Saturday, January 17, 2009

Q70 A3: Whether the lights of heaven are living beings?

No. The heavenly bodies are not living beings in the same sense as plants and animals, and that if they are called so, it can only be equivocally because the difference of opinion between those who affirm, and those who deny, that these bodies have life, is not a difference of things but of words.

Sic igitur patet quod corpora caelestia non sunt animata eo modo quo plantae et animalia, sed aequivoce. Unde inter ponentes ea esse animata, et ponentes ea inanimata, parva vel nulla differentia invenitur in re, sed in voce tantum.

The movement of the heavenly bodies demands a soul as the motive power, not that the soul, in order to move the heavenly body, need be united to the latter as its form; but by contact of power, as a mover is united to that which he moves.

Relinquitur ergo quod propter solam motionem. Ad hoc autem quod moveat, non oportet quod uniatur ei ut forma; sed per contactum virtutis, sicut motor unitur mobili.

Wherefore Aristotle (Phys. viii, text. 42,43), after showing that the first mover is made up of two parts, the moving and the moved, goes on to show the nature of the union between these two parts. This, he says, is effected by contact which is mutual if both are bodies; on the part of one only, if one is a body and the other not.

Unde Aristoteles, libro VIII Physic., postquam ostendit quod primum movens seipsum componitur ex duabus partibus, quarum una est movens et alia mota; assignans quomodo hae duae partes uniantur, dicit quod per contactum vel duorum ad invicem, si utrumque sit corpus, vel unius ad alterum et non e converso, si unum sit corpus et aliud non corpus.

The Platonists explain the union of soul and body in the same way, as a contact of a moving power with the object moved, and since Plato holds the heavenly bodies to be living beings, this means nothing else but that substances of spiritual nature are united to them, and act as their moving power.

Platonici etiam animas corporibus uniri non ponebant nisi per contactum virtutis, sicut motor mobili. Et sic per hoc quod Plato ponit corpora caelestia animata, nihil aliud datur intelligi, quam quod substantiae spirituales uniuntur corporibus caelestibus ut motores mobilibus.

A proof that the heavenly bodies are moved by the direct influence and contact of some spiritual substance, and not, like bodies of specific gravity, by nature, lies in the fact that whereas nature moves to one fixed end which having attained, it rests; this does not appear in the movement of heavenly bodies. Hence it follows that they are moved by some intellectual substances.

Quod autem corpora caelestia moveantur ab aliqua substantia apprehendente, et non solum a natura, sicut gravia et levia, patet ex hoc, quod natura non movet nisi ad unum, quo habito quiescit, quod in motu corporum caelestium non apparet.

Augustine appears to be of the same opinion when he expresses his belief that all corporeal things are ruled by God through the spirit of life (De Trin. iii, 4).

Unde relinquitur quod moventur ab aliqua substantia apprehendente Augustinus etiam dicit, III de Trin., corpora omnia administrari a Deo per spiritum vitae.

Augustine leaves the matter in doubt, without committing himself to either theory, though he goes so far as to say that if the heavenly bodies are really living beings, their souls must be akin to the angelic nature (Gen. ad lit. ii, 18; Enchiridion lviii).

Augustinus vero sub dubio dereliquit, in neutram partem declinans, ut patet in II supra Gen. ad Litt.; et in Enchirid., ubi etiam dicit quod, si sunt animata caelestia corpora, pertinent ad societatem Angelorum eorum animae.

The movements of the heavenly bodies are natural, not on account of their active principle, but on account of their passive principle; that is to say, from a certain natural aptitude for being moved by an intelligent power.

Motus corporis caelestis est naturalis, non propter principium activum, sed propter principium passivum, quia scilicet habet in sua natura aptitudinem ut tali motu ab intellectu moveatur.

Since the heavenly body is a mover moved, it is of the nature of an instrument, which acts in virtue of the agent: and therefore since this agent is a living substance the heavenly body can impart life in virtue of that agent.

Corpus caeleste, cum sit movens motum, habet rationem instrumenti, quod agit in virtute principalis agentis. Et ideo ex virtute sui motoris, qui est substantia vivens, potest causare vitam.