Monday, January 14, 2013

The Angels and the Elements

In her book on Angels and Devils (Tan, 1999) –Joan Carroll Cruz tells of the power the angels, both good and evil, have over matter – or the material-atomic structure of physical-corporeal beings, both animate and inanimate. This is especially evident in the case of St. Gemma Galgani (1878-1903), and the letters she wrote to her spiritual director. To test that the letters were really delivered by a spiritual being, twice they were locked in a secret place – one a chest of drawers. (p.56) This latter proves something both about the angels' power and about the structure of “matter” or corporeal being:
Matter is particulate – that is to say –it is composed of particles. These particles, however variously they may be described by the physicist and chemist, whether atomic or otherwise, there is a certain structure currently recognized as atomic. This atomic structure answers very well to Thomistic principles of metaphysics – when one sees all matter as ultimately quantitative. And this is true according to Aristotle’s nine categories or properties of substance. All of the elements are measurable and therefore quantitative and therefore material, so that quantity or measurability becomes a sure and certain criterion of physical materiality.
A digression on the Higgs Boson. The Higgs Boson is said to be a force-carrying particle producing a field that permeates the universe and gives mass to all other particles. (See Creation Illustrated, Fall 2012, Vol. 19, no.3, page 24) This is a good physical explanation of material being, including light (particle or wave) and substantial form, because the Higgs Boson is an implicit acknowledgement of the metaphysical necessity for substantial FORM and the law of nature that FORM precedes function. All particles are accidental forms or properties of some substance. This is the metaphysical necessity that the Higgs Boson represents but does not accurately describe, although the modern scientist admits it must be a field. But it cannot be a particle as all the accidental forms are. It must be a higher principle of matter itself, namely the formal principle of a hylemorphic entity. All corporeal beings are hylemorphic in structure, that is, they are composed of matter and form, two causes that are also principles. Only in mankind, among corporeal beings, is the formal principle purely spiritual – being the rational soul where powers are intellect and will, spiritual powers that survive the death of the body, though in an imperfect, that is, incomplete way.

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