De veritate EN 209



On this question we find that Origen has erred. He held that after long course of time the way would lie open for both demons and damned men to return to justice; and he was led to affirm this because of the freedom of choice. Now this opinion has been disliked by all Catholics, as Augustine says, not because they begrudged the demons and damned men their salvation, because it would seem necessary to say will equal reason that the justice and glory of the blessed angels and men is at some time to come to an end. For a verse in Matthew (25:46) makes clear at the same time that the glory of the blessed and the misery of the damned will be everlasting: "And these shah go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting." And Origen seems to have been of this opinion also. It must therefore be simply granted that the free choice of the demons is so hardened in evil that it cannot return to right willing.

The basis for this conclusion is to be sought in the cause of deliverance from sin. Now two things concur in this deliverance: divine grace working as the principal agent, and the human will cooperating will grace; for according to Augustine "He who created you will out you, will not justify you without you." The cause of obduracy in evil is therefore to be found partly in God and partly in free choice. It is to be found in God, not as causing or preserving evil, but as not bestowing grace. And indeed His justice demands this, for it is just that those who have not been willing to will rightly when they could, should be brought to such a pass of misery that they are altogether unable to will rightly. On the part of free choice, however, the cause of the possibility or impossibility of turning away from sin is to be found in the things by means of which man falls into sin. Now, since there is naturally in any creature the desire for good, no one is led to commit a sin except by some appearance of good. Though a fornicator, for instance, knows in general that fornication is evil, nevertheless when he consents to fornication he judges that fornication is good for him to commit at the time.

In this judgment three influences are to be taken into account. The first is the surge of passion, such as concupiscence or anger, by which the judgment of reason is hindered from actually judging in particular what it habitually holds in general, but is moved rather to follow the inclination of passion so that it consents to that to which passion is tending as good in itself. The second is the inclination of habit, which is a sort of nature for the one having it. The Philosopher says, for instance, that custom is a second nature; and Tully says that virtue accords will reason after the manner of a nature, and in the same way a habit of vice inclines one as a sort of nature to what agrees will it. The result is that to the one who has the habit of lust whatever fits in will lust as being of the same nature seems good. This is the Philosopher’s meaning when he says that "each person judges of the end in accordance will his own character." The third is a false judgment of reason in regard to a particular object of choice. It comes cither from one of the two influences mentioned above, the surge of passion or the penchant of habit, or else from a universal ignorance, as when one is of the erroneous opinion that fornication is not a sin.

Against the first of these influences free choice has a remedy where by it can abandon sin. He in whom the surge of passion occurs has a right judgment of the end, and the end is equivalently a principle in matters of operation, as the Philosopher says. By means of the true judgment which he has of the principle, a man can do away will any errors that he may have fallen into regarding his conclusions. In the same way by being rightly disposed regarding the end, he can do away will every surge of passion. The Philosopher accordingly says that an incontinent man who sins because of passion is capable of repentance and remedy.

Against the penchant of habit there is likewise a remedy. No habit corrupts all the powers of the soul. Consequently, when one power is corrupted by a habit, a man is led by any rectitude that remains in the other powers to ponder and to take action against that habit. If, for example, someone has his concupiscible power corrupted by the habit of lust, he is urged by the irascible power to attempt something hard, and its exercise will take away the softness of lust. Thus the Philosopher says: "A wicked person who is brought to better practices will advance and become better."

Against the third influence too there is a remedy. What a man assents to he assents to in a rational manner, by way of inquiry and comparison. Consequently, when reason errs in one respect, from whatever source the error may have come, it can be removed by contrary reasonings. This is why a man can abandon sin.

In an angel, however, sin cannot be from passion, because, as the Philosopher says, passion is only in the sensitive part of the soul, which an angel does not have. In the sin of an angel, therefore, only two influences concur: a habitual inclination to the sin and a false judgment of the cognitive power about a particular object of choice. Now, since angels do not have a multiplicity of appetitive powers as men have, when their appetite tends to something, it inclines to it al together, so that it does not have any inclination drawing it to the contrary. Arid because they do not have reason but intelligence, what ever they judge, they accept in the manner of understanding. But whatever is accepted in the manner of understanding is accepted ir reversibly, as when one accepts the proposition that every whole is greater than its part. As a consequence angels cannot put aside a judgment which they have once accepted, whether it be true or false.

It is therefore clear from what has been said that the cause of the confirmation of the demons in evil depends upon three factors, to which all of the reasons assigned by the doctors can be reduced. The first and principal one is the divine justice. There has accordingly been assigned as the cause of the obstinacy of the demons that, because they have not fallen through the instrumentality of anyone else, they should not rise through the instrumentality of anyone else—and any other such reason based upon congruity will divine justice. The second factor is the indivisibility of the appetitive power. In this connection some say that, because an angel is simple, it turns entirely to whatever it turns to. This must not be understood of the simplicity of its essence, but of a simplicity excluding the distinction of different powers of the same genus. The third is intellectual knowledge. This is the cause assigned by some who say that the angels have sinned irremediably because they have sinned against an intellect like God’s.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. Something is said to be natural in two ways: (1) A sufficient principle exists from which it follows necessarily unless something interferes. In this sense it is natural for the element earth to move downward. And this is the Philosopher’s meaning when he says that nothing which is against nature is permanent. (2) Something is called natural for a thing because it has a natural inclination to it, although it does not have within itself a sufficient principle from which it necessarily follows. In this sense it is said to be natural for a woman to conceive a son though she cannot do so without receiving the male seed. Now nothing prevents what is contrary to nature in this sense from being permanent, as that a particular woman should remain permanently without issue. But it is in this second sense that it is natural for free choice to tend to good, and also to sin against nature. The argument therefore proves nothing.

Or the answer may be given that, although sin is against nature for a rational mind as it vas established, yet inasmuch as it has already adhered to sin, sin has become in some sense natural for it, as Augustine says. The Philosopher also says that, when a man passes from virtue to vice, he becomes in a way another man because he takes on, as it were, another nature.

2. The situation is different for a corporeal nature and for a spiritual nature. A corporeal nature is determinately of a single genus. Consequently nothing else can be made natural to it without entirely corrupting its nature. Thus heat cannot be made natural to water unless the species of water is destroyed. And because its heat is not natural, when the obstacle is removed, the water returns to its own nature. But a spiritual nature is created undetermined and capable of becoming all things in its secondary act of being. Thus it is said in The Soul, "The soul is in some sense all things." By adhering to something it is made one will it, as the intellect in some sense becomes the intelligible object by understanding it, and the will becomes the object of appetite by loving it. And so, although the inclination of the will is naturally directed to one determined object, the contrary can be made natural to it by love to such an extent that it does not return to its original disposition unless some cause brings this about. In this way sin is made as it were natural to the one who clings to sin. Hence nothing prevents free choice from remaining permanently in sin.

. The essential cause of sin is the will, and by it sin is preserved. Although in the beginning the will was equally determinable to sin or to good, after it submitted to sin, sin became in a sense natural to it. As a consequence, as far as depends upon itself it remains unalterably in it.

4. The necessity of remaining in sin is reduced to God as its cause in two senses: (1) from the point of view of His justice, as has been said, inasmuch as He does not confer healing grace; (2) inasmuch as He established such a nature, which was also capable of sinning and had from the condition of its own nature the necessity of remaining in sin after having submitted to it.

5. Since sin has been made in some sense natural to the rational mind, the necessity in question will not be one of force but one of a quasi-natural inclination.

6. The power of preserving the rectitude of one’s will when one has it is in everyone having free choice, as Anselm says. But the demons and other damned cannot preserve it since they do not have it.

7. Free choice is not susceptible of degrees in so far as it is said to be free from force. But when freedom from sin and from misery is taken into account, it is said to be freer in one state than in another.

8. An effect of nature is always natural. For this reason the motion and action of nature always terminate in a natural rest. But the action and motion of the will can terminate in a natural effect and natural rest inasmuch as the will and art help nature. A motion can accordingly be voluntary while at the same time the effect or the rest con sequent upon it is natural and has a natural necessity. Thus from a voluntary blow death follows as natural and necessary.

9. If the intellect of an angel accepts some false judgment, it is unable to set it aside for the reason given above. The argument is there fore based upon a false supposition.

10. Even though something is deprived of its proximate end, it is not as a consequence altogether useless, because it still retains its ordination to its ultimate end. Accordingly, even though free choice is deprived of the good operation to which it is naturally destined, it is still not without purpose, because this very fact turns to the glory of God, who is its ultimate end, inasmuch as His justice is thereby manifested.

11. A sin is not committed through free choice except by the choosing of an apparent good. In any sinful action there accordingly re mains some good, and in this respect freedom is preserved. If the aspect of good were taken away, the act of free choice, choosing, would cease.

12. The ability to do good is not essential to free choice as belonging to its primary existence, but rather as belonging to its secondary existence. But Hugh is speaking of essentials will reference to primary existence.

13. That argument is speaking of the natural in the sense of that which belongs to the constitution of a nature, not in the sense of that to which the nature is ordained. But it is in the latter sense that it is natural to be able to do good.

14. The sin which comes to free choice does not take away any of its essentials, because in that case the species of free choice would not remain. But something is added by sin—the coupling of free choice will a perverse end; and this becomes in a sense natural to it. It there by has necessity, like the other things which are natural to free choice.

15. In some sense the will always obeys itself, so that, however a man wills what he wills, he wills that he will it. But in another sense it does not always obey itself, inasmuch as a person does not perfectly and efficaciously will what he wishes that he perfectly and efficaciously willed, as Augustine explains. Nor does it follow that, if the will of the demons obeys itself, it is for that reason not confirmed in evil, because it cannot possibly will that it efficaciously will good. Hence, if the conditional proposition were true, it would not follow that the apodosis is possible, since the protasis is impossible.

16. In itself charity is more powerful than sin if the two are com

pared as had under the same conditions; that is, if for both of them we take the free choice either of one who has reached his final state or of one who is still on the way. One in the final state of wickedness, how ever, is more firmly established in evil than one going along in the way of charity is established in charity. Now the demons either never had charity, as some hold; or, if they ever had it, they never had it except as being on the way. Damned men, however, could not similarly have fallen except from the grace proper to wayfarers.

17. That argument proceeds on the supposition of the goodness and rectitude of the nature itself, not the goodness and rectitude of free choice. The appetite by which demons desire good and the best is an inclination of their very nature, not one by the election of free choice. Such a rectitude is consequently not opposed to the obstinacy of free choice.

18. Anselm is searching for that element in the nature of free choice which is common to God, to angels, and w men on the basis of a very broad analogy. It is therefore not necessary that likeness be found from the standpoint of all the special conditions.


Parallel readings: I Sentences 40, 4, in Matt., C. 13, lectura 2, § 1 (P 10: 124b- 127ab); Contra Gentiles III, 162; in 11 Cor., C. 4, lectura 2 (P i 3 Sum. Theol. , I-II 7,0 In Joan., c. 12, lectura, § 3 (P 10: 520a); in Rom., c. 9, lectura (end) (P 13: 98ab).


It seems that it can, for

1. Whatever is inflicted because of the deserts of fallen nature is present in all before the reparation of fallen nature. But the sin of fallen nature is deserving of obstinacy, as the Glass says in commenting upon the Epistle to the Romans (9:18). Hence every man before reparation in this present life is obstinate.

2. A sin against the Holy Spirit in all its species can be found in a person in this life. But obstinacy is a species of sin against the Holy Spirit, as is taught in the Sentences. Consequently a person in this present life can be obstinate.

3. No one in the state of sin can return to good unless there remains in him some inclination to good. But whoever fails into mortal sin lacks all inclination to good; for a person sins mortally through an inordinate love; but according to Augustine in spirits love is like weight in bodies. A heavy body is so inclined in one direction, as a stone downward, that it retains no contrary inclination—e.g., upward. Then neither does a sinner retain any inclination to good. Whoever sins mortally is accordingly obstinate in evil.

4. No one withdraws from the evil of guilt except by repentance. But according to the Philosopher one who sins through malice is in capable of repentance, because he is corrupted in regard to the principle in matters of choice, namely, the end. Consequently, since it happens that a person in this present life may sin from malice, it seems that it is possible for man in this life to be obstinate in evil.

5. It was said in answer that, although such a person is incapable of repentance by his own powers, he can nevertheless be brought back to repentance by the gift of divine grace.—On the contrary, when something is impossible from the viewpoint of lower causes even though it could be done by a divine operation, we say that simply speaking it is impossible; for example, that a blind man should see or dead person rise. If, then, someone is not capable of repentance by his own powers, he should simply be said to be obstinate in evil, even though he could be brought to repentance by the divine power.

6. Every sickness that works against its cure seems to be incurable, as the physicians say. But a sin against the Holy Spirit works against its cure, divine grace, by which a person is freed from sin. A person in this present life can therefore have an incurable spiritual sickness, and can accordingly be obstinate in evil.

7. In support of this seems to be the fact that a sin against the Holy Spirit is called unforgivable (Mt 12,3 Mt 1). But that is a sin which some people in this life commit.

8. Augustine and Gregory assign as the reason why the saints will not pray for the damned in the day of judgment that the damned can not return to the state of justice. But there are some in the present life for whom we are not to pray, as is written in the first Epistle of St. John (5: 16): "There is a sin unto death: for that I say not that any man ask"; and in Jeremias (7:16): "Therefore do not thou pray for this people..." There are therefore some in this present life so obstinate that they cannot return to the state of justice.

9. It belongs to the misery of the damned to be confirmed in evil, just as it belongs to the glory of the saints to be confirmed in good. But a person in this present life can be confirmed in good, as was shown above. With equal reason, then, it seems that a person in this life can be obstinate in evil.

10. Augustine speaks to the effect that the angels are endowed will greater capabilities than man. But after sinning the angels could not return to justice. Then neither can man; and so man in this life can be obstinate.

To the Contrary:

1'. Concerning the Epistle to the Romans (2:4—5) Augustine says, and is quoted in the Gloss:11 "That impenitence or impenitent heart cannot be judged as long as a person is living in this flesh; for we are not to despair of anyone so long as the patience of God leads him to repentance." And so it seems that no one in this present life is obstinate in evil.

2’. It is written in the Psalm (67: 23): "I shall turn to the depth of the sea," 1.e., to those who are the most desperate. And so those who seem to be the most desperate in this life are sometimes converted to God and God to them.

3’. On the words of the Psalm (147:6): "He sendeth his crystal..."the Gloss comments: "Crystal means the obstinate, by whom He feeds others; that is, He makes them such that they feed others will the word of God."13 And so the same is to be concluded as before.

4’. A sickness can be incurable either because of the nature of the sickness or because of the lack of skill of the physician or because of the indisposition of the patient. But the spiritual sickness of a man in this life, sin, is not incurable from the nature of the sickness; for he has not arrived at the term of malice. Nor again is it incurable because of the lack of skill of the physician, because God has the knowledge and ability to cure. Nor again is it incurable because of the indisposition of the man, because he can rise by another’s means just as he has fallen by another’s means. Man in this present life can therefore by no means be confirmed in evil.



Obstinacy implies a certain firmness in sin by reason of which a person cannot turn from sin. Now the inability to turn from sin can be understood in two senses:

In the first sense the person’s own powers are not sufficient to free him entirely from sin. It is in this sense that anyone who fails into mortal sin is said to be unable to return to justice. But from this sort of firmness in sin a person is not properly called obstinate.

In the second sense he has a firmness in sin such that he cannot even cooperate in rising from sin. But this inability can be of two kinds: (1) It is such that he is unable to cooperate at all. This is the perfect obstinacy by which the demons are obstinate. For their minds are so hardened in evil that every motion of their free choice is in ordinate and sinful. They can accordingly in no way prepare them selves to have the grace by which sin is remitted. (2) It is such that the person is notable easily to cooperate in his deliverance from sin. This is the imperfect obstinacy by which a person can be obstinate in this present life, as long as he has a will so hardened in sin that there do not arise in him any except weak motions to good. Nevertheless, because some arise, the way is open by their means to prepare for grace.

The reason why no one can be so obstinate in evil in this life that he is unable to cooperate in his liberation is clear from what has been said. For passion is dissipated and repressed; habit does not wholly corrupt the soul; and reason does not ding so stubbornly to what is false that it cannot be led away from it by a contrary argument. But after this present life the separated soul will not understand by receiving anything from the senses, nor will it engage in the act of the sense appetitive powers. The separated soul is thus confirmed to the angels in the manner of understanding and in the indivisibility of its appetite, which were seen to be the causes of the perfect obstinacy in the sinful angels. Hence there will be obstinacy in the separated soul for the same reason. In the resurrection, moreover, the body will follow the condition of the soul; and so the soul will not return to its present state, in which it must necessarily receive something from the body, though it will use bodily instruments. Consequently, even then the same reason for obstinacy will remain.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. The sin of fallen nature is said to be deserving of obstinacy inasmuch as the same sin is deserving of everlasting damnation. For by the deserts of the first sin the whole human nature became subject to damnation, except that some should be snatched from it by the grace of the Redeemer. But this does not mean that a man is obstinate immediately from his birth, nor that he is damned will final damnation.

2. That argument is speaking of imperfect obstinacy, by which a person is not absolutely confirmed in evil. Such an obstinacy is a species of sin against the Holy Spirit.

3. Augustine compares love to weight because both incline. It is not necessary, however, that there be likeness in all respects. It consequently does not follow that one who loves something has no inclination to the contrary, except perhaps in the case of perfect love, such as the love of the saints in heaven.

4. One who sins from malice is said to be incapable of repentance, not because he cannot repent at all, but because he cannot easily re pent. He does not perfectly repent upon the urging of reason alone, because this urging proceeds from a principle, the end, regarding which the sinner is corrupted. He can, however, be led to repent by gradually growing accustomed to the contrary. He can be led to this customary attitude both by reason of the manner of judging, because he comes to a judgment rationally and more or less by comparison, and also because his whole appetitive power does not tend to a single objective. From this familiarity he will get a correct conception of the principle, that is, the appetible end. The Philosopher accordingly says: "Neither in speculative matters nor in operative can reasoning teach principles; but virtue, whether natural or acquired by habit, is the reason why we have a correct opinion about the principle."

5. When a lower nature is able to dispose things for some operation or in any way cooperate in it, that operation is not called simply impossible even though it cannot be achieved except by divine action. We do not say, for instance, that it is simply impossible for the off spring in the womb of the mother to be animated by a rational soul. In the same way, although deliverance from sin takes place by the divine action, nevertheless, because free choice also cooperates in this, it is not said to be simply impossible.

6. Although one who sins against the Holy Spirit works against the grace of the Holy Spirit because of the inclination of sin, yet, because he is not wholly corrupted by this sin, there remains some motion, though weak, by which he can cooperate in some way will grace; for he does not always actually resist grace.

7. A sin against the Holy Spirit is not called unforgivable in the sense that it cannot be forgiven in this life, but because it cannot easily be forgiven. The reason for this difficulty is that the sin in question goes directly contrary to grade, by which sin is remitted.—Or it is called unforgivable because, being committed out of malice, it docs not have in itself the cause of its forgiveness, as does a sin committed out of weakness or ignorance.

8. We are not forbidden to pray for sinners, however great, in this life. But in the words of the Apostle which were quoted, the meaning is that it is not the business of anyone and everyone to pray for those hardened in sin but of a perfect man.—Or the Apostle is speaking of a sin unto death, that is, which continues all the way up to death. In the words of the prophet, however, the people in question are shown to have been in the just judgment of God unworthy of obtaining mercy, but not to have been altogether obstinate in evil.

9. Confirmation in good is brought about by a divine gift. Consequently, nothing prevents its being granted to some people in this life as a special privilege even though they are not confirmed in good in the same way as the blessed in heaven, as was said above. But this cannot be said of confirmation in evil.

10. From the very fact that the angels were endowed will greater capabilities it follows that immediately after their first choice they were obstinate in sin, as is clear from what has been said. It is not Augustine’s intention, however, to prove that man is obstinate in sin, but that he lacks the power to rise from sin by himself.


Parallel readings: De veritate, 22, ad 24, i ad 10 & 12; II Sentences 20, 2, 3 ad 5; 24, 1,4 ad 2; 28, a. 2; Contra Gentiles III, 16o; In I Cor., c. 12, lectura 1 (P 13: 25 In HE c 10, (P 13: 751a); Sum. Theol. , I-II 6,2 ad 2 I-II 74,2 ad 2 I-II 109,8 De malo, 1 ad 9


It seems that it cannot, for

1. In the Epistle to the Romans (7:15) it is said: "For I do not that good which I will; but the evil which I hate, that I do." This is said in the person of the damned, as the Gloss says in commenting on this passage. Hence a man without grace cannot avoid sin.

2. Actual mortal sin is more serious than original sin. But a person in original sin, if he is an adult, cannot avoid sinning mortally without grace; for in that case he would avoid damnation to the pain of sense, which actual mortal sin merits. Since in the case of adults there is no mean between that damnation and the glory of eternal life, it would accordingly follow that he could obtain eternal life without grace. But that is the Pelagian heresy. Even less, then, can a person in the state of mortal sin avoid mortal sin unless he receives grace.

3. On the words of the Epistle to the Romans (7:20): "Now in do that which I will not..."the Gloss quotes the comment of Augustine: "This is a description of man living under the Law and prior to grace. For man is bound by his sins as long as he tries to live justly by his own strength without the help of liberating grace, which frees the free choice so that it trusts in its liberator and so does not sin against the Law." But to sin against the Law is to sin mortally. It therefore seems that a man without grace cannot avoid mortal sin.

4. Augustine says that evil has the same relation to the soul as crookedness has to the lower leg, and that the act of sin is like limping. Now limping cannot be avoided by one having a crooked leg unless the leg is first made straight. Neither can mortal sin be avoided, then, by one who is in sin unless he first be freed from sin by grace.

5. Gregory says: "A sin which is not wiped out by repentance soon by its weight pulls the person into another." But sin is wiped out only by grace. Without grace, then, a sinner cannot avoid sin.

6. According to Augustine fear and anger are passions and sins. But man cannot avoid passions by his free choice. Then neither can he refrain from sinning.

7. What is necessary cannot be avoided. But some sins are necessary, as is clear from the words of the Psalm (24:17): "Deliver me from my necessities." Consequently man cannot avoid sin by his free choice.

8. Augustine says: "W7hen flesh lusts against the spirit there is some

5jfl But it is not within the power of free choice to have flesh not lust against the spirit. Hence the power of free choice does not extend to the avoidance of sin.

9. The possibility of dying is a consequence of the possibility of sinning, for in the state of innocence man could die only in the sense that he could sin. Then the necessity of dying also is a consequence of the necessity of sinning. But in the present state man cannot keep from dying. Then neither can he keep from sinning.

10. According to Augustines in the state of innocence man could remain upright because he had an uncontaminated nature free from all stain of sin. But that in contamination is not in a sinner destitute of grace. He consequently cannot stand up, but after sinning is under the necessity of falling.

11. To the victor a crown is due, as is evident from the Apocalypse (3:1 1). But if anyone avoids sin when he is tempted, he conquers sin and the devil, as appears from the Epistle of St. James (4:7): "Resist the devil, and he will fly from you." If, then, a person can avoid sin without grace, he will be able to merit a crown without grace. But that is heretical.

12. Augustine says: "When cupidity compels, the will cannot resist." But cupidity leads to sin. Hence the human will without grace cannot avoid sin.

13. One who has a habit necessarily acts according to the habit. But a person in sin has the habit of sin. It therefore seems that he cannot avoid sinning.

14. According to Augustine free choice is that by which we choose good will the assistance of grace and evil will its lack. It therefore seems that one who Jacks grace always chooses evil by his free choice.

15. Whoever can avoid sin can conquer the world, for no one conquers the world in any other way than by ceasing to sin. But no one can conquer the world except by grace, because "this is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith," as is said in the first Epistle of St. John (5:4). Consequently a person without grace cannot avoid sin.

16. The commandment to love God is affirmative and accordingly so obliges to its observance as place and time demand, that if it is not observed one sins mortally. But the commandment of charity cannot be observed without grace, because "the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us," as is said in the Epistle to the Romans (5:5). Without grace, then, a man can not help sinning mortally.

17. According to Augustine the precept of mercy to oneself is included in the precept of mercy to one’s neighbour. But a person sins mortally unless he is merciful to his neighbour in a necessity involving bodily death. All the more, then, does he sin mortally unless he has mercy upon himself when he is in sin, by repenting of his sin. And so, unless his sin is wiped out by repentance, a man cannot avoid sinning.

18. The contempt of God is related to sin in the same way as the love of God is to virtue. But every virtuous man must necessarily love God. Then every sinner must contemn God and thus sin.

19. According to the Philosopher like acts come from like habits.

If a man is in sin, then, it seems that he must necessarily produce like acts, that is, acts of sin.

20. Since form is the principle of operation, whatever lacks form lacks the operation proper to that form. But to turn away from evil is the work of justice. Then, since one who is in sin lacks justice, it seems that he cannot turn away from evil.

21. The Master says: "After sin and before the reparation of grace free choice is pressed and conquered by concupiscence and has a weakness for evil. But it does not have grace for good. It can accordingly sin even so as to merit damnation." And so without grace a person cannot avoid mortal sin.

22. Should it be answered that he is unable not to sin in the sense of not having sin, but he is able not to sin in the sense of not using sin— on the contrary, even the Pelagians conceded this, and yet their opinion is censured by Augustine, who says: "The Pelagians say that the grace of God which is given through faith in Jesus Christ, which is neither the law nor nature, exerts its influence only in the remission of sins, not in the avoidance of future sins or in overcoming resistance. But if this were true, in the Lord’s Prayer after saying 'Forgive us our trespasses we should surely not add 'and lead us not into temptation. The former phrase we say in order that sins be forgiven, but the latter, that they be warded off or overcome. We should by no means ask this of our Father who is in heaven if we were able to bring it about by the effort of the human will."

It therefore seems that the supposed answer is invalid.

23. Augustine says: "The light of truth deservedly abandons the transgressor of the law, and when he is abandoned by it he becomes blind; and it is furthermore necessary for him to stumble and, falling, to be kicked about, and after he has been kicked about, not to rise." Hence the sinner who is destitute of grace must necessarily sin.

To the Contrary:

1'. Jerome says: "We say that man is always able to sin or not to sin, so that we always profess that we have free choice." To say that a man in the state of sin cannot avoid sin S therefore to deny free choice. But this is heretical.

2’. If there is a defect in an agent which has it in its power to use or not use that defect, it is not necessary for the agent to fail in its action. If a lower leg which is crooked, for instance, could avoid the use of that crookedness in walking, it could avoid limping. But free choice subject to sin can make use of sin or not, because making use of sin is an act of free choice, which is master of its own action. Consequently, however much it is in sin, it is able not to sin.

3’. In the Psalm (118:95) it is written: "The wicked have waited for me to destroy me"; and the Gloss comments: "That is, they have waited for my consent." A person is therefore not led to commit sin without consenting. But consent is in the power of free choice. A person is therefore able by his free choice not to sin.

4’. Because the devil is unable not to Sin, he is said to have sinned irremediably. But man has sinned remediably, as is commonly said. He is therefore able not to sin.

5’. The passage from one extreme to the other is not made except by going through the mean. But before sin man has the power of not sinning. Therefore after Sin he is not led immediately to the other extreme, so as to be unable not to sin.

6’. The free choice of a sinner can sin. But it sins only by choosing, since choosing is the act of free choice, just as sight operates only by seeing. But since choosing is the desire of what has been previously deliberated, as the Philosopher says, it follows deliberation or counsel, which is concerned only will the things which are within our power, as he also says. Therefore to avoid or to commit sin is in the power of a man in the state of sin.

7’. According to Augustine no one sins in doing something which he cannot avoid, because it would then be necessary. If, then, a person in the state of sin could not avoid sin, he would not sin in committing a sin. But that is absurd.

8’. Free choice is equally free from constraint before and after sinning. But the necessity of sinning seems to be one of constraint inasmuch as, even if we are unwilling, that necessity is in us. After sin a man therefore does not have the necessity of sinning.

9’. All necessity is either that of constraint or that of natural inclination. But the necessity of sinning is not one of natural inclination; for then our nature would be evil, since it would incline us to evil. Consequently, if there were any necessity for sinning in the sinner, he would be constrained to sin.

10’. What is necessary is not voluntary. If, then, it is necessary for one who is in sin to sin, sin is not voluntary. But that is false.

11’. If a sinner must necessarily sin, this necessity attaches to him only by reason of sin. He can, however, withdraw from sin; other will sinners would not be commanded: "Depart, depart, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing," as is written in Isaias (52: I

De veritate EN 209