Angelic Assumption of the Body in Thomas Aquinas and Scripture

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Institution Granting Degree

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Cedarville University School or Department

Biblical and Theological Studies

First Advisor

John B. Howell III


This dissertation argues that Thomas Aquinas' doctrine of the angelic assumption of the body properly locates angelic nature in the hierarchy of reality based on the biblical criteria for a metaphysical account of the angels. Chapter one explains why angelology is viable philosophically and necessary theologically. Chapter two surveys the biblical data on angels to develop the foundational criteria for a philosophical discussion about the angelic nature. In particular, the analysis focuses on a gap in the biblical witness on the angels that a metaphysical account of their nature should be able to explain. On the one hand, angels are spiritual (non-bodied) creatures. On the other hand, they often appear embodied in such a way that they are indistinguishable from ordinary human beings. Chapter three explains Thomas Aquinas' account of angelic nature per se and during the assumption of a body. In particular, his account is shown not only to comport with the biblical criteria but to make a fitting and useful synthesis of them. Chapter four argues that angelology can provide an independent reason to favor one account of anthropology over another. The purpose of this simple argument is to demonstrate how angelological reflections can provide fresh Christian approaches to contemporary problems in theology and philosophy.