Summa - Supplement 1841

Whether after the resurrection the saints will see God with the eyes of the body?

[*Cf. I 12,3]

Objection 1: It would seem that after the resurrection the saints will see God with the eyes of the body. Because the glorified eye has greater power than one that is not glorified. Now the blessed Job saw God with his eyes (
Jb 42,5): "With the hearing of the ear, I have heard Thee, but now my eye seeth Thee." Much more therefore will the glorified eye be able to see God in His essence.

Objection 2: Further, it is written (Jb 19,26): "In my flesh I shall see God my Saviour [Vulg.: 'my God']." Therefore in heaven God will be seen with the eyes of the body.

Objection 3: Further. Augustine, speaking of the sight of the glorified eyes, expresses himself as follows (De Civ. Dei xxii): "A greater power will be in those eyes, not to see more keenly, as certain serpents or eagles are reported to see (for whatever acuteness of vision is possessed by these animals they can see only corporeal things), but to see even incorporeal things." Now any power that is capable of knowing incorporeal things can be upraised to see God. Therefore the glorified eyes will be able to see God.

Objection 4: Further, the disparity of corporeal to incorporeal things is the same as of incorporeal to corporeal. Now the incorporeal eye can see corporeal things. Therefore the corporeal eye can see the incorporeal: and consequently the same conclusion follows.

Objection 5: Further, Gregory, commenting on Jb 4,16, "There stood one whose countenance I knew not," says (Moral. v): "Man who, had he been willing to obey the command, would have been spiritual in the flesh, became, by sinning, carnal even in mind." Now through becoming carnal in mind, "he thinks only of those things which he draws to his soul by the images of bodies" (Moral. v). Therefore when he will be spiritual in the flesh (which is promised to the saints after the resurrection), he will be able even in the flesh to see spiritual things. Therefore the same conclusion follows.

Objection 6: Further, man can be beatified by God alone. Now he will be beatified not only in soul but also in body. Therefore God will be visible not only to his intellect but also to his flesh.

Objection 7: Further, even as God is present to the intellect by His essence, so will He be to the senses, because He will be "all in all" (1Co 15,28). Now He will be seen by the intellect through the union of His essence therewith. Therefore He will also be visible to the sense.

On the contrary, Ambrose, commenting on Lc 1,2, "There appeared to him an angel," says: "God is not sought with the eyes of the body, nor surveyed by the sight, nor clasped by the touch." Therefore God will by no means be visible to the bodily sense.

Further, Jerome, commenting on Is 6,1, "I saw the Lord sitting," says: "The Godhead not only of the Father, but also of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is visible, not to carnal eyes, but only to the eyes of the mind, of which it is said: Blessed are the pure in heart."

Further, Jerome says again (as quoted by Augustine, Ep. cxlvii): "An incorporeal thing is invisible to a corporeal eye." But God is supremely incorporeal. Therefore, etc.

Further, Augustine says (De Videndo Deo, Ep. cxlvii): "No man hath seen God as He is at any time, neither in this life, nor in the angelic life, in the same way as these visible things which are seen with the corporeal sight." Now the angelic life is the life of the blessed, wherein they will live after the resurrection. Therefore, etc.

Further, according to Augustine (De Trin. xiv.), "man is said to be made to God's image inasmuch as he is able to see God." But man is in God's image as regards his mind, and not as regards his flesh. Therefore he will see God with his mind and not with his flesh.

I answer that, A thing is perceptible to the senses of the body in two ways, directly and indirectly. A thing is perceptible directly if it can act directly on the bodily senses. And a thing can act directly either on sense as such or on a particular sense as such. That which acts directly in this second way on a sense is called a proper sensible, for instance color in relation to the sight, and sound in relation to the hearing. But as sense as such makes use of a bodily organ, nothing can be received therein except corporeally, since whatever is received into a thing is therein after the mode of the recipient. Hence all sensibles act on the sense as such, according to their magnitude: and consequently magnitude and all its consequences, such as movement, rest, number, and the like, are called common sensibles, and yet they are direct objects of sense.

An indirect object of sense is that which does not act on the sense, neither as sense nor as a particular sense, but is annexed to those things that act on sense directly: for instance Socrates; the son of Diares; a friend and the like which are the direct object of the intellect's knowledge in the universal, and in the particular are the object of the cogitative power in man, and of the estimative power in other animals. The external sense is said to perceive things of this kind, although indirectly, when the apprehensive power (whose province it is to know directly this thing known), from that which is sensed directly, apprehends them at once and without any doubt or discourse (thus we see that a person is alive from the fact that he speaks): otherwise the sense is not said to perceive it even indirectly.

I say then that God can nowise be seen with the eyes of the body, or perceived by any of the senses, as that which is seen directly, neither here, nor in heaven: for if that which belongs to sense as such be removed from sense, there will be no sense, and in like manner if that which belongs to sight as sight be removed therefrom, there will be no sight. Accordingly seeing that sense as sense perceives magnitude, and sight as such a sense perceives color, it is impossible for the sight to perceive that which is neither color nor magnitude, unless we call it a sense equivocally. Since then sight and sense will be specifically the same in the glorified body, as in a non-glorified body, it will be impossible for it to see the Divine essence as an object of direct vision; yet it will see it as an object of indirect vision, because on the one hand the bodily sight will see so great a glory of God in bodies, especially in the glorified bodies and most of all in the body of Christ, and, on the other hand, the intellect will see God so clearly, that God will be perceived in things seen with the eye of the body, even as life is perceived in speech. For although our intellect will not then see God from seeing His creatures, yet it will see God in His creatures seen corporeally. This manner of seeing God corporeally is indicated by Augustine (De Civ. Dei xxii), as is clear if we take note of his words, for he says: "It is very credible that we shall so see the mundane bodies of the new heaven and the new earth, as to see most clearly God everywhere present, governing all corporeal things, not as we now see the invisible things of God as understood by those that are made, but as when we see men . . . we do not believe but see that they live."

Reply to Objection 1: This saying of Job refers to the spiritual eye, of which the Apostle says (Ep 1,18): "The eyes of our [Vulg.: 'your'] heart enlightened."

Reply to Objection 2: The passage quoted does not mean that we are to see God with the eyes of the flesh, but that, in the flesh, we shall see God.

Reply to Objection 3: In these words Augustine speaks as one inquiring and conditionally. This appears from what he had said before: "Therefore they will have an altogether different power, if they shall see that incorporeal nature": and then he goes on to say: "Accordingly a greater power," etc., and afterwards he explains himself.

Reply to Objection 4: All knowledge results from some kind of abstraction from matter. Wherefore the more a corporeal form is abstracted from matter, the more is it a principle of knowledge. Hence it is that a form existing in matter is in no way a principle of knowledge, while a form existing in the senses is somewhat a principle of knowledge, in so far as it is abstracted from matter, and a form existing in the intellect is still better a principle of knowledge. Therefore the spiritual eye, whence the obstacle to knowledge is removed, can see a corporeal object: but it does not follow that the corporeal eye, in which the cognitive power is deficient as participating in matter, be able to know perfectly incorporeal objects of knowledge.

Reply to Objection 5: Although the mind that has become carnal cannot think but of things received from the senses, it thinks of them immaterially. In like manner whatever the sight apprehends it must always apprehend it corporeally: wherefore it cannot know things which cannot be apprehended corporeally.

Reply to Objection 6: Beatitude is the perfection of man as man. And since man is man not through his body but through his soul, and the body is essential to man, in so far as it is perfected by the soul: it follows that man's beatitude does not consist chiefly otherwise than in an act of the soul, and passes from the soul on to the body by a kind of overflow, as explained above (Question [85], Article [1]). Yet our body will have a certain beatitude from seeing God in sensible creatures: and especially in Christ's body.

Reply to Objection 7: The intellect can perceive spiritual things, whereas the eyes of the body cannot: wherefore the intellect will be able to know the Divine essence united to it, but the eyes of the body will not.

Whether the saints, seeing God, see all that God sees? [*Cf. @I 12,7 12,8@]


Objection 1: It would seem that the saints, seeing God in His essence, see all that God sees in Himself. For as Isidore says (De Sum. Bon. 1.): "The angels know all things in the World of God, before they happen." Now the saints will be equal to the angels of God (
Mt 22,30). Therefore the saints also in seeing God see all things.

Objection 2: Further, Gregory says (Dial. iv.): "Since all see God there with equal clearness, what do they not know, who know Him Who knows all things?" and he refers to the blessed who see God in His essence. Therefore those who see God in His essence know all things.

Objection 3: Further, it is stated in De Anima (iii, text. 7), that "when an intellect understands the greatest things, it is all the more able to understand the least things." Now God is the greatest of intelligible things. Therefore the power of the intellect is greatly increased by understanding Him. Therefore the intellect seeing Him understands all things.

Objection 4: Further, the intellect is not hindered from understanding a thing except by this surpassing it. Now no creature surpasses the intellect that understands God, since, as Gregory says (Dial. ii.), "to the soul which sees its Creator all creatures are small." Therefore those who see God in His essence know all things.

Objection 5: Further, every passive power that is not reduced to act is imperfect. Now the passive intellect of the human soul is a power that is passive as it were to the knowledge of all things, since "the passive intellect is in which all are in potentiality" (De Anima iii, text. 18). If then in that beatitude it were not to understand all things, it would remain imperfect, which is absurd.

Objection 6: Further, whoever sees a mirror sees the things reflected in the mirror. Now all things are reflected in the Word of God as in a mirror, because He is the type and image of all. Therefore the saints who see the Word in its essence see all created things.

Objection 7: Further, according to Pr 10,24, "to the just their desire shall be given." Now the just desire to know all things, since "all men desire naturally to know," and nature is not done away by glory. Therefore God will grant them to know all things.

Objection 8: Further, ignorance is one of the penalties of the present life [*Cf. I-II 85,3]. Now all penalty will be removed from the saints by glory. Therefore all ignorance will be removed: and consequently they will know all.

Objection 9: Further, the beatitude of the saints is in their soul before being in their body. Now the bodies of the saints will be reformed in glory to the likeness of Christ's body (Ph 3,21). Therefore their souls will be perfected in likeness to the soul of Christ. Now Christ's soul sees all things in the Word. Therefore all the souls of the saints will also see all things in the Word.

Objection 1:: Further, the intellect, like the senses, knows all the things with the image of which it is informed. Now the Divine essence shows a thing forth more clearly than any other image thereof. Therefore since in that blessed vision the Divine essence becomes the form as it were of our intellect, it would seem that the saints seeing God see all.

Objection 1:: Further, the Commentator says (De Anima iii), that "if the active intellect were the form of the passive intellect, we should understand all things." Now the Divine essence represents all things more clearly than the active intellect. Therefore the intellect that sees God in His essence knows all things.

Objection 1:: Further, the lower angels are enlightened by the higher about the things they are ignorant of, for the reason that they know not all things. Now after the day of judgment, one angel will not enlighten another; for then all superiority will cease, as a gloss observes on 1Co 15,24, "When He shall have brought to nought," etc. Therefore the lower angels will then know all things, and for the same reason all the other saints who will see God in His essence.

On the contrary, Dionysius says (Hier. Eccles. vi): "The higher angels cleanse the lower angels from ignorance." Now the lower angels see the Divine essence. Therefore an angel while seeing the Divine essence may be ignorant of certain things. But the soul will not see God more perfectly than an angel. Therefore the souls seeing God will not necessarily see all things.

Further, Christ alone has the spirit not "by measure" (Jn 3,34). Now it becomes Christ, as having the spirit without measure, to know all things in the Word: wherefore it is stated in the same place (Jn 3,35) that "the Father . . . hath given all things into His hand." Therefore none but Christ is competent to know all things in the Word.

Further, the more perfectly a principle is known, the more of its effects are known thereby. Now some of those who see God in His essence will know God more perfectly than others. Therefore some will know more things than others, and consequently every one will not know all.

I answer that, God by seeing his essence knows all things whatsoever that are, shall be, or have been: and He is said to know these things by His "knowledge of vision," because He knows them as though they were present in likeness to corporeal vision. Moreover by seeing this essence He knows all that He can do, although He never did them, nor ever will: else He would not know His power perfectly; since a power cannot be known unless its objects be known: and this is called His "science" or "knowledge of simple intelligence." Now it is impossible for a created intellect, by seeing the Divine essence, to know all that God can do, because the more perfectly a principle is known, the more things are known in it; thus in one principle of demonstration one who is quick of intelligence sees more conclusions than one who is slow of intelligence. Since then the extent of the Divine power is measured according to what it can do, if an intellect were to see in the Divine essence all that God can do, its perfection in understanding would equal in extent the Divine power in producing its effects, and thus it would comprehend the Divine power, which is impossible for any created intellect to do. Yet there is a created intellect, namely the soul of Christ [*Cf. III 16,2], which knows in the Word all that God knows by the knowledge of vision. But regarding others who see the Divine essence there are two opinions. For some say that all who see God in His essence see all that God sees by His knowledge of vision. This, however, is contrary to the sayings of holy men, who hold that angels are ignorant of some things; and yet it is clear that according to faith all the angels see God in His essence. Wherefore others say that others than Christ, although they see God in His essence, do not see all that God sees because they do not comprehend the Divine essence. For it is not necessary that he who knows a cause should know all its effects, unless he comprehend the cause: and this is not in the competency of a created intellect. Consequently of those who see God in His essence, each one sees in His essence so much the more things according as he sees the Divine essence the more clearly: and hence it is that one is able to instruct another concerning these things. Thus the knowledge of the angels and of the souls of the saints can go on increasing until the day of judgment, even as other things pertaining to the accidental reward. But afterwards it will increase no more, because then will be the final state of things, and in that state it is possible that all will know everything that God knows by the knowledge of vision.

Reply to Objection 1: The saying of Isidore, that "the angels know in the Word all things before they happen," cannot refer to those things which God knows only by the knowledge of simple intelligence, because those things will never happen; but it must refer to those things which God knows only by the knowledge of vision. Even of these he does not say that all the angels know them all, but that perhaps some do; and that even those who know do not know all perfectly. For in one and the same thing there are many intelligible aspects to be considered, such as its various properties and relations to other things: and it is possible that while one thing is known in common by two persons, one of them perceives more aspects, and that the one learns these aspects from the other. Hence Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that "the lower angels learn from the higher angels the intelligible aspects of things." Wherefore it does not follow that even the angels who know all creatures are able to see all that can be understood in them.

Reply to Objection 2: It follows from this saying of Gregory that this blessed vision suffices for the seeing of all things on the part of the Divine essence, which is the medium by which one sees, and whereby God sees all things. That all things, however, are not seen is owing to the deficiency of the created intellect which does not comprehend the Divine essence.

Reply to Objection 3: The created intellect sees the Divine essence not according to the mode of that same essence, but according to its own mode which is finite. Hence its efficacy in knowing would need to be infinitely increased by reason of that vision in order for it to know all things.

Reply to Objection 4: Defective knowledge results not only from excess and deficiency of the knowable object in relation to the intellect, but also from the fact that the aspect of knowableness is not united to the intellect: thus sometimes the sight sees not a stone, through the image of the stone not being united to it. And although the Divine essence which is the type of all things is united to the intellect of one who sees God, it is united thereto not as the type of all things, but as the type of some and of so much the more according as one sees the Divine essence more fully.

Reply to Objection 5: When a passive power is perceptible by several perfections in order, if it be perfected with its ultimate perfection, it is not said to be imperfect, even though it lack some of the preceding dispositions. Now all knowledge by which the created intellect is perfected is directed to the knowledge of God as its end. Wherefore he who sees God in His essence, even though he know nothing else, would have a perfect intellect: nor is his intellect more perfect through knowing something else besides Him, except in so far as it sees Him more fully. Hence Augustine says (Confess. v.): "Unhappy is he who knoweth all these" (namely, creatures), "and knoweth not Thee: but happy whoso knoweth Thee, though he know not these. And whoso knoweth both Thee and them is not the happier for them but for Thee only."

Reply to Objection 6: This mirror has a will: and even as He will show Himself to whom He will, so will He show in Himself whatsoever He will. Nor does the comparison with a material mirror hold, for it is not in its power to be seen or not to be seen.

We may also reply that in a material mirror both object and mirror are seen under their proper image; although the mirror be seen through an image received from the thing itself, whereas the stone is seen through its proper image reflected in some other thing, where the reason for seeing the one is the reason for seeing the other. But in the uncreated mirror a thing is seen through the form of the mirror, just as an effect is seen through the image of its cause and conversely. Consequently it does not follow that whoever sees the eternal mirror sees all that is reflected in that mirror: since he who sees the cause does not of necessity see all its effects, unless he comprehend the cause.

Reply to Objection 7: The desire of the saints to know all things will be fulfilled by the mere fact of their seeing God: just as their desire to possess all good things will be fulfilled by their possessing God. For as God suffices the affections in that He has perfect goodness, and by possessing Him we possess all goods as it were, so does the vision of Him suffice the intellect: "Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us" (Jn 14,8).

Reply to Objection 8: Ignorance properly so called denotes a privation and thus it is a punishment: for in this way ignorance is nescience of things, the knowledge of which is a duty or a necessity. Now the saints in heaven will not be ignorant of any of these things. Sometimes, however, ignorance is taken in a broad sense of any kind of nescience: and thus the angels and saints in heaven will be ignorant of certain things. Hence Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that "the angels will be cleansed from their ignorance." In this sense ignorance is not a penalty but a defect. Nor is it necessary for all such defects to be done away by glory: for thus we might say that it was a defect in Pope Linus that he did not attain to the glory of Peter.

Reply to Objection 9: Our body will be conformed to the body of Christ in glory, in likeness but not in equality, for it will be endowed with clarity even as Christ's body, but not equally. In like manner our soul will have glory in likeness to the soul of Christ, but not in equality thereto: thus it will have knowledge even as Christ's soul, but not so great, so as to know all as Christ's soul does.

Reply to Objection 1:: Although the Divine essence is the type of all things knowable it will not be united to each created intellect according as it is the type of all. Hence the objection proves nothing.

Reply to Objection 1:: The active intellect is a form proportionate to the passive intellect; even as the passive power of matter is proportionate to the power of the natural agent, so that whatsoever is in the passive power of matter or the passive intellect is in the active power of the active intellect or of the natural agent. Consequently if the active intellect become the form of the passive intellect, the latter must of necessity know all those things to which the power of the active intellect extends. But the Divine essence is not a form proportionate to our intellect in this sense. Hence the comparison fails.

Reply to Objection 1:: Nothing hinders us from saying that after the judgment day, when the glory of men and angels will be consummated once for all, all the blessed will know all that God knows by the knowledge of vision, yet so that not all will see all in the Divine essence. Christ's soul, however, will see clearly all things therein, even as it sees them now; while others will see therein a greater or lesser number of things according to the degree of clearness wherewith they will know God: and thus Christ's soul will enlighten all other souls concerning those things which it sees in the Word better than others. Hence it is written (Ap 21,23): "The glory of God shall enlighten the city of Jerusalem [*Vulg.: 'hath enlightened it'], and the Lamb is the lamp thereof." In like manner the higher souls will enlighten the lower (not indeed with a new enlightening, so as to increase the knowledge of the lower), but with a kind of continued enlightenment; thus we might understand the sun to enlighten the atmosphere while at a standstill. Wherefore it is written (Da 12,3): "They that instruct many to justice" shall shine "as stars for all eternity." The statement that the superiority of the orders will cease refers to their present ordinate ministry in our regard, as is clear from the same gloss.



We must next consider the happiness of the saints and their mansions. Under this head there are three points of inquiry:

(1) Whether the happiness of the saints will increase after the judgment?

(2) Whether the degrees of happiness should be called mansions?

(3) Whether the various mansions differ according to various degrees of charity?

Whether the happiness of the saints will be greater after the judgment than before?


Objection 1: It would seem that the happiness of the saints will not be greater after the judgment than before. For the nearer a thing approaches to the Divine likeness, the more perfectly does it participate happiness. Now the soul is more like God when separated from the body than when united to it. Therefore its happiness is greater before being reunited to the body than after.

Objection 2: Further, power is more effective when it is united than when divided. Now the soul is more united when separated from the body than when it is joined to the body. Therefore it has then greater power for operation, and consequently has a more perfect share of happiness, since this consists in action [*Cf.
I-II 3,2].

Objection 3: Further, beatitude consists in an act of the speculative intellect. Now the intellect, in its act, makes no use of a bodily organ; and consequently by being reunited to the body the soul does not become capable of more perfect understanding. Therefore the soul's happiness is not greater after than before the judgment.

Objection 4: Further, nothing can be greater than the infinite, and so the addition of the finite to the infinite does not result in something greater than the infinite by itself. Now the beatified soul before its reunion with the body is rendered happy by rejoicing in the infinite good, namely God; and after the resurrection of the body it will rejoice in nothing else except perhaps the glory of the body, and this is a finite good. Therefore their joy after the resumption of the body will not be greater than before.

On the contrary, A gloss on Apoc. 6:9, "I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain," says: "At present the souls of the saints are under the altar, i.e. less exalted than they will be." Therefore their happiness will be greater after the resurrection than after their death.

Further, just as happiness is bestowed on the good as a reward, so is unhappiness awarded to the wicked. But the unhappiness of the wicked after reunion with their bodies will be greater than before, since they will be punished not only in the soul but also in the body. Therefore the happiness of the saints will be greater after the resurrection of the body than before.

I answer that, It is manifest that the happiness of the saints will increase in extent after the resurrection, because their happiness will then be not only in the soul but also in the body. Moreover, the soul's happiness also will increase in extent, seeing that the soul will rejoice not only in its own good, but also in that of the body. We may also say that the soul's happiness will increase in intensity [*Cf. I-II 4,5 , ad 5, where St. Thomas retracts this statement]. For man's body may be considered in two ways: first, as being dependent on the soul for its completion; secondly, as containing something that hampers the soul in its operations, through the soul not perfectly completing the body. As regards the first way of considering the body, its union with the soul adds a certain perfection to the soul, since every part is imperfect, and is completed in its whole; wherefore the whole is to the part as form to matter. Consequently the soul is more perfect in its natural being, when it is in the whole---namely, man who results from the union of soul and body---than when it is a separate part. But as regards the second consideration the union of the body hampers the perfection of the soul, wherefore it is written (Sg 9,15) that "the corruptible body is a load upon the soul." If, then, there be removed from the body all those things wherein it hampers the soul's action, the soul will be simply more perfect while existing in such a body than when separated therefrom. Now the more perfect a thing is in being, the more perfectly is it able to operate: wherefore the operation of the soul united to such a body will be more perfect than the operation of the separated soul. But the glorified body will be a body of this description, being altogether subject to the spirit. Therefore, since beatitude consists in an operation [*Cf. I-II 3,2, seqq.], the soul's happiness after its reunion with the body will be more perfect than before. For just as the soul separated from a corruptible body is able to operate more perfectly than when united thereto, so after it has been united to a glorified body, its operation will be more perfect than while it was separated. Now every imperfect thing desires its perfection. Hence the separated soul naturally desires reunion with the body and on account of this desire which proceeds from the soul's imperfection its operation whereby it is borne towards God is less intense. This agrees with the saying of Augustine (Gn ad lit. xii, 35) that "on account of the body's desire it is held back from tending with all its might to that sovereign good."

Reply to Objection 1: The soul united to a glorified body is more like to God than when separated therefrom, in so far as when united it has more perfect being. For the more perfect a thing is the more it is like to God: even so the heart, the perfection of whose life consists in movement, is more like to God while in movement than while at rest, although God is never moved.

Reply to Objection 2: A power which by its own nature is capable of being in matter is more effective when subjected in matter than when separated from matter, although absolutely speaking a power separate from matter is more effective.

Reply to Objection 3: Although in the act of understanding the soul does not make use of the body, the perfection of the body will somewhat conduce to the perfection of the intellectual operation in so far as through being united to a glorified body, the soul will be more perfect in its nature, and consequently more effective in its operation, and accordingly the good itself of the body will conduce instrumentally, as it were, to the operation wherein happiness consists: thus the Philosopher asserts (Ethic. i, 8,10) that external goods conduce instrumentally to the happiness of life.

Reply to Objection 4: Although finite added to infinite does not make a greater thing, it makes more things, since finite and infinite are two things, while infinite taken by itself is one. Now the greater extent of joy regards not a greater thing but more things. Wherefore joy is increased in extent, through referring to God and to the body's glory, in comparison with the joy which referred to God. Moreover, the body's glory will conduce to the intensity of the joy that refers to God, in so far as it will conduce to the more perfect operation whereby the soul tends to God: since the more perfect is a becoming operation, the greater the delight [*Cf. I-II 32,1], as stated in Ethic. x, 8.

Summa - Supplement 1841