Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part III/Q57

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Q56 Q58



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IIIª q. 57 pr. Deinde considerandum est de ascensione Christi. Et circa hoc quaeruntur sex. Primo, utrum fuerit conveniens Christum ascendere. Secundo, secundum quam naturam conveniat sibi ascensio. Tertio, utrum propria virtute ascenderit. Quarto, utrum ascenderit super omnes caelos corporeos. Quinto, utrum ascenderit super omnes spirituales creaturas. Sexto, de effectu ascensionis. Question 57. The ascension of Christ 1. Did it belong for Christ to ascend into heaven? 2. According to which nature did it become Him to ascend? 3. Did He ascend by His own power? 4. Did He ascend above all the corporeal heavens? 5. Did He ascend above all spiritual creatures? 6. The effect of the ascension
IIIª q. 57 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non fuerit conveniens Christum ascendere. Dicit enim philosophus, in II de caelo, quod illa quae optimo modo se habent, possident suum bonum sine motu. Sed Christus optime se habuit, quia et secundum naturam divinam est summum bonum; et secundum humanam naturam est summe glorificatus. Ergo suum bonum habet sine motu. Sed ascensio est quidam motus. Ergo non fuit conveniens quod Christus ascenderet. Objection 1. It would seem that it was not fitting for Christ to ascend into heaven. For the Philosopher says (De Coelo ii) that "things which are in a state of perfection possess their good without movement." But Christ was in a state of perfection, since He is the Sovereign Good in respect of His Divine Nature, and sovereignly glorified in respect of His human nature. Consequently, He has His good without movement. But ascension is movement. Therefore it was not fitting for Christ to ascend.
IIIª q. 57 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, omne quod movetur, movetur propter aliquid melius. Sed Christo non fuit melius esse in caelo quam in terra, nihil enim accrevit sibi per hoc quod fuit in caelo, neque quantum ad animam neque quantum ad corpus. Ergo videtur quod Christus non debuit in caelum ascendere. Objection 2. Further, whatever is moved, is moved on account of something better. But it was no better thing for Christ to be in heaven than upon earth, because He gained nothing either in soul or in body by being in heaven. Therefore it seems that Christ should not have ascended into heaven.
IIIª q. 57 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, filius Dei humanam naturam assumpsit ad nostram salutem. Sed magis fuisset salutare hominibus quod semper conversaretur nobiscum in terris, ut ipse dixit discipulis suis, Luc. XVII, venient dies quando desideretis videre unum diem filii hominis, et non videbitis. Videtur ergo quod non fuerit conveniens Christum ascendere in caelum. Objection 3. Further, the Son of God took human flesh for our salvation. But it would have been more beneficial for men if He had tarried always with us upon earth; thus He said to His disciples (Luke 17:22): "The days will come when you shall desire to see one day of the Son of man; and you shall not see it." Therefore it seems unfitting for Christ to have ascended into heaven.
IIIª q. 57 a. 1 arg. 4 Praeterea, sicut Gregorius dicit, in XIV Moral., corpus Christi in nullo mutatum fuit post resurrectionem. Sed non immediate post resurrectionem ascendit in caelum, quia ipse dicit post resurrectionem, Ioan. XX, nondum ascendi ad patrem meum. Ergo videtur quod nec post quadraginta dies ascendere debuerit. Objection 4. Further, as Gregory says (Moral. xiv), Christ's body was in no way changed after the Resurrection. But He did not ascend into heaven immediately after rising again, for He said after the Resurrection (John 20:17): "I am not yet ascended to My Father." Therefore it seems that neither should He have ascended after forty days.
IIIª q. 57 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod dominus dicit, Ioan. XX, ascendo ad patrem meum et patrem vestrum. On the contrary, Are the words of our Lord (John 20:17): "I ascend to My Father and to your Father."
IIIª q. 57 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod locus debet esse proportionatus locato. Christus autem per resurrectionem vitam immortalem et incorruptibilem inchoavit. Locus autem in quo nos habitamus, est locus generationis et corruptionis, sed locus caelestis est locus incorruptionis. Et ideo non fuit conveniens quod Christus post resurrectionem remaneret in terris, sed conveniens fuit quod ascenderet in caelum. I answer that, The place ought to be in keeping with what is contained therein. Now by His Resurrection Christ entered upon an immortal and incorruptible life. But whereas our dwelling-place is one of generation and corruption, the heavenly place is one of incorruption. And consequently it was not fitting that Christ should remain upon earth after the Resurrection; but it was fitting that He should ascend to heaven.
IIIª q. 57 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod illud optime se habens quod sine motu possidet suum bonum, est Deus, qui est omnino immutabilis, secundum illud Malach. III, ego dominus, et non mutor. Quaelibet autem creatura est aliquo modo mutabilis, ut patet per Augustinum, VIII super Gen. ad Litt. Et quia natura assumpta a filio Dei remansit creata, ut patet ex his quae supra dicta sunt, non est inconveniens si ei aliquis motus attribuatur. Reply to Objection 1. That which is best and possesses its good without movement is God Himself, because He is utterly unchangeable, according to Malachi 3:6: "I am the Lord, and I change not." But every creature is changeable in some respect, as is evident from Augustine (Gen. ad lit. viii). And since the nature assumed by the Son of God remained a creature, as is clear from what was said above (2, 7; 16, 8,10; 20, 1), it is not unbecoming if some movement be attributed to it.
IIIª q. 57 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod per hoc quod Christus ascendit in caelum, nihil ei accrevit quantum ad ea quae sunt de essentia gloriae, sive secundum corpus sive secundum animam, tamen accrevit ei aliquid quantum ad loci decentiam, quod est ad bene esse gloriae. Non quod corpori eius aliquid aut perfectionis aut conservationis acquireretur ex corpore caelesti, sed solummodo propter quandam decentiam. Hoc autem aliquo modo pertinebat ad eius gloriam. Et de hac decentia gaudium quoddam habuit, non quidem quod tunc de novo de hoc gaudere inciperet quando in caelum ascendit; sed quia novo modo de hoc gavisus est, sicut de re impleta. Unde super illud Psalmi, delectationes in dextera tua usque in finem, dicit Glossa, delectatio et laetitia erit mihi in consessu tuo humanis obtutibus subtracto. Reply to Objection 2. By ascending into heaven Christ acquired no addition to His essential glory either in body or in soul: nevertheless He did acquire something as to the fittingness of place, which pertains to the well-being of glory: not that His body acquired anything from a heavenly body by way of perfection or preservation; but merely out of a certain fittingness. Now this in a measure belonged to His glory; and He had a certain kind of joy from such fittingness, not indeed that He then began to derive joy from it when He ascended into heaven, but that He rejoiced thereat in a new way, as at a thing completed. Hence, on Psalm 15:11: "At Thy right hand are delights even unto the end," the gloss says: "I shall delight in sitting nigh to Thee, when I shall be taken away from the sight of men."
IIIª q. 57 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod, licet praesentia corporalis Christi fuerit subtracta fidelibus per ascensionem, praesentia tamen divinitatis ipsius semper adest fidelibus, secundum quod ipse dicit, Matth. ult., ecce, ego vobiscum sunt omnibus diebus usque ad consummationem saeculi. Qui enim ascendit in caelos, non deserit adoptatos, ut Leo Papa dicit. Sed ipsa ascensio Christi in caelum, qua corporalem suam praesentiam nobis subtraxit, magis fuit utilis nobis quam praesentia corporalis fuisset. Primo quidem, propter fidei augmentum, quae est de non visis. Unde ipse dominus dicit Ioan. XVI, quod spiritus sanctus adveniens arguet mundum de iustitia, scilicet eorum qui credunt, ut Augustinus dicit, super Ioan., ipsa quippe fidelium comparatio infidelium est vituperatio. Unde subdit, quia ad patrem vado, et iam non videbitis me, beati enim qui non vident, et credunt. Erit itaque nostra iustitia de qua mundus arguitur, quoniam in me, quem non videbitis, credetis. Secundo, ad spei sublevationem. Unde ipse dicit, Ioan. XIV, si abiero et praeparavero vobis locum, iterum veniam, et accipiam vos ad meipsum, ut ubi ego sum, et vos sitis. Per hoc enim quod Christus humanam naturam assumptam in caelo collocavit, dedit nobis spem illuc perveniendi, quia ubi fuerit corpus, illuc congregabuntur et aquilae, ut dicitur Matth. XXIV. Unde et Mich. II dicitur, ascendit pandens iter ante eos. Tertio, ad erigendum caritatis affectum in caelestia. Unde dicit apostolus, Coloss. III, quae sursum sunt quaerite, ubi Christus est in dextera Dei sedens, quae sursum sunt sapite, non quae super terram. Ut enim dicitur Matth. VI, ubi est thesaurus tuus, ibi est et cor tuum. Et quia spiritus sanctus est amor nos in caelestia rapiens, ideo dominus dicit discipulis, Ioan. XVI, expedit vobis ut ego vadam. Si enim non abiero, Paraclitus non veniet ad vos, si autem abiero, mittam eum ad vos. Quod exponens Augustinus, super Ioan., dicit, non potestis capere spiritum quandiu secundum carnem nosse persistitis Christum. Christo autem discedente corporaliter, non solum spiritus sanctus, sed et pater et filius illis affuit spiritualiter. Reply to Objection 3. Although Christ's bodily presence was withdrawn from the faithful by the Ascension, still the presence of His Godhead is ever with the faithful, as He Himself says (Matthew 28:20): "Behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world." For, "by ascending into heaven He did not abandon those whom He adopted," as Pope Leo says (De Resurrec., Serm. ii). But Christ's Ascension into heaven, whereby He withdrew His bodily presence from us, was more profitable for us than His bodily presence would have been. First of all, in order to increase our faith, which is of things unseen. Hence our Lord said (John 16) that the Holy Ghost shall come and "convince the world . . . of justice," that is, of the justice "of those that believe," as Augustine says (Tract. xcv super Joan.): "For even to put the faithful beside the unbeliever is to put the unbeliever to shame"; wherefore he goes on to say (10): "'Because I go to the Father; and you shall see Me no longer'"--"For 'blessed are they that see not, yet believe.' Hence it is of our justice that the world is reproved: because 'you will believe in Me whom you shall not see.'" Secondly, to uplift our hope: hence He says (John 14:3): "If I shall go, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will take you to Myself; that where I am, you also may be." For by placing in heaven the human nature which He assumed, Christ gave us the hope of going thither; since "wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together," as is written in Matthew 24:28. Hence it is written likewise (Micah 2:13): "He shall go up that shall open the way before them." Thirdly, in order to direct the fervor of our charity to heavenly things. Hence the Apostle says (Colossians 3:1-2): "Seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth": for as is said (Matthew 6:21): "Where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also." And since the Holy Ghost is love drawing us up to heavenly things, therefore our Lord said to His disciples (John 16:7): "It is expedient to you that I go; for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." On which words Augustine says (Tract. xciv super Joan.): "Ye cannot receive the Spirit, so long as ye persist in knowing Christ according to the flesh. But when Christ withdrew in body, not only the Holy Ghost, but both Father and Son were present with them spiritually."
IIIª q. 57 a. 1 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod, licet Christo resurgenti in vitam immortalem congrueret locus caelestis, tamen ascensionem distulit, ut veritas resurrectionis comprobaretur. Unde dicitur Act. I, quod post passionem suam praebuit seipsum vivum discipulis in multis argumentis per dies quadraginta. Ubi dicit Glossa quaedam quod, quia quadraginta horas mortuus fuerat, quadraginta diebus se vivere confirmat. Vel per quadraginta dies tempus praesentis saeculi, quo Christus in Ecclesia conversatur, potest intelligi, secundum quod homo constat ex quatuor elementis, et eruditur contra transgressionem Decalogi. Reply to Objection 4. Although a heavenly place befitted Christ when He rose to immortal life, nevertheless He delayed the Ascension in order to confirm the truth of His Resurrection. Hence it is written (Acts 1:3), that "He showed Himself alive after His Passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them": upon which the gloss says that "because He was dead for forty hours, during forty days He established the fact of His being alive again. Or the forty days may be understood as a figure of this world, wherein Christ dwells in His Church: inasmuch as man is made out of the four elements, and is cautioned not to transgress the Decalogue."
IIIª q. 57 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ascendere in caelum conveniat Christo secundum naturam divinam. Dicitur enim in Psalmo, ascendit Deus in iubilatione; et Deut. XXXIII, ascensor caeli auxiliator tuus. Sed ista dicuntur de Deo etiam ante Christi incarnationem. Ergo Christo convenit ascendere in caelum secundum quod Deus. Objection 1. It would seem that Christ's Ascension into heaven belonged to Him according to His Divine Nature. For, it is written (Psalm 46:6): "God is ascended with jubilee": and (Deuteronomy 33:26): "He that is mounted upon the heaven is thy helper." But these words were spoken of God even before Christ's Incarnation. Therefore it belongs to Christ to ascend into heaven as God.
IIIª q. 57 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, eiusdem est ascendere in caelum cuius est descendere de caelo, secundum illud Ioan. III, nemo ascendit in caelum nisi qui de caelo descendit; et Ephes. IV, qui descendit, ipse est et qui ascendit. Sed Christus descendit de caelo, non secundum quod homo, sed secundum quod Deus, non enim humana eius natura ante in caelo fuerat, sed divina. Ergo videtur quod Christus ascendit in caelum secundum quod Deus. Objection 2. Further, it belongs to the same person to ascend into heaven as to descend from heaven, according to John 3:13: "No man hath ascended into heaven, but He that descended from heaven": and Ephesians 4:10: "He that descended is the same also that ascended." But Christ came down from heaven not as man, but as God: because previously His Nature in heaven was not human, but Divine. Therefore it seems that Christ ascended into heaven as God.
IIIª q. 57 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, Christus sua ascensione ascendit ad patrem. Sed ad patris aequalitatem non pervenit secundum quod homo, sic enim dicit, maior me est, ut habetur Ioan. XIV. Ergo videtur quod Christus ascendit secundum quod Deus. Objection 3. Further, by His Ascension Christ ascended to the Father. But it was not as man that He rose to equality with the Father; for in this respect He says: "He is greater than I," as is said in John 14:28. Therefore it seems that Christ ascended as God.
IIIª q. 57 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod, Ephes. IV, super illud, quod autem ascendit, quid est nisi quia descendit, dicit Glossa, constat quod secundum humanitatem Christus descendit et ascendit. On the contrary, on Ephesians 4:10: "That He ascended, what is it, but because He also descended," a gloss says: "It is clear that He descended and ascended according to His humanity."
IIIª q. 57 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod ly secundum quod duo potest notare, scilicet conditionem ascendentis, et causam ascensionis. Et si quidem designet conditionem ascendentis, tunc ascendere non potest convenire Christo secundum conditionem divinae naturae. Tum quia nihil est deitate altius, quo possit ascendere. Tum etiam quia ascensio est motus localis, qui divinae naturae non competit, quae est immobilis et inlocalis. Sed per hunc modum ascensio competit Christo secundum humanam naturam, quae continetur loco, et motui subiici potest. Unde sub hoc sensu poterimus dicere quod Christus ascendit in caelum secundum quod homo, non secundum quod Deus. Si vero ly secundum quod designet causam ascensionis, cum etiam Christus ex virtute divinitatis in caelum ascenderit, non autem ex virtute humanae naturae, dicendum erit quod Christus ascendit in caelum, non secundum quod homo, sed secundum quod Deus. Unde Augustinus dicit, in sermone de ascensione, de nostro fuit quod filius Dei pependit in cruce, de suo quod ascendit. I answer that, The expression "according to" can denote two things; the condition of the one who ascends, and the cause of his ascension. When taken to express the condition of the one ascending, the Ascension in no wise belongs to Christ according to the condition of His Divine Nature; both because there is nothing higher than the Divine Nature to which He can ascend; and because ascension is local motion, a thing not in keeping with the Divine Nature, which is immovable and outside all place. Yet the Ascension is in keeping with Christ according to His human nature, which is limited by place, and can be the subject of motion. In this sense, then, we can say that Christ ascended into heaven as man, but not as God. But if the phrase "according to" denote the cause of the Ascension, since Christ ascended into heaven in virtue of His Godhead, and not in virtue of His human nature, then it must be said that Christ ascended into heaven not as man, but as God. Hence Augustine says in a sermon on the Ascension: "It was our doing that the Son of man hung upon the cross; but it was His own doing that He ascended."
IIIª q. 57 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod auctoritates illae prophetice dicuntur de Deo secundum quod erat incarnandus. Potest tamen dici quod ascendere, etsi non proprie conveniat divinae naturae, potest tamen ei metaphorice convenire, prout scilicet dicitur in corde hominis ascendere, quando cor hominis se subiicit et humiliat Deo. Et eodem modo metaphorice dicitur ascendere respectu cuiuslibet creaturae, ex eo quod eam subiicit sibi. Reply to Objection 1. These utterances were spoken prophetically of God who was one day to become incarnate. Still it can be said that although to ascend does not belong to the Divine Nature properly, yet it can metaphorically; as, for instance, it is said "to ascend in the heart of man" (cf. Psalm 83:6), when his heart submits and humbles itself before God: and in the same way God is said to ascend metaphorically with regard to every creature, since He subjects it to Himself.
IIIª q. 57 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod ipse idem est qui ascendit et qui descendit. Dicit enim Augustinus, in libro de symbolo, quis est qui descendit? Deus homo. Quis est qui ascendit? Idem ipse Deus homo. Descensus tamen duplex attribuitur Christo. Unus quidem, quo dicitur descendisse de caelo. Qui quidem attribuitur Deo homini secundum quod Deus. Non enim est iste descensus intelligendus secundum motum localem, sed secundum exinanitionem, qua, cum in forma Dei esset, servi formam suscepit. Sicut enim dicitur exinanitus, non ex eo quod suam plenitudinem amitteret, sed ex eo quod nostram parvitatem suscepit; ita dicitur descendisse de caelo, non quia caelum deseruerit, sed quia naturam terrenam assumpsit in unitatem personae. Alius autem est descensus quo descendit in inferiores partes terrae, ut dicitur Ephes. IV. Qui quidem est descensus localis. Unde competit Christo secundum conditionem humanae naturae. Reply to Objection 2. He who ascended is the same as He who descended. For Augustine says (De Symb. iv): "Who is it that descends? The God-Man. Who is it that ascends? The self-same God-Man." Nevertheless a twofold descent is attributed to Christ; one, whereby He is said to have descended from heaven, which is attributed to the God-Man according as He is God: for He is not to be understood as having descended by any local movement, but as having "emptied Himself," since "when He was in the form of God He took the form of a servant." For just as He is said to be emptied, not by losing His fulness, but because He took our littleness upon Himself, so likewise He is said to have descended from heaven, not that He deserted heaven, but because He assumed human nature in unity of person. And there is another descent whereby He descended "into the lower regions of the earth," as is written Ephesians 4:9; and this is local descent: hence this belongs to Christ according to the condition of human nature.
IIIª q. 57 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod Christus dicitur ad patrem ascendere, inquantum ascendit ad consessum paternae dexterae. Quod quidem convenit Christo aliqualiter secundum divinam naturam, aliqualiter autem secundum humanam, ut infra dicetur. Reply to Objection 3. Christ is said to ascend to the Father, inasmuch as He ascends to sit on the right hand of the Father; and this is befitting Christ in a measure according to His Divine Nature, and in a measure according to His human nature, as will be said later (58, 3)
IIIª q. 57 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod Christus non ascenderit propria virtute. Dicitur enim Marci ult. quod dominus Iesus, postquam locutus est discipulis, assumptus est in caelum. Et Act. I dicitur quod, videntibus illis, elevatus est, et nubes suscepit eum ab oculis eorum. Sed illud quod assumitur et elevatur, ab alio videtur moveri. Ergo Christus non propria virtute, sed aliena, ferebatur in caelum. Objection 1. It would seem that Christ did not ascend by His own power, because it is written (Mark 16:19) that "the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up to heaven"; and (Acts 1:9) that, "while they looked on, He was raised up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight." But what is taken up, and lifted up, appears to be moved by another. Consequently, it was not by His own power, but by another's that Christ was taken up into heaven.
IIIª q. 57 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, corpus Christi fuit terrenum, sicut et corpora nostra. Corpori autem terreno contra naturam est ferri sursum. Nullus autem motus est propria virtute eius quod contra naturam movetur. Ergo Christus non ascendit in caelum propria virtute. Objection 2. Further, Christ's was an earthly body, like to ours. But it is contrary to the nature of an earthly body to be borne upwards. Moreover, what is moved contrary to its nature is nowise moved by its own power. Therefore Christ did not ascend to heaven by His own power.
IIIª q. 57 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, propria virtus Christi est virtus divina. Sed motus ille non videtur fuisse ex virtute divina, quia, cum virtus divina sit infinita, motus ille fuisset in instanti; et sic non potuisset videntibus discipulis elevari in caelum, ut dicitur Act. I. Ergo videtur quod Christus non ascenderit propria virtute. Objection 3. Further, Christ's own power is Divine. But this motion does not seem to have been Divine, because, whereas the Divine power is infinite, such motion would be instantaneous; consequently, He would not have been uplifted to heaven "while" the disciples "looked on," as is stated in Acts 1:9. Therefore, it seems that Christ did not ascend to heaven by His own power.
IIIª q. 57 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicitur Isaiae LXIII, iste formosus in stola sua, gradiens in multitudine fortitudinis suae. Et Gregorius dicit, in homilia ascensionis, notandum est quod Elias in curru legitur ascendisse, ut videlicet aperte demonstraretur quia homo purus adiutorio indigebat alieno. Redemptor autem noster non curru, non Angelis sublevatus legitur, quia qui fecerat omnia, super omnia sua virtute ferebatur. On the contrary, It is written (Isaiah 63:1): "This beautiful one in his robe, walking in the greatness of his strength." Also Gregory says in a Homily on the Ascension (xxix): "It is to be noted that we read of Elias having ascended in a chariot, that it might be shown that one who was mere man needed another's help. But we do not read of our Saviour being lifted up either in a chariot or by angels, because He who had made all things was taken up above all things by His own power."
IIIª q. 57 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod in Christo est duplex natura, divina scilicet et humana. Unde secundum utramque naturam potest accipi propria virtus eius. Sed secundum humanam naturam potest accipi duplex virtus Christi. Una quidem naturalis, quae procedit ex principiis naturae. Et tali virtute manifestum est quod Christus non ascendit. Alia autem virtus in humana natura est virtus gloriae. Secundum quam Christus in caelum ascendit. Cuius quidem virtutis rationem quidam accipiunt ex natura quintae essentiae, quae est lux, ut dicunt, quam ponunt esse de compositione humani corporis, et per eam elementa contraria conciliari in unum. Ita quod in statu huius mortalitatis natura elementaris in corporibus humanis dominatur, et ideo, secundum naturam elementi praedominantis, corpus humanum naturali virtute deorsum fertur. In statu autem gloriae praedominabitur natura caelestis, secundum cuius inclinationem et virtutem corpus Christi, et alia sanctorum corpora, feruntur in caelum. Sed de hac opinione et in prima parte habitum est; et infra magis agetur, in tractatu de resurrectione communi. Hac autem opinione praetermissa, alii assignant rationem praedictae virtutis ex parte animae glorificatae, ex cuius redundantia glorificabitur corpus, ut Augustinus dicit, ad Dioscorum. Erit enim tanta obedientia corporis gloriosi ad animam beatam ut, sicut Augustinus dicit, XXII de Civ. Dei, ubi volet spiritus, ibi erit protinus corpus, nec volet aliquid quod nec spiritum possit decere nec corpus. Decet autem corpus gloriosum et immortale esse in loco caelesti, sicut dictum est. Et ideo ex virtute animae volentis corpus Christi ascendit in caelum. Sicut autem corpus efficitur gloriosum, ita, ut Augustinus dicit, super Ioan., participatione Dei fit anima beata. Unde prima origo ascensionis in caelum est virtus divina. Sic igitur Christus ascendit in caelum propria virtute, primo quidem, virtute divina; secundo, virtute animae glorificatae moventis corpus prout vult. I answer that, There is a twofold nature in Christ, to wit, the Divine and the human. Hence His own power can be accepted according to both. Likewise a twofold power can be accepted regarding His human nature: one is natural, flowing from the principles of nature; and it is quite evident that Christ did not ascend into heaven by such power as this. The other is the power of glory, which is in Christ's human nature; and it was according to this that He ascended to heaven. Now there are some who endeavor to assign the cause of this power to the nature of the fifth essence. This, as they say, is light, which they make out to be of the composition of the human body, and by which they contend that contrary elements are reconciled; so that in the state of this mortality, elemental nature is predominant in human bodies: so that, according to the nature of this predominating element the human body is borne downwards by its own power: but in the condition of glory the heavenly nature will predominate, by whose tendency and power Christ's body and the bodies of the saints are lifted up to heaven. But we have already treated of this opinion in I, 76, 7, and shall deal with it more fully in treating of the general resurrection (XP, 84, 1). Setting this opinion aside, others assign as the cause of this power the glorified soul itself, from whose overflow the body will be glorified, as Augustine writes to Dioscorus (Ep. cxviii). For the glorified body will be so submissive to the glorified soul, that, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xxii), "wheresoever the spirit listeth, thither the body will be on the instant; nor will the spirit desire anything unbecoming to the soul or the body." Now it is befitting the glorified and immortal body for it to be in a heavenly place, as stated above (Article 1). Consequently, Christ's body ascended into heaven by the power of His soul willing it. But as the body is made glorious by participation with the soul, even so, as Augustine says (Tract. xxiii in Joan.), "the soul is beatified by participating in God." Consequently, the Divine power is the first source of the ascent into heaven. Therefore Christ ascended into heaven by His own power, first of all by His Divine power, and secondly by the power of His glorified soul moving His body at will.
IIIª q. 57 a. 3 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut Christus dicitur propria virtute surrexisse, et tamen est suscitatus a patre, eo quod est eadem virtus patris et filii; ita etiam Christus propria virtute ascendit in caelum, et tamen a patre est elevatus et assumptus. Reply to Objection 1. As Christ is said to have risen by His own power, though He was raised to life by the power of the Father, since the Father's power is the same as the Son's; so also Christ ascended into heaven by His own power, and yet was raised up and taken up to heaven by the Father.
IIIª q. 57 a. 3 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod ratio illa probat quod Christus non ascenderit in caelum propria virtute quae est humanae naturae naturalis. Ascendit tamen in caelum propria virtute quae est virtus divina; et propria virtute quae est animae beatae. Et licet ascendere sursum sit contra naturam humani corporis secundum statum praesentem, in quo corpus non est omnino subiectum spiritui non tamen erit contra naturam neque violentum corpori glorioso, cuius tota natura est omnino subiecta spiritui. Reply to Objection 2. This argument proves that Christ did not ascend into heaven by His own power, i.e. that which is natural to human nature: yet He did ascend by His own power, i.e. His Divine power, as well as by His own power, i.e. the power of His beatified soul. And although to mount upwards is contrary to the nature of a human body in its present condition, in which the body is not entirely dominated by the soul, still it will not be unnatural or forced in a glorified body, whose entire nature is utterly under the control of the spirit.
IIIª q. 57 a. 3 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod, etsi virtus divina sit infinita, et infinite operetur quantum est ex parte operantis, tamen effectus virtutis eius recipitur in rebus secundum earum capacitatem, et secundum Dei dispositionem. Corpus autem non est capax ut in instanti localiter moveatur, quia oportet quod commetiatur se spatio, secundum cuius divisionem dividitur tempus, ut probatur VI Physic. Et ideo non oportet quod corpus motum a Deo moveatur in instanti, sed movetur ea velocitate qua Deus disponit. Reply to Objection 3. Although the Divine power be infinite, and operate infinitely, so far as the worker is concerned, still the effect thereof is received in things according to their capacity, and as God disposes. Now a body is incapable of being moved locally in an instant, because it must be commensurate with space, according to the division of which time is reckoned, as is proved in Physics vi. Consequently, it is not necessary for a body moved by God to be moved instantaneously, but with such speed as God disposes.
IIIª q. 57 a. 4 arg. 1 Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod Christus non ascenderit super omnes caelos. Dicitur enim in Psalmo, dominus in templo sancto suo, dominus, in caelo sedes eius. Quod autem est in caelo, non est supra caelum. Ergo Christus non ascendit super omnes caelos. Objection 1. It would seem that Christ did not ascend above all the heavens, for it is written (Psalm 10:5): "The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven." But what is in heaven is not above heaven. Therefore Christ did not ascend above all the heavens.
Objection 2. [This objection with its solution is omitted in the Leonine edition as not being in the original manuscript.]Further, there is no place above the heavens, as is proved in De Coelo i. But every body must occupy a place. Therefore Christ's body did not ascend above all the heavens.
IIIª q. 57 a. 4 arg. 2 Praeterea, duo corpora non possunt esse in eodem loco. Cum igitur non sit transitus de extremo in extremum nisi per medium, videtur quod Christus non potuisset ascendere super omnes caelos nisi caelum divideretur. Quod est impossibile. Objection 3. Further, two bodies cannot occupy the same place. Since, then, there is no passing from place to place except through the middle space, it seems that Christ could not have ascended above all the heavens unless heaven were divided; which is impossible.
IIIª q. 57 a. 4 arg. 3 Praeterea, Act. I dicitur quod nubes suscepit eum ab oculis eorum. Sed nubes non possunt elevari supra caelum. Ergo Christus non ascendit super omnes caelos. Objection 4. Further, it is narrated (Acts 1:9) that "a cloud received Him out of their sight." But clouds cannot be uplifted beyond heaven. Consequently, Christ did not ascend above all the heavens.
IIIª q. 57 a. 4 arg. 4 Praeterea, ibi credimus Christum in perpetuum permansurum quo ascendit. Sed quod contra naturam est, non potest esse sempiternum, quia id quod est secundum naturam, est ut in pluribus et frequentius. Cum ergo contra naturam sit corpori terreno esse supra caelum, videtur quod corpus Christi supra caelum non ascenderit. Objection 5. Further, we believe that Christ will dwell for ever in the place whither He has ascended. But what is against nature cannot last for ever, because what is according to nature is more prevalent and of more frequent occurrence. Therefore, since it is contrary to nature for an earthly body to be above heaven, it seems that Christ's body did not ascend above heaven.
IIIª q. 57 a. 4 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicitur Ephes. IV, ascendit super omnes caelos, ut adimpleret omnia. On the contrary, It is written (Ephesians 4:10): "He ascended above all the heavens that He might fill all things."
IIIª q. 57 a. 4 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, quanto aliqua corpora perfectius participant bonitatem divinam, tanto sunt superiora corporali ordine, qui est ordo localis. Unde videmus quod corpora quae sunt magis formalia, sunt naturaliter superiora, ut patet per philosophum, in IV Physic., et in II de caelo, per formam enim unumquodque corpus participat divinum esse, ut patet in I Physic. Plus autem participat de divina bonitate corpus per gloriam quam quodcumque corpus naturale per formam suae naturae. Et inter cetera corpora gloriosa, manifestum est quod corpus Christi maiori refulget gloria. Unde convenientissimum est sibi quod sit supra omnia corpora constitutum in alto. Et ideo, super illud Ephes. IV, ascendens in altum, dicit Glossa, loco et dignitate. I answer that, The more fully anything corporeal shares in the Divine goodness, the higher its place in the corporeal order, which is order of place. Hence we see that the more formal bodies are naturally the higher, as is clear from the Philosopher (Phys. iv; De Coelo ii), since it is by its form that every body partakes of the Divine Essence, as is shown in Physics i. But through glory the body derives a greater share in the Divine goodness than any other natural body does through its natural form; while among other glorious bodies it is manifest that Christ's body shines with greater glory. Hence it was most fitting for it to be set above all bodies. Thus it is that on Ephesians 4:8: "Ascending on high," the gloss says: "in place and dignity."
IIIª q. 57 a. 4 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod sedes Dei dicitur esse in caelo, non sicut in continente, sed magis sicut in contento. Unde non oportet aliquam partem caeli eo superiorem esse, sed ipsum esse super omnes caelos, sicut et in Psalmo dicitur, elevata est magnificentia tua super caelos, Deus. Reply to Objection 1. God's seat is said to be in heaven, not as though heaven contained Him, but rather because it is contained by Him. Hence it is not necessary for any part of heaven to be higher, but for Him to be above all the heavens; according to Psalm 8:2: "For Thy magnificence is elevated above the heavens, O God!"
IIIª q. 57 a. 4 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod, quamvis de natura corporis non sit quod possit esse in eodem loco cum alio corpore, tamen potest hoc Deus facere per miraculum quod in eodem loco possint esse, sicut et fecit corpus Christi ut de clauso utero beatae virginis exiret, et quod intravit ianuis clausis, sicut dicit beatus Gregorius. Corpori ergo Christi convenire potest esse cum alio corpore in eodem loco, non ex proprietate corporis, sed per virtutem divinam assistentem et hoc operantem. Reply to Objection 2. [Omitted in Leonine edition; see Objection 2] A place implies the notion of containing; hence the first container has the formality of first place, and such is the first heaven. Therefore bodies need in themselves to be in a place, in so far as they are contained by a heavenly body. But glorified bodies, Christ's especially, do not stand in need of being so contained, because they draw nothing from the heavenly bodies, but from God through the soul. So there is nothing to prevent Christ's body from being beyond the containing radius of the heavenly bodies, and not in a containing place. Nor is there need for a vacuum to exist outside heaven, since there is no place there, nor is there any potentiality susceptive of a body, but the potentiality of reaching thither lies in Christ. So when Aristotle proves (De Coelo ii) that there is no body beyond heaven, this must be understood of bodies which are in a state of pure nature, as is seen from the proofs.
IIIª q. 57 a. 4 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod nubes illa non praebuit adminiculum Christo ascendenti per modum vehiculi, sed apparuit in signum divinitatis, secundum quod gloria Dei Israel apparebat super tabernaculum in nube. Reply to Objection 3. Although it is not of the nature of a body for it to be in the same place with another body, yet God can bring it about miraculously that a body be with another in the same place, as Christ did when He went forth from the Virgin's sealed womb, also when He entered among the disciples through closed doors, as Gregory says (Hom. xxvi). Therefore Christ's body can be in the same place with another body, not through some inherent property in the body, but through the assistance and operation of the Divine power.
IIIª q. 57 a. 4 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod corpus gloriosum non habet ex principiis suae naturae quod possit in caelo aut supra caelum esse, sed habet hoc ex anima beata, ex qua recipit gloriam. Et sicut motus gloriosi corporis sursum non est violentus, ita nec quies violenta. Unde nihil prohibet eam esse sempiternam. Reply to Objection 4. That cloud afforded no support as a vehicle to the ascending Christ: but it appeared as a sign of the Godhead, just as God's glory appeared to Israel in a cloud over the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:32; Numbers 9:15).
Reply to Objection 5. A glorified body has the power to be in heaven or above heaven. not from its natural principles, but from the beatified soul, from which it derives its glory: and just as the upward motion of a glorified body is not violent, so neither is its rest violent: consequently, there is nothing to prevent it from being everlasting.
IIIª q. 57 a. 5 arg. 1 Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod corpus Christi non ascenderit super omnem creaturam spiritualem. Eorum enim quae non dicuntur secundum rationem unam, non potest convenienter fieri comparatio. Sed locus non eadem ratione attribuitur corporibus et spiritualibus creaturis, ut patet ex his quae dicta sunt in prima parte. Ergo videtur quod non possit dici corpus Christi ascendisse super omnem creaturam spiritualem. Objection 1. It would seem that Christ's body did not ascend above every spiritual creature. For no fitting comparison can be made between things which have no common ratio. But place is not predicated in the same ratio of bodies and of spiritual creatures, as is evident from what was said in I, 8, 2, ad 1,2 and I, 52, 1. Therefore it seems that Christ's body cannot be said to have ascended above every spiritual creature.
IIIª q. 57 a. 5 arg. 2 Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in libro de vera Relig., quod omni corpori spiritus praefertur. Sed nobiliori rei sublimior debetur locus. Ergo videtur quod Christus non ascenderit super omnem spiritualem creaturam. Objection 2. Further, Augustine says (De Vera Relig. lv) that a spirit always takes precedence over a body. But the higher place is due to the higher things. Therefore it does not seem that Christ ascended above every spiritual creature.
IIIª q. 57 a. 5 arg. 3 Praeterea, in omni loco est aliquod corpus, cum nihil sit vacuum in natura. Si ergo nullum corpus obtinet altiorem locum quam spiritus in ordine naturalium corporum, nullus locus erit supra omnem spiritualem creaturam. Non ergo corpus Christi potuit ascendere super omnem spiritualem creaturam. Objection 3. Further, in every place a body exists, since there is no such thing as a vacuum in nature. Therefore if no body obtains a higher place than a spirit in the order of natural bodies, then there will be no place above every spiritual creature. Consequently, Christ's body could not ascend above every spiritual creature.
IIIª q. 57 a. 5 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicitur Ephes. I, constituit illum super omnem principatum et potestatem, et supra omne nomen quod nominatur sive in hoc saeculo sive in futuro. On the contrary, It is written (Ephesians 1:21): "God set Him above all principality, and Power, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come."
IIIª q. 57 a. 5 co. Respondeo dicendum quod tanto alicui rei debetur altior locus, quanto est nobilior, sive debeatur ei locus per modum contactus corporalis, sicut corporibus; sive per modum contactus spiritualis, sicut spiritualibus substantiis. Exinde enim spiritualibus substantiis debetur secundum quandam congruentiam locus caelestis, qui est supremus locorum, quia illae substantiae sunt supremae in ordine substantiarum. Corpus autem Christi, licet, considerando conditionem naturae corporeae, sit infra spirituales substantias; considerando tamen dignitatem unionis qua est personaliter Deo coniunctum, excellit dignitatem omnium spiritualium substantiarum. Et ideo, secundum praedictae congruentiae rationem, debetur sibi locus altior ultra omnem creaturam etiam spiritualem. Unde et Gregorius dicit, in homilia ascensionis, quod qui fecerat omnia, super omnia sua virtute ferebatur. I answer that, The more exalted place is due to the nobler subject, whether it be a place according to bodily contact, as regards bodies, or whether it be by way of spiritual contact, as regards spiritual substances; thus a heavenly place which is the highest of places is becomingly due to spiritual substances, since they are highest in the order of substances. But although Christ's body is beneath spiritual substances, if we weigh the conditions of its corporeal nature, nevertheless it surpasses all spiritual substances in dignity, when we call to mind its dignity of union whereby it is united personally with God. Consequently, owing to this very fittingness, a higher place is due to it above every spiritual creature. Hence Gregory says in a Homily on the Ascension (xxix in Evang.) that "He who had made all things, was by His own power raised up above all things."
IIIª q. 57 a. 5 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, licet alia ratione attribuatur locus corporali et spirituali substantiae, tamen hoc est in utraque ratione commune, quod digniori rei attribuitur superior locus. Reply to Objection 1. Although a place is differently attributed to corporeal and spiritual substances, still in either case this remains in common, that the higher place is assigned to the worthier.
IIIª q. 57 a. 5 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod ratio illa procedit de corpore Christi secundum conditionem naturae corporeae, non autem secundum rationem unionis. Reply to Objection 2. This argument holds good of Christ's body according to the conditions of its corporeal nature, but not according to its formality of union.
IIIª q. 57 a. 5 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod comparatio ista potest attendi vel secundum rationem locorum, et sic nullus locus est tam altus quod excedat dignitatem spiritualis substantiae; secundum quod procedit obiectio. Vel secundum dignitatem eorum quibus attribuitur locus. Et sic corpori Christi debetur ut sit supra spirituales creaturas. Reply to Objection 3. This comparison may be considered either on the part of the places; and thus there is no place so high as to exceed the dignity of a spiritual substance: in this sense the objection runs. Or it may be considered on the part of the dignity of the things to which a place is attributed: and in this way it is due to the body of Christ to be above spiritual creatures.
IIIª q. 57 a. 6 arg. 1 Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ascensio Christi non sit causa nostrae salutis. Christus enim fuit causa nostrae salutis inquantum salutem nostram meruit. Sed per ascensionem nihil nobis meruit, quia ascensio pertinet ad praemium exaltationis eius; non est autem idem meritum et praemium, sicut nec via et terminus. Ergo videtur quod ascensio Christi non fuit causa nostrae salutis. Objection 1. It would seem that Christ's Ascension is not the cause of our salvation. For, Christ was the cause of our salvation in so far as He merited it. But He merited nothing for us by His Ascension, because His Ascension belongs to the reward of His exaltation: and the same thing is not both merit and reward, just as neither are a road and its terminus the same. Therefore it seems that Christ's Ascension is not the cause of our salvation.
IIIª q. 57 a. 6 arg. 2 Praeterea, si ascensio Christi est causa nostrae salutis, maxime hoc videtur quantum ad hoc quod ascensio eius sit causa nostrae ascensionis. Sed hoc collatum est nobis per eius passionem, quia, ut dicitur Heb. X, habemus fiduciam in introitu sanctorum per sanguinem ipsius. Ergo videtur quod ascensio Christi non fuit causa nostrae salutis. Objection 2. Further, if Christ's Ascension be the cause of our salvation, it seems that this is principally due to the fact that His Ascension is the cause of ours. But this was bestowed upon us by His Passion, for it is written (Hebrews 10:19): "We have [Vulgate: 'Having'] confidence in the entering into the holies by" His "blood." Therefore it seems that Christ's Ascension was not the cause of our salvation.
IIIª q. 57 a. 6 arg. 3 Praeterea, salus per Christum nobis collata est sempiterna, secundum illud Isaiae li, salus autem mea in sempiternum erit. Sed Christus non ascendit in caelum ut ibi in sempiternum esset, dicitur enim Act. I, quemadmodum vidistis eum ascendentem in caelum, ita veniet. Legitur etiam multis sanctis se demonstrasse in terris post suam ascensionem, sicut de Paulo legitur Act. IX. Ergo videtur quod eius ascensio non sit causa nostrae salutis. Objection 3. Further, the salvation which Christ bestows is an everlasting one, according to Isaiah 51:6: "My salvation shall be for ever." But Christ did not ascend into heaven to remain there eternally; for it is written (Acts 1:11): "He shall so come as you have seen Him going, into heaven." Besides, we read of Him showing Himself to many holy people on earth after He went up to heaven. to Paul, for instance (Acts 9). Consequently, it seems that Christ's Ascension is not the cause of our salvation.
IIIª q. 57 a. 6 s. c. Sed contra est quod ipse dicit, Ioan. XVI, expedit vobis ut ego vadam, idest, ut recedam a vobis per ascensionem. On the contrary, He Himself said (John 16:7): "It is expedient to you that I go"; i.e. that I should leave you and ascend into heaven.
IIIª q. 57 a. 6 co. Respondeo dicendum quod ascensio Christi est causa nostrae salutis dupliciter, uno modo, ex parte nostra; alio modo, ex parte ipsius. Ex parte quidem nostra, inquantum per Christi ascensionem mens nostra movetur in ipsum. Quia per eius ascensionem, sicut supra dictum est, primo quidem datur locus fidei; secundo, spei; tertio, caritati. Quarto etiam, per hoc reverentia nostra augetur ad ipsum, dum iam non existimamus eum sicut hominem terrenum, sed sicut Deum caelestem, sicut et apostolus dicit, II Cor. V, etsi cognovimus secundum carnem Christum, idest, mortalem, per quod putavimus eum tantum hominem, ut Glossa exponit, sed nunc iam non novimus. Ex parte autem sua, quantum ad ea quae ipse fecit ascendens propter nostram salutem. Et primo quidem, viam nobis praeparavit ascendendi in caelum, secundum quod ipse dicit, Ioan. XIV, vado parare vobis locum; et Mich. II, ascendit pandens iter ante eos. Quia enim ipse est caput nostrum, oportet illuc sequi membra quo caput praecessit, unde dicitur Ioan. XIV, ut ubi sum ego, et vos sitis. Et in huius signum, animas sanctorum quas de Inferno eduxerat, in caelum traduxit, secundum illud Psalmi, ascendens in altum captivam duxit captivitatem, quia scilicet eos qui fuerant a Diabolo captivati, secum duxit in caelum, quasi in locum peregrinum humanae naturae, bona captione captivos, utpote per victoriam acquisitos. Secundo quia, sicut pontifex in veteri testamento intrabat sanctuarium ut assisteret Deo pro populo, ita et Christus intravit in caelum ad interpellandum pro nobis, ut dicitur Heb. VII. Ipsa enim repraesentatio sui ex natura humana, quam in caelum intulit, est quaedam interpellatio pro nobis, ut, ex quo Deus humanam naturam sic exaltavit in Christo, etiam eorum misereatur pro quibus filius Dei humanam naturam assumpsit. Tertio ut, in caelorum sede quasi Deus et dominus constitutus, exinde divina dona hominibus mitteret, secundum illud Ephes. IV, ascendit super omnes caelos ut adimpleret omnia, scilicet donis suis, secundum Glossam. I answer that, Christ's Ascension is the cause of our salvation in two ways: first of all, on our part; secondly, on His. On our part, in so far as by the Ascension our souls are uplifted to Him; because, as stated above (1, ad 3), His Ascension fosters, first, faith; secondly, hope; thirdly, charity. Fourthly, our reverence for Him is thereby increased, since we no longer deem Him an earthly man, but the God of heaven; thus the Apostle says (2 Corinthians 5:16): "If we have known Christ according to the flesh--'that is, as mortal, whereby we reputed Him as a mere man,'" as the gloss interprets the words--"but now we know Him so no longer." On His part, in regard to those things which, in ascending, He did for our salvation. First, He prepared the way for our ascent into heaven, according to His own saying (John 14:2): "I go to prepare a place for you," and the words of Micheas (2:13), "He shall go up that shall open the way before them." For since He is our Head the members must follow whither the Head has gone: hence He said (John 14:3): "That where I am, you also may be." In sign whereof He took to heaven the souls of the saints delivered from hell, according to Psalm 67:19 (Cf. Ephesians 4:8): "Ascending on high, He led captivity captive," because He took with Him to heaven those who had been held captives by the devil--to heaven, as to a place strange to human nature. captives in deed of a happy taking, since they were acquired by His victory. Secondly, because as the high-priest under the Old Testament entered the holy place to stand before God for the people, so also Christ entered heaven "to make intercession for us," as is said in Hebrews 7:25. Because the very showing of Himself in the human nature which He took with Him to heaven is a pleading for us. so that for the very reason that God so exalted human nature in Christ, He may take pity on them for whom the Son of God took human nature. Thirdly, that being established in His heavenly seat as God and Lord, He might send down gifts upon men, according to Ephesians 4:10: "He ascended above all the heavens, that He might fill all things," that is, "with His gifts," according to the gloss.
IIIª q. 57 a. 6 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ascensio Christi est causa nostrae salutis, non per modum meriti, sed per modum efficientiae, sicut supra de resurrectione dictum est. Reply to Objection 1. Christ's Ascension is the cause of our salvation by way not of merit, but of efficiency, as was stated above regarding His Resurrection (56, 1, ad 3,4).
IIIª q. 57 a. 6 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod passio Christi est causa nostrae ascensionis in caelum, proprie loquendo, per remotionem peccati prohibentis, et per modum meriti. Ascensio autem Christi est directe causa ascensionis nostrae, quasi inchoando ipsam in capite nostro, cui oportet membra coniungi. Reply to Objection 2. Christ's Passion is the cause of our ascending to heaven, properly speaking, by removing the hindrance which is sin, and also by way of merit: whereas Christ's Ascension is the direct cause of our ascension, as by beginning it in Him who is our Head, with whom the members must be united.
IIIª q. 57 a. 6 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod Christus, semel ascendens in caelum, adeptus est sibi et nobis in perpetuum ius et dignitatem mansionis caelestis. Cui tamen dignitati non derogat si ex aliqua dispensatione Christus quandoque corporaliter ad terram descendat, vel ut ostendat se omnibus, sicut in iudicio; vel ut ostendat se alicui specialiter, sicut Paulo, ut habetur Act. IX. Et ne aliquis credat hoc factum fuisse, non Christo ibi corporaliter praesente, sed aliqualiter apparente, contrarium apparet per hoc quod ipse apostolus dicit, I Cor. XV, ad confirmandam resurrectionis fidem, novissime omnium, tanquam abortivo, visus est et mihi, quae quidem visio veritatem resurrectionis non probaret nisi ipsum verum corpus visum fuisset ab eo. Reply to Objection 3. Christ by once ascending into heaven acquired for Himself and for us in perpetuity the right and worthiness of a heavenly dwelling-place; which worthiness suffers in no way, if, from some special dispensation, He sometimes comes down in body to earth; either in order to show Himself to the whole world, as at the judgment; or else to show Himself particularly to some individual, e.g. in Paul's case, as we read in Acts 9. And lest any man may think that Christ was not bodily present when this occurred, the contrary is shown from what the Apostle says in 1 Corinthians 14:8, to confirm faith in the Resurrection: "Last of all He was seen also by me, as by one born out of due time": which vision would not confirm the truth of the Resurrection except he had beheld Christ's very body.

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