QUESTION 70: OF THE QUALITY OF THE SOUL AFTER LEAVING THE BODY, AND OF THE PUNISHMENT INFLICTED ON IT BY MATERIAL FIRE
We must next consider the general quality of the soul after leaving the
body, and the punishment inflicted on it by material fire. Under this
head there are three points of inquiry:
(1) Whether the sensitive powers remain in the separated soul?
(2) Whether the acts of the aforesaid powers remain in the soul?
(3) Whether the separated soul can suffer from a material fire?
Article 1: Whether the sensitive powers remain in the separated soul?
Objection 1: It would seem that the sensitive powers remain in the sensitive
soul. For Augustine says (De Spir. et Anim. xv): "The soul withdraws from
the body taking all with itself, sense and imagination, reason,
understanding and intelligence, the concupiscible and irascible powers."
Now sense, imagination, concupiscible and irascible are sensitive powers.
Therefore the sensitive powers remain in the separated soul.
Objection 2: Further, Augustine says (De Eccl. Dogm. xvi): "We believe that
man alone has a substantial soul, which lives though separated from the
body, and clings keenly to its senses and wits." Therefore the soul
retains its senses after being separated from the body.
Objection 3: Further, the soul's powers are either its essential parts as some
maintain, or at least are its natural properties. Now that which is in a
thing essentially cannot be separated from it, nor is a subject severed
from its natural properties. Therefore it is impossible for the soul to
lose any of its powers after being separated from the body.
Objection 4: Further, a whole is not entire if one of its parts be lacking.
Now the soul's powers are called its parts. Therefore, if the soul lose
any of its powers after death, it will not be entire after death: and
this is unfitting.
Objection 5: Further, the soul's powers co-operate in merit more even than the
body, since the body is a mere instrument of action, while the powers are
principles of action. Now the body must of necessity be rewarded together
with the soul, since it co-operated in merit. Much more, therefore, is it
necessary that the powers of the soul be rewarded together with it.
Therefore the separated soul does not lose them.
Objection 6: Further, if the soul after separation from the body loses its
sensitive power, that must needs come to naught. For it cannot be said
that it is dissolved into some matter, since it has no matter as a part
of itself. Now that which entirely comes to naught is not restored in
identity; wherefore at the resurrection the soul will not have the same
identical sensitive powers. Now according to the Philosopher (De Anima
ii, 1), as the soul is to the body so are the soul's powers to the parts
of the body, for instance the sight to the eye. But if it were not
identically the same soul that returns to the body, it would not be
identically the same man. Therefore for the same reason it would not be
identically the same eye, if the visual power were not identically the
same; and in like manner no other part would rise again in identity, and
consequently neither would the whole man be identically the same.
Therefore it is impossible for the separated soul to lose its sensitive
Objection 7: Further, if the sensitive powers were to be corrupted when the
body is corrupted, it would follow that they are weakened when the body
is weakened. Yet this is not the case, for according to De Anima i, "if
an old man were given the eye of a young man, he would, without doubt,
see as well as a young man." Therefore neither are the sensitive powers
corrupted when the body is corrupted.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Eccl. Dogm. xix): "Of two substances
alone does man consist, soul and body: the soul with its reason, and the
body with its senses." Therefore the sensitive powers belong to the body:
and consequently when the body is corrupted the sensitive powers remain
not in the soul.
Further, the Philosopher, speaking of the separation of the soul,
expresses himself thus (Metaph. xi, 3): "If, however, anything remain at
last, we must ask what this is: because in certain subjects it is not
impossible, for instance if the soul be of such a disposition, not the
whole soul but the intellect; for as regards the whole soul this is
probably impossible." Hence it seems that the whole soul is not separated
from the body, but only the intellective powers of the soul, and
consequently not the sensitive or vegetative powers.
Further, the Philosopher, speaking of the intellect, says (De Anima ii,
2): "This alone is ever separated, as the everlasting from the
corruptible: for it is hereby clear that the remaining parts are not
separable as some maintain." Therefore the sensitive powers do not remain
in the separated soul.
I answer that, There are many opinions on this question. For some,
holding the view that all the powers are in the soul in the same way as
color is in a body, hold that the soul separated from the body takes all
its powers away with it: because, if it lacked any one of them, it would
follow that the soul is changed in its natural properties, since these
cannot change so long as their subject remains. But the aforesaid view is
false, for since a power is so called because it enables us to do or
suffer something, and since to do and to be able belong to the same
subject, it follows that the subject of a power is the same as that which
is agent or patient. Hence the Philosopher says (De Somn. et Vigil.) that
"where we find power there we find action." Now it is evident that
certain operations, whereof the soul's powers are the principles, do not
belong to the soul properly speaking but to the soul as united to the
body, because they are not performed except through the medium of the
body---such as to see, to hear, and so forth. Hence it follows that such
like powers belong to the united soul and body as their subject, but to
the soul as their quickening principle, just as the form is the principle
of the properties of a composite being. Some operations, however, are
performed by the soul without a bodily organ---for instance to
understand, to consider, to will: wherefore, since these actions are
proper to the soul, the powers that are the principles thereof belong to
the soul not only as their principle but also as their subject.
Therefore, since so long as the proper subject remains its proper
passions must also remain, and when it is corrupted they also must be
corrupted, it follows that these powers which use no bodily organ for
their actions must needs remain in the separated body, while those which
use a bodily organ must needs be corrupted when the body is corrupted:
and such are all the powers belonging to the sensitive and the vegetative
soul. On this account some draw a distinction in the sensitive powers of
the soul: for they say that they are of two kinds---some being acts of
organs and emanating from the soul into the body are corrupted with the
body; others, whence the former originate, are in the soul, because by
them the soul sensitizes the body for seeing, hearing, and so on; and
these primary powers remain in the separated soul. But this statement
seems unreasonable: because the soul, by its essence and not through the
medium of certain other powers, is the origin of those powers which are
the acts of organs, even as any form, from the very fact that by its
essence it informs its matter, is the origin of the properties which
result naturally in the composite. For were it necessary to suppose other
powers in the soul, by means of which the powers that perfect the organs
may flow from the essence of the soul, for the same reason it would be
necessary to suppose other powers by means of which these mean powers
flow from the essence of the soul, and so on to infinity, and if we have
to stop it is better to do so at the first step.
Hence others say that the sensitive and other like powers do not remain
in the separated soul except in a restricted sense, namely radically, in
the same way as a result is in its principle: because there remains in
the separated soul the ability to produce these powers if it should be
reunited to the body; nor is it necessary for this ability to be anything
in addition to the essence of the soul, as stated above. This opinion
appears to be the more reasonable.
Reply to Objection 1: This saying of Augustine is to be understood as meaning
that the soul takes away with it some of those powers actually, namely
understanding and intelligence, and some radically, as stated above [*Cf.
FP, Question , Article , ad 1 and infra Article , ad 1].
Reply to Objection 2: The senses which the soul takes away with it are not these
external senses, but the internal, those, namely, which pertain to the
intellective part, for the intellect is sometimes called sense, as Basil
states in his commentary on the Proverbs, and again the Philosopher
(Ethic. vi, 11). If, however, he means the external senses we must reply
as above to the first objection.
Reply to Objection 3: As stated above, the sensitive powers are related to the soul, not as natural passions to their subject, but as compared to their origin: wherefore the conclusion does not follow.
Reply to Objection 4: The powers of the soul are not called its integral but its
potential parts. Now the nature of such like wholes is that the entire
energy of the whole is found perfectly in one of the parts, but partially
in the others; thus in the soul the soul's energy is found perfectly in
the intellective part, but partially in the others. Wherefore, as the
powers of the intellective part remain in the separated soul, the latter
will remain entire and undiminished, although the sensitive powers do not
remain actually: as neither is the king's power decreased by the death of
a mayor who shared his authority.
Reply to Objection 5: The body co-operates in merit, as an essential part of the
man who merits. The sensitive powers, however, do not co-operate thus,
since they are of the genus of accidents. Hence the comparison fails.
Reply to Objection 6: The powers of the sensitive soul are said to be acts of the
organs, not as though they were the essential forms of those organs,
except in reference to the soul whose powers they are. But they are the
acts of the organs, by perfecting them for their proper operations, as
heat is the act of fire by perfecting it for the purpose of heating.
Wherefore, just as a fire would remain identically the same, although
another individual heat were in it (even so the cold of water that has
been heated returns not identically the same, although the water remains
the same in identity), so the organs will be the same identically,
although the powers be not identically the same.
Reply to Objection 7: The Philosopher is speaking there of these powers as being
rooted in the soul. This is clear from his saying that "old age is an
affection not of the soul, but of that in which the soul is," namely the
body. For in this way the powers of the soul are neither weakened nor
corrupted on account of the body.
Article 2: Whether the acts of the sensitive powers remain in the separated soul?
Objection 1: It would seem that the acts of the sensitive powers remain in the
separated soul. For Augustine says (De Spiritu et Anima xv): "When the
soul leaves the body it derives pleasure or sorrow through being affected
with these" (namely the imagination, and the concupiscible and irascible
faculties) "according to its merits." But the imagination, the
concupiscible, and the irascible are sensitive powers. Therefore the
separated soul will be affected as regards the sensitive powers, and
consequently will be in some act by reason of them.
Objection 2: Further, Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii) that "the body feels
not, but the soul through the body," and further on: "The soul feels
certain things, not through the body but without the body." Now that
which befits the soul without the body can be in the soul separated from
the body. Therefore the soul will then be able to feel actually.
Objection 3: Further, to see images of bodies, as occurs in sleep, belongs to
imaginary vision which is in the sensitive part. Now it happens that the
separated soul sees images of bodies in the same way as when we sleep.
Thus Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii): "For I see not why the soul has
an image of its own body when, the body lying senseless, yet not quite
dead, it sees some things which many have related after returning to life
from this suspended animation and yet has it not when it has left the
body through death having taken place." For it is unintelligible that the
soul should have an image of its body, except in so far as it sees that
image: wherefore he said before of those who lie senseless that "they
have a certain image of their own body, by which they are able to be
borne to corporeal places and by means of sensible images to take
cognizance of such things as they see." Therefore the separated soul can
exercise the acts of the sensitive powers.
Objection 4: Further, the memory is a power of the sensitive part, as proved
in De Memor. et Remin. i. Now separated souls will actually remember the
things they did in this world: wherefore it is said to the rich glutton
(Lk. 16:25): "Remember that thou didst receive good things in thy
lifetime." Therefore the separated soul will exercise the act of a
Objection 5: Further, according to the Philosopher (De Anima iii, 9) the
irascible and concupiscible are in the sensitive part. But joy and
sorrow, love and hatred, fear and hope, and similar emotions which
according to our faith we hold to be in separated souls, are in the
irascible and concupiscible. Therefore separated souls will not be
deprived of the acts of the sensitive powers.
On the contrary, That which is common to soul and body cannot remain in
the separated soul. Now all the operations of the sensitive powers are
common to the soul and body: and this is evident from the fact that no
sensitive power exercises an act except through a bodily organ. Therefore
the separated soul will be deprived of the acts of the sensitive powers.
Further, the Philosopher says (De Anima i, 4), that "when the body is
corrupted, the soul neither remembers nor loves," and the same applies to
all the acts of the sensitive powers. Therefore the separated soul does
not exercise the act of any sensitive power.
I answer that, Some distinguish two kinds of acts in the sensitive
powers: external acts which the soul exercises through the body. and
these do not remain in the separated soul; and internal acts which the
soul performs by itself; and these will be in the separated soul. This
statement would seem to have originated from the opinion of Plato, who
held that the soul is united to the body, as a perfect substance nowise
dependant on the body, and merely as a mover is united to the thing
moved. This is an evident consequence of transmigration which he held.
And since according to him nothing is in motion except what is moved, and
lest he should go on indefinitely, he said that the first mover moves
itself, and he maintained that the soul is the cause of its own movement.
Accordingly there would be a twofold movement of the soul, one by which
it moves itself, and another whereby the body is moved by the soul: so
that this act "to see" is first of all in the soul itself as moving
itself, and secondly in the bodily organ in so far as the soul moves the
body. This opinion is refuted by the Philosopher (De Anima i, 3) who
proves that the soul does not move itself, and that it is nowise moved in
respect of such operations as seeing, feeling, and the like, but that
such operations are movements of the composite only. We must therefore
conclude that the acts of the sensitive powers nowise remain in the
separated soul, except perhaps as in their remote origin.
Reply to Objection 1: Some deny that this book is Augustine's: for it is ascribed
to a Cistercian who compiled it from Augustine's works and added things
of his own. Hence we are not to take what is written there, as having
authority. If, however, its authority should be maintained, it must be
said that the meaning is that the separated soul is affected with
imagination and other like powers, not as though such affection were the
act of the aforesaid powers, but in the sense that the soul will be
affected in the future life for good or ill, according to the things
which it committed in the body through the imagination and other like
powers: so that the imagination and such like powers are not supposed to
elicit that affection, but to have elicited in the body the merit of that
Reply to Objection 2: The soul is said to feel through the body, not as though
the act of feeling belonged to the soul by itself, but as belonging to
the whole composite by reason of the soul, just as we say that heat
heats. That which is added, namely that the soul feels some things
without the body, such as fear and so forth, means that it feels such
things without the outward movement of the body that takes place in the
acts of the proper senses: since fear and like passions do not occur
without any bodily movement.
It may also be replied that Augustine is speaking according to the
opinion of the Platonists who maintained this as stated above.
Reply to Objection 3: Augustine speaks there as nearly throughout that book, as
one inquiring and not deciding. For it is clear that there is no
comparison between the soul of a sleeper and the separated soul: since
the soul of the sleeper uses the organ of imagination wherein corporeal
images are impressed; which cannot be said of the separated soul. Or we
may reply that images of things are in the soul, both as to the sensitive
and imaginative power and as to the intellective power, with greater or
lesser abstraction from matter and material conditions. Wherefore
Augustine's comparison holds in this respect that just as the images of
corporeal things are in the soul of the dreamer or of one who is carried
out of his mind, imaginatively, so are they in the separated soul
intellectively: but not that they are in the separated soul imaginatively.
Reply to Objection 4: As stated in the first book (Sent. i, D, 3, qu. 4), memory
has a twofold signification. Sometimes it means a power of the sensitive
part, in so far as its gaze extends over past time; and in this way the
act of the memory will not be in the separated soul. Wherefore the
Philosopher says (De Anima i, 4) that "when this," the body to wit, "is
corrupted, the soul remembers not." In another way memory is used to
designate that part of the imagination which pertains to the intellective
faculty, in so far namely as it abstracts from all differences of time,
since it regards not only the past but also the present, and the future
as Augustine says (De Trin. xiv, 11). Taking memory in this sense the
separated soul will remember [*Cf. FP, Question , Article ; FP, Question , Article ].
Reply to Objection 5: Love, joy, sorrow, and the like, have a twofold
signification. Sometimes they denote passions of the sensitive appetite,
and thus they will not be in the separated soul, because in this way they
are not exercised without a definite movement of the heart. In another
way they denote acts of the will which is in the intellective part: and
in this way they will be in the separated soul, even as delight will be
there without bodily movement, even as it is in God, namely in so far as
it is a simple movement of the will. In this sense the Philosopher says
(Ethic. vii, 14) that "God's joy is one simple delight."
Article 3: Whether the separated soul can suffer from a bodily fire?
Objection 1: It would seem that the separated soul cannot suffer from a bodily
fire. For Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii): "The things that affect the
soul well or ill after its separation from the body, are not corporeal
but resemble corporeal things." Therefore the separated soul is not
punished with a bodily fire.
Objection 2: Further, Augustine (Gen. ad lit. xii) says that "the agent is
always more excellent than the patient." But it is impossible for any
body to be more excellent than the separated soul. Therefore it cannot
suffer from a body.
Objection 3: Further, according to the Philosopher (De Gener. i) and Boethius
(De Duab. Natur.) only those things that agree in matter are active and
passive in relation to one another. But the soul and corporeal fire do
not agree in matter, since there is no matter common to spiritual and
corporeal things: wherefore they cannot be changed into one another, as
Boethius says (De Duab. Natur.). Therefore the separated soul does not
suffer from a bodily fire.
Objection 4: Further, whatsoever is patient receives something from the agent.
Therefore if the soul suffer from the bodily fire, it will receive
something therefrom. Now whatsoever is received in a thing is received
according to the mode of the recipient. Therefore that which is received
in the soul from the fire, is in it not materially but spiritually. Now
the forms of things existing spiritually in the soul are its perfections.
Therefore though it be granted that the soul suffer from the bodily fire,
this will not conduce to its punishment, but rather to its perfection.
Objection 5: Further, if it be said that the soul is punished merely by seeing
the fire, as Gregory would seem to say (Dial. iv, 29). On the contrary,
if the soul sees the fire of hell, it cannot see it save by intellectual
vision, since it has not the organs by which sensitive or imaginative
vision is effected. But it would seem impossible for intellectual vision
to be the cause of sorrow, since "there is no sorrow contrary to the
pleasure of considering," according to the Philosopher (Topic. i, 13).
Therefore the soul is not punished by that vision.
Objection 6: Further, if it be said that the soul suffers from the corporeal
fire, through being held thereby, even as now it is held by the body
while living in the body; on the contrary, the soul while living in the
body is held by the body in so far as there results one thing from the
soul and the body, as from form and matter. But the soul will not be the
form of that corporeal fire. Therefore it cannot be held by the fire in
the manner aforesaid.
Objection 7: Further, every bodily agent acts by contact. But a corporeal fire
cannot be in contact with the soul, since contact is only between
corporeal things whose bounds come together. Therefore the soul suffers
not from that fire.
Objection 8: Further, an organic agent does not act on a remote object, except
through acting on the intermediate objects; wherefore it is able to act
at a fixed distance in proportion to its power. But souls, or at least
the demons to whom this equally applies, are sometimes outside the place
of hell, since sometimes they appear to men even in this world: and yet
they are not then free from punishment, for just as the glory of the
saints is never interrupted, so neither is the punishment of the damned.
And yet we do not find that all the intermediate things suffer from the
fire of hell: nor again is it credible that any corporeal thing of an
elemental nature has such a power that its action can reach to such a
distance. Therefore it does not seem that the pains suffered by the souls
of the damned are inflicted by a corporeal fire.
On the contrary, The possibility of suffering from a corporeal fire is
equally consistent with separated souls and with demons. Now demons
suffer therefrom since they are punished by that fire into which the
bodies of the damned will be cast after the resurrection, and which must
needs be as corporeal fire. This is evident from the words of our Lord
(Mt. 25:41), "Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which
was prepared for the devil," etc. Therefore separated souls also can
suffer from that fire.
Further, punishment should correspond to sin. Now in sinning the soul
subjected itself to the body by sinful concupiscence. Therefore it is
just that it should be punished by being made subject to a bodily thing
by suffering therefrom.
Further, there is greater union between form and matter than between
agent and patient. Now the diversity of spiritual and corporeal nature
does not hinder the soul from being the form of the body. Therefore
neither is it an obstacle to its suffering from a body.
I answer that, Given that the fire of hell is not so called
metaphorically, nor an imaginary fire, but a real corporeal fire, we must
needs say that the soul will suffer punishment from a corporeal fire,
since our Lord said (Mt. 25:41) that this fire was prepared for the devil
and his angels, who are incorporeal even as the soul. But how it is that
they can thus suffer is explained in many ways.
For some have said that the mere fact that the soul sees the fire makes
the soul suffer from the fire: wherefore Gregory (Dial. iv, 29) says:
"The soul suffers from the fire by merely seeing it." But this does not
seem sufficient, because whatever is seen, from the fact that it is seen,
is a perfection of the seer. wherefore it cannot conduce to his
punishment, as seen. Sometimes, however, it is of a penal or unpleasant
nature accidentally, in so far, to wit, as it is apprehended as something
hurtful, and consequently, besides the fact that the soul sees the fire,
there must needs be some relation of the soul to the fire, according to
which the fire is hurtful to the soul.
Hence others have said that although a corporeal fire cannot burn the
soul, the soul nevertheless apprehends it as hurtful to itself, and in
consequence of this apprehension is seized with fear and sorrow, in
fulfillment of Ps. 13:5, "They have trembled for fear, where there was no
fear." Hence Gregory says (Dial. iv, 29) that "the soul burns through
seeing itself aflame." But this, again, seems insufficient, because in
this case the soul would suffer from the fire, not in reality but only in
apprehension: for although a real passion of sorrow or pain may result
from a false imagination, as Augustine observes (Gen. ad lit. xii), it
cannot be said in relation to that passion that one really suffers from
the thing, but from the image of the thing that is present to one's
fancy. Moreover, this kind of suffering would be more unlike real
suffering than that which results from imaginary vision, since the latter
is stated to result from real images of things, which images the soul
carries about with it, whereas the former results from false fancies
which the erring soul imagines: and furthermore, it is not probable that
separated souls or demons, who are endowed with keen intelligence, would
think it possible for a corporeal fire to hurt them, if they were nowise
Hence others say that it is necessary to admit that the soul suffers
even really from the corporeal fire: wherefore Gregory says (Dial. iv,
29): "We can gather from the words of the Gospel, that the soul suffers
from the fire not only by seeing it, but also by feeling it." They
explain the possibility of this as follows. They say that this corporeal
fire can be considered in two ways. First, as a corporeal thing, and thus
it has not the power to act on the soul. Secondly, as the instrument of
the vengeance of Divine justice. For the order of Divine justice demands
that the soul which by sinning subjected itself to corporeal things
should be subjected to them also in punishment. Now an instrument acts
not only in virtue of its own nature, but also in virtue of the principal
agent: wherefore it is not unreasonable if that fire, seeing that it acts
in virtue of a spiritual agent, should act on the spirit of a man or
demon, in the same way as we have explained the sanctification of the
soul by the sacraments (TP, Question , Articles ,4).
But, again, this does not seem to suffice, since every instrument, in
acting on that on which it is used instrumentally, has its own connatural
action besides the action whereby it acts in virtue of the principal
agent: in fact it is by fulfilling the former that it effects the latter
action, even as, in Baptism, it is by laving the body that water
sanctifies the soul, and the saw by cutting wood produces the shape of a
Hence we must allow the fire to exercise on the soul an action
connatural to the fire, in order that it may be the instrument of Divine
justice in the punishment of sin: and for this reason we must say that a
body cannot naturally act on a spirit, nor in any way be hurtful or
distressful to it, except in so far as the latter is in some way united
to a body: for thus we observe that "the corruptible body is a load upon
the soul" (Wis. 9:15). Now a spirit is united to a body in two ways. In
one way as form to matter, so that from their union there results one
thing simply: and the spirit that is thus united to a body both quickens
the body and is somewhat burdened by the body: but it is not thus that
the spirit of man or demon is united to the corporeal fire. In another
way as the mover is united to the things moved, or as a thing placed is
united to place, even as incorporeal things are in a place. In this way
created incorporeal spirits are confined to a place, being in one place
in such a way as not to be in another. Now although of its nature a
corporeal thing is able to confine an incorporeal spirit to a place, it
is not able of its nature to detain an incorporeal spirit in the place to
which it is confined, and so to tie it to that place that it be unable to
seek another, since a spirit is not by nature in a place so as to be
subject to place. But the corporeal fire is enabled as the instrument of
the vengeance of Divine justice thus to detain a spirit; and thus it has
a penal effect on it, by hindering it from fulfilling its own will, that
is by hindering it from acting where it will and as it will.
This way is asserted by Gregory (Dial. iv, 29). For in explaining how
the soul can suffer from that fire by feeling it, he expresses himself as
follows: "Since Truth declares the rich sinner to be condemned to fire,
will any wise man deny that the souls of the wicked are imprisoned in
flames?" Julian [*Bishop of Toledo, Prognostic ii, 17] says the same as
quoted by the Master (Sent. iv, D, 44): "If the incorporeal spirit of a
living man is held by the body, why shall it not be held after death by a
corporeal fire?" and Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xxi, 10) that "just as,
although the soul is spiritual and the body corporeal, man is so
fashioned that the soul is united to the body as giving it life, and on
account of this union conceives a great love for its body, so it is
chained to the fire, as receiving punishment therefrom, and from this
union conceives a loathing."
Accordingly we must unite all the aforesaid modes together, in order to
understand perfectly how the soul suffers from a corporeal fire: so as to
say that the fire of its nature is able to have an incorporeal spirit
united to it as a thing placed is united to a place; that as the
instrument of Divine justice it is enabled to detain it enchained as it
were, and in this respect this fire is really hurtful to the spirit, and
thus the soul seeing the fire as something hurtful to it is tormented by
the fire. Hence Gregory (Dial. iv, 29) mentions all these in order, as
may be seen from the above quotations.
Reply to Objection 1: Augustine speaks there as one inquiring: wherefore he
expresses himself otherwise when deciding the point, as quoted above (De
Civ. Dei xxi). Or we may reply that Augustine means to say that the
things which are the proximate occasion of the soul's pain or sorrow are
spiritual, since it would not be distressed unless it apprehended the
fire as hurtful to it: wherefore the fire as apprehended is the proximate
cause of its distress, whereas the corporeal fire which exists outside
the soul is the remote cause of its distress.
Reply to Objection 2: Although the soul is simply more excellent than the fire,
the fire is relatively more excellent than the soul, in so far, to wit,
as it is the instrument of Divine justice.
Reply to Objection 3: The Philosopher and Boethius are speaking of the action
whereby the patient is changed into the nature of the agent. Such is not
the action of the fire on the soul: and consequently the argument is not
Reply to Objection 4: By acting on the soul the fire bestows nothing on it but
detains it, as stated above. Hence the argument is not to the point.
Reply to Objection 5: In intellectual vision sorrow is not caused by the fact
that something is seen, since the thing seen as such can nowise be
contrary to the intellect. But in the sensible vision the thing seen, by
its very action on the sight so as to be seen, there may be accidentally
something corruptive of the sight, in so far as it destroys the harmony
of the organ Nevertheless, intellectual vision may cause sorrow, in so
far as the thing seen is apprehended as hurtful, not that it hurts
through being seen, but in some other way no matter which. It is thus
that the soul in seeing the fire is distressed.
Reply to Objection 6: The comparison does not hold in every respect, but it does
in some, as explained above.
Reply to Objection 7: Although there is no bodily contact between the soul and
body, there is a certain spiritual contact between them (even as the
mover of the heaven, being spiritual, touches the heaven, when it moves
it, with a spiritual contact) in the same way as a "painful object is
said to touch," as stated in De Gener. i. This mode of contact is
sufficient for action.
Reply to Objection 8: The souls of the damned are never outside hell, except by
Divine permission, either for the instruction or for the trial of the
elect. And wherever they are outside hell they nevertheless always see
the fire thereof as prepared for their punishment. Wherefore, since this
vision is the immediate cause of their distress, as stated above,
wherever they are, they suffer from hell-fire. Even so prisoners, though
outside the prison, suffer somewhat from the prison, seeing themselves
condemned thereto. Hence just as the glory of the elect is not
diminished, neither as to the essential, nor as to the accidental reward,
if they happen to be outside the empyrean, in fact this somewhat conduces
to their glory, so the punishment of the damned is nowise diminished, if
by God's permission they happen to be outside hell for a time. A gloss on
James 3:6, "inflameth the wheel of our nativity," etc., is in agreement
with this, for it is worded thus: "The devil, wherever he is, whether in
the air or under the earth, drags with him the torments of his flames."
But the objection argues as though the corporeal fire tortured the spirit
immediately in the same way as it torments bodies.