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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[86] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE STAIN OF SIN (TWO ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE STAIN OF SIN (TWO ARTICLES)

We must now consider the stain of sin; under which head there are two
points of inquiry:

(1) Whether an effect of sin is a stain on the soul?

(2) Whether it remains in the soul after the act of sin?


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether sin causes a stain on the soul?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that sin causes no stain on the soul. For a higher
nature cannot be defiled by contact with a lower nature: hence the sun's
ray is not defiled by contact with tainted bodies, as Augustine says
(Contra Quinque Haereses v). Now the human soul is of a much higher
nature than mutable things, to which it turns by sinning. Therefore it
does not contract a stain from them by sinning.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, sin is chiefly in the will, as stated above (Q[74],
AA[1],2). Now the will is in the reason, as stated in De Anima iii, text.
42. But the reason or intellect is not stained by considering anything
whatever; rather indeed is it perfected thereby. Therefore neither is the
will stained by sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, if sin causes a stain, this stain is either something
positive, or a pure privation. If it be something positive, it can only
be either a disposition or a habit: for it seems that nothing else can be
caused by an act. But it is neither disposition nor habit: for it happens
that a stain remains even after the removal of a disposition or habit;
for instance, in a man who after committing a mortal sin of prodigality,
is so changed as to fall into a sin of the opposite vice. Therefore the
stain does not denote anything positive in the soul. Again, neither is it
a pure privation. Because all sins agree on the part of aversion and
privation of grace: and so it would follow that there is but one stain
caused by all sins. Therefore the stain is not the effect of sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It was said to Solomon (Ecclus. 47:22): "Thou hast
stained thy glory": and it is written (Eph. 5:27): "That He might present
it to Himself a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle": and in each
case it is question of the stain of sin. Therefore a stain is the effect
of sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, A stain is properly ascribed to corporeal things, when a
comely body loses its comeliness through contact with another body, e.g.
a garment, gold or silver, or the like. Accordingly a stain is ascribed
to spiritual things in like manner. Now man's soul has a twofold
comeliness; one from the refulgence of the natural light of reason,
whereby he is directed in his actions; the other, from the refulgence of
the Divine light, viz. of wisdom and grace, whereby man is also perfected
for the purpose of doing good and fitting actions. Now, when the soul
cleaves to things by love, there is a kind of contact in the soul: and
when man sins, he cleaves to certain things, against the light of reason
and of the Divine law, as shown above (Q[71], A[6]). Wherefore the loss
of comeliness occasioned by this contact, is metaphorically called a
stain on the soul.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The soul is not defiled by inferior things, by their own
power, as though they acted on the soul: on the contrary, the soul, by
its own action, defiles itself, through cleaving to them inordinately,
against the light of reason and of the Divine law.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The action of the intellect is accomplished by the
intelligible thing being in the intellect, according to the mode of the
intellect, so that the intellect is not defiled, but perfected, by them.
On the other hand, the act of the will consists in a movement towards
things themselves, so that love attaches the soul to the thing loved.
Thus it is that the soul is stained, when it cleaves inordinately,
according to Osee 9:10: "They . . . became abominable as those things
were which they loved."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The stain is neither something positive in the soul, nor
does it denote a pure privation: it denotes a privation of the soul's
brightness in relation to its cause, which is sin; wherefore diverse sins
occasion diverse stains. It is like a shadow, which is the privation of
light through the interposition of a body, and which varies according to
the diversity of the interposed bodies.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the stain remains in the soul after the act of sin?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the stain does not remain in the soul after
the act of sin. For after an action, nothing remains in the soul except
habit or disposition. But the stain is not a habit or disposition, as
stated above (A[1], OBJ[3]). Therefore the stain does not remain in the
soul after the act of sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the stain is to the sin what the shadow is to the body,
as stated above (A[1], ad 3). But the shadow does not remain when the
body has passed by. Therefore the stain does not remain in the soul when
the act of sin is past.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, every effect depends on its cause. Now the cause of the
stain is the act of sin. Therefore when the act of sin is no longer
there, neither is the stain in the soul.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is written (Jos. 22:17): "Is it a small thing to you
that you sinned with Beelphegor, and the stain of that crime remaineth in
you [Vulg.: 'us'] to this day?"

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[2] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, The stain of sin remains in the soul even when the act of
sin is past. The reason for this is that the stain, as stated above (A[1]
), denotes a blemish in the brightness of the soul, on account of its
withdrawing from the light of reason or of the Divine law. And therefore
so long as man remains out of this light, the stain of sin remains in
him: but as soon as, moved by grace, he returns to the Divine light and
to the light of reason, the stain is removed. For although the act of sin
ceases, whereby man withdrew from the light of reason and of the Divine
law, man does not at once return to the state in which he was before, and
it is necessary that his will should have a movement contrary to the
previous movement. Thus if one man be parted from another on account of
some kind of movement, he is not reunited to him as soon as the movement
ceases, but he needs to draw nigh to him and to return by a contrary
movement.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Nothing positive remains in the soul after the act of sin,
except the disposition or habit; but there does remain something private,
viz. the privation of union with the Divine light.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: After the interposed body has passed by, the transparent
body remains in the same position and relation as regards the
illuminating body, and so the shadow passes at once. But when the sin is
past, the soul does not remain in the same relation to God: and so there
is no comparison.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[86] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The act of sin parts man from God, which parting causes the
defect of brightness, just as local movement causes local parting.
Wherefore, just as when movement ceases, local distance is not removed,
so neither, when the act of sin ceases, is the stain removed.





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