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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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  • THE SEVENTH ARTICLE: "From thence He shall come to judge the living and the
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Now, concerning the form of the judgment there is a threefold question. Who

is the judge, who are to be judged, and upon what will they be judged?

Christ is the Judge: "It is He who is appointed by God to be judge of the

living and of the dead."3 We may here interpret "the dead" to mean sinners

and "the living" to mean the just; or "the living" to refer to those who at

that time were living and "the dead" to mean those who had died. Christ of

a certain is Judge, not only in that He is God, but also in that He is man.

The first reason for this is because it is necessary that they who are to

be judged may see the Judge. But the Godhead is so wholly delightful that

no one could behold it without great enjoyment; and hence the damned are

not permitted to see the Judge, nor in consequence to enjoy anything.

Christ, therefore, of necessity will appear in the form of man so that He

may be seen by all: "And He hath given Him power to do judgment, because He

is the Son of man."4 Again Christ deserved this office as Man, for as Man

He was unjustly judged, and therefore God constitutes Him Judge of the

entire world: "Thy cause hath been judged as that of the wicked. Cause and

judgment Thou shalt recover."5 And, lastly, if God alone should judge men,

they, being terrified, would despair; but this despair disappears from men

if they are to be judged by a Man: "And then they shall see the Son of man

coming in a cloud."6


3. Acts, x. 42.


4. John, v. 27.


5. Job, xxxvi. 17.


6. Luke, xxi. 27.


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