The angels have no bodies. The elements have no souls. The existence of these two kinds of beings requires, in the most absolute way, the existence of God the Creator - to act immediately, directly! Whereas all other creatures, having bodies, can pass on their material forms by generation. Thus, plants and animals, having only material souls which are principles of motion, pass on their substantial forms by reproduction in the Order of Generation, but only God can create the substantial form and this He did during the Six Days of Creation by His successive a-temporal transcendent acts, just as narrated in Genesis One. Mankind is the only exception here because man's soul is spiritual, which means, rational. Genesis 1:26-27 and Genesis 2:7, both indicate that mankind is special, requiring a special creation of both a material-natural creation and a supernatural life of divine Grace. Animals and plants have absolutely no capacity for this divine life of Grace because their "souls" are merely natural and material. They do differ quite radically from the elements which have no interior principle of motion, but must be acted upon by some external agent in act. This also proves that the elements are but accidental forms of some larger substance, which is responsible for their operations. The hierarchy of being is very evident when we examine all the creatures that God created in the Six Days of Creation - and when we look at them in the order in which they were created.
The angels and the elements of the Body of the Universe were created on Day One, according to Tradition of both East and West. The angels are pure, substantial spirits of intellect and will. The elements are pure matter-form, but accidental properties of the equally pure matter of the Body of the Universe. In this way, the lowest and the highest grades of the hierarchy of being may be said to mirror each other in an asymmetrical way so dear to the modern physicist and biologist. Much material here for meditation and contemplation. Also in all the grades of perfection between the elements of the Body of the Universe and the Angelic Choirs of Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels, the hierarchy of Pure Spirits delegated by God to govern, under His providence, the movements of the celestial bodies as well as to guard and protect the corporeal inhabitants of earth, especially mankind and its societies. The plant kingdom presents its own hierarchical order, from parasitical viruses and living bacteria up to animals and mankind, given dominion over all creatures below him - but not above him. (See Genesis 1:28).
We see the hierarchical order manifested also in the animal kingdom, from those microbes considered to be animals rather than plants, up to the most noble or majestic lions or whatever a true science considers to be closest to man in the hierarchy. It is certain, however, that each grade of being has its own perfection, a degree and kind of perfection bestowed in the Order of Creation, that absolutely precludes any such fantastic fiction as an evolution or transformation of one kind or species of being into another kind or species. Variation within kinds, yes, from the Poodle to the Collie and German Shepherd, or even from domestic dog to fox and wolf, but from dog to cat, or from dog to cow or sheep - or vice versa? Absolutely not. It would be an insult both to the Creator and to His creature. No animal covets in any way, nor is it a potential of his genetic character, to strive to be any other than what he has been created to be. And so it is manifested throughout time as the Metaphysical Principle of Identity - preserves the hierarchy of Being throughout time in the Order of Generation. For men knew dogs and cats as dogs and cats - ten thousand years ago, just as they do now, in 2013! It is with all of the First Principles of Metaphysics. Men recognize the existence of things outside their own minds. Existence, as an affirmative judgment of the human mind from its earliest years of infancy, also knows by abstraction, the identifying nature or essence of each kind of thing. (Science of Epistemology.)
In the Order of Generation, it is self-evidently manifest that only a living being with the power of Agency, i.e., actuality, is capable of reproducing its own kind. Thus, we recognize the principles of Act and Potency, of necessity and contingency in all living and non-living things. This succession leads inescapably and necessarily to the Being of God Who is all Actuality and the one source of all existence. This is the 3rd way of St. Thomas, (ST, I, q.2, a.3). Both quantum physics and the classical standard model need the certitudes of Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics and the openness to events interrupting the uniformitarianism of the current ideology by the catastrophic effects of the Universally Noachian Deluge and the fall of man in the garden of Eden/Paradise. Genesis relates the essential facts of Adam's fall and biblical history reveals the wickedness of the descendants of Cain, (Adam's first son), which provoked God's anger and caused the global flood. Read all about it in Walt Brown's latest edition of “In the Beginning”.
In the last analysis, as Marta Stafko has put it so well in her letter to the New Oxford Review, of Dec. 2012, page 14: “there really is no such thing as a new idea. God has thought of everything already. Discovery exists, but we can only discover what God already knows, and what we know must be in accord with what God knows. Truth is the reflection of the mind of God and is accessible to everyone. It is the job of Christian teachers of philosophy, or teachers in any other discipline, never to forget this.