Summa Theologiae by St Thomas Aquinas
XP: Treatise On The Resurrection
Q84 Of The Agility Of The Bodies Of The Blessed
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Prologue   A1   A2   A3  

A2 Whether the saints will never use their agility for the purpose of movement?

[a] Objection 1:
It would seem that the saints will never use their agility for the purpose of movement. For, according to the Philosopher (Phys. iii, 2), "movement is the act of the imperfect." But there will be no imperfection in glorified bodies. Neither therefore will there be any movement.

[b] Objection 2:
Further, all movement is on account of some need, because whatever is in motion is moved for the sake of obtaining some end. But glorified bodies will have no need, since as Augustine says (De Spiritu et Anima, lxiii [* Cf. [5094] Q [70], A [2], ad 1]), "all thou willest will be there, and nothing that thou willest not." Therefore they will not move.

[c] Objection 3:
Further, according to the Philosopher (De Coelo et Mundo ii), "that which shares the Divine goodness without movement shares it more excellently than that which shares it with movement." Now the glorified body shares the Divine goodness more excellently than any other body. Since then certain bodies, like the heavenly bodies, will remain altogether without movement, it seems that much more will human bodies remain so.

[d] Objection 4:
Further, Augustine says (De Vera Relig. xii) that the soul being established in God will in consequence establish its body. Now the soul will be so established in God, that in no way will it move away from Him. Therefore in the body there will be no movement caused by the soul.

[e] Objection 5:
Further, the more noble a body is, the more noble a place is due to it: wherefore Christ's body which is the most exalted of all has the highest place of all, according to Heb. 7:26, "Made higher than the heavens," where a gloss [* Gloss on Heb. 1:3: "On the right hand of the majesty"] says, "in place and dignity." And again each glorified body will, in like manner, have a place befitting it according to the measure of its dignity. Now a fitting place is one of the conditions pertaining to glory. Since then after the resurrection the glory of the saints will never vary, neither by increase nor by decrease, because they will then have reached the final term of all, it would seem that their bodies will never leave the place assigned to them, and consequently will not be moved.

[f] On the contrary,
It is written (Is. 40:31): "They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint"; and (Wis. 3:7): "(The just) shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds." Therefore there will be some movement in glorified bodies.

[g] I answer that,
It is necessary to suppose that the glorified bodies are moved sometimes, since even Christ's body was moved in His ascension, and likewise the bodies of the saints, which will arise from the earth, will ascend to the empyrean [* The empyrean was the highest of the concentric spheres or heavens, and was identified by Christian writers with the abode of God. Cf. [5095] FP, Q [56], A [3]]. But even after they have climbed the heavens, it is likely that they will sometimes move according as it pleases them; so that by actually putting into practice that which is in their power, they may show forth the excellence of Divine wisdom, and that furthermore their vision may be refreshed by the beauty of the variety of creatures, in which God's wisdom will shine forth with great evidence: for sense can only perceive that which is present, although glorified bodies can perceive from a greater distance than non-glorified bodies. And yet movement will nowise diminish their happiness which consists in seeing God, for He will be everywhere present to them; thus Gregory says of the angels (Hom. xxxiv in Evang.) that "wherever they are sent their course lies in God."

[h] Reply to Objection 1:
Local movement changes nothing that is intrinsic to a thing, but only that which is without namely place. Hence that which is moved locally is perfect as to those things which are within (Phys. viii, 7), although it has an imperfection as to place, because while it is in one place it is in potentiality with regard to another place, since it cannot be in several places at the same time, for this belongs to God alone. But this defect is not inconsistent with the perfection of glory, as neither is the defect whereby a creature is formed from nothing. Hence such like defects will remain in glorified bodies.

[i] Reply to Objection 2:
A person is said to need a thing in two ways, namely absolutely and relatively. One needs absolutely that without which one cannot retain one's being or one's perfection: and thus movement in glorified bodies will not be on account of a need, because their happiness will suffice them for all such things. But we need a thing relatively when without it some end we have in view cannot be obtained by us, or not so well, or not in some particular way. It is thus that movement will be in the blessed on account of need, for they will be unable to show forth their motive power practically, unless they be in motion, since nothing prevents a need of this kind being in glorified bodies.

[j] Reply to Objection 3:
This argument would prove if the glorified body were unable even without movement to share the Divine goodness much more perfectly than the heavenly bodies, which is untrue. Hence glorified bodies will be moved, not in order to gain a perfect participation in the Divine goodness (since they have this through glory), but in order to show the soul's power. On the other hand, the movement of the heavenly bodies could not show their power, except the power they have in moving lower bodies to generation and corruption, which is not becoming to that state. Hence the argument does not prove.

[k] Reply to Objection 4:
Local movement takes nothing away from the stability of the soul that is established in God, since it does not affect that which is intrinsic to a thing, as stated above (ad 1).

[l] Reply to Objection 5:
The fitting place assigned to each glorified body according to the degree of its dignity belongs to the accidental reward. Nor does it follow that this reward is diminished whenever the body is outside its place; because that place pertains to reward, not as actually containing the body located therein (since nothing flows therefrom into the glorified body, but rather does it receive splendor therefrom), but as being due to merits. Wherefore, though out of that place, they will still continue to rejoice in it.