Aquinas on sin

This is an outline of the latter half of ST I-II on Sin.  It should also be a warning to the Reformed Thomists that want to accept Thomism uncritically.  Thomas’s views on sin demand Purgatory.  Good luck.

Part 1 of the Second Part, questions 79ff
God is not the cause of sin.

    1. Sin is a tending to disorder.
    2. Yet God brings all things to order.
  1. God’s will is the cause of the act of sin.
  2. God is not the cause of hardening, but the cause of actively witholding grace.


Question 80: Of the cause of sin as regards the Devil.

  1. The devil can move us internally to sin only in the sense of cooperating with the sensitive appetite.


Question 81: Of the cause of the sin on the part of man

  1. Article 1 affirms original sin. All men born of Adam are “one man” as a common nature.
  2. Granted that good is more self-diffusive than evil, and granted that our nearer ancestors merits aren’t transmitted to us, neither is the guilt for their other sins.


Original sin is transmitted through the semen, which is how Jesus wasn’t born with original sin.


Question 84: on one sin being a cause of another

  1. capital vices are those which give rise to others.
    1. man’s good is threefold
      1. certain good of the soul
      2. good of the body
      3. external good, to which covetousness is referred.


Question 85: Of the effects of sin

  1. Death is not natural to man
    1. What is natural cannot be called a punishment.
    2. Matter is proportionate to form, and everything to its End.  Man’s end is happiness in God.


Question 86: On the stain of sin

  1. the stain is a privation in the soul, not a tainting of it.


Question 87: On the debt of punishment

  1. Since sin is temporal, how can it merit an eternal punishment?
    1. (art. 3) Sin incurs a debt by disturbing an order.
    2. Sin is punished in respect to the severity of the fault.  Sin is not punished with respect to the duration.
  2. Once we are punished from the sin, how come we still owe a debt?
    1. We still have the stain of sin on our soul.  This can’t be gotten rid of until we are united to God, which can only happen by accepting his judgment.
    2. Punishment heals the other powers of the soul.
  3. The sins of the fathers can be punished in the children, since the children are more likely to commit those sins, having grown up in that environment.


Question 88: Of venial and mortal sin

  1. A sin can be called mortal if it impairs the end of the spiritual life.
  2. The soul needs to be ordered in order to get to that end, and mortal sin throws the train off of the track, if you will.


About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
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