Objection 1: It would seem that local distance impedes the separated soul's knowledge. For Augustine says (De Cura pro Mort. xiii), that |the souls of the dead are where they cannot know what is done here.| But they know what is done among themselves. Therefore local distance impedes the knowledge in the separated soul.
Objection 2: Further, Augustine says (De Divin. Daemon. iii), that |the demon's rapidity of movement enables them to tell things unknown to us.| But agility of movement would be useless in that respect unless their knowledge was impeded by local distance; which, therefore, is a much greater hindrance to the knowledge of the separated soul, whose nature is inferior to the demon's.
Objection 3: Further, as there is distance of place, so is there distance of time. But distance of time impedes knowledge in the separated soul, for the soul is ignorant of the future. Therefore it seems that distance of place also impedes its knowledge.
On the contrary, It is written (Lk.16:23), that Dives, |lifting up his eyes when he was in torment, saw Abraham afar off.| Therefore local distance does not impede knowledge in the separated soul.
I answer that, Some have held that the separated soul knows the singular by abstraction from the sensible. If that were so, it might be that local distance would impede its knowledge; for either the sensible would need to act upon the soul, or the soul upon the sensible, and in either case a determinate distance would be necessary. This is, however, impossible because abstraction of the species from the sensible is done through the senses and other sensible faculties which do not remain actually in the soul apart from the body. But the soul when separated understands singulars by species derived from the Divine light, which is indifferent to what is near or distant. Hence knowledge in the separated soul is not hindered by local distance.
Reply to Objection 1: Augustine says that the souls of the departed cannot see what is done here, not because they are 'there,' as if impeded by local distance; but for some other cause, as we shall explain (A).
Reply to Objection 2: Augustine speaks there in accordance with the opinion that demons have bodies naturally united to them, and so have sensitive powers, which require local distance. In the same book he expressly sets down this opinion, though apparently rather by way of narration than of assertion, as we may gather from De Civ. Dei xxi, 10.
Reply to Objection 3: The future, which is distant in time, does not actually exist, and therefore is not knowable in itself, because so far as a thing falls short of being, so far does it fall short of being knowable. But what is locally distant exists actually, and is knowable in itself. Hence we cannot argue from distance of time to distance of place.