Aquinas on Human Nature and the Possibility of Bodiless Existence
Article first published online: 23 JUN 2011
© 2011 The Author. New Blackfriars © 2011 The Dominican Council.
Volume 93, Issue 1045, pages 324–338, May 2012
How to Cite
Conn, C. (2012), Aquinas on Human Nature and the Possibility of Bodiless Existence. New Blackfriars, 93: 324–338. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-2005.2009.01336.x
- Issue published online: 10 APR 2012
- Article first published online: 23 JUN 2011
- Human nature;
- afterlife (or immortality)
Aquinas contends that we are soul/body composites, and that one's death brings about the dissolution of this union. Although he also contends that our souls will exist during the interim period between our death and the General Resurrection, it is not clear whether he thinks that we will continue exist during this period. While his considered opinion appears to be that as soul/body composites we cannot exist apart from our bodies, in his Commentary on the Apostles' Creed he implies that we will exist for a time as disembodied souls. In this paper I argue that Aquinas can consistently uphold the continued existence of the faithful departed. In particular, I argue that he can consistently affirm both (i) that Peter is not his soul, and (ii) that Peter can exist for a time as a soul.