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Summa Theologica, Part I (Prima Pars) From the Complete American Edition online

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changed, if one should begin to will what before he had not willed;
or cease to will what he had willed before. This cannot happen,
unless we presuppose change either in the knowledge or in the
disposition of the substance of the willer. For since the will
regards good, a man may in two ways begin to will a thing. In one way
when that thing begins to be good for him, and this does not take
place without a change in him. Thus when the cold weather begins, it
becomes good to sit by the fire; though it was not so before. In
another way when he knows for the first time that a thing is good for
him, though he did not know it before; hence we take counsel in order
to know what is good for us. Now it has already been shown that both
the substance of God and His knowledge are entirely unchangeable (QQ.
9, A. 1; 14, A. 15). Therefore His will must be entirely unchangeable.

Reply Obj. 1: These words of the Lord are to be understood
metaphorically, and according to the likeness of our nature. For when
we repent, we destroy what we have made; although we may even do so
without change of will; as, when a man wills to make a thing, at the
same time intending to destroy it later. Therefore God is said to
have repented, by way of comparison with our mode of acting, in so
far as by the deluge He destroyed from the face of the earth man whom
He had made.

Reply Obj. 2: The will of God, as it is the first and universal
cause, does not exclude intermediate causes that have power to
produce certain effects. Since however all intermediate causes are
inferior in power to the first cause, there are many things in the
divine power, knowledge and will that are not included in the order
of inferior causes. Thus in the case of the raising of Lazarus, one
who looked only on inferior causes might have said: "Lazarus will not
rise again," but looking at the divine first cause might have said:
"Lazarus will rise again." And God wills both: that is, that in the
order of the inferior cause a thing shall happen; but that in the
order of the higher cause it shall not happen; or He may will
conversely. We may say, then, that God sometimes declares that a
thing shall happen according as it falls under the order of inferior
causes, as of nature, or merit, which yet does not happen as not
being in the designs of the divine and higher cause. Thus He foretold
to Ezechias: "Take order with thy house, for thou shalt die, and not
live" (Isa. 38:1). Yet this did not take place, since from eternity it
was otherwise disposed in the divine knowledge and will, which is
unchangeable. Hence Gregory says (Moral. xvi, 5): "The sentence of
God changes, but not His counsel" - that is to say, the counsel of His
will. When therefore He says, "I also will repent," His words must be
understood metaphorically. For men seem to repent, when they do not
fulfill what they have threatened.

Reply Obj. 3: It does not follow from this argument that God has a
will that changes, but that He sometimes wills that things should

Reply Obj. 4: Although God's willing a thing is not by absolute
necessity, yet it is necessary by supposition, on account of the
unchangeableness of the divine will, as has been said above (A. 3).

EIGHTH ARTICLE [I, Q. 19, Art. 8]

Whether the Will of God Imposes Necessity on the Things Willed?

Objection 1: It seems that the will of God imposes necessity on the
things willed. For Augustine says (Enchiridion 103): "No one is saved,
except whom God has willed to be saved. He must therefore be asked to
will it; for if He wills it, it must necessarily be."

Obj. 2: Further, every cause that cannot be hindered, produces its
effect necessarily, because, as the Philosopher says (Phys. ii, 84)
"Nature always works in the same way, if there is nothing to hinder
it." But the will of God cannot be hindered. For the Apostle says
(Rom. 9:19): "Who resisteth His will?" Therefore the will of God
imposes necessity on the things willed.

Obj. 3: Further, whatever is necessary by its antecedent cause is
necessary absolutely; it is thus necessary that animals should die,
being compounded of contrary elements. Now things created by God are
related to the divine will as to an antecedent cause, whereby they
have necessity. For the conditional statement is true that if God
wills a thing, it comes to pass; and every true conditional statement
is necessary. It follows therefore that all that God wills is
necessary absolutely.

_On the contrary,_ All good things that exist God wills to be. If
therefore His will imposes necessity on things willed, it follows that
all good happens of necessity; and thus there is an end of free will,
counsel, and all other such things.

_I answer that,_ The divine will imposes necessity on some things
willed but not on all. The reason of this some have chosen to assign
to intermediate causes, holding that what God produces by necessary
causes is necessary; and what He produces by contingent causes

This does not seem to be a sufficient explanation, for two reasons.
First, because the effect of a first cause is contingent on account of
the secondary cause, from the fact that the effect of the first cause
is hindered by deficiency in the second cause, as the sun's power is
hindered by a defect in the plant. But no defect of a secondary cause
can hinder God's will from producing its effect. Secondly, because if
the distinction between the contingent and the necessary is to be
referred only to secondary causes, this must be independent of the
divine intention and will; which is inadmissible. It is better
therefore to say that this happens on account of the efficacy of the
divine will. For when a cause is efficacious to act, the effect
follows upon the cause, not only as to the thing done, but also as to
its manner of being done or of being. Thus from defect of active power
in the seed it may happen that a child is born unlike its father in
accidental points, that belong to its manner of being. Since then the
divine will is perfectly efficacious, it follows not only that things
are done, which God wills to be done, but also that they are done in
the way that He wills. Now God wills some things to be done
necessarily, some contingently, to the right ordering of things, for
the building up of the universe. Therefore to some effects He has
attached necessary causes, that cannot fail; but to others defectible
and contingent causes, from which arise contingent effects. Hence it
is not because the proximate causes are contingent that the effects
willed by God happen contingently, but because God prepared contingent
causes for them, it being His will that they should happen

Reply Obj. 1: By the words of Augustine we must understand a
necessity in things willed by God that is not absolute, but
conditional. For the conditional statement that if God wills a
thing it must necessarily be, is necessarily true.

Reply Obj. 2: From the very fact that nothing resists the divine
will, it follows that not only those things happen that God wills
to happen, but that they happen necessarily or contingently
according to His will.

Reply Obj. 3: Consequents have necessity from their antecedents
according to the mode of the antecedents. Hence things effected by
the divine will have that kind of necessity that God wills them to
have, either absolute or conditional. Not all things, therefore,
are absolute necessities.

NINTH ARTICLE [I, Q. 19, Art. 8]

Whether God Wills Evils?

Objection 1: It seems that God wills evils. For every good that
exists, God wills. But it is a good that evil should exist. For
Augustine says (Enchiridion 95): "Although evil in so far as it is
evil is not a good, yet it is good that not only good things should
exist, but also evil things." Therefore God wills evil things.

Obj. 2: Further, Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv, 23): "Evil would
conduce to the perfection of everything," i.e. the universe. And
Augustine says (Enchiridion 10, 11): "Out of all things is built up
the admirable beauty of the universe, wherein even that which is
called evil, properly ordered and disposed, commends the good more
evidently in that good is more pleasing and praiseworthy when
contrasted with evil." But God wills all that appertains to the
perfection and beauty of the universe, for this is what God desires
above all things in His creatures. Therefore God wills evil.

Obj. 3: Further, that evil should exist, and should not exist, are
contradictory opposites. But God does not will that evil should not
exist; otherwise, since various evils do exist, God's will would not
always be fulfilled. Therefore God wills that evil should exist.

_On the contrary,_ Augustine says (Qq. 83,3): "No wise man is the
cause of another man becoming worse. Now God surpasses all men in
wisdom. Much less therefore is God the cause of man becoming worse;
and when He is said to be the cause of a thing, He is said to will
it." Therefore it is not by God's will that man becomes worse. Now it
is clear that every evil makes a thing worse. Therefore God wills not
evil things.

_I answer that,_ Since the ratio of good is the ratio of
appetibility, as said before (Q. 5, A. 1), and since evil is opposed
to good, it is impossible that any evil, as such, should be sought
for by the appetite, either natural, or animal, or by the
intellectual appetite which is the will. Nevertheless evil may be
sought accidentally, so far as it accompanies a good, as appears in
each of the appetites. For a natural agent intends not privation or
corruption, but the form to which is annexed the privation of some
other form, and the generation of one thing, which implies the
corruption of another. Also when a lion kills a stag, his object is
food, to obtain which the killing of the animal is only the means.
Similarly the fornicator has merely pleasure for his object, and the
deformity of sin is only an accompaniment. Now the evil that
accompanies one good, is the privation of another good. Never
therefore would evil be sought after, not even accidentally, unless
the good that accompanies the evil were more desired than the good of
which the evil is the privation. Now God wills no good more than He
wills His own goodness; yet He wills one good more than another.
Hence He in no way wills the evil of sin, which is the privation of
right order towards the divine good. The evil of natural defect, or
of punishment, He does will, by willing the good to which such evils
are attached. Thus in willing justice He wills punishment; and in
willing the preservation of the natural order, He wills some things
to be naturally corrupted.

Reply Obj. 1: Some have said that although God does not will evil,
yet He wills that evil should be or be done, because, although evil
is not a good, yet it is good that evil should be or be done. This
they said because things evil in themselves are ordered to some good
end; and this order they thought was expressed in the words "that
evil should be or be done." This, however, is not correct; since evil
is not of itself ordered to good, but accidentally. For it is beside
the intention of the sinner, that any good should follow from his
sin; as it was beside the intention of tyrants that the patience of
the martyrs should shine forth from all their persecutions. It cannot
therefore be said that such an ordering to good is implied in the
statement that it is a good thing that evil should be or be done,
since nothing is judged of by that which appertains to it
accidentally, but by that which belongs to it essentially.

Reply Obj. 2: Evil does not operate towards the perfection and beauty
of the universe, except accidentally, as said above (ad 1). Therefore
Dionysius in saying that "evil would conduce to the perfection of the
universe," draws a conclusion by reduction to an absurdity.

Reply Obj. 3: The statements that evil exists, and that evil exists
not, are opposed as contradictories; yet the statements that anyone
wills evil to exist and that he wills it not to be, are not so
opposed; since either is affirmative. God therefore neither wills
evil to be done, nor wills it not to be done, but wills to permit
evil to be done; and this is a good.

TENTH ARTICLE [I, Q. 19, Art. 10]

Whether God Has Free-Will?

Objection 1: It seems that God has not free-will. For Jerome says, in
a homily on the prodigal son [*Ep. 146, ad Damas.]; "God alone is He
who is not liable to sin, nor can be liable: all others, as having
free-will, can be inclined to either side."

Obj. 2: Further, free-will is the faculty of the reason and will, by
which good and evil are chosen. But God does not will evil, as has
been said (A. 9). Therefore there is not free-will in God.

_On the contrary,_ Ambrose says (De Fide ii, 3): "The Holy Spirit
divideth unto each one as He will, namely, according to the free
choice of the will, not in obedience to necessity."

_I answer that,_ We have free-will with respect to what we will not of
necessity, nor by natural instinct. For our will to be happy does not
appertain to free-will, but to natural instinct. Hence other animals,
that are moved to act by natural instinct, are not said to be moved by
free-will. Since then God necessarily wills His own goodness, but
other things not necessarily, as shown above (A. 3), He has free
will with respect to what He does not necessarily will.

Reply Obj. 1: Jerome seems to deny free-will to God not simply, but
only as regards the inclination to sin.

Reply Obj. 2: Since the evil of sin consists in turning away from the
divine goodness, by which God wills all things, as above shown, it is
manifestly impossible for Him to will the evil of sin; yet He can
make choice of one of two opposites, inasmuch as He can will a thing
to be, or not to be. In the same way we ourselves, without sin, can
will to sit down, and not will to sit down.

ELEVENTH ARTICLE [I, Q. 19, Art. 11]

Whether the Will of Expression Is to Be Distinguished in God?

Objection 1: It seems that the will of expression is not to be
distinguished in God. For as the will of God is the cause of things,
so is His wisdom. But no expressions are assigned to the divine
wisdom. Therefore no expressions ought to be assigned to the divine

Obj. 2: Further, every expression that is not in agreement with the
mind of him who expresses himself, is false. If therefore the
expressions assigned to the divine will are not in agreement with
that will, they are false. But if they do agree, they are
superfluous. No expressions therefore must be assigned to the divine

_On the contrary,_ The will of God is one, since it is the very
essence of God. Yet sometimes it is spoken of as many, as in the
words of Ps. 110:2: "Great are the works of the Lord, sought out
according to all His wills." Therefore sometimes the sign must be
taken for the will.

_I answer that,_ Some things are said of God in their strict sense;
others by metaphor, as appears from what has been said before
(Q. 13, A. 3). When certain human passions are predicated of the
Godhead metaphorically, this is done because of a likeness in the
effect. Hence a thing that is in us a sign of some passion, is
signified metaphorically in God under the name of that passion. Thus
with us it is usual for an angry man to punish, so that punishment
becomes an expression of anger. Therefore punishment itself is
signified by the word anger, when anger is attributed to God. In the
same way, what is usually with us an expression of will, is sometimes
metaphorically called will in God; just as when anyone lays down a
precept, it is a sign that he wishes that precept obeyed. Hence a
divine precept is sometimes called by metaphor the will of God, as in
the words: "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt.
6:10). There is, however, this difference between will and anger, that
anger is never attributed to God properly, since in its primary
meaning it includes passion; whereas will is attributed to Him
properly. Therefore in God there are distinguished will in its proper
sense, and will as attributed to Him by metaphor. Will in its proper
sense is called the will of good pleasure; and will metaphorically
taken is the will of expression, inasmuch as the sign itself of will
is called will.

Reply Obj. 1: Knowledge is not the cause of a thing being done,
unless through the will. For we do not put into act what we know,
unless we will to do so. Accordingly expression is not attributed to
knowledge, but to will.

Reply Obj. 2: Expressions of will are called divine wills, not as
being signs that God wills anything; but because what in us is the
usual expression of our will, is called the divine will in God. Thus
punishment is not a sign that there is anger in God; but it is called
anger in Him, from the fact that it is an expression of anger in

TWELFTH ARTICLE [I, Q. 19, Art. 12]

Whether Five Expressions of Will Are Rightly Assigned to the Divine

Objection 1: It seems that five expressions of will - namely,
prohibition, precept, counsel, operation, and permission - are not
rightly assigned to the divine will. For the same things that God
bids us do by His precept or counsel, these He sometimes operates in
us, and the same things that He prohibits, these He sometimes
permits. They ought not therefore to be enumerated as distinct.

Obj. 2: Further, God works nothing unless He wills it, as the
Scripture says (Wis. 11:26). But the will of expression is distinct
from the will of good pleasure. Therefore operation ought not to be
comprehended in the will of expression.

Obj. 3: Further, operation and permission appertain to all creatures
in common, since God works in them all, and permits some action in
them all. But precept, counsel, and prohibition belong to rational
creatures only. Therefore they do not come rightly under one
division, not being of one order.

Obj. 4: Further, evil happens in more ways than good, since "good
happens in one way, but evil in all kinds of ways," as declared by
the Philosopher (Ethic. ii, 6), and Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv, 22). It
is not right therefore to assign one expression only in the case of
evil - namely, prohibition - and two - namely, counsel and precept - in
the case of good.

_I answer that,_ By these signs we name the expression of will by
which we are accustomed to show that we will something. A man may
show that he wills something, either by himself or by means of
another. He may show it by himself, by doing something either
directly, or indirectly and accidentally. He shows it directly when
he works in his own person; in that way the expression of his will is
his own working. He shows it indirectly, by not hindering the doing
of a thing; for what removes an impediment is called an accidental
mover. In this respect the expression is called permission. He
declares his will by means of another when he orders another to
perform a work, either by insisting upon it as necessary by precept,
and by prohibiting its contrary; or by persuasion, which is a part of
counsel. Since in these ways the will of man makes itself known, the
same five are sometimes denominated with regard to the divine will,
as the expression of that will. That precept, counsel, and
prohibition are called the will of God is clear from the words of
Matt. 6:10: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." That
permission and operation are called the will of God is clear from
Augustine (Enchiridion 95), who says: "Nothing is done, unless the
Almighty wills it to be done, either by permitting it, or by actually
doing it."

Or it may be said that permission and operation refer to present time,
permission being with respect to evil, operation with regard to good.
Whilst as to future time, prohibition is in respect to evil, precept
to good that is necessary and counsel to good that is of

Reply Obj. 1: There is nothing to prevent anyone declaring his will
about the same matter in different ways; thus we find many words that
mean the same thing. Hence there is no reason why the same thing
should not be the subject of precept, operation, and counsel; or of
prohibition or permission.

Reply Obj. 2: As God may by metaphor be said to will what by His
will, properly speaking, He wills not; so He may by metaphor be said
to will what He does, properly speaking, will. Hence there is nothing
to prevent the same thing being the object of the will of good
pleasure, and of the will of expression. But operation is always the
same as the will of good pleasure; while precept and counsel are not;
both because the former regards the present, and the two latter the
future; and because the former is of itself the effect of the will;
the latter its effect as fulfilled by means of another.

Reply Obj. 3: Rational creatures are masters of their own acts; and
for this reason certain special expressions of the divine will are
assigned to their acts, inasmuch as God ordains rational creatures to
act voluntarily and of themselves. Other creatures act only as moved
by the divine operation; therefore only operation and permission are
concerned with these.

Reply Obj. 4: All evil of sin, though happening in many ways, agrees
in being out of harmony with the divine will. Hence with regard to
evil, only one expression is assigned, that of prohibition. On the
other hand, good stands in various relations to the divine goodness,
since there are good deeds without which we cannot attain to the
fruition of that goodness, and these are the subject of precept; and
there are others by which we attain to it more perfectly, and these
are the subject of counsel. Or it may be said that counsel is not
only concerned with the obtaining of greater good; but also with the
avoiding of lesser evils.


(In Four Articles)

We next consider those things that pertain absolutely to the will of
God. In the appetitive part of the soul there are found in ourselves
both the passions of the soul, as joy, love, and the like; and the
habits of the moral virtues, as justice, fortitude and the like.
Hence we shall first consider the love of God, and secondly His
justice and mercy. About the first there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether love exists in God?

(2) Whether He loves all things?

(3) Whether He loves one thing more than another?

(4) Whether He loves more the better things?

FIRST ARTICLE [I, Q. 20, Art. 1]

Whether Love Exists in God?

Objection 1: It seems that love does not exist in God. For in God
there are no passions. Now love is a passion. Therefore love is not
in God.

Obj. 2: Further, love, anger, sorrow and the like, are mutually
divided against one another. But sorrow and anger are not attributed
to God, unless by metaphor. Therefore neither is love attributed to

Obj. 3: Further, Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv): "Love is a uniting
and binding force." But this cannot take place in God, since He is
simple. Therefore love does not exist in God.

_On the contrary,_ It is written: "God is love" (John 4:16).

_I answer that,_ We must needs assert that in God there is love:
because love is the first movement of the will and of every
appetitive faculty. For since the acts of the will and of every
appetitive faculty tend towards good and evil, as to their proper
objects: and since good is essentially and especially the object of
the will and the appetite, whereas evil is only the object
secondarily and indirectly, as opposed to good; it follows that the
acts of the will and appetite that regard good must naturally be
prior to those that regard evil; thus, for instance, joy is prior to
sorrow, love to hate: because what exists of itself is always prior
to that which exists through another. Again, the more universal is
naturally prior to what is less so. Hence the intellect is first
directed to universal truth; and in the second place to particular
and special truths. Now there are certain acts of the will and
appetite that regard good under some special condition, as joy and
delight regard good present and possessed; whereas desire and hope
regard good not as yet possessed. Love, however, regards good
universally, whether possessed or not. Hence love is naturally the
first act of the will and appetite; for which reason all the other
appetite movements presuppose love, as their root and origin. For
nobody desires anything nor rejoices in anything, except as a good

Online LibraryThomas AquinasSumma Theologica, Part I (Prima Pars) From the Complete American Edition → online text (page 23 of 116)