111, AA. 3,4). It is said indeed that this can be done sometimes by
the power of certain bodies. Secondly, from without: for just as he
can from the air form a body of any form and shape, and assume it so
as to appear in it visibly: so, in the same way he can clothe any
corporeal thing with any corporeal form, so as to appear therein.
This is what Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xviii, 18): "Man's
imagination, which whether thinking or dreaming, takes the forms of
an innumerable number of things, appears to other men's senses, as
it were embodied in the semblance of some animal." This not to be
understood as though the imagination itself or the images formed
therein were identified with that which appears embodied to the
senses of another man: but that the demon, who forms an image in a
man's imagination, can offer the same picture to another man's
Reply Obj. 3: As Augustine says (QQ. 83, qu. 79): "When magicians do
what holy men do, they do it for a different end and by a different
right. The former do it for their own glory; the latter, for the
glory of God: the former, by certain private compacts; the latter by
the evident assistance and command of God, to Whom every creature is
FIFTH ARTICLE [I, Q. 114, Art. 5]
Whether a Demon Who Is Overcome by Man, Is for This Reason Hindered
from Making Further Assaults?
Objection 1: It would seem that a demon who is overcome by a man, is
not for that reason hindered from any further assault. For Christ
overcame the tempter most effectively. Yet afterwards the demon
assailed Him by instigating the Jews to kill Him. Therefore it is
not true that the devil when conquered ceases his assaults.
Obj. 2: Further, to inflict punishment on one who has been worsted
in a fight, is to incite him to a sharper attack. But this is not
befitting God's mercy. Therefore the conquered demons are not
prevented from further assaults.
_On the contrary,_ It is written (Matt. 4:11): "Then the devil left
Him," i.e. Christ Who overcame.
_I answer that,_ Some say that when once a demon has been overcome he
can no more tempt any man at all, neither to the same nor to any
other sin. And others say that he can tempt others, but not the same
man. This seems more probable as long as we understand it to be so
for a certain definite time: wherefore (Luke 4:13) it is written:
"All temptation being ended, the devil departed from Him for a time."
There are two reasons for this. One is on the part of God's clemency;
for as Chrysostom says (Super Matt. Hom. v) [*In the Opus
Imperfectum, among his supposititious works], "the devil does not
tempt man for just as long as he likes, but for as long as God
allows; for although He allows him to tempt for a short time, He
orders him off on account of our weakness." The other reason is taken
from the astuteness of the devil. As to this, Ambrose says on Luke
4:13: "The devil is afraid of persisting, because he shrinks from
frequent defeat." That the devil does nevertheless sometimes return
to the assault, is apparent from Matt. 12:44: "I will return into my
house from whence I came out."
From what has been said, the objections can easily be solved.
OF THE ACTION OF THE CORPOREAL CREATURE
(In Six Articles)
We have now to consider the action of the corporeal creature; and
fate, which is ascribed to certain bodies. Concerning corporeal
actions there are six points of inquiry:
(1) Whether a body can be active?
(2) Whether there exist in bodies certain seminal virtues?
(3) Whether the heavenly bodies are the causes of what is done here
by the inferior bodies?
(4) Whether they are the cause of human acts?
(5) Whether demons are subject to their influence?
(6) Whether the heavenly bodies impose necessity on those things
which are subject to their influence?
FIRST ARTICLE [I, Q. 115, Art. 1]
Whether a Body Can Be Active?
Objection 1: It would seem that no bodies are active. For Augustine
says (De Civ. Dei v, 9): "There are things that are acted upon, but
do not act; such are bodies: there is one Who acts but is not acted
upon; this is God: there are things that both act and are acted upon;
these are the spiritual substances."
Obj. 2: Further, every agent except the first agent requires in its
work a subject susceptible of its action. But there is not substance
below the corporeal substance which can be susceptible of the
latter's action; since it belongs to the lowest degree of beings.
Therefore corporeal substance is not active.
Obj. 3: Further, every corporeal substance is limited by quantity.
But quantity hinders substance from movement and action, because it
surrounds it and penetrates it: just as a cloud hinders the air from
receiving light. A proof of this is that the more a body increases in
quantity, the heavier it is and the more difficult to move. Therefore
no corporeal substance is active.
Obj. 4: Further, the power of action in every agent is according to
its propinquity to the first active cause. But bodies, being most
composite, are most remote from the first active cause, which is most
simple. Therefore no bodies are active.
Obj. 5: Further, if a body is an agent, the term of its action is
either a substantial, or an accidental form. But it is not a
substantial form; for it is not possible to find in a body any
principle of action, save an active quality, which is an accident;
and an accident cannot be the cause of a substantial form, since the
cause is always more excellent than the effect. Likewise, neither is
it an accidental form, for "an accident does not extend beyond its
subject," as Augustine says (De Trin. ix, 4). Therefore no bodies are
_On the contrary,_ Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. xv) that among other
qualities of corporeal fire, "it shows its greatness in its action
and power on that of which it lays hold."
_I answer that,_ It is apparent to the senses that some bodies are
active. But concerning the action of bodies there have been three
errors. For some denied all action to bodies. This is the opinion of
Avicebron in his book on _The Fount of Life,_ where, by the arguments
mentioned above, he endeavors to prove that no bodies act, but that
all the actions which seem to be the actions of bodies, are the
actions of some spiritual power that penetrates all bodies: so that,
according to him, it is not fire that heats, but a spiritual power
which penetrates, by means of the fire. And this opinion seems to be
derived from that of Plato. For Plato held that all forms existing in
corporeal matter are participated thereby, and determined and limited
thereto; and that separate forms are absolute and as it were
universal; wherefore he said that these separate forms are the causes
of forms that exist in matter. Therefore inasmuch as the form which
is in corporeal matter is determined to this matter individualized by
quantity, Avicebron held that the corporeal form is held back and
imprisoned by quantity, as the principle of individuality, so as to
be unable by action to extend to any other matter: and that the
spiritual and immaterial form alone, which is not hedged in by
quantity, can issue forth by acting on something else.
But this does not prove that the corporeal form is not an agent, but
that it is not a universal agent. For in proportion as a thing is
participated, so, of necessity, must that be participated which is
proper thereto; thus in proportion to the participation of light is
the participation of visibility. But to act, which is nothing else
than to make something to be in act, is essentially proper to an act
as such; wherefore every agent produces its like. So therefore to the
fact of its being a form not determined by matter subject to
quantity, a thing owes its being an agent indeterminate and
universal: but to the fact that it is determined to this matter, it
owes its being an agent limited and particular. Wherefore if the form
of fire were separate, as the Platonists supposed, it would be, in a
fashion, the cause of every ignition. But this form of fire which is
in this corporeal matter, is the cause of this ignition which passes
from this body to that. Hence such an action is effected by the
contact of two bodies.
But this opinion of Avicebron goes further than that of Plato. For
Plato held only substantial forms to be separate; while he referred
accidents to the material principles which are "the great" and "the
small," which he considered to be the first contraries, by others
considered to the "the rare" and "the dense." Consequently both
Plato and Avicenna, who follows him to a certain extent, held that
corporeal agents act through their accidental forms, by disposing
matter for the substantial form; but that the ultimate perfection
attained by the introduction of the substantial form is due to an
immaterial principle. And this is the second opinion concerning the
action of bodies; of which we have spoken above when treating of
the creation (Q. 45, A. 8).
The third opinion is that of Democritus, who held that action takes
place through the issue of atoms from the corporeal agent, while
passion consists in the reception of the atoms in the pores of the
passive body. This opinion is disproved by Aristotle (De Gener. i, 8,
9). For it would follow that a body would not be passive as a whole,
and the quantity of the active body would be diminished through its
action; which things are manifestly untrue.
We must therefore say that a body acts forasmuch as it is in act, on
a body forasmuch as it is in potentiality.
Reply Obj. 1: This passage of Augustine is to be understood of the
whole corporeal nature considered as a whole, which thus has no
nature inferior to it, on which it can act; as the spiritual nature
acts on the corporeal, and the uncreated nature on the created.
Nevertheless one body is inferior to another, forasmuch as it is in
potentiality to that which the other has in act.
From this follows the solution of the second objection. But it must
be observed, when Avicebron argues thus, "There is a mover who is not
moved, to wit, the first maker of all; therefore, on the other hand,
there exists something moved which is purely passive," that this is
to be conceded. But this latter is primary matter, which is a pure
potentiality, just as God is pure act. Now a body is composed of
potentiality and act; and therefore it is both active and passive.
Reply Obj. 3: Quantity does not entirely hinder the corporeal form
from action, as stated above; but from being a universal agent,
forasmuch as a form is individualized through being in matter subject
to quantity. The proof taken from the weight of bodies is not to the
purpose. First, because addition of quantity does not cause weight;
as is proved (De Coelo et Mundo iv, 2). Secondly, it is false that
weight retards movement; on the contrary, the heavier a thing, the
greater its movement, if we consider the movement proper thereto.
Thirdly, because action is not effected by local movement, as
Democritus held: but by something being reduced from potentiality to
Reply Obj. 4: A body is not that which is most distant from God; for
it participates something of a likeness to the Divine Being,
forasmuch as it has a form. That which is most distant from God is
primary matter; which is in no way active, since it is a pure
Reply Obj. 5: The term of a body's action is both an accidental form
and a substantial form. For the active quality, such as heat,
although itself an accident, acts nevertheless by virtue of the
substantial form, as its instrument: wherefore its action can
terminate in a substantial form; thus natural heat, as the instrument
of the soul, has an action terminating in the generation of flesh.
But by its own virtue it produces an accident. Nor is it against the
nature of an accident to surpass its subject in acting, but it is to
surpass it in being; unless indeed one were to imagine that an
accident transfers its identical self from the agent to the patient;
thus Democritus explained action by an issue of atoms.
SECOND ARTICLE [I, Q. 115, Art. 2]
Whether There Are Any Seminal Virtues in Corporeal Matter?
Objection 1: It would seem that there are no seminal virtues in
corporeal matter. For virtue (_ratio_) implies something of a
spiritual order. But in corporeal matter nothing exists spiritually,
but only materially, that is, according to the mode of that in which
it is. Therefore there are no seminal virtues in corporeal matter.
Obj. 2: Further, Augustine (De Trin. iii, 8, 9) says that demons
produce certain results by employing with a hidden movement certain
seeds, which they know to exist in matter. But bodies, not virtues,
can be employed with local movement. Therefore it is unreasonable to
say that there are seminal virtues in corporeal matter.
Obj. 3: Further, seeds are active principles. But there are no active
principles in corporeal matter; since, as we have said above, matter
is not competent to act (A. 1, ad 2, 4). Therefore there are no
seminal virtues in corporeal matter.
Obj. 4: Further, there are said to be certain "causal virtues"
(Augustine, De Gen. ad lit. v, 4) which seem to suffice for the
production of things. But seminal virtues are not causal virtues: for
miracles are outside the scope of seminal virtues, but not of causal
virtues. Therefore it is unreasonable to say that there are seminal
virtues in corporeal matter.
_On the contrary,_ Augustine says (De Trin. iii, 8): "Of all the
things which are generated in a corporeal and visible fashion,
certain seeds lie hidden in the corporeal things of this world."
_I answer that,_ It is customary to name things after what is more
perfect, as the Philosopher says (De Anima ii, 4). Now in the whole
corporeal nature, living bodies are the most perfect: wherefore the
word "nature" has been transferred from living things to all natural
things. For the word itself, "nature," as the Philosopher says
(Metaph. v, Did. iv, 4), was first applied to signify the generation
of living things, which is called "nativity": and because living
things are generated from a principle united to them, as fruit from a
tree, and the offspring from the mother, to whom it is united,
consequently the word "nature" has been applied to every principle of
movement existing in that which is moved. Now it is manifest that the
active and passive principles of the generation of living things are
the seeds from which living things are generated. Therefore Augustine
fittingly gave the name of "seminal virtues" [seminales rationes] to
all those active and passive virtues which are the principles of
natural generation and movement.
These active and passive virtues may be considered in several orders.
For in the first place, as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. vi, 10), they
are principally and originally in the Word of God, as _typal ideas._
Secondly, they are in the elements of the world, where they were
produced altogether at the beginning, as in _universal causes._
Thirdly, they are in those things which, in the succession of time,
are produced by universal causes, for instance in this plant, and in
that animal, as in _particular causes._ Fourthly, they are in the
_seeds_ produced from animals and plants. And these again are compared
to further particular effects, as the primordial universal causes to
the first effects produced.
Reply Obj. 1: These active and passive virtues of natural things,
though not called "virtues" (rationes) by reason of their being in
corporeal matter, can nevertheless be so called in respect of their
origin, forasmuch as they are the effect of the typal ideas [rationes
Reply Obj. 2: These active and passive virtues are in certain parts
of corporeal things: and when they are employed with local movement
for the production of certain results, we speak of the demons as
Reply Obj. 3: The seed of the male is the active principle in the
generation of an animal. But that can be called seed also which the
female contributes as the passive principle. And thus the word "seed"
covers both active and passive principles.
Reply Obj. 4: From the words of Augustine when speaking of these
seminal virtues, it is easy to gather that they are also causal
virtues, just as seed is a kind of cause: for he says (De Trin. iii,
9) that, "as a mother is pregnant with the unborn offspring, so is
the world itself pregnant with the causes of unborn things."
Nevertheless, the "typal ideas" can be called "causal virtues," but
not, strictly speaking, "seminal virtues," because seed is not a
separate principle; and because miracles are not wrought outside the
scope of causal virtues. Likewise neither are miracles wrought
outside the scope of the passive virtues so implanted in the
creature, that the latter can be used to any purpose that God
commands. But miracles are said to be wrought outside the scope of
the natural active virtues, and the passive potentialities which are
ordered to such active virtues, and this is what is meant when we
say that they are wrought outside the scope of seminal virtues.
THIRD ARTICLE [I, Q. 115, Art. 3]
Whether the Heavenly Bodies Are the Cause of What Is Produced in
Bodies Here Below?
Objection 1: It would seem that the heavenly bodies are not the cause
of what is produced in bodies here below. For Damascene says (De Fide
Orth. ii, 7): "We say that they" - namely, the heavenly bodies - "are
not the cause of generation or corruption: they are rather signs of
storms and atmospheric changes."
Obj. 2: Further, for the production of anything, an agent and matter
suffice. But in things here below there is passive matter; and there
are contrary agents - heat and cold, and the like. Therefore for the
production of things here below, there is no need to ascribe
causality to the heavenly bodies.
Obj. 3: Further, the agent produces its like. Now it is to be
observed that everything which is produced here below is produced
through the action of heat and cold, moisture and dryness, and other
such qualities, which do not exist in heavenly bodies. Therefore the
heavenly bodies are not the cause of what is produced here below.
Obj. 4: Further, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei v, 6): "Nothing is more
corporeal than sex." But sex is not caused by the heavenly bodies: a
sign of this is that of twins born under the same constellation, one
may be male, the other female. Therefore the heavenly bodies are not
the cause of things produced in bodies here below.
_On the contrary,_ Augustine says (De Trin. iii, 4): "Bodies of a
grosser and inferior nature are ruled in a certain order by those of
a more subtle and powerful nature." And Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv) says
that "the light of the sun conduces to the generation of sensible
bodies, moves them to life, gives them nourishment, growth, and
_I answer that,_ Since every multitude proceeds from unity; and since
what is immovable is always in the same way of being, whereas what is
moved has many ways of being: it must be observed that throughout the
whole of nature, all movement proceeds from the immovable. Therefore
the more immovable certain things are, the more are they the cause of
those things which are most movable. Now the heavenly bodies are of
all bodies the most immovable, for they are not moved save locally.
Therefore the movements of bodies here below, which are various and
multiform, must be referred to the movement of the heavenly bodies,
as to their cause.
Reply Obj. 1: These words of Damascene are to be understood as
denying that the heavenly bodies are the first cause of generation
and corruption here below; for this was affirmed by those who held
that the heavenly bodies are gods.
Reply Obj. 2: The active principles of bodies here below are only the
active qualities of the elements, such as hot and cold and the like.
If therefore the substantial forms of inferior bodies were not
diversified save according to accidents of that kind, the principles
of which the early natural philosophers held to be the "rare" and the
"dense"; there would be no need to suppose some principle above these
inferior bodies, for they would be of themselves sufficient to act.
But to anyone who considers the matter aright, it is clear that those
accidents are merely material dispositions in regard to the
substantial forms of natural bodies. Now matter is not of itself
sufficient to act. And therefore it is necessary to suppose some
active principle above these material dispositions.
This is why the Platonists maintained the existence of separate
species, by participation of which the inferior bodies receive their
substantial forms. But this does not seem enough. For the separate
species, since they are supposed to be immovable, would always have
the same mode of being: and consequently there would be no variety in
the generation and corruption of inferior bodies: which is clearly
Therefore it is necessary, as the Philosopher says (De Gener. ii, 10),
to suppose a movable principle, which by reason of its presence or
absence causes variety in the generation and corruption of inferior
bodies. Such are the heavenly bodies. Consequently whatever generates
here below, moves to the production of the species, as the instrument
of a heavenly body: thus the Philosopher says (Phys. ii, 2) that "man
and the sun generate man."
Reply Obj. 3: The heavenly bodies have not a specific likeness to the
bodies here below. Their likeness consists in this, that by reason of
their universal power, whatever is generated in inferior bodies, is
contained in them. In this way also we say that all things are like
Reply Obj. 4: The actions of heavenly bodies are variously received
in inferior bodies, according to the various dispositions of matter.
Now it happens at times that the matter in the human conception is
not wholly disposed to the male sex; wherefore it is formed sometimes
into a male, sometimes into a female. Augustine quotes this as an
argument against divination by stars: because the effects of the
stars are varied even in corporeal things, according to the various
dispositions of matter.
FOURTH ARTICLE [I, Q. 115, Art. 4]
Whether the Heavenly Bodies Are the Cause of Human Actions?
Objection 1: It would seem that the heavenly bodies are the cause of
human actions. For since the heavenly bodies are moved by spiritual
substances, as stated above (Q. 110, A. 3), they act by virtue
thereof as their instruments. But those spiritual substances are
superior to our souls. Therefore it seems that they can cause
impressions on our souls, and thereby cause human actions.
Obj. 2: Further, every multiform is reducible to a uniform principle.
But human actions are various and multiform. Therefore it seems that
they are reducible to the uniform movements of heavenly bodies, as to
Obj. 3: Further, astrologers often foretell the truth concerning the
outcome of wars, and other human actions, of which the intellect and
will are the principles. But they could not do this by means of the
heavenly bodies, unless these were the cause of human actions.
Therefore the heavenly bodies are the cause of human actions.
_On the contrary,_ Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 7) that "the
heavenly bodies are by no means the cause of human actions."
_I answer that,_ The heavenly bodies can directly and of themselves
act on bodies, as stated above (A. 3). They can act directly indeed
on those powers of the soul which are the acts of corporeal organs,
but accidentally: because the acts of such powers must needs be
hindered by obstacles in the organs; thus an eye when disturbed cannot
see well. Wherefore if the intellect and will were powers affixed to
corporeal organs, as some maintained, holding that intellect does not
differ from sense; it would follow of necessity that the heavenly
bodies are the cause of human choice and action. It would also follow
that man is led by natural instinct to his actions, just as other
animals, in which there are powers other than those which are affixed
to corporeal organs: for whatever is done here below in virtue of the
action of heavenly bodies, is done naturally. It would therefore
follow that man has no free-will, and that he would have determinate
actions, like other natural things. All of which is manifestly false,
and contrary to human habit. It must be observed, however, that