Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Q91 A1: Whether the body of the first man was made of the slime of the earth?

Yes. The body of man is said to have been formed from the slime of the earth, because earth and water mingled are called slime, and for this reason man is called "a little world", because all creatures of the world are in a way to be found in him.

Dicitur corpus hominis de limo terrae formatum, quia limus dicitur terra aquae permixta. Et propter hoc homo dicitur "minor mundus", quia omnes creaturae mundi quodammodo inveniuntur in eo.

As God is perfect in His works, He bestowed perfection on all of them according to their capacity: "God's works are perfect" (Deuteronomy 32:4). He Himself is simply perfect by the fact that "all things are pre-contained" in Him, not as component parts, but as "united in one simple whole," as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. v); in the same way as various effects pre-exist in their cause, according to its one virtue.

Cum Deus perfectus sit, operibus suis perfectionem dedit secundum eorum modum; secundum illud Deut. XXXII, "Dei perfecta sunt opera". Ipse autem simpliciter perfectus est, ex hoc quod "omnia in se praehabet", non per modum compositionis, sed "simpliciter et unite", ut Dionysius dicit, eo modo quo diversi effectus praeexistunt in causa, secundum unam eius essentiam.

This perfection is bestowed on the angels, inasmuch as all things which are produced by God in nature through various forms come under their knowledge. But on man this perfection is bestowed in an inferior way. For he does not possess a natural knowledge of all natural things, but is in a manner composed of all things, since he has in himself a rational soul of the genus of spiritual substances, and in likeness to the heavenly bodies he is removed from contraries by an equable temperament. As to the elements, he has them in their very substance.

Ista autem perfectio ad Angelos quidem derivatur, secundum quod omnia sunt in eorum cognitione quae sunt a Deo in natura producta, per formas diversas. Ad hominem vero derivatur inferiori modo huiusmodi perfectio. Non enim in sua cognitione naturali habet omnium naturalium notitiam, sed est ex rebus omnibus quodammodo compositus, dum de genere spiritualium substantiarum habet in se animam rationalem, de similitudine vero caelestium corporum habet elongationem a contrariis per maximam aequalitatem complexionis, elementa vero secundum substantiam.

It is written (Genesis 2:7): "God made man of the slime of the earth."

Dicitur Gen. II, "formavit Deus hominem de limo terrae."