QUESTION 90: OF THE FIRST PRODUCTION OF MAN'S SOUL
After the foregoing we must consider the first production of man,
concerning which there are four subjects of treatment: (1) the production
of man himself; (2) the end of this production; (3) the state and
condition of the first man; (4) the place of his abode. Concerning the
production of man, there are three things to be considered: (1) the
production of man's soul; (2) the production of man's body; (3) the
production of the woman.
Under the first head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether man's soul was something made, or was of the Divine
(2) Whether, if made, it was created?
(3) Whether it was made by angelic instrumentality?
(4) Whether it was made before the body?
Article 1: Whether the soul was made or was of God's substance?
Objection 1: It would seem that the soul was not made, but was God's
substance. For it is written (Gn. 2:7): "God formed man of the slime of
the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man was
made a living soul." But he who breathes sends forth something of
himself. Therefore the soul, whereby man lives, is of the Divine
Objection 2: Further, as above explained (Question , Article ), the soul is a simple
form. But a form is an act. Therefore the soul is a pure act; which
applies to God alone. Therefore the soul is of God's substance.
Objection 3: Further, things that exist and do differ are the same. But God and the mind exist, and in no way differ, for they could only be differentiated by certain differences, and thus would be composite. Therefore God and the human mind are the same.
On the contrary, Augustine (De Orig. Animae iii, 15) mentions certain
opinions which he calls "exceedingly and evidently perverse, and contrary
to the Catholic Faith," among which the first is the opinion that "God
made the soul not out of nothing, but from Himself."
I answer that, To say that the soul is of the Divine substance involves
a manifest improbability. For, as is clear from what has been said (Question , Article ; Question , Article ; Question , Article ), the human soul is sometimes in a state
of potentiality to the act of intelligence ---acquires its knowledge
somehow from things---and thus has various powers; all of which are
incompatible with the Divine Nature, Which is a pure act---receives
nothing from any other---and admits of no variety in itself, as we have
proved (Question , Articles ,7; Question , Article ).
This error seems to have originated from two statements of the ancients.
For those who first began to observe the nature of things, being unable
to rise above their imagination, supposed that nothing but bodies
existed. Therefore they said that God was a body, which they considered
to be the principle of other bodies. And since they held that the soul
was of the same nature as that body which they regarded as the first
principle, as is stated De Anima i, 2, it followed that the soul was of
the nature of God Himself. According to this supposition, also, the
Manichaeans, thinking that God was corporeal light, held that the soul
was part of that light bound up with the body.
Then a further step in advance was made, and some surmised the existence
of something incorporeal, not apart from the body, but the form of a
body; so that Varro said, "God is a soul governing the world by movement
and reason," as Augustine relates (De Civ. Dei vii, 6 [*The words as
quoted are to be found iv. 31.]) So some supposed man's soul to be part
of that one soul, as man is a part of the whole world; for they were
unable to go so far as to understand the different degrees of spiritual
substance, except according to the distinction of bodies.
Reply to Objection 1: The term "breathe" is not to be taken in the material
sense; but as regards the act of God, to breathe [spirare], is the same
as to "make a spirit." Moreover, in the material sense, man by breathing
does not send forth anything of his own substance, but an extraneous
Reply to Objection 2: Although the soul is a simple form in its essence, yet it
is not its own existence, but is a being by participation, as above
explained (Question , Article , ad 4). Therefore it is not a pure act like God.
Reply to Objection 3: That which differs, properly speaking, differs in
something; wherefore we seek for difference where we find also
resemblance. For this reason things which differ must in some way be
compound; since they differ in something, and in something resemble each
other. In this sense, although all that differ are diverse, yet all
things that are diverse do not differ. For simple things are diverse; yet
do not differ from one another by differences which enter into their
composition. For instance, a man and a horse differ by the difference of
rational and irrational; but we cannot say that these again differ by
some further difference.
Article 2: Whether the soul was produced by creation?
Objection 1: It would seem that the soul was not produced by creation. For
that which has in itself something material is produced from matter. But
the soul is in part material, since it is not a pure act. Therefore the
soul was made of matter; and hence it was not created.
Objection 2: Further, every actuality of matter is educed from the
potentiality of that matter; for since matter is in potentiality to act,
any act pre-exists in matter potentially. But the soul is the act of
corporeal matter, as is clear from its definition. Therefore the soul is
educed from the potentiality of matter.
Objection 3: Further, the soul is a form. Therefore, if the soul is created,
all other forms also are created. Thus no forms would come into existence
by generation; which is not true.
On the contrary, It is written (Gn. 1:27): "God created man to His own
image." But man is like to God in his soul. Therefore the soul was
I answer that, The rational soul can be made only by creation; which, however, is not true of other forms. The reason is because, since to be made is the way to existence, a thing must be made in such a way as is suitable to its mode of existence. Now that properly exists which itself has existence; as it were, subsisting in its own existence. Wherefore only substances are properly and truly called beings; whereas an accident has not existence, but something is (modified) by it, and so far is it called a being; for instance, whiteness is called a being, because by it something is white. Hence it is said Metaph. vii, Did. vi, 1 that an accident should be described as "of something rather than as something." The same is to be said of all non-subsistent forms. Therefore, properly speaking, it does not belong to any non-existing form to be made; but such are said to be made through the composite substances being made. On the other hand, the rational soul is a subsistent form, as above explained (Question , Article ). Wherefore it is competent to be and to be made. And since it cannot be made of pre-existing matter---whether corporeal, which would render it a corporeal being---or spiritual, which would involve the transmutation of one spiritual substance into another, we must conclude that it cannot exist except by creation.
Reply to Objection 1: The soul's simple essence is as the material element, while
its participated existence is its formal element; which participated
existence necessarily co-exists with the soul's essence, because
existence naturally follows the form. The same reason holds if the soul
is supposed to be composed of some spiritual matter, as some maintain;
because the said matter is not in potentiality to another form, as
neither is the matter of a celestial body; otherwise the soul would be
corruptible. Wherefore the soul cannot in any way be made of pre-existent
Reply to Objection 2: The production of act from the potentiality of matter is
nothing else but something becoming actually that previously was in
potentiality. But since the rational soul does not depend in its
existence on corporeal matter, and is subsistent, and exceeds the
capacity of corporeal matter, as we have seen (Question , Article ), it is not
educed from the potentiality of matter.
Reply to Objection 3: As we have said, there is no comparison between the
rational soul and other forms.
Article 3: Whether the rational soul is produced by God immediately?
Objection 1: It would seem that the rational soul is not immediately made by
God, but by the instrumentality of the angels. For spiritual things have
more order than corporeal things. But inferior bodies are produced by
means of the superior, as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv). Therefore also
the inferior spirits, who are the rational souls, are produced by means
of the superior spirits, the angels.
Objection 2: Further, the end corresponds to the beginning of things; for God
is the beginning and end of all. Therefore the issue of things from their
beginning corresponds to the forwarding of them to their end. But
"inferior things are forwarded by the higher," as Dionysius says (Eccl.
Hier. v); therefore also the inferior are produced into existence by the
higher, and souls by angels.
Objection 3: Further, "perfect is that which can produce its like," as is
stated Metaph. v. But spiritual substances are much more perfect than
corporeal. Therefore, since bodies produce their like in their own
species, much more are angels able to produce something specifically
inferior to themselves; and such is the rational soul.
On the contrary, It is written (Gn. 2:7) that God Himself "breathed into
the face of man the breath of life."
I answer that, Some have held that angels, acting by the power of God,
produce rational souls. But this is quite impossible, and is against
faith. For it has been proved that the rational soul cannot be produced
except by creation. Now, God alone can create; for the first agent alone
can act without presupposing the existence of anything; while the second
cause always presupposes something derived from the first cause, as above
explained (Question , Article ): and every agent, that presupposes something to
its act, acts by making a change therein. Therefore everything else acts
by producing a change, whereas God alone acts by creation. Since,
therefore, the rational soul cannot be produced by a change in matter, it
cannot be produced, save immediately by God.
Thus the replies to the objections are clear. For that bodies produce
their like or something inferior to themselves, and that the higher
things lead forward the inferior---all these things are effected through
a certain transmutation.
Article 4: Whether the human soul was produced before the body?
Objection 1: It would seem that the human soul was made before the body. For
the work of creation preceded the work of distinction and adornment, as
shown above (Question , Article ; Question , Article ). But the soul was made by
creation; whereas the body was made at the end of the work of adornment.
Therefore the soul of man was made before the body.
Objection 2: Further, the rational soul has more in common with the angels
than with the brute animals. But angels were created before bodies, or at
least, at the beginning with corporeal matter; whereas the body of man
was formed on the sixth day, when also the animals were made. Therefore
the soul of man was created before the body.
Objection 3: Further, the end is proportionate to the beginning. But in the
end the soul outlasts the body. Therefore in the beginning it was created
before the body.
On the contrary, The proper act is produced in its proper potentiality.
Therefore since the soul is the proper act of the body, the soul was
produced in the body.
I answer that, Origen (Peri Archon i, 7,8) held that not only the soul
of the first man, but also the souls of all men were created at the same
time as the angels, before their bodies: because he thought that all
spiritual substances, whether souls or angels, are equal in their natural
condition, and differ only by merit; so that some of them---namely, the
souls of men or of heavenly bodies---are united to bodies while others
remain in their different orders entirely free from matter. Of this
opinion we have already spoken (Question , Article ); and so we need say nothing
about it here.
Augustine, however (Gen. ad lit. vii, 24), says that the soul of the
first man was created at the same time as the angels, before the body,
for another reason; because he supposes that the body of man, during the
work of the six days, was produced, not actually, but only as to some
"causal virtues"; which cannot be said of the soul, because neither was
it made of any pre-existing corporeal or spiritual matter, nor could it
be produced from any created virtue. Therefore it seems that the soul
itself, during the work of the six days, when all things were made, was
created, together with the angels; and that afterwards, by its own will,
was joined to the service of the body. But he does not say this by way of
assertion; as his words prove. For he says (Gen. ad lit. vii, 29): "We
may believe, if neither Scripture nor reason forbid, that man was made on
the sixth day, in the sense that his body was created as to its causal
virtue in the elements of the world, but that the soul was already
Now this could be upheld by those who hold that the soul has of itself a
complete species and nature, and that it is not united to the body as its
form, but as its administrator. But if the soul is united to the body as
its form, and is naturally a part of human nature, the above supposition
is quite impossible. For it is clear that God made the first things in
their perfect natural state, as their species required. Now the soul, as
a part of human nature, has its natural perfection only as united to the
body. Therefore it would have been unfitting for the soul to be created
without the body.
Therefore, if we admit the opinion of Augustine about the work of the
six days (Question , Article ), we may say that the human soul preceded in the
work of the six days by a certain generic similitude, so far as it has
intellectual nature in common with the angels; but was itself created at
the same time as the body. According to the other saints, both the body
and soul of the first man were produced in the work of the six days.
Reply to Objection 1: If the soul by its nature were a complete species, so that
it might be created as to itself, this reason would prove that the soul
was created by itself in the beginning. But as the soul is naturally the
form of the body, it was necessarily created, not separately, but in the
Reply to Objection 2: The same observation applies to the second objection. For
if the soul had a species of itself it would have something still more in
common with the angels. But, as the form of the body, it belongs to the
animal genus, as a formal principle.
Reply to Objection 3: That the soul remains after the body, is due to a defect of
the body, namely, death. Which defect was not due when the soul was first