QUESTION 75: OF THE RESURRECTION
In the next place we must consider things connected with and
accompanying the resurrection. Of these the first to be considered will
be the resurrection itself; the second will be the cause of the
resurrection; the third its time and manner. the fourth its term
"wherefrom"; the fifth the condition of those who rise again.
Under the first head there will be three points of inquiry:
(1) Whether there is to be a resurrection of the body?
(2) Whether it is universally of all bodies?
(3) Whether it is natural or miraculous?
Article 1: Whether there is to be a resurrection of the body?
Objection 1: It would seem that there is not to be a resurrection of the body:
for it is written (Job 14:12): "Man, when he is fallen asleep, shall not
rise again till the heavens be broken." But the heavens shall never be
broken, since the earth, to which seemingly this is still less
applicable, "standeth for ever" (Eccles. 1:4). Therefore the man that is
dead shall never rise again.
Objection 2: Further, Our Lord proves the resurrection by quoting the words:
"I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He
is not the God of the dead but of the living" (Mt. 22:32; Ex. 3:6). But
it is clear that when those words were uttered, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
lived not in body, but only in the soul. Therefore there will be no
resurrection of bodies but only of souls.
Objection 3: Further, the Apostle (1 Cor. 15) seemingly proves the
resurrection from the reward for labors endured by the saints in this
life. For if they trusted in this life alone, they would be the most
unhappy of all men. Now there can be sufficient reward for labor in the
soul alone: since it is not necessary for the instrument to be repaid
together with the worker, and the body is the soul's instrument.
Wherefore even in purgatory, where souls will be punished for what they
did in the body, the soul is punished without the body. Therefore there
is no need to hold a resurrection of the body, but it is enough to hold a
resurrection of souls, which consists in their being taken from the death
of sin and unhappiness to the life of grace and glory.
Objection 4: Further, the last state of a thing is the most perfect, since
thereby it attains its end. Now the most perfect state of the soul is to
be separated from the body, since in that state it is more conformed to
God and the angels, and is more pure, as being separated from any
extraneous nature. Therefore separation from the body is its final state,
and consequently it returns not from this state to the body, as neither
does a man end in becoming a boy.
Objection 5: Further, bodily death is the punishment inflicted on man for his
own transgression, as appears from Gn. 2, even as spiritual death, which
is the separation of the soul from God, is inflicted on man for mortal
sin. Now man never returns to life from spiritual death after receiving
the sentence of his damnation. Therefore neither will there be any return
from bodily death to bodily life, and so there will be no resurrection.
On the contrary, It is written (Job 19:25-26): "I know that my Redeemer
liveth, and in the last day I shall rise out of the earth, and I shall be
clothed again with my skin," etc. Therefore there will be a resurrection
of the body.
Further, the gift of Christ is greater than the sin of Adam, as appears
from Rm. 5:15. Now death was brought in by sin, for if sin had not been,
there had been no death. Therefore by the gift of Christ man will be
restored from death to life.
Further, the members should be conformed to the head. Now our Head lives
and will live eternally in body and soul, since "Christ rising again from
the dead dieth now no more" (Rm. 6:8). Therefore men who are His members
will live in body and soul; and consequently there must needs be a
resurrection of the body.
I answer that, According to the various opinions about man's last end
there have been various opinions holding or denying the resurrection. For
man's last end which all men desire naturally is happiness. Some have
held that man is able to attain this end in this life: wherefore they had
no need to admit another life after this, wherein man would be able to
attain to his perfection: and so they denied the resurrection.
This opinion is confuted with sufficient probability by the
changeableness of fortune, the weakness of the human body, the
imperfection and instability of knowledge and virtue, all of which are
hindrances to the perfection of happiness, as Augustine argues at the end
of De Civ. Dei (xxii, 22).
Hence others maintained that after this there is another life wherein,
after death, man lives according to the soul only, and they held that
such a life sufficed to satisfy the natural desire to obtain happiness:
wherefore Porphyrius said as Augustine states (De Civ. De. xxii, 26):
"The soul, to be happy, must avoid all bodies": and consequently these
did not hold the resurrection.
This opinion was based by various people on various false foundations.
For certain heretics asserted that all bodily things are from the evil
principle, but that spiritual things are from the good principle: and
from this it follows that the soul cannot reach the height of its
perfection unless it be separated from the body, since the latter
withdraws it from its principle, the participation of which makes it
happy. Hence all those heretical sects that hold corporeal things to have
been created or fashioned by the devil deny the resurrection of the body.
The falsehood of this principle has been shown at the beginning of the
Second Book (Sent. ii, D, 4, qu. 1, Article ; *[Cf. FP, Question , Article ]).
Others said that the entire nature of man is seated in the soul, so that
the soul makes use of the body as an instrument, or as a sailor uses his
ship: wherefore according to this opinion, it follows that if happiness
is attained by the soul alone, man would not be balked in his natural
desire for happiness, and so there is no need to hold the resurrection.
But the Philosopher sufficiently destroys this foundation (De Anima ii,
2), where he shows that the soul is united to the body as form to matter.
Hence it is clear that if man cannot be happy in this life, we must of
necessity hold the resurrection.
Reply to Objection 1: The heavens will never be broken as to their substance, but
as to the effect of their power whereby their movement is the cause of
generation and corruption of lower things: for this reason the Apostle
says (1 Cor. 7:31): "The fashion of this world passeth away."
Reply to Objection 2: Abraham's soul, properly speaking, is not Abraham himself,
but a part of him (and the same as regards the others). Hence life in
Abraham's soul does not suffice to make Abraham a living being, or to
make the God of Abraham the God of a living man. But there needs to be
life in the whole composite, i.e. the soul and body: and although this
life were not actually when these words were uttered, it was in each part
as ordained to the resurrection. Wherefore our Lord proves the
resurrection with the greatest subtlety and efficacy.
Reply to Objection 3: The soul is compared to the body, not only as a worker to
the instrument with which he works, but also as form to matter: wherefore
the work belongs to the composite and not to the soul alone, as the
Philosopher shows (De Anima i, 4). And since to the worker is due the
reward of the work, it behooves man himself, who is composed of soul and
body, to receive the reward of his work. Now as venial offenses are
called sins as being dispositions to sin, and not as having simply and
perfectly the character of sin, so the punishment which is awarded to
them in purgatory is not a retribution simply, but rather a cleansing,
which is wrought separately in the body, by death and by its being
reduced to ashes, and in the soul by the fire of purgatory.
Reply to Objection 4: Other things being equal, the state of the soul in the body
is more perfect than outside the body, because it is a part of the whole
composite; and every integral part is material in comparison to the
whole: and though it were conformed to God in one respect, it is not
simply. Because, strictly speaking, a thing is more conformed to God when
it has all that the condition of its nature requires, since then most of
all it imitates the Divine perfection. Hence the heart of an animal is
more conformed to an immovable God when it is in movement than when it is
at rest, because the perfection of the heart is in its movement, and its
rest is its undoing.
Reply to Objection 5: Bodily death was brought about by Adam's sin which was
blotted out by Christ's death: hence its punishment lasts not for ever.
But mortal sin which causes everlasting death through impenitence will
not be expiated hereafter. Hence that death will be everlasting.
Article 2: Whether the resurrection will be for all without exception?
Objection 1: It would seem that the resurrection will not be for all without
exception. For it is written (Ps. 1:5): "The wicked shall not rise again
in judgment." Now men will not rise again except at the time of the
general judgment. Therefore the wicked shall in no way rise again.
Objection 2: Further, it is written (Dan. 12:2): "Many of those that sleep in
the dust of the earth shall awake." But these words imply a restriction.
Therefore all will not rise again.
Objection 3: Further, by the resurrection men are conformed to Christ rising
again; wherefore the Apostle argues (1 Cor. 15:12, seqq.) that if Christ
rose again, we also shall rise again. Now those alone should be conformed
to Christ rising again who have borne His image, and this belongs to the
good alone. Therefore they alone shall rise again.
Objection 4: Further, punishment is not remitted unless the fault be condoned.
Now bodily death is the punishment of original sin. Therefore, as
original sin is not forgiven to all, all will not rise again.
Objection 5: Further, as we are born again by the grace of Christ, even so
shall we rise again by His grace. Now those who die in their mother's
womb can never be born again: therefore neither can they rise again, and
consequently all will not rise again.
On the contrary, It is said (Jn. 5:28,25): "All that are in the graves
shall hear the voice of the Son of God . . . and they that hear shall
live." Therefore the dead shall all rise again.
Further, it is written (1 Cor. 15:51): "We shall all indeed rise again,"
Further, the resurrection is necessary in order that those who rise
again may receive punishment or reward according to their merits. Now
either punishment or reward is due to all, either for their own merits,
as to adults, or for others' merits, as to children. Therefore all will
I answer that, Those things, the reason of which comes from the nature
of a species, must needs be found likewise in all the members of that
same species. Now such is the resurrection: because the reason thereof,
as stated above (Article ), is that the soul cannot have the final perfection
of the human species, so long as it is separated from the body. Hence no
soul will remain for ever separated from the body. Therefore it is
necessary for all, as well as for one, to rise again.
Reply to Objection 1: As a gloss expounds these words, they refer to the
spiritual resurrection whereby the wicked shall not rise again in the
particular judgment. or else they refer to the wicked who are altogether
unbelievers, who will not rise again to be judged, since they are already
judged [*Jn. 3:18].
Reply to Objection 2: Augustine (De Civ. Dei xx, 23) explains "many" as meaning
"all": in fact, this way of speaking is often met with in Holy Writ. Or
else the restriction may refer to the children consigned to limbo who,
although they shall rise again, are not properly said to awake, since
they will have no sense either of pain or of glory, and waking is the
unchaining of the senses.
Reply to Objection 3: All, both good and wicked, are conformed to Christ, while
living in this life, as regards things pertaining to the nature of the
species, but not as regards matters pertaining to grace. Hence all will
be conformed to Him in the restoration of natural life, but not in the
likeness of glory, except the good alone.
Reply to Objection 4: Those who have died in original sin have, by dying,
discharged the obligation of death which is the punishment of original
sin. Hence, notwithstanding original sin, they can rise again from death:
for the punishment of original sin is to die, rather than to be detained
Reply to Objection 5: We are born again by the grace of Christ that is given to
us, but we rise again by the grace of Christ whereby it came about that
He took our nature, since it is by this that we are conformed to Him in
natural things. Hence those who die in their mother's womb, although they
are not born again by receiving grace, will nevertheless rise again on
account of the conformity of their nature with Him, which conformity they
acquired by attaining to the perfection of the human species.
Article 3: Whether the resurrection is natural?
Objection 1: It would seem that the resurrection is natural. For, as the
Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 14), "that which is commonly observed
in all, marks the nature of the individuals contained under it." Now
resurrection applies commonly to all. Therefore it is natural.
Objection 2: Further, Gregory says (Moral. xiv, 55): "Those who do not hold
the resurrection on the principle of obedience ought certainly to hold it
on the principle of reason. For what does the world every day but
imitate, in its elements, our resurrection?" And he offers as examples
the light which "as it were dies . . . and is withdrawn from our sight .
. . and again rises anew, as it were, and is recalled---the shrubs which
lose their greenery, and again by a kind of resurrection are
renewed---and the seeds which rot and die and then sprout and rise again
as it were": which same example is adduced by the Apostle (1 Cor. 15:36).
Now from the works of nature nothing can be known save what is natural.
Therefore the resurrection is natural.
Objection 3: Further, things that are against nature abide not for long,
because they are violent, so to speak. But the life that is restored by
the resurrection will last for ever. Therefore the resurrection will be
Objection 4: Further, that to which the entire expectation of nature looks
forward would seem to be natural. Now such a thing is the resurrection
and the glorification of the saints according to Rm. 8:19. Therefore the
resurrection will be natural.
Objection 5: Further, the resurrection is a kind of movement towards the
everlasting union of soul and body. Now movement is natural if it
terminate in a natural rest (Phys. v, 6): and the everlasting union of
soul and body will be natural, for since the soul is the body's proper
mover, it has a body proportionate to it: so that the body is likewise
for ever capable of being quickened by it, even as the soul lives for
ever. Therefore the resurrection will be natural.
On the contrary, There is no natural return from privation to habit. But
death is privation of life. Therefore the resurrection whereby one
returns from death to life is not natural.
Further, things of the one species have one fixed way of origin:
wherefore animals begotten of putrefaction are never of the same species
as those begotten of seed, as the Commentator says on Phys. viii. Now the
natural way of man's origin is for him to be begotten of a like in
species: and such is not the case in the resurrection. Therefore it will
not be natural.
I answer that, A movement or an action stands related to nature in three
ways. For there is a movement or action whereof nature is neither the
principle nor the term: and such a movement is sometimes from a principle
above nature as in the case of a glorified body; and sometimes from any
other principle whatever; for instance, the violent upward movement of a
stone which terminates in a violent rest. Again, there is a movement
whereof nature is both principle and term: for instance, the downward
movement of a stone. And there is another movement whereof nature is the
term, but not the principle, the latter being sometimes something above
nature (as in giving sight to a blind man, for sight is natural, but the
principle of the sight-giving is above nature), and sometimes something
else, as in the forcing of flowers or fruit by artificial process. It is
impossible for nature to be the principle and not the term, because
natural principles are appointed to definite effects, beyond which they
Accordingly the action or movement that is related to nature in the
first way can nowise be natural, but is either miraculous if it come from
a principle above nature, or violent if from any other principle. The
action or movement that is related to nature in the second way is simply
natural: but the action that is related to nature in the third way cannot
be described as natural simply, but as natural in a restricted sense, in
so far, to wit, as it leads to that which is according to nature: but it
is called either miraculous or artificial or violent. For, properly
speaking, natural is that which is according to nature, and a thing is
according to nature if it has that nature and whatever results from that
nature (Phys. ii, 1). Consequently, speaking simply, movement cannot be
described as natural unless its principle be natural.
Now nature cannot be the principle of resurrection, although
resurrection terminates in the life of nature. For nature is the
principle of movement in the thing wherein nature is---either the active
principle, as in the movement of heavy and light bodies and in the
natural alterations of animals---or the passive principle, as in the
generation of simple bodies. The passive principle of natural generation
is the natural passive potentiality which always has an active principle
corresponding to it in nature, according to Metaphysics viii, 1: nor as
to this does it matter whether the active principle in nature correspond
to the passive principle in respect of its ultimate perfection, namely
the form; or in respect of a disposition in virtue of which it demands
the ultimate form, as in the generation of a man according to the
teaching of faith, or in all other generations according to the opinions
of Plato and Avicenna. But in nature there is no active principle of the
resurrection, neither as regards the union of the soul with the body, nor
as regards the disposition which is the demand for that union: since such
a disposition cannot be produced by nature, except in a definite way by
the process of generation from seed. Wherefore even granted a passive
potentiality on the part of the body, or any kind of inclination to its
union with the soul, it is not such as to suffice for the conditions of
natural movement. Therefore the resurrection, strictly speaking, is
miraculous and not natural except in a restricted sense, as we have
Reply to Objection 1: Damascene is speaking of those things that are found in all
individuals and are caused by the principles of nature. For supposing by
a divine operation all men to be made white, or to be gathered together
in one place, as happened at the time of the deluge, it would not follow
that whiteness or existence in some particular place is a natural
property of man.
Reply to Objection 2: From natural things one does not come by a demonstration of
reason to know non-natural things, but by the induction of reason one may
know something above nature, since the natural bears a certain
resemblance to the supernatural. Thus the union of soul and body
resembles the union of the soul with God by the glory of fruition, as the
Master says (Sent. ii, D, 1): and in like manner the examples, quoted by
the Apostle and Gregory, are confirmatory evidences of our faith in the
Reply to Objection 3: This argument regards an operation which terminates in
something that is not natural but contrary to nature. Such is not the
resurrection, and hence the argument is not to the point.
Reply to Objection 4: The entire operation of nature is subordinate to the Divine
operation, just as the working of a lower art is subordinate to the
working of a higher art. Hence just as all the work of a lower art has in
view an end unattainable save by the operation of the higher art that
produces the form, or makes use of what has been made by art: so the last
end which the whole expectation of nature has in view is unattainable by
the operation of nature, and for which reason the attaining thereto is
Reply to Objection 5: Although there can be no natural movement terminating in a
violent rest, there can be a non-natural movement terminating in a
natural rest, as explained above.