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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • Aquin.: SMT TP Prologue Para. 1/3 - THIRD PART (TP) OF THE SUMMA THEOLOGICA (QQ[1]-90)
      • Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE ORDER OF ASSUMPTION (SIX ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE ORDER OF ASSUMPTION (SIX ARTICLES)

We must now consider the order of the foregoing assumption, and under
this head there are six points of inquiry:

(1) Whether the Son of God assumed flesh through the medium of the soul?

(2) Whether He assumed the soul through the medium of the spirit or mind?

(3) Whether the soul was assumed previous to the flesh?

(4) Whether the flesh of Christ was assumed by the Word previous to
being united to the soul?

(5) Whether the whole human nature was assumed through the medium of
the parts?

(6) Whether it was assumed through the medium of grace?


Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the Son of God assumed flesh through the medium of the soul?

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the Son of God did not assume flesh through
the medium of the soul. For the mode in which the Son of God is united to
human nature and its parts, is more perfect than the mode whereby He is
in all creatures. But He is in all creatures immediately by essence,
power and presence. Much more, therefore, is the Son of God united to
flesh without the medium of the soul.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the soul and flesh are united to the Word of God in
unity of hypostasis or person. But the body pertains immediately to the
human hypostasis or person, even as the soul. Indeed, the human body,
since it is matter, would rather seem to be nearer the hypostasis than
the soul, which is a form, since the principle of individuation, which is
implied in the word "hypostasis," would seem to be matter. Hence the Son
of God did not assume flesh through the medium of the soul.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, take away the medium and you separate what were joined
by the medium; for example, if the superficies be removed color would
leave the body, since it adheres to the body through the medium of the
superficies. But though the soul was separated from the body by death,
yet there still remained the union of the Word to the flesh, as will be
shown (Q[50], AA[2],3). Hence the Word was not joined to flesh through
the medium of the soul.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (Ep. ad Volusianum cxxxvi): "The
greatness of the Divine power fitted to itself a rational soul, and
through it a human body, so as to raise the whole man to something
higher."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, A medium is in reference to a beginning and an end. Hence
as beginning and end imply order, so also does a medium. Now there is a
twofold order: one, of time; the other, of nature. But in the mystery of
the Incarnation nothing is said to be a medium in the order of time, for
the Word of God united the whole human nature to Himself at the same
time, as will appear (Q[30], A[3]). An order of nature between things may
be taken in two ways: first, as regards rank of dignity, as we say the
angels are midway between man and God; secondly, as regards the idea of
causality, as we say a cause is midway between the first cause and the
last effect. And this second order follows the first to some extent; for
as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. xiii), God acts upon the more remote
substances through the less remote. Hence if we consider the rank of
dignity, the soul is found to be midway between God and flesh; and in
this way it may be said that the Son of God united flesh to Himself,
through the medium of the soul. But even as regards the second order of
causality the soul is to some extent the cause of flesh being united to
the Son of God. For the flesh would not have been assumable, except by
its relation to the rational soul, through which it becomes human flesh.
For it was said above (Q[4], A[1]) that human nature was assumable before
all others.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: We may consider a twofold order between creatures and God:
the first is by reason of creatures being caused by God and depending on
Him as on the principle of their being; and thus on account of the
infinitude of His power God touches each thing immediately, by causing
and preserving it, and so it is that God is in all things by essence,
presence and power. But the second order is by reason of things being
directed to God as to their end; and it is here that there is a medium
between the creature and God, since lower creatures are directed to God
by higher, as Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. v); and to this order pertains
the assumption of human nature by the Word of God, Who is the term of the
assumption; and hence it is united to flesh through the soul.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: If the hypostasis of the Word of God were constituted
simply by human nature, it would follow that the body was nearest to it,
since it is matter which is the principle of individuation; even as the
soul, being the specific form, would be nearer the human nature. But
because the hypostasis of the Word is prior to and more exalted than the
human nature, the more exalted any part of the human nature is, the
nearer it is to the hypostasis of the Word. And hence the soul is nearer
the Word of God than the body is.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Nothing prevents one thing being the cause of the aptitude
and congruity of another, and yet if it be taken away the other remains;
because although a thing's becoming may depend on another, yet when it is
in being it no longer depends on it, just as a friendship brought about
by some other may endure when the latter has gone; or as a woman is taken
in marriage on account of her beauty, which makes a woman's fittingness
for the marriage tie, yet when her beauty passes away, the marriage tie
still remains. So likewise, when the soul was separated, the union of the
Word with flesh still endured.


Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the Son of God assumed a soul through the medium of the spirit or
mind?

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the Son of God did not assume a soul through
the medium of the spirit or mind. For nothing is a medium between itself
and another. But the spirit is nothing else in essence but the soul
itself, as was said above (FP, Q[77], A[1], ad 1). Therefore the Son of
God did not assume a soul through the medium of the spirit or mind.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, what is the medium of the assumption is itself more
assumable. But the spirit or mind is not more assumable than the soul;
which is plain from the fact that angelic spirits are not assumable, as
was said above (Q[4], A[1]). Hence it seems that the Son of God did not
assume a soul through the medium of the spirit.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, that which comes later is assumed by the first through
the medium of what comes before. But the soul implies the very essence,
which naturally comes before its power - the mind. Therefore it would
seem that the Son of God did not assume a soul through the medium of the
spirit or mind.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Agone Christ. xviii): "The invisible
and unchangeable Truth took a soul by means of the spirit, and a body by
means of the soul."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[2] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (A[1]), the Son of God is said to have
assumed flesh through the medium of the soul, on account of the order of
dignity, and the congruity of the assumption. Now both these may be
applied to the intellect, which is called the spirit, if we compare it
with the other parts of the soul. For the soul is assumed congruously
only inasmuch as it has a capacity for God, being in His likeness: which
is in respect of the mind that is called the spirit, according to Eph.
4:23: "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind." So, too, the intellect is
the highest and noblest of the parts of the soul, and the most like to
God, and hence Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 6) that "the Word of
God is united to flesh through the medium of the intellect; for the
intellect is the purest part of the soul, God Himself being an intellect."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Although the intellect is not distinct from the soul in
essence, it is distinct from the other parts of the soul as a power; and
it is in this way that it has the nature of a medium.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Fitness for assumption is wanting to the angelic spirits,
not from any lack of dignity, but because of the irremediableness of
their fall, which cannot be said of the human spirit, as is clear from
what has been said above (FP, Q[62], A[8]; FP, Q[64], A[2]).

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The soul, between which and the Word of God the intellect
is said to be a medium, does not stand for the essence of the soul, which
is common to all the powers, but for the lower powers, which are common
to every soul.


Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the soul was assumed before the flesh by the Son of God?

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the soul of Christ was assumed before the
flesh by the Word. For the Son of God assumed flesh through the medium of
the soul, as was said above (A[1]). Now the medium is reached before the
end. Therefore the Son of God assumed the soul before the body.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the soul of Christ is nobler than the angels, according
to Ps. 96:8: "Adore Him, all you His angels." But the angels were created
in the beginning, as was said above (FP, Q[46], A[3]). Therefore the
soul of Christ also (was created in the beginning). But it was not
created before it was assumed, for Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii,
2,3,9), that "neither the soul nor the body of Christ ever had any
hypostasis save the hypostasis of the Word." Therefore it would seem that
the soul was assumed before the flesh, which was conceived in the womb of
the Virgin.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, it is written (Jn. 1:14): "We saw Him [Vulg.: 'His
glory'] full of grace and truth," and it is added afterwards that "of His
fulness we have all received" (Jn. 1:16), i.e. all the faithful of all
time, as Chrysostom expounds it (Hom. xiii in Joan.). Now this could not
have been unless the soul of Christ had all fulness of grace and truth
before all the saints, who were from the beginning of the world, for the
cause is not subsequent to the effect. Hence since the fulness of grace
and truth was in the soul of Christ from union with the Word, according
to what is written in the same place: "We saw His glory, the glory as it
were of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth," it
would seem in consequence that from the beginning of the world the soul
of Christ was assumed by the Word of God.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iv, 6): "The intellect
was not, as some untruthfully say, united to the true God, and henceforth
called Christ, before the Incarnation which was of the Virgin."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[3] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Origen (Peri Archon i, 7,8; ii, 8) maintained that all
souls, amongst which he placed Christ's soul, were created in the
beginning. But this is not fitting, if we suppose that it was first of
all created, but not at once joined to the Word, since it would follow
that this soul once had its proper subsistence without the Word; and
thus, since it was assumed by the Word, either the union did not take
place in the subsistence, or the pre-existing subsistence of the soul was
corrupted. So likewise it is not fitting to suppose that this soul was
united to the Word from the beginning, and that it afterwards became
incarnate in the womb of the Virgin; for thus His soul would not seem to
be of the same nature as ours, which are created at the same time that
they are infused into bodies. Hence Pope Leo says (Ep. ad Julian. xxxv)
that "Christ's flesh was not of a different nature to ours, nor was a
different soul infused into it in the beginning than into other men."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: As was said above (A[1]), the soul of Christ is said to be
the medium in the union of the flesh with the Word, in the order of
nature; but it does not follow from this that it was the medium in the
order of time.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: As Pope Leo says in the same Epistle, Christ's soul excels
our soul "not by diversity of genus, but by sublimity of power"; for it
is of the same genus as our souls, yet excels even the angels in "fulness
of grace and truth." But the mode of creation is in harmony with the
generic property of the soul; and since it is the form of the body, it is
consequently created at the same time that it is infused into and united
with the body; which does not happen to angels, since they are substances
entirely free from matter.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Of the fulness of Christ all men receive according to the
faith they have in Him; for it is written (Rm. 3:22) that "the justice of
God is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe
in Him." Now just as we believe in Him as already born; so the ancients
believed in Him as about to be born, since "having the same spirit of
faith . . . we also believe," as it is written (2 Cor. 4:13). But the
faith which is in Christ has the power of justifying by reason of the
purpose of the grace of God, according to Rm. 4:5: "But to him that
worketh not, yet believeth in Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith
is reputed to justice according to the purpose of the grace of God."
Hence because this purpose is eternal, there is nothing to hinder some
from being justified by the faith of Jesus Christ, even before His soul
was full of grace and truth.


Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the flesh of Christ was assumed by the Word before being united
to the soul?

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the flesh of Christ was assumed by the Word
before being united to the soul. For Augustine [*Fulgentius] says (De
Fide ad Petrum xviii): "Most firmly hold, and nowise doubt that the flesh
of Christ was not conceived in the womb of the Virgin without the Godhead
before it was assumed by the Word." But the flesh of Christ would seem to
have been conceived before being united to the rational soul, because
matter or disposition is prior to the completive form in order of
generation. Therefore the flesh of Christ was assumed before being united
to the soul.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, as the soul is a part of human nature, so is the body.
But the human soul in Christ had no other principle of being than in
other men, as is clear from the authority of Pope Leo, quoted above (A[3]
). Therefore it would seem that the body of Christ had no other principle
of being than we have. But in us the body is begotten before the rational
soul comes to it. Therefore it was the same in Christ; and thus the flesh
was assumed by the Word before being united to the soul.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, as is said (De Causis), the first cause excels the
second in bringing about the effect, and precedes it in its union with
the effect. But the soul of Christ is compared to the Word as a second
cause to a first. Hence the Word was united to the flesh before it was to
the soul.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 2): "At the same
time the Word of God was made flesh, and flesh was united to a rational
and intellectual soul." Therefore the union of the Word with the flesh
did not precede the union with the soul.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[4] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, The human flesh is assumable by the Word on account of
the order which it has to the rational soul as to its proper form. Now it
has not this order before the rational soul comes to it, because when any
matter becomes proper to any form, at the same time it receives that
form; hence the alteration is terminated at the same instant in which the
substantial form is introduced. And hence it is that the flesh ought not
to have been assumed before it was human flesh; and this happened when
the rational soul came to it. Therefore since the soul was not assumed
before the flesh, inasmuch as it is against the nature of the soul to be
before it is united to the body, so likewise the flesh ought not to have
been assumed before the soul, since it is not human flesh before it has a
rational soul.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Human flesh depends upon the soul for its being; and hence,
before the coming of the soul, there is no human flesh, but there may be
a disposition towards human flesh. Yet in the conception of Christ, the
Holy Ghost, Who is an agent of infinite might, disposed the matter and
brought it to its perfection at the same time.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The form actually gives the species; but the matter in
itself is in potentiality to the species. And hence it would be against
the nature of a form to exist before the specific nature. And therefore
the dissimilarity between our origin and Christ's origin, inasmuch as we
are conceived before being animated, and Christ's flesh is not, is by
reason of what precedes the perfection of the nature, viz. that we are
conceived from the seed of man, and Christ is not. But a difference which
would be with reference to the origin of the soul, would bespeak a
diversity of nature.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The Word of God is understood to be united to the flesh
before the soul by the common mode whereby He is in the rest of creatures
by essence, power, and presence. Yet I say "before," not in time, but in
nature; for the flesh is understood as a being, which it has from the
Word, before it is understood as animated, which it has from the soul.
But by the personal union we understand the flesh as united to the soul
before it is united to the Word, for it is from its union with the soul
that it is capable of being united to the Word in Person; especially
since a person is found only in the rational nature


Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[5] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the whole human nature was assumed through the medium of the
parts?

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[5] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the Son of God assumed the whole human nature
through the medium of its parts. For Augustine says (De Agone Christ.
xviii) that "the invisible and unchangeable Truth assumed the soul
through the medium of the spirit, and the body through the medium of the
soul, and in this way the whole man." But the spirit, soul, and body are
parts of the whole man. Therefore He assumed all, through the medium of
the parts.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[5] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the Son of God assumed flesh through the medium of the
soul because the soul is more like to God than the body. But the parts of
human nature, since they are simpler than the body, would seem to be more
like to God, Who is most simple, than the whole. Therefore He assumed the
whole through the medium of the parts.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[5] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the whole results from the union of parts. But the union
is taken to be the term of the assumption, and the parts are presupposed
to the assumption. Therefore He assumed the whole by the parts.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[5] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 16): "In our Lord
Jesus Christ we do not behold parts of parts, but such as are immediately
joined, i.e. the Godhead and the manhood." Now the humanity is a whole,
which is composed of soul and body, as parts. Therefore the Son of God
assumed the parts through the medium of the whole.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[5] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, When anything is said to be a medium in the assumption of
the Incarnation, we do not signify order of time, because the assumption
of the whole and the parts was simultaneous. For it has been shown (AA[3]
,4) that the soul and body were mutually united at the same time in order
to constitute the human nature of the Word. But it is order of nature
that is signified. Hence by what is prior in nature, that is assumed
which is posterior in nature. Now a thing is prior in nature in two ways:
First on the part of the agent, secondly on the part of the matter; for
these two causes precede the thing. On the part of the agent - that is
simply first, which is first included in his intention; but that is
relatively first, with which his operation begins - and this because the
intention is prior to the operation. On the part of the matter - that is
first which exists first in the transmutation of the matter. Now in the
Incarnation the order depending on the agent must be particularly
considered, because, as Augustine says (Ep. ad Volusianum cxxxvii), "in
such things the whole reason of the deed is the power of the doer." But
it is manifest that, according to the intention of the doer, what is
complete is prior to what is incomplete, and, consequently, the whole to
the parts. Hence it must be said that the Word of God assumed the parts
of human nature, through the medium of the whole; for even as He assumed
the body on account of its relation to the rational soul, so likewise He
assumed a body and soul on account of their relation to human nature.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[5] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: From these words nothing may be gathered, except that the
Word, by assuming the parts of human nature, assumed the whole human
nature. And thus the assumption of parts is prior in the order of the
intellect, if we consider the operation, but not in order of time;
whereas the assumption of the nature is prior if we consider the
intention: and this is to be simply first, as was said above.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[5] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: God is so simple that He is also most perfect; and hence
the whole is more like to God than the parts, inasmuch as it is more
perfect.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[5] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: It is a personal union wherein the assumption is
terminated, not a union of nature, which springs from a conjunction of
parts.


Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[6] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the human nature was assumed through the medium of grace?

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[6] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the Son of God assumed human nature through
the medium of grace. For by grace we are united to God. But the human
nature in Christ was most closely united to God. Therefore the union took
place by grace.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[6] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, as the body lives by the soul, which is its perfection,
so does the soul by grace. But the human nature was fitted for the
assumption by the soul. Therefore the Son of God assumed the soul through
the medium of grace.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[6] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, Augustine says (De Trin. xv, 11) that the incarnate Word
is like our spoken word. But our word is united to our speech by means of
"breathing" [spiritus]. Therefore the Word of God is united to flesh by
means of the Holy Spirit, and hence by means of grace, which is
attributed to the Holy Spirit, according to 1 Cor. 12:4: "Now there are
diversities of graces, but the same Spirit."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[6] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Grace is an accident in the soul, as was shown above
(FS, Q[110], A[2]). Now the union of the Word with human nature took
place in the subsistence, and not accidentally, as was shown above (Q[2],
A[6]). Therefore the human nature was not assumed by means of grace.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[6] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, In Christ there was the grace of union and habitual
grace. Therefore grace cannot be taken to be the medium of the assumption
of the human nature, whether we speak of the grace of union or of
habitual grace. For the grace of union is the personal being that is
given gratis from above to the human nature in the Person of the Word,
and is the term of the assumption. Whereas the habitual grace pertaining
to the spiritual holiness of the man is an effect following the union,
according to Jn. 1:14: "We saw His glory . . . as it were of the
Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" - by which we are
given to understand that because this Man (as a result of the union) is
the Only-begotten of the Father, He is full of grace and truth. But if by
grace we understand the will of God doing or bestowing something gratis,
the union took place by grace, not as a means, but as the efficient cause.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[6] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Our union with God is by operation, inasmuch as we know and
love Him; and hence this union is by habitual grace, inasmuch as a
perfect operation proceeds from a habit. Now the union of the human
nature with the Word of God is in personal being, which depends not on
any habit, but on the nature itself.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[6] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The soul is the substantial perfection of the body; grace
is but an accidental perfection of the soul. Hence grace cannot ordain
the soul to personal union, which is not accidental, as the soul ordains
the body.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[6] A[6] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Our word is united to our speech, by means of breathing
[spiritus], not as a formal medium, but as a moving medium. For from the
word conceived within, the breathing proceeds, from which the speech is
formed. And similarly from the eternal Word proceeds the Holy Spirit, Who
formed the body of Christ, as will be shown (Q[32], A[1]). But it does
not follow from this that the grace of the Holy Spirit is the formal
medium in the aforesaid union.





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