Thursday, July 16, 2009

Q108 A5: Whether the orders of the angels are properly named?

Yes. In the names of the angelic orders it is necessary to observe that the proper name of each order expresses its property, because we must consider that in the angelic orders all spiritual perfections are common to all the angels, and that they are all more excellently in the superior than in the inferior angels.

In nominatione angelicorum ordinum, considerare oportet quod "propria nomina singulorum ordinum proprietates eorum designant", quia considerandum est in ordinibus Angelorum, quod omnes spirituales perfectiones sunt omnibus Angelis communes et quod omnes abundantius existunt in superioribus quam in inferioribus.

Further, as in these perfections there are grades, the superior perfection belongs to the superior order as its property, whereas it belongs to the inferior by participation; and conversely the inferior perfection belongs to the inferior order as its property, and to the superior by way of excess; and thus the superior order is denominated from the superior perfection.

Sed cum in ipsis etiam perfectionibus sit quidam gradus, superior perfectio attribuitur superiori ordini per proprietatem, inferiori vero per participationem, e converso autem inferior attribuitur inferiori per proprietatem, superiori autem per excessum. Et ita superior ordo a superiori perfectione nominatur.

The name "Seraphim" is found in Isaiah 6:2; the name "Cherubim" in Ezekiel 1 (Cf. 10:15-20); "Thrones" in Colossians 1:16; "Dominations," "Virtues," "Powers," and "Principalities" are mentioned in Ephesians 1:21; the name "Archangels" in the canonical epistle of St. Jude (9), and the name "Angels" is found in many places of Scripture.

Nomen enim Seraphim ponitur Isaiae VI; nomen Cherubim Ezech. I; nomen thronorum, Coloss. I; dominationes autem et virtutes et potestates et principatus ponuntur Ephes. I; nomen autem Archangeli ponitur in canonica Iudae, nomina autem Angelorum in pluribus Scripturae locis.