CT 94: The Rational Soul Not Derived From God’s Substance

A man’s rational soul, Thomas tells us, is created by God. So far, so good. Some people suggested, evidently, that God didn’t create the soul from nothing, but drew it in some way from His own substance. Thomas, of course, says no.

However, we are not to imagine that the rational soul is derived from the substance of God, as some have erroneously thought. We demonstrated above that God is simple and indivisible. Therefore He does not join the rational soul to a body as though He had first severed it from His own substance.

Since God is indivisible, He can’t split bits of Himself to be souls.

Furthermore, we pointed out above that God cannot be the form of any body. But the rational soul is united to the body as the latter’s form. Hence it is not derived from the substance of God.

I don’t recall where Thomas proved this, and I’m too lazy tonight to look. But certainly, if God cannot be the form of any body, then it seems reasonable that a piece of God (if such could exist) can’t either.

Besides, we showed above that God is not moved either in Himself or by reason of some other thing that is moved. But the contrary of this is observed to take place in the rational soul, which is moved from ignorance to knowledge, from vice to virtue. Accordingly the soul is not of the substance of God.

And finally, God is eternal and unchanging, and the human soul is anything but unchanging.

Easy as pie, for a change.

2 Responses to “CT 94: The Rational Soul Not Derived From God’s Substance”

  1. Brandon says:

    Thomas argued that God cannot be the form of a body in chapter 17:

    “God cannot be the form of a body or any kind of force existing in a body. For, since all bodies are found to be mobile, whatever is present in a body must be moved, at least per accidens or concomitantly, if the body itself is moved. The first mover, however, cannot be moved either per se or per accidens, for it must be absolutely immobile as has been shown. Therefore God cannot be a body or a force in a body.”

  2. Will says:

    Thanks. Though now I feel bad for being lazy. :-)