature; because glory is the end of the operation of nature helped by grace. But grace stands not as the end of operation, because it is not of works, but as the principle of right operation. Therefore it was fitting for grace to be given straightway with nature.

Summa Th. I EN Qu.60 a.5