St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

(Benziger Bros. edition, 1947)
Translated by
Fathers of the English Dominican Province

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Deinde considerandum est de causis exterioribus peccati.
  • Et primo, ex parte Dei;
  • secundo, ex parte Diaboli;
  • tertio, ex parte hominis.
We must now consider the external causes of sin, and
  • (1) on the part of God;
  • (2) on the part of the devil;
  • (3) on the part of man.
Circa primum quaeruntur quatuor. Under the first head there are four points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum Deus sit causa peccati. (1) Whether God is a cause of sin?
Secundo, utrum actus peccati sit a Deo. (2) Whether the act of sin is from God?
Tertio, utrum Deus sit causa excaecationis et obdurationis. (3) Whether God is the cause of spiritual blindness and hardness of heart?
Quarto, utrum haec ordinentur ad salutem eorum qui excaecantur vel obdurantur. (4) Whether these things are directed to the salvation of those who are blinded or hardened?

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Article: 1  [ << | >> ]

Whether God is a cause of sin?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod Deus sit causa peccati. Dicit enim apostolus, Rom. I, de quibusdam, tradidit eos Deus in reprobum sensum, ut faciant ea quae non conveniunt. Et Glossa ibidem dicit quod Deus operatur in cordibus hominum, inclinando voluntates eorum in quodcumque voluerit, sive in bonum sive in malum. Sed facere quae non conveniunt, et inclinari secundum voluntatem ad malum, est peccatum. Ergo Deus hominibus est causa peccati. Objection 1: It would seem that God is a cause of sin. For the Apostle says of certain ones (Rm. 1:28): "God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not right [Douay: 'convenient']," and a gloss comments on this by saying that "God works in men's hearts, by inclining their wills to whatever He wills, whether to good or to evil." Now sin consists in doing what is not right, and in having a will inclined to evil. Therefore God is to man a cause of sin.
Praeterea, Sap. XIV, dicitur, creaturae Dei in odium factae sunt, et in tentationem animae hominum. Sed tentatio solet dici provocatio ad peccandum. Cum ergo creaturae non sint factae nisi a Deo, ut in primo habitum est, videtur quod Deus sit causa peccati provocans homines ad peccandum. Objection 2: Further, it is written (Wis. 14:11): "The creatures of God are turned to an abomination; and a temptation to the souls of men." But a temptation usually denotes a provocation to sin. Since therefore creatures were made by God alone, as was established in the FP, Question [44], Article [1], it seems that God is a cause of sin, by provoking man to sin.
Praeterea, quidquid est causa causae, est causa effectus. Sed Deus est causa liberi arbitrii, quod est causa peccati. Ergo Deus est causa peccati. Objection 3: Further, the cause of the cause is the cause of the effect. Now God is the cause of the free-will, which itself is the cause of sin. Therefore God is the cause of sin.
Praeterea, omne malum opponitur bono. Sed non repugnat divinae bonitati quod ipse sit causa mali poenae, de isto enim malo dicitur Isaiae XLV, quod Deus est creans malum; et Amos III, si est malum in civitate quod Deus non fecerit? Ergo etiam divinae bonitati non repugnat quod Deus sit causa culpae. Objection 4: Further, every evil is opposed to good. But it is not contrary to God's goodness that He should cause the evil of punishment; since of this evil it is written (Is. 45:7) that God creates evil, and (Amos 3:6): "Shall there be evil in the city which God [Vulg.: 'the Lord'] hath not done?" Therefore it is not incompatible with God's goodness that He should cause the evil of fault.
Sed contra, Sap. XI, dicitur de Deo, nihil odisti eorum quae fecisti. Odit autem Deus peccatum, secundum illud Sap. XIV, odio est Deo impius, et impietas eius. Ergo Deus non est causa peccati. On the contrary, It is written (Wis. 11:25): "Thou... hatest none of the things which Thou hast made." Now God hates sin, according to Wis. 14:9: "To God the wicked and his wickedness are hateful." Therefore God is not a cause of sin.
Respondeo dicendum quod homo dupliciter est causa peccati vel sui vel alterius. Uno modo, directe, inclinando scilicet voluntatem suam vel alterius ad peccandum. Alio modo, indirecte, dum scilicet non retrahit aliquos a peccato, unde Ezech. III speculatori dicitur, si non dixeris impio, morte morieris, sanguinem eius de manu tua requiram. Deus autem non potest esse directe causa peccati vel sui vel alterius. Quia omne peccatum est per recessum ab ordine qui est in ipsum sicut in finem. Deus autem omnia inclinat et convertit in seipsum sicut in ultimum finem, sicut Dionysius dicit, I cap. de Div. Nom. Unde impossibile est quod sit sibi vel aliis causa discedendi ab ordine qui est in ipsum. Unde non potest directe esse causa peccati. Similiter etiam neque indirecte. Contingit enim quod Deus aliquibus non praebet auxilium ad vitandum peccata, quod si praeberet, non peccarent. Sed hoc totum facit secundum ordinem suae sapientiae et iustitiae, cum ipse sit sapientia et iustitia. Unde non imputatur ei quod alius peccat, sicut causae peccati, sicut gubernator non dicitur causa submersionis navis ex hoc quod non gubernat navem, nisi quando subtrahit gubernationem potens et debens gubernare. Et sic patet quod Deus nullo modo est causa peccati. I answer that, Man is, in two ways, a cause either of his own or of another's sin. First, directly, namely be inclining his or another's will to sin; secondly, indirectly, namely be not preventing someone from sinning. Hence (Ezech. 3:18) it is said to the watchman: "If thou say not to the wicked: 'Thou shalt surely die' [*Vulg.: "If, when I say to the wicked, 'Thou shalt surely die,' thou declare it not to him."]... I will require his blood at thy hand." Now God cannot be directly the cause of sin, either in Himself or in another, since every sin is a departure from the order which is to God as the end: whereas God inclines and turns all things to Himself as to their last end, as Dionysius states (Div. Nom. i): so that it is impossible that He should be either to Himself or to another the cause of departing from the order which is to Himself. Therefore He cannot be directly the cause of sin. In like manner neither can He cause sin indirectly. For it happens that God does not give some the assistance, whereby they may avoid sin, which assistance were He to give, they would not sin. But He does all this according to the order of His wisdom and justice, since He Himself is Wisdom and Justice: so that if someone sin it is not imputable to Him as though He were the cause of that sin; even as a pilot is not said to cause the wrecking of the ship, through not steering the ship, unless he cease to steer while able and bound to steer. It is therefore evident that God is nowise a cause of sin.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, quantum ad verba apostoli, ex ipso textu patet solutio. Si enim Deus tradit aliquos in reprobum sensum, iam ergo reprobum sensum habent ad faciendum ea quae non conveniunt. Dicitur ergo tradere eos in reprobum sensum, inquantum non prohibet eos quin suum sensum reprobum sequantur, sicut dicimur exponere illos quos non tuemur. Quod autem Augustinus dicit, in libro de gratia et libero arbitrio, unde sumpta est Glossa, quod Deus inclinat voluntates hominum in bonum et malum; sic intelligendum est quod in bonum quidem directe inclinat voluntatem, in malum autem inquantum non prohibet, sicut dictum est. Et tamen hoc etiam contingit ex merito praecedentis peccati. Reply to Objection 1: As to the words of the Apostle, the solution is clear from the text. For if God delivered some up to a reprobate sense, it follows that they already had a reprobate sense, so as to do what was not right. Accordingly He is said to deliver them up to a reprobate sense, in so far as He does not hinder them from following that reprobate sense, even as we are said to expose a person to danger if we do not protect him. The saying of Augustine (De Grat. et Lib. Arb. xxi, whence the gloss quoted is taken) to the effect that "God inclines men's wills to good and evil," is to be understood as meaning that He inclines the will directly to good; and to evil, in so far as He does not hinder it, as stated above. And yet even this is due as being deserved through a previous sin.
Ad secundum dicendum quod, cum dicitur, creaturae Dei factae sunt in odium et in tentationem animae hominum, haec praepositio in non ponitur causaliter, sed consecutive, non enim Deus fecit creaturas ad malum hominum, sed hoc consecutum est propter insipientiam hominum. Unde subditur, et in muscipulam pedibus insipientium, qui scilicet per suam insipientiam utuntur creaturis ad aliud quam ad quod factae sunt. Reply to Objection 2: When it is said the "creatures of God are turned 'to' an abomination, and a temptation to the souls of men," the preposition "to" does not denote causality but sequel [*This is made clear by the Douay Version: the Latin "factae sunt in abominationem" admits of the translation "were made to be an abomination," which might imply causality.]; for God did not make the creatures that they might be an evil to man; this was the result of man's folly, wherefore the text goes on to say, "and a snare to the feet of the unwise," who, to wit, in their folly, use creatures for a purpose other than that for which they were made.
Ad tertium dicendum quod effectus causae mediae procedens ab ea secundum quod subditur ordini causae primae, reducitur etiam in causam primam. Sed si procedat a causa media secundum quod exit ordinem causae primae, non reducitur in causam primam, sicut si minister faciat aliquid contra mandatum domini, hoc non reducitur in dominum sicut in causam. Et similiter peccatum quod liberum arbitrium committit contra praeceptum Dei, non reducitur in Deum sicut in causam. Reply to Objection 3: The effect which proceeds from the middle cause, according as it is subordinate to the first cause, is reduced to that first cause; but if it proceed from the middle cause, according as it goes outside the order of the first cause, it is not reduced to that first cause: thus if a servant do anything contrary to his master's orders, it is not ascribed to the master as though he were the cause thereof. In like manner sin, which the free-will commits against the commandment of God, is not attributed to God as being its cause.
Ad quartum dicendum quod poena opponitur bono eius qui punitur, qui privatur quocumque bono. Sed culpa opponitur bono ordinis qui est in Deum, unde directe opponitur bonitati divinae. Et propter hoc non est similis ratio de culpa et poena. Reply to Objection 4: Punishment is opposed to the good of the person punished, who is thereby deprived of some good or other: but fault is opposed to the good of subordination to God; and so it is directly opposed to the Divine goodness; consequently there is no comparison between fault and punishment.

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Article: 2  [ << | >> ]

Whether the act of sin is from God?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod actus peccati non sit a Deo. Dicit enim Augustinus, in libro de perfectione iustitiae, quod actus peccati non est res aliqua. Omne autem quod est a Deo, est res aliqua. Ergo actus peccati non est a Deo. Objection 1: It would seem that the act of sin is not from God. For Augustine says (De Perfect. Justit. ii) that "the act of sin is not a thing." Now whatever is from God is a thing. Therefore the act of sin is not from God.
Praeterea, homo non dicitur esse causa peccati nisi quia homo est causa actus peccati, nullus enim intendens ad malum operatur, ut Dionysius dicit, IV cap. de Div. Nom. Sed Deus non est causa peccati, ut dictum est. Ergo Deus non est causa actus peccati. Objection 2: Further, man is not said to be the cause of sin, except because he is the cause of the sinful act: for "no one works, intending evil," as Dionysius states (Div. Nom. iv). Now God is not a cause of sin, as stated above (Article [1]). Therefore God is not the cause of the act of sin.
Praeterea, aliqui actus secundum suam speciem sunt mali et peccata, ut ex supradictis patet. Sed quidquid est causa alicuius, est causa eius quod convenit ei secundum suam speciem. Si ergo Deus esset causa actus peccati, sequeretur quod esset causa peccati. Sed hoc non est verum, ut ostensum est. Ergo Deus non est causa actus peccati. Objection 3: Further, some actions are evil and sinful in their species, as was shown above (Question [18], Articles [2],8). Now whatever is the cause of a thing, causes whatever belongs to it in respect of its species. If therefore God caused the act of sin, He would be the cause of sin, which is false, as was proved above (Article [1]). Therefore God is not the cause of the act of sin.
Sed contra, actus peccati est quidam motus liberi arbitrii. Sed voluntas Dei est causa omnium motionum, ut Augustinus dicit, III de Trin. Ergo voluntas Dei est causa actus peccati. On the contrary, The act of sin is a movement of the free-will. Now "the will of God is the cause of every movement," as Augustine declares (De Trin. iii, 4,9). Therefore God's will is the cause of the act of sin.
Respondeo dicendum quod actus peccati et est ens, et est actus; et ex utroque habet quod sit a Deo. Omne enim ens, quocumque modo sit, oportet quod derivetur a primo ente; ut patet per Dionysium, V cap. de Div. Nom. Omnis autem actio causatur ab aliquo existente in actu, quia nihil agit nisi secundum quod est actu, omne autem ens actu reducitur in primum actum, scilicet Deum, sicut in causam, qui est per suam essentiam actus. Unde relinquitur quod Deus sit causa omnis actionis, inquantum est actio. Sed peccatum nominat ens et actionem cum quodam defectu. Defectus autem ille est ex causa creata, scilicet libero arbitrio, inquantum deficit ab ordine primi agentis, scilicet Dei. Unde defectus iste non reducitur in Deum sicut in causam, sed in liberum arbitrium, sicut defectus claudicationis reducitur in tibiam curvam sicut in causam, non autem in virtutem motivam, a qua tamen causatur quidquid est motionis in claudicatione. Et secundum hoc, Deus est causa actus peccati, non tamen est causa peccati, quia non est causa huius, quod actus sit cum defectu. I answer that, The act of sin is both a being and an act; and in both respects it is from God. Because every being, whatever the mode of its being, must be derived from the First Being, as Dionysius declares (Div. Nom. v). Again every action is caused by something existing in act, since nothing produces an action save in so far as it is in act; and every being in act is reduced to the First Act, viz. God, as to its cause, Who is act by His Essence. Therefore God is the cause of every action, in so far as it is an action. But sin denotes a being and an action with a defect: and this defect is from the created cause, viz. the free-will, as falling away from the order of the First Agent, viz. God. Consequently this defect is not reduced to God as its cause, but to the free-will: even as the defect of limping is reduced to a crooked leg as its cause, but not to the motive power, which nevertheless causes whatever there is of movement in the limping. Accordingly God is the cause of the act of sin: and yet He is not the cause of sin, because He does not cause the act to have a defect.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod Augustinus nominat ibi rem id quod est res simpliciter, scilicet substantiam. Sic enim actus peccati non est res. Reply to Objection 1: In this passage Augustine calls by the name of "thing," that which is a thing simply, viz. substance; for in this sense the act of sin is not a thing.
Ad secundum dicendum quod in hominem sicut in causam reducitur non solum actus, sed etiam ipse defectus, quia scilicet non subditur ei cui debet subdi, licet hoc ipse non intendat principaliter. Et ideo homo est causa peccati. Sed Deus sic est causa actus, quod nullo modo est causa defectus concomitantis actum. Et ideo non est causa peccati. Reply to Objection 2: Not only the act, but also the defect, is reduced to man as its cause, which defect consists in man not being subject to Whom he ought to be, although he does not intend this principally. Wherefore man is the cause of the sin: while God is the cause of the act, in such a way, that nowise is He the cause of the defect accompanying the act, so that He is not the cause of the sin.
Ad tertium dicendum quod, sicut dictum est supra, actus et habitus non recipiunt speciem ex ipsa privatione, in qua consistit ratio mali; sed ex aliquo obiecto cui coniungitur talis privatio. Et sic ipse defectus, qui dicitur non esse a Deo, pertinet ad speciem actus consequenter, et non quasi differentia specifica. Reply to Objection 3: As stated above (Question [72], Article [1]), acts and habits do not take their species from the privation itself, wherein consists the nature of evil, but from some object, to which that privation is united: and so this defect which consists in not being from God, belongs to the species of the act consequently, and not as a specific difference.

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Article: 3  [ << | >> ]

Whether God is the cause of spiritual blindness and hardness of heart?

Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod Deus non sit causa excaecationis et indurationis. Dicit enim Augustinus, in libro octoginta trium quaest., quod Deus non est causa eius quod homo sit deterior. Sed per excaecationem et obdurationem fit homo deterior. Ergo Deus non est causa excaecationis et obdurationis. Objection 1: It would seem that God is not the cause of spiritual blindness and hardness of heart. For Augustine says (Qq. lxxxiii, qu. 3) that God is not the cause of that which makes man worse. Now man is made worse by spiritual blindness and hardness of heart. Therefore God is not the cause of spiritual blindness and hardness of heart.
Praeterea, Fulgentius dicit quod Deus non est ultor illius rei cuius est auctor. Sed Deus est ultor cordis obdurati, secundum illud Eccli. III, cor durum male habebit in novissimo. Ergo Deus non est causa obdurationis. Objection 2: Further, Fulgentius says (De Dupl. Praedest. i, 19): "God does not punish what He causes." Now God punishes the hardened heart, according to Ecclus. 3:27: "A hard heart shall fear evil at the last." Therefore God is not the cause of hardness of heart.
Praeterea, idem effectus non attribuitur causis contrariis. Sed causa excaecationis dicitur esse malitia hominis, secundum illud Sap. II, excaecavit enim eos malitia eorum; et etiam Diabolus, secundum illud II ad Cor. IV, Deus huius saeculi excaecavit mentes infidelium; quae quidem causae videntur esse contrariae Deo. Deus ergo non est causa excaecationis et obdurationis. Objection 3: Further, the same effect is not put down to contrary causes. But the cause of spiritual blindness is said to be the malice of man, according to Wis. 2:21: "For their own malice blinded them," and again, according to 2 Cor. 4:4: "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of unbelievers": which causes seem to be opposed to God. Therefore God is not the cause of spiritual blindness and hardness of heart.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Isaiae VI, excaeca cor populi huius, et aures eius aggrava. Et Rom. IX dicitur, cuius vult, miseretur; et quem vult, indurat. On the contrary, It is written (Is. 6:10): "Blind the heart of this people, and make their ears heavy," and Rm. 9:18: "He hath mercy on whom He will, and whom He will He hardeneth."
Respondeo dicendum quod excaecatio et obduratio duo important. Quorum unum est motus animi humani inhaerentis malo, et aversi a divino lumine. Et quantum ad hoc Deus non est causa excaecationis et obdurationis, sicut non est causa peccati. Aliud autem est subtractio gratiae, ex qua sequitur quod mens divinitus non illuminetur ad recte videndum, et cor hominis non emolliatur ad recte vivendum. Et quantum ad hoc Deus est causa excaecationis et obdurationis. I answer that, Spiritual blindness and hardness of heart imply two things. One is the movement of the human mind in cleaving to evil, and turning away from the Divine light; and as regards this, God is not the cause of spiritual blindness and hardness of heart, just as He is not the cause of sin. The other thing is the withdrawal of grace, the result of which is that the mind is not enlightened by God to see aright, and man's heart is not softened to live aright; and as regards this God is the cause of spiritual blindness and hardness of heart.
Est autem considerandum quod Deus est causa universalis illuminationis animarum, secundum illud Ioan. I, erat lux vera quae illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum, sicut sol est universalis causa illuminationis corporum. Aliter tamen et aliter, nam sol agit illuminando per necessitatem naturae; Deus autem agit voluntarie, per ordinem suae sapientiae. Sol autem, licet quantum est de se omnia corpora illuminet, si quod tamen impedimentum inveniat in aliquo corpore, relinquit illud tenebrosum, sicut patet de domo cuius fenestrae sunt clausae. Sed tamen illius obscurationis nullo modo causa est sol, non enim suo iudicio agit ut lumen interius non immittat, sed causa eius est solum ille qui claudit fenestram. Deus autem proprio iudicio lumen gratiae non immittit illis in quibus obstaculum invenit. Unde causa subtractionis gratiae est non solum ille qui ponit obstaculum gratiae, sed etiam Deus, qui suo iudicio gratiam non apponit. Et per hunc modum Deus est causa excaecationis, et aggravationis aurium, et obdurationis cordis. Now we must consider that God is the universal cause of the enlightening of souls, according to Jn. 1:9: "That was the true light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world," even as the sun is the universal cause of the enlightening of bodies, though not in the same way; for the sun enlightens by necessity of nature, whereas God works freely, through the order of His wisdom. Now although the sun, so far as it is concerned, enlightens all bodies, yet if it be encountered by an obstacle in a body, it leaves it in darkness, as happens to a house whose window-shutters are closed, although the sun is in no way the cause of the house being darkened, since it does not act of its own accord in failing to light up the interior of the house; and the cause of this is the person who closed the shutters. On the other hand, God, of His own accord, withholds His grace from those in whom He finds an obstacle: so that the cause of grace being withheld is not only the man who raises an obstacle to grace; but God, Who, of His own accord, withholds His grace. In this way, God is the cause of spiritual blindness, deafness of ear, and hardness of heart.
Quae quidem distinguuntur secundum effectus gratiae, quae et perficit intellectum dono sapientiae, et affectum emollit igne caritatis. Et quia ad cognitionem intellectus maxime deserviunt duo sensus, scilicet visus et auditus, quorum unus deservit inventioni, scilicet visus, alius disciplinae, scilicet auditus, ideo quantum ad visum, ponitur excaecatio; quantum ad auditum, aurium aggravatio; quantum ad affectum, obduratio. These differ from one another in respect of the effects of grace, which both perfects the intellect by the gift of wisdom, and softens the affections by the fire of charity. And since two of the senses excel in rendering service to the intellect, viz. sight and hearing, of which the former assists "discovery," and the latter, "teaching," hence it is that spiritual "blindness" corresponds to sight, "heaviness of the ears" to hearing, and "hardness of heart" to the affections.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, cum excaecatio et induratio, ex parte subtractionis gratiae, sint quaedam poenae, ex hac parte eis homo non fit deterior, sed deterior factus per culpam, haec incurrit, sicut et ceteras poenas. Reply to Objection 1: Blindness and hardheartedness, as regards the withholding of grace, are punishments, and therefore, in this respect, they make man no worse. It is because he is already worsened by sin that he incurs them, even as other punishments.
Ad secundum dicendum quod obiectio illa procedit de obduratione secundum quod est culpa. Reply to Objection 2: This argument considers hardheartedness in so far as it is a sin.
Ad tertium dicendum quod malitia est causa excaecationis meritoria, sicut culpa est causa poenae. Et hoc etiam modo Diabolus excaecare dicitur, inquantum inducit ad culpam. Reply to Objection 3: Malice is the demeritorious cause of blindness, just as sin is the cause of punishment: and in this way too, the devil is said to blind, in so far as he induces man to sin.

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Article: 4  [ << | >> ]

Whether blindness and hardness of heart are directed to the salvation of those who are blinded and hardened?

Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod excaecatio et obduratio semper ordinentur ad salutem eius qui excaecatur et obduratur. Dicit enim Augustinus, in Enchirid., quod Deus, cum sit summe bonus, nullo modo permitteret fieri aliquod malum, nisi posset ex quolibet malo elicere bonum. Multo igitur magis ordinat ad bonum illud malum cuius ipse est causa. Sed excaecationis et obdurationis Deus est causa, ut dictum est. Ergo haec ordinantur ad salutem eius qui excaecatur vel induratur. Objection 1: It would seem that blindness and hardness of heart are always directed to the salvation of those who are blinded and hardened. For Augustine says (Enchiridion xi) that "as God is supremely good, He would nowise allow evil to be done, unless He could draw some good from every evil." Much more, therefore, does He direct to some good, the evil of which He Himself is the cause. Now God is the cause of blindness and hardness of heart, as stated above (Article [3]). Therefore they are directed to the salvation of those who are blinded and hardened.
Praeterea, Sap. I dicitur quod Deus non delectatur in perditione impiorum. Videretur autem in eorum perditione delectari, si eorum excaecationem in bonum eorum non converteret, sicut medicus videretur delectari in afflictione infirmi, si medicinam amaram, quam infirmo propinat, ad eius sanitatem non ordinaret. Ergo Deus excaecationem convertit in bonum excaecatorum. Objection 2: Further, it is written (Wis. 1:13) that "God hath no pleasure in the destruction of the ungodly [*Vulg.: 'God made not death, neither hath He pleasure in the destruction of the living.']." Now He would seem to take pleasure in their destruction, if He did not turn their blindness to their profit: just as a physician would seem to take pleasure in torturing the invalid, if he did not intend to heal the invalid when he prescribes a bitter medicine for him. Therefore God turns blindness to the profit of those who are blinded.
Praeterea, Deus non est personarum acceptor, ut dicitur Act. X. Sed quorundam excaecationem ordinat ad eorum salutem, sicut quorundam Iudaeorum, qui excaecati sunt ut Christo non crederent, et non credentes occiderent, et postmodum compuncti converterentur, sicut de quibusdam legitur Act. II; ut patet per Augustinum, in libro de quaest. Evang. Ergo Deus omnium excaecationem convertit in eorum salutem. Objection 3: Further, "God is not a respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34). Now He directs the blinding of some, to their salvation, as in the case of some of the Jews, who were blinded so as not to believe in Christ, and, through not believing, to slay Him, and afterwards were seized with compunction, and converted, as related by Augustine (De Quaest. Evang. iii). Therefore God turns all blindness to the spiritual welfare of those who are blinded.
Sed contra, non sunt facienda mala ut veniant bona, ut dicitur Rom. III. Sed excaecatio est malum. Ergo Deus non excaecat aliquos propter eorum bonum. Objection 4: On the other hand, according to Rm. 3:8, evil should not be done, that good may ensue. Now blindness is an evil. Therefore God does not blind some for the sake of their welfare.
Respondeo dicendum quod excaecatio est quoddam praeambulum ad peccatum. Peccatum autem ad duo ordinatur, ad unum quidem per se, scilicet ad damnationem; ad aliud autem ex misericordi Dei providentia, scilicet ad sanationem, inquantum Deus permittit aliquos cadere in peccatum, ut peccatum suum agnoscentes, humilientur et convertantur, sicut Augustinus dicit, in libro de natura et gratia. Unde et excaecatio ex sui natura ordinatur ad damnationem eius qui excaecatur, propter quod etiam ponitur reprobationis effectus, sed ex divina misericordia excaecatio ad tempus ordinatur medicinaliter ad salutem eorum qui excaecantur. Sed haec misericordia non omnibus impenditur excaecatis, sed praedestinatis solum, quibus omnia cooperantur in bonum, sicut dicitur Rom. VIII. Unde quantum ad quosdam, excaecatio ordinatur ad sanationem, quantum autem ad alios, ad damnationem, ut Augustinus dicit, in III de quaest. Evang. I answer that, Blindness is a kind of preamble to sin. Now sin has a twofold relation—to one thing directly, viz. to the sinner's damnation—to another, by reason of God's mercy or providence, viz. that the sinner may be healed, in so far as God permits some to fall into sin, that by acknowledging their sin, they may be humbled and converted, as Augustine states (De Nat. et Grat. xxii). Therefore blindness, of its very nature, is directed to the damnation of those who are blinded; for which reason it is accounted an effect of reprobation. But, through God's mercy, temporary blindness is directed medicinally to the spiritual welfare of those who are blinded. This mercy, however, is not vouchsafed to all those who are blinded, but only to the predestinated, to whom "all things work together unto good" (Rm. 8:28). Therefore as regards some, blindness is directed to their healing; but as regards others, to their damnation; as Augustine says (De Quaest. Evang. iii).
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod omnia mala quae Deus facit vel permittit fieri, ordinantur in aliquod bonum, non tamen semper in bonum eius in quo est malum, sed quandoque ad bonum alterius, vel etiam totius universi. Sicut culpam tyrannorum ordinavit in bonum martyrum; et poenam damnatorum ordinat in gloriam suae iustitiae. Reply to Objection 1: Every evil that God does, or permits to be done, is directed to some good; yet not always to the good of those in whom the evil is, but sometimes to the good of others, or of the whole universe: thus He directs the sin of tyrants to the good of the martyrs, and the punishment of the lost to the glory of His justice.
Ad secundum dicendum quod Deus non delectatur in perditione hominum quantum ad ipsam perditionem, sed ratione suae iustitiae, vel propter bonum quod inde provenit. Reply to Objection 2: God does not take pleasure in the loss of man, as regards the loss itself, but by reason of His justice, or of the good that ensues from the loss.
Ad tertium dicendum quod hoc quod Deus aliquorum excaecationem ordinat in eorum salutem, misericordiae est, quod autem excaecatio aliorum ordinetur ad eorum damnationem, iustitiae est. Quod autem misericordiam quibusdam impendit et non omnibus, non facit personarum acceptionem in Deo, sicut in primo dictum est. Reply to Objection 3: That God directs the blindness of some to their spiritual welfare, is due to His mercy; but that the blindness of others is directed to their loss is due to His justice: and that He vouchsafes His mercy to some, and not to all, does not make God a respecter of persons, as explained in the FP, Question [23], Article [5], ad 3.
Ad quartum dicendum quod mala culpae non sunt facienda ut veniant bona, sed mala poenae sunt inferenda propter bonum. Reply to Objection 4: Evil of fault must not be done, that good may ensue; but evil of punishment must be inflicted for the sake of good.

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