QUESTION 76: OF THE CAUSE OF THE RESURRECTION
We must next consider the cause of our resurrection. Under this head
there are three points of inquiry:
(1) Whether Christ's resurrection is the cause of our resurrection?
(2) Whether the sound of the trumpet is?
(3) Whether the angels are?
Article 1: Whether the resurrection of Christ is the cause of our resurrection?
Objection 1: It would seem that the resurrection of Christ is not the cause of
our resurrection. For, given the cause, the effect follows. Yet given the
resurrection of Christ the resurrection of the other dead did not follow
at once. Therefore His resurrection is not the cause of ours.
Objection 2: Further, an effect cannot be unless the cause precede. But the
resurrection of the dead would be even if Christ had not risen again: for
God could have delivered man in some other way. Therefore Christ's
resurrection is not the cause of ours.
Objection 3: Further, the same thing produces the one effect throughout the
one same species. Now the resurrection will be common to all men. Since
then Christ's resurrection is not its own cause, it is not the cause of
the resurrection of others.
Objection 4: Further, an effect retains some likeness to its cause. But the
resurrection, at least of some, namely the wicked, bears no likeness to
the resurrection of Christ. Therefore Christ's resurrection will not be
the cause of theirs.
On the contrary, "In every genus that which is first is the cause of
those that come after it" (Metaph. ii, 1). Now Christ, by reason of His
bodily resurrection, is called "the first-fruits of them that sleep" (1
Cor. 15:20), and "the first-begotten of the dead" (Apoc. 1:5). Therefore
His resurrection is the cause of the resurrection of others.
Further, Christ's resurrection has more in common with our bodily
resurrection than with our spiritual resurrection which is by
justification. But Christ's resurrection is the cause of our
justification, as appears from Rm. 4:25, where it is said that He "rose
again for our justification." Therefore Christ's resurrection is the
cause of our bodily resurrection.
I answer that, Christ by reason of His nature is called the mediator of
God and men: wherefore the Divine gifts are bestowed on men by means of
Christ's humanity. Now just as we cannot be delivered from spiritual
death save by the gift of grace bestowed by God, so neither can we be
delivered from bodily death except by resurrection wrought by the Divine
power. And therefore as Christ, in respect of His human nature, received
the firstfruits of grace from above, and His grace is the cause of our
grace, because "of His fulness we all have received . . . grace for
grace" (Jn. 1:16), so in Christ has our resurrection begun, and His
resurrection is the cause of ours. Thus Christ as God is, as it were, the
equivocal cause of our resurrection, but as God and man rising again, He
is the proximate and, so to say, the univocal cause of our resurrection.
Now a univocal efficient cause produces its effect in likeness to its own
form, so that not only is it an efficient, but also an exemplar cause in
relation to that effect. This happens in two ways. For sometimes this
very form, whereby the agent is likened to its effect, is the direct
principle of the action by which the effect is produced, as heat in the
fire that heats: and sometimes it is not the form in respect of which
this likeness is observed, that is primarily and directly the principle
of that action, but the principles of that form. For instance, if a white
man beget a white man, the whiteness of the begetter is not the principle
of active generation, and yet the whiteness of the begetter is said to be
the cause of the whiteness of the begotten, because the principles of
whiteness in the begetter are the generative principles causing whiteness
in the begotten. In this way the resurrection of Christ is the cause of
our resurrection, because the same thing that wrought the resurrection of
Christ, which is the univocal efficient cause of our resurrection, is the
active cause of our resurrection, namely the power of Christ's Godhead
which is common to Him and the Father. Hence it is written (Rm. 8:11):
"He that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead shall quicken also your
mortal bodies." And this very resurrection of Christ by virtue of His
indwelling Godhead is the quasi-instrumental cause of our resurrection:
since the Divine operations were wrought by means of Christ's flesh, as
though it were a kind of organ; thus the Damascene instances as an
example (De Fide Orth. iii, 15) the touch of His body whereby He healed
the leper (Mt. 8:3).
Reply to Objection 1: A sufficient cause produces at once its effect to which it
is immediately directed, but not the effect to which it is directed by
means of something else, no matter how sufficient it may be: thus heat,
however intense it be, does not cause heat at once in the first instant,
but it begins at once to set up a movement towards heat, because heat is
its effect by means of movement. Now Christ's resurrection is said to be
the cause of ours, in that it works our resurrection, not immediately,
but by means of its principle, namely the Divine power which will work
our resurrection in likeness to the resurrection of Christ. Now God's
power works by means of His will which is nearest to the effect; hence it
is not necessary that our resurrection should follow straightway after He
has wrought the resurrection of Christ, but that it should happen at the
time which God's will has decreed.
Reply to Objection 2: God's power is not tied to any particular second causes,
but that He can produce their effects either immediately or by means of
other causes: thus He might work the generation of lower bodies even
though there were no movement of the heaven: and yet according to the
order which He has established in things, the movement of the heaven is
the cause of the generation of the lower bodies. In like manner according
to the order appointed to human things by Divine providence, Christ's
resurrection is the cause of ours: and yet He could have appointed
another order, and then our resurrection would have had another cause
ordained by God.
Reply to Objection 3: This argument holds when all the things of one species have
the same order to the first cause of the effect to be produced in the
whole of that species. But it is not so in the case in point, because
Christ's humanity is nearer to His Godhead, Whose power is the first
cause of the resurrection, than is the humanity of others. Hence Christ's
Godhead caused His resurrection immediately, but it causes the
resurrection of others by means of Christ-man rising again.
Reply to Objection 4: The resurrection of all men will bear some resemblance to
Christ's resurrection, as regards that which pertains to the life of
nature, in respect of which all were conformed to Christ. Hence all will
rise again to immortal life; but in the saints who were conformed to
Christ by grace, there will be conformity as to things pertaining to
Article 2: Whether the sound of the trumpet will be the cause of our resurrection?
Objection 1: It would seem that the sound of the trumpet will not be the cause
of our resurrection. For the Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iv): "Thou
must believe that the resurrection will take place by God's will, power,
and nod." Therefore since these are a sufficient cause of our
resurrection, we ought not to assign the sound of the trumpet as a cause
Objection 2: Further, it is useless to make sounds to one who cannot hear. But
the dead will not have hearing. Therefore it is unfitting to make a sound
to arouse them.
Objection 3: Further, if any sound is the cause of the resurrection, this will
only be by a power given by God to the sound: wherefore a gloss on Ps.
67:34, "He will give to His voice the voice of power," says: "to arouse
our bodies." Now from the moment that a power is given to a thing, though
it be given miraculously, the act that ensues is natural, as instanced in
the man born blind who, after being restored to sight, saw naturally.
Therefore if a sound be the cause of resurrection, the resurrection would
be natural: which is false.
On the contrary, It is written (1 Thess. 4:15): "The Lord Himself will
come down from heaven . . . with the trumpet of God; and the dead who are
in Christ shall rise."
Further, it is written (Jn. 5:28) that they "who are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God . . . and (Jn. 5:25) they that hear shall live." Now this voice is called the trumpet, as stated in the text (Sent. iv, D, 43). Therefore, etc.
I answer that, Cause and effect must needs in some way be united
together, since mover and moved, maker and made, are simultaneous (Phys.
vii, 2). Now Christ rising again is the univocal cause of our
resurrection: wherefore at the resurrection of bodies, it behooves Christ
to work the resurrection at the giving of some common bodily sign.
According to some this sign will be literally Christ's voice commanding
the resurrection, even as He commanded the sea and the storm ceased (Mt. 8:26). Others say that this sign will be nothing else than the manifest
appearance of the Son of God in the world, according to the words of Mt.
24:27: "As lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the
west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." These rely on the
authority of Gregory [*Moral. xxxi, as quoted by St. Albert the Great,
Sentent. iv, D, 42, Article ] who says that "the sound of the trumpet is
nothing else but the Son appearing to the world as judge." According to
this, the visible presence of the Son of God is called His voice, because
as soon as He appears all nature will obey His command in restoring human
bodies: hence He is described as coming "with commandment" (1 Thess. 4:15). In this way His appearing, in so far as it has the force of a
command, is called His voice: which voice, whatever it be, is sometimes
called a cry [*Mt 25:6], as of a crier summoning to judgment; sometimes
the sound of a trumpet [*1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:15], either on account
of its distinctness, as stated in the text (Sent. iv, D, 43), or as being
in keeping with the use of the trumpet in the Old Testament: for by the
trumpet they were summoned to the council, stirred to the battle, and
called to the feast; and those who rise again will be summoned to the
council of judgment, to the battle in which "the world shall fight . . .
against the unwise" (Wis. 5:21), and to the feast of everlasting
Reply to Objection 1: In those words the Damascene touches on three things
respecting the material cause of the resurrection: to wit, the Divine
will which commands, the power which executes, and the ease of execution,
when he adds "bidding," in resemblance to our own affairs: since it is
very easy for us to do what is done at once at our word. But the ease is
much more evident, if before we say a word, our servants execute our will
at once at the first sign of our will, which sign is called a nod: and
this nod is a kind of cause of that execution, in so far as others are
led thereby to accomplish our will. And the Divine nod, at which the
resurrection will take place, is nothing but the sign given by God, which
all nature will obey by concurring in the resurrection of the dead. This
sign is the same as the sound of the trumpet, as explained above.
Reply to Objection 2: As the forms of the Sacrament have the power to sanctify,
not through being heard, but through being spoken: so this sound,
whatever it be, will have an instrumental efficacy of resuscitation, not
through being perceived, but through being uttered. Even so a sound by
the pulsation of the air arouses the sleeper, by loosing the organ of
perception, and not because it is known: since judgment about the sound
that reaches the ears is subsequent to the awakening and is not its
Reply to Objection 3: This argument would avail, if the power given to that sound
were a complete being in nature: because then that which would proceed
therefrom would have for principle a power already rendered natural. But
this power is not of that kind but such as we have ascribed above to the
forms of the Sacraments (Sent. iv, D, 1; FP, Question , Articles ,4).
Article 3: Whether the angels will do anything towards the resurrection?
Objection 1: It would seem that the angels will do nothing at all towards the
resurrection. For raising the dead shows a greater power than does
begetting men. Now when men are begotten, the soul is not infused into
the body by means of the angels. Therefore neither will the resurrection,
which is reunion of soul and body, be wrought by the ministry of the
Objection 2: Further, if this is to be ascribed to the instrumentality of any
angels at all, it would seem especially referable to the virtues, to whom
it belongs to work miracles. Yet it is referred, not to them, but to the
archangels, according to the text (Sent. iv, D, 43). Therefore the
resurrection will not be wrought by the ministry of the angels.
On the contrary, It is stated (1 Thess. 4:15) that "the Lord . . . shall
come down from heaven . . . with the voice of an archangel . . . and the
dead shall rise again." Therefore the resurrection of the dead will be
accomplished by the angelic ministry.
I answer that, According to Augustine (De Trin. iii, 4) "just as the
grosser and inferior bodies are ruled in a certain order by the more
subtle and more powerful bodies, so are all bodies ruled by God by the
rational spirit of life": and Gregory speaks in the same sense (Dial. iv,
6). Consequently in all God's bodily works, He employs the ministry of
the angels. Now in the resurrection there is something pertaining to the
transmutation of the bodies, to wit the gathering together of the mortal
remains and the disposal thereof for the restoration of the human body;
wherefore in this respect God will employ the ministry of the angels in
the resurrection. But the soul, even as it is immediately created by God,
so will it be reunited to the body immediately by God without any
operation of the angels: and in like manner He Himself will glorify the
body without the ministry of the angels, just as He immediately glorifies
man's soul. This ministry of the angels is called their voice, according
to one explanation given in the text (Sent. iv, D, 43).
Hence the Reply to the First Objection is evident from what has been
Reply to Objection 2: This ministry will be exercised chiefly by one Archangel,
namely Michael, who is the prince of the Church as he was of the
Synagogue (Dan. 10:13,21). Yet he will act under the influence of the
Virtues and the other higher orders: so that what he shall do, the higher
orders will, in a way, do also. In like manner the lower angels will
co-operate with him as to the resurrection of each individual to whose
guardianship they were appointed: so that this voice can be ascribed
either to one or to many angels.