Summa Th. I EN Qu.108 a.7

Article: 7 Whether the orders will outlast the Day of Judgment?

Objection: 1. It would seem that the orders of angels will not outlast the Day of Judgment. For the Apostle says (1Co 15,24), that Christ will "bring to naught all principality and power, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God and the Father," and this will be in the final consummation. Therefore for the same reason all others will be abolished in that state.

2. Further, to the office of the angelic orders it belongs to cleanse, enlighten, and perfect. But after the Day of Judgment one angel will not cleanse, enlighten, or perfect another, because they will not advance any more in knowledge. Therefore the angelic orders would remain for no purpose.

3. Further, the Apostle says of the angels (He 1,14), that "they are all ministering spirits, sent to minister to them who shall receive the inheritance of salvation"; whence it appears that the angelic offices are ordered for the purpose of leading men to salvation. But all the elect are in pursuit of salvation until the Day of Judgment. Therefore the angelic offices and orders will not outlast the Day of Judgment.

On the contrary It is written (Jg 5,20): "Stars remaining in their order and courses," which is applied to the angels. Therefore the angels will ever remain in their orders.

I answer that In the angelic orders we may consider two things; the distinction of grades, and the execution of their offices. The distinction of grades among the angels takes place according to the difference of grace and nature, as above explained (Article [4]); and these differences will ever remain in the angels; for these differences of natures cannot be taken from them unless they themselves be corrupted. The difference of glory will also ever remain in them according to the difference of preceding merit. As to the execution of the angelic offices, it will to a certain degree remain after the Day of Judgment, and to a certain degree will cease. It will cease accordingly as their offices are directed towards leading others to their end; but it will remain, accordingly as it agrees with the attainment of the end. Thus also the various ranks of soldiers have different duties to perform in battle and in triumph.

Reply to Objection: 1. The principalities and powers will come to an end in that final consummation as regards their office of leading others to their end; because when the end is attained, it is no longer necessary to tend towards the end. This is clear from the words of the Apostle, "When He shall have delivered up the kingdom of God and the Father," i.e. when He shall have led the faithful to the enjoyment of God Himself.

2. The actions of angels over the other angels are to be considered according to a likeness to our own intellectual actions. In ourselves we find many intellectual actions which are ordered according to the order of cause and effect; as when we gradually arrive at one conclusion by many middle terms. Now it is manifest that the knowledge of a conclusion depends on all the preceding middle terms not only in the new acquisition of knowledge, but also as regards the keeping of the knowledge acquired. A proof of this is that when anyone forgets any of the preceding middle terms he can have opinion or belief about the conclusion, but not knowledge; as he is ignorant of the order of the causes. So, since the inferior angels know the types of the Divine works by the light of the superior angels, their knowledge depends on the light of the superior angels not only as regards the acquisition of knowledge, but also as regards the preserving of the knowledge possessed. So, although after the Judgment the inferior angels will not progress in the knowledge of some things, still this will not prevent their being enlightened by the superior angels.

3. Although after the Day of Judgment men will not be led any more to salvation by the ministry of the angels, still those who are already saved will be enlightened through the angelic ministry.

Article: 8 Whether men are taken up into the angelic orders?

Objection: 1. It would seem that men are not taken up into the orders of the angels. For the human hierarchy is stationed beneath the lowest heavenly hierarchy, as the lowest under the middle hierarchy and the middle beneath the first. But the angels of the lowest hierarchy are never transferred into the middle, or the first. Therefore neither are men transferred to the angelic orders.

2. Further, certain offices belong to the orders of the angels, as to guard, to work miracles, to coerce the demons, and the like; which do not appear to belong to the souls of the saints. Therefore they are not transferred to the angelic orders.

3. Further, as the good angels lead on to good, so do the demons to what is evil. But it is erroneous to say that the souls of bad men are changed into demons; for Chrysostom rejects this (Hom. xxviii in ). Therefore it does not seem that the souls of the saints will be transferred to the orders of angels.

On the contrary The Lord says of the saints that, "they will be as the angels of God" (Mt 22,30). I answer that, As above explained (Articles [4],7), the orders of the angels are distinguished according to the conditions of nature and according to the gifts of grace. Considered only as regards the grade of nature, men can in no way be assumed into the angelic orders; for the natural distinction will always remain. In view of this distinction, some asserted that men can in no way be transferred to an equality with the angels; but this is erroneous, contradicting as it does the promise of Christ saying that the children of the resurrection will be equal to the angels in heaven (Lc 20,36). For whatever belongs to nature is the material part of an order; whilst that which perfects is from grace which depends on the liberality of God, and not on the order of nature. Therefore by the gift of grace men can merit glory in such a degree as to be equal to the angels, in each of the angelic grades; and this implies that men are taken up into the orders of the angels. Some, however, say that not all who are saved are assumed into the angelic orders, but only virgins or the perfect; and that the other will constitute their own order, as it were, corresponding to the whole society of the angels. But this is against what Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xii, 9), that "there will not be two societies of men and angels, but only one; because the beatitude of all is to cleave to God alone."

Reply to Objection: 1. Grace is given to the angels in proportion to their natural gifts. This, however, does not apply to men, as above explained (Article [4]; Question [62], Article [6]). So, as the inferior angels cannot be transferred to the natural grade of the superior, neither can they be transferred to the superior grade of grace; whereas men can ascend to the grade of grace, but not of nature.

2. The angels according to the order of nature are between us and God; and therefore according to the common law not only human affairs are administered by them, but also all corporeal matters. But holy men even after this life are of the same nature with ourselves; and hence according to the common law they do not administer human affairs, "nor do they interfere in the things of the living," as Augustine says (De cura pro mortuis xiii, xvi). Still, by a certain special dispensation it is sometimes granted to some of the saints to exercise these offices; by working miracles, by coercing the demons, or by doing something of that kind, as Augustine says (De cura pro mortuis xvi).

3. It is not erroneous to say that men are transferred to the penalty of demons; but some erroneously stated that the demons are nothing but souls of the dead; and it is this that Chrysostom rejects.


We now consider the ordering of the bad angels; concerning which there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether there are orders among the demons?

(2) Whether among them there is precedence?

(3) Whether one enlightens another?

(4) Whether they are subject to the precedence of the good angels?

Article: 1 Whether there are orders among the demons?

Objection: 1. It would seem that there are no orders among the demons. For order belongs to good, as also mode, and species, as Augustine says (De Nat. Boni iii); and on the contrary, disorder belongs to evil. But there is nothing disorderly in the good angels. Therefore in the bad angels there are no orders.

2. Further, the angelic orders are contained under a hierarchy. But the demons are not in a hierarchy, which is defined as a holy principality; for they are void of all holiness. Therefore among the demons there are no orders.

3. Further, the demons fell from every one of the angelic orders; as is commonly supposed. Therefore, if some demons are said to belong to an order, as falling from that order, it would seem necessary to give them the names of each of those orders. But we never find that they are called "Seraphim," or "Thrones," or "Dominations." Therefore on the same ground they are not to be placed in any other order.

On the contrary The Apostle says (Ep 6,12): "Our wrestling . . . is against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness."

I answer that As explained above (Question [108], Articles [4],7,8), order in the angels is considered both according to the grade of nature; and according to that of grace. Now grace has a twofold state, the imperfect, which is that of merit; and the perfect, which is that of consummate glory.

If therefore we consider the angelic orders in the light of the perfection of glory, then the demons are not in the angelic orders, and never were. But if we consider them in relation to imperfect grace, in that view the demons were at the time in the orders of angels, but fell away from them, according to what was said above (Question [62], Article [3]), that all the angels were created in grace. But if we consider them in the light of nature, in that view they are still in those orders; because they have not lost their natural gifts; as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv).

Reply to Objection: 1. Good can exist without evil; whereas evil cannot exist without good (Question [49], Article [3]); so there is order in the demons, as possessing a good nature.

2. If we consider the ordering of the demons on the part of God Who orders them, it is sacred; for He uses the demons for Himself; but on the part of the demons' will it is not a sacred thing, because they abuse their nature for evil.

3. The name "Seraphim" is given from the ardor of charity; and the name "Thrones" from the Divine indwelling; and the name "Dominations" imports a certain liberty; all of which are opposed to sin; and therefore these names are not given to the angels who sinned.

Article: 2 Whether among the demons there is precedence?

Objection: 1. It would seem that there is no precedence among the demons. For every precedence is according to some order of justice. But the demons are wholly fallen from justice. Therefore there is no precedence among them.

2. Further, there is no precedence where obedience and subjection do not exist. But these cannot be without concord; which is not to be found among the demons, according to the text, "Among the proud there are always contentions" (Pr 13,10). Therefore there is no precedence among the demons.

3. If there be precedence among them it is either according to nature, or according to their sin or punishment. But it is not according to their nature, for subjection and service do not come from nature but from subsequent sin; neither is it according to sin or punishment, because in that case the superior demons who have sinned the most grievously, would be subject to the inferior. Therefore there is no precedence among the demons.

On the contrary On 1Co 15,24 the gloss says: "While the world lasts, angels will preside over angels, men over men, and demons over demons."

I answer that, Since action follows the nature of a thing, where natures are subordinate, actions also must be subordinate to each other. Thus it is in corporeal things, for as the inferior bodies by natural order are below the heavenly bodies, their actions and movements are subject to the actions and movements of the heavenly bodies. Now it is plain from what we have said (Article [1]), that the demons are by natural order subject to others; and hence their actions are subject to the action of those above them, and this is what we mean by precedence---that the action of the subject should be under the action of the prelate. So the very natural disposition of the demons requires that there should be authority among them. This agrees too with Divine wisdom, which leaves nothing inordinate, which "reacheth from end to end mightily, and ordereth all things sweetly" (Sg 8,1).

Reply to Objection: 1. The authority of the demons is not founded on their justice, but on the justice of God ordering all things.

2. The concord of the demons, whereby some obey others, does not arise from mutual friendships, but from their common wickedness whereby they hate men, and fight against God's justice. For it belongs to wicked men to be joined to and subject to those whom they see to be stronger, in order to carry out their own wickedness.

3. The demons are not equal in nature; and so among them there exists a natural precedence; which is not the case with men, who are naturally equal. That the inferior are subject to the superior, is not for the benefit of the superior, but rather to their detriment; because since to do evil belongs in a pre-eminent degree to unhappiness, it follows that to preside in evil is to be more unhappy.

Article: 3 Whether there is enlightenment in the demons?

Objection: 1. It would seem that enlightenment is in the demons. For enlightenment means the manifestation of the truth. But one demon can manifest truth to another, because the superior excel in natural knowledge. Therefore the superior demons can enlighten the inferior.

2. Further, a body abounding in light can enlighten a body deficient in light, as the sun enlightens the moon. But the superior demons abound in the participation of natural light. Therefore it seems that the superior demons can enlighten the inferior.

On the contrary Enlightenment is not without cleansing and perfecting, as stated above (Question [106], Article [1]). But to cleanse does not befit the demons, according to the words: "What can be made clean by the unclean?" (Si 34,4). Therefore neither can they enlighten.

I answer that, There can be no enlightenment properly speaking among the demons. For, as above explained (Question [107], Article [2]), enlightenment properly speaking is the manifestation of the truth in reference to God, Who enlightens every intellect. Another kind of manifestation of the truth is speech, as when one angel manifests his concept to another. Now the demon's perversity does not lead one to order another to God, but rather to lead away from the Divine order; and so one demon does not enlighten another; but one can make known his mental concept to another by way of speech.

Reply to Objection: 1. Not every kind of manifestation of the truth is enlightenment, but only that which is above described.

2. According to what belongs to natural knowledge, there is no necessary manifestation of the truth either in the angels, or in the demons, because, as above explained (Question [55], Article [2]; Question [58], Article [2]; Question [79], Article [2]), they know from the first all that belongs to their natural knowledge. So the greater fulness of natural light in the superior demons does not prove that they can enlighten others.

Article: 4 Whether the good angels have precedence over the bad angels?

Objection: 1. It would seem that the good angels have no precedence over the bad angels. For the angels' precedence is especially connected with enlightenment. But the bad angels, being darkness, are not enlightened by the good angels. Therefore the good angels do not rule over the bad.

2. Further, superiors are responsible as regards negligence for the evil deeds of their subjects. But the demons do much evil. Therefore if they are subject to the good angels, it seems that negligence is to be charged to the good angels; which cannot be admitted.

3. Further, the angels' precedence follows upon the order of nature, as above explained (Article [2]). But if the demons fell from every order, as is commonly said, many of the demons are superior to many good angels in the natural order. Therefore the good angels have no precedence over all the bad angels.

On the contrary Augustine says (De Trin. iii), that "the treacherous and sinful spirit of life is ruled by the rational, pious, and just spirit of life"; and Gregory says (Hom. xxxiv) that "the Powers are the angels to whose charge are subjected the hostile powers."

I answer that The whole order of precedence is first and originally in God; and it is shared by creatures accordingly as they are the nearer to God. For those creatures, which are more perfect and nearer to God, have the power to act on others. Now the greatest perfection and that which brings them nearest to God belongs to the creatures who enjoy God, as the holy angels; of which perfection the demons are deprived; and therefore the good angels have precedence over the bad, and these are ruled by them.

Reply to Objection: 1. Many things concerning Divine mysteries are made known by the holy angels to the bad angels, whenever the Divine justice requires the demons to do anything for the punishment of the evil; or for the trial of the good; as in human affairs the judge's assessors make known his sentence to the executioners. This revelation, if compared to the angelic revealers, can be called an enlightenment, forasmuch as they direct it to God; but it is not an enlightenment on the part of the demons, for these do not direct it to God; but to the fulfilment of their own wickedness.

2. The holy angels are the ministers of the Divine wisdom. Hence as the Divine wisdom permits some evil to be done by bad angels or men, for the sake of the good that follows; so also the good angels do not entirely restrain the bad from inflicting harm.

3. An angel who is inferior in the natural order presides over demons, although these may be naturally superior; because the power of Divine justice to which the good angels cleave, is stronger than the natural power of the angels. Hence likewise among men, "the spiritual man judgeth all things" (1Co 2,15), and the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 4; x, 5) that "the virtuous man is the rule and measure of all human acts."


We now consider how the angels preside over the corporeal creatures. Under this head there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether the corporeal creature is governed by the angels?

(2) Whether the corporeal creature obeys the mere will of the angels?

(3) Whether the angels by their own power can immediately move bodies locally?

(4) Whether the good or bad angels can work miracles?

Article: 1 Whether the corporeal creature is governed by the angels?

Objection: 1. It would seem that the corporeal creature is not governed by angels. For whatever possesses a determinate mode of action, needs not to be governed by any superior power; for we require to be governed lest we do what we ought not. But corporeal things have their actions determined by the nature divinely bestowed upon them. Therefore they do not need the government of angels.

2. Further, the lowest things are ruled by the superior. But some corporeal things are inferior, and others are superior. Therefore they need not be governed by the angels.

3. Further, the different orders of the angels are distinguished by different offices. But if corporeal creatures were ruled by the angels, there would be as many angelic offices as there are species of things. So also there would be as many orders of angels as there are species of things; which is against what is laid down above (Question [108], Article [2]). Therefore the corporeal creature is not governed by angels.

On the contrary Augustine says (De Trin. iii, 4) that "all bodies are ruled by the rational spirit of life"; and Gregory says (Dial. iv, 6), that "in this visible world nothing takes place without the agency of the invisible creature."

I answer that It is generally found both in human affairs and in natural things that every particular power is governed and ruled by the universal power; as, for example, the bailiff's power is governed by the power of the king. Among the angels also, as explained above (Question [55], Article [3]; Question [108], Article [1]), the superior angels who preside over the inferior possess a more universal knowledge. Now it is manifest that the power of any individual body is more particular than the power of any spiritual substance; for every corporeal form is a form individualized by matter, and determined to the "here and now"; whereas immaterial forms are absolute and intelligible. Therefore, as the inferior angels who have the less universal forms, are ruled by the superior; so are all corporeal things ruled by the angels. This is not only laid down by the holy doctors, but also by all philosophers who admit the existence of incorporeal substances.

Reply to Objection: 1. Corporeal things have determinate actions; but they exercise such actions only according as they are moved; because it belongs to a body not to act unless moved. Hence a corporeal creature must be moved by a spiritual creature.

2. The reason alleged is according to the opinion of Aristotle who laid down (Metaph. xi, 8) that the heavenly bodies are moved by spiritual substances; the number of which he endeavored to assign according to the number of motions apparent in the heavenly bodies. But he did not say that there were any spiritual substances with immediate rule over the inferior bodies, except perhaps human souls; and this was because he did not consider that any operations were exercised in the inferior bodies except the natural ones for which the movement of the heavenly bodies sufficed. But because we assert that many things are done in the inferior bodies besides the natural corporeal actions, for which the movements of the heavenly bodies are not sufficient; therefore in our opinion we must assert that the angels possess an immediate presidency not only over the heavenly bodies, but also over the inferior bodies.

3. Philosophers have held different opinions about immaterial substances. For Plato laid down that immaterial substances were types and species of sensible bodies; and that some were more universal than others; and so he held that immaterial substances preside immediately over all sensible bodies, and different ones over different bodies. But Aristotle held that immaterial substances are not the species of sensible bodies, but something higher and more universal; and so he did not attribute to them any immediate presiding over single bodies, but only over the universal agents, the heavenly bodies. Avicenna followed a middle course. For he agreed with Plato in supposing some spiritual substance to preside immediately in the sphere of active and passive elements; because, as Plato also said, he held that the forms of these sensible things are derived from immaterial substances. But he differed from Plato because he supposed only one immaterial substance to preside over all inferior bodies, which he called the "active intelligence."

The holy doctors held with the Platonists that different spiritual substances were placed over corporeal things. For Augustine says (Questions. 83, qu. 79): "Every visible thing in this world has an angelic power placed over it"; and Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 4): "The devil was one of the angelic powers who presided over the terrestrial order"; and Origen says on the text, "When the ass saw the angel" (Nb 22,23), that "the world has need of angels who preside over beasts, and over the birth of animals, and trees, and plants, and over the increase of all other things" (Hom. xiv in Num.). The reason of this, however, is not that an angel is more fitted by his nature to preside over animals than over plants; because each angel, even the least, has a higher and more universal power than any kind of corporeal things: the reason is to be sought in the order of Divine wisdom, Who places different rulers over different things. Nor does it follow that there are more than nine orders of angels, because, as above expounded (Question [108], Article [2]), the orders are distinguished by their general offices. Hence as according to Gregory all the angels whose proper office it is to preside over the demons are of the order of the "powers"; so to the order of the "virtues" do those angels seem to belong who preside over purely corporeal creatures; for by their ministration miracles are sometimes performed.

Article: 2 Whether corporeal matter obeys the mere will of an angel?

Objection: 1. It would seem that corporeal matter obeys the mere will of an angel. For the power of an angel excels the power of the soul. But corporeal matter obeys a conception of the soul; for the body of man is changed by a conception of the soul as regards heat and cold, and sometimes even as regards health and sickness. Therefore much more is corporeal matter changed by a conception of an angel.

2. Further, whatever can be done by an inferior power, can be done by a superior power. Now the power of an angel is superior to corporeal power. But a body by its power is able to transform corporeal matter; as appears when fire begets fire. Therefore much more efficaciously can an angel by his power transform corporeal matter.

3. Further, all corporeal nature is under angelic administration, as appears above (Article [1]), and thus it appears that bodies are as instruments to the angels, for an instrument is essentially a mover moved. Now in effects there is something that is due to the power of their principal agents, and which cannot be due to the power of the instrument; and this it is that takes the principal place in the effect. For example, digestion is due to the force of natural heat, which is the instrument of the nutritive soul: but that living flesh is thus generated is due to the power of the soul. Again the cutting of the wood is from the saw; but that it assumes the length the form of a bed is from the design of the [joiner's] art. Therefore the substantial form which takes the principal place in the corporeal effects, is due to the angelic power. Therefore matter obeys the angels in receiving its form.

On the contrary Augustine says "It is not to be thought, that this visible matter obeys these rebel angels; for it obeys God alone."

I answer that The Platonists [*Phaedo. xlix: Tim. (Did.) vol. ii, p. 218] asserted that the forms which are in matter are caused by immaterial forms, because they said that the material forms are participations of immaterial forms. Avicenna followed them in this opinion to some extent, for he said that all forms which are in matter proceed from the concept of the "intellect"; and that corporeal agents only dispose [matter] for the forms. They seem to have been deceived on this point, through supposing a form to be something made "per se," so that it would be the effect of a formal principle. But, as the Philosopher proves (Metaph. vii, Did. vi, 8), what is made, properly speaking, is the "composite": for this properly speaking, is, as it were, what subsists. Whereas the form is called a being, not as that which is, but as that by which something is; and consequently neither is a form, properly speaking, made; for that is made which is; since to be is nothing but the way to existence.

Now it is manifest that what is made is like to the maker, forasmuch as every agent makes its like. So whatever makes natural things, has a likeness to the composite; either because it is composite itself, as when fire begets fire, or because the whole "composite" as to both matter and form is within its power; and this belongs to God alone. Therefore every informing of matter is either immediately from God, or form some corporeal agent; but not immediately from an angel.

Reply to Objection: 1. Our soul is united to the body as the form; and so it is not surprising for the body to be formally changed by the soul's concept; especially as the movement of the sensitive appetite, which is accompanied with a certain bodily change, is subject to the command of reason. An angel, however, has not the same connection with natural bodies; and hence the argument does not hold.

2. Whatever an inferior power can do, that a superior power can do, not in the same way, but in a more excellent way; for example, the intellect knows sensible things in a more excellent way than sense knows them. So an angel can change corporeal matter in a more excellent way than can corporeal agents, that is by moving the corporeal agents themselves, as being the superior cause.

3. There is nothing to prevent some natural effect taking place by angelic power, for which the power of corporeal agents would not suffice. This, however, is not to obey an angel's will (as neither does matter obey the mere will of a cook, when by regulating the fire according to the prescription of his art he produces a dish that the fire could not have produced by itself); since to reduce matter to the act of the substantial form does not exceed the power of a corporeal agent; for it is natural for like to make like.

Article: 3 Whether bodies obey the angels as regards local motion?

Objection: 1. It would seem that bodies do not obey the angels in local motion. For the local motion of natural bodies follows on their forms. But the angels do not cause the forms of natural bodies, as stated above (Article [2]). Therefore neither can they cause in them local motion.

2. Further, the Philosopher (Phys. viii, 7) proves that local motion is the first of all movements. But the angels cannot cause other movements by a formal change of the matter. Therefore neither can they cause local motion.

3. Further, the corporeal members obey the concept of the soul as regards local movement, as having in themselves some principle of life. In natural bodies, however, there is not vital principle. Therefore they do not obey the angels in local motion.

On the contrary Augustine says (De Trin. iii, 8,9) that the angels use corporeal seed to produce certain effects. But they cannot do this without causing local movement. Therefore bodies obey them in local motion.

I answer that As Dionysius says (Div. Nom. vii): "Divine wisdom has joined the ends of the first to the principles of the second." Hence it is clear that the inferior nature at its highest point is in conjunction with superior nature. Now corporeal nature is below the spiritual nature. But among all corporeal movements the most perfect is local motion, as the Philosopher proves (Phys. viii, 7). The reason of this is that what is moved locally is not as such in potentiality to anything intrinsic, but only to something extrinsic---that is, to place. Therefore the corporeal nature has a natural aptitude to be moved immediately by the spiritual nature as regards place. Hence also the philosophers asserted that the supreme bodies are moved locally by the spiritual substances; whence we see that the soul moves the body first and chiefly by a local motion.

Reply to Objection: 1. There are in bodies other local movements besides those which result from the forms; for instance, the ebb and flow of the sea does not follow from the substantial form of the water, but from the influence of the moon; and much more can local movements result from the power of spiritual substances.

2. The angels, by causing local motion, as the first motion, can thereby cause other movements; that is, by employing corporeal agents to produce these effects, as a workman employs fire to soften iron.

3. The power of an angel is not so limited as is the power of the soul. Hence the motive power of the soul is limited to the body united to it, which is vivified by it, and by which it can move other things. But an angel's power is not limited to any body; hence it can move locally bodies not joined to it.

Summa Th. I EN Qu.108 a.7