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Home > Summa Theologica > Third Part > Question 55

Question 55. The manifestation of the Resurrection

  1. Should Christ's Resurrection have been manifested to all men or only to some special individuals?
  2. Was it fitting that they should see Him rise?
  3. Should he have lived with the disciples after the Resurrection?
  4. Was it fitting for Him to appeal to the disciples "in another shape"?
  5. Should he have demonstrated the Resurrection by proofs?
  6. The cogency of those proofs

Article 1. Whether Christ's Resurrection ought to have been manifested to all?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ's Resurrection ought to have been manifested to all. For just as a public penalty is due for public sin, according to 1 Timothy 5:20: "Them that sin reprove before all," so is a public reward due for public merit. But, as Augustine says (Tract. civ in Joan.), "the glory of the Resurrection is the reward of the humility of the Passion." Therefore, since Christ's Passion was manifested to all while He suffered in public, it seems that the glory of the Resurrection ought to have been manifested to all.

Objection 2. Further, as Christ's Passion is ordained for our salvation, so also is His Resurrection, according to Romans 4:25: "He rose again for our justification." But what belongs to the public weal ought to be manifested to all. Therefore Christ's Resurrection ought to have been manifested to all, and not to some specially.

Objection 3. Further, they to whom it was manifested were witnesses of the Resurrection: hence it is said (Acts 3:15): "Whom God hath raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses." Now they bore witness by preaching in public: and this is unbecoming in women, according to 1 Corinthians 14:34: "Let women keep silence in the churches": and 1 Timothy 2:12: "I suffer not a woman to teach." Therefore, it does not seem becoming for Christ's Resurrection to be manifested first of all to the women and afterwards to mankind in general.

On the contrary, It is written (Acts 10:40): "Him God raised up the third day, and gave Him to be made manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses preordained by God."

I answer that, Some things come to our knowledge by nature's common law, others by special favor of grace, as things divinely revealed. Now, as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. iv), the divinely established law of such things is that they be revealed immediately by God to higher persons, through whom they are imparted to others, as is evident in the ordering of the heavenly spirits. But such things as concern future glory are beyond the common ken of mankind, according to Isaiah 64:4: "The eye hath not seen, O God, besides Thee, what things Thou hast prepared for them that wait for Thee." Consequently, such things are not known by man except through Divine revelation, as the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 2:10): "God hath revealed them to us by His spirit." Since, then, Christ rose by a glorious Resurrection, consequently His Resurrection was not manifested to everyone, but to some, by whose testimony it could be brought to the knowledge of others.

Reply to Objection 1. Christ's Passion was consummated in a body that still had a passible nature, which is known to all by general laws: consequently His Passion could be directly manifested to all. But the Resurrection was accomplished "through the glory of the Father," as the Apostle says (Romans 6:4). Therefore it was manifested directly to some, but not to all.

But that a public penance is imposed upon public sinners, is to be understood of the punishment of this present life. And in like manner public merits should be rewarded in public, in order that others may be stirred to emulation. But the punishments and rewards of the future life are not publicly manifested to all, but to those specially who are preordained thereto by God.

Reply to Objection 2. Just as Christ's Resurrection is for the common salvation of all, so it came to the knowledge of all; yet not so that it was directly manifested to all, but only to some, through whose testimony it could be brought to the knowledge of all.

Reply to Objection 3. A woman is not to be allowed to teach publicly in church; but she may be permitted to give familiar instruction to some privately. And therefore as Ambrose says on Luke 24:22, "a woman is sent to them who are of her household," but not to the people to bear witness to the Resurrection. But Christ appeared to the woman first, for this reason, that as a woman was the first to bring the source of death to man, so she might be the first to announce the dawn of Christ's glorious Resurrection. Hence Cyril says on John 20:17: "Woman who formerly was the minister of death, is the first to see and proclaim the adorable mystery of the Resurrection: thus womankind has procured absolution from ignominy, and removal of the curse." Hereby, moreover, it is shown, so far as the state of glory is concerned, that the female sex shall suffer no hurt; but if women burn with greater charity, they shall also attain greater glory from the Divine vision: because the women whose love for our Lord was more persistent--so much so that "when even the disciples withdrew" from the sepulchre "they did not depart" [Gregory, Hom. xxv in Evang.]--were the first to see Him rising in glory.

Article 2. Whether it was fitting that the disciples should see Him rise again?

Objection 1. It would seem fitting that the disciples should have seen Him rise again, because it was their office to bear witness to the Resurrection, according to Acts 4:33: "With great power did the apostles give testimony to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord." But the surest witness of all is an eye-witness. Therefore it would have been fitting for them to see the very Resurrection of Christ.

Objection 2. Further, in order to have the certainty of faith the disciples saw Christ ascend into heaven, according to Acts 1:9: "While they looked on, He was raised up." But it was also necessary for them to have faith in the Resurrection. Therefore it seems that Christ ought to have risen in sight of the disciples.

Objection 3. Further, the raising of Lazarus was a sign of Christ's coming Resurrection. But the Lord raised up Lazarus in sight of the disciples. Consequently, it seems that Christ ought to have risen in sight of the disciples.

On the contrary, It is written (Mark 16:9): The Lord "rising early the first day of the week, appeared first to Mary Magdalen." Now Mary Magdalen did not see Him rise; but, while searching for Him in the sepulchre, she heard from the angel: "He is risen, He is not here." Therefore no one saw Him rise again.

I answer that, As the Apostle says (Romans 13:1): "Those things that are of God, are well ordered [Vulgate: 'Those that are, are ordained of God]." Now the divinely established order is this, that things above men's ken are revealed to them by angels, as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. iv). But Christ on rising did not return to the familiar manner of life, but to a kind of immortal and God-like condition, according to Romans 6:10: "For in that He liveth, He liveth unto God." And therefore it was fitting for Christ's Resurrection not to be witnessed by men directly, but to be proclaimed to them by angels. Accordingly, Hilary (Comment. Matth. cap. ult.) says: "An angel is therefore the first herald of the Resurrection, that it might be declared out of obedience to the Father's will."

Reply to Objection 1. The apostles were able to testify to the Resurrection even by sight, because from the testimony of their own eyes they saw Christ alive, whom they had known to be dead. But just as man comes from the hearing of faith to the beatific vision, so did men come to the sight of the risen Christ through the message already received from angels.

Reply to Objection 2. Christ's Ascension as to its term wherefrom, was not above men's common knowledge, but only as to its term whereunto. Consequently, the disciples were able to behold Christ's Ascension as to the term wherefrom, that is, according as He was uplifted from the earth; but they did not behold Him as to the term whereunto, because they did not see how He was received into heaven. But Christ's Resurrection transcended common knowledge as to the term wherefrom, according as His soul returned from hell and His body from the closed sepulchre; and likewise as to the term whereunto, according as He attained to the life of glory. Consequently, the Resurrection ought not to be accomplished so as to be seen by man.

Reply to Objection 3. Lazarus was raised so that he returned to the same life as before, which life is not beyond man's common ken. Consequently, there is no parity.

Article 3. Whether Christ ought to have lived constantly with His disciples after the Resurrection?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ ought to have lived constantly with His Disciples, because He appeared to them after His Resurrection in order to confirm their faith in the Resurrection, and to bring them comfort in their disturbed state, according to John 20:20: "The disciples were glad when they saw the Lord." But they would have been more assured and consoled had He constantly shown them His presence. Therefore it seems that He ought to have lived constantly with them.

Objection 2. Further, Christ rising from the dead did not at once ascend to heaven, but after forty days, as is narrated in Acts 1:3. But meanwhile He could have been in no more suitable place than where the disciples were met together. Therefore it seems that He ought to have lived with them continually.

Objection 3. Further, as Augustine says (De Consens. Evang. iii), we read how Christ appeared five times on the very day of His Resurrection: first "to the women at the sepulchre; secondly to the same on the way from the sepulchre; thirdly to Peter; fourthly to the two disciples going to the town; fifthly to several of them in Jerusalem when Thomas was not present." Therefore it also seems that He ought to have appeared several times on the other days before the Ascension.

Objection 4. Further, our Lord had said to them before the Passion (Matthew 26:32): "But after I shall be risen again, I will go before you into Galilee"; moreover an angel and our Lord Himself repeated the same to the women after the Resurrection: nevertheless He was seen by them in Jerusalem on the very day of the Resurrection, as stated above (Objection 3); also on the eighth day, as we read in John 20:26. It seems, therefore, that He did not live with the disciples in a fitting way after the Resurrection.

On the contrary, It is written (John 20:26) that "after eight days" Christ appeared to the disciples. Therefore He did not live constantly with them.

I answer that, Concerning the Resurrection two things had to be manifested to the disciples, namely, the truth of the Resurrection, and the glory of Him who rose. Now in order to manifest the truth of the Resurrection, it sufficed for Him to appear several times before them, to speak familiarly to them, to eat and drink, and let them touch Him. But in order to manifest the glory of the risen Christ, He was not desirous of living with them constantly as He had done before, lest it might seem that He rose unto the same life as before. Hence (Luke 24:44) He said to them: "These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you." For He was there with them by His bodily presence, but hitherto He had been with them not merely by His bodily presence, but also in mortal semblance. Hence Bede in explaining those words of Luke, "while I was with you," says: "that is, while I was still in mortal flesh, in which you are yet: for He had then risen in the same flesh, but was not in the same state of mortality as they."

Reply to Objection 1. Christ's frequent appearing served to assure the disciples of the truth of the Resurrection; but continual intercourse might have led them into the error of believing that He had risen to the same life as was His before. Yet by His constant presence He promised them comfort in another life, according to John 16:22: "I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man shall take from you."

Reply to Objection 2. That Christ did not stay continually with the disciples was not because He deemed it more expedient for Him to be elsewhere: but because He judged it to be more suitable for the apostles' instruction that He should not abide continually with them, for the reason given above. But it is quite unknown in what places He was bodily present in the meantime, since Scripture is silent, and His dominion is in every place (Cf. Psalm 102:22).

Reply to Objection 3. He appeared oftener on the first day, because the disciples were to be admonished by many proofs to accept the faith in His Resurrection from the very out set: but after they had once accepted it, they had no further need of being instructed by so many apparitions. Accordingly one reads in the Gospel that after the first day He appeared again only five times. For, as Augustine says (De Consens. Evang. iii), after the first five apparitions "He came again a sixth time when Thomas saw Him; a seventh time was by the sea of Tiberias at the capture of the fishes; the eighth was on the mountain of Galilee, according to Matthew; the ninth occasion is expressed by Mark, 'at length when they were at table,' because no more were they going to eat with Him upon earth; the tenth was on the very day, when no longer upon the earth, but uplifted into the cloud, He was ascending into heaven. But, as John admits, not all things were written down. And He visited them frequently before He went up to heaven," in order to comfort them. Hence it is written (1 Corinthians 15:6-7) that "He was seen by more than five hundred brethren at once . . . after that He was seen by James"; of which apparitions no mention is made in the Gospels.

Reply to Objection 4. Chrysostom in explaining Matthew 26:32--"after I shall be risen again, I will go before you into Galilee," says (Hom. lxxxiii in Matth.), "He goes not to some far off region in order to appear to them, but among His own people, and in those very places" in which for the most part they had lived with Him; "in order that they might thereby believe that He who was crucified was the same as He who rose again." And on this account "He said that He would go into Galilee, that they might be delivered from fear of the Jews."

Consequently, as Ambrose says (Expos. in Luc.), "The Lord had sent word to the disciples that they were to see Him in Galilee; yet He showed Himself first to them when they were assembled together in the room out of fear. (Nor is there any breaking of a promise here, but rather a hastened fulfilling out of kindness)" [Cf. Catena Aurea in Luc. xxiv, 36]: "afterwards, however, when their minds were comforted, they went into Galilee. Nor is there any reason to prevent us from supposing that there were few in the room, and many more on the mountain." For, as Eusebius [Of Caesarea; Cf. Migne, P. G., xxii, 1003] says, "Two Evangelists, Luke and John, write that He appeared in Jerusalem to the eleven only; but the other two said that an angel and our Saviour commanded not merely the eleven, but all the disciples and brethren, to go into Galilee. Paul makes mention of them when he says (1 Corinthians 15:6): 'Then He appeared to more then five hundred brethren at once.'" The truer solution, however, is this, that while they were in hiding in Jerusalem He appeared to them at first in order to comfort them; but in Galilee it was not secretly, nor once or twice, that He made Himself known to them with great power, "showing Himself to them alive after His Passion, by many proofs," as Luke says (Acts 1:3). Or as Augustine writes (De Consens. Evang. iii): "What was said by the angel and by our Lord--that He would 'go before them into Galilee,' must be taken prophetically. For if we take Galilee as meaning 'a passing,' we must understand that they were going to pass from the people of Israel to the Gentiles, who would not believe in the preaching of the apostles unless He prepared the way for them in men's hearts: and this is signified by the words 'He shall go before you into Galilee.' But if by Galilee we understand 'revelation,' we are to understand this as applying to Him not in the form of a servant, but in that form wherein He is equal to the Father, and which He has promised to them that love Him. Although He has gone before us in this sense, He has not abandoned us."

Article 4. Whether Christ should have appeared to the disciples "in another shape"?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ ought not to have appeared to the disciples "in another shape." For a thing cannot appear in very truth other than it is. But there was only one shape in Christ. Therefore if He appeared under another, it was not a true but a false apparition. Now this is not at all fitting, because as Augustine says (QQ. lxxxiii, qu. 14): "If He deceives He is not the Truth; yet Christ is the Truth." Consequently, it seems that Christ ought not to have appeared to the disciples "in another shape."

Objection 2. Further, nothing can appear in another shape than the one it has, except the beholder's eyes be captivated by some illusions. But since such illusions are brought about by magical arts, they are unbecoming in Christ, according to what is written (2 Corinthians 6:15): "What concord hath Christ with Belial?" Therefore it seems that Christ ought not to have appeared in another shape.

Objection 3. Further, just as our faith receives its surety from Scripture, so were the disciples assured of their faith in the Resurrection by Christ appearing to them. But, as Augustine says in an Epistle to Jerome (xxviii), if but one untruth be admitted into the Sacred Scripture, the whole authority of the Scriptures is weakened. Consequently, if Christ appeared to the disciples, in but one apparition, otherwise than He was, then whatever they saw in Christ after the Resurrection will be of less import, which is not fitting. Therefore He ought not to have appeared in another shape.

On the contrary, It is written (Mark 16:12): "After that He appeared in another shape to two of them walking, as they were going into the country."

I answer that, As stated above (1,2), Christ's Resurrection was to be manifested to men in the same way as Divine things are revealed. But Divine things are revealed to men in various ways, according as they are variously disposed. For, those who have minds well disposed, perceive Divine things rightly, whereas those not so disposed perceive them with a certain confusion of doubt or error: "for, the sensual men perceiveth not those things that are of the Spirit of God," as is said in 1 Corinthians 2:14. Consequently, after His Resurrection Christ appeared in His own shape to some who were well disposed to belief, while He appeared in another shape to them who seemed to be already growing tepid in their faith: hence these said (Luke 24:21): "We hoped that it was He that should have redeemed Israel." Hence Gregory says (Hom. xxiii in Evang.), that "He showed Himself to them in body such as He was in their minds: for, because He was as yet a stranger to faith in their hearts, He made pretense of going on farther," that is, as if He were a stranger.

Reply to Objection 1. As Augustine says (De Qq. Evang. ii), "not everything of which we make pretense is a falsehood; but when what we pretend has no meaning then is it a falsehood. But when our pretense has some signification, it is not a lie, but a figure of the truth; otherwise everything said figuratively by wise and holy men, or even by our Lord Himself, would be set down as a falsehood, because it is not customary to take such expressions in the literal sense. And deeds, like words, are feigned without falsehood, in order to denote something else." And so it happened here. as has been said.

Reply to Objection 2. As Augustine says (De Consens. Evang. iii): "Our Lord could change His flesh so that His shape really was other than they were accustomed to behold; for, before His Passion He was transfigured on the mountain, so that His face shone like the sun. But it did not happen thus now." For not without reason do we "understand this hindrance in their eyes to have been of Satan's doing, lest Jesus might be recognized." Hence Luke says (24:16) that "their eyes were held, that they should not know Him."

Reply to Objection 3. Such an argument would prove, if they had not been brought back from the sight of a strange shape to that of Christ's true countenance. For, as Augustine says (De Consens. Evang. iii): "The permission was granted by Christ," namely, that their eyes should be held fast in the aforesaid way, "until the Sacrament of the bread; that when they had shared in the unity of His body, the enemy's hindrance may be understood to have been taken away, so that Christ might be recognized." Hence he goes on to say that "'their eyes were opened, and they knew Him'; not that they were hitherto walking with their eyes shut; but there was something in them whereby they were not permitted to recognize what they saw. This could be caused by the darkness or by some kind of humor."

Article 5. Whether Christ should have demonstrated the truth of His Resurrection by proofs?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ should not have demonstrated the truth of His Resurrection by proofs. For Ambrose says (De Fide, ad Gratian. i): "Let there be no proofs where faith is required." But faith is required regarding the Resurrection. Therefore proofs are out of place there.

Objection 2. Further, Gregory says (Hom. xxvi): "Faith has no merit where human reason supplies the test." But it was no part of Christ's office to void the merit of faith. Consequently, it was not for Him to confirm the Resurrection by proofs.

Objection 3. Further, Christ came into the world in order that men might attain beatitude through Him, according to John 10:10: "I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly." But supplying proofs seems to be a hindrance in the way of man's beatitude; because our Lord Himself said (John 20:29): "Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed." Consequently, it seems that Christ ought not to manifest His Resurrection by any proofs.

On the contrary, It is related in Acts 1:3, that Christ appeared to His disciples "for forty days by many proofs, speaking of the Kingdom of God."

I answer that, The word "proof" is susceptible of a twofold meaning: sometimes it is employed to designate any sort "of reason in confirmation of what is a matter of doubt" [Tully, Topic. ii]: and sometimes it means a sensible sign employed to manifest the truth; thus also Aristotle occasionally uses the term in his works [Cf. Prior. Anal. ii; Rhetor. i]. Taking "proof" in the first sense, Christ did not demonstrate His Resurrection to the disciples by proofs, because such argumentative proof would have to be grounded on some principles: and if these were not known to the disciples, nothing would thereby be demonstrated to them, because nothing can be known from the unknown. And if such principles were known to them, they would not go beyond human reason, and consequently would not be efficacious for establishing faith in the Resurrection, which is beyond human reason, since principles must be assumed which are of the same order, according to 1 Poster. But it was from the authority of the Sacred Scriptures that He proved to them the truth of His Resurrection, which authority is the basis of faith, when He said: "All things must needs be fulfilled which are written in the Law, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me": as is set forth Luke 24:44.

But if the term "proof" be taken in the second sense, then Christ is said to have demonstrated His Resurrection by proofs, inasmuch as by most evident signs He showed that He was truly risen. Hence where our version has "by many proofs," the Greek text, instead of proof has tekmerion, i.e. "an evident sign affording positive proof" [Cf. Prior. Anal. ii]. Now Christ showed these signs of the Resurrection to His disciples, for two reasons. First, because their hearts were not disposed so as to accept readily the faith in the Resurrection. Hence He says Himself (Luke 24:25): "O foolish and slow of heart to believe": and (Mark 16:14): "He upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart." Secondly, that their testimony might be rendered more efficacious through the signs shown them, according to 1 John 1:1-3: "That which we have seen, and have heard, and our hands have handled . . . we declare."

Reply to Objection 1. Ambrose is speaking there of proofs drawn from human reason, which are useless for demonstrating things of faith, as was shown above.

Reply to Objection 2. The merit of faith arises from this, that at God's bidding man believes what he does not see. Accordingly, only that reason debars merit of faith which enables one to see by knowledge what is proposed for belief: and this is demonstrative argument. But Christ did not make use of any such argument for demonstrating His Resurrection.

Reply to Objection 3. As stated already (ad 2), the merit of beatitude, which comes of faith, is not entirely excluded except a man refuse to believe only such things as he can see. But for a man to believe from visible signs the things he does not see, does not entirely deprive him of faith nor of the merit of faith: just as Thomas, to whom it was said (John 20:29): "'Because thou hast seen Me, Thomas, thou hast believed,' saw one thing and believed another" [Gregory, Hom. xxvi]: the wounds were what he saw, God was the object of His belief. But his is the more perfect faith who does not require such helps for belief. Hence, to put to shame the faith of some men, our Lord said (John 4:48): "Unless you see signs and wonders, you believe not." From this one can learn how they who are so ready to believe God, even without beholding signs, are blessed in comparison with them who do not believe except they see the like.

Article 6. Whether the proofs which Christ made use of manifested sufficiently the truth of His Resurrection?

Objection 1. It would seem that the proofs which Christ made use of did not sufficiently manifest the truth of His Resurrection. For after the Resurrection Christ showed nothing to His disciples which angels appearing to men did not or could not show; because angels have frequently shown themselves to men under human aspect, have spoken and lived with them, and eaten with them, just as if they were truly men, as is evident from Genesis 18, of the angels whom Abraham entertained, and in the Book of Tobias, of the angel who "conducted" him "and brought" him back. Nevertheless, angels have not true bodies naturally united to them; which is required for a resurrection. Consequently, the signs which Christ showed His disciples were not sufficient for manifesting His Resurrection.

Objection 2. Further, Christ rose again gloriously, that is, having a human nature with glory. But some of the things which Christ showed to His disciples seem contrary to human nature, as for instance, that "He vanished out of their sight," and entered in among them "when the doors were shut": and some other things seem contrary to glory, as for instance, that He ate and drank, and bore the scars of His wounds. Consequently, it seems that those proofs were neither sufficient nor fitting for establishing faith in the Resurrection.

Objection 3. Further, after the Resurrection Christ's body was such that it ought not to be touched by mortal man; hence He said to Magdalen (John 20:17): "Do not touch Me; for I am not yet ascended to My Father." Consequently, it was not fitting for manifesting the truth of His Resurrection, that He should permit Himself to be handled by His disciples.

Objection 4. Further, clarity seems to be the principal of the qualities of a glorified body: yet He gave no sign thereof in His Resurrection. Therefore it seems that those proofs were insufficient for showing the quality of Christ's Resurrection.

Objection 5. [This objection is wanting in the older codices, and in the text of the Leonine edition, which, however, gives it in a note as taken from one of the more recent codices of the Vatican.]

Further, the angels introduced as witnesses for the Resurrection seem insufficient from the want of agreement on the part of the Evangelists. Because in Matthew's account the angel is described as sitting upon the stone rolled back, while Mark states that he was seen after the women had entered the tomb; and again, whereas these mention one angel, John says that there were two sitting, and Luke says that there were two standing. Consequently, the arguments for the Resurrection do not seem to agree.

On the contrary, Christ, who is the Wisdom of God, "ordereth all things sweetly" and in a fitting manner, according to Wisdom 8:1.

I answer that, Christ manifested His Resurrection in two ways: namely, by testimony; and by proof or sign: and each manifestation was sufficient in its own class. For in order to manifest His Resurrection He made use of a double testimony, neither of which can be rebutted. The first of these was the angels' testimony, who announced the Resurrection to the women, as is seen in all the Evangelists: the other was the testimony of the Scriptures, which He set before them to show the truth of the Resurrection, as is narrated in the last chapter of Luke.

Again, the proofs were sufficient for showing that the Resurrection was both true and glorious. That it was a true Resurrection He shows first on the part of the body; and this He shows in three respects; first of all, that it was a true and solid body, and not phantastic or rarefied, like the air. And He establishes this by offering His body to be handled; hence He says in the last chapter of Luke (39): "Handle and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see Me to have." Secondly, He shows that it was a human body, by presenting His true features for them to behold. Thirdly, He shows that it was identically the same body which He had before, by showing them the scars of the wounds; hence, as we read in the last chapter of Luke (39) he said to them: "See My hands and feet, that it is I Myself."

Secondly, He showed them the truth of His Resurrection on the part of His soul reunited with His body: and He showed this by the works of the threefold life. First of all, in the operations of the nutritive life, by eating and drinking with His disciples, as we read in the last chapter of Luke. Secondly, in the works of the sensitive life, by replying to His disciples' questions, and by greeting them when they were in His presence, showing thereby that He both saw and heard; thirdly, in the works of the intellective life by their conversing with Him, and discoursing on the Scriptures. And, in order that nothing might be wanting to make the manifestation complete, He also showed that He had the Divine Nature, by working the miracle of the draught of fishes, and further by ascending into heaven while they were beholding Him: because, according to John 3:13: "No man hath ascended into heaven, but He that descended from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven."

He also showed His disciples the glory of His Resurrection by entering in among them when the doors were closed: as Gregory says (Hom. xxvi in Evang.): "Our Lord allowed them to handle His flesh which He had brought through closed doors, to show that His body was of the same nature but of different glory." It likewise was part of the property of glory that "He vanished suddenly from their eyes," as related in the last chapter of Luke; because thereby it was shown that it lay in His power to be seen or not seen; and this belongs to a glorified body, as stated above (54, 1, ad 2, 2, ad 1).

Reply to Objection 1. Each separate argument would not suffice of itself for showing perfectly Christ's Resurrection, yet all taken collectively establish it completely, especially owing to the testimonies of the Scriptures, the sayings of the angels, and even Christ's own assertion supported by miracles. As to the angels who appeared, they did not say they were men, as Christ asserted that He was truly a man. Moreover, the manner of eating was different in Christ and the angels: for since the bodies assumed by the angels were neither living nor animated, there was no true eating, although the food was really masticated and passed into the interior of the assumed body: hence the angels said to Tobias (12:18-19): "When I was with you . . . I seemed indeed to eat and drink with you; but I use an invisible meat." But since Christ's body was truly animated, His eating was genuine. For, as Augustine observes (De Civ. Dei xiii), "it is not the power but the need of eating that shall be taken away from the bodies of them who rise again." Hence Bede says on Luke 24:41: "Christ ate because He could, not because He needed."

Reply to Objection 2. As was observed above, some proofs were employed by Christ to prove the truth of His human nature, and others to show forth His glory in rising again. But the condition of human nature, as considered in itself, namely, as to its present state, is opposite to the condition of glory, as is said in 1 Corinthians 15:43: "It is sown in weakness, it shall rise in power." Consequently, the proofs brought forward for showing the condition of glory, seem to be in opposition to nature, not absolutely, but according to the present state, and conversely. Hence Gregory says (Hom. xxvi in Evang.): "The Lord manifested two wonders, which are mutually contrary according to human reason, when after the Resurrection He showed His body as incorruptible and at the same time palpable."

Reply to Objection 3. As Augustine says (Tract. cxxi super Joan.), "these words of our Lord, 'Do not touch Me, for I am not yet ascended to My Father,'" show "that in that woman there is a figure of the Church of the Gentiles, which did not believe in Christ until He was ascended to the Father. Or Jesus would have men to believe in Him, i.e. to touch Him spiritually, as being Himself one with the Father. For to that man's innermost perceptions He is, in some sort, ascended unto the Father, who has become so far proficient in Him, as to recognize in Him the equal with the Father . . . whereas she as yet believed in Him but carnally, since she wept for Him as for a man." But when one reads elsewhere of Mary having touched Him, when with the other women, she "'came up and took hold of His feet,' that matters little," as Severianus says [Chrysologus, Serm. lxxvi, "for, the first act relates to figure, the other to sex; the former is of Divine grace, the latter of human nature." Or as Chrysostom says (Hom. lxxxvi in Joan.): "This woman wanted to converse with Christ just as before the Passion, and out of joy was thinking of nothing great, although Christ's flesh had become much nobler by rising again." And therefore He said: "I have not yet ascended to My Father"; as if to say: "Do not suppose I am leading an earthly life; for if you see Me upon earth, it is because I have not yet ascended to My Father, but I am going to ascend shortly." Hence He goes on to say: "I ascend to My Father, and to your Father."

Reply to Objection 4. As Augustine says ad Orosium (Dial. lxv, Qq.): "Our Lord rose in clarified flesh; yet He did not wish to appear before the disciples in that condition of clarity, because their eyes could not gaze upon that brilliancy. For if before He died for us and rose again the disciples could not look upon Him when He was transfigured upon the mountain, how much less were they able to gaze upon Him when our Lord's flesh was glorified." It must also be borne in mind that after His Resurrection our Lord wished especially to show that He was the same as had died; which the manifestation of His brightness would have hindered considerably: because change of features shows more than anything else the difference in the person seen: and this is because sight specially judges of the common sensibles, among which is one and many, or the same and different. But before the Passion, lest His disciples might despise its weakness, Christ meant to show them the glory of His majesty; and this the brightness of the body specially indicates. Consequently, before the Passion He showed the disciples His glory by brightness, but after the Resurrection by other tokens.

Reply to Objection 5. As Augustine says (De Consens. Evang. iii): "We can understand one angel to have been seen by the women, according to both Matthew and Mark, if we take them as having entered the sepulchre, that is, into some sort of walled enclosure, and that there they saw an angel sitting upon the stone which was rolled back from the monument, as Matthew says; and that this is Mark's expression--'sitting on the right side'; afterwards when they scanned the spot where the Lord's body had lain, they beheld two angels, who were at first seated, as John says, and who afterwards rose so as to be seen standing, as Luke relates."

The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas
Second and Revised Edition, 1920
Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province
Online Edition Copyright © 2008 by Kevin Knight
Nihil Obstat. F. Innocentius Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor. Theol.
Imprimatur. Edus. Canonicus Surmont, Vicarius Generalis. Westmonasterii.
APPROBATIO ORDINIS
Nihil Obstat. F. Raphael Moss, O.P., S.T.L. and F. Leo Moore, O.P., S.T.L.
Imprimatur. F. Beda Jarrett, O.P., S.T.L., A.M., Prior Provincialis Angliæ

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