QUESTION 67: OF THE DURATION OF VIRTUES AFTER THIS LIFE
We must now consider the duration of virtues after this life, under
which head there are six points of inquiry:
(1) Whether the moral virtues remain after this life?
(2) Whether the intellectual virtues remain?
(3) Whether faith remains?
(4) Whether hope remains?
(5) Whether anything remains of faith or hope?
(6) Whether charity remains?
Article 1: Whether the moral virtues remain after this life?
Objection 1: It would seem that the moral virtues doe not remain after this
life. For in the future state of glory men will be like angels, according
to Mt. 22:30. But it is absurd to put moral virtues in the angels
[*"Whatever relates to moral action is petty, and unworthy of the gods"
(Ethic. x, 8)], as stated in Ethic. x, 8. Therefore neither in man will
there be moral virtues after this life.
Objection 2: Further, moral virtues perfect man in the active life. But the
active life does not remain after this life: for Gregory says (Moral. iv,
18): "The works of the active life pass away from the body." Therefore
moral virtues do not remain after this life.
Objection 3: Further, temperance and fortitude, which are moral virtues, are
in the irrational parts of the soul, as the Philosopher states (Ethic.
iii, 10). Now the irrational parts of the soul are corrupted, when the
body is corrupted: since they are acts of bodily organs. Therefore it
seems that the moral virtues do not remain after this life.
On the contrary, It is written (Wis. 1:15) that "justice is perpetual
I answer that, As Augustine says (De Trin. xiv, 9), Cicero held that the
cardinal virtues do not remain after this life; and that, as Augustine
says (De Trin. xiv, 9), "in the other life men are made happy by the mere
knowledge of that nature, than which nothing is better or more lovable,
that Nature, to wit, which created all others." Afterwards he concludes
that these four virtues remain in the future life, but after a different
In order to make this evident, we must note that in these virtues there
is a formal element, and a quasi-material element. The material element
in these virtues is a certain inclination of the appetitive part to the
passions and operations according to a certain mode: and since this mode
is fixed by reason, the formal element is precisely this order of reason.
Accordingly we must say that these moral virtues do not remain in the
future life, as regards their material element. For in the future life
there will be no concupiscences and pleasures in matters of food and sex;
nor fear and daring about dangers of death; nor distributions and
commutations of things employed in this present life. But, as regards
the formal element, they will remain most perfect, after this life, in
the Blessed, in as much as each one's reason will have most perfect
rectitude in regard to things concerning him in respect of that state of
life: and his appetitive power will be moved entirely according to the
order of reason, in things pertaining to that same state. Hence Augustine
says (De Trin. xiv, 9) that "prudence will be there without any danger of
error; fortitude, without the anxiety of bearing with evil; temperance,
without the rebellion of the desires: so that prudence will neither
prefer nor equal any good to God; fortitude will adhere to Him most
steadfastly; and temperance will delight in Him Who knows no
imperfection." As to justice, it is yet more evident what will be its act
in that life, viz. "to be subject to God": because even in this life
subjection to a superior is part of justice.
Reply to Objection 1: The Philosopher is speaking there of these moral virtues,
as to their material element; thus he speaks of justice, as regards
"commutations and distributions"; of fortitude, as to "matters of terror
and danger"; of temperance, in respect of "lewd desires."
The same applies to the Second Objection. For those things that concern
the active life, belong to the material element of the virtues.
Reply to Objection 3: There is a twofold state after this life; one before the
resurrection, during which the soul will be separate from the body; the
other, after the resurrection, when the souls will be reunited to their
bodies. In this state of resurrection, the irrational powers will be in
the bodily organs, just as they now are. Hence it will be possible for
fortitude to be in the irascible, and temperance in the concupiscible
part, in so far as each power will be perfectly disposed to obey the
reason. But in the state preceding the resurrection, the irrational parts
will not be in the soul actually, but only radically in its essence, as
stated in the FP, Question , Article . Wherefore neither will these virtues be
actually, but only in their root, i.e. in the reason and will, wherein
are certain nurseries of these virtues, as stated above (Question , Article ).
Justice, however, will remain because it is in the will. Hence of justice
it is specially said that it is "perpetual and immortal"; both by reason
of its subject, since the will is incorruptible; and because its act will
not change, as stated.
Article 2: Whether the intellectual virtues remain after this life?
Objection 1: It would seem that the intellectual virtues do not remain after this life. For the Apostle says (1 Cor. 13:8,9) that "knowledge shall be destroyed," and he states the reason to be because "we know in part." Now just as the knowledge of science is in part, i.e. imperfect; so also is the knowledge of the other intellectual virtues, as long as this life lasts. Therefore all the intellectual virtues will cease after this life.
Objection 2: Further, the Philosopher says (Categor. vi) that since science is
a habit, it is a quality difficult to remove: for it is not easily lost,
except by reason of some great change or sickness. But no bodily change
is so great as that of death. Therefore science and the other
intellectual virtues do not remain after death.
Objection 3: Further, the intellectual virtues perfect the intellect so that
it may perform its proper act well. Now there seems to be no act of the
intellect after this life, since "the soul understands nothing without a
phantasm" (De Anima iii, text. 30); and, after this life, the phantasms
do not remain, since their only subject is an organ of the body.
Therefore the intellectual virtues do not remain after this life.
On the contrary, The knowledge of what is universal and necessary is
more constant than that of particular and contingent things. Now the
knowledge of contingent particulars remains in man after this life; for
instance, the knowledge of what one has done or suffered, according to
Lk. 16:25: "Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy
life-time, and likewise Lazarus evil things." Much more, therefore, does
the knowledge of universal and necessary things remain, which belong to
science and the other intellectual virtues.
I answer that, As stated in the FP, Question , Article  some have held that the
intelligible species do not remain in the passive intellect except when
it actually understands; and that so long as actual consideration ceases,
the species are not preserved save in the sensitive powers which are acts
of bodily organs, viz. in the powers of imagination and memory. Now these
powers cease when the body is corrupted: and consequently, according to
this opinion, neither science nor any other intellectual virtue will
remain after this life when once the body is corrupted.
But this opinion is contrary to the mind of Aristotle, who states (De
Anima iii, text. 8) that "the possible intellect is in act when it is
identified with each thing as knowing it; and yet, even then, it is in
potentiality to consider it actually." It is also contrary to reason,
because intelligible species are contained by the "possible" intellect
immovably, according to the mode of their container. Hence the "possible"
intellect is called "the abode of the species" (De Anima iii) because it
preserves the intelligible species.
And yet the phantasms, by turning to which man understands in this life,
by applying the intelligible species to them as stated in the FP, Question ,
Article ; FP, Question , Article , ad 5, cease as soon as the body is corrupted.
Hence, so far as the phantasms are concerned, which are the
quasi-material element in the intellectual virtues, these latter cease
when the body is destroyed: but as regards the intelligible species,
which are in the "possible" intellect, the intellectual virtues remain.
Now the species are the quasi-formal element of the intellectual
virtues. Therefore these remain after this life, as regards their formal
element, just as we have stated concerning the moral virtues (Article ).
Reply to Objection 1: The saying of the Apostle is to be understood as referring
to the material element in science, and to the mode of understanding;
because, to it, neither do the phantasms remain, when the body is
destroyed; nor will science be applied by turning to the phantasms.
Reply to Objection 2: Sickness destroys the habit of science as to its material
element, viz. the phantasms, but not as to the intelligible species,
which are in the "possible" intellect.
Reply to Objection 3: As stated in the FP, Question , Article  the separated soul has a
mode of understanding, other than by turning to the phantasms.
Consequently science remains, yet not as to the same mode of operation;
as we have stated concerning the moral virtues (Article ).
Article 3: Whether faith remains after this life?
Objection 1: It would seem that faith remains after this life. Because faith
is more excellent than science. Now science remains after this life, as
stated above (Article ). Therefore faith remains also.
Objection 2: Further, it is written (1 Cor. 3:11): "Other foundation no man
can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus," i.e. faith in
Jesus Christ. Now if the foundation is removed, that which is built upon
it remains no more. Therefore, if faith remains not after this life, no
other virtue remains.
Objection 3: Further, the knowledge of faith and the knowledge of glory differ
as perfect from imperfect. Now imperfect knowledge is compatible with
perfect knowledge: thus in an angel there can be "evening" and "morning"
knowledge [*Cf. FP, Question , Article ]; and a man can have science through a
demonstrative syllogism, together with opinion through a probable
syllogism, about one same conclusion. Therefore after this life faith
also is compatible with the knowledge of glory.
On the contrary, The Apostle says (2 Cor. 5:6,7): "While we are in the
body, we are absent from the Lord: for we walk by faith and not by
sight." But those who are in glory are not absent from the Lord, but
present to Him. Therefore after this life faith does not remain in the
life of glory.
I answer that, Opposition is of itself the proper cause of one thing
being excluded from another, in so far, to wit, as wherever two things
are opposite to one another, we find opposition of affirmation and
negation. Now in some things we find opposition in respect of contrary
forms; thus in colors we find white and black. In others we find
opposition in respect of perfection and imperfection: wherefore in
alterations, more and less are considered to be contraries, as when a
thing from being less hot is made more hot (Phys. v, text. 19). And since
perfect and imperfect are opposite to one another, it is impossible for
perfection and imperfection to affect the same thing at the same time.
Now we must take note that sometimes imperfection belongs to a thing's
very nature, and belongs to its species: even as lack of reason belongs
to the very specific nature of a horse and an ox. And since a thing, so
long as it remains the same identically, cannot pass from one species to
another, it follows that if such an imperfection be removed, the species
of that thing is changed: even as it would no longer be an ox or a horse,
were it to be rational. Sometimes, however, the imperfection does not
belong to the specific nature, but is accidental to the individual by
reason of something else; even as sometimes lack of reason is accidental
to a man, because he is asleep, or because he is drunk, or for some like
reason; and it is evident, that if such an imperfection be removed, the
thing remains substantially.
Now it is clear that imperfect knowledge belongs to the very nature of
faith: for it is included in its definition; faith being defined as "the
substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear
not" (Heb. 11:1). Wherefore Augustine says (Tract. xl in Joan.): "Where
is faith? Believing without seeing." But it is an imperfect knowledge
that is of things unapparent or unseen. Consequently imperfect knowledge
belongs to the very nature of faith: therefore it is clear that the
knowledge of faith cannot be perfect and remain identically the same.
But we must also consider whether it is compatible with perfect
knowledge: for there is nothing to prevent some kind of imperfect
knowledge from being sometimes with perfect knowledge. Accordingly we
must observe that knowledge can be imperfect in three ways: first, on the
part of the knowable object; secondly, on the part of the medium;
thirdly, on the part of the subject. The difference of perfect and
imperfect knowledge on the part of the knowable object is seen in the
"morning" and "evening" knowledge of the angels: for the "morning"
knowledge is about things according to the being which they have in the
Word, while the "evening" knowledge is about things according as they
have being in their own natures, which being is imperfect in comparison
with the First Being. On the part of the medium, perfect and imperfect
knowledge are exemplified in the knowledge of a conclusion through a
demonstrative medium, and through a probable medium. On the part of the
subject the difference of perfect and imperfect knowledge applies to
opinion, faith, and science. For it is essential to opinion that we
assent to one of two opposite assertions with fear of the other, so that
our adhesion is not firm: to science it is essential to have firm
adhesion with intellectual vision, for science possesses certitude which
results from the understanding of principles: while faith holds a middle
place, for it surpasses opinion in so far as its adhesion is firm, but
falls short of science in so far as it lacks vision.
Now it is evident that a thing cannot be perfect and imperfect in the
same respect; yet the things which differ as perfect and imperfect can be
together in the same respect in one and the same other thing.
Accordingly, knowledge which is perfect on the part of the object is
quite incompatible with imperfect knowledge about the same object; but
they are compatible with one another in respect of the same medium or the
same subject: for nothing hinders a man from having at one and the same
time, through one and the same medium, perfect and imperfect knowledge
about two things, one perfect, the other imperfect, e.g. about health and
sickness, good and evil. In like manner knowledge that is perfect on the
part of the medium is incompatible with imperfect knowledge through one
and the same medium: but nothing hinders them being about the same
subject or in the same subject: for one man can know the same conclusions
through a probable and through a demonstrative medium. Again, knowledge
that is perfect on the part of the subject is incompatible with imperfect
knowledge in the same subject. Now faith, of its very nature, contains an
imperfection on the part of the subject, viz. that the believer sees not
what he believes: whereas bliss, of its very nature, implies perfection
on the part of the subject, viz. that the Blessed see that which makes
them happy, as stated above (Question , Article ). Hence it is manifest that faith
and bliss are incompatible in one and the same subject.
Reply to Objection 1: Faith is more excellent than science, on the part of the
object, because its object is the First Truth. Yet science has a more
perfect mode of knowing its object, which is not incompatible with vision
which is the perfection of happiness, as the mode of faith is
Reply to Objection 2: Faith is the foundation in as much as it is knowledge:
consequently when this knowledge is perfected, the foundation will be
The Reply to the Third Objection is clear from what has been said.
Article 4: Whether hope remains after death, in the state of glory?
Objection 1: It would seem that hope remains after death, in the state of
glory. Because hope perfects the human appetite in a more excellent
manner than the moral virtues. But the moral virtues remain after this
life, as Augustine clearly states (De Trin. xiv, 9). Much more then does
Objection 2: Further, fear is opposed to hope. But fear remains after this
life: in the Blessed, filial fear, which abides for ever---in the lost,
the fear of punishment. Therefore, in a like manner, hope can remain.
Objection 3: Further, just as hope is of future good, so is desire. Now in
the Blessed there is desire for future good; both for the glory of the
body, which the souls of the Blessed desire, as Augustine declares (Gen.
ad lit. xii, 35); and for the glory of the soul, according to Ecclus.
24:29: "They that eat me, shall yet hunger, and they that drink me, shall
yet thirst," and 1 Pt. 1:12: "On Whom the angels desire to look."
Therefore it seems that there can be hope in the Blessed after this life
On the contrary, The Apostle says (Rm. 8:24): "What a man seeth, why
doth he hope for?" But the Blessed see that which is the object of hope,
viz. God. Therefore they do not hope.
I answer that, As stated above (Article ), that which, in its very nature,
implies imperfection of its subject, is incompatible with the opposite
perfection in that subject. Thus it is evident that movement of its very
nature implies imperfection of its subject, since it is "the act of that
which is in potentiality as such" (Phys. iii): so that as soon as this
potentiality is brought into act, the movement ceases; for a thing does
not continue to become white, when once it is made white. Now hope
denotes a movement towards that which is not possessed, as is clear from
what we have said above about the passion of hope (Question , Articles ,2).
Therefore when we possess that which we hope for, viz. the enjoyment of
God, it will no longer be possible to have hope.
Reply to Objection 1: Hope surpasses the moral virtues as to its object, which is
God. But the acts of the moral virtues are not incompatible with the
perfection of happiness, as the act of hope is; except perhaps, as
regards their matter, in respect of which they do not remain. For moral
virtue perfects the appetite, not only in respect of what is not yet
possessed, but also as regards something which is in our actual
Reply to Objection 2: Fear is twofold, servile and filial, as we shall state
further on (SS, Question , Article ). Servile fear regards punishment, and will
be impossible in the life of glory, since there will no longer be
possibility of being punished. Filial fear has two acts: one is an act of
reverence to God, and with regard to this act, it remains: the other is
an act of fear lest we be separated from God, and as regards this act, it
does not remain. Because separation from God is in the nature of an evil:
and no evil will be feared there, according to Prov. 1:33: "He . . .
shall enjoy abundance without fear of evils." Now fear is opposed to hope
by opposition of good and evil, as stated above (Question , Article ; Question , Article ), and therefore the fear which will remain in glory is not opposed to
hope. In the lost there can be fear of punishment, rather than hope of
glory in the Blessed. Because in the lost there will be a succession of
punishments, so that the notion of something future remains there, which
is the object of fear: but the glory of the saints has no succession, by
reason of its being a kind of participation of eternity, wherein there is
neither past nor future, but only the present. And yet, properly
speaking, neither in the lost is there fear. For, as stated above (Question , Article ), fear is never without some hope of escape: and the lost have no
such hope. Consequently neither will there be fear in them; except
speaking in a general way, in so far as any expectation of future evil is
Reply to Objection 3: As to the glory of the soul, there can be no desire in the
Blessed, in so far as desire looks for something future, for the reason
already given (ad 2). Yet hunger and thirst are said to be in them
because they never weary, and for the same reason desire is said to be in
the angels. With regard to the glory of the body, there can be desire in
the souls of the saints, but not hope, properly speaking; neither as a
theological virtue, for thus its object is God, and not a created good;
nor in its general signification. Because the object of hope is something
difficult, as stated above (Question , Article ): while a good whose unerring
cause we already possess, is not compared to us as something difficult.
Hence he that has money is not, properly speaking, said to hope for what
he can buy at once. In like manner those who have the glory of the soul
are not, properly speaking, said to hope for the glory of the body, but
only to desire it.
Article 5: Whether anything of faith or hope remains in glory?
Objection 1: It would seem that something of faith and hope remains in glory.
For when that which is proper to a thing is removed, there remains what
is common; thus it is stated in De Causis that "if you take away
rational, there remains living, and when you remove living, there remains
being." Now in faith there is something that it has in common with
beatitude, viz. knowledge: and there is something proper to it, viz.
darkness, for faith is knowledge in a dark manner. Therefore, the
darkness of faith removed, the knowledge of faith still remains.
Objection 2: Further, faith is a spiritual light of the soul, according to
Eph. 1:17,18: "The eyes of your heart enlightened . . . in the knowledge
of God"; yet this light is imperfect in comparison with the light of
glory, of which it is written (Ps. 35:10): "In Thy light we shall see
light." Now an imperfect light remains when a perfect light supervenes:
for a candle is not extinguished when the sun's rays appear. Therefore it
seems that the light of faith itself remains with the light of glory.
Objection 3: Further, the substance of a habit does not cease through the
withdrawal of its matter: for a man may retain the habit of liberality,
though he have lost his money: yet he cannot exercise the act. Now the
object of faith is the First Truth as unseen. Therefore when this ceases
through being seen, the habit of faith can still remain.
On the contrary, Faith is a simple habit. Now a simple thing is either
withdrawn entirely, or remains entirely. Since therefore faith does not
remain entirely, but is taken away as stated above (Article ), it seems that
it is withdrawn entirely.
I answer that, Some have held that hope is taken away entirely: but
that faith is taken away in part, viz. as to its obscurity, and remains
in part, viz. as to the substance of its knowledge. And if this be
understood to mean that it remains the same, not identically but
generically, it is absolutely true; since faith is of the same genus,
viz. knowledge, as the beatific vision. On the other hand, hope is not of
the same genus as heavenly bliss: because it is compared to the enjoyment
of bliss, as movement is to rest in the term of movement.
But if it be understood to mean that in heaven the knowledge of faith
remains identically the same, this is absolutely impossible. Because when
you remove a specific difference, the substance of the genus does not
remain identically the same: thus if you remove the difference
constituting whiteness, the substance of color does not remain
identically the same, as though the identical color were at one time
whiteness, and, at another, blackness. The reason is that genus is not
related to difference as matter to form, so that the substance of the
genus remains identically the same, when the difference is removed, as
the substance of matter remains identically the same, when the form is
changed: for genus and difference are not the parts of a species, else
they would not be predicated of the species. But even as the species
denotes the whole, i.e. the compound of matter and form in material
things, so does the difference, and likewise the genus; the genus denotes
the whole by signifying that which is material; the difference, by
signifying that which is formal; the species, by signifying both. Thus,
in man, the sensitive nature is as matter to the intellectual nature, and
animal is predicated of that which has a sensitive nature, rational of
that which has an intellectual nature, and man of that which has both. So
that the one same whole is denoted by these three, but not under the same
It is therefore evident that, since the signification of the difference
is confined to the genus if the difference be removed, the substance of
the genus cannot remain the same: for the same animal nature does not
remain, if another kind of soul constitute the animal. Hence it is
impossible for the identical knowledge, which was previously obscure, to
become clear vision. It is therefore evident that, in heaven, nothing
remains of faith, either identically or specifically the same, but only
Reply to Objection 1: If "rational" be withdrawn, the remaining "living" thing is
the same, not identically, but generically, as stated.
Reply to Objection 2: The imperfection of candlelight is not opposed to the
perfection of sunlight, since they do not regard the same subject:
whereas the imperfection of faith and the perfection of glory are opposed
to one another and regard the same subject. Consequently they are
incompatible with one another, just as light and darkness in the air.
Reply to Objection 3: He that loses his money does not therefore lose the
possibility of having money, and therefore it is reasonable for the
habit of liberality to remain. But in the state of glory not only is the
object of faith, which is the unseen, removed actually, but even its
possibility, by reason of the unchangeableness of heavenly bliss: and so
such a habit would remain to no purpose.
Article 6: Whether charity remains after this life, in glory?
Objection 1: It would seem that charity does not remain after this life, in
glory. Because according to 1 Cor. 13:10, "when that which is perfect is
come, that which is in part," i.e. that which is imperfect, "shall be
done away." Now the charity of the wayfarer is imperfect. Therefore it
will be done away when the perfection of glory is attained.
Objection 2: Further, habits and acts are differentiated by their objects. But
the object of love is good apprehended. Since therefore the apprehension
of the present life differs from the apprehension of the life to come, it
seems that charity is not the same in both cases.
Objection 3: Further, things of the same kind can advance from imperfection to
perfection by continuous increase. But the charity of the wayfarer can
never attain to equality with the charity of heaven, however much it be
increased. Therefore it seems that the charity of the wayfarer does not
remain in heaven.
On the contrary, The Apostle says (1 Cor. 13:8): "Charity never falleth
I answer that, As stated above (Article ), when the imperfection of a thing
does not belong to its specific nature, there is nothing to hinder the
identical thing passing from imperfection to perfection, even as man is
perfected by growth, and whiteness by intensity. Now charity is love, the
nature of which does not include imperfection, since it may relate to an
object either possessed or not possessed, either seen or not seen.
Therefore charity is not done away by the perfection of glory, but
remains identically the same.
Reply to Objection 1: The imperfection of charity is accidental to it; because
imperfection is not included in the nature of love. Now although that
which is accidental to a thing be withdrawn, the substance remains. Hence
the imperfection of charity being done away, charity itself is not done
Reply to Objection 2: The object of charity is not knowledge itself; if it were,
the charity of the wayfarer would not be the same as the charity of
heaven: its object is the thing known, which remains the same, viz. God
Reply to Objection 3: The reason why charity of the wayfarer cannot attain to the
perfection of the charity of heaven, is a difference on the part of the
cause: for vision is a cause of love, as stated in Ethic. ix, 5: and the
more perfectly we know God, the more perfectly we love Him.