Wednesday, June 06, 2007

St. Thomas Aquinas on the Abodes of the Dead

St. Thomas Aquinas distinguishes five abodes of the dead to which souls are conveyed immediately after death,{1} viz. Heaven/Paradise (the just receive final retribution in respect of the good), limbo of the Fathers (the holy Fathers did not initially receive their final reward due to the defect of nature, the guilt of which could not at the time of their death be expiated because Christ's Passion had not occurred), Purgatory (the just who have not attained their final reward due to the defect of their person, i.e. the venial sins they have committed and not been washed of), limbo of the children (final retribution in respect of original sin, i.e. the sin of omission, but without sensible punishment e.g. by fire{2}), and the Hell of the lost (final retribution in respect of actual mortal sin, i.e. sin of commission).

St. Thomas distinguishes the limbo of the patriarchs from the limbo of children. He says that the fathers have faith and grace and go to Heaven but the children have no hope of the blessed life because they lack both, whereas the fathers were expiated of original sin insofar as it affected the person but not yet the nature which entailed their stay in limbo. He identifies limbus patrum with Abraham's bosom.{3}

St. Thomas rejects the idea that "the darksome atmosphere" is one of these abodes because it is not the place where the demons receive retribution for their actions, but the place befitting their office,{4} insofar as they are appointed to try us. He also says that earthly (terrestrial) paradise is not one of these abodes because it belongs to the state of the wayfarer rather than to the state of those who receive for their merits (i.e. the comprehensors, the blessed).

Persons can leave the abodes of the dead (e.g. Jesus Christ the Lamb is omnipresent, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared at Fátima and Satan{5} and his demons roam the earth).

Notes and References
{1} St. Luke says [Lk 16:22], "And the rich man also died, and he was buried in Hell."
{2} St. Thomas wrote that the children in limbo do not suffer from punishment by corporeal pleasure because there is no pleasure in original sin and fiery punishment is due to pleasure in sin, as St. John the Evangelist says [Rev 18:7], "As much as she has glorified herself and lived in delicacies, so much torment and sorrow give Ye to her. Because she says in her heart: I sit a queen and am no widow: and sorrow I shall not see."
{3} St. Luke says [Lk 16:22], "And it came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom." We know that Abraham was taken to the hell of limbo because St. Moses says that St. Jacob told his sons [Gen 42:38], "You will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to hell" and St. Job says [Job 30:23], "I know that You will deliver me to death, where a house is appointed for everyone that lives," meaning that the limbo of hell housed everyone until Christ's Passion, according to Pope St. Gregory I the Great [Moral. xx].
{4} Pope St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, says [2 Pt 2:17], "These are fountains without water and clouds tossed with whirlwinds, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved."
{5} Beelzebub is the fallen angel Lucifer (God's highest angel), a.k.a. Satan. Contra John Milton, he is not a lesser demon than Satan. See "Satan's Aliases." The Banana Republican. 1 June 2007. 6 June 2007 <>.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Holtz on Sabellianism

Holtz thinks the heresy of Sabellianism arose from an imperfection in Christ's teaching. On the contrary, the Bible rules out Sabellianism.

Christ is a distinct person from the Father, for the Father says of Christ: "This is My beloved Son" [Mt 3:17] in reference to His person. Thus, contrary to the heresy of the Patripassians, the Persons of the Trinity are really distinct and the Father did not suffer on the Cross, nor is the Father Christ. There are only two processions in God: that of the Son from the Father and that of the Holy Spirit from the Father through the Son. There are real relations in God (four, viz. paternity, filiation, spiration, and procession){1} because the divine processions are in the identity of the same nature{2} so there must be a real opposition, and the very nature of relative opposition includes distinction; so there must be real distinction in God, not according to that which is absolute—the essence wherein there is supreme unity and simplicity—but according to that which is relative.{3}

Notes and References
{1} Bishop St. Augustine the Great of Hippo (Doctor Gratiae), De Trin. i, 1.
{2} Boethius, De Trin. iv.
{3} St. Thomas Aquinas (Doctor Angelicus), ST 1.28.3.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Satan's Aliases

Satan and Beelzebub are different demons

Obviously, Satan is the Devil. He truly is the fallen seraph named Lucifer, and was absolutely the highest angel [Pope St. Gregory I the Great (Doctor of the Church), Hom. xxxiv in Ev.; St. Thomas Aquinas (Doctor Angelicus), Summa Theologica I, q. 63, art. 7 {1}] before he fell due to the mortal sin of pride [Sir 10:14; 2 Cor 10:13]. The prophet Isaiah says [14:12-15]:
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? how art thou fallen to the earth, that didst wound the nations? And thou saidst in thy heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the most High. But yet thou shalt be brought down to Hell, into the depth of the pit."
This parable has a dual reference: Lucifer represents the King of Babylon, and, on a deeper level, Satan, for our Lord said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven" [Lk 10:18].
Moreover, the prophet Ezekiel lamented [28:12-15]:
“You were the seal of resemblance, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. You were in the pleasures of the paradise of God; every precious stone was thy covering; the sardius, the topaz, and the jasper, the chrysolite, and the onyx, and the beryl, the sapphire, and the carbuncle, and the emerald; gold the work of your beauty: and your pipes were prepared in the day that you were created. You a cherub stretched out, and protecting, and I set you in the holy mountain of God, you have walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your wave from the day of creation, until iniquity was found in you.”
Ezekiel was referring to the king of Tyre and Satan.

But how could God’s highest angel become evil? St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor Angelicus, explains in Summa Theologica 1.63.1:
“An angel or any other rational creature considered in his own nature, can sin; and to whatever creature it belongs not to sin, such creature has it as a gift of grace, and not from the condition of nature. The reason of this is, because sinning is nothing else than a deviation from that rectitude which an act ought to have; whether we speak of sin in nature, art, or morals. That act alone, the rule of which is the very virtue of the agent, can never fall short of rectitude. Were the craftsman's hand the rule itself engraving, he could not engrave the wood otherwise than rightly; but if the rightness of engraving be judged by another rule, then the engraving may be right or faulty.”
Thus the Fourth Lateran Council (Lateran IV) says that “the Devil and the other demons were created by God good in their nature but they by themselves have made themselves evil.”

Now in John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost, Satan and Beelzebub are said to be different demons. However, Beelzebub the prince of devils is not a lesser demon, but is Satan himself, for Christ said: “And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? … Because you say that through Beelzebub I cast out devils” [Lk 11:18]. There is extra-biblical confirmation of the identity of Satan with Beelzebub: Satan announced his name was Beelzebub during the exorcism of Nicola Aubrey.{2}

So Satan [Lk 10:18] = Lucifer [Is 14:12-15; Ek 28:12-15] = Devil [Rev 12:9] = Beelzebub [Mt 10:25; 12:24-29; Mk 3:22; Lk 11:15-22] = Lord of the Flies [2 Ki 1:2] = Prince of Demons [Lk 11:15] = Adversary [1 Pet 5:8] = Accuser [Rev 12:10] = Tempter [Mt 4:3] = Wicked One [Mt 13:19] = Prince of this World [Jn 12:31; 14:30] = Belial [2 Cor 6:15] = Dragon [Rev 12:9] = Old Serpent [Rev 12:9] = Beast [Rev 20:10].

{1} I like to cite the Summa Theologica thusly, even though my way differs from the scholarly method: Part.Question.Article.Objection. My citation is Summa Theologica Part 1, Question 63 (“The malice of the angels with regard to sin”), Article 7 (“Whether the highest among those who sinned was the highest of all?”). I did not cite St. Thomas’s response to a particular objection out of the three in that article. Thus, my citation is ST 1.63.7.
{2} The Exorcism of Nicola Aubrey by Fr. Michael Müller, C.S.S.R. Excerpt @ The other named demons in this apparently thoroughly documented account of God's demonstration of the Real Presence in the Eucharist include Astaroth, Cerberus, and Legion [Mk 5:9].