Aquinas on Human Nature and the Possibility of Bodiless Existence



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.