The great chain of being is a strict hierarchical structure of all matter and life, though in medieval Christianity to have been decreed by God. The chain starts with God and progresses downward to angels, demons (fallen/renegade angels), stars, moon, kings, princes, nobles, commoners, wild animals, domesticated animals, trees, other plants, precious stones, precious metals and other minerals. This means that God had put King Lear in place according the this chain of being, and every human was below him.
At the top of the chain is God, he is an external being and exsists outside the physical limitations, an rules over everyone and everything. Next is the angles or anglic beings. These have no physcial body of their own and have traits of love, and imagination, howver unlike God they lack omnipresence and the divine attributes of God, but however they can also commite intellectual sin which God cannot do. Next is humanity. For Medieval and Renaissance thinkers, humans occupied a unique position on the chain of being, straddling the world of spiritual beings and the world of physical creation. Humans were thought to possess divine powers such as reason, love, and imagination. Like angels, humans were spiritual beings, but unlike angels, human souls were “knotted” to a physical body. This mean sunlike God and agnles they are partial to physical sensations like thirst and hunger, they are also capable of intellectual sin and physical sin, also to be noted is that the highest ranking human was the king. Animals were next and like humans we animated and possed physical attributes, however unlike humans they had no spiritual content, no soul, and therefore are below humans. Next plants, they have are alive and have the ability to grow and reproduce. However they have no mental attributes and sensory. Finally minerals such as earth are at the bottom. All minerals lacked the plant’s basic ability to grow and reproduce. They also lacked mental attributes and sensory organs found in beings higher on the chain. Their unique gifts, however, were typically their unusual solidity and strength. Many minerals, in fact, were thought to possess magical powers, particularly gems. The mineral primate is the diamond.
What does all of this mean?