Question Twenty-Eight: The Justification of Sinners
Is the justification of sinners the forgiveness of sins?
Can there be forgiveness of sins without grace?
Does the justification of sinners require free choice?
What motion of free choice is needed for justification: Is a motion toward God required?
In the justification of sinners is a motion of free choice toward sin required?
Are the infusion of grace and the forgiveness of guilt the same?
Does the forgiveness of guilt naturally precede the infusion of grace?
In the justification of sinners does the motion of free choice naturally precede the infusion of grace?
Is the justification of sinners instantaneous?
The question is about the justification of sinners,
and in the first article we ask:
Is the justification of sinners the forgiveness of sins?
[Parallel readings: IV Sent., I7, 1, 1 sol. 1 & 5; S.T., I-II, 113, 1 & 6; Comp. theol., I, 239.]
It seems that it is not, for
1. Justification gets its name from justice, which is one of the virtues. But the forgiveness of sins is not effected by one virtue alone, for sins are not opposed to just one virtue but to all. Justification is therefore not the forgiveness of sins.
2. The answer was given that the forgiveness of sins is effected by generic justice.—On the contrary, generic justice is the same as all virtue, according to the Philosopher. But the forgiveness of sins is not the effect of virtue but of grace. The forgiveness of sins should therefore not be called justifieation but rather the conferring of grace.
3. If the forgiveness of sins is effected by any virtue, it should be by that one in particular which cannot coexist with sin. But this is charity, which is never unformed. The forgiveness of sins should therefore not be attributed to justice but rather to charity.
4. The same is seen from the words of Proverbs (10:12): “Charity covereth all sins.”
5. Sin is the spiritual death of the soul. Now life is opposed to death. Since in Holy Scripture spiritual life is especially attributed to faith, as in Habakkuk (2:4) and the Epistle to the Romans (1: 17): “The just man liveth by faith,” it therefore seems that the forgiveness of sins should be ascribed to faith and not to justice.
6. The same is seen from the words of the Acts (15: 9):purifying their hearts by faith.”
7. Justification precedes grace just as a motion precedes its term. But the forgiveness of sins follows grace as an effect follows its cause. Justification is therefore prior to the forgiveness of sins, and so the two are not the same.
8. The act of justice is to return what is due. But what is due to a sinner is not pardon but rather punishment. The forgiveness of sins should therefore not be attributed to justice.
9. “Justice is concerned with merit; mercy, with misery,” as Bernard says. But a sinner has no merit but is rather in a state of misery, because “sin maketh nations miserable,” as is written in Proverbs 04:34). The forgiveness of sins should therefore not be attributed to justice but rather to mercy.
10. The answer was given that, although there is no condign merit in the sinner, there is congruous merit.—On the contrary, justice demands equality. Blut congruous merit is not equal to the reward. Then congruous merit is not sufficient for the notion of justice.
11. The forgiveness of sins is one of four prerequisites for the justification of sinners. The justification of sinners is therefore not the forgiveness of sins.
12.Whoever becomes just is justified. But some have become just without having had any sins forgiven, as Christ and (1f he had grace) the first man while in the state of innocence. justification is therefore not the forgiveness of sins.
To the Contrary
In commenting upon the words of the Epistle to the Romans (8:30): “Whom he called, them he also justified,” the Gloss adds “by the forgiveness of sins.”The forgiveness of sins is therefore justification.
There is a difference between motion and change. For a single motion is that by which something signified affirmatively is lost and something else signified affirmatively is acquired. “Motion is from a subject to a subject,” as is said in the Physics. By subject is meant here something affirmatively designated, as white or black. Hence there is a single motion of alteration by which white is lost and black is acquired. But it is otherwise with becoming and perishing, which are types of change. For becoming is a change from a non-subject to a subject, as from non-white to white; and perishing is a change from a subject to a non-subject, as from white to non-white. Thus in the loss of one thing that is affirmed and in the acquisition of another two changes must be understood, one of which is becoming and the other perishing, in either an unrestricted or a restricted sense. If, then, in the passage from whiteness to blackness we consider the motion itself, the very same motion is designated by the removal of the one and the introduction of the other. But the same change is not designated, but rather different ones which are nevertheless associated, because the becoming of the one does not take place without the perishing of the other.
Now justification means a motion to justice, just as whitening means a motion to whiteness, though justification could also signify the formal effect of justice; for justice justifies in the same way as whiteness makes white.
If, then, justification is taken as a motion, since we must mean the same motion by which sin is removed and justice is introduced, justification will be the same as the forgiveness of sins. They will differ only in concept, seeing that both names apply to the same motion, but one designates it with reference to the starting point, the other with reference to the final term. If, however, justification is taken in the line of change, then justification will signify one change, namely, the ‘coming of justice into being, and the forgiveness of sins will signify another, the perishing of guilt. From this point of view justification and the forgiveness of sins will not be the same except by association. But in whichever way justification is taken, it must get its name from a justice which is opposed to any sin whatever; for not only is motion from contrary to contrary, but also becoming and perishing, when taken in a common reference, apply to contraries. justice is used, however, in three different ways:
(1) As a specific virtue distinguished from the other cardinal virtues. In this sense justice is spoken of as the virtue by which man is directed in acts which contribute to community life, such as the different types of contracts. Now this virtue is not contrary to every sin, but only to those sins which are concerned with such interchanges, as theft, robbery, and the like. justice cannot, therefore, bee taken in this sense in the present context.
(2) It is used of legal justice, identified by the Philosopher with all virtue, as differing from virtue only in concept. In so far as virtue directs its act to the common good, which is also the aim of the legislator, it is called legal justice because it upholds the law, as when a brave man fights valiantly on the field of battle for the safety of the commonwealth. It is thus evident that, although every virtue is in some sense legal justice, yet not every act of virtue is an act of legal justice, but only one which is directed to the common good, as can be true of the act of any virtue. Consequently, neither is every act of sin opposed to legal justice. Then neither can the justification which is identified with the forgiveness of sins be so designated from legal justice.
(3) Justice designates a distinctive state in which man stands in the right relation to God, to his neighbor, and to himself, so that his lower powers are subject to the higher. This is what the Philosopher calls “justice taken metaphorically,”.since it is viewed as between different powers of the same person, whereas justice in the proper sense is always between different persons. To justice in this sense every sin is opposed, since some of the order mentioned is destroyed by every sin. Consequently it is from this sort of justice that justification gets its name, whether it is taken as a motion from a starting point or as the formal effect of a form.
Answers to Difficulties
1. That objection is based upon specific justice.
2. justification is not so called from legal justice, which is all virtue, but from the justice which means a general good order in the soul; for it is from this good order rather than from grace that justification gets its name, because every sin is opposed directly and immediately to this good order, involving as it does all the soul’s powers, whereas grace is in the essence of the soul.
3 Charity is called the cause of the forgiveness of sins because by it man is united to God, from whom he had been turned away in sinning. Yet not every sin is directly and immediately opposed to charity, but rather to the justice mentioned above.
4. The answer is clear from what has just been said.
5. Spiritual life is attributed to faith because in the act of faith spiritual life is first manifested. Life is said in The Soul to be in living beings by reason of the vegetative soul, not because every act of physical life is due to the vegetative soul, but because in its act life first appears. In the same way not every act of spiritual life is an act of faith, but it may be of the other virtues as well. Hence not every sin is directly and immediately opposed to faith.
6. The purifying of hearts is attributed to faith in so far as the movement of faith first appears in the said purification, as is expressed in the Epistle to the Hebrews (11:6): “For he that cometh to God must believe that he is.”
7. Not only justification but also the forgiveness of guilt can be taken either as the motion to justice or as the formal effect of justice; for justice not only formally justifies but also formally casts out guilt, just as whiteness formally casts out blackness. Thus the forgiveness of guilt, as the formal effect of justice, like justification, follows grace; but taken as a motion, it is, like justification, understood prior to grace.
8. An operation can get its name in two ways: either from its principle or from its end. Thus the action by which a physician acts upon a sick person is called medication from the point of view of the principle, because it is the effect of medicine; but it is called healing from the point of view of the end, because it is the way to health. The forgiveness of sins is accordingly called justification from the term or end. It is also called having mercy from the principle, inasmuch as it is a work of divine mercy. Nevertheless in the forgiveness of sins a sort of justice is observed, since “all the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth” (Psalm 24:10). This is especially true on the part of God, since in forgiving sins He does what befits Him, as Anselm says: “When You pardon sinners it is just, for it does befit You.” And that is what is said in the Psalm (30:1): “Deliver me in thy justice.” From another point of view also, but not adequately, justice appears on the part of the one whose sin is forgiven inasmuch as there is found in him some disposition for grace, though inadequate.
9-10. The answer to these is clear from what has just been said.
11. The forgiveness of sins is in some sense distinguished from justification either in reality or in concept, and so it is differentiated from the infusion of grace and listed as one of the four prerequisites for the justification of sinners.
12. The conferring of justice belongs to justification as such, but the forgiveness of sins pertains to it as the justification of sinners. In this sense it is not referable to Christ or even to man in the state of innocence.
Q. 28: The Justification of Sinners
In the second article we ask:
Can there be forgiveness of sins withoutgrace?
[Parallel readings: IV Sent., I7, 1, 3 sol. 1; In Ephes., c. 5, lect. 5; S.T., I-II, 113, 2.]
It seems that there can, for
1. It is easier to tear down than to build up. But man is able to build up sin by himself. He is therefore able to tear it down by himself, and so the forgiveness of sins can take place without grace.
2. Contrary sins cannot be in the same subject at the same time. But a person who has been in sin of one kind can by himself pass to its contrary, as a man who has been a miser can by himself become a spendthrift. A person can therefore free himself from a sin in which he has been; and so grace is apparently not required for the forgiveness of sins.
3. It was said in answer that sins are contrary as contrary acts, not as contrary forms.—On the contrary, as Augustine says, sin still remains when its act has passed; and it is not enough for the forgiveness of sins that the act of sin has passed. Something therefore remains from the sin which needs forgiveness. But contraries have contrary effects. The remnants of contrary sins are therefore contrary and so cannot coexist. Thus the same conclusion follows as before.
4. One mediated contrary can be removed without introducing the other, as blackness can be driven out independently of the introduction of whiteness. But between the state of guilt and the state of grace there is a mean, the state of created nature, in which, according to some, man had neither grace nor guilt. It is therefore not necessary for the forgiveness of sins that a person receive grace.
5. God can repair more than man can spoil. But man was able to plunge from the state of nature, in which he did not have grace, to the state of guilt. Consequently without grace God can lead man back from the state of guilt to the state of nature.
6. After the act of sin has passed its guilt is said to remain, according to Augustine, in the sense that the past act of a sin is laid to the account of the sinner for punishment. Then contrariwise it is said to be forgiven in the sense that it is not laid to his account for punishment, according to the words of the Psalm (3 1: 2): “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord hath not imputed sin.” But to impute or not to impute implies something positive only in God, who imputes or does not. For the forgiveness of sin grace is therefore not required in the one whose sin is forgiven.
7. Whoever is the complete cause of anything has complete power over it both to tear it down and to set it up, because the effect ceases when the operation of the cause ceases. But man is the complete cause of sin. He therefore has complete power over the tearing down or the setting up of sin, and so man seemingly does not need grace for the forgiveness of sin.
8. Since sin is in the soul, the forgiveness of sins can be brought about only by something which enters into the soul. But according to Augustine only God enters into the soul. Consequently only God can forgive sin by Himself and without grace.
9. If grace removes guilt, it is either a grace which exists or one which does not. Now it is not a grace which does not exist, because what does not exist does nothing. But neither is it a grace which exists, because it is an accident and its existence is to exist in something. When, however, grace is in the soul, guilt is not there; and so it cannot be driven out. Grace is therefore not required for the forgiveness of guilt.
10. Grace and guilt cannot be in the soul together. If, then, grace is infused for the forgiveness of guilt, the guilt must first have been in the soul when grace was not. Now since the guilt has ceased to be, a last instant can be designated in which the guilt existed. Similarly, since the grace begins to be, a first instant can be designated in which grace exists in the soul. But these must be two distinct instants, because grace and guilt cannot exist in the soul at the same time, as has been said. Between any two instants, however, there is an intervening time, as is proved in the Physics. There will therefore be a time in which man has neither guilt nor grace, and so grace is seemingly not necessary for the forgiveness of guilt.
11. Augustine says that God gives us gifts because He loves us, and not the other way about. The gift of grace therefore presupposes divine love. But that divine love by which God the Father loves His only-begotten Son and His members, is not had for a man in the state of guilt. The forgiveness of guilt therefore precedes grace in the order of nature; and so grace is not required for the forgiveness of sins.
12. In the Old Law original sin was forgiven by circumcision, as Bede makes clear. Circumcision, however, did not confer grace, because, since the least grace is sufficient for resisting any temptation, man in the state of the Law would have had the means of conquering concupiscence. Then the Old Law would not have killed by giving occasion, as it is said to have done in the Epistle to the Romans (7: 11). The death of Christ, moreover, would not have been necessary, because “if justice be by the law, then Christ dies in vain” (Galatians 2:21). But this cannot be admitted. It therefore seems inadmissible that circumcision conferred grace. Thus the forgiveness of sins can take place without grace.
To the Contrary
1. The words of the Psalm (77:39): “He remembered that they are flesh: a wind that goeth and returneth not,” are explained in the Gloss as meaning “a wind that of itself goeth into sin and of itself returneth not from sin; therefore God calls men back because of themselves they cannot return.”
2. In the Epistle to the Romans (3:24) it is written: “Being justified freely by his grace...”
There can by no means be any forgiveness of sins without ingratiatiatory grace. For the clarification of this point it should be borne in mind that, since there are two elements in sin, turning away from something and turning toward something, the forgiveness and retention of sin do not have reference to the turning toward but rather to the turning away and its consequences. For this reason, when a person ceases to haveffie will to sin, he does not by this fact have his sin forgiven, even if he should change to a contrary attitude of will. Augustine accordingly says: “If ceasing to sin were the same as not having any sins, it would be enough for Scripture (Sirach 21:1) to admonish us: ‘My son, hast thou sinned? Do so no more. But that is not enough; Scripture has added: ‘But for thy former sins also pray that they may be forgiven thee. “ Sin is therefore said to be forgiven in so far as the turning away and its consequences, the result of a past act of sin, are healed.
From the point of view of turning away, there are three factors which account for the impossibility of having sins forgiven without grace: the turning away, the offense against God, and the imputability. For the turning away is from the unchangeable good, which the person could have possessed but in regard to which he has made himself impotent; otherwise the turning away would not be culpable. The turning away in question cannot, then, be removed unless there is brought about a union with the unchangeable good from which the man withdrew by his sin. But this union is effected only by means of grace, by which God dwells in souls and the soul cleaves to God by the love of charity. The healing of this turning away, accordingly, requires the infusion of grace and charity, just as the healing of blindness requires the restoration of the power of sight.
The offense, moreover, which follows from sin cannot be blotted out without grace, whether the offense is viewed from the standpoint of man, inasmuch as by sinning he has offended God, or from the standpoint of God, inasmuch as He has taken offense at the sinner, according to the words of the Psalm (5:7): “Thou hatest all the workers of iniquity.” For whoever puts the more worthy beneath the less worthy insults it, and the more so, the more worthy it is. Now whoever places his end in anything temporal, as everyone who sins mortally does, by this very fact prefers in his own affections a creature to the Creator, loving a creature more than the Creator; for the end is that which is loved most. Since God infinitely surpasses a creature, one who sins mortally will have offered to God an infinite offense from the point of view of the dignity of Him who is insulted, seeing that God and His commandments are contemned. Human strength is accordingly incapable of blotting out this offense; the good offices of divine grace are required.
God Himself, moreover, is said to take offense at the sinner or to hate him—not with a hate that is opposed to the love which He has for all things, for in this sense He hates none of the things which He has made, as is said in Wisdom(11:25); but with a hate that is opposed to the love which He has for the saints, preparing for them eternal goods. The effect of this love is the gift of ingratiatory grace, as was explained in the question on grace. The offense which God takes at man is accordingly not removed except by His giving grace.
The imputability of sin, furthermore, is an obligation not merely to sensible pain, but especially to the pain of loss, which is the lack of glory. The imputability is therefore not canceled so long as man is not given the means to arrive at glory. This is grace; and so without grace there cannot be any forgiveness of sins.
Answers to Difficulties
1. Sin itself is the demolition of grace, whereas the forgiveness of sin is its erection. It is consequently easier to incur sin than to get free of it.
2. There is contrariety among sins in so far as they imply turning toward something, but the forgiveness of sins does not have reference to this aspect, as has been said. From the viewpoint of turning away and its consequences, however, they are on common ground. As a result, nothing prevents the imputability of contrary preceding acts from remaining in the soul at the same time; for a man who turns from avarice does not cease to have the imputability of avarice but only its act or habit.
3. Even though sins are contrary from the viewpoint of turning toward something, the residual conditions of aversion or imputability do not have to be contrary, because they are the indirect effects of turning toward creatures since they come about independently of the intention of the agent. From the contrariety of causes there results the contrariety of the effects which are direct, not of those which are indirect. From contrary acts there accordingly follow contrary habits and dispositions, for these are the effects of sinful acts and agree with them in species.
4. If we grant the opinion that Adam at one time had neither grace nor guilt (though some” will not concede it), we must say that nothing prevents some contraries from having a mean with regard to some particular subject taken simply, which nevertheless have no mean when limited by a definite time. With reference to a dog, for instance, blind and seeing have a mean, but not after the ninth day. Similarly with reference to man in the state of created nature, grace and guilt are related to each other as contraries with a mean. But from the time when Adam received grace, or could have received it, in such a way that it would be halided on to all his posterity, no one is without grace except by reason of guilt, either actual or original.
5. Even though Adam in the state in which he was created did not have grace, as some hold, he is nevertheless held by the same theologians to have been given grace before the fall. He consequently fell from the state of grace and not just from the state of nature. But even if he had fallen only from the state of nature, the gift of divine grace would nonetheless be required for the expiation of an infinite offense.
6. God’s love for us leaves in us a certain ensuing effect, namely grace, by which we are made worthy of eternal life; for that is the extent to which He loves us. In the same way God’s abstention from holding us accountable for our sins resultantly leaves in us something by which we deserve to be absolved of the imputability in question; and this is grace.
7. A sinner is the direct cause of his sin from the point of view of turning to something; but from that of turning away and the conscquences of this he is the indirect cause, since he does not intend these. They cannot in fact have a direct cause, since the character of evil in sin comes from these, and evil does not have a cause, as Dionysius holds.
Or the answer can be and is better given that the sinner is the cause of his sin in its becoming, but not the cause of the permanence of the remains 6f the sin. The cause of these is rather in part the divine justice, by which it has been justly ordained that anyone who has not wished to remain in grace when he could, should not be able to do so even if he should so wish; in part the cause is the deficiency of the powers of nature, which are insufficient for this expiation, for the reasons already indicated. When a man jumps into a ditch, he is the cause of his fall, but the state of rest which follows upon it is from nature; and for this reason he cannot get out of the ditch as he was able to jump into it. It is the same in the question at hand.
8. The expression to bring about the forgiveness of guilt can be taken in either of two ways, effectively or formally, as making something white applies to the painter effectively, but formally to whiteness. Now in the forgiveness of guilt grace is the means of bringing it about, not effectively, but only formally. When it is said that only God enters into the soul, the qualities of the soul, either natural or gratuitous, are not excluded; for by these the soul is informed. But other subsistent substances are excluded; for they cannot be within the soul in the same way as God, who is within it even more intimately than the forms just mentioned. God is in the very existence of the soul, causing and conserving it; whereas the forms or qualities in question do not reach to the existence but surround as it were the essence of the soul.
9. Grace which exists and exists in the soul drives out guilt—not a guilt which exists, but rather one which does not exist but formerly existed. It does not drive out guilt in the same way as an efficient cause, for in that case it would have to act upon an existing guilt in order to expel it. Rather it drives it out formally. From the fact that grace informs the subject it follows that guilt is not in the subject, as is seen in the example of health and sickness.
10. To this and similar difficulties a number of answers are ordinarily given.
The first is that, although that instant is really one, it is nevertheless several in thought, being the beginning of the future and the end of the past; and so nothing prevents guilt and grace from being in the soul at the same time, but in such a way that guilt is in that instant in so far as it is the end of the past, whereas grace is in it in so far as it is the beginning of the future.
But this cannot stand. For the distinction given implies different aspects of the instant which do not multiply its substance but leave it one. The real consequence is that guilt and grace are in the soul in the same indivisible point of time; for the term instant means an indivisible point of time. But this is to be together at the same time; and so it follows that contraries are in the same subject at the same time. Furthermore, according to the Philosopher, when anything in moving makes use of one point as two, a period of rest must intervene. It is by this argument that he proves that reciprocating motions are not continuous. Likewise, if anyone makes use of one instant as two, he must understand some interval; as a consequence the soul would at some time be without guilt or grace. But this is inadmissible.
On this account others say that, just as a line extends between two points on a single line but not between two points on two line—segments in contact at their end-points; in the same way it is not necessary that between the instant which is the last of the time in which guilt was present and the instant which is the first of the time in which grace is present, there be any intervening time, since they are instants of distinct times.
But this again cannot stand. Because a line is an intrinsic measure, it is divided according to the distinction of real things. But time is an extrinsic measure and is one with regard to all things that are in time; for the existence of guilt is not measured by one time and that of grace by another, unless we mean by another time another part of the same continuous time. It is therefore necessary that between any two instants, whatever the things to which they may be referred, there should be an intervening time. Furthermore, two points on two linesegments in contact described on located bodies are united at a single point designated on an external line on the locating body; for contiguous beings are those whose extremities coincide. If, then, it is granted that distinct beings have distinct times which are not continuous but in a sense contiguous, it will nevertheless be necessary that in the time serving as the extrinsic measure there correspond to their end-points a single indivisible instant. Consequently the same inadmissible conclusion mentioned above, that guilt and grace are, together, comes back again.
For this reason others say that such spiritual changes are not measured by a time which is the number of the movement of the heavens, because the soul and every spiritual substance are above time; but they have their own time inasmuch as there is found in them a before and after. But this time is not continuous, since according to the Philosopher the continuity of time is dependent upon the continuity of motion, whereas the affections of the soul are not continuous.
But this likewise has no place in the matter at hand. For not only things essentially in time, which is the movement of the heavens, are measured by time, but also those having an accidental reference to the movement of the heavens because they are dependent upon things that have an essential reference to the time just mentioned. And this holds even for the justification of sinners, which is dependent upon thoughts, conversations, and other such motions that are essentially measured by the time of the movement of the heavens.
A different explanation must therefore be given: we cannot indicate the last instant in which the sinner had guilt, but the last time. We can, however, indicate the first instant in which he has grace, and this instant is the end of the time in which he had guilt; but between a time and the end of that time nothing intervenes. We therefore do not have to indicate any time or instant in which a person would have neither guilt nor grace.
This is explained as follows. Since the infusion of grace takes place in an instant, it is the end of a continuous movement, such as a meditation by which the will is disposed for the reception of grace; and the end of the same movement is the forgiveness of guilt, for guilt is forgiven by the very fact that grace is infused. In that first instant, then, there is the end of the forgiveness of guilt, that is, the absence of guilt, and the end of the infusion of grace, that is, the possession of grace. Then in the whole preceding time that ends at this instant, by which the movement of the meditation just mentioned was measured, the sinner had guilt and not grace, except only at the last instant, as we have said. But before the last instant of this time we cannot pick out another immediately next to it, because, if any instant at all other than the last is taken, between it and the last there will be an infinite number of intervening instants.
Thus it is clear that we cannot distinguish a last instant in which the person justified would have guilt and not have grace; but we can distinguish a first instant in which he has grace and does not have guilt. This solution can be gathered from the words of the Philosopher.
11. By His love God not only causes the gift of grace in us but also the forgivcncss of guilt. Consequently the forgiveness of guilt does not have to precede grace. Such a necessity would follow, however, if the forgiveneess of guilt preceded God’s love instead of following from it.
12. The sacraments cause by signifying, for they cause what they represent. And because circumcision has its signification in removing, its effectiveness was directly related to the removal of original guilt and only consequently to grace, whether grace was given in virtue of circumcision in the same way as it is given in virtue of baptism, as some say, or was given by God concomitantly with circumcision. Thus the forgiveness of guilt did not take place without grace. Yet that grace did not as completely repress concupiscence as does the grace of baptism. It was accordingly harder for a circumcised person to resist concupiscence than it is for a baptized person. From this circumstance the Old Law was said to kill by giving occasion, although circumcision is not included among the sacraments of the Mosaic law because it is not “of Moses but of the fathers,” as is said in John (7:22). Thus, if circumcision gave any grace, this is not contrary to the statement that the Old Law did not justify.
Q. 28: The Justification of Sinners
In the third article we ask:
Does the justification of sinners require free choice?
[Parallel readings: II Sent., 27, a. 2 ad 7; IV Sent., 17, 1, 3 sol. 2; In Ephes., c. 5, lect. 5; S.T., I-II, 113, 3; In Joan., c. 4, lect. 2, §1 (P 10:363b).]
It seems that it does not, for
1. Anything that applies to those who do not have the use of free choice does not require the exercise of free choice. But justification applies to children who do not yet have the use of free choice, for they are justified by baptism. The justification of sinners therefore does not require the exercise of free choice.
2. The answer was given that this is something special for children, who are in the grip only of a sin which is contracted from someone else; and it does not apply to adults, who are in the grip of their own sins.—On the contrary, Augustine says that when a certain friend of his “was suffering from fever, he lay unconscious for a long time in a deadly sweat. Since all hope for him had been given up, he was baptized without his knowledge. I was not much concerned and assumed that his soul would retain what it had received from me rather than what was done to his body while he was unaware of it. But the event proved far different, for he recovered.” But recovery takes place by reason of justifying grace. Justifying grace is accordingly sometimes conferred upon an adult without the motion of his free choice.
3. It was said in answer that this takes place only when man is justified by a sacrament.—On the contrary, God has not tied His power down to the sacraments. Since justification is a divine work depending upon His power, it therefore seems that an adult can be justified even without the sacraments independently of the motion of his free choice.
4. A man can be in a state in which he is an adult and does not have any actual sin but only original sin. For at the first instant at which a person is an adult, if he has not been baptized he is still subject to original sin without as yet having any actual sin, because by not transgressing anything he has as yet done nothing for which he would be held guilty of sin; nor again is he guilty of omission, because affirmative precepts do not oblige to constant compliance, so that a man does not immediately have to observe affirmative precepts the first instant he is an adult. It accordingly appears that an adult can have original sin without any actual sin. If, then, that is the reason why a child can be justified without any motion of his free choice, it seems that the same reason may apply for an adult.
5. Whenever anything is found in a number of things in common, they must agree in some common cause. Now to be justified applies alike to children and to adults. Since grace alone is the cause of justification in children, it therefore seems that grace without the use of free choice is sufficient for justification in adults.
6. Wisdom is a gift of God as well as justice. But Solomon received wisdom while he was asleep, as is recorded in the third book of Kings (3:5-15). Then in the same way man can also receive justifying grace while he is asleep and without the use of his free choice.
7. It was said that Solomon received wisdom in his sleep as a reward for a previous act of his will.—On the contrary, will is required in evil acts just as well as in good, because nothing is a sin unless it is voluntary. But an act of will previous to sleep does not make what is (lone during sleep a sin. Then neither does it have anything to do with the reception of a divine gift during sleep.
8. The use of free choice is inhibited not only in one asleep but also in a sick person. But a sick person can be justified without the use of his free choice, as is clear from the passage from Augustine which was cited.Consequently so can one who is sleeping.
9. God is more powerful than any created agent. But the material sun diffuses its light into the air without any previous preparation in the air itself. Then all the more does God infuse the light of His grace without any preparation, which is made through the act of free choice.
10. Since good tends to communicate itself, according to Dionysius, God, who is supremely good, most fully communicates Himself. This would not be true, however, unless He communicated Himself both to those who prepare and to those who do not. Consequently the exercise of free choice as a preparation on the part of man is not required in the justification of sinners.
11. Augustine says that God causes justice in man in the same way as the sun causes light in the air; when the sun’s influence ceases, the light ceases. He is not like a cabinetmaker working upon a cabinet, upon which he does nothing once it is made. The sun works in the air in the same way when the air is first illuminated and as long as the light continues in it. God accordingly causes justice in man when he is first justified and as long as justice is conserved in him. But justice is conserved in man even when the exercise of free choice ceases, as is seen in one asleep. Man can therefore be justified in the beginning without any movement of his free choice.
12. The disposition which is required as a necessity for the introduction of a form is such that without it the form cannot remain, as is exemplified iA, beat and the form of fire. But without the exercise of free choice justice can remain, as it does in one asleep. Consequently the exercise of free choice is not a disposition which is required as a necessity for the infusion of grace.
13. Anything which is naturally prior to something else and can exist either with or without that which comes after it, has no need of the latter in order to be brought into existence. An example would be heaviness and falling; there can be heaviness without falling, as occurs when a heavy body is kept from its proper motion. But grace naturally comes before the exercise of free choice, and can either be without that exercise or not; for it is the formal principle of free choice as heaviness is that of natural motion. Grace can therefore be infused without the exercise of free choice.
14. An ailing body introduces original sin into the soul without any exercise of free choice. All the more, then, does God, who is most powerful, not need the exercise of free choice in order to infuse grace.
15. God is more ready to have mercy than to condemn, as is said in the Gloss” in the beginning of its commentary upon Jeremiah. But God punishes children who die without baptism independently of any use of free chbice. He therefore much more surely has mercy by infusing grace.
16. The disposition for a form which is needed in the recipient of the form is not from the recipient but from another. Thus heat, which is in wood antecedently as a disposition for the form of fire, is not from the wood itself. But the exercise of free choice is from the man who is to be justified. It is therefore not needed as a disposition for having grace.
17. justification comes about by the infusion of grace and the virtues. But according to Augustine” only God causes virtue in us without our own efforts. Consequently our own activity, which takes place through the use of free choice, is not needed for our justification.
18. According to the Apostle (Romans 4:4) “to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned according to grace but according to debt.” But the exercise of free choice is a form of working. If, then, the exercise of free choice is required for justification, justification will not be from grace but from debt. But that is heretical.
19. One who works against grace is farther removed from grace than one who does not work at all. But God sometimes gives grace to someone who by his free choice works against grace, as He did to Paul, to whom it was said: “It is hard for thee to kick against the goad” (Acts 9:5). With all the more reason, then, grace is sometimes imparted to a person independently of his use of free choice.
20. An agent with infinite power does not need any disposition in the patient; for the more powerful the agent, the less he needs a previous disposition for the production of his effect. But God is an agent with infinite power, even to the extent that He does not need preexisting matter but draws His products out of nothing. Much less, then, does He need a disposition; and so in the justification of sinners, Which is a divine work, God does not need the exercise of free choice as a disposition on the part of man.
To the Contrary
1. The comment on the words of III Kings (3:5): “Ask what thou wilt that I should give thee” that is given in the Gloss is this: “The grace of God requires free choice.” But justification is brought about by the grace of God, as is taught in the Epistle to the Romans (3: 24). The exercise of free choice is therefore required for justification.
2. Bernard says that “there cannot be justification without either the consent of the recipient or the grace of the giver.” But the consent of the recipient is an act of free choice. Man therefore cannot be justified without the use of free choice.
3. For the reception of a form a disposition is needed in the recipient, for it is not possible for just any form at all to be received in any given subject. But the act of free choice serves as a disposition for grace. The exercise of free choice is therefore required for the reception of justifying grace.
4. In the justification of sinners man contracts a kind of spiritual marriage with God, as is written in Osee (2: 19): “I will espouse thee to me in justice.” But in carnal marriage mutual consent is required. With all the more reason, then, is this true of the justification of sinners. And so the use of free choice is needed for it.
5. The justification of sinners does not take place without charity, because, as is written in Proverbs (10:12), “charity covereth all sins.” But since charity is a kind of friendship, it demands mutual love. For, as the Philosopher makes clear, friendship involves reciprocated love. But mutual love requires the use of free choice in each of the parties. Consequently there cannot be justification without the use of free choice.
No one having the use of free choice can be justified without the use of free choice at the instant of his justification. But in those who do not have cogtrol over their own wills, such as children, this is not needed for justification. Three reasons can be assigned for this.
Thefirst reason is taken from the mutual relationship of agent and patient. It is clear that in corporeal beings an action is not performed without some contact. It may be that only the agent touches the patient. This occurs when the patient is not capable of touching the agent, as when higher bodies act upon lower, touching them and not’ being touched by them. Or it may be that the agent and patient each touch the other. This occurs when both are capable of touching and being touched, as when fire acts upon water or vice versa.
Among spiritual beings, when mutual contact is possible, action is not performed without mutual contact. In other cases it is enough for the agent to touch the patient. Now God, who justifies sinners, touches the soul, causing grace in it. It is accordingly said in the Psalm (143: 5): “Touch the mountains”; and the Gloss adds: “with thy grace.” But the human soul in some sense touches God by knowing Him or loving Him. As a consequence there is required in adults, who can know and love God, some exercise of free choice by which they know and love Him. That is the turning to God of which Zacharias (1: 3) speaks: “Turn ye to me.... and I will turn to you.” Children lacking the use of reason, however, cannot know and love God. This is why it is sufficient for their justification that they be touched by Him through the infusion of grace.
The second reason is taken from the very notion of justification. According to Anselm justice is “the rectitude of the will kept for its own sake.” Justification is accordingly a change of the will. Now will can be taken either as the power itself or as the act of the power. But the act of the power of will cannot be changed except with its own cooperation; for if it were not from the power, it would not be its act. The power of will, however, can be changed without its cooperation, just as it was made without its cooperation.
In adults a change in the act of the will is needed for justification; for by an act of the will they are turned to something inordinately. The direction in which they are turned cannot be changed except by a contrary act of the will. For the justification of adults an act of free choice is therefore required. But children, who do not have their will turned to anything by the act of their own will but have only the power of will culpably deprived of original justice, can be justified without the activity of their own will.
The third reason is drawn from a likeness to the divine operation upon corporeal things. When producing an effect which nature can likewise produce, God produces it in accordance with the same disposition as nature does. If, for example, God were to heal someone miraculously, He would cause health in him with a certain balance of humors which nature also in some cases brings about to heal a man. This agrees with the statement of the Philosopher that, if nature produced a work of art, it would produce it in just the same way as art does, and conversely. Now from his natural endowments a man can have some kind of justice in two ways: (1) as natural or innate, inasmuch as some have a natural bent for works of justice; and (2) as acquired. The infused justice, then, by which adults are justified is like that acquired by deeds. Consequently, just as in acquired political justice an act of the will is needed by which one loves justice, similarly justification is not accomplished in adults without the exercise of free choice. But the infused justice by which infants are justified is like the natural aptitude for justice, which is also found in infants; for neither, however, is the exercise of free choice required.
Answers to Difficulties
1. Because children do not have the means of turning to the justifying cause, the justifying cause itself, namely, the passion of Christ, is applied to them through the sacrament of baptism. By this they are justified.
2. Regarding an adult who is not in the possession of his faculties a distinction must be made. If he never had the use of reason, he is to be judged in the same way as infants; but if at any time he had the use of reason, then if he desired baptism during the time when he was in possession of his faculties and is baptized while out of his senses, not being aware of it or even resisting, he obtains the eff ect of baptism because of his previous disposition of will. This is particularly true when after baptism he recovers the use of his free choice and is pleased with what was done. This is the situation of which Augustine speaks. The resistance which is offered is not imputed to the sick man, since he does not act by his will but is acted upon by his imagination.
If, however, while he was in possession of his faculties he did not desire baptism, he is not to be given baptism even when he is unaware of it or offering no resistance, however great may be the danger of death; for he is to be judged on the basis of the last instant in which he was in his right mind. And if he is given baptism, he receives neither the sacrament nor the grace of the sacrament; though from the invocatibn of the Holy Trinity and the consecration of the water some disposition may miraculously be left in him so that when he recovers the use of his free choice he will more easily be changed for the good.
3. Even without any sacrament God gives grace to some infants, as is evident of those sanctified in the womb. And He could similarly confer grace without any sacrament upon an adult who was out of his mind, just as he does with a sacrament.
4. The opinion that an adult may have original sin without any actual sin is held by some to be an impossible position. For when he begins to be adult, if he does what he can, there will be given to him the grace by which he will be freed from original sin; but if he does not do what he can, he will be guilty of a sin of omission. Since everyone is obliged to avoid sin and he cannot do this without setting his aim upon the due end, as soon as anyone is in possession of his faculties he is obliged to turn to God and make Him his end. By so doing he is disposed for grace. Furthermore, Augustine says that the concupiscence deriving from original sin makes infants disposed to experience concupiscence, and adults actually to do so; for it is unlikely that one who is infected with original sin will not submit to the concupiscence of sin by consent to a sin.
5. Justification is in infants and in adults from a common cause, grace, which is, however, received differently by infants and by adults in accordance with their different condition. For whatever is received in another is in it after the manner of the recipient. For this reason the reception of grace in an adult is associated with the exercise of free choice, but not in an infant.
6. Three different answers to this difficulty can be given:
(1) It can be said that the sleep in which wisdom was imparted to Solomon was not a natural sleep but one of prophecy, of which it is written in Numbers (12:6): “If there be among you a prophet of the Lord, I will speak to him in a dream or in a vision.” In such a sleep, however, the use of free choice is not prevented.
(2) It can be said that in the infusion of wisdom the intellect must be turned to God, just as in the infusion of justice the will, which is its subject, must be turned to Him. Now in sleep the intellect can be turned to God but not free choice or the will. This is because the intellect has two operations, perceiving and judging about what it has perceived.
In sleep the intellect is not prevented from perceiving something either from what it has previously considered (and this is why a man sometimes makes syllogisms in his sleep) or from illumination by some higher substance. The intellect of a sleeping person is more adapted to the reception of this illumination because of the repose of his senses and freedom from their acts, and especially because his phantasms are at rest. It is accordingly written in Job (33:15-16): “By a dream in a vision by night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, and they are sleeping in their beds: then he openeth the ears of men, and teaching instructeth them in what they are to learn.” That is the chief reason why future things are foreseen in sleep.
But the perfect judgment of the intellect cannot be found in one who is sleeping, because at that time our senses, which are the primary source of our knowledge, are inhibited. For a judgment is made by reducing to principles, and for this reason we must judge about everything on the basis of what we receive by the senses, as is said in Heaven and Earth. But the exercise of free choice depends upon rational judgment; and so the exercise of free choice, which is the means by which the will turns to God, cannot be sufficient during sleep; for even if there should be some motion of the will, it depends more upon the imagination than upon a complete rational judgment. Consequently a man can receive wisdom while sleeping, but not justice.
(3) It can be said that the intellect is forced by the intelligible object, but the will cannot be forced by the object of appetite. For this reason wisdom, which is the rectitude of the intellect, can be infused independently of the use of free choice, but not justice, which is the rectitude of the will.
7. The movement of free choice in one awake antecedent to sleep cannot cause the act of one asleep to be meritorious or demeritorious in itself, but it can cause it to have some aspect of goodness or badness in so far as the influence of our waking acts is left in what we do while asleep, as the influence of the cause is left in the effect. That is why virtuous men have better dreams in their sleep than others who are not virtuous, as is said in the Ethics. That is why, too, nocturnal pollution is sometimes accounted as culpable. Solomon could accordingly dispose himself while awake to receive wisdom in his sleep.
8. The sacrament of baptism is not to be given to a sick person while he is out of his senses, even if he previously had the desire for baptism, unless the danger of death is feared; but in the case of a sleeping person that is notfeared. In this respect, then, the two cases differ, though in other respects they are alike.
9. According to the nature of its species air is in the final disposition, to receive light by reason of its transparency. Thus immediately upon the presence of a source of light it is lighted; and no other preparation is needed unless it be the removal of an obstacle. But the intellectual soul is not in the final disposition for the reception of justice except when it is actually willing, because a power is perfected by its act, being in potency to either of two opposites until determined to one of them by that act, just as matter, which is in potency to a number of forms, by being disposed is fitted for one form rather than another.
10. With infinite goodness God communicates Himself to creatures by means of a certain similarity to His goodness, which He imparts to them by the very fact that He communicates His goodness in the best possible way. It belongs to this way that He impart His gifts in an orderly fashion according to His wisdom; that is to say, He gives to each one according to its own condition. That is why a disposition or some preparation is needed on the part of those to whom God gives His gifts.
An alternative answer would be that the difficulty argues from a preparation which precedes in time the infusion of grace. God sometimes gives grace without such preparation, suddenly causing in someone a sentiment of contrition and pouring in His grace; for, as is written in Sirach (11:23), “it is easy in the eyes of God on a sudden to make the poor man rich.” This does not, however, exclude the use of free choice at the instant at which grace is infused. God reveals a more perfect communication of His goodness by causing simultaneously in man the habit and the act of justice than He would by causing the habit alone.
11. The sun is the cause of light not only in its being but also in its becoming. In the same way God is the cause of grace both in its being and in its becoming. Something not required for the existence of a thing is required for its becoming, which involves a kind of change. Thus when light comes to be in the air, it is required that the air stand in a relation to the sun different from before. This comes about through the movement of the sun, though without this movement there could be conservation of the light in the air by the constant presence of the sun. Similarly, for grace to come to be, the will must be related to God in a way different from before. For this a change in the will is required, and this is not had in adults without the exercise of free choice, as we have said.
12. A disposition not needed for the existence of a thing is needed for its becoming, as is particularly clear in the procreation of animals and plants. After a thing has already been made, nothing prevents its being kept in existence even though such dispositions disappear. And so when the motion of free choice, which was necessary for justification, ceases, justice can remain as a habit.
13. Even though something which by nature comes before something else can exist without the latter, that does not mean that it can come into being without the thing which comes after it. Thus the soul, being the formal, efficient, and final cause of the body, as is said in The Soul, is naturally prior to the body and can exist without the body; yet in accordance with the order of nature it,can come into being only in the body. The same is true of grace and the exercise of free choice.
14. The body infects the soul with original sin by the very fact that it is united to the soul. This sin, however, does not concern the will of the one infected but his nature. It is therefore not surprising if the use of free choice is not needed for such infection. Now in a similar way the soul of a child gets grace by the very fact that it is united to Christ through the sacrament of baptism without the exercise of free choice. In adults, however, the exercise of free choice is required, for the reason already explained.
15. The fact that God is said to be more ready to have mercy than to punish does not mean that nothing more is needed for the good which God brings about in us by having mercy than for the evil which God punishes in us; for according to Dionysius good arises from an integral cause all taken together, but evil from any single defect. This shows that God has mercy because of what is from Him, whereas He punishes because of what is from us; and this product of ours is such that it cannot have a place in right order except by means of punishment. He accordingly has mercy from His principal intention but punishes—as if it were beyond the intention of His antecedent will—by a consequent will. Yet on the point at issue it can be said that by a certain resemblance the justification of children before the use of free choice corresponds to the infection of original sin, which enters the soul before it has the use of free choice.
16. The things of nature can be disposed for a form by a sort of violence, having an extrinsic source of their disposition and contributing nothing themselves to their change. In them, then, the disposition for a form is not from an intrinsic principle but from without. But the will cannot suffer violence. There is accordingly no [Parallel from which to draw an argument.
17. God causes virtues in us without our causing them but not without our consent.
18. The act of free choice involved in the justification of sinners is related in one way to the habit of justice in general explained above, and in a different way to the execution and increase of justice. It cannot be related to, the habit as merit, because justice, the principle of meriting, is infused at the very instant; but it is related merely as a disposition. It is related to the execution and increase of justice, however, in the line of merit, because man merits divine help in these by the first act which has grace as its form. Thus justice is not given to human deeds as a reward, but the increase and perdurance of justice are of the nature of a reward with reference to previous meritorious acts.
19. Although before he was justified Paul was fighting directly against the grace of faith, yet in the very instant of his justification he consented to grace by his free choice, which was moved by divine grace. For God can in an instant induce the movement of a will elevated by grace without which there is no justification; but there can be justification without any previous preparation.
20. The disposition in question is needed, not because of the impotency of the agent, but because of the condition of the recipient, the will, which cannot be changed by violence but is changed by its own motion. The motion of free choice, moreover, is related to grace not only as a disposition but also as a complement; for operations are in a sense the completion of habits. It therefore attests the perfection of the agent if the habit is introduced at the same time as its operation, because the perfection of the effect is a sign of the perfection of the cause.
Q. 28: The Justification of Sinners
In the fourth article we ask
What motion of free choice is needed for justification: is a motion toward god required?
[Parallel readings: IV Sent., 17, 1, 3 sol. 3; In Epbes., c. 2, lect. 3; S.T., I-II, 113, 4.]
It seems that a motion toward God is not required, for
1. Nothing that follows justification is required for justification. But since being moved toward God comes from grace, this follows justification. Hence it is written in Lamentations (5:21): “Convert us, O Lord, to thee...” The motion of free choice toward God is therefore not one of the things required for justification.
2. A motion of free choice is required for justification as a disposition of the part of free choice. Now that to which man needs to be drawn does not pertain to free choice. But since man needs to be drawn in order to be turned toward God, according to the words recorded in John (6:44): “No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him,” it therefore seems that the motion of free choice toward God is not one of the things required for the justification of sinners.
3. Man comes to justice by way of fear, “for he that is without fear, cannot be justified,” as is written in Sirach (1: 2 8). But through fear man is not moved toward God but rather toward punishment. The motion of free choice required for justification of sinners is therefore not a motion toward God.
4. Should it be said that this is true of servile, not of filial fear, the rejoinder would be: all fear includes flight in its essential notion. But by flight we withdraw from that which we are fleeing; we do not approach it. By fearing God, then, a man does not move toward God but rather away from Him.
5. If a motion of free choice toward God is required for justification, that motion in particular should be required through which man is most completely moved toward God. Now man is more completely moved toward God through charity than through faith. Consequently, if a motion of free choice toward God is required for justification, justification should not be attributed to faith but rather to charity. The contrary, however, appears in the Epistle to the Romans (5: “Being justified therefore by faith...”
6. The motion of free choice required in justification is like the last disposition for grace, at the presence of which grace is infused. Now a disposition for a form, at the presence of which the form is introduced, is such that it cannot exist without the form, since it is an exigency for the form. Since the motion of faith can exist without grace, it accordingly seems that justification should not be attributed to the motion of faith.
7. Man can know God by his natural reason. But faith is required for justification only because it makes us know God. It therefore seems that man can be justified without the motion of faith.
8. Man knows God not only by a motion of faith but also by an act of wisdom. Then justification should not be attributed to faith any more than to wisdom.
9. Many articles are contained in faith. Now if a motion of faith is required for justification, it therefore seems that one would have to think of all the drticles of faith. But that cannot be done instantaneously.
10. In the Epistle of St. James (4:6) we read that God “giveth grace to the humble.” There is accordingly required for justification a motion of humility, which is not a motion toward God; otherwise humility would have God as its object and end and would be a theological virtue. The motion that is required for the justification of sinners is therefore not a motion of free choice toward God.
11. In the justification of sinners man’s will is changed to justice. The motion of free choice should therefore be an act of justice; but that is not a motion toward God, for justice does not have God As its object. The motion required for the justification of sinners is therefore not a motion toward God.
12. Man is related to the justification of sinners as the remover of an obstacle, just as one who opens the shutters is called the cause of lighting the house. But the obstacle to grace is sin. On the part of the one justified, then, a motion of free choice toward God is not required but only one toward sin.
To the Contrary
1. In the Epistle of St. James (4:8) it is written: “Draw nigh to God: and he will draw nigh to you.” Now God draws near to us by the infusion of grace. Consequently for us to be justified by grace we are required to draw near to God through the motion of our free choice toward Him.
2. The justification of sinners is a kind of enlightenment of man. But we read in the Psalm (33:6): “Come ye to him and be enlightened.” Now, since man does not come to God by steps of the body but by movements of the mind, as Augustine says, it therefore seems that a motion of free choice is required for the justification of sinners.
3. In the Epistle to the Romans (4:5) we read: “To him that... believeth in him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reputed to justice.” For a sinner to be justified, then, a motion of faith toward God is required.
As was said above, a motion of free choice is required in justification in order that through his own act man may come in contact with the justifying cause. Now the cause of justification is God, who wrought our justification through the mystery of His own incarnation, by which He became the mediator between God and men. A motion of free choice toward God is accordingly required for the justification of sinners.
Since free choice can move toward God in many ways, for justification that motion seems to be required which is the first among all and is included in all others. This is the motion of faith; “for he that cometh to God must (first) believe that he is,” as is written in the Epistle to the Hebrews (11:6). Moreover, no one can move toward God by any other motion unless at the same time he move with this motion of faith; for all other motions of the mind toward God the Justifier belong to the affections, whereas only the motion of faith belongs to the intellect. The affections, however, are moved toward their object only in so far as it is apprehended; for the apprehended good moves the affections, as is said in The Soul. Hence the motion of the apprehensive power is required for the motion of the affective, just as the mover needs to move actively for the mobile to be moved. In this way also the motion of faith is included in that of charity and in every other motion by which the mind is moved toward God.
But because justice is completed in the affections, if man were turned toward God only with his intellect, he would not be coming into contact with God by the power that receives justice, his affections. Thus he could not be justified. It is therefore required that not only the intellect be turned toward God but also the affections. But the first motion of the affections toward anything is the motion of love, as was explained in the question on the passions of the SoUl. This motion is included in desire as a cause in an effect; for something is desired as loved. Hope, moreover, implies desire accompanied by the rousing of one’s spirits as tending to something arduous. Then, just as the motion of cognition is accompanied by a motion of love, so too the motion of love is accompanied by a motion of hope or desire; for love arouses desire or hope just as the object apprehended arouses love.
Thus in the justification of sinners free choice is moved toward God by the motion of faith, of charity, and of hope; for the one juitified must be turned toward God by loving Him with the hope of pardon. These three motions are counted as a single complete motion inasmuch as they are included in one another. Yet that motion takes its name from faith because faith contains the other motions virtually and is included in them.
Answers to Difficulties
1. To be moved toward God by free choice follows the infusion of grace in some seftse by the order of nature, though not by that of time, as will be made clear below. Hence it does not follow from this, seeing that the infusion of grace is one of the requisites for justification, that the motion of free choice toward God follows justification.
2. The drawing in question does not imply violence, but it does imply the operation of God by which He works upon free choice, turning it whithersoever He wills. That to which man is drawn accordingly pertains in some sense to free choice.
3. Servile fear, which has its eye upon punishment alone, is required for justification as a previous disposition, though not as entering into the substance of justification; for fear cannot coexist with charity, but when charity enters fear leaves. Thus we read in the first Epistle. of St. John (4:18): “Fear is not in charity.” Filial fear, however, which is afraid of separation, is included virtually in the motion of love; for to desire union with one’s beloved means the same thing as to fear separation.
4. Filial fear includes some flight—not flight from God, but flight from separation from God, or else flight from equaling oneself to God inasmuch as fear implies a kind of reverence by which man does not dare to compare himself to the divine majesty but rather submits to it.
5. The motion of charity toward God is also required, but in this motion the motion of faith also is included, as has been said.
6. Although it is possible to believe God or to believe about God without justice, yet without grace or justice it is not possible to believe with a tendency toward God, for this is an act of faith informed [by charity]. Such belief is required for justification, as is clear from the Epistle to the Romans (4:5): “To him that... believeth in him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reputed to justice.”
7. After the fall of human nature man cannot be restored except through the mediator between God and men, Jesus Christ; and this mystery of the mediation of Christ is held only by faith. For this reason natural knowledge does not suffice for the justification of sinners, but faith in Jesus Christ, either explicit or implicit according to the differences of times or persons, is required. This is what is said in the Epistle to the Romans (3:22): “Even the justice of God by faith in Jesus Christ.”
8. Faith stands to infused wisdom in the same relation as the understanding of naturally known principles stands to wisdom or science acquired by reason, as being its source. Hence the first motion of gratuitous knowledge toward God is not one of infused wisdom or science but one of faith.
9. Though there are many articles of faith, not all have to be actually thought of at the very instant of justification; one need only think of God according to that article which holds that He justifies and forgives sins. Implicitly in this is included the article on the incarnation and passion of Christ and the other requisites for our justification.
10. The motion of humility follows that of faith inasmuch as a person considering the sublimity of the divine majesty, submits to it.
11. In generic justice of which we are now speaking, the due subordination of man to God is included, as was said above. Thus faith, hope and charity are all contained within this kind of justice.
12. Sin is an obstacle to grace especially from the point of view of turning away from God. To remove this obstacle there is accordingly required the turning of our free choice toward God.
Q. 28: The Justification of Sinners
In the fifth article we ask:
In the justification of sinners is a motion of free choice toward sin required?
[Parallel readings: IV Sent., 17,1, 3 sol. 4; C.G., III, 158; S.T., I-II, 113, 5; III, 86, 2.]
It seems that it is not, for
1. A motion of charity toward forgiveness is enough: “many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much” (Luke 7:47). But the motion of charity is directly toward God. For the justification of sinners, then, a motion toward God is enough, and a motion toward sin is not required.
2. The unchangeable good is more efficacious than a changeable good. But it is enough for a man to turn to a changeable good for him to incur sin. It is therefore enough for a man to turn to the unchangeable good for him to be justified.
3. A man cannot move toward sin without thinking of sin. Now no one can think of something which his memory does not retain. But it happens that some have forgotten about sins committed. If the motion of free choice toward sin is required for the justification of sinners, then, it seems that a person who has forgotten about his sins can never be justified.”
4 It is possible for a man to be entangled in many crimes. But if a motion of free choice is required in justification, it seems that with equal reason he must at that instant think of each one of his sinswhich is impossible. For there is no more reason for singling out one than another.
5. Whoever is turned to something as his last end is by that very fact turned away from any other last end , because it is impossible for one thing to have many last ends. But when a man is moved toward God by faith informed by charity, he is moved to Him as his last end. By this very fact, then, he is turned away from sin. Consequently no motion of free choice toward sin seems necessary.
6. The motion away from sin is not the same as that toward sin, just as the motion from white is not the same as that toward white. But justification is a motion away from sin. It is therefore not a motion toward sin.
To the Contrary
1. In the Psalm (31:5) it is written: “I said: I will confess against myself my injustice to the Lord. And thou has forgiven the wickedness of my sin.” But a man cannot say this without thinking of his sin. A motion of free choice toward sin is therefore required for justification.
2. Contrition, the first part of [the sacrament of] penance, by which sins are taken away, is required for the justification of sinners. But contrition is sorrow for sin. Hence a motion of free choice toward sin is required in justification.
The justification of sinners adds something to justification taken absolutely. Justification in an absolute sense implies only the infusion of justice. The justification of sinners adds to this the forgiveness of guilt. This forgiveness does not come about merely by the fact that a man ceases to sin, but something further is needed. Hence Augustine says: “If ceasing to sin were the same as not having any sins, it would be enough for Scripture (Sirach 21:1) to admonish us: ‘My son, hast thou sinned? Do so no more.’ But that is not enough. Scripture has added: ‘But for thy former sins also pray that they may be forgiven thee.’”
Thus for justification in an unqualified sense it is required that man by his free choice turn to the justifying cause; and this turning is the motion of free choice toward God. But in the justification of sinners it is required in addition that he be turned toward the destruction of past sin. Now just as turning toward God comes about by the fact that a man knows God by faith and loves Him and desires or hopes for grace, in the same way the turning of free choice toward sin must take place by the fact that a man recognizes that he is a sinner (which is an act of humility) and detests his past sin so that he is ashamed to have committed it and does not wish to repeat the offense.
Answers to Difficulties
1. There cannot be love of God apart from a detestation of what separates one from God. In justification there is accordingly required besides the motion of love toward God a detestation for sin. For this reason tears for her sins were shed by Magdalene, of whom were spoken the words (Luke 7:47): “Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much.”
2. Turning toward the unchangeable good is sufficient for justification in an unqualified sense; but for the justification of sinners a motion toward sin is also required, as has been said; for in order that a man may be justified it is not sufficient merely to wish for justice and not to sin, but he must also work against his past wickedness by detesting it. In one who sins, however, the detestation of God or of justice is not required except as a consequence, because no one hates what is good except in so far as it is incompatible with some other good which he loves. The sinner therefore hates justice and God only indirectly, by immoderately loving a changeable good.
3. It is not necessary for a person at the very moment of justification to think of this or that particular sin; but it is necessary, either absolutely or conditionally (if he has turned away from God), only to be sorry for having by his own fault turned away. This condition applies when a person does not know whether he has ever turned away from God by a mortal sin. By such a motion even one who has forgotten about his sin can have contrition for sin.
4. All sins have in common turning away from God, by reason of which they are an obstacle to grace. For justification it is accordingly not required that a person think of his individual sins at the very moment of justification, but it suffices to think of having turned away from God by one’s own fault. But the recalling of sins individually must either precede or at least follow justification.
5. If someone fixes upon God as his end, it follows that he does not put his end in sin, and therefore that he is turned away from the intention of sinning. This does not, however, suffice for the wiping out of past sin, as has been said. The argument accordingly proves nothing.
6. The motion of free choice to pursue and embrace sin is opposed to justification, but not the motion of free choice to flee from sin. This rather coincides with justification, which is a motion away from sin; for flight from something is motion away from it.
Q. 28: The Justification of Sinners
In the sixth article we ask:
Are the infusion of grace and the forgiveness of guilt the same?
[Parallel readings: IV Sent., 17,1, 3 sol. 5; S.T., I-II, 113, 6.]
It seems that they are, for
1. The positing of an affirmation and the removal of a negation are the same. But guilt seems to be nothing but the lack of grace. It therefore seems that the removal of guilt and the infusion of grace are the same.
2. Guilt and grace are opposed in the same way as darkness and light. But the removal of darkness and the introduction of light are the same. Then the forgiveness of guilt and the infusion of grace are also the same.
3. In the forgiveness of guilt what we especially have in mind is the effacement of a stain. But the stain does not seem to be anything positive in the soul, because in that case it would somehow be from God. And so it seems to be only a privation; but it is not the privation of anything but that with which it cannot coexist, namely, grace. Now the removal of a privation is nothing but the positing of a possession or habit. The forgiveness of guilt is therefore nothing else than the infusion of grace.
4. The answer was given that the stain posits not only the absence of grace but also an aptitude and an obligation to have grace.—On the contrary, every privation posits an aptitude in a subject, and yet the removal of a privation and the introduction of a habit are the same thing. Then this does not keep the forgiveness of guilt and the infusion of grace from being the same.
5. According to the Philosopher “the coming to be of one thing is the perishing of another.” Now, since in some sense the forgiveness of guilt is its perishing, and the infusion of grace is its coming to be, the infusion of grace is the same as the forgiveness of guilt.
To the Contrary
1. Among the four requisites for the justification of sinners, two are listed together: the infusion of grace and the forgiveness of guilt. Things such that one can be found without the other are not thee same. But the infusion of grace can take place without the forgiveness of guilt, as is seen in the blessed angels, in the first man before the fall, and in Christ. The forgiveness of guilt and the infusion of grace are therefore not the same.
The forgiveness of guilt and the infusion of grace are not the same. This is shown as follows.
Changes are distinguished on the basis of their terms. Now the term of the infusion of grace is the existence of grace in the soul, whereas the term of the forgiveness of guilt is its non-existence. In this connection there is a difference between opposites to be taken into account.
There are some opposites each of which posits some natural being, such as white and black. In such opposites the negation of either term is a real negation, that is, the negation of a real being. Accordingly, since affirmation is not negation, to be white is not the same as not to be black, but they are really different; and likewise the destruction of black (whose term is not to be black) and the coming to be of white (whose term is to be white) are really different changes, although there is a single motion, as was said above.
There are other opposites of which only one of the two terms is a natural being, and the other is only its removal or negation. This appears, for instance, in opposites based upon affirmation and negation or upon privation and possession. In such cases the negation of an opposite which posits a natural being is real, because it is the negation of a real being; but the negation of the other opposite is not real, because it is not the negation of any real being. It is the negation of a negation. Consequently, this negation of a negation, which is the negation of the second opposite, in no way differs in reality from the positing of the other. In reality, then, the coming to be of white and the destruction of not-white are the same. But because a negation, though not a real being, is nevertheless a conceptual being, the negation of the negation is distinct conceptually or in our manner of understanding from the positing of the affirmation. Thus in the manner of understanding it the destruction of not-white is distinct from the coming to be of white.
It is therefore clear that if guilt is nothing positive at all, the infusion of grace and the forgiveness of guilt are the same in reality, but conceptually they are not the same. If, On the other hand, guilt posits something not only conceptually but also really, the forgiveness of guilt is distinct from the infusion of grace if they are considered as changes, even though from the point of view of motion they are one, as was said above.
Now guilt posits something, and not only the absence of grace. The absence of grace considered in itself has only the note of punishment and not that of guilt except in so far as the guilt is left from a preceding voluntary act. Darkness, for instance, does not have the note of a shadow except in so far as it is left from the interposition of an opaque body. Then, just as the removal of a shadow implies not only the removal of darkness but also the removal of the obstructing body, in the same way the forgiveness of guilt implies not only the removal of the absence of grace but also the removal of the obstacle to grace, which arose from a preceding act of sin. This does not mean that that act must be made not to have been, for that is impossible, but it means that the entry of grace is not hindered by it. It is therefore clear that the forgiveness of guilt and the infusion of grace are not the same in reality.
Answers to Difficulties
1-4. These answers are clear from the reply.
5. The coming to be of one thing is said by the Philosopher to be the perishing of the other by concomitance, because they are necessarily simultaneous, or else because of the oneness of the motion which terminates in these two changes.
Q. 28: The Justification of Sinners
In the seventh article we ask:
Does the forgiveness of guilt naturally precede the infusion ofgrace?
[Parallel readings: IV Sent., 17, 1, 4 sol. 1; S.T., I-II, 113, 8.]
It seems that it does, for
1. In its comment upon the words of the Psalm (62:3): “So in the sanctuary have I come before thee,” the Gloss says: “Unless a man first is wanting in evil, he will never arrive at good.” But the forgiveness of guilt makes a man wanting in evil, whereas the infusion of grace makes him arrive at good. The forgiveness of guilt is therefore naturally prior to the infusion of grace.
2. In the order of nature our understanding of the recipient is prior to that of the reception itself. But a form is not received save in its proper matter. Our understanding of the proper matter is therefore prior to that of the reception of the form. But for a matter to be proper to a given form it must be stripped of the contrary form. Matter is therefore by a natural priority stripped of one form before it receives another; and so by a natural priority the forgiveness of guilt comes before the infusion of grace.
3. It was said in answer that, from the standpoint of its relation to God who infuses it, grace is naturally prior to the forgiveness of guilt; but from that of its relation to the subject, it is posterior to the forgiveness of guilt.—On the contrary, in the infusion of grace is included the relation of grace to the subject into which it is infused. If it is posterior to the subject on the basis of this relation, it therefore seems that in itself the infusion of grace naturally comes after the forgiveness of guilt.
4. It was said that grace has two different relations to the subject: one as informing the subject, and from the standpoint of this relation it is posterior to the forgiveness of guilt; another as driving guilt out of the subject, and in this sense the infusion of grace naturally precedes the forgiveness of guilt.—On the contrary, grace drives out guilt by reason of its opposition to guilt. Opposites drive each other out because they do not suffer one another in the same subject. Then by the very fact thargrace informs the subject it drives out guilt. Thus it is impossible for grace to be posterior on the basis of its relation to the subject that it informs, and prior on the basis of its relation to the guilt that it drives out.
5. The being of a thing is naturally prior to its acting. But since grace is an accident, its being is to be in a subject. Its relation to the subject that it informs is therefore naturally prior to its relation to the contrary which it drives out. It accordingly seems that the answer given above cannot stand.
6. Turning away from evil is naturally prior to doing good. But the forgiveness of guilt refers to turning away from evil, and the infusion of grace is directed to doing good. The forgiveness of guilt is therefore naturally prior to the infusion of grace.
7. The sequence of causes corresponds to the sequence of effects. Now the effect of the forgiveness of guilt is to be clean, and the effect of the infusion of grace is to be graced. But to be clean is naturally prior to being graced, for everything graced is clean; but the converse does not hold. For according to the Philosopher “the prior is that from which there is a sequence that cannot be reversed.”The forgiveness of guilt is therefore naturally prior to the infusion of grace.
8. Guilt and grace are related to each other like contrary forms in the order of nature. Now in natural things the expulsion of one form is naturally prior to the introduction of the other, because it is impossible for contrary forms to be simultaneously in matter. It must accordingly be understood that the form that was there before is driven out before the new form is introduced. Likewise, then, the forgiveness of guilt is naturally prior to the infusion of grace.
9. Leaving the starting point is naturally prior to arriving at the terminal point. But in the justification of sinners guilt stands as the starting point which is left through the forgiveness of guilt, whereas the terminal point is grace itself, which is arrived at through its infusion. The forgiveness of guilt is therefore naturally prior to the infusion of grace.
10. The answer was given that the infusion of grace is posterior in so far as grace is the term of justification; but in so far as it is a principle which disposes by removing the contrary, it is prior.—On the contrary, an agent with infinite power does not need a disposition in the matter upon which it works. But the infusion of grace is effected by an agent of infinite power, God Himself. Consequently no disposition is needed.
11. No form that is wholly from without needs a disposition in matter. But grace is such a form. Therefore.
12. The forgiveness of guilt and the infusion are related in the same way as cleansing and enlightenment. But according to Dionysiuss cleansing is placed before enlightenment. Therefore, the forgiveness of guilt likewise naturally precedes the infusion of grace.
13. If God worked successively in the justification of sinners, He would first with chronological priority remove the guilt before He infused grace, just as nature in whitening first removes blackness before it introduces whiteness. Now by effecting justification instantaneously God obviates chronological sequence but not that of nature. The forgiveness of guilt is therefore naturally prior to the infusion of grace.
To the Contrary
1. A cause naturally precedes its effect. But grace is the cause of the forgiveness of guilt only inasmuch as it is infused. The infusion of grace therefore naturally precedes the forgiveness of guilt.
2. A natural agent drives out of matter a form contrary to its own only by introducing into the matter a likeness of its own form. In the same way, then, God removes guilt from the soul only by introducing into it a likeness of His own goodness, grace. Thus the infusion of grace naturally precedes the forgiveness of guilt.
3. Grace is sometimes driven out, and that by guilt, just as at times guilt is forgiven, and that through grace. But grace is driven out by guilt that precedes the driving out of grace. In the same way, then, guilt is forgiven through a grace that precedes the forgiveness of guilt.
4. Grace is infused by being created and is created by being infused. But the creation of grace is naturally prior to the forgiveness of guilt. Then the infusion of grace also is naturally prior.
5. An agent is naturally prior to its patient. But in the justification of sinners grace derives from the agent and guilt derives from the patient or recipient. The infusion of grace is therefore naturally prior to the forgiveness of guilt.
In each genus of cause the cause is naturally prior to that which is caused. It happens, however, that according to different genera of causes one and the same thing is both cause and caused in regard to a single term of reference. Thus purgation is the cause of health in the genus of efficient cause, but health is the cause of purgation in the genus of final cause. Similarly matter is in a way the cause of the form in so far as it sustains the form, and the form is in a way the cause of the matter in so far as it confers upon matter actual existence. Accordingly, nothing prevents a thing from being prior and also posterior to another in different genera of causes.
What must be called simply prior in the order of nature, however, is that which is prior in the line of that cause which is prior in the very character of causality. The outstanding example of this is the end, which is called the cause of causes because all the other causes receive from the final cause their status as causes; for the efficient cause does not act except for the sake of the end, and by reason of the action of the efficient cause the form perfects the matter and the matter supports the form.
It must accordingly be said that, whenever one form is driven out of matter and another is introduced, the expulsion of the previous form is naturally prior in the line of material causality; for every disposition for a form is reduced to the material cause, and stripping the matter of the contrary form is a kind of disposition for the reception of the form. Furthermore, the subject or matter is numberable, as is said in the Physics; for it is numbered conceptually, since in addition to the substance of the subject there is found in it privation, which attaches to matter and the subject.
In the line of formal causality, however, the introduction of the form, which formally perfects the subject and drives out the contrary, is naturally prior. And because the form and the end coincide in numerically the same thing, and the form and the efficient cause coincide in species inasmuch as the form is the likeness of the agent, for this reason the introduction of the form is also naturally prior in the line of efficient and final causality. And from this it is evident, according to what was said above, that it is prior without qualification in the order of nature.
It is accordingly clear that, speaking without qualification according to the order of nature, the infusion of grace is prior to the forgiveness of guilt; but according to the order of the material cause the reverse holds true.
Answers to Difficulties
1. The comment in question refers to the avoidance of an evil action and the performance of a good one. To put aside evil is less than to do good, and therefore is naturally prior. The comment does not refer to the habit which is infused or driven out.
2. That argument is based upon the order of the material cause, according to which even as regards the subject the infusion of grace is prior.
3. From the above answer the answer to this difficulty is clear.
4. This difficulty is based upon the order of the formal cause; for by inhering, grace drives out guilt formally.
5. Grace does not drive out guilt efficiently but formally. Hence it does not exist before it drives out guilt but simultaneously with this effect.
6. This difficulty, like the first, applies to actions and not to habits.
7. To be clean is not the proper effect of the forgiveness of guilt, because it can be found even if the forgiveness of guilt is not taken into account, as for example in man in the state of innocence. The proper effect of the forgiveness of guilt is to become clean; and that is not more general than to be graced, because no one can become clean except through grace. It should be noted, moreover, that the argument given would not prove natural priority except in the line of material causality; for genera have the function of matter with reference to their species.
8. There is need of the same distinction in natural forms and in the matter at hand.
9. Leaving the starting point is prior in the line of coming to be and of motion. These are reduced to the order of matter, for motion is the act of a being that is in potency. The arrival at the terminus, however, is prior in the line of formal causality.
10. In God’s operations a disposition is needed, not because of the impotence of the agent, but because of the condition of the effect; and especially such a disposition—the removal of the contrary—because contraries cannot exist together.
11. Even a form which is wholly from without requires the right disposition in the subject, either one pre-existing, as light requires transparency in the air, or one inserted by the same agent at the same time, as heat in its fullness is introduced along with the form of fire. In the same way guilt is driven out by God simultaneously with the infusion of grace.
12. The same distinction is to be applied to the sequence of cleansing and enlightenment as is applied in the matter at hand.
13. If God effected justification successively, the driving out of guilt would be prior in time but posterior in nature; for the order of time follows that of motion and matter. In agreement with this distinction the Philosopher says, that in the same being act is posterior to potency in time but prior in nature, because what is prior in the line of final causality is prior in nature without qualification, as has been said.
Q. 28: The Justification of Sinners
In the eighth article we ask:
In the justification of sinners does the motion of free choice naturally precede the infusion of grace?
[Parallel readings: IV Sent., 17, 1, 4 sol. 2.]
It seems that it does, for
1. A cause naturally precedes its effect. But contrition is the cause of the forgiveness of guilt. It therefore naturally precedes it; and consequently it also precedes the infusion of grace, because forgiveness and the infusion of grace are concomitant.
2. The answer was given that contrition is not the cause of the forgiveness of guilt except as a material disposition.—On the contrary, contrition is the sacramental cause of the forgiveness of guilt and of the infusion of grace. Since penance is a sacrament of the New Law, it causes grace, and therefore also the forgiveness of guilt; and it does not do this by reason of its other parts, confession and satisfaction, which presuppose grace and the forgiveness of guilt. We are thus left with the conclusion that contrition itself is the sacramental cause of the forgiveness of guilt and of the infusion of grace. But a sacramental cause is an instrumental cause, as is evident from the preceding question. Since an instrument is reduced to the genus of efficient cause, contrition will not be the cause of the forgiveness of guilt as a material disposition but rather in the genus of efficient cause.
3. Attrition precedes the infusion of grace and the forgiveness of guilt. But contrition differs from attrition only in the intensity of sorrow, and that does not change its species. Then contrition also at least naturally precedes the infusion of grace and the forgiveness of guilt.
4. It is written in the Psalm (88:15): “Justice and judgment are the preparation of thy throne.” Now the soul is made the throne of God by the infusion of grace and the forgiveness of guilt. Consequently, since a man works justice and judgment by being contrite for his sin, it seems that contrition is a preparation for the infusion of grace; and so it is naturally prior.
5. Motion to a term naturally precedes the term. But contrition is a kind of motion tending to the destruction of sin. It therefore naturally precedes the forgiveness of sin.
6. Augustine says: “He who created you without you will not justify you without you.” Thus the motion of free choice, which is from us, is required for justification and naturally precedes it. But justification terminates in the forgiveness of guilt. The motion of free choice therefore naturally precedes the forgiveness of guilt.
7. In carnal marriage mutual consent naturally precedes the marriage bond. But through the infusion of grace a certain spiritual marriage of the soul with God is contracted, according to the words of Osee (2:19): “I will espouse thee to me for ever.” Consequently the motion of free choice, by which the consent of the soul to God is given, naturally precedes the infusion of grace.
8. The relation between the imparting of motion by the mover and its reception by the thing moved is the same in things moved by another and in those which are moved by themselves. But the motionn imparted by an external agent, whether it acts as a principal agent or only as a helper, naturally precedes its reception by the thing moved. Now, since in the justification of sinners the soul is not moved wholly from without, but in a certain sense it moves itself as a helper, according to the words of the first Epistle to the Corinthians (3:9): “We are God’s coadjutors,” it therefore seems that the operation of the soul, that is, the motion of free choice, naturally precedes the forgiveness of guilt, in which the soul is moved from vice to virtue.
To the Contrary
1. Contrition is a meritorious act. But a meritorious act comes only from grace. Then grace is the cause of contrition. But the cause naturally precedes the effect. The infusion of grace therefore naturally precedes contrition.
2. In its comment upon the words of the Epistle to the Romans (5: 1): “Being justified therefore by faith... “ the Gloss says: “No meritorious act of man precedes the grace of God.” But contrition is a meritorious act of man. It therefore does not precede the infusion of grace.
3. It was said in answer that it precedes as a kind of disposition.On the contrary, a disposition is less perfect than the form for which it disposes. But contrition is something more perfect than grace. Contrition is therefore not a disposition for grace. Proof of the minor: A second act has gr’eater perfection than a first act. But grace is a first act since it. is like a habit; but contrition is a second act since it is the operation of grace, just as considering is the operation of science. Then contrition is more perfect than grace, just as considering is more perfect than science.
4. The effect of an efficient cause is never a disposition for that efficient cause, because in the line of motion it follows the efficient cause, though in the same line a disposition precedes that for which it disposes. But contrition is related to grace as the effect of an efficient cause is related to that cause. Contrition is therefore not a disposition for grace; and so the conclusion is the same as above. Proof of the minor: Habit and power are reduced to the same genus of causes, since the habit supplies what is lacking to the power. But a power is the cause of its act in the line of efficient causality. Then so is a habit. But the relation of grace to contrition is that of a habit to its act. The relation of contrition to grace is therefore that of an effect to an efficient cause.
5. Whatever has no influence upon the introduction of a form is not a disposition for the form. But contrition has no influence upon the infusion of grace, because apart from contrition the infusion of grace can take place. Examples are had in Christ, in the angels, and in the first man in the state of innocence. Contrition is therefore not a disposition for grace; and so we must conclude the same as before.
6. Bernard says that there are two requisites for the work of our salvation: God to give it, and free choice to receive it. But giving is naturally prior to receiving. Consequently grace, which in our justification is from God who gives it, naturally precedes contrition, which is from our free choice which receives it.
7. Contrition cannot coexist with sin. The forgiveness of sin therefore naturally precedes contrition.
On this matter there are three opinions.
Some say that the motion of free choice naturally precedes without qualification the infusion of grace and the forgiveness of guilt. For they say that that motion of free choice is not contrition but attrition, and that it is an act not of formed but of unformed faith. But this does not seem to be to the point. For all sorrow for sin in one who has grace is contrition; and similarly every act of faith joined to grace is an act of formed faith. Accordingly the act of unformed faith and the attrition of which these men speak precede in time the infusion of grace. Of such motions of free choice we are not at present speaking, but rather of those which are accompanied by the infusion of grace and without which there cannot be any justification in adults; for it can take place without any preceding acts, as is clear from what was said above.
For this reason others say that those motions are meritorious and informed by grace, and hence naturally follow grace; but they naturally precede the forgiveness of guilt, because through those acts grace brings about that forgiveness. Now this cannot be true. For anything that causes an effect by its operation causes it as an efficient cause. If, then, grace causes the forgiveness of guilt through an act of contrition and of faith that is formed, it will cause it as an efficient cause. But that is impossible; for a cause which effectively destroys something is placed in existence before the thing destroyed is reduced to non-existence, because it would not work for the destruction of something which already does not exist. It would accordingly follow that grace would be in the soul before guilt is forgiven. But that is impossible. It is therefore clear that grace is not the cause of the forgiveness of sin through any operation, but through the information of its subject: implied in the infusion of grace. Nothing intervenes, then, between the infusion of grace and the forgiveness of guilt.
We must therefore hold, as another opinion has it, that the motions in question are so related in the same order to both forgiveness and grace that in one sense they precede and in another they follow by the order of nature. For if we view the order of nature in the line of material causality, the motion of free choice naturally precedes the infusion of grace as a material disposition precedes the form. If, on the other hand, we view them in the line of formal causality, the sequence is reversed. The same situation obtains in natural things as regards a disposition that is an exigency for a form, which in some sense precedes the substantial form, namely, in the line of material causality; for a material disposition attaches to the matter. In the other line of causality—formal—however, the substantial form is prior inasmuch as it perfects both the matter and the material accidents.
Answers to Difficulties
1. Contrition is the cause of the forgiveness of guilt in so far as it is a disposition for grace.
2. The sacrament of penance has the ability to confer grace from the power of the keys, to which the penitent submits. If contrition is considered initself, then, it is related to grace only as a material disposition; but if it is considered in so far as it has the power of the keys in desire, then it works sacramentally in virtue of the sacrament of penance, as also in virtue of baptism, as is clear in the case of an adult who has the sacrament of baptism only in desire. We do not conclude from this, then, that contrition is itself directly the efficient cause of the forgiveness of guilt, but rather that the power of the keys or baptism is.
Or the answer may be given that with reference to the debt of temporal punishment contrition stands as an efficient cause, but with reference to the stain and the debt of eternal punishment it stands only as a disposition.
3. Contrition does not differ from previous attrition merely in the intensity of the sorrow but also in information by, grace. Thus contrition has a certain relation of posteriority to grace which attrition does not have.
4. That preparation is by way of a material disposition.
5. Contrition is a motion to the forgiveness of guilt, not as if the contrition were distant from the forgiveness but as joined to it. Hence it is considered as being in the condition of having been moved rather than in that of being moved. And yet the motion precedes the term in the line of material causality, because motion is the act of a being that is in potency.
6. The words “He will not justify you without you” are to be understood as meaning “not without you in some way disposing yourself for grace.” So the motion of free choice does not have to precede except as a disposition.
7. Consent is the efficient cause of carnal marriage; but the motion of free choice is not the efficient cause of the infusion of grace; and so there is no parallel.
8. In the justification of sinners man is not God’s helper in the sense of producing grace along with Him, but only in the sense that he prepares himself for grace.
Answers to Contrary Difficulties
1. Contrition is from grace as from that which informs it. It accordingly follows that in the line of formal causality grace is prior.
2. The meritorious act of man does not precede grace in the line of meriting so that grace becomes subordinate to the meritorious act. Yet the human act can precede grace as a material disposition.
3. Contrition is from free choice and from grace. Inasmuch as it proceeds from free choice it is a disposition for grace that arrives simultaneously with grace, just as a disposition that is an exigency exists simultaneously with the form; but inasmuch as it is from grace it is related to grace as a second act.
4. just as a habit perfects a power formally, in the same way the remnant of the habit left in the act is formal as regards the substance of the act which the power furnishes. Thus the habit is a formal principle of the formed act, although in regard to the formation it has the character of an efficient cause.
5. A disposition does not have any influence upon the form effectively but only materially, inasmuch as through the disposition the matter is made suitable for the reception of the form. Contrition accordingly has an influence upon the infusion of grace in one who has guilt, though it is not required in an innocent person. For there are more dispositive requisites for the removal of a contrary form and the simultaneous introduction of a form than for the introduction of a form alone.
6. The contribution of the giver is prior formally, but that of the receiver is prior materially.
7. It does not follow from that argument that the removal of guilt precedes contrition, because guilt is in some sense forgiven through contrition itself, just as the form of water is driven out by means of heat in the highest degree and therefore the two forms are not simultaneous. In the same way, neither are guilt and contrition.
Q. 28: The Justification of Sinners
In the ninth article we ask:
Is the justification of sinners instantaneous?
[Parallel readings: De ver., 28, 2 ad 10; IV Sent., I7, 1, 5 sol. 2 & 3; S.T., I-II, 113, 7.]
It seems that it is not, for
1. it is impossible for the same power to have several motions at one and the same time, just as a single matter is not under different distinct forms at one and the same time. But in the justification of smners two different motions of free choice are required, as is clear from what has been said. The justification of sinners therefore cannot be instantaneous.
2. The answer was given that those two motions belong to different powers; for the motion of free choice toward God belongs to the concupiscible power, and that toward sin, being a sort of detestation of sin, is in the irascible.—On the contrary, to detest is the same as to hate. But hatred, like love, is in the concupiscible power, as the Philosopher teaches. To detest is therefore not in the irascible power.
3. According to Damascene3 the irascible and concupiscible powers are parts of sense appetite. But sense appetite extends only to a good suited to it or to the contrary of this. But objects of this kind are not God Himself and sin under the aspect of being detestable. The motions in question therefore do not pertain to the concupiscible and irascible powers but to the will; and so they belong to the same power. 4 It was said in answer that the motion of free choice toward God is the motion of faith, which belongs to the intellect, whereas contrition belongs to the will, whose business it is to sorrow for sin; and thus they are not motions of a single power.—On the contrary, according to Augustine “man cannot believe unless he so wills.”Consequently, even though an act of the intellect is required in believing, there is nevertheless required in it an act of the will. We are accordingly left with the conclusion that two motions of the same power are required for the justification of sinners.
5. To be moved from one term to another belongs to the same being. But to detest sin is to be moved from a term, and to be moved toward God is to be moved to a term. Consequently contrition, which is detestation for sin, is an act of the same power to which motion toward God belongs; and so they cannot coexist.
6. Nothing is moved at the same time to distinct and contrary terms. But God and sin are distinct and contrary terms. The soul therefore cannot at the same time be moved toward God and toward sin; and so we must conclude as before.
7. Grace is given only to one who is worthy. But as long as a person is subjected to guilt he is not worthy of grace. Guilt must therefore be driven out before grace is infused. Then justification, which includes the two, is not instantaneous.
8. A form susceptible of more or less must, it seems, come to be in a subject successively, just as a form not susceptible of more or less comes to be in the subject all at once, as is clear of substantial forms. But grace is intensified in its subject. It therefore seems to be introduced successively; and so the infusion of grace is not instantaneous, and consequently neither is the justification of sinners.
9. In the justification of sinners, as in any change, two terms must be set down, a starting point and a finish. But the two terms of any change are incompatible; that is, they cannot coexist. In the justification of sinners, then, two things are included which are related as prior and posterior; and so the justification of sinners is successive and not instantaneous.
10. Nothing which is in the process of becoming before it is in the state of having become, comes into being instantaneously. But grace is in the process of becoming before it is in the state of having become. The infusion of grace is therefore not instantaneous. Thus the conclusion is the same as above. Proof of the minor: In permanent beings what is becoming is not; but when it has become it already is. But grace belongs to permanent beings. If, then, it is becoming and has become at the same time, it at the same time is and is not. But that is impossible.
11. All motion is in time. But in the justification of sinners a motion of free choice is required. The justification of sinners therefore takes place in time, and so it is not instantaneous.
12. Contrition for sins is required for the justification of sinners. But when someone has committed many sins, he cannot at the same instant be contrite for all his sins or even think of them. Consequently the justification of sinners cannot be instantaneous.
13. Whenever there is anything intermediate between the extremes of a change, the change is successive and not instantaneous. But between guilt and grace there is something intermediate, the state of created nature. The justification of sinners is therefore a successive change.
14. Guilt and grace are not in the soul simultaneously. Then the instant at which guilt is last in the soul is distinct from the instant at which grace is first there. But between any two instants a time intervenes. Then a time intervenes between the expulsion of guilt and the infusion of grace. But justification includes both of these. Therefore justification takes place in time and is not instantaneous.
To the Contrary
1. The justification of sinners is a sort of spiritual enlightenment. But corporeal enlightenment takes place instantaneously, not in time. Now since. spiritual beings are simpler than corporeal and less subject to time, it therefore seems that the justification of sinners is instantaneous.
2. The more powerful an agent is, the shorter the time in which it produces its effect. But God, who has infinite power, works justification. justification is therefore instantaneous.
3. In The Causes we read that both the substance and the action of a spiritual substance (which is the genus to which the soul belongs) is in a moment of eternity and not in time. But justification pertains to the action of the soul. It is therefore not in time.
4. At the same instant at which the disposition is complete in the matter, the form also is present. But the motion of free choice which is required in justification is a complete disposition for grace. Therefore, at the same instant at which those motions are given, grace is present.
The justification of sinners is instantaneous.
For the clarification of this matter it should be noted that, when any change is said to be instantaneous, we do not mean that its two terms exist at the same instant; for this is impossible, since every change is between terms that are, properly speaking, opposed. We mean rather that the passage from one term to the other is instantaneous. That does in fact happen in some opposites, though in others it does not.
Whenever any mean must be recognized between the terms of a motion, the passage from one term to the other must be successive, because the thing which is undergoing continuous motion is first changed to the mean before it is changed to the final term, as the Philosopher makes clear. And by “mean” I refer to any sort of distance from the extremes, whether it be distance in situation, as is had in local motion; or distance in the line of quantity, as is had in increase and decrease; or in the line of form, as in alteration; and this whether the mean is of another species, as gray is between white and black, or of the same species, as the less warm is between the more warm and cold.
Whenever, on the other hand, there cannot be a mean between the two terms of a motion or change in any of the ways mentioned, then the passage from one term to the other is not in time but is instantaneous. This occurs whenever the terms of motion or change are affirmation and negation or privation and form. For between affirmation and negation there is no mean in any sense, nor between privation and form with regard to its proper subject. I am speaking here in the sense in which there is a mean of another species between the extremes.
But in the sense in which there is a mean in intensity and slackness, even though there cannot be a mean essentially, there nevertheless can be a mean accidentally. For essentially negation or privation is neither intensified nor abated; but accidentally some intensification or abatement of it can be viewed on the basis of its cause. Thus a man who has his eye gouged out may be said to be more blind than one who has a bandage over his eye, because the cause of blindness is more efficacious.
If, then, we take such changes according to their proper terms and speak essentially, they must be instantaneous and not in time. Examples are illumination, coming to be and perishing, and the like. But if we take them from the point of view of the causes of their terms, we can consider succession in them. This is evident in illumination; for, although the air passes straightway from darkness to light, the cause of darkness is successively removed, that is, the absence of the sun, since by means of local motion the sun becomes successively present. In this way illumination is the term of a local motion and is indivisible, like any term of a continuum.
I say, then, that the extremes of justification are grace and the privation of grace, between which no mean as regards their proper subject intervenes. The passage from the one to the other must accordingly be instantaneous, although the cause of such a privation is removed successively, either inasmuch as by taking thought the man disposes himself for grace, or at least inasmuch as a time passes after which God has preordained that He will give grace. Thus the infusion of grace takes place instantaneously. And because the driving out of guilt is the formal effect of the grace infused, hence it is that the whole justification of sinners is instantaneous; for the form and the disposition for the form and the loss of the other form are all instantaneous.
Answers to Difficulties
1. When the two motions are altogether different, they cannot coexist in the same power. But if one is the reason for the other, then they can coexist, because they are in some sense a single motion. When, for example, a P’erson desires something for the sake of an end, he at the same time desires the end and the means. In the same way when someone flees from what is repugnant to the end, he at the same time desires the end and flees from the contrary. It is in this way that the will at the same time is moved toward God and hates sin as contrary to God.
2. Such motions of free choice pertain to the will, not to the irascible and the concupiscible power. This is because their object is something intelligible, not something sensible. Yet they are sometimes found to be attributed to the irascible and the concupiscible powers in so far as the will itself is sometimes called irascible or concupiscible because of the resemblance of its act to theirs. In this case contrition can be attributed both to the concupiscible power inasmuch as the man hates sin, and to the irascible inasmuch as he is worked up against the sin, purposing within himself revenge for it.
3-5. The answers to these are clear from the above.
6. The will is not moved at the same time to pursue contraries, but it can be moved at the same time to flee from one thing and to pursue another, particularly if the pursuit of the one is the reason for the flight from the other.
7. Grace is given to one worthy of it, not in the sense that anyone is sufficiently worthy before he has grace, but in the sense that grace by being given makes the man worthy. Hence he is at the same time worthy of grace and in possession of grace.
8. It is not the intensification or abatement of the form itself in a subject, but rather the intensification or abatement of the contrary form or opposite term, which brings about the successive reception of the form in its subject. Now the privation of grace is not susceptible of more or less except accidentally, by reason of its cause, as has already been explained. Consequently it is not necessary for grace to be received successively in its subject. If, however, it did abate in the subject, this could have some influence upon the successive loss of grace; but grace does not abate in the same subject. Therefore it is not successively lost, because it does not abate itself; nor is it successively introduced, because its privation does not abate.
9. The answer is clear from what has been said; for a change is not said to be instantaneous because the two terms coexist at the same instant, as has been explained.
10. The coming to be of a permanent being can be taken in two senses: (1) Properly. In this sense a thing is said to be coming to be so long as the motion, whose term is the coming of the thing into existence, continues. So what comes to be is not in permanent beings, but the becoming of the thing takes place through a succession. It is in this sense that the Philosopher says7.that what is in process of becoming was becoming and will become. (2) Improperly, so that a thing is said to come to be at the instant at which it first has become, and this because that instant, inasmuch as it is the term of the previous time in which the thing was becoming, appropriates to itself what rightly belongs to the previous time. In this sense it is not true that what is in process of becoming is not, but rather that it is now for the first time and was not before this. This is the meaning of the statement that in things that become all at once, the becoming and the having become are simultaneous.
11. Motion is not taken in the present context as a passage from potency to act (in which sense it is measured by time); but the motion of free choice is taken for its very operation, and this is an “act of a perfect being,” as is said in The Soul. It can accordingly be instantaneous, just as to be perfect is also instantaneous.
12. At the instant at which a man is justified it is not: required that he have contrition in particular for each one of his sins, but in general for all of them, with particular contrition for each sin either preceding or following.
13. After a man has fallen into sin there cannot be any mean between grace and guilt, because guilt is not taken away except through grace, as is evident from what was said above. Nor is grace destroyed except through guilt, though before guilt there would be a mean between grace and guilt in the opinion of some.
14. We should not take the last instant at which there was guilt, but the last time, as was said above.”