QUESTION 78: OF THE TERM "WHEREFROM" OF THE RESURRECTION
We must now consider the term "wherefrom" of the resurrection; and under
this head there are three points of inquiry:
(1) Whether death is the term "wherefrom" of the resurrection in every
(2) Whether ashes are, or dust?
(3) Whether this dust has a natural inclination towards the soul?
Article 1: Whether death will be the term "wherefrom" of the resurrection in all cases?
Objection 1: It would seem that death will not be the term "wherefrom" of the
resurrection in all cases. Because some shall not die but shall be
clothed with immortality: for it is said in the creed that our Lord "will
come to judge the living and the dead." Now this cannot refer to the time
of judgment, because then all will be alive; therefore this distinction
must refer to the previous time, and consequently all will not die before
Objection 2: Further, a natural and common desire cannot be empty and vain,
but is fulfilled in some cases. Now according to the Apostle (2 Cor. 5:4)
it is a common desire that "we would not be unclothed but clothed upon."
Therefore there will be some who will never be stripped of the body by
death, but will be arrayed in the glory of the resurrection.
Objection 3: Further, Augustine says (Enchiridion cxv) that the four last
petitions of the Lord's prayer refer to the present life: and one of them
is: "Forgive us our debts [Douay: 'trespasses']." Therefore the Church
prays that all debts may be forgiven her in this life. Now the Church's
prayer cannot be void and not granted: "If you ask the Father anything in
My name, He will give it you" (Jn. 16:23). Therefore at some time of this
life the Church will receive the remission of all debts: and one of the
debts to which we are bound by the sin of our first parent is that we be
born in original sin. Therefore at some time God will grant to the Church
that men be born without original sin. But death is the punishment of
original sin. Therefore at the end of the world there will be some men
who will not die: and so the same conclusion follows.
Objection 4: Further, the wise man should always choose the shortest way. Now
the shortest way is for the men who shall be found living to be
transferred to the impassibility of the resurrection, than for them to
die first, and afterwards rise again from death to immortality. Therefore
God Who is supremely wise will choose this way for those who shall be
On the contrary, It is written (1 Cor. 15:36): "That which thou sowest
is not quickened except it die first," and he is speaking of the
resurrection of the body as compared to the seed.
Further, it is written (1 Cor. 15:22): "As in Adam all die, so also in
Christ all shall be made alive." Now all shall be made alive in Christ.
Therefore all shall die in Adam: and so all shall rise again from death.
I answer that, The saints differ in speaking on this question, as may be
seen in the text (Sent. iv, D, 43). However, the safer and more common
opinion is that all shall die and rise again from death: and this for
three reasons. First, because it is more in accord with Divine justice,
which condemned human nature for the sin of its first parent, that all
who by the act of nature derive their origin from him should contract the
stain of original sin, and consequently be the debtors of death.
Secondly, because it is more in agreement with Divine Scripture which
foretells the resurrection of all; and resurrection is not predicted
properly except of that "which has fallen and perished," as the Damascene
says (De Fide Orth. iv). Thirdly, because it is more in harmony with the
order of nature where we find that what is corrupted and decayed is not
renewed except by means of corruption: thus vinegar does not become wine
unless the vinegar be corrupted and pass into the juice of the grape.
Wherefore since human nature has incurred the defect of the necessity of
death, it cannot return to immortality save by means of death. It is also
in keeping with the order of nature for another reason, because, as it is
stated in Phys. viii, 1, "the movement of heaven is as a kind of life to
all existing in nature," just as the movement of the heart is a kind of
life of the whole body: wherefore even as all the members become dead on
the heart ceasing to move, so when the heavenly movement ceases nothing
can remain living with that life which was sustained by the influence of
that movement. Now such is the life by which we live now: and therefore
it follows that those who shall live after the movement of the heaven
comes to a standstill must depart from this life.
Reply to Objection 1: This distinction of the dead and the living does not apply
to the time itself of the judgment, nor to the whole preceding time,
since all who are to be judged were living at some time, and dead at some
time: but it applies to that particular time which shall precede the
judgment immediately, when, to wit, the signs of the judgment shall begin
Reply to Objection 2: The perfect desire of the saints cannot be void; but
nothing prevents their conditional desire being void. Such is the desire
whereby we would not be "unclothed," but "clothed upon," namely if that
be possible: and this desire is called by some a "velleity."
Reply to Objection 3: It is erroneous to say that any one except Christ is
conceived without original sin, because those who would be conceived
without original sin would not need the redemption which was wrought by
Christ, and thus Christ would not be the Redeemer of all men [*See
Editor's note which follows TP, Question ]. Nor can it be said that they
needed not this redemption, because it was granted to them that they
should be conceived without sin. For, this grace was vouchsafed---either
to their parents, that the sin of nature might be healed in them (because
so long as that sin remained they were unable to beget without
communicating original sin)---or to nature itself which was healed. Now
we must allow that every one needs the redemption of Christ personally,
and not only by reason of nature, and one cannot be delivered from an
evil or absolved from a debt unless one incur the debt or incur the evil:
and consequently all could not reap in themselves the fruit of the
Lord's prayer, unless all were born debtors and subject to evil. Hence
the forgiveness of debts or delivery from evil cannot be applied to one
who is born without a debt or free from evil, but only to one who is born
with a debt and is afterwards delivered by the grace of Christ. Nor does
it follow, if it can be asserted without error that some die not, that
they are born without original sin, although death is a punishment of
original sin; because God can of His mercy remit the punishment which one
has incurred by a past fault, as He forgave the adulterous woman without
punishment (Jn. 8): and in like manner He can deliver from death those
who have contracted the debt of death by being born in original sin. And
thus it does not follow that if they die not, therefore they were born
without original sin.
Reply to Objection 4: The shortest way is not always the one to be chosen, but
only when it is more or equally adapted for attaining the end. It is not
so here, as is clear from what we have said.
Article 2: Whether all will rise again from ashes?
Objection 1: It would seem that all will not rise again from ashes. For
Christ's resurrection is the exemplar of ours. Yet His resurrection was
not from ashes, for His flesh saw not corruption according to Ps. 15:10;
Acts 2:27,31. Therefore neither will all rise again from ashes.
Objection 2: Further, the human body is not always burned. Yet a thing cannot
be reduced to ashes unless it be burned. Therefore not all will rise
again from ashes.
Objection 3: Further, the body of a dead man is not reduced to ashes
immediately after death. But some will rise again at once after death,
according to the text (Sent. iv, D, 43), namely those who will be found
living. Therefore all will not rise again from ashes.
Objection 4: Further, the term "wherefrom" corresponds to the term "whereto."
Now the term "whereto" of the resurrection is not the same in the good as
in the wicked: "We shall all indeed rise again, but we shall not all be
changed" (1 Cor. 15:51). Therefore the term "wherefrom" is not the same.
And thus, if the wicked rise again from ashes, the good will not rise
again from ashes.
On the contrary, Haymo says (on Rm. 5:10, "For if when we were
enemies"): "All who are born in original sin lie under the sentence:
Earth thou art and into earth shalt thou go." Now all who shall rise
again at the general resurrection were born in original sin, either at
their birth within the womb or at least at their birth from the womb.
Therefore all will rise again from ashes.
Further, there are many things in the human body that do not truly belong to human nature. But all these will be removed. Therefore all bodies must needs be reduced to ashes.
I answer that, The same reasons by which we have shown (Article ) that all
rise again from death prove also that at the general resurrection all
will rise again from ashes, unless the contrary, such as the hastening of
their resurrection, be vouchsafed to certain persons by a special
privilege of grace. For just as holy writ foretells the resurrection, so
does it foretell the reformation of bodies (Phil. 3:21). And thus it
follows that even as all die that the bodies of all may be able truly to
rise again, so will the bodies of all perish that they may be able to be
reformed. For just as death was inflicted by Divine justice as a
punishment on man, so was the decay of the body, as appears from Gn.
3:19, "Earth thou art and into earth shalt thou go [*Vulg.: 'Dust thou
art and into dust thou shalt return']."
Moreover the order of nature requires the dissolution not only of the
union of soul and body, but also of the mingling of the elements: even as
vinegar cannot be brought back to the quality of wine unless it first be
dissolved into the prejacent matter: for the mingling of the elements is
both caused and preserved by the movement of the heaven, and when this
ceases all mixed bodies will be dissolved into pure elements.
Reply to Objection 1: Christ's resurrection is the exemplar of ours as to the
term "whereto," but not as to the term "wherefrom."
Reply to Objection 2: By ashes we mean all the remains that are left after the
dissolution of the body---for two reasons. First, because it was the
common custom in olden times to burn the bodies of the dead, and to keep
the ashes, whence it became customary to speak of the remains of a human
body as ashes. Secondly, on account of the cause of dissolution, which is
the flame of the fomes [*Cf. FS, Question , Article ] whereby the human body is
radically infected. Hence, in order to be cleansed of this infection the
human body must needs be dissolved into its primary components: and when
a thing is destroyed by fire it is said to be reduced to ashes. wherefore
the name of ashes is given to those things into which the human body is
Reply to Objection 3: The fire that will cleanse the face of the earth will be
able to reduce suddenly to ashes the bodies of those that will be found
living, even as it will dissolve other mixed bodies into their prejacent
Reply to Objection 4: Movement does not take its species from its term
"wherefrom" but from its term "whereto." Hence the resurrection of the
saints which will be glorious must needs differ from the resurrection of
the wicked which will not be glorious, in respect of the term "whereto,"
and not in respect of the term "wherefrom." And it often happens that the
term "whereto" is not the same, whereas the term "wherefrom" is the
same---for instance, a thing may be moved from blackness to whiteness and
Article 3: Whether the ashes from which the human body will be restored have any natural inclination towards the soul which will be united to them?
Objection 1: It would seem that the ashes from which the human body will be
restored will have a natural inclination towards the soul which will be
united to them. For if they had no inclination towards the soul, they
would stand in the same relation to that soul as other ashes. Therefore
it would make no difference whether the body that is to be united to that
soul were restored from those ashes or from others: and this is false.
Objection 2: Further, the body is more dependent on the soul than the soul on
the body. Now the soul separated from the body is still somewhat
dependent on the body, wherefore its movement towards God is retarded on
account of its desire for the body, as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii).
Much more, therefore, has the body when separated from the soul, a
natural inclination towards that soul.
Objection 3: Further, it is written (Job 20:11): "His bones shall be filled
with the vices of his youth, and they shall sleep with him in the dust."
But vices are only in the soul. Therefore there will still remain in
those ashes a natural inclination towards the soul.
On the contrary, The human body can be dissolved into the very elements,
or changed into the flesh of other animals. But the elements are
homogeneous, and so is the flesh of a lion or other animal. Since then in
the other parts of the elements or animals there is no natural
inclination to that soul, neither will there be an inclination towards
the soul in those parts into which the human body has been changed. The
first proposition is made evident on the authority of Augustine
(Enchiridion lxxxviii): "The human body, although changed into the
substance of other bodies or even into the elements, although it has
become the food and flesh of any animals whatsoever, even of man, will in
an instant return to that soul which erstwhile animated it, making it a
living and growing man."
Further, to every natural inclination there corresponds a natural agent:
else nature would fail in necessaries. Now the aforesaid ashes cannot be
reunited to the same soul by any natural agent. Therefore there is not in
them any natural inclination to the aforesaid reunion.
I answer that, Opinion is threefold on this point. For some say that the human body is never dissolved into its very elements; and so there always remains in the ashes a certain force besides the elements, which gives a natural inclination to the same soul. But this assertion is in contradiction with the authority of Augustine quoted above, as well as with the senses and reason: since whatever is composed of contraries can be dissolved into its component parts. Wherefore others say that these parts of the elements into which the human body is dissolved retain more light, through having been united to the soul, and for this reason have a
natural inclination to human souls. But this again is nonsensical, since
the parts of the elements are of the same nature and have an equal share
of light and darkness. Hence we must say differently that in those ashes
there is no natural inclination to resurrection, but only by the ordering
of Divine providence, which decreed that those ashes should be reunited
to the soul: it is on this account that those parts of the elements shall
be reunited and not others.
Hence the Reply to the First Objection is clear.
Reply to Objection 2: The soul separated from the body remains in the same nature
that it has when united to the body. It is not so with the body, and
consequently the comparison fails.
Reply to Objection 3: These words of Job do not mean that the vices actually
remain in the ashes of the dead, but that they remain according to the
ordering of Divine justice, whereby those ashes are destined to the
restoration of the body which will suffer eternally for the sins