St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

(Benziger Bros. edition, 1947)
Translated by
Fathers of the English Dominican Province

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Question: 52 [ << | >> ]


Deinde quaeritur de loco Angeli. Et circa hoc quaeruntur tria. We now inquire into the place of the angels. Touching this there are three subjects of inquiry:
Primo, utrum Angelus sit in loco. (1) Is the angel in a place?
Secundo, utrum possit esse in pluribus locis simul. (2) Can he be in several places at once?
Tertio, utrum plures Angeli possint esse in eodem loco. (3) Can several angels be in the same place?

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Question: 52 [ << | >> ]
Article: 1  [ << | >> ]

Whether an angel is in a place?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod Angelus non sit in loco. Dicit enim Boetius, in libro de Hebd., communis animi conceptio apud sapientes est, incorporalia in loco non esse. Et Aristoteles, in IV Physic., dicit quod non omne quod est, est in loco, sed mobile corpus. Sed Angelus non est corpus, ut supra ostensum est. Ergo Angelus non est in loco. Objection 1: It would seem that an angel is not in a place. For Boethius says (De Hebdom.): "The common opinion of the learned is that things incorporeal are not in a place." And again, Aristotle observes (Phys. iv, text 48,57) that "it is not everything existing which is in a place, but only a movable body." But an angel is not a body, as was shown above (Question [50]). Therefore an angel is not in a place.
Praeterea, locus est quantitas positionem habens. Omne ergo quod est in loco, habet aliquem situm. Sed habere situm non potest convenire Angelo, cum substantia sua sit immunis a quantitate, cuius propria differentia est positionem habere. Ergo Angelus non est in loco. Objection 2: Further, place is a "quantity having position." But everything which is in a place has some position. Now to have a position cannot benefit an angel, since his substance is devoid of quantity, the proper difference of which is to have a position. Therefore an angel is not in a place.
Praeterea, esse in loco est mensurari loco et contineri a loco, ut patet per philosophum in IV Physic. Sed Angelus non potest mensurari neque contineri a loco, quia continens est formalius contento, sicut aer aqua, ut dicitur in IV Physic. Ergo Angelus non est in loco. Objection 3: Further, to be in a place is to be measured and to be contained by such place, as is evident from the Philosopher (Phys. iv, text 14,119). But an angel can neither be measured nor contained by a place, because the container is more formal than the contained; as air with regard to water (Phys. iv, text 35,49). Therefore an angel is not in a place.
Sed contra est quod in collecta dicitur, Angeli tui sancti, habitantes in ea, nos in pace custodiant, On the contrary, It is said in the Collect [*Prayer at Compline, Dominican Breviary]: "Let Thy holy angels who dwell herein, keep us in peace."
Respondeo dicendum quod Angelo convenit esse in loco, aequivoce tamen dicitur Angelus esse in loco, et corpus. Corpus enim est in loco per hoc, quod applicatur loco secundum contactum dimensivae quantitatis. Quae quidem in Angelis non est; sed est in eis quantitas virtualis. Per applicationem igitur virtutis angelicae ad aliquem locum qualitercumque, dicitur Angelus esse in loco corporeo. I answer that, It is befitting an angel to be in a place; yet an angel and a body are said to be in a place in quite a different sense. A body is said to be in a place in such a way that it is applied to such place according to the contact of dimensive quantity; but there is no such quantity in the angels, for theirs is a virtual one. Consequently an angel is said to be in a corporeal place by application of the angelic power in any manner whatever to any place.
Et secundum hoc patet quod non oportet dicere quod Angelus commensuretur loco; vel quod habeat situm in continuo. Haec enim conveniunt corpori locato, prout est quantum quantitate dimensiva. Similiter etiam non oportet propter hoc, quod contineatur a loco. Nam substantia incorporea sua virtute contingens rem corpoream, continet ipsam, et non continetur ab ea, anima enim est in corpore ut continens, et non ut contenta. Et similiter Angelus dicitur esse in loco corporeo, non ut contentum, sed ut continens aliquo modo. Accordingly there is no need for saying that an angel can be deemed commensurate with a place, or that he occupies a space in the continuous; for this is proper to a located body which is endowed with dimensive quantity. In similar fashion it is not necessary on this account for the angel to be contained by a place; because an incorporeal substance virtually contains the thing with which it comes into contact, and is not contained by it: for the soul is in the body as containing it, not as contained by it. In the same way an angel is said to be in a place which is corporeal, not as the thing contained, but as somehow containing it.
Et per hoc patet responsio ad obiecta. And hereby we have the answers to the objections.

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Question: 52 [ << | >> ]
Article: 2  [ << | >> ]

Whether an angel can be in several places at once?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod Angelus possit esse in pluribus locis simul. Angelus enim non est minoris virtutis quam anima. Sed anima est simul in pluribus locis, quia est tota in qualibet parte corporis, ut Augustinus dicit. Ergo Angelus potest esse in pluribus locis simul. Objection 1: It would seem that an angel can be in several places at once. For an angel is not less endowed with power than the soul. But the soul is in several places at once, for it is entirely in every part of the body, as Augustine says (De Trin. vi). Therefore an angel can be in several places at once.
Praeterea, Angelus est in corpore assumpto; et cum assumat corpus continuum, videtur quod sit in qualibet eius parte. Sed secundum partes eius considerantur diversa loca. Ergo Angelus est simul in pluribus locis. Objection 2: Further, an angel is in the body which he assumes; and, since the body which he assumes is continuous, it would appear that he is in every part thereof. But according to the various parts there are various places. Therefore the angel is at one time in various places.
Praeterea, Damascenus dicit quod ubi Angelus operatur, ibi est. Sed aliquando operatur simul in pluribus locis, ut patet de Angelo subvertente Sodomam, Gen. XIX. Ergo Angelus potest esse in pluribus locis simul. Objection 3: Further, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii) that "where the angel operates, there he is." But occasionally he operates in several places at one time, as is evident from the angel destroying Sodom (Gn. 19:25). Therefore an angel can be in several places at the one time.
Sed contra est quod Damascenus dicit, quod Angeli, dum sunt in caelo, non sunt in terra. On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii) that "while the angels are in heaven, they are not on earth."
Respondeo dicendum quod Angelus est virtutis et essentiae finitae. Divina autem virtus et essentia infinita est, et est universalis causa omnium, et ideo sua virtute omnia contingit, et non solum in pluribus locis est, sed ubique. Virtus autem Angeli, quia finita est, non se extendit ad omnia, sed ad aliquid unum determinatum. Oportet enim quidquid comparatur ad unam virtutem, ut unum aliquid comparari ad ipsam. Sicut igitur universum ens comparatur ut unum aliquid ad universalem Dei virtutem, ita et aliquod particulare ens comparatur ut aliquid unum ad Angeli virtutem. Unde cum Angelus sit in loco per applicationem virtutis suae ad locum, sequitur quod non sit ubique, nec in pluribus locis, sed in uno loco tantum. Circa hoc tamen aliqui decepti sunt. I answer that, An angel's power and nature are finite, whereas the Divine power and essence, which is the universal cause of all things, is infinite: consequently God through His power touches all things, and is not merely present in some places, but is everywhere. Now since the angel's power is finite, it does not extend to all things, but to one determined thing. For whatever is compared with one power must be compared therewith as one determined thing. Consequently since all being is compared as one thing to God's universal power, so is one particular being compared as one with the angelic power. Hence, since the angel is in a place by the application of his power to the place, it follows that he is not everywhere, nor in several places, but in only one place.
Quidam enim, imaginationem transcendere non valentes, cogitaverunt indivisibilitatem Angeli ad modum indivisibilitatis puncti, et inde crediderunt quod Angelus non posset esse nisi in loco punctali. Sed manifeste decepti sunt. Nam punctum est indivisibile habens situm, sed Angelus est indivisibile extra genus quantitatis et situs existens. Unde non est necesse quod determinetur ei unus locus indivisibilis secundum situm; sed vel divisibilis vel indivisibilis, vel maior vel minor, secundum quod voluntarie applicat suam virtutem ad corpus maius vel minus. Et sic totum corpus cui per suam virtutem applicatur, correspondet ei ut unus locus. Some, however, have been deceived in this matter. For some who were unable to go beyond the reach of their imaginations supposed the indivisibility of the angel to be like that of a point; consequently they thought that an angel could be only in a place which is a point. But they were manifestly deceived, because a point is something indivisible, yet having its situation; whereas the angel is indivisible, and beyond the genus of quantity and situation. Consequently there is no occasion for determining in his regard one indivisible place as to situation: any place which is either divisible or indivisible, great or small suffices, according as to his own free-will he applies his power to a great or to a small body. So the entire body to which he is applied by his power, corresponds as one place to him.
Nec tamen oportet quod si aliquis Angelus movet caelum, quod sit ubique. Primo quidem, quia non applicatur virtus eius nisi ad id quod primo ab ipso movetur, una autem pars caeli est in qua primo est motus, scilicet pars orientis, unde etiam philosophus, in VIII Physic., virtutem motoris caelorum attribuit parti orientis. Secundo, quia non ponitur a philosophis quod una substantia separata moveat omnes orbes immediate. Unde non oportet quod sit ubique. Neither, if any angel moves the heavens, is it necessary for him to be everywhere. First of all, because his power is applied only to what is first moved by him. Now there is one part of the heavens in which there is movement first of all, namely, the part to the east: hence the Philosopher (Phys. vii, text 84) attributes the power of the heavenly mover to the part which is in the east. Secondly, because philosophers do not hold that one separate substance moves all the spheres immediately. Hence it need not be everywhere.
Sic igitur patet quod diversimode esse in loco convenit corpori, et Angelo, et Deo. Nam corpus est in loco circumscriptive, quia commensuratur loco. Angelus autem non circumscriptive, cum non commensuretur loco, sed definitive, quia ita est in uno loco, quod non in alio. Deus autem neque circumscriptive neque definitive, quia est ubique. So, then, it is evident that to be in a place appertains quite differently to a body, to an angel, and to God. For a body is in a place in a circumscribed fashion, since it is measured by the place. An angel, however, is not there in a circumscribed fashion, since he is not measured by the place, but definitively, because he is in a place in such a manner that he is not in another. But God is neither circumscriptively nor definitively there, because He is everywhere.
Et per hoc patet de facili responsio ad obiecta, quia totum illud cui immediate applicatur virtus Angeli, reputatur ut unus locus eius, licet sit continuum. From this we can easily gather an answer to the objections: because the entire subject to which the angelic power is immediately applied, is reputed as one place, even though it be continuous.

Index [<<� | >>]
First Part [ << | >> ]
Question: 52 [ << | >> ]
Article: 3  [ << | >> ]

Whether several angels can be at the same time in the same place?

Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod plures Angeli possint simul esse in eodem loco. Plura enim corpora non possunt esse simul in eodem loco, quia replent locum. Sed Angeli non replent locum, quia solum corpus replet locum, ut non sit vacuum, ut patet per philosophum, in IV Physic. Ergo plures Angeli possunt esse in uno loco. Objection 1: It would seem that several angels can be at the same time in the same place. For several bodies cannot be at the same time in the same place, because they fill the place. But the angels do not fill a place, because only a body fills a place, so that it be not empty, as appears from the Philosopher (Phys. iv, text 52,58). Therefore several angels can be in the one place.
Praeterea, plus differt Angelus et corpus quam duo Angeli. Sed Angelus et corpus sunt simul in eodem loco, quia nullus locus est qui non sit plenus sensibili corpore, ut probatur in IV Physic. Ergo multo magis duo Angeli possunt esse in eodem loco. Objection 2: Further, there is a greater difference between an angel and a body than there is between two angels. But an angel and a body are at the one time in the one place: because there is no place which is not filled with a sensible body, as we find proved in Phys. iv, text. 58. Much more, then, can two angels be in the same place.
Praeterea, anima est in qualibet parte corporis, secundum Augustinum. Sed Daemones, licet non illabantur mentibus, illabuntur tamen interdum corporibus, et sic anima et Daemon sunt simul in eodem loco. Ergo, eadem ratione, quaecumque aliae spirituales substantiae. Objection 3: Further, the soul is in every part of the body, according to Augustine (De Trin. vi). But demons, although they do not obsess souls, do obsess bodies occasionally; and thus the soul and the demon are at the one time in the same place; and consequently for the same reason all other spiritual substances.
Sed contra, duae animae non sunt in eodem corpore. Ergo, pari ratione, neque duo Angeli in eodem loco. On the contrary, There are not two souls in the same body. Therefore for a like reason there are not two angels in the same place.
Respondeo dicendum quod duo Angeli non sunt simul in eodem loco. Et ratio huius est, quia impossibile est quod duae causae completae sint immediatae unius et eiusdem rei. Quod patet in omni genere causarum, una enim est forma proxima unius rei, et unum est proximum movens, licet possint esse plures motores remoti. Nec habet instantiam de pluribus trahentibus navem, quia nullus eorum est perfectus motor, cum virtus uniuscuiusque sit insufficiens ad movendum; sed omnes simul sunt in loco unius motoris, inquantum omnes virtutes eorum aggregantur ad unum motum faciendum. Unde cum Angelus dicatur esse in loco per hoc quod virtus eius immediate contingit locum per modum continentis perfecti, ut dictum est, non potest esse nisi unus Angelus in uno loco. I answer that, There are not two angels in the same place. The reason of this is because it is impossible for two complete causes to be the causes immediately of one and the same thing. This is evident in every class of causes: for there is one proximate form of one thing, and there is one proximate mover, although there may be several remote movers. Nor can it be objected that several individuals may row a boat, since no one of them is a perfect mover, because no one man's strength is sufficient for moving the boat; while all together are as one mover, in so far as their united strengths all combine in producing the one movement. Hence, since the angel is said to be in one place by the fact that his power touches the place immediately by way of a perfect container, as was said (Article [1]), there can be but one angel in one place.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod plures Angelos esse in uno loco non impeditur propter impletionem loci, sed propter aliam causam, ut dictum est. Reply to Objection 1: Several angels are not hindered from being in the same place because of their filling the place; but for another reason, as has been said.
Ad secundum dicendum quod Angelus et corpus non eodem modo sunt in loco, unde ratio non sequitur. Reply to Objection 2: An angel and a body are not in a place in the same way; hence the conclusion does not follow.
Ad tertium dicendum quod nec etiam Daemon et anima comparantur ad corpus secundum eandem habitudinem causae; cum anima sit forma, non autem Daemon. Unde ratio non sequitur. Reply to Objection 3: Not even a demon and a soul are compared to a body according to the same relation of causality; since the soul is its form, while the demon is not. Hence the inference does not follow.

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