QUESTION 85: OF THE CLARITY OF THE BEATIFIED BODIES
We must now consider the clarity of the beatified bodies at the
resurrection. Under this head there are three points of inquiry:
(1) Whether there will be clarity in the glorified bodies?
(2) Whether this clarity will be visible to the non-glorified eye?
(3) Whether a glorified body will of necessity be seen by a
Article 1: Whether clarity is becoming to the glorified body?
Objection 1: It would seem that clarity is unbecoming to the glorified body.
Because according to Avicenna (Natural. vi, 2), "every luminous body
consists of transparent parts." But the parts of a glorified body will
not be transparent, since in some of them, such as flesh and bones, earth
is predominant. Therefore glorified bodies are not lightsome.
Objection 2: Further, every lightsome body hides one that is behind it;
wherefore one luminary behind another is eclipsed, and a flame of fire
prevents one seeing what is behind it. But the glorified bodies will not
hide that which is within them, for as Gregory says on Job 28:17, "Gold
or crystal cannot equal it" (Moral. xviii, 48). "There," that is in the
heavenly country, "the grossness of the members will not hide one's mind
from another's eyes, and the very harmony of the body will be evident to
the bodily sight." Therefore those bodies will not be lightsome.
Objection 3: Further, light and color require a contrary disposition in their
subject, since "light is the extreme point of visibility in an
indeterminate body; color, in a determinate body" (De Sensu et Sensato
iii). But glorified bodies will have color, for as Augustine says (De
Civ. Dei xxii, 3), "the body's beauty is harmony of parts with a certain
charm of color": and it will be impossible for the glorified bodies to
lack beauty. Therefore the glorified bodies will not be lightsome.
Objection 4: Further, if there be clarity in the glorified bodies, it will
need to be equal in all the parts of the body, just as all the parts will
be equally impassible, subtle and agile. But this is not becoming, since
one part has a greater disposition to clarity than another, for instance
the eye than the hand, the spirits [*"Animalem," as though it were
derived from "animus"---the mind. Cf. FS, Question , Article ,3m; FS, Question , Article 
,3m] than the bones, the humors than the flesh or nerves. Therefore it
would seem unfitting for those bodies to be lightsome.
On the contrary, It is written (Mt. 13:43): "The just shall shine as the
sun in the kingdom of their Father," and (Wis. 3:7): "The just shall
shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds."
Further, it is written (1 Cor. 15:43): "It is sown in dishonor, it shall
rise in glory," which refers to clarity, as evidenced by the previous
context where the glory of the rising bodies is compared to the clarity
of the stars. Therefore the bodies of the saints will be lightsome.
I answer that, It is necessary to assert that after the resurrection the
bodies of the saints will be lightsome, on account of the authority of
Scripture which makes this promise. But the cause of this clarity is
ascribed by some to the fifth or heavenly essence, which will then
predominate in the human body. Since, however, this is absurd, as we have
often remarked (Question , Article ), it is better to say that this clarity will
result from the overflow of the soul's glory into the body. For whatever
is received into anything is received not according to the mode of the
source whence it flows, but according to the mode of the recipient.
Wherefore clarity which in the soul is spiritual is received into the
body as corporeal. And consequently according to the greater clarity of
the soul by reason of its greater merit, so too will the body differ in
clarity, as the Apostle affirms (1 Cor. 15:41). Thus in the glorified
body the glory of the soul will be known, even as through a crystal is
known the color of a body contained in a crystal vessel, as Gregory says
on Job 28:17, "Gold or crystal cannot equal it."
Reply to Objection 1: Avicenna is speaking of a body that has clarity through the
nature of its component parts. It is not thus but rather by merit of
virtue that the glorified body will have clarity.
Reply to Objection 2: Gregory compares the glorified body to gold on account of
clarity, and to crystal on account of its transparency. Wherefore
seemingly we should say that they will be both transparent and lightsome;
for that a lightsome body be not transparent is owing to the fact that
the clarity of that body results from the density of the lightsome parts,
and density is opposed to transparency. Then, however, clarity will
result from another cause, as stated above: and the density of the
glorified body will not deprive it of transparency, as neither does the
density of a crystal deprive crystal.
Some, on the other hand, say that they are compared to crystal, not
because they are transparent, but on account of this likeness, for as
much as that which is enclosed in crystal is visible, so the glory of the
soul enclosed in the glorified body will not be hidden. But the first
explanation is better, because it safeguards better the dignity of the
glorified body, and is more consistent with the words of Gregory.
Reply to Objection 3: The glory of the body will not destroy nature but will
perfect it. Wherefore the body will retain the color due to it by reason
of the nature of its component parts, but in addition to this it will
have clarity resulting from the soul's glory. Thus we see bodies which
have color by their nature aglow with the resplendence of the sun, or
from some other cause extrinsic or intrinsic.
Reply to Objection 4: Even as the clarity of glory will overflow from the soul
into the body according to the mode of the body, and is there otherwise
than in the soul, so again it will overflow into each part of the soul
according to the mode of that part. Hence it is not unreasonable that the
different parts should have clarity in different ways, according as they
are differently disposed thereto by their nature. Nor is there any
comparison with the other gifts of the body, for the various parts of the
body are not differently disposed in their regard.
Article 2: Whether the clarity of the glorified body is visible to the non-glorified eye?
Objection 1: It would seem that the clarity of the glorified body is invisible
to the non-glorified eye. For the visible object should be proportionate
to the sight. But a non-glorified eye is not proportionate to see the
clarity of glory, since this differs generically from the clarity of
nature. Therefore the clarity of the glorified body will not be seen by a
Objection 2: Further, the clarity of the glorified body will be greater than
the clarity of the sun is now, since the clarity of the sun also will
then be greater than it is now, according to Is. 30:26, and the clarity
of the glorified body will be much greater still, for which reason the
sun and the entire world will receive greater clarity. Now a
non-glorified eye is unable to gaze on the very orb of the sun on account
of the greatness of its clarity. Therefore still less will it be able to
gaze on the clarity of a glorified body.
Objection 3: Further, a visible object that is opposite the eyes of the seer
must needs be seen, unless there be some lesion to the eye. But the
clarity of a glorified body that is opposite to non-glorified eyes is not
necessarily seen by them: which is evident in the case of the disciples
who saw our Lord's body after the resurrection, without witnessing its
clarity. Therefore this clarity will be invisible to a non-glorified eye.
On the contrary, A gloss on Phil. 3:21, "Made like to the body of His
glory," says: "It will be like the clarity which He had in the
Transfiguration." Now this clarity was seen by the non-glorified eyes of
the disciples. Therefore the clarity of the glorified body will be
visible to non-glorified eyes also.
Further, the wicked will be tortured in the judgment by seeing the glory
of the just, according to Wis. 5:2. But they would not fully see their
glory unless they gazed on their clarity. Therefore, etc.
I answer that, Some have asserted that the clarity of the glorified body
will not be visible to the non-glorified eye, except by a miracle. But
this is impossible, unless this clarity were so named equivocally,
because light by its essence has a natural tendency to move the sight,
and sight by its essence has a natural tendency to perceive light, even
as the true is in relation to the intellect, and the good to the
appetite. Wherefore if there were a sight altogether incapable of
perceiving a light, either this sight is so named equivocally, or else
this light is. This cannot be said in the point at issue, because then
nothing would be made known to us when we are told that the glorified
bodies will be lightsome: even so a person who says that a dog [*The dog
star] is in the heavens conveys no knowledge to one who knows no other
dog than the animal. Hence we must say that the clarity of a glorified
body is naturally visible to the non-glorified eye.
Reply to Objection 1: The clarity of glory will differ generically from the
clarity of nature, as to its cause, but not as to its species. Hence just
as the clarity of nature is, by reason of its species, proportionate to
the sight, so too will the clarity of glory be.
Reply to Objection 2: Just as a glorified body is not passible to a passion of
nature but only to a passion of the soul [*Cf. Question , Article ], so in virtue
of its property of glory it acts only by the action of the soul. Now
intense clarity does not disturb the sight, in so far as it acts by the
action of the soul, for thus it rather gives delight, but it disturbs it
in so far as it acts by the action of nature by heating and destroying
the organ of sight, and by scattering the spirits* asunder. [*"Animalem,"
as though it were derived from "animus"---the mind. Cf. FS, Question , Article 
,3m; FS, Question , Article ,3m.] Hence, though the clarity of a glorified body
surpasses the clarity of the sun, it does not by its nature disturb the
sight but soothes it: wherefore this clarity is compared to the
jasper-stone (Apoc. 21:11).
Reply to Objection 3: The clarity of the glorified body results from the merit of
the will and therefore will be subject to the will, so as to be seen or
not seen according to its command. Therefore it will be in the power of
the glorified body to show forth its clarity or to hide it: and this was
the opinion of Praepositivus.
Article 3: Whether a glorified body will be necessarily seen by a non-glorified body?
Objection 1: It would seem that a glorified body will be necessarily seen by a
non-glorified body. For the glorified bodies will be lightsome. Now a
lightsome body reveals itself and other things. Therefore the glorified
bodies will be seen of necessity.
Objection 2: Further, every body which hides other bodies that are behind it
is necessarily perceived by the sight, from the very fact that the other
things behind it are hidden. Now the glorified body will hide other
bodies that are behind it from being seen, because it will be a colored
body. Therefore it will be seen of necessity.
Objection 3: Further, just as quantity is something in a body, so is the
quality whereby a body is seen. Now quantity will not be subject to the
will, so that the glorified body be able to be of greater or smaller
quantity. Therefore neither will the quality of visibility be subject to
the will, so that a body be able not to be seen.
On the contrary, our body will be glorified in being made like to the
body of Christ after the resurrection. Now after the resurrection
Christ's body was not necessarily seen; in fact it vanished from the
sight of the disciples at Emmaus (Lk. 24:31). Therefore neither will the
glorified body be necessarily seen.
Further, there the body will be in complete obedience to the will.
Therefore as the soul lists the body will be visible or invisible.
I answer that, A visible object is seen, inasmuch as it acts on the
sight. Now there is no change in a thing through its acting or not acting
on an external object. Wherefore a glorified body may be seen or not seen
without any property pertaining to its perfection being changed.
Consequently it will be in the power of a glorified soul for its body to
be seen or not seen, even as any other action of the body will be in the
soul's power; else the glorified body would not be a perfectly obedient
instrument of its principal agent.
Reply to Objection 1: This clarity will be obedient to the glorified body so that
this will be able to show it or hide it.
Reply to Objection 2: A body's color does not prevent its being transparent
except in so far as it affects the sight, because the sight cannot be
affected by two colors at the same time, so as to perceive them both
perfectly. But the color of the glorified body will be completely in the
power of the soul, so that it can thereby act or not act on the sight.
Hence it will be in its power to hide or not to hide a body that is
Reply to Objection 3: Quantity is inherent to the glorified body itself, nor
would it be possible for the quantity to be altered at the soul's bidding
without the glorified body suffering some alteration incompatible with
its impassibility. Hence there is no comparison between quantity and
visibility, because even this quality whereby it is visible cannot be
removed at the soul's bidding, but the action of that quality will be
suspended, and thus the body will be hidden at the soul's command.