QUESTION 91: OF THE QUALITY OF THE WORLD AFTER THE JUDGMENT
We must next discuss the quality which the world and those who rise
again will have after the judgment. Here a threefold matter offers itself
to our consideration: (1) The state and quality of the world; (2) The
state of the blessed; (3) The state of the wicked.
Under the first head there are five points of inquiry:
(1) Whether there will be a renewal of the world?
(2) Whether the movement of the heavenly bodies will cease?
(3) Whether the heavenly bodies will be more brilliant?
(4) Whether the elements will receive an additional clarity?
(5) Whether the animals and plants will remain?
Article 1: Whether the world will be renewed?
Objection 1: It would seem that the world will never be renewed. For nothing
will be but what was at some time as to its species: "What is it that
hath been? the same thing that shall be" (Eccles. 1:9). Now the world
never had any disposition other than it has now as to essential parts,
both genera and species. Therefore it will never be renewed.
Objection 2: Further, renewal is a kind of alteration. But it is impossible
for the universe to be altered; because whatever is altered argues some
alterant that is not altered, which nevertheless is a subject of local
movement: and it is impossible to place such a thing outside the
universe. Therefore it is impossible for the world to be renewed.
Objection 3: Further, it is stated (Gn. 2:2) that "God . . . rested on the
seventh day from all His work which He had done," and holy men explain
that "He rested from forming new creatures." Now when things were first
established, the mode imposed upon them was the same as they have now in
the natural order. Therefore they will never have any other.
Objection 4: Further, the disposition which things have now is natural to
them. Therefore if they be altered to another disposition, this
disposition will be unnatural to them. Now whatever is unnatural and
accidental cannot last for ever (De Coelo et Mundo i). Therefore this
disposition acquired by being renewed will be taken away from them; and
thus there will be a cycle of changes in the world as Empedocles and
Origen (Peri Archon. ii, 3) maintained, and after this world there will
be another, and after that again another.
Objection 5: Further, newness of glory is given to the rational creature as a
reward. Now where there is no merit, there can be no reward. Since then
insensible creatures have merited nothing, it would seem that they will
not be renewed.
On the contrary, It is written (Is. 65:17): "Behold I create new heavens
and a new earth, and the former things shall not be in remembrance"; and
(Apoc. 21:1): "I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven
and the first earth was gone."
Further, the dwelling should befit the dweller. But the world was made
to be man's dwelling. Therefore it should befit man. Now man will be
renewed. Therefore the world will be likewise.
Further, "Every beast loveth its like" (Ecclus. 13:19), wherefore it is
evident that likeness is the reason of love. Now man has some likeness to
the universe, wherefore he is called "a little world." Hence man loves
the whole world naturally and consequently desires its good. Therefore,
that man's desire be satisfied the universe must needs also be made
I answer that, We believe all corporeal things to have been made for
man's sake, wherefore all things are stated to be subject to him [*Ps.
8:5, seqq.]. Now they serve man in two ways, first, as sustenance to his
bodily life, secondly, as helping him to know God, inasmuch as man sees
the invisible things of God by the things that are made (Rm. 1:20).
Accordingly glorified man will nowise need creatures to render him the
first of these services, since his body will be altogether incorruptible,
the Divine power effecting this through the soul which it will glorify
immediately. Again man will not need the second service as to
intellective knowledge, since by that knowledge he will see God
immediately in His essence. The carnal eye, however, will be unable to
attain to this vision of the Essence; wherefore that it may be fittingly
comforted in the vision of God, it will see the Godhead in Its corporeal
effects, wherein manifest proofs of the Divine majesty will appear,
especially in Christ's flesh, and secondarily in the bodies of the
blessed, and afterwards in all other bodies. Hence those bodies also will
need to receive a greater inflow from the Divine goodness than now, not
indeed so as to change their species, but so as to add a certain
perfection of glory: and such will be the renewal of the world. Wherefore
at the one same time, the world will be renewed, and man will be
Reply to Objection 1: Solomon is speaking there of the natural course: this is
evident from his adding: "Nothing under the sun is new." For since the
movement of the sun follows a circle, those things which are subject to
the sun's power must needs have some kind of circular movement. This
consists in the fact that things which were before return the same in
species but different in the individual (De Generat. i). But things
belonging to the state of glory are not "under the sun."
Reply to Objection 2: This argument considers natural alteration which proceeds
from a natural agent, which acts from natural necessity. For such an
agent cannot produce different dispositions, unless it be itself disposed
differently. But things done by God proceed from freedom of will,
wherefore it is possible, without any change in God Who wills it, for the
universe to have at one time one disposition, and another at another
time. Thus this renewal will not be reduced to a cause that is moved, but
to an immovable principle, namely God.
Reply to Objection 3: God is stated to have ceased on the seventh day forming new
creatures, for as much as nothing was made afterwards that was not
previously in some likeness [*Cf. FP, Question , Article ] either generically, or
specifically, or at least as in a seminal principle, or even as in an
obediential potentiality [*Cf. FP, Question , Article , ad 4; TP, Question , Article ].
I say then that the future renewal of the world preceded in the works of
the six days by way of a remote likeness, namely in the glory and grace
of the angels. Moreover it preceded in the obediential potentiality which
was then bestowed on the creature to the effect of its receiving this
same renewal by the Divine agency.
Reply to Objection 4: This disposition of newness will be neither natural nor
contrary to nature, but above nature (just as grace and glory are above
the nature of the soul): and it will proceed from an everlasting agent
which will preserve it for ever.
Reply to Objection 5: Although, properly speaking, insensible bodies will not
have merited this glory, yet man merited that this glory should be
bestowed on the whole universe, in so far as this conduces to man's
increase of glory. Thus a man merits to be clothed in more splendid
robes, which splendor the robes nowise merited themselves.
Article 2: Whether the movement of the heavenly bodies will cease?
Objection 1: It seems that when the world is thus renewed the movement of the
heavenly bodies will not cease. For it is written (Gn. 8:22): "All the
days of the earth . . . cold and heat, summer and winter, night and day
shall not cease." Now night and day, summer and winter result from the
movement of the sun. Therefore the movement of the sun will never cease.
Objection 2: Further, it is written (Jer. 31:35,36): "Thus saith the Lord Who
giveth the sun for the light of the day, the order of the moon and of the
stars for the light of the night: Who stirreth up the sea, and the waves
thereof roar . . . If these ordinances shall fail before Me . . . then
also the seed of Israel shall fail, so as not to be a nation before Me
for ever." Now the seed of Israel shall never fail, but will remain for
ever. Therefore the laws of day and of the sea waves, which result from
the heavenly movement, will remain for ever. Therefore the movement of
the heaven will never cease.
Objection 3: Further, the substance of the heavenly bodies will remain for
ever. Now it is useless to admit the existence of a thing unless you
admit the purpose for which it was made: and the heavenly bodies were
made in order "to divide the day and the night"; and to be "for signs,
and for seasons, and for days and for years" (Gn. 1:14). But they cannot
do this except by movement. Therefore their movement will remain for
ever, else those bodies would remain without a purpose.
Objection 4: Further, in this renewal of the world the whole world will be
bettered. Therefore no body will be deprived of what pertains to its
perfection. Now movement belongs to the perfection of a heavenly body,
because, as stated in De Coelo et Mundo ii, "those bodies participate of
the Divine goodness by their movement." Therefore the movement of the
heaven will not cease.
Objection 5: Further, the sun successively gives light to the various parts of
the world, by reason of its circular movement. Therefore if the circular
movement of the heaven ceases, it follows that in some part of the
earth's surface there will be perpetual darkness, which is unbecoming to
the aforesaid renewal.
Objection 6: Further, if the movement were to cease, this could only be
because movement causes some imperfection in the heaven, for instance
wear and tear, which is impossible, since this movement is natural, and
the heavenly bodies are impassible, wherefore they are not worn out by
movement (De Coelo et Mundo ii). Therefore the movement of the heaven
will never cease.
Objection 7: Further, a potentiality is useless if it be not reduced to act.
Now in whatever position the heavenly body is placed it is in
potentiality to another position. Therefore unless this potentiality be
reduced to act, it would remain useless, and would always be imperfect.
But it cannot be reduced to act save by local movement. Therefore it
will always be in motion.
Objection 8: Further, if a thing is indifferent in relation to more than one
alternation, either both are ascribed to it, or neither. Now the sun is
indifferent to being in the east or in the west, else its movement would
not be uniform throughout, since it would move more rapidly to the place
which is more natural to it. Therefore either neither position is
ascribed to the sun, or both. But neither both nor neither can be
ascribed to it, except successively by movement; for if it stand still,
it must needs stand in some position. Therefore the solar body will
always be in motion, and in like manner all other heavenly bodies.
Objection 9: Further, the movement of the heaven is the cause of time.
Therefore if the movement of the heaven fail, time must needs fail: and
if this were to fail, it would fail in an instant. Now an instant is
defined (Phys. viii) "the beginning of the future and the end of the
past." Consequently there would be time after the last instant of time,
which is impossible. Therefore the movement of the heavens will never
Objection 1:: Further, glory does not remove nature. But the movement of the
heaven is natural. Therefore it is not deprived thereof by glory.
On the contrary, It is stated (Apoc. 10:6) that the angel who appeared,
"swore by him that liveth for ever and ever . . . that time shall be no
longer," namely after the seventh angel shall have sounded the trumpet,
at the sound of which "the dead shall rise again" (1 Cor. 15:52). Now if
time be not, there is no movement of the heaven. Therefore the movement
of the heaven will cease.
Further: "Thy sun shall go down no more, and thy moon shall not
decrease" (Is. 60:20). Now the setting of the sun and the phases of the
moon are caused by the movement of the heavens. Therefore the heavenly
movement will cease at length.
Further, it is shown in De Gener. ii that "the movement of the heaven is
for the sake of continual generation in this lower world." But generation
will cease when the number of the elect is complete. Therefore the
movement of the heaven will cease.
Further, all movement is for some end (Metaph. ii). But all movement for
an end ceases when the end is obtained. Therefore either the movement of
the heaven will never obtain its end, and thus it would be useless, or it
will cease at length.
Further, rest is more noble than movement, because things are more
likened to God, Who is supremely immovable, by being themselves unmoved.
Now the movement of lower bodies terminates naturally in rest. Therefore
since the heavenly bodies are far nobler, their movement terminates
naturally in rest.
I answer that, There are three opinions touching this question. The
first is of the philosophers who assert that the movement of the heaven
will last for ever. But this is not in keeping with our faith, which
holds that the elect are in a certain number preordained by God, so that
the begetting of men will not last for ever, and for the same reason,
neither will other things that are directed to the begetting of men, such
as the movement of the heaven and the variations of the elements. Others
say that the movement of the heaven will cease naturally. But this again
is false, since every body that is moved naturally has a place wherein it
rests naturally, whereto it is moved naturally, and whence it is not
moved except by violence. Now no such place can be assigned to the
heavenly body, since it is not more natural to the sun to move towards a
point in the east than to move away from it, wherefore either its
movement would not be altogether natural, or its movement would not
naturally terminate in rest. Hence we must agree with others who say that
the movement of the heaven will cease at this renewal of the world, not
indeed by any natural cause, but as a result of the will of God. For the
body in question, like other bodies, was made to serve man in the two
ways above mentioned (Article ): and hereafter in the state of glory man will
no longer need one of these services, that namely in respect of which the
heavenly bodies serve man for the sustenance of his bodily life. Now in
this way the heavenly bodies serve man by their movement, in so far as by
the heavenly movement the human race is multiplied, plants and animals
needful for man's use generated, and the temperature of the atmosphere
rendered conducive to health. Therefore the movement of the heavenly body
will cease as soon as man is glorified.
Reply to Objection 1: These words refer to the earth in its present state, when
it is able to be the principle of the generation and corruption of
plants. This is evident from its being said there: "All the days of the
earth, seed time and harvest," etc. And it is simply to be granted that
as long as the earth is fit for seed time and harvest, the movement of
the heaven will not cease.
We reply in like manner to OBJ 2 that the Lord is speaking there of the
duration of the seed of Israel with regard to the present state. This is
evident from the words: "Then also the seed of Israel shall fail, so as
not to be a nation before Me for ever." For after this state there will
be no succession of days: wherefore the laws also which He had mentioned
will cease after this state.
Reply to Objection 3: The end which is there assigned to the heavenly bodies is
their proximate end, because it is their proper act. But this act is
directed further to another end, namely the service of man, which is
shown by the words of Dt. 4:19: "Lest perhaps lifting up thy eyes to
heaven, thou see the sun and the moon and all the stars of heaven, and
being deceived by error thou adore and serve them, which the Lord thy God
created for the service of all the nations, that are under heaven."
Therefore we should form our judgment of the heavenly bodies from the
service of man, rather than from the end assigned to them in Genesis.
Moreover the heavenly bodies, as stated above, will serve glorified man
in another way; hence it does not follow that they will remain without a
Reply to Objection 4: Movement does not belong to the perfection of a heavenly
body, except in so far as thereby it is the cause of generation and
corruption in this lower world: and in that respect also this movement
makes the heavenly body participate in the Divine goodness by way of a
certain likeness of causality. But movement does not belong to the
perfection of the substance of the heaven, which substance will remain.
Wherefore it does not follow that, when this movement ceases, the
substance of the heaven will lose something of its perfection.
Reply to Objection 5: All the elemental bodies will have in themselves a certain
clarity of glory. Hence though part of the surface of the earth be not
lit up by the sun, there will by no means be any darkness there.
Reply to Objection 6: A gloss of Ambrose on Rm. 8:22, "Every creature groaneth,"
etc. says explicitly that "all the elements labor to fulfill their
offices: thus the sun and moon fill the places appointed to them not
without work: this is for our sake, wherefore they will rest when we are
taken up to heaven." This work, in my opinion, does not signify that any
stress or passion occurs to these bodies from their movement, since this
movement is natural to them and nowise violent, as is proved in De Coelo
et Mundo i. But work here denotes a defect in relation to the term to
which a thing tends. Hence since this movement is ordained by Divine
providence to the completion of the number of the elect, it follows that
as long as the latter is incomplete, this movement has not reached the
term whereto it was ordained: hence it is said metaphorically to labor,
as a man who has not what he intends to have. This defect will be removed
from the heaven when the number of the elect is complete. Or it may refer
to the desire of the future renewal which it awaits from the Divine
Reply to Objection 7: In a heavenly body there is no potentiality that can be
perfected by place, or that is made for this end which is to be in such
and such a place. But potentiality to situation in a place is related to
a heavenly body, as the craftsman's potentiality to construct various
houses of one kind: for if he construct one of these he is not said to
have the potentiality uselessly, and in like manner in whatever situation
a heavenly body be placed, its potentiality to be in a place will not
remain incomplete or without a purpose.
Reply to Objection 8: Although a heavenly body, so far as regards its nature, is
equally inclined to every situation that it can possibly occupy,
nevertheless in comparison with things outside it, it is not equally
inclined to every situation: but in respect of one situation it has a
more noble disposition in comparison with certain things than in respect
of another situation; thus in our regard the sun has a more noble
disposition at daytime than at night-time. Hence it is probable, since
the entire renewal of the world is directed to man, that the heaven will
have in this renewal the most noble situation possible in relation to
our dwelling there. Or, according to some, the heaven will rest in that
situation wherein it was made, else one of its revolutions would remain
incomplete. But this argument seems improbable, for since a revolution of
the heaven takes no less than 36,000 years to complete, it would follow
that the world must last that length of time, which does not seem
probable. Moreover according to this it would be possible to know when
the world will come to an end. For we may conclude with probability from
astronomers in what position the heavenly bodies were made, by taking
into consideration the number of years that have elapsed since the
beginning of the world: and in the same way it would be possible to know
the exact number of years it would take them to return to a like
position: whereas the time of the world's end is stated to be unknown.
Reply to Objection 9: Time will at length cease, when the heavenly movement
ceases. Yet that last "now" will not be the beginning of the future. For
the definition quoted applies to the "now" only as continuous with the
parts of time, not as terminating the whole of time.
Reply to Objection 1:: The movement of the heaven is said to be natural, not as
though it were part of nature in the same way as we speak of natural
principles; but because it has its principle in the nature of a body, not
indeed its active but its receptive principle. Its active principle is a
spiritual substance, as the Commentator says on De Coelo et Mundo; and
consequently it is not unreasonable for this movement to be done away by
the renewal of glory, since the nature of the heavenly body will not
alter through the cessation of that movement.
We grant the other objections which argue in the contrary sense, namely
the first three, because they conclude in due manner. But since the
remaining two seem to conclude that the movement of heaven will cease
naturally, we must reply to them. To the first, then, we reply that
movement ceases when its purpose is attained, provided this is a sequel
to, and does not accompany the movement. Now the purpose of the heavenly
movement, according to philosophers, accompanies that movement, namely
the imitation of the Divine goodness in the causality of that movement
with respect to this lower world. Hence it does not follow that this
movement ceases naturally.
To the second we reply that although immobility is simply nobler than movement, yet movement in a subject which thereby can acquire a perfect participation of the Divine goodness is nobler than rest in a subject which is altogether unable to acquire that perfection by movement. For this reason the earth which is the lowest of the elements is without movement: although God Who is exalted above all things is without movement, by Whom the more noble bodies are moved. Hence also it is that the movements of the higher bodies might be held to be perpetual, so far as their natural power is concerned, and never to terminate in rest, although the movement of lower bodies terminates in rest.
Article 3: Whether the brightness of the heavenly bodies will be increased at this renewal?
Objection 1: It would seem that the brightness of the heavenly bodies will not
be increased at this renewal. For this renewal as regards the lower
bodies will be caused by the cleansing fire. But the cleansing fire will
not reach the heavenly bodies. Therefore the heavenly bodies will not be
renewed by receiving an increase of brightness.
Objection 2: Further, just as the heavenly bodies are the cause of generation
in this lower world by their movement, so are they by their light. But,
when generation ceases, movement will cease as stated above (Article ).
Therefore in like manner the light of the heavenly bodies will cease
rather than increase.
Objection 3: Further, if the heavenly bodies will be renewed when man is
renewed, it follows that when man deteriorated they deteriorated
likewise. But this does not seem probable, since these bodies are
unalterable as to their substance. Therefore neither will they be renewed
when man is renewed.
Objection 4: Further, if they deteriorated then it follows that their
deterioration was on a par with the amelioration which, it is said, will
accrue to them at man's renewal. Now it is written (Is. 30:26) that "the
light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun." Therefore in the
original state before sin the moon shone as much as the sun does now.
Therefore whenever the moon was over the earth, it made it to be day as
the sun does now: which is proved manifestly to be false from the
statement of Gn. 1:16 that the moon was made "to rule the night."
Therefore when man sinned the heavenly bodies were not deprived of their
light; and so their light will not be increased, so it seems, when man is
Objection 5: Further, the brightness of the heavenly bodies, like other
creatures, is directed to the use of man. Now, after the resurrection,
the brightness of the sun will be of no use to man: for it is written
(Is. 60:19): "Thou shalt no more have the sun for thy light by day,
neither shall the brightness of the moon enlighten thee," and (Apoc. 21:23): "The city hath no need of the sun, nor of the moon to shine in
it." Therefore their brightness will not be increased.
Objection 6: Further, it were not a wise craftsman who would make very great instruments for the making of a small work. Now man is a very small thing in comparison with the heavenly bodies, which by their huge bulk surpass the size of man almost beyond comparison: in fact the size of the whole earth in comparison with the heaven is as a point compared with a sphere, as astronomers say. Since then God is most wise it would seem that man is not the end of the creation of the heavens, and so it is unseemly that the heaven should deteriorate when he sinned, or that it should be bettered when he is glorified.
On the contrary, It is written (Is. 30:26): "The light of the moon shall
be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold."
Further, the whole world will be renewed for the better. But the heaven
is the more noble part of the corporeal world. Therefore it will be
altered for the better. But this cannot be unless it shine out with
greater brightness. Therefore its brightness will be bettered and will
Further, "every creature that groaneth and travaileth in pain, awaiteth
the revelation of the glory of the children of God" [*'The creature also
itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the
liberty of the children of God. For we know that every creature groaneth
and travaileth in pain,' etc.] (Rm. 8:21,22). Now such are the heavenly
bodies, as a gloss says on the same passage. Therefore they await the
glory of the saints. But they would not await it unless they were to gain
something by it. Therefore their brightness will increase thereby, since
it is their chief beauty.
I answer that, The renewal of the world is directed to the end that,
after this renewal has taken place, God may become visible to man by
signs so manifest as to be perceived as it were by his senses. Now
creatures lead to the knowledge of God chiefly by their comeliness and
beauty, which show forth the wisdom of their Maker and Governor;
wherefore it is written (Wis. 13:5): "By the greatness of the beauty and
of the creature, the Creator of them may be seen, so as to be known
thereby." And the beauty of the heavenly bodies consists chiefly in
light; wherefore it is written (Ecclus. 43:10): "The glory of the stars
is the beauty of heaven, the Lord enlighteneth the world on high." Hence
the heavenly bodies will be bettered, especially as regards their
brightness. But to what degree and in what way this betterment will take
place is known to Him alone Who will bring it about.
Reply to Objection 1: The cleansing fire will not cause the form of the renewal,
but will only dispose thereto, by cleansing from the vileness of sin and
the impurity resulting from the mingling of bodies, and this is not to be
found in the heavenly bodies. Hence although the heavenly bodies are not
to be cleansed by fire, they are nevertheless to be Divinely renewed.
Reply to Objection 2: Movement does not denote perfection in the thing moved,
considered in itself, since movement is the act of that which is
imperfect: although it may pertain to the perfection of a body in so far
as the latter is the cause of something. But light belongs to the
perfection of a lightsome body, even considered in its substance: and
consequently after the heavenly body has ceased to be the cause of
generation, its brightness will remain, while its movement will cease.
Reply to Objection 3: A gloss on Is. 30:26, "The light of the moon shall be as
the light of the sun," says: "All things made for man's sake deteriorated
at his fall, and sun and moon diminished in light." This diminishment is
understood by some to mean a real lessening of light. Nor does it matter
that the heavenly bodies are by nature unalterable, because this
alteration was brought about by the Divine power. Others, however, with
greater probability, take this diminishment to mean, not a real lessening
of light, but a lessening in reference to man's use; because after sin
man did not receive as much benefit from the light of the heavenly bodies
as before. In the same sense we read (Gn. 3:17,18): "Cursed is the earth
in thy work . . . Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee";
although it would have brought forth thorns and thistles before sin, but
not as a punishment to man. Nor does it follow that, supposing the light
of the heavenly bodies not to have been lessened essentially through man
sinning, it will not really be increased at man's glorification, because
man's sin wrought no change upon the state of the universe, since both
before and after sin man had an animal life, which needs the movement and
generation of a corporeal creature; whereas man's glorification will
bring a change upon the state of all corporeal creatures, as stated above
(Question , Article ). Hence there is no comparison.
Reply to Objection 4: This diminution, according to the more probable opinion,
refers not to the substance but to the effect. Hence it does not follow
that the moon while over the earth would have made it to be day, but that
man would have derived as much benefit from the light of the moon then as
now from the light of the sun. After the resurrection, however, when the
light of the moon will be increased in very truth, there will be night
nowhere on earth but only in the center of the earth, where hell will be,
because then, as stated, the moon will shine as brightly as the sun does
now; the sun seven times as much as now, and the bodies of the blessed
seven times more than the sun, although there be no authority or reason
to prove this.
Reply to Objection 5: A thing may be useful to man in two ways. First, by reason
of necessity, and thus no creature will be useful to man because he will
have complete sufficiency from God. This is signified (Apoc. 21:23) by
the words quoted, according to which that "city hath no need of the sun,"
nor "of the moon." Secondly, on account of a greater perfection, and thus
man will make use of other creatures, yet not as needful to him in order
to obtain his end, in which way he makes use of them now.
Reply to Objection 6: This is the argument of Rabbi Moses who endeavors to prove
(Dux errantium iii) that the world was by no means made for man's use.
Wherefore he maintains that what we read in the Old Testament about the
renewal of the world, as instanced by the quotations from Isaias, is said
metaphorically: and that even as the sun is said to be darkened in
reference to a person when he encounters a great sorrow so as not to know
what to do (which way of speaking is customary to Scripture), so on the
other hand the sun is said to shine brighter for a person, and the whole
world to be renewed, when he is brought from a state of sorrow to one of
very great joy. But this is not in harmony with the authority and
commentaries of holy men. Consequently we must answer this argument by
saying that although the heavenly bodies far surpass the human body, yet
the rational soul surpasses the heavenly bodies far more than these
surpass the human body. Hence it is not unreasonable to say that the
heavenly bodies were made for man's sake; not, however as though this
were the principal end, since the principal end of all things is God.
Article 4: Whether the elements will be renewed by an addition of brightness?
Objection 1: It would seem that the elements will not be renewed by receiving
some kind of brightness. For just as light is a quality proper to a
heavenly body, so are hot and cold, wet and dry. qualities proper to the
elements. Therefore as the heaven is renewed by an increase of
brightness, so ought the elements to be renewed by an increase of active
and passive qualities.
Objection 2: Further, rarity, and density are qualities of the elements, and
the elements will not be deprived of them at this renewal. Now the rarity
and density of the elements would seem to be an obstacle to brightness,
since a bright body needs to be condensed, for which reason the rarity of
the air seems incompatible with brightness, and in like manner the
density of the earth which is an obstacle to transparency. Therefore it
is impossible for the elements to be renewed by the addition of
Objection 3: Further, it is agreed that the damned will be in the earth. Yet
they will be in darkness not only internal but also external. Therefore
the earth will not be endowed with brightness in this renewal, nor for
the same reason will the other elements.
Objection 4: Further, increase of brightness in the elements implies an
increase of heat. If therefore at this renewal the brightness of the
elements be greater than it is now, their heat will likewise be greater;
and thus it would seem that they will be changed from their natural
qualities, which are in them according to a fixed measure: and this is
Objection 5: Further, the good of the universe which consists in the order and
harmony of the parts is more excellent than the good of any individual
creature. But if one creature be bettered, the good of the universe is
done away, since there will no longer be the same harmony. Therefore if
the elemental bodies, which according to their natural degree in the
universe should be devoid of brightness, were to be endowed with
brightness, the perfection of the universe would be diminished thereby
rather than increased.
On the contrary, It is written (Apoc. 21:1): "I saw a new heaven and a new earth." Now the heaven will be renewed by an increase of brightness. Therefore the earth and likewise the other elements will also.
Further, the lower bodies, like the higher, are for man's use. Now the
corporeal creature will be rewarded for its services to man, as a gloss
of Ambrose seems to say on Rm. 8:22, "Every creature groaneth," and a
gloss of Jerome on Is. 30:26, "And the light of the moon shall be," etc.
Therefore the elements will be glorified as well as the heavenly bodies.
Further, man's body is composed of the elements. Therefore the elemental
particles that are in man's body will be glorified by the addition of
brightness when man is glorified. Now it is fitting that whole and part
should have the same disposition. Therefore it is fitting that the
elements themselves should be endowed with brightness.
I answer that, Just as there is a certain order between the heavenly
spirits and the earthly or human spirits, so is there an order between
heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. Since then the corporeal creature was
made for the sake of the spiritual and is ruled thereby, it follows that
corporeal things are dealt with similarly to spiritual things. Now in
this final consummation of things the lower spirits will receive the
properties of the higher spirits, because men will be as the angels in
heaven (Mt. 22:30): and this will be accomplished by conferring the
highest degree of perfection on that in which the human spirit agrees
with the angelic. Wherefore, in like manner, since the lower bodies do
not agree with the heavenly bodies except in the nature of light and
transparency (De Anima ii), it follows that the lower bodies are to be
perfected chiefly as regards brightness. Hence all the elements will be
clothed with a certain brightness, not equally, however, but according to
their mode: for it is said that the earth on its outward surface will be
as transparent as glass, water as crystal, the air as heaven, fire as the
lights of heaven.
Reply to Objection 1: As stated above (Article ), the renewal of the world is
directed to the effect that man even by his senses may as it were see the
Godhead by manifest signs. Now the most spiritual and subtle of our
senses is the sight. Consequently all the lower bodies need to be
bettered, chiefly as regards the visible qualities the principle of which
is light. On the other hand, the elemental qualities regard the touch,
which is the most material of the senses, and the excess of their
contrariety is more displeasing than pleasant; whereas excess of light
will be pleasant, since it has no contrariety, except on account of a
weakness in the organ, such as will not be then.
Reply to Objection 2: The air will be bright, not as casting forth rays, but as
an enlightened transparency; while the earth, although it is opaque
through lack of light, yet by the Divine power its surface will be
clothed with the glory of brightness, without prejudice to its density.
Reply to Objection 3: The earth will not be glorified with brightness in the
infernal regions; but instead of this glory, that part of the earth will
have the rational spirits of men and demons who though weak by reason of
sin are nevertheless superior to any corporeal quality by the dignity of
their nature. or we may say that, though the whole earth be glorified,
the wicked will nevertheless be in exterior darkness, since even the fire
of hell, while shining for them in one respect, will be unable to
enlighten them in another.
Reply to Objection 4: This brightness will be in these bodies even as it is in
the heavenly bodies, in which it causes no heat, because these bodies
will then be unalterable, as the heavenly bodies are now.
Reply to Objection 5: The order of the universe will not be done away by the
betterment of the elements, because all the other parts will also be
bettered, and so the same harmony will remain.
Article 5: Whether the plants and animals will remain in this renewal?
Objection 1: It would seem that the plants and animals will remain in this
renewal. For the elements should be deprived of nothing that belongs to
their adornment. Now the elements are said to be adorned by the animals
and plants [*Cf. Gn. 1:11,12,20,21,24,25]. Therefore they will not be
removed in this renewal.
Objection 2: Further, just as the elements served man, so also did animals,
plants and mineral bodies. But on account of this service the elements
will be glorified. Therefore both animals and plants and mineral bodies
will be glorified likewise.
Objection 3: Further, the universe will remain imperfect if anything belonging
to its perfection be removed. Now the species of animals, plants, and
mineral bodies belong to the perfection of the universe. Since then we
must not say that the world will remain imperfect when it is renewed, it
seems that we should assert that the plants and animals will remain.
Objection 4: Further, animals and plants have a more noble form than the
elements. Now the world, at this final renewal, will be changed for the
better. Therefore animals and plants should remain rather than the
elements, since they are nobler.
Objection 5: Further, it is unseemly to assert that the natural appetite will
be frustrated. But by their natural appetite animals and plants desire to
be for ever, if indeed not as regards the individual, at least as regards
the species: and to this end their continual generation is directed (De
Generat. ii). Therefore it is unseemly to say that these species will at
length cease to be.
On the contrary, If plants and animals are to remain, either all of them
will, or some of them. If all of them, then dumb animals, which had
previously died, will have to rise again just as men will rise again. But
this cannot be asserted for since their form comes to nothing, they
cannot resume the same identical form. On the other hand if not all but
some of them remain, since there is no more reason for one of them
remaining for ever rather than another, it would seem that none of them
will. But whatever remains after the world has been renewed will remain
for ever, generation and corruption being done away. Therefore plants and
animals will altogether cease after the renewal of the world.
Further, according to the Philosopher (De Generat. ii) the species of
animals, plants and such like corruptible things, are not perpetuated
except by the continuance of the heavenly movement. Now this will cease
then. Therefore it will be impossible for those species to be perpetuated.
Further, if the end cease, those things which are directed to the end
should cease. Now animals and plants were made for the upkeep of human
life; wherefore it is written (Gn. 9:3): "Even as the green herbs have I
delivered all flesh to you [*Vulg.: 'have I delivered them all to you']."
Therefore when man's animal life ceases, animals and plants should cease.
But after this renewal animal life will cease in man. Therefore neither
plants nor animals ought to remain.
I answer that, Since the renewal of the world will be for man's sake it
follows that it should be conformed to the renewal of man. Now by being
renewed man will pass from the state of corruption to incorruptibility
and to a state of everlasting rest, wherefore it is written (1 Cor. 15:53): "This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must
put on immortality"; and consequently the world will be renewed in such a
way as to throw off all corruption and remain for ever at rest. Therefore
it will be impossible for anything to be the subject of that renewal,
unless it be a subject of incorruption. Now such are the heavenly bodies,
the elements, and man. For the heavenly bodies are by their very nature
incorruptible both as to their whole and as to their part: the elements
are corruptible as to their parts but incorruptible as a whole: while men
are corruptible both in whole and in part, but this is on the part of
their matter not on the part of their form, the rational soul to wit,
which will remain incorrupt after the corruption of man. on the other
hand, dumb animals, plants, and minerals, and all mixed bodies, are
corruptible both in their whole and in their parts, both on the part of
their matter which loses its form, and on the part of their form which
does not remain actually; and thus they are in no way subjects of
incorruption. Hence they will not remain in this renewal, but those
things alone which we have mentioned above.
Reply to Objection 1: These bodies are said to adorn the elements, inasmuch as
the general active and passive forces which are in the elements are
applied to specific actions: hence they adorn the elements in their
active and passive state. But this state will not remain in the elements:
wherefore there is no need for animals or plants to remain.
Reply to Objection 2: Neither animals nor plants nor any other bodies merited
anything by their services to man, since they lack free-will. However,
certain bodies are said to be rewarded in so far as man merited that
those things should be renewed which are adapted to be renewed. But
plants and animals are not adapted to the renewal of incorruption, as
stated above. Wherefore for this very reason man did not merit that they
should be renewed, since no one can merit for another, or even for
himself that which another or himself is incapable of receiving. Hence,
granted even that dumb animals merited by serving man, it would not
follow that they are to be renewed.
Reply to Objection 3: Just as several kinds of perfection are ascribed to man
(for there is the perfection of created nature and the perfection of
glorified nature), so also there is a twofold perfection of the universe,
one corresponding to this state of changeableness, the other
corresponding to the state of a future renewal. Now plants and animals
belong to its perfection according to the present state, and not
according to the state of this renewal, since they are not capable
Reply to Objection 4: Although animals and plants as to certain other respects
are more noble than the elements, the elements are more noble in relation
to incorruption, as explained above [*Cf. Question , Article , ad 3].
Reply to Objection 5: The natural desire to be for ever that is in animals and
plants must be understood in reference to the movement of the heaven, so
that they may continue in being as long as the movement of the heaven
lasts: since there cannot be an appetite for an effect to last longer
than its cause. Wherefore if at the cessation of movement in the first
movable body, plants and animals cease as to their species, it does not
follow that the natural appetite is frustrated.