De veritate EN 205



Some say that free choice is a third power distinct from will and reason, because they see that the act of free choice, which is to choose, is different both from that of the will by itself and from that of reason. The act of reason consists in mere knowledge. The act of the will is concerned will a good which is an end. But free choice deals will a good which is a means to an end. Just as a good which is a means to an end lies outside the nature of an end, and appetite is outside of knowledge, they say that in a natural order will proceeds from reason, and from these two a third power, free choice, proceeds.

But this cannot consistently stand. The object and that which constitutes the formality under which the object is attained belong to the same power, as colour and light belong to sight. Now the whole formality of the appetibility of a means as such is the end. It is consequently impossible that it should belong to distinct powers to tend to the end and to tend to the means. Nor can this difference, that the end is sought absolutely and the means relatively, bring about a distinction of appetitive powers; for the reference of one thing to an other is not in appetite of itself but because of something else, namely, reason, whose function it is to refer and compare. This can therefore not be a specific difference constituting a distinct species of appetite. Whether to choose is an act of reason or of will, however, the Philosopher seems to leave in doubt in the sixth book of the Ethics; but he supposes that it is somehow a function of the two, saying that choice is either an understanding on the part of the appetitive power or an appetite on the part of the intellective. That it is an act of appetite, however, he says in the third book, defining choice as a de- sire of what has been previously deliberated.

That this is true its very object makes clear. For, just as the pleasurable and the honorable good, which have the formality of an end, are the object of the appetitive power, so too is the useful good, to which choice properly applies.

It is clear also from the name. For free choice, as has been said, is the power by which man can freely judge. Now whatever is said to be the principle of performing an act in a determined way need not be the principle of that act taken without qualification, but it is designated chiefly as the principle of that particular manner of acting. Grammar, for example, when called the science of correct speech, is not taken to be the principle of speech in an unqualified sense, because man can speak even without grammar; but it is taken as the principle of correctness in speech. In the same way the power by which we freely judge is not taken to be that by which we judge without further qualification, for that is the function of reason; but it is taken as the power which accounts for our freedom in judging, and this be longs to the will.

Free choice is therefore the will. The term does not designate the will absolutely, however, but will reference to one of its acts, to choose.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. Free choice does not refer to the will absolutely but in subordination to reason. To signify this, will and reason are put in the definition of free choice obliquely.

2. Although choosing is a different act from willing, that difference cannot bring about a distinction of powers.

3. Though judgment is a function of reason, the freedom of judging belongs immediately to the will.

4. We are called rational not merely from the power of reason, but from the rational soul, of which the will also is a power. In this sense we are said to have free choice inasmuch as we are rational. If rational were taken from the power of reason, however, the passages cited in authority would mean that reason is the primary source of free choice but not the immediate principle of choosing.

5. The will in some sense moves reason by commanding its act; and reason moves the will by proposing to it its object, which is the end. Thus it is that either power can in some way be informed by the other.


Parallel readings: II Sentences 5, 1, 1; 23, I, 1; Contra Gentiles III, 108-10; in Job, c. 4, lectura. (P 14 20h); Sum. Theol., I, 63, I; 95, 1 ad 3; De malo, 16, 2.


It seems that there can, for

A spiritual nature is nobler than a corporeal one. But there is a corporeal nature for which it would be out of keeping to have any disorder in its motion. That is the nature of a heavenly body. With all the more reason, then, can there be a created spiritual nature capable of free choice in whose motions there naturally cannot be any disorder. But this means that it is impeccable or confirmed in good.

2. The answer was given that it belongs to the nobility of a spiritual creature that it be able to merit, but that this would be impossible unless it could sin or not.—On the contrary, the ability to merit is within the competence of a spiritual creature by reason of its having the mastery of its own acts. But if it were notable to do anything but good, it would nonetheless still have the mastery of its own acts; for it could do something good or not do it without falling into evil, or it could at least choose between something good and something better. The ability to sin is therefore not required for meriting.

3. Free choice, by which will the help of grace we merit, is an active power. But it is not of the nature of an active power that it fail. A spiritual creature can therefore have the power to merit even if it is naturally impeccable.

4. Anselm says: "The power of sinning is neither freedom nor a part of freedom." But freedom is the reason why man is capable of meriting. Then, even if the power of sinning is taken away, there will still remain to man the power of meriting.

5. Gregory of Nyssa and Damascene assign as the reason why a creature is changeable in its free choice the fact that it is from nothing. But it is more closely a consequence of being a creature that it can fall into nothingness than that it can do evil. Now there are found creatures which are by nature incorruptible, such as the soul and heavenly bodies. Even more surely, then, can there be found a spiritual creature which is by nature impeccable.

6. What God does in one thing He can do in others. But He grants to spiritual creatures by their very nature to tend so invariably to a certain good, happiness, that they can by no means tend to the contrary. He could in the same way, then, grant to some creature that it should naturally tend to all good so that it could by no means incline to evil.

7. Since God is supremely good, He communicates Himself in the highest degree. He consequently communicates to creatures every thing of which creatures are capable. But creatures are capable of the perfection which is confirmation in good or impeccability. This is evident because it is granted to some creatures by grace. Consequently there is also some creature which is naturally impeccable and confirmed in good.

8. Substance is the principle of a power, and a power is the principle of operation. But there is a creature which is naturally invariable in substance. There can therefore be some creature naturally invariable in its operation so as to be naturally impeccable.

9. Attributes of creatures consequent upon their efficient principle belong to them more essentially than those consequent upon their material principle, because the effect takes on a likeness of its efficient cause but stands opposed to its material cause. Opposites are from opposites, as white from black. But confirmation in good comes to some creatures from God, their efficient principle. Much more, then, should confirmation in good be said to be natural to them than the ability to sin, which belongs to them as being made out of nothing.

10. Civic happiness is unvarying. But man can attain to civic happiness by natural means. He can therefore naturally have invariability in good.

11. Whatever is in a being from nature is unvarying. But man naturally tends to good. Hence he does it invariably.

To the Contrary:

1'. Damascene says that the reason why a rational creature can turn to evil in its choice is that it is from nothing. But there cannot be any creature which is not from nothing. Hence there cannot be any creature whose free choice is naturally confirmed in good.

2'. The characteristics of a higher nature cannot belong to a lower nature unless it is changed into the higher. Thus it is impossible for water to be naturally hot unless it is changed into the nature of lire or air. But to have a goodness incapable of failure is the characteristic of the divine nature. It is therefore impossible that this should natural ly belong to any other nature unless it is changed into the divine nature. But that, of course, is impossible.

3’. Free choice is not found in any creatures except angels and men. But both man and the angels have sinned. The free choice of no creature, therefore, is naturally confirmed in good.

4’. No rational creature is kept from attaining happiness except by reason of sin. If any rational creature were naturally impeccable, therefore, it could attain to happiness by purely natural means will out grace. But that seems to smack of the Pelagian heresy.



There is not and cannot be any creature whose free choice is naturally confirmed in good so that the inability to sin belong to it by its purely natural endowments. The reason is this. A failure in an action is caused by a failure in the principles of the action. Consequently, if there is something in which the principles of action cannot f all in themselves nor be hindered by something extrinsic, its action cannot possibly fail. This is seen in the motions of the heavenly bodies. But it is possible for a failure to occur in the actions of those things in which the principles of acting can fail or be hindered. This is seen in beings subject to generation and corruption, which undergo failure in their active principles by reason of their changeableness and have defective actions as a result. For this reason in the operations of nature something amiss frequently happens, of which the births of monsters are examples. For something amiss, whether it be spoken of in natural or artificial or voluntary matters, is nothing but a defect or disorder in the agent’s proper action when something is done otherwise than as it should be, as is explained in the Physics.

A rational nature endowed will free choice, however, is different in its action from every other agent nature. Every other nature is ordained to some particular good, and its actions are determined in regard to that good. But a rational nature is ordained to good without further qualification. Good, taken absolutely, is the object of the will, just as truth, taken absolutely is the object of the intellect. That is why the will reaches to the universal principle of good itself, to which no other appetite can attain. And for this reason a rational creature does not have determined actions but is in a state of indifference in regard to innumerable actions. Now, since every action proceeds from the agent will a certain similarity to the agent, as hot things heat, any agent which is ordained in its action to some particular good must have the formality of that good naturally and invariably within itself if its action is to be naturally indefectible. If a body, for instance, naturally has an unvarying heat, it heats invariably.

A rational nature, accordingly, which is directed to good, taken absolutely, through many different actions, cannot have actions naturally incapable of going astray from good unless it have in it naturally and invariably the formality of the universal and perfect good.

That can be had, however, only in the divine nature. For God alone is pure act, admitting no admixture of any potentiality, and thus is pure and absolute goodness. But any creature is a particular good, since it has in its very nature the admixture of potentiality, which belongs to it because it is made out of nothing. And hence it is that among rational natures only God has a free choice naturally impeccable and confirmed in good, whereas it is impossible for this natural impeccability to be in a creature because of its being made out of nothing, as Damascene6 and Gregory of Nyssa say. From this, too, is the particular good in which the nature of evil is founded, as Dionysius says.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. Corporeal creatures are directed to some particular good through definite actions, as has been said. Consequently, in order that error and sin be naturany absent from their actions, it is sufficient for them to be fixed by their own nature in some particular good. But this is not sufficient in the case of spiritual natures ordained to good taken absolutely, as has been said.

2. There is no contradiction between being naturally impeccable and having the mastery over one’s own actions, since both are verified in God. But there is a contradiction between natural impeccability and the possession of the mastery over one’s own actions by a created nature, which is a particular good; for no creature which has determined actions directed to a particular good has the mastery of its own acts.

3. Although it is not of the nature of an active power that it faiT, it is of the nature of an active power which does not have within itself the sufficient and unvarying principles of its own action that it be able to fail.

4. Though the ability to sin is not a part of free choice, yet it results from freedom of choice in a created nature.

5. A creature gets an act of existence which is determined, particular, and from another. Consequently, a creature can have a stable and unvarying existence even though there is not found in it the formality of the absolute and perfect good, but by its actions it can be directed to good taken absolutely. Hence there is no parallel.

6. Every rational mind naturally desires happiness in an undetermined and general way, and in this regard it cannot fail. But the motion of the will of a creature is not determined in particular to seek happiness in this or that. And so a person can sin even in seeking happiness if he seeks it where he should not, as one who seeks it in sensuous pleasures. The same is also true in regard to all goods, for nothing is desired except under the aspect of good, as Dionysius says. This is so because the tendency to good is naturally in the mind, but not to this or that good. Hence it can f all into sin in this matter.

7. A creature is capable of impeccability, but not so as to have it naturally. Hence the conclusion does not follow.

8. The principle of a correct operation proceeding from free choice is not merely the substance and the faculty or power, but there is also needed the due application of the will to certain things which are extrinsic, such as the end, and other things of the sort. Consequently, even when there is no defect in the substance of the soul or in the nature of free choice, a failure in its action can follow. From the natural invariability of the substance, then, natural impeccability cannot be concluded.

9. God is the cause of creatures not only in their natural endowments but also in everything additional. It is accordingly not necessary that whatever creatures have from God should be natural to them, but only what God has endowed them will in instituting their nature. But confirmation in good is not something of this sort.

10. Since civic happiness is not happiness without qualification, it does not have invariability without qualification; but it is called un varying because it is not easily changed. Yet even if civic happiness were simply unvarying, it would not follow on this account that free choice would be naturally confirmed in good. For we are not speaking of something natural in the sense that it can be acquired by the principles of nature, as political virtues can be called natural, but in the sense that it follows from the necessity of the principles of nature.

11. A1thoug man naturally tends to good in general, he does not so tend to a specific good, as has been said. It is for this reason that sin and failure occur.


Parallel readings: II Sentences, 1, 1; 23, 1, r; III Sentences 3, I, 2 sol. z & 3; IV Sentences 6, 1, I sol. Sum. Theol., 1, 62, 8; 100, 2; Expos. super salut. angel.


It seems that it cannot, for

1. Grace, coming to a nature, does not destroy but perfects it. Since it is a natural characteristic of the free choice of a creature that it can be turned to evil, it therefore seems that it cannot be removed from it by grace.

2. It is within the power of free choice to use grace or not to use it, for free choice is not forced by grace. But if free choice does not use a grace imparted to it, it falls into evil. Consequently no grace that comes to it can confirm free choice in good.

3. Free choice has the mastery of its own acts. But the use of grace is an act of free choice. It is therefore within the power of free choice to use it or not to use it, and so it cannot be confirmed by grace.

4. The possibility of turning to evil is in the free choice of a creature because it is from nothing, as Damascene says. But no grace can remove from a creature its origin from nothing. Then no grace can confirm our free choice in good.

5. Bernard says that free choice is "the most powerful thing" under God, that it gets no increase from grace and justice, and that it suffers no loss from a fault. But confirmation in good when added to free choice increases it, because according to Augustine "in things of great mass to be larger is to be better." Hence free choice cannot be con firmed in good by grace.

6. As is said in The Causes, whatever is in a subject is in it after the manner of that subject. But free choice is by its nature capable of change to good or evil. A grace that comes to it is therefore received into it in such a way that it can be turned to good or evil; and so it cannot confirm it in good.

7. Whatever God adds to a creature He could also, as it seems, confirm upon it from the beginning of its creation. Consequently, if He could confirm free choice by a grace added to it, He could also confirm it by something implanted in the spiritual creature in the very constitution of the nature; and so it would be naturally confirmed in good. But this is impossible, as has been said. Then neither can it be confirmed through grace.

To the Contrary:

1'. The saints who are in their heavenly home are confirmed in good so as not to be able w sin any more; otherwise they would not be secure in their happiness and so would not be happy. But this confirmation is not in them by nature, as has been said. It is therefore by grace; and so free choice can be confirmed by a gift of grace.

2’. The human body is by nature corruptible, just as man’s free choice is by nature capable of turning to evil. But the human body is made incorruptible by a gift of grace; for it is written in the first Epistle to the Corinthians (15:53): "For this corruptible must put on incorruption." Free choice can therefore be confirmed in good by grace.



Origen was in error concerning this question. He held that the free choice of a creature could in no way be confirmed in good, not even in the blessed, except in Christ because of the union to the Word. As a result of this error, moreover, he was forced to affirm that the happiness of the saints and even of the angels is not everlasting but is at some time to come to an end; and from this it follows that theirs is not true happiness, since changelessness and security are essential to happiness. Consequently because of its inadmissible consequences Origen’s position is to be entirely rejected; and we must say without cavil that free choice can be confirmed in good by grace.

This is evident from the following consideration. The free choice of a creature cannot be naturally confirmed in good, because it does not have in its nature the note of perfect and absolute good but only of a certain particular good. By grace, however, free choice is united to this perfect and absolute good, that is, God. If the union should be perfect, so that free choice would have God Himself as the whole cause of its acting, it could not turn to evil. That does happen in some cases, and especially in that of the blessed.

The reason is this. The will naturally tends to good as its object. That it sometimes tends to evil happens only because the evil is presented to it under the aspect of a good. But evil is involuntary, as Dionysius says. Consequently there cannot be any sin in the motion of the will so that it tends to evil unless there previously exists some deficiency in the apprehensive power, as a result of which something evil is presented as good. This deficiency in reason can come about in two ways: either from reason itself, or from something extrinsic to it.

It can come about from reason itself because the knowledge of good in general, both of the good which is the end and of that which is a means, is had by it naturally and invariably and without error, but not of good in particular. In regard to the latter it can err so that it judges something which is not the end to be the end, or something which is not useful to the end w be useful. For this reason too the will naturally desires the good which is the end, namely, happiness in general, and likewise the good which is a means to the end (for every one naturally desires his own profit); but the sin on the part of the will occurs in desiring this or that particular end or in choosing this or that means.

Reason proves deficient because of something extrinsic to it when the lower powers are drawn to something intensely and the act of reason is consequently interrupted so that it does not propose to the will its judgment about the good clearly and firmly. For example, someone will a proper regard for the necessity of observing chastity may desire something Contrary to chastity through a lust for what is p because the judgment of reason is in some sense fettered by concupiscence as the Philosopher says.

Both of those types of deficiency will be entirely removed from the blessed by their Union to God. For, seeing the divine essence, they will recognize that God Himself is the end to be loved above all else. They will know too in particular all the things which either unite a person will Him or separate one from Him, knowing God not only In Himself but also as the reason for which other things are to be de sired. And from the clarity of this knowledge their minds will be strengthened to such an extent that no motion will be able to arise in the lower powers except according to the rule of reason. Consequently, just as we now invariably desire good in general, the minds of the blessed invariably desire in particular the good which they ought. Furthermore, over and above this natural inclination of the will they will have perfect charity binding them entirely to God. Sin will there fore be unable to occur in them in any way; and so they will be confirmed by grace.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. It is due to the deficiency of a created nature that it can turn to evil; and grace removes this deficiency by perfecting the nature, confirming it in good, just as light which comes to the air takes away the darkness which it naturally has without light.

2. It is within the power of free choice not to make use of a habit; yet even the non-use of a habit eau be proposed to it under the aspect of good. But this cannot happen in the blessed regarding grace, as has been said.

3. The answer to this is clear from what has just been said.

4. Because free choice is from nothing, it is consonant will it not to be naturally confirmed in good; nor can natural confirmation in good through grace be granted to it through grace. It is not, however, consonant will free choice as being from nothing to be incapable of confirmation in good in any way, just as it is not in air from its own nature to be altogether incapable of being illuminated, but merely to be not by nature actually luminous.

5. Bernard is speaking of free choice will reference to freedom from force, which does not admit of increase or lessening.

6. Concerning anything received into a subject we eau consider its existence and its formal character. In regard to its existence it is in its subject after the manner of the subject, but it nevertheless draws the subject to its own formal character. Thus heat that is received into water has existence in the water after the manner of the water, being in the water as an accident in a subject; yet it draws the water from its natural state to one in which it is hot and takes on the character of heat. Similarly, light affects the air, though not against the nature of air. In the same way grace too in regard to its existence is in free choice after its manner as an accident in a subject; yet it draws free choice to the formal character of its own invariability, joining it to God.

7. The perfect good, God, eau be united to the human mind by grace but not by nature. Consequently free choice eau be confirmed in good by grace but not by nature.


Parallel readings: In Job, c. 4, Iect. 3; Sum. Theol., 111,27,4; 5 ad 2; Cornp. theol 1, 224.


It seems that it cannot, for

In appetitive matters the principle is the end, as the Philosopher says, just as in speculative matters axioms are the principle. But in speculative matters the intellect is not confirmed in truth when it takes on the certitude of science unless it makes the reduction to the first axioms. Then neither can free choice be confirmed in good except after it shall have come to the last end. But this is not attained in this present life. Consequently in this present life free choice cannot be confirmed in good.

2. Human nature is not more highly endowed than angelic nature. But the confirmation of their free choice was not granted to the angels before the state of glory. Then neither should it be granted to men.

3. A mover comes to rest only in the end. But free choice does not come to its end so long as it is in this present life. Then neither does its variability, by which it can be directed to good and evil, come to rest here.

4. As long as something is imperfect it can fail. But men’s imperfection is not taken away from them so long as they are in this present life, as is said in the first Epistle to the Corinthians (13: 12) "We see flow through a glass in a dark manner." Then, as long as man is in this present life he can fail through sin.

. As long as a person is in the state of meriting, that which increases his merit should not be taken away from him. But the ability to sin is advantageous for merit. For this reason it is said in praise of a just man in Ecclesiasticus (31: 10): "Me that could have transgressed, and hath not transgressed; and could do evil things, and hath not done them." Hence, as long as a man is in this present life in which he can merit, his free choice should not be confirmed in good.

6. The failing of the body is corruption, just as that of free choice is sin. But the body of man does not become incorruptible in this present life. Then neither can man’s free choice be confirmed in good in this life.

To the Contrary:

1'. The Blessed Virgin was confirmed in good in this life; for, as Augustine says, "when there is question of sin," no mention should be made of her.

2’. The Apostles too were confirmed in good by the coming of the Holy Spirit, as is seen from what is said in the Psalms (74:4): "I have made its pillars firm," which the Gloss applies to the Apostles.



A person can be confirmed in good in two ways: (1) Absolutely, so that he has within himself a principle of his firmness sufficient to make him unable to sin at all. It is in this sense that the blessed are confirmed in good in the way explained above. (2) Some are said to be confirmed in good because there is given to them some gift of grace by which they are so inclined to good that they cannot easily be drawn away from it; but they are not thereby so drawn away from evil that apart from the protection of divine providence they are unable to sin at all. It is like the immortality of Adam, who is held to have been immortal, not because he was entirely protected by some intrinsic principle from every external lethal agent, like a wound from a sword, etc., but because divine providence preserved him from such things. It is in this way that some in the present life are confirmed in good, and not in the first way.

This is shown as follows. A person cannot be made altogether impeccable unless every source of sin is removed. Now the source of sin is found either in an error of reason, which is led astray in a particular case concerning the end (good) and the means to it, which he naturally desires in general; or in the obstruction of the judgment of reason by some passion of the lower powers. Although it could be granted to someone in this life through the gift of wisdom and of counsel that his reason should in no way cm regarding the end (good) and regarding the means in particular, yet to have the judgment of reason un obstruct able surpasses the state of this present life for two reasons: primarily and principally because it is impossible for reason in this life here below to be always in the act of correct contemplation so that the reason for everything we do is God; secondly, because the lower powers do not happen to be so subject to reason in this life that the act of reason is in no will obstructed by them, except in the case of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who was at the same time on the way to God and in possession of Him.

By the grace proper to this life, however, a man can be so attached to good that he cannot sin except will great difficulty because his lower powers are held in check by the infused virtues, his will is more firmly inclined to God, and his reason is made perfect in the contemplation of the divine truth will a continuousness that comes from the fervor of love and withdraws the man from sin. But everything that is lacking for confirmation in good is supplied by the watchfulness of divine providence over those who are said to be confirmed. As a con sequence, whenever the occasion for sin presents itself, their mind is divinely inspired to resist.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. Affection attains the end not only when it perfectly possesses the end but also in some sense when it intensely desires it. It is in this way that a person in the present life can in a sense be confirmed in good.

2. The gift of grace does not follow the order of nature will necessity. Consequently, although human nature is not nobler than that of an angel, there has nevertheless been conferred upon a human being a grace greater than upon any angel, namely, upon the Blessed Virgin and upon Christ as man. Now confirmation was fitting for the Blessed Virgin because she was the mother of divine wisdom, into which nothing defiled comes, as is said in the Book of Wisdom (7:25). It was similarly fitting the Apostles because they served as the foundation and groundwork of the whole ecclesiastical edifice and for that reason had to be firm.

3. The answer is the same as that given for the first difficulty.

4. From that line of argument it can be concluded that there is no one in this present life wholly confirmed, just as there is no one wholly perfect. In some sense, however, a person can be said to be confirmed, just as he can be said in some sense to be perfect.

5. The ability to sin does not contribute to merit, but only to the manifestation of merit, inasmuch as it shows that a good work is voluntary. It is put among the praises of the just man because praise is the manifestation of virtue.

6. The corruption of the body does contribute to merit in a material way, in so far as a person suffers it will patience. For this reason it is not taken away by grace from a man in the state of meriting.

Answers to Contrary Difficulties:

The answers to these are clean from what has been said.


Parallel readings: II Sentences 7, I, 2; Sum. Theol., I, 6 2; De malo, 16, 5; cf. parallels to art. 11.


It seems that it cannot, for

1. Sin is "contrary to nature," as Augustine says. But according to the Philosopher nothing contrary to nature is permanent. Hence sin cannot remain permanently in free choice.

2. A spiritual nature is stronger than a corporeal one. But if there is introduced into a corporeal nature an accident which is beyond its nature, it returns to what is in keeping will its nature unless the accident introduced is preserved by some cause acting continually. If water is heated, for example, it returns to its natural coolness unless there is something constantly keeping it hot. Then a spiritual nature having free will, if it should happen to fall into sin, will likewise not remain permanently subject to sin, but will eventually return to the state of justice unless some cause is assigned to preserve the evil in it constantly. But it seems that no such cause is to be assigned.

3. It was said in answer that the cause introducing and preserving sin is internal and external. The internal cause is the will itself. The external is the object of the will, which attracts it to sin.—On the contrary, the thing which is outside the soul is good. Now a good cannot be the cause of evil except accidentally. The thing existing outside the soul is therefore only accidentally the cause of sin. But every accidental cause is reduced to an essential cause. Something must there fore be assigned which is the cause of sin essentially. But that cannot be anything but the will. Now when the will inclines to anything, it retains the ability still to tend to the opposite, since the object of its inclination does not take away from it its nature, by which it can be directed to opposites. Then neither the will nor anything else can be the cause making free choice invariably and more or less necessarily adhere to sin.

4. According to the Philosopher3 there are two kinds of necessary being: one has its necessity of itself; the other has it from something else. That sin should be in free choice cannot be necessary will a necessity of itself, because to be necessary in this way is proper to God alone, as even Avicenna says. Nor again is it necessary with a necessity from something else, because everything necessary in this way is reduced to what is necessary of itself. God, however, cannot be the cause of sin. It can therefore in no way be necessary for free choice to remain in sin; and so the free choice of no creature adheres immovably to sin.

5. Augustine seems to distinguish two kinds of necessity: one, called the necessity of constraint, takes away freedom, removing something from our power; the other, which is the necessity of natural inclination, does not take away freedom. Now it is not necessary that sin be in free choice by the latter necessity, since sin is not natural but rather against nature; nor again by the former, because then the freedom of choice would be removed. It is therefore in no way necessary; and so the same must be concluded as before.

6. Anselm says that free choice is "the power of preserving the rectitude of the will for its own sake." Then if there is any free choice which cannot have rectitude of will, it will lose the character of its own nature. But that is impossible.

7. Free choice is not susceptible of degrees. But a free choice which is incapable of good is less than one which is capable of it. Consequently there is no free choice which is incapable of good.

8. Voluntary motion is related to voluntary rest as natural motion to natural rest. But according to the Philosopher, if the motion is natural, then the rest in which it terminates is also natural. So too, if the motion is voluntary. Then the rest by which one persists in a sin committed is also voluntary, and therefore not necessary.

9. The will stands to good and evil in the same relation as the intellect to the true and the false. But the intellect never so clings to the false that it cannot be brought back to the knowledge of what is true. Then the will never so clings to evil that it cannot be brought back to a love of good.

10. According to Anselm "the ability to sin is not freedom for a part of freedom." The essential act of free choice is therefore the ability to do good. Consequently, if the free choice of any creature were unable to do good, it would be useless, since nothing is of any avail if it is deprived of its proper act; for "each thing exists for the sake of its operation," as the Philosopher says.

11. Free choice is incapable of anything but good or evil. Consequently, if the ability to sin is not freedom for a part of freedom, it remains that the whole of freedom consists in the ability to do good; and so a creature which could not do good would not have any free dom. Free choice can accordingly not be so confirmed in evil that it cannot do any good at all.

12. According to Hugh of St. Victor a change in accidentals does not change any of the essentials of a thing. But the ability to do good is essential to free choice, as has been proved. Since sin comes to free choice accidentally, this power cannot be so changed as to be rendered incapable of good.

13. Natural endowments are wounded by sin, as is commonly said; but they are not entirely taken away. But the capability of good is natural to free choice. Hence this power is never so hardened in evil by Sin that it is impotent regarding good.

14. If sin causes in free choice obstinacy in evil, it does this either by subtracting something from natural endowments or by adding something to them. Now it does not do it by subtracting, because even in the demons natural gifts remain intact, as Dionysius says. Neither is it done by adding, because what is added, being an accident, must be in the recipient in the manner of the recipient. Thus, since free choice can be directed to either of two alternatives, it is not there by made to ding immovably to evil. Free choice can therefore in no way be entirely confirmed in evil.

15. Bernard says: "It is impossible for the will not to obey itself." But sin and a good act are committed by willing. It is therefore impossible that free choice should not be able to will good if it wished. But whatever a person can do if he wishes is not impossible. It is therefore not impossible for anyone having the free choice of will to do good.

16. Charity is stronger than the cupidity which attracts us to sin, because "charity loves the law of God more than cupidity loves thou sands in gold and silver," as the Gloss says in comment upon the words of the Psalm (118:72): "The law of thy mouth is good to me, above thousands of silver and gold." But the demons and even men have fallen from charity into sin. So much the more, then, can they return from sin to an attachment to good. Thus the conclusion is the same as before.

17. The goodness and rectitude of the will are opposed to its obstinacy. But the demons and the damned have a good and correct will, because they desire what is good and the best: "to be, to live, and to understand," as Dionysius says. They therefore do not have a free choice obstinate in evil.

18. Anselm traces out the common nature of free choice in God, in the angels, and in men. But God’s free choice cannot become obstinate in evil. Then neither can it in angels and in men.

To the Contrary:

1'. The misery of the damned is opposed to the happiness of the blessed. But it is a property of the happiness of the blessed that they have a free choice so strengthened in good that they can by no means turn aside to evil. It is therefore also a property of the misery of the damned that they are so confirmed in evil that they are by no means capable of good.

2’. Augustine expressly says the same thing.

3’. There is no means of return from sin to good other than by repentance. But repentance does not take place in a bad angel. He is therefore unalterably confirmed in evil.—Proof of the minor: Repentance does not seem to take place in one who sins from malice. But an angel has sinned from malice, because, having an intellect like God’s, when he considers anything he at the same time beholds every thing which pertains to that thing; and so he cannot sin except will certain knowledge. Repentance therefore does not take place in him.

4’. In the words of Damascene, "the fail is the same for the angels as death for men." But after death men are incapable of repentance. Then so too are the angels after the fall.—Proof of the minor: Augustine saysl that, because there will be no room for conversion after this life for those who depart without grace, no prayers are to be offered for them. Thus it is evident that after death men are not capable of repentance.

De veritate EN 205