De veritate EN 126
Concerning this, some have said that Paul, when he was enraptured, did not see God through His essence, but will a Vision midway between the vision had in this life and the vision had in heaven. We can take this intermediate vision to mean the kind of vision which is natural to an angel, such that he would see God, not, indeed, through His essence will natural knowledge, but through intelligible species, in so far as he considers his own essence, which is an intelligible like ness of the uncreated essence, according to the saying of The Causes that an intelligence knows what is above it in so far as it is caused by it. According to this, Paul, when enraptured, is conceived of as having seen God through the refulgence of some intelligible light in his mind. However, the knowledge of this life, which is through the mirror and obscurity of sensible creatures, is natural to man. And the knowledge of heaven, by which we see God through His essence, is natural only to God. But this opinion is contrary to what Augustine says, for he states expressly that, when Paul was enraptured, he saw God through His essence.
Nor is it likely that a minister of God to the Jews of the Old Testament would see God through His essence, as appears from Numbers (12:8): "Plainly and not by riddles and figures doth he see the Lord," and that this would not be granted to the minister of the New Testament, the Teacher of the Gentiles. This is especially true since the Apostle himself argues in this way: "For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more the ministration of justice aboundeth in glory" (2Co 3,9).
Still, he did not have beatitude without qualification, but only in some respects, although his mind was enlightened will supernatural light to enable it to see God. This will become clear from the example of physical light. For, in some things, we find the light from the sun as an abiding form, as though it had become connatural to them, as in the stars, rubies, and things of this sort. But, in other things, the light from the sun is received as a passing impression, as light in the air. For the light does not become a form abiding in the air, as though con natural to it, but passes when the sun leaves.
In like fashion, also, the light of glory is infused into the mind in two ways. In one, it follows the mode of a form which becomes con natural and abiding. This makes the mind blessed without qualification, and is the manner in which it is infused in the blessed in heaven. In the other way, the mind receives the light of glory as a passing impression. It was in this way that Paulís mind was enlightened will the light of glory when he was enraptured. The very name shows that this took place quickly (raptim)and in passing.
Hence, he was not glorified without qualification, nor did he have the gift of glory, since that splendor did not become a property in him. For this reason it did not flow down from the soul to the body, nor did he remain in this state permanently.
Answers to Difficulties:
1-4. The response to the first four objections is clear from what has been said.
5. When full vision comes, faith leaves. Hence, in so far as Paul had the vision of God through His essence, he did not have faith. Now, he had the vision of God through His essence by way of act, not ac cording to the habit of glory. Consequently, he had faith not in act but habitually, and hope likewise.
6. Although Paul was then in a state in which he could merit, he did not actually merit, for, just as he had the act of vision possessed by those in heaven, so he had the act of charity possessed by those in heaven. Nevertheless, some say that, although he had the vision of those in heaven, he did not have the act of charity of those in heaven. For, although his understanding was rapt, his affections were not. But this is clearly contrary to what the Gloss on "He was caught up into paradise" (2Co 12,4), says: "That is, into that tranquility which those who are in the heavenly Jerusalem enjoy." ll But enjoyment takes place through love.
7. That the vision did not remain in Paul was due to the nature of the light which illumined his mind, as is clear from what has been said.
8. Although in the blessed the vision of God is due to merit, at that time it was not given to Paul as a reward of merit. Hence, the reasoning does not follow. Flowevcr, it should be noted that these last two objections bring no better argument against the fact that Paul saw God through His essence than against the fact that he saw Him in any way which surpassed the common manner of sight.
9. In the Scriptures, transport of mi, ecstasy, and rapture are all used in the same sense and indicate some raising up of the mind from sensible things outside of us toward which we naturally turn our at tention, to things which are above man. This takes place in two ways. For, at times, this transport from things outside is taken to refer to attention only, as when someone makes use of the external senses and things about him, but his whole attention is engaged in contemplating and loving things divine. Such is the state of anyone who contemplates and loves things divine in transport of the mi, whether ecstasy or rapture. For this reason Dionysius says: "Divine love brings about ecstasy." And Gregory, speaking of contemplation, says: "One who is rapt in order that he may understand the things within closes his eyes to visible things."
Ecstasy or rapture or transport of the mind take place in another way, and the names are more generally used in this sense, when one is also deprived of the use of his senses and sensible things in order to see certain things supernaturally. Now, a thing is seen supernaturally when it is seen beyond sense, understanding, and imagination, as we said in the question on prophecy.
Therefore, Augustine distinguishes two kinds of rapture. There is one in which the mind is carried out of the senses to the vision in the imagination. This is what happened to Peter and to John the Evangelist in the Apocalypse, as Augustine says. There is another in which the mind is at once transported out of the senses and out of the imagination to an intellectual vision. This happens in two ways.
In one, the intellect understands God through certain intelligible communications, and this is proper to angels. Adamís ecstasy was of this sort, as the Gloss on Genesis (2:21) says: "The correct interpretation of this ecstasy is that it was given so that Adamís mind might be come a member of the heavenly court and, entering into the sanctuary of God, might understand the last things." In the other way, the understanding sees God through His essence. It was for this that Paul was enraptured, as we have said.
Parallel readings: De veritate, b, II; IV Sentences 49, 2, 7, ad Quodibet I, 1; 2 Cor., C. 12, lectura I; Summa Theol., II-II, 175,4; 180, 5; In Joan., c. I, lect. 11.
It seems that he can, for
1. Manís nature is the same in this life and after the resurrection. For, if it were not specifically the same, numerically the same man would not arise. But after the resurrection the saints will see God mentally through His essence and no transport out of the senses will take place. Therefore, the same thing is possible for those in this life.
2. But it was said that, since the body of one in this life is corruptible, it weighs down the understanding so that it cannot be drawn freely to God unless it is carried out of the senses of the body. And this corruption will be gone after the resurrection. On the contrary, nothing is hindered, just as nothing suffers, except through the activity of its contrary. But bodily corruption does not seem to be opposed to the act of understanding, since understanding is not an act of the body. Therefore, corruption of the body does not prevent the under standing from being drawn freely to God.
3. It is certain that Christ took on our mortality and the corruption which is a punishment for us. But His understanding enjoyed the sight of God continuously, although He was not always transported out of his external senses. Therefore, corruption does not make it impossible for the understanding to be drawn to God without being transported out of the senses.
4. After Paul had seen God through His essence, he remembered the things which he had seen in that vision. Otherwise, if he had not remembered them, he would not have said: "He heard secret words, which it is not granted to man to utter" (2Co 12,4). Therefore, while he saw God through His essence, something was being imprinted on his memory. But memory belongs to the sensitive part of man, as the Philosopher plainly shows. Therefore, when in this life someone sees God through His essence, he is not entirely transported out of his bodily senses.
5. The sensitive powers are closer to each other than the intellective powers are to the sensitive powers. But the imagination, which is one of the sensitive powers, can actually grasp any of its objects whatever without being cut off from the external senses. Therefore, the under standing, too, can actually see God without being cut off from the sensitive powers.
6. That which is according to nature does not require for its exist ence anything which is contrary to nature. But it is natural for the human understanding to see God through His essence, since it was created for this. Therefore, since transport out of the senses is contrary to nature for man, inasmuch as sensitive cognition is natural to him, it seems that he does not require transport from the senses as a pre requisite to see God through His essence.
7. Only those things which are joined together can be cut off from each other. But intelligence, whose object is God, as is said in Spirit and Soul, does not seem to be joined to the bodily senses but rather seems extremely distant from them. Therefore, for man to see God through His essence by means of intelligence he does not need to be cut off from the senses.
8. Paul seems to have been raised up to the sight of God so that there would be a witness of the glory which is promised to the saints. Hence, Augustine says: "Why should we not believe that it was Godís will to show to this great Apostle, the Teacher of the Gentiles, that life which is to be lived forever after this life? [God did this] while Paul was raised in rapture to that most lofty sight." But, after the resurrection, in that vision of the saints which will be given to those who see God in the next life, there will be no transport out of the bodily senses. Therefore, it seems that this kind of transport did not take place in Paul either, when he saw God through His essence.
9. During their sufferings and torments the martyrs inwardly perceived something of the divine glory. Hence, Vincent says: "Behold, I am already raised on high, and from above the world I look down on all your distinguished men, O tyrant." And in other records of the sufferings of the saints we read many passages which seem to have the same tenor. But it is obvious that there was no withdrawal from the senses in these people. Otherwise, they would not have felt the pain. Therefore, there is no transport out of the senses in order for one to share in the glory by which God is seen through His essence.
10. The practical understanding is closer than the speculative under standing to the activity which has sensible things as its object. But, as Avicenna says, it is not necessary for the practical understanding al ways to pay attention to manís operations which are concerned will sensible objects. Otherwise, the best harpist would seem to be the worst if it were necessary for him to give artistic reflection to each stroke of the strings. For, in such a case, there would be too much interruption of the sounds, which would hurt the proper melody. Therefore, it is far less necessary for the speculative understanding to pay attention to manís operations which concern sensible things. Thus, it remains free to be drawn to any act of understanding, even to the divine essence itself, while the sense powers are engaged in sensible activities.
11. While Paul saw God through His essence, he still had faith. But it belongs to faith to see darkly through a mirror. Therefore, while Paul saw God through His essence, at the same time he saw darkly through a mirror. But this obscure knowledge is through a mirror and through sensible things. Therefore, while he saw God through His essence, he also gave his attention to sensible things. The conclusion is the same as before.
To the Contrary:
1'. As Augustine says, and is quoted in the Gloss on the second Epistle to the Corinthians (12:2): "No man who sees God, as He is in Himself, lives the mortal life which we live in the bodily senses. But unless one in some way dies to this life, either leaving the body completely, or so turning away and cutting himself off from the bodily senses that will good reason he does not know whether he is in the body or outside of it, he is not enraptured and transported to that vision.
2'. The Gloss on the second Epistle to the Corinthians (5:73), "Whether we be transported in mind, it is to God," says: "He calls ecstasy that by which the mind is raised to an understanding of heavenly things, so that in some sense lower things drop from the memory. All the saints to whom secrets of God which surpass this world have been revealed were in this ecstasy." Therefore, it is necessary for everyone who sees God through His essence to be withdrawn from the consideration of lower things, and, consequently, also from the use of the senses will which we see only lower things.
3í. The Gloss on Psalms (67:28), "There is Benjamin, a youth in ecstasy of mind," says: "Benjamin, (that is, Paul), in ecstasy, that is, will his mind unconscious of the bodily senses, as when he was carried up into the third heaven." But the third heaven means vision of God through His essence, as Augustine says. Therefore, the vision of God through His essence requires loss of consciousness of the bodily senses.
4í. The activity of an understanding which is raised to see the essence of God is more effective than any activity of the imagination. But, sometimes, a man is transported out of the bodily senses because of the intensity of the activity of the imagination. Therefore, he should be transported out of them will much greater reason when he is lifted up to the vision of God.
5í. Bernard says: "Divine consolation is sensitive and will not be given to those who admit any other." So, for the same reason, the divine vision does not tolerate sight of anything else along will it. Therefore, neither does it tolerate the use of the senses along will it.
6í. The greatest cleanness of heart is necded to see God through His essence, according to Matthew (5:8): "Blessed are the clean of heart." But the heart is sullied in two ways, namely, by the contamination of Sin, and by phantasies of material things. This is clear from what Dionysius says: "Those [celestial essences] should be considered pure, not in the sense that they are free of unclean stains and defilements (in which he refers to uncleanness because of guilt, which never existed in the blessed angels), nor in the sense that they are receptive of phantasies of material things" (in which is included the unclean ness which comes through phantasies, as is clear from Hugh of St. Victor. Therefore, the mind of one who sees God through His essence must be transported not only out of the external senses, but also out of the internal phantasms.
7í. In the first Epistle to the Corinthians (1:10) we read: "When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shah be put away." But, here, "perfect" refers to the vision of God through His essence, and "imperfect" refers to vision through a mirror darkly, which is through sensible things. Therefore, when one is raised to the vision of God through His essence, he must be deprived of the vision of sensible things.
As is clear from the authoritative statement of Augustine, a man living in this mortal body cannot see God through His essence, unless he is made unconscious of the bodily senses. We can see the reason for this from two things. First, from that which is common to the under standing and the other powers of the soul, for will all the powers of the soul we find that, when the act of one power becomes intense, the act of another is either weakened or entirely suppressed. Thus, it is clear that, when one is giving very close attention to the activity of sight, his hearing does not perceive the things which are being said, unless, perhaps, their force attracts the sense of the hearer to them.
The reason for this, as Augustine proves, is that attention is needed for the act of any cognoscitive power. Moreover, oneís attention can not be given to many things at once, unless they are related to one another in such a way that they can be taken as one, just as the motion or activity of a thing cannot have two termini not related to each other. Hence, since there is one soul, in which all cognoscitive powers are rooted, the attention of one and the same soul is needed for the acts of all the cognoscitive powers. Therefore, when the soul gives complete attention to the act of one power, the man is cut off from the act of another power.
But for the understanding to be raised up to the vision of the divine essence, the whole attention must be concentrated on this vision, since this is the most intensely intelligible object, and the understanding can reach it only by striving for it will a total effort. Therefore, it is necessary to have complete abstraction from the bodily senses when the mind is raised to the vision of God.
Second, we can find a reason for this in that which is proper to the understanding. For, since we know things in so far as they are in act, and not in so far as they are in potency, as is said in the Metaphysics, the understanding, which holds the highest place in knowledge, properly deals will immaterial things, which are most in act. Hence, every intelligible thing is either free from matter or separated from it by the activity of the understanding. Therefore, the freer the understanding is of contact, as it were, will material things, the more perfect it is.
For this reason, the human understanding, which reaches material things by considering phantasms from which it abstracts intelligible species, has less efficacy than the angelic understanding, which always considers purely immaterial forms. Nevertheless, in so far as the purity of intellectual knowledge is not wholly obscured in human under standing, as happens in the senses whose knowledge cannot go beyond material things, it has the power to consider things which are purely immaterial by the very fact that it retains some purity.
Therefore, if it is ever raised beyond its ordinary level to see the highest of immaterial things, namely, the divine essence, it must be wholly eut off from the sight of material things at least during that act. Hence, since the sensitive powers can deal only will material things, one cannot be raised to vision of the divine essence unless he is wholly deprived of the use of the bodily senses.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. After the resurrection the beatified soul will be joined to the body in a different way from that in which it is now united to it. For, in the resurrection, the body will be entirely subject to the spirit to such an extent that the properties of glory will overflow from the spirit into the body. Hence, they will be called spiritual bodies.
Moreover, when two things are united and one of them has complete control over the other, there is no mixture there, since the one falls completely under the power of the other which rules it. Thus, if one drop of water is poured into a thousand jars of will, the purity of the will is not at all impaired. Therefore, in the resurrection there will be no defilement of the understanding and its power will not be weakened in any way by any union whatsoever will the body. Hence, even without transport out of the bodily senses, it will contemplate the divine essence. However, the body is not now subject to the spirit in this way, and, therefore, the reasoning does not have the same force.
2. Our body is corruptible because it is not fully subject to the soul. For, if it were fully subject to the soul, immortality would also over flow into the body from the immortality of the soul, as will happen after the resurrection. It is for this reason that the corruption of the body oppresses the understanding. Although in itself it is not directly opposed to the understanding, its cause impairs the purity of the understanding.
3. From the fact that Christ was God and man, He had full power over all the parts of His soul and over His body. Hence, as Damascene says, by the power of the Godhead He permitted each power of the soul to do that which is proper to it in so far as it fitted in will our redemption. Thus, it was not necessary for Him to have an overflow from one power to another, nor for one power to be deprived of its act because of the intensity of the act of another power. Consequently, the fact that His understanding saw God did not necessitate any trans port out of the bodily senses. However, it is different will other men, in whom redundance or interference of one power will another necessarily follows from the intimate connection of the powers of the soul will one another.
4. After Paul had stopped seeing God through His essence, he remembered what he had known in that vision by means of certain species which remained in his understanding and were relics, so to speak, of the previous vision. For, although he saw the very Word of God through His essence, and from the vision of that essence knew many truths, (and thus neither for the Word Himself nor for the things which he saw in the Word did this vision take place through any species, but only through the essence of the Word), nevertheless, by reason of the vision of the Word, certain likenesses of the things which he saw were imprinted on his understanding. And will these likenesses he could see afterwards the things which he had previously seen through the essence of the Word. Later, by applying these intelligible species to the individual intentions or forms which were stored in his memory or imagination, he could remember the things which he had seen previously, and this even through the activity of memory, which is a sensitive power. Thus, it is not necessary to hold that in the act of seeing God something took place in his memory, which is part of the sensitive power, but only in his mind.
5. Although transport from the external senses does not arise from every act of imaginative power, the transport mentioned above does take place when the act of the imagination is very intense. Similarly, it is not necessary that transport out of the senses take place because of every act of understanding; nevertheless, it does come about through the most intense act, which is the vision of God through His essence.
6. Although it is natural for the human understanding at some time to reach the vision of God through His essence, it is not natural for it to reach this in the conditions of this life, as we have said. For this reason the conclusion does not follow.
7. Although our intelligence, will which we grasp things divine, does not combine will the senses in the process of perception, it does combine will them in the process of judging. Hence, Augustine says:
"Through the light of our intelligence we judge even of the lower things and we perceive things which are neither bodies nor bear forms like those of bodies." Therefore, our intelligence is said at times to abstract from the senses when it does not make judgments concerning them, but focuses its attention on the vision of heavenly things alone.
8. The essence of the beatitude of the saints consists in the vision of the divine essence. Hence, Augustine says: "Vision is the whole re ward." For this reason one could be a suitable witness of that beatitude because he had seen the divine essence. Still, it would not be necessary for him to experience all the privileges which belong to the blessed. But, from that which he did experience, he could also know the other things. For he was not enraptured to become blessed, but to be a witness of beatitude.
9. In their sufferings the martyrs perceived something of divine glory, not as if they drank it at its source, as do those who see God through His essence, but, rather, they were refreshed by a sprinkling of that glory. Hence, Augustine says: "There," where God is seen through His essence, "the blessed life is drunic from its source. From that source some of it is sprinkled on this human life, so that in the temptations of this world that life may be lived temperately, justly, bravely, and prudently."
10. The speculative understanding is not forced to turn its attention to the activities in which one is occupied will sensible things, but it can busy itself will other intelligible things. Moreover, the intensity of the act of speculation can be so great that it is altogether abstracted from sensible activity.
11. Although in that act Paul had the habit of faith, he did not have the act of faith.
Parallel readings: De veritate, 10, 11; Quodibet I, 1; 2 Cor., c. 12, lectura I; Sum. Theol., I, 12, II; IIóII, 175, 5; In Joan., c. 1, lectura 11
And it seems that there has to be an abstraction from the very union by which the soul is united to the body as its form, for
1. The powers of the vegetative soul are more material than the powers of the sensitive soul. But for our understanding to see God through His essence it must abstract from the senses, as has been said. Therefore, abstraction from the acts of the vegetative soul is much more urgently required for the purity of that vision. But this abstraction cannot take place where there is brute life as long as the soul is united to the body as its form. For, as the Philosopher says: "In animals the process of nutrition is always going on." Therefore, for the vision of the divine essence there must be an abstraction from the union by which the soul is united to the body as its form.
2. The gloss of Augustine on Exodus (33:20), "For man shah not see me and live," says: "This shows that God cannot appear as He is to this life of corruptible flesh. But He can in the other life, which one can live only by dying to this life." The gloss of Gregory reads: "He who sees the wisdom which is God dies entirely to this life." But death is the result of the separation of the soul from the body to which it was united as its form. Therefore, there has to be a complete separation of the soul from the body in order to see God through His essence.
3. "For a living thing, its act of life is its act of existence," as is said in The Soul. But the act of existence of a man who is alive arises from the union of his soul will his body as its form. But Exodus (33:20) says: "For man shall not see me and live." Therefore, as long as the soul is united to the body as its form, he cannot see God through His essence.
4. The union by which the soul is united to the body as its form is stronger than that by which it is united to the body as a mover. From this latter union arise the activities of the powers and the activities which are carried on through bodily organs. But this latter union hinders the vision of the divine essence, for which there must be abstraction from the bodily senses. Therefore, the first union will interfere will it much more, and thus it will be necessary to dissolve it.
5. Since powers flow from the essence and are rooted in it they are not raised to a level higher than that of their essence. Therefore, if the essence of the soul is united to a material body as its form, it is not possible for the power of understanding to be raised to things which are altogether immaterial. We conclude as before.
6. Greater contamination results in the Soul from its connection will the body than from its union will a bodily likeness. But for the mind to see God through His essence, it must be purified of bodily likenesses, which are perceived through imagination and sense, as has been said. Therefore, for the soul to see God through His essence, it must will much greater reason be separated from the body.
7. In the second Epistle to the Corinthians (5:6, 7) we read: "While we are in the body, we are absent from the Lord. (For we walk by faith, and not by sight.)" Therefore, as long as the soul is in the body, it cannot see God as He is in Himself.
To the Contrary:
1'. The gloss of Gregory on the passage from Exodus (33:20), "For man shah not see me and live," says: "The splendor of the eternal God can be seen by some who live in this flesh, but who are growing in priceless virtue." But the splendor of God is His essence, as the same gloss says. Therefore, it is not necessary to have complete separation of soul from body to see the essence of God.
2í. Augustine says: "The soul is enraptured not only to the vision of imagination, but also to the vision of understanding, through which the truth itself is clearly seen. Meanwhile, it has been carried out of its senses less than in death, but more than in sleep." Therefore, to see the uncreated truth of which Augustine is speaking there is no need to dissolve the union whereby the soul is united to the body as its form.
3í. The same thing is clear from these words of Augustine: "It is not beyond belief that even that lofty degree of revelation"óto see God through His essenceó"was given to some holy men before they were dead and their corpses ready for burial." ll Therefore, while the soul is still united to the body as its form, it can see God.
To see the divine essence, which is the most perfect act of under standing, there must be an abstraction from those things which of their nature interfere will the excessive intensity of the act of understanding and which are hindered by this same intensity. This happens in some things because of something intrinsic to the act itself, and in others merely for some extrinsic reason.
The activities of sense and understanding interfere will each other by reason of the acts themselves, inasmuch as attention is needed for both activities, and also because the understanding in some fashion enters into the sensible activities since it receives something from the phantasms. Thus, the purity of the understanding is contaminated to some extent by sense activities, as we have said. But no attention is needed for the union of the soul to the body as its form, since this union does not depend on the will of the soul, but on nature.
In the same way, the purity of the understanding is not directly contaminated by such a union. For the soul is not joined to the body as its form through the mediation of its powers, but through its essence, since nothing stands as a medium between matter and form, as is proved in the Metaphysics. Furthermore, the essence of the soul is not united to body in such a way that it follows the condition of the body completely, as other material forms, which are, as it were, completely engulfed in matter to such an extent that only material power or activity can proceed from them. Now, from the essence of the soul there proceed not only the forces and powers which are in some sense bodily, as the existent acts of the bodily organs, that is, the sensitive and vegetative powers, but also the powers of understanding, which are completely immaterial and not the existent acts of any body or part of a body, as is proved in The Soul.
From this it is clear that the powers of our understanding do not proceed from the essence of the soul in so far as it is united to the body, but, rather, in so far as it stays free of the body and is not entirely bound down to it. In this sense the union of the soul will the body does not extend to the activity of the understanding and so cannot interfere will its purity. Hence, if we consider what is intrinsic to the acts, the dissolution of the union by which the soul is united to the body as its form is not a necessary condition for the activity of the understanding, no matter how intense.
In like manner, there is no need for the suppression of the activities of the vegetative soul. For the activities of this part of the soul are really natural, as is clear from the fact that they are brought to full perfection by the power of the active and passive qualities, namely, the warm and the cold, the moist and the dry. For this reason they obey neither reason nor will, as is clear in the Ethics. Thus, it is plain that attention is not needed for actions of this kind, and so it is not necessary to turn our attention from intellectual activity because of the acts of these qualities.
In like manner, the activity of the understanding has nothing to do will the activities of this sort, since it receives nothing from them, because they are not related to knowledge and because the under standing does not use any bodily instrument which would have to be sustained through the activities of the vegetative soul, as is the case will the organs of the sensitive powers. Thus, the purity of our under standing is in no will impaired through the activities of the vegetative soul. From this it is clear that, if we consider merely what is intrinsic to the acts themselves, the activity of the vegetative and the activity of the intellectual soul do not hinder each other.
Nevertheless, one of these can interfere will the other for some extrinsic reason; for example, in so far as the understanding receives something from the phantasms, which are in bodily organs, which must be nourished and sustained through the activity of the vegetative soul. Thus, because of the acts of the nutritive power variation may occur in the disposition of the organs, and, consequently, in the activity of the sensitive power from which the understanding receives something. Thus, the activity of the understanding itself is hindered for an extrinsic reason. This is plain during sleep and after eating. On the other hand, also, the activity of understanding interferes will the activity of the vegetative soul in this way, inasmuch as the activity of the power of imagination is needed for the activity of understanding. And intensity of the imagination requires the co-operation of heat and the [animal] spirits. Thus, the act of the nutritive power is hindered by the intensity of contemplation. But this plays no part in the contemplation by which Godís essence is seen, since such contemplation does not need the activity of the imagination.
From this it is clear that abstraction from the acts of the vegetative soul or any impairment of those acts is not in any way required for the vision of God through His essence. All that is required is abstraction from the acts of the sensitive powers.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. Although the powers of the vegetative soul are more material than the powers of the sensitive soul, still, along will this they are more remote from the understanding and so are less able to interfere will the intensity of the understanding or be hindered by it.
2. "To live" can be taken in two senses. In one, it means the very act of existence of that which is living, which rests on the union of the soul to the body as its form. In the other sense, "to live" is taken to mean the activity of life. Thus the Philosopher distinguishes living into understanding, sensing, and the other activities of the soul.
Similarly, since death is the loss of life, we must distinguish it in like manner. Thus, sometimes it means the loss of that union by which the soul is joined to the body as its form, and sometimes it means the loss of the vital activities. For this reason Augustine says: "One dies to this life to some extent whether he leaves the body entirely, or whether he is transported out of the senses of the body and made unconscious of them." Death is thus understood in the glosses which have been cited, as is plain from the words following the quotation from the gloss of Gregory: "He who sees the wisdom which is God dies entirely to this life, so that he may not be held back by love of it.
3. The solution to the third difficulty is clear from what has just been said.
4. Since the union by which the soul is united to the body as its form is stronger, it follows that it is less possible to withdraw from it.
5. The reasoning would conclude correctly if the essence of the soul were so united to the body that it were entirely bound down to the body. But we have already said that this is false.
6. Although the bodily likeness which is necessary for the activity of the imagination and the senses is more immaterial than the body itself, it has a closer relation to the activity of the understanding. Thus, it is more able to hinder it, as we have said.
7. What the Apostle says should be applied to our existence in the body not only by reason of the union of the soul will the body as its form, but also by reason of our use of the bodily senses.
Parallel readings: 2 Cor., c. 12, lectura 1; Summa Theol., II-II, 175, 6; 180, 5.
It seems that he knew whether his soul was in the body, for
i. He knew this better than any of those who followed. But many commonly agree that during the rapture Paulís soul was united to his body as its form. Therefore, will much greater reason Paul knew this.
2. In the rapture Paul knew what he saw and will what vision he saw it. This is clear from the second Epistle to the Corinthians (1 2:2), because he says: "I know a man... caught up to the third heaven." Therefore, he knew what that heaven was, whether it was something corporeal or spiritual, and he knew whether lie saw it spiritually or corporeally. But it follows from this that he knew whether he saw it while in the body or out of it. For bodily vision cannot take place except through the body, and the vision of understanding is always will the body. Therefore, he knew whether he was in the body or out of it.
3. As Paul himself says, lie knew "a man [who was] caught up to the third heaven" (2Co 12,2). But man means that which is made up of the union of the body and the soul. Therefore, lie knew that the soul was united to the body.
4. He himself knew that he was enraptured, as is clear from what he says. But dead people are not said to be enraptured. Therefore, lie knew that he was not dead. Therefore, he knew that his soul was joined to his body.
5. As Augustine says, in the rapture he saw God with that vision will which the saints in heaven see God. But the souls of the saints in heaven know whether they are in the body or out of it. Therefore, the Apostle also knew this.
6. Gregory says: "What is there that they do not see who see Him who sees everything?" This seems to refer especially to the things which pertain to those who are seeing. But whether it is united to the body or not has very special pertinence to the soul. Therefore, the soul of Paul knew whether it was united to the body or not.
To the Contrary:
In the second Epistle to the Corinthians (12:2) it says: "I know a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, whether in the body, I know not, or out of the body, I know not; God knoweth." Therefore, he did not know whether he was in the body or out of the body.
De veritate EN 126