Resurrection and the Separated Soul

Eleonore Stump

in The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195326093
Published online May 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Resurrection and the Separated Soul

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Aquinas argued that human beings are material things, and he took the human soul to be the form of the human body. He argued that the individuation of a substance is a function of its substantial form. For Aquinas, the substantial form of any material substance configures prime matter, the matter that is devoid of every form, without any configuration. The constitution is not identity for Aquinas, so it was also possible for him to suppose that a particular substance survives even the loss of some of its metaphysical constituents, provided that the remaining constituents can exist on their own and are sufficient for the existence of the substance. Aquinas accepted the Christian doctrine that, after the death and before the resurrection of the body, the soul persists in a separated state. For Aquinas, preservation of identity is not something that has to be guaranteed by recomposing the human being of the same bits of matter-form composites, such as atoms, as before. On Aquinas's account, the soul is what makes unformed prime matter into the human being by configuring prime matter in such a way that the matter is the living animal capable of intellective cognition. Aquinas argued that the individuation and identity of anything is provided by its substantial form. Aquinas argued that, resurrection is not so much reassembly of integral parts as it is reconstitution of metaphysical parts.

Keywords: human soul; prime matter; individuation; constitution; intellective cognition; resurrection; integral parts

Article.  4229 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Religion

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