Saturday, January 31, 2009

Q75 A6: Whether the human soul is corruptible?

No. We must assert that the intellectual principle which we call the human soul is incorruptible because it is impossible for a subsistent form to cease to exist.

Necesse est dicere animam humanam, quam dicimus intellectivum principium, esse incorruptibilem quia impossibile est quod forma subsistens desinat esse.

This, indeed, is impossible, not only as regards the human soul, but also as regards anything subsistent that is a form alone. For it is clear that what belongs to a thing by virtue of itself is inseparable from it.

Quod quidem omnino est impossibile non solum de ipsa, sed de quolibet subsistente quod est forma tantum. Manifestum est enim quod id quod secundum se convenit alicui, est inseparabile ab ipso.

But existence belongs to a form, which is an act, by virtue of itself. Wherefore matter acquires actual existence as it acquires the form; while it is corrupted so far as the form is separated from it. But it is impossible for a form to be separated from itself.

Esse autem per se convenit formae, quae est actus. Unde materia secundum hoc acquirit esse in actu, quod acquirit formam, secundum hoc autem accidit in ea corruptio, quod separatur forma ab ea. Impossibile est autem quod forma separetur a seipsa.

For a thing may be corrupted in two ways--"per se," and accidentally. Now it is impossible for any substance to be generated or corrupted accidentally, that is, by the generation or corruption of something else. For generation and corruption belong to a thing, just as existence belongs to it, which is acquired by generation and lost by corruption.

Dupliciter enim aliquid corrumpitur, uno modo, per se; alio modo, per accidens. Impossibile est autem aliquid subsistens generari aut corrumpi per accidens, idest aliquo generato vel corrupto. Sic enim competit alicui generari et corrumpi, sicut et esse, quod per generationem acquiritur et per corruptionem amittitur.

Therefore, whatever has existence "per se" cannot be generated or corrupted except 'per se'; while things which do not subsist, such as accidents and material forms, acquire existence or lost it through the generation or corruption of composite things.

Unde quod per se habet esse, non potest generari vel corrumpi nisi per se, quae vero non subsistunt, ut accidentia et formae materiales, dicuntur fieri et corrumpi per generationem et corruptionem compositorum.

Now it was shown above (Q75 A2, Q75 A3) that the souls of brutes are not self-subsistent, whereas the human soul is; so that the souls of brutes are corrupted, when their bodies are corrupted; while the human soul could not be corrupted unless it were corrupted "per se."

Ostensum est autem supra quod animae brutorum non sunt per se subsistentes, sed sola anima humana. Unde animae brutorum corrumpuntur, corruptis corporibus, anima autem humana non posset corrumpi, nisi per se corrumperetur.

For the souls of brutes are produced by some power of the body; whereas the human soul is produced by God.

Nam anima brutorum producitur ex virtute aliqua corporea, anima vero humana a Deo.

Now there can be no contrariety in the intellectual soul; for it receives according to the manner of its existence, and those things which it receives are without contrariety; for the notions even of contraries are not themselves contrary, since contraries belong to the same knowledge. Therefore it is impossible for the intellectual soul to be corruptible.

In anima autem intellectiva non potest esse aliqua contrarietas. Recipit enim secundum modum sui esse, ea vero quae in ipsa recipiuntur, sunt absque contrarietate; quia etiam rationes contrariorum in intellectu non sunt contrariae, sed est una scientia contrariorum. Impossibile est ergo quod anima intellectiva sit corruptibilis.

Moreover we may take a sign of this from the fact that everything naturally aspires to existence after its own manner. Now, in things that have knowledge, desire ensues upon knowledge. The senses indeed do not know existence, except under the conditions of "here" and "now," whereas the intellect apprehends existence absolutely, and for all time; so that everything that has an intellect naturally desires always to exist.

Potest etiam huius rei accipi signum ex hoc, quod unumquodque naturaliter suo modo esse desiderat. Desiderium autem in rebus cognoscentibus sequitur cognitionem. Sensus autem non cognoscit esse nisi sub hic et nunc, sed intellectus apprehendit esse absolute, et secundum omne tempus. Unde omne habens intellectum naturaliter desiderat esse semper.

But a natural desire cannot be in vain. Therefore every intellectual substance is incorruptible.

Naturale autem desiderium non potest esse inane. Omnis igitur intellectualis substantia est incorruptibilis.

Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that human souls owe to Divine goodness that they are "intellectual," and that they have "an incorruptible substantial life."

Dionysius dicit, IV cap. de Div. Nom., quod animae humanae habent ex bonitate divina quod sint intellectuales et quod habeant substantialem vitam inconsumptibilem.