Sunday, July 19, 2009

Q108 A8: Whether men are taken up into the angelic orders?

Yes. Considered only as regards the grade of nature, men can in no way be assumed into the angelic orders; for the natural distinction will always remain. In view of this distinction, some asserted that men can in no way be transferred to an equality with the angels; but this is erroneous, contradicting as it does the promise of Christ saying that the children of the resurrection will be equal to the angels in heaven (Luke 20:36). For whatever belongs to nature is the material part of an order; whilst that which perfects is from grace which depends on the liberality of God, and not on the order of nature. Therefore by the gift of grace men can merit glory in such a degree as to be equal to the angels, in each of the angelic grades; and this implies that men are taken up into the orders of the angels. Some, however, say that not all who are saved are assumed into the angelic orders, but only virgins or the perfect; and that the other will constitute their own order, as it were, corresponding to the whole society of the angels. But this is against what Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xii, 9), that "there will not be two societies of men and angels, but only one; because the beatitude of all is to cleave to God alone."

Si ergo considerentur Angelorum ordines solum quantum ad gradum naturae, sic homines nullo modo assumi possunt ad ordines Angelorum, quia semper remanebit naturarum distinctio. Quam quidam considerantes, posuerunt quod nullo modo homines transferri possunt ad aequalitatem Angelorum. Quod est erroneum, repugnat enim promissioni Christi, dicentis, Lucae XX, quod filii resurrectionis erunt aequales Angelis in caelis. Illud enim quod est ex parte naturae, se habet ut materiale in ratione ordinis, completivum vero est quod est ex dono gratiae, quae dependet ex liberalitate Dei, non ex ordine naturae. Et ideo per donum gratiae homines mereri possunt tantam gloriam, ut Angelis aequentur secundum singulos Angelorum gradus. Quod est homines ad ordines Angelorum assumi. Quidam tamen dicunt quod ad ordines Angelorum non assumuntur omnes qui salvantur, sed soli virgines vel perfecti; alii vero suum ordinem constituent, quasi condivisum toti societati Angelorum. Sed hoc est contra Augustinum, qui dicit XII de Civ. Dei, quod "non erunt duae societates hominum et Angelorum, sed una, quia omnium beatitudo est adhaerere uni Deo."