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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • SECOND PART
    • Aquin.: SMT FS Prologue Para. 1/1 - FIRST PART OF THE SECOND PART (FS) (QQ[1]-114)
      • Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE CAUSE OF SIN, AS REGARDS THE DEVIL (FOUR ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE CAUSE OF SIN, AS REGARDS THE DEVIL (FOUR ARTICLES)

We must now consider the cause of sin, as regards the devil; and under
this head there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether the devil is directly the cause of sin?

(2) Whether the devil induces us to sin, by persuading us inwardly?

(3) Whether he can make us sin of necessity?

(4) Whether all sins are due to the devil's suggestion?


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the devil is directly the cause of man's sinning?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the devil is directly the cause of man's
sinning. For sin consists directly in an act of the appetite. Now
Augustine says (De Trin. iv, 12) that "the devil inspires his friends
with evil desires"; and Bede, commenting on Acts 5:3, says that the devil
"draws the mind to evil desires"; and Isidore says (De Summo Bono ii, 41;
iii, 5) that the devil "fills men's hearts with secret lusts." Therefore
the devil is directly the cause of sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, Jerome says (Contra Jovin. ii, 2) that "as God is the
perfecter of good, so is the devil the perfecter of evil." But God is
directly the cause of our good. Therefore the devil is directly the cause
of our sins.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the Philosopher says in a chapter of the Eudemein Ethics
(vii, 18): "There must needs be some extrinsic principle of human
counsel." Now human counsel is not only about good things but also about
evil things. Therefore, as God moves man to take good counsel, and so is
the cause of good, so the devil moves him to take evil counsel, and
consequently is directly the cause of sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine proves (De Lib. Arb. i, 11) that "nothing
else than his own will makes man's mind the slave of his desire." Now man
does not become a slave to his desires, except through sin. Therefore the
cause of sin cannot be the devil, but man's own will alone.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[1] Body Para. 1/3

I answer that, Sin is an action: so that a thing can be directly the
cause of sin, in the same way as anyone is directly the cause of an
action; and this can only happen by moving that action's proper principle
to act. Now the proper principle of a sinful action is the will, since
every sin is voluntary. Consequently nothing can be directly the cause of
sin, except that which can move the will to act.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[1] Body Para. 2/3

Now the will, as stated above (Q[9], AA[3],4,6), can be moved by two
things: first by its object, inasmuch as the apprehended appetible is
said to move the appetite: secondly by that agent which moves the will
inwardly to will, and this is no other than the will itself, or God, as
was shown above (Q[9], AA[3],4,6). Now God cannot be the cause of sin, as
stated above (Q[79], A[1]). Therefore it follows that in this respect, a
man's will alone is directly the cause of his sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[1] Body Para. 3/3

As regards the object, a thing may be understood as moving the will in
three ways. First, the object itself which is proposed to the will: thus
we say that food arouses man's desire to eat. Secondly, he that proposes
or offers this object. Thirdly, he that persuades the will that the
object proposed has an aspect of good, because he also, in a fashion,
offers the will its proper object, which is a real or apparent good of
reason. Accordingly, in the first way the sensible things, which approach
from without, move a man's will to sin. In the second and third ways,
either the devil or a man may incite to sin, either by offering an object
of appetite to the senses, or by persuading the reason. But in none of
these three ways can anything be the direct cause of sin, because the
will is not, of necessity, moved by any object except the last end, as
stated above (Q[10], AA[1],2). Consequently neither the thing offered
from without, nor he that proposes it, nor he that persuades, is the
sufficient cause of sin. Therefore it follows that the devil is a cause
of sin, neither directly nor sufficiently, but only by persuasion, or by
proposing the object of appetite.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: All these, and other like authorities, if we meet with
them, are to be understood as denoting that the devil induces man to
affection for a sin, either by suggesting to him, or by offering him
objects of appetite.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: This comparison is true in so far as the devil is somewhat
the cause of our sins, even as God is in a certain way the cause of our
good actions, but does not extend to the mode of causation: for God
causes good things in us by moving the will inwardly, whereas the devil
cannot move us in this way.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: God is the universal principle of all inward movements of
man; but that the human will be determined to an evil counsel, is
directly due to the human will, and to the devil as persuading or
offering the object of appetite.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the devil can induce man to sin, by internal instigations?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the devil cannot induce man to sin, by
internal instigations. Because the internal movements of the soul are
vital functions. Now no vital functions can be exercised except by an
intrinsic principle, not even those of the vegetal soul, which are the
lowest of vital functions. Therefore the devil cannot instigate man to
evil through his internal movements.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, all the internal movements arise from the external
senses according to the order of nature. Now it belongs to God alone to
do anything beside the order of nature, as was stated in the FP, Q[110],
A[4]. Therefore the devil cannot effect anything in man's internal
movements, except in respect of things which are perceived by the
external senses.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the internal acts of the soul are to understand and to
imagine. Now the devil can do nothing in connection with either of these,
because, as stated in the FP, Q[111], AA[2],3, ad 2, the devil cannot
impress species on the human intellect, nor does it seem possible for him
to produce imaginary species, since imaginary forms, being more
spiritual, are more excellent than those which are in sensible matter,
which, nevertheless, the devil is unable to produce, as is clear from
what we have said in the FP, Q[110], A[2]; FP, Q[111], AA[2],3, ad 2.
Therefore the devil cannot through man's internal movements induce him to
sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, In that case, the devil would never tempt man, unless
he appeared visibly; which is evidently false.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[2] Body Para. 1/3

I answer that, The interior part of the soul is intellective and
sensitive; and the intellective part contains the intellect and the will.
As regards the will, we have already stated (A[1]; FP, Q[111], A[1]) what
is the devil's relation thereto. Now the intellect, of its very nature,
is moved by that which enlightens it in the knowledge of truth, which the
devil has no intention of doing in man's regard; rather does he darken
man's reason so that it may consent to sin, which darkness is due to the
imagination and sensitive appetite. Consequently the operation of the
devil seems to be confined to the imagination and sensitive appetite, by
moving either of which he can induce man to sin. For his operation may
result in presenting certain forms to the imagination; and he is able to
incite the sensitive appetite to some passion or other.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[2] Body Para. 2/3

The reason of this is, that as stated in the FP, Q[110], A[3], the
corporeal nature has a natural aptitude to be moved locally by the
spiritual nature: so that the devil can produce all those effects which
can result from the local movement of bodies here below, except he be
restrained by the Divine power. Now the representation of forms to the
imagination is due, sometimes, to local movement: for the Philosopher
says (De Somno et Vigil.) [*De Insomn. iii, iv.] that "when an animal
sleeps, the blood descends in abundance to the sensitive principle, and
the movements descend with it, viz. the impressions left by the action
of sensible objects, which impressions are preserved by means of sensible
species, and continue to move the apprehensive principle, so that they
appear just as though the sensitive principles were being affected by them at the time." Hence such a local movement of the vital spirits or
humors can be procured by the demons, whether man sleep or wake: and so
it happens that man's imagination is brought into play.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[2] Body Para. 3/3

In like manner, the sensitive appetite is incited to certain passions
according to certain fixed movements of the heart and the vital spirits:
wherefore the devil can cooperate in this also. And through certain
passions being aroused in the sensitive appetite, the result is that man
more easily perceives the movement or sensible image which is brought in
the manner explained, before the apprehensive principle, since, as the
Philosopher observes (De Somno et Virgil.: De Insomn. iii, iv), "lovers
are moved, by even a slight likeness, to an apprehension of the beloved."
It also happens, through the rousing of a passion, that what is put
before the imagination, is judged, as being something to be pursued,
because, to him who is held by a passion, whatever the passion inclines
him to, seems good. In this way the devil induces man inwardly to sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Although vital functions are always from an intrinsic
principle, yet an extrinsic agent can cooperate with them, even as
external heat cooperates with the functions of the vegetal soul, that
food may be more easily digested.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/2

Reply OBJ 2: This apparition of imaginary forms is not altogether
outside the order of nature, nor is it due to a command alone, but
according to local movement, as explained above.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 2/2

Consequently the Reply to the Third Objection is clear, because these
forms are received originally from the senses.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the devil can induce man to sin of necessity?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the devil can induce man to sin of necessity.
Because the greater can compel the lesser. Now it is said of the devil
(Job 41:24) that "there is no power on earth that can compare with him."
Therefore he can compel man to sin, while he dwells on the earth.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, man's reason cannot be moved except in respect of things
that are offered outwardly to the senses, or are represented to the
imagination: because "all our knowledge arises from the senses, and we
cannot understand without a phantasm" (De Anima iii, text. 30. 39). Now
the devil can move man's imagination, as stated above (A[2]); and also
the external senses, for Augustine says (Qq. lxxxiii, qu. 12) that "this
evil," of which, to wit, the devil is the cause, "extends gradually
through all the approaches to the senses, it adapts itself to shapes,
blends with colors, mingles with sounds, seasons every flavor." Therefore
it can incline man's reason to sin of necessity.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xix, 4) that "there is some
sin when the flesh lusteth against the spirit." Now the devil can cause
concupiscence of the flesh, even as other passions, in the way explained
above (A[2]). Therefore he can induce man to sin of necessity.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[3] OTC Para. 1/2

On the contrary, It is written (1 Pt. 5:8): "Your adversary the devil,
as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour." Now it would
be useless to admonish thus, if it were true that man were under the
necessity of succumbing to the devil. Therefore he cannot induce man to
sin of necessity.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[3] OTC Para. 2/2

Further, it is likewise written (Jam. 4:7): "Be subject . . . to God,
but resist the devil, and he will fly from you," which would be said
neither rightly nor truly, if the devil were able to compel us, in any
way whatever, to sin; for then neither would it be possible to resist
him, nor would he fly from those who do. Therefore he does not compel to
sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[3] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, The devil, by his own power, unless he be restrained by
God, can compel anyone to do an act which, in its genus, is a sin; but he
cannot bring about the necessity of sinning. This is evident from the
fact that man does not resist that which moves him to sin, except by his
reason; the use of which the devil is able to impede altogether, by
moving the imagination and the sensitive appetite; as is the case with
one who is possessed. But then, the reason being thus fettered, whatever
man may do, it is not imputed to him as a sin. If, however, the reason is
not altogether fettered, then, in so far as it is free, it can resist
sin, as stated above (Q[77], A[7]). It is consequently evident that the
devil can nowise compel man to sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Not every power that is greater than man, can move man's
will; God alone can do this, as stated above (Q[9], A[6]).

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: That which is apprehended by the senses or the imagination
does not move the will, of necessity, so long as man has the use of
reason; nor does such an apprehension always fetter the reason.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The lusting of the flesh against the spirit, when the
reason actually resists it, is not a sin, but is matter for the exercise
of virtue. That reason does not resist, is not in the devil's power;
wherefore he cannot bring about the necessity of sinning.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether all the sins of men are due to the devil's suggestion?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that all the sins of men are due to the devil's
suggestion. For Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that the "crowd of demons
are the cause of all evils, both to themselves and to others."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, whoever sins mortally, becomes the slave of the devil,
according to Jn. 8:34: "Whosoever committeth sin is the slave [Douay:
'servant'] of sin." Now "by whom a man is overcome, of the same also he
is the slave" (2 Pt. 2:19). Therefore whoever commits a sin, has been
overcome by the devil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, Gregory says (Moral. iv, 10) the sin of the devil is
irreparable, because he sinned at no other's suggestion. Therefore, if
any men were to sin of their own free-will and without suggestion from
any other, their sin would be irremediable: which is clearly false.
Therefore all the sins of men are due to the devil's suggestion.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is written (De Eccl. Dogm. lxxxii): "Not all our
evil thoughts are incited by the devil; sometimes they are due to a
movement of the free-will."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[4] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, the devil is the occasional and indirect cause of all our
sins, in so far as he induced the first man to sin, by reason of whose
sin human nature is so infected, that we are all prone to sin: even as
the burning of wood might be imputed to the man who dried the wood so as
to make it easily inflammable. He is not, however, the direct cause of
all the sins of men, as though each were the result of his suggestion.
Origen proves this (Peri Archon iii, 2) from the fact that even if the
devil were no more, men would still have the desire for food, sexual
pleasures and the like; which desire might be inordinate, unless it were
subordinate to reason, a matter that is subject to the free-will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The crowd of demons are the cause of all our evils, as
regards their original cause, as stated.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: A man becomes another's slave not only by being overcome by
him, but also by subjecting himself to him spontaneously: it is thus that
one who sins of his own accord, becomes the slave of the devil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[80] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The devil's sin was irremediable, not only because he
sinned without another's suggestion; but also because he was not already
prone to sin, on account of any previous sin; which can be said of no sin
of man.





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