Aquinas on how the soul ‘contains’ the natural world

Some students in this class (though it is not a class on Aquinas) have expressed an interest in my passing reference to the claim (from Aquinas) that the intellectual soul, in a way, contains the natural world, and is not contained by the natural world.  Here are some relevant passages from Aquinas:
De Pot., q. 5, a. 10, c.: “In man there is something — namely, the rational soul — not contained in the power of the elements or of the heavenly bodies….”
In De Causis, lec. 9, n. 221: “The soul contains nature because, according to the opinion of those who maintain that the heavenly bodies are animated, which the author of this book supposes, soul is the principle of the movement of the first body and consequently of all natural movements….”
Summa Contra Gentiles, I, c. 44, n. 377: “Among the perfections of things, the greatest perfection is that something be intellectual, for thereby it is, in a way, all things, having within itself the perfection of all things….”


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