|Saint Thomas Aquinas
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Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province
Treatise on Man (Questions 75-102)
We next consider what belongs to the will of the first man; concerning which there are two points of treatment: (1) the grace and righteousness of the first man; (2) the use of righteousness as regards his dominion over other things.
Under the first head there are four points of inquiry: (1) Whether the first man was created in grace? (2) Whether in the state of innocence he had passions of the soul? (3) Whether he had all virtues? (4) Whether what he did would have been as meritorious as now?
We proceed thus to the First Article:ó
Objection 1. It would seem that the first man was not created in grace. For the Apostle, distinguishing between Adam and Christ, says (1 Cor. xv. 45): The first Adam was made into a living soul; the last Adam into a quickening spirit. But the spirit is quickened by grace. Therefore Christ alone was made in grace.
Obj. 2. Further, Augustine says (QQ. Vet. et Nov. Test., qu. 123 [work of an anonymous author, among the supposititious works of S. Augustine]) that Adam did not possess the Holy Ghost. But whoever possesses grace has the Holy Ghost. Therefore Adam was not created in grace.
Obj. 3. Further, Augustine says (De Correp. et Grat. x) that God so ordered the life of the angels and men, as to show first what they could do by free-will, then what they could do by His grace, and by the discernment of righteousness. God thus first created men and angels in the state of natural free-will only; and afterwards bestowed grace on them.
Obj. 4. Further, the Master says (2 Sent., D. xxiv): When man was created he was given sufficient help to stand, but not sufficient to advance. But whoever has grace can advance by merit. Therefore the first man was not created in grace.
Obj. 5. Further, the reception of grace requires the consent of the recipient, since thereby a kind of spiritual marriage takes place between God and the soul. But consent presupposes existence. Therefore man did not receive grace in the first moment of his creation.
Obj. 6. Further, nature is more distant from grace than grace is from glory, which is but grace consummated. But in man grace precedes glory. Therefore much more did nature precede grace.
On the contrary, Man and angel are both ordained to grace. But the angels were created in grace, for Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xii. 9): God at the same time fashioned their nature and endowed them with grace. Therefore man also was created in grace.
I answer that, Some say that man was not created in grace; but that it was bestowed on him subsequently before sin: and many authorities of the Saints declare that man possessed grace in the state of innocence.
But the very rectitude of the primitive state, wherewith man was endowed by God, seems to require that, as others say, he was created in grace, according to Eccles. vii. 30, God made man right. For this rectitude consisted in his reason being subject to God, the lower powers to reason, and the body to the soul: and the first subjection was the cause of both the second and the third; since while reason was subject to God, the lower powers remained subject to reason, as Augustine says [cf. De Civ. Dei xiii. 13; De Pecc. Merit. et Remiss. i. 16]. Now it is clear that such a subjection of the body to the soul and of the lower powers to reason, was not from nature; otherwise it would have remained after sin; since even in the demons the natural gifts remained after sin, as Dionysius declared (Div. Nom. iv). Hence it is clear that also the primitive subjection by virtue of which reason was subject to God, was not a merely natural gift, but a supernatural endowment of grace; for it is not possible that the effect should be of greater efficiency than the cause. Hence Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiii. 13) that, as soon as they disobeyed the Divine command, and forfeited Divine grace, they were ashamed of their nakedness, for they felt the impulse of disobedience in the flesh, as though it were a punishment corresponding to their own disobedience. Hence if the loss of grace dissolved the obedience of the flesh to the soul, we may gather that the inferior powers were subjected to the soul through grace existing therein.
Reply Obj. 1. The Apostle in these words means to show that there is a spiritual body, if there is an animal body, inasmuch as the spiritual life of the body began in Christ, who is the firstborn of the dead, as the bodyís animal life began in Adam. From the Apostleís words, therefore, we cannot gather that Adam had no spiritual life in his soul; but that he had not spiritual life as regards the body.
Reply Obj. 2. As Augustine says in the same passage, it is not disputed that Adam, like other just souls, was in some degree gifted with the Holy Ghost; but he did not possess the Holy Ghost, as the faithful possess Him now, who are admitted to eternal happiness directly after death.
Reply Obj. 3. This passage from Augustine does not assert that angels or men were created with natural free-will before they possessed grace; but that God shows first what their free-will could do before being confirmed in grace, and what they acquired afterwards by being so confirmed.
Reply Obj. 4. The Master here speaks according to the opinion of those who held that man was not created in grace, but only in a state of nature. We may also say that, though man was created in grace, yet it was not by virtue of the nature wherein he was created that he could advance by merit, but by virtue of the grace which was added.
Reply Obj. 5. As the motion of the will is not continuous there is nothing against the first man having consented to grace even in the first moment of his existence.
Reply Obj. 6. We merit glory by an act of grace; but we do not merit grace by an act of nature; hence the comparison fails.
We proceed thus to the Second Article:ó
Objection 1. It would seem that the first manís soul had no passions. For by the passions of the soul the flesh lusteth against the spirit (Gal. v. 7). But this did not happen in the state of innocence. Therefore in the state of innocence there were no passions of the soul.
Obj. 2. Further, Adamís soul was nobler than his body. But his body was impassible. Therefore no passions were in his soul.
Obj. 3. Further, the passions of the soul are restrained by the moral virtues. But in Adam the moral virtues were perfect. Therefore the passions were entirely excluded from him.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiv. 10) that in our first parents there was undisturbed love of God, and other passions of the soul.
I answer that, The passions of the soul are in the sensual appetite, the object of which is good and evil. Wherefore some passions of the soul are directed to what is good, as love and joy; others to what is evil, as fear and sorrow. And since in the primitive state, evil was neither present nor imminent, nor was any good wanting which a good-will could desire to have then, as Augustine says (ibid.), therefore Adam had no passion with evil as its object; such as fear, sorrow, and the like; neither had he passions in respect of good not possessed, but to be possessed then, as burning concupiscence. But those passions which regard present good, as joy and love; or which regard future good to be had at the proper time, as desire and hope that casteth not down, existed in the state of innocence; otherwise, however, than as they exist in ourselves. For our sensual appetite, wherein the passions reside, is not entirely subject to reason; hence at times our passions forestall and hinder reasonís judgment; at other times they follow reasonís judgment, accordingly as the sensual appetite obeys reason to some extent. But in the state of innocence the inferior appetite was wholly subject to reason: so that in that state the passions of the soul existed only as consequent upon the judgment of reason.
Reply Obj. 1. The flesh lusts against the spirit by the rebellion of the passions against reason; which could not occur in the state of innocence.
Reply Obj. 2. The human body was impassible in the state of innocence as regards the passions which alter the disposition of nature, as will be explained later on (Q. 97, A. 2); likewise the soul was impassible as regards the passions which impede the free use of reason.
Reply Obj. 3. Perfection of moral virtue does not wholly take away the passions, but regulates them; for the temperate man desires as he ought to desire, and what he ought to desire, as stated in Ethic. iii. 11.
We proceed thus to the Third Article:ó
Objection 1. It would seem that Adam had not all the virtues. For some virtues are directed to curb passions: thus immoderate concupiscence is restrained by temperance, and immoderate fear by fortitude. But in the state of innocence no immoderation existed in the passions. Therefore neither did these virtues then exist.
Obj. 2. Further, some virtues are concerned with the passions which have evil as their object; as meekness with anger; fortitude with fear. But these passions did not exist in the state of innocence, as stated above (A. 2). Therefore neither did those virtues exist then.
Obj. 3. Further, penance is a virtue that regards sin committed. Mercy, too, is a virtue concerned with unhappiness. But in the state of innocence neither sin nor unhappiness existed. Therefore neither did those virtues exist.
Obj. 4. Further, perseverance is a virtue. But Adam possessed it not; as proved by his subsequent sin. Therefore he possessed not every virtue.
Obj. 5. Further, faith is a virtue. But it did not exist in the state of innocence; for it implies an obscurity of knowledge which seems to be incompatible with the perfection of the primitive state.
On the contrary, Augustine says, in a homily (Serm. contra Judśos): The prince of sin overcame Adam who was made from the slime of the earth to the image of God, adorned with modesty, restrained by temperance, refulgent with brightness.
I answer that, in the state of innocence man in a certain sense possessed all the virtues; and this can be proved from what precedes. For it was shown above (A. 1) that such was the rectitude of the primitive state, that reason was subject to God, and the lower powers to reason. Now the virtues are nothing but those perfections whereby reason is directed to God, and the inferior powers regulated according to the dictate of reason, as will be explained in the Treatise on the Virtues (I-II, Q. 63, A. 2). Wherefore the rectitude of the primitive state required that man should in a sense possess every virtue.
It must, however, be noted that some virtues of their very nature do not involve imperfection, such as charity and justice; and these virtues did exist in the primitive state absolutely, both in habit and in act. But other virtues are of such a nature as to imply imperfection either in their act, or on the part of the matter. If such imperfection be consistent with the perfection of the primitive state, such virtues necessarily existed in that state; as faith, which is of things not seen, and hope which is of things not yet possessed. For the perfection of that state did not extend to the vision of the Divine Essence, and the possession of God with the enjoyment of final beatitude. Hence faith and hope could exist in the primitive state, both as to habit and as to act. But any virtue which implies imperfection incompatible with the perfection of the primitive state, could exist in that state as a habit, but not as to the act; for instance, penance, which is sorrow for sin committed; and mercy, which is sorrow for othersí unhappiness; because sorrow, guilt, and unhappiness are incompatible with the perfection of the primitive state. Wherefore such virtues existed as habits in the first man, but not as to their acts; for he was so disposed that he would repent, if there had been a sin to repent for; and had he seen unhappiness in his neighbor, he would have done his best to remedy it. This is in accordance with what the Philosopher says, Shame, which regards what is ill done, may be found in a virtuous man, but only conditionally; as being so disposed that he would be ashamed if he did wrong (Ethic. iv. 9).
Reply Obj. 1. It is accidental to temperance and fortitude to subdue superabundant passion, in so far as they are in a subject which happens to have superabundant passions, and yet those virtues are per se competent to moderate the passions.
Reply Obj. 2. Passions which have evil for their object were incompatible with the perfection of the primitive state, if that evil be in the one affected by the passion; such as fear and sorrow. But passions which relate to evil in another are not incompatible with the perfection of the primitive state; for in that state man could hate the demonsí malice, as he could love Godís goodness. Thus the virtues which relate to such passions could exist in the primitive state, in habit and in act. Virtues, however, relating to passions which regard evil in the same subject, if relating to such passions only, could not exist in the primitive state in act, but only in habit, as we have said above of penance and of mercy. But other virtues there are which have relation not to such passions only, but to others; such as temperance, which relates not only to sorrow, but also to joy; and fortitude, which relates not only to fear, but also to daring and hope. Thus the act of temperance could exist in the primitive state, so far as it moderates pleasure; and in like manner, fortitude, as moderating daring and hope, but not as moderating sorrow and fear.
Reply Obj. 3 appears from what has been said above.
Reply Obj. 4. Perseverance may be taken in two ways: in one sense as a particular virtue, signifying a habit whereby a man makes a choice of persevering in good; in that sense Adam possessed perseverance. In another sense it is taken as a circumstance of virtue; signifying a certain uninterrupted continuation of virtue; in which sense Adam did not possess perseverance.
Reply Obj. 5 appears from what has been said above.
We proceed thus to the Fourth Article:ó
Objection 1. It would seem that the actions of the first man were less meritorious than ours are. For grace is given to us through the mercy of God, Who succors most those who are most in need. Now we are more in need of grace than was man in the state of innocence. Therefore grace is more copiously poured out upon us; and since grace is the source of merit, our actions are more meritorious.
Obj. 2. Further, struggle and difficulty are required for merit; for it is written (2 Tim. ii. 5): HeÖis not crowned except he strive lawfully and the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii. 3): The object of virtue is the difficult and the good. But there is more strife and difficulty now. Therefore there is greater efficacy for merit.
Obj. 3. Further, the Master says (2 Sent., D. xxiv) that man would not have merited in resisting temptation; whereas he does merit now, when he resists. Therefore our actions are more meritorious than in the primitive state.
On the contrary, if such were the case, man would be better off after sinning.
I answer that, Merit as regards degree may be gauged in two ways. First, in its root, which is grace and charity. Merit thus measured corresponds in degree to the essential reward, which consists in the enjoyment of God; for the greater the charity whence our actions proceed, the more perfectly shall we enjoy God. Secondly, the degree of merit is measured by the degree of the action itself. This degree is of two kinds, absolute and proportional. The widow who put two mites into the treasury performed a deed of absolutely less degree than the others who put great sums therein. But in proportionate degree the widow gave more, as Our Lord said; because she gave more in proportion to her means. In each of these cases the degree of merit corresponds to the accidental reward, which consists in rejoicing for created good.
We conclude therefore that in the state of innocence manís works were more meritorious than after sin was committed, if we consider the degree of merit on the part of grace, which would have been more copious as meeting with no obstacle in human nature: and in like manner, if we consider the absolute degree of the work done; because, as man would have had greater virtue, he would have performed greater works. But if we consider the proportionate degree, a greater reason for merit exists after sin, on account of manís weakness; because a small deed is more beyond the capacity of one who works with difficulty than a great deed is beyond one who performs it easily.
Reply Obj. 1. After sin man requires grace for more things than before sin; but he does not need grace more; forasmuch as man even before sin required grace to obtain eternal life, which is the chief reason for the need of grace. But after sin man required grace also for the remission of sin, and for the support of his weakness.
Reply Obj. 2. Difficulty and struggle belong to the degree of merit according to the proportionate degree of the work done, as above explained. It is also a sign of the willís promptitude striving after what is difficult to itself: and the promptitude of the will is caused by the intensity of charity. Yet it may happen that a person performs an easy deed with as prompt a will as another performs an arduous deed; because he is ready to do even what may be difficult to him. But the actual difficulty, by its penal character, enables the deed to satisfy for sin.
Reply Obj. 3. The first man would not have gained merit in resisting temptation, according to the opinion of those who say that he did not possess grace; even as now there is no merit to those who have not grace. But in this point there is a difference, inasmuch as in the primitive state there was no interior impulse to evil, as in our present state. Hence man was more able then than now to resist temptation even without grace.