St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

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

 

Index  [<< | >>]
First Part of the Second Part  [<< | >>]
Question: 86  [<< | >>]

OF THE STAIN OF SIN (TWO ARTICLES)

Deinde considerandum est de macula peccati. Et circa hoc quaeruntur duo.    We must now consider the stain of sin; under which head there are two points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum macula animae sit effectus peccati.     (1) Whether an effect of sin is a stain on the soul?
Secundo, utrum remaneat in anima post actum peccati.     (2) Whether it remains in the soul after the act of sin?

 

Index  [<< | >>]
First Part of the Second Part  [<< | >>]
Question: 86  [<< | >>]
Article: 1  [<< | >>]

Whether sin causes a stain on the soul?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod peccatum non causet aliquam maculam in anima. Natura enim superior non potest inquinari ex contactu naturae inferioris, unde radius solaris non inquinatur per tactum corporum fetidorum, ut Augustinus dicit, in libro contra quinque haereses. Sed anima humana est multo superioris naturae quam res commutabiles, ad quas peccando convertitur. Ergo ex eis maculam non contrahit peccando.   Objection 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.
Praeterea, peccatum est principaliter in voluntate, ut supra dictum est. Voluntas autem est in ratione, ut dicitur in III de anima. Sed ratio, sive intellectus, non maculatur ex consideratione quarumcumque rerum, sed magis perficitur. Ergo nec voluntas ex peccato maculatur.   Objection 2: Further, sin is chiefly in the will, as stated above (Question [74], Articles [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.
Praeterea, si peccatum maculam causat, aut macula illa est aliquid positive, aut est privatio pura. Si sit aliquid positive, non potest esse nisi dispositio vel habitus, nihil enim aliud videtur ex actu causari. Dispositio autem et habitus non est, contingit enim, remota dispositione vel habitu, adhuc remanere maculam; ut patet in eo qui peccavit mortaliter prodigalitate, et postea transmutatur, mortaliter peccando, in habitum vitii oppositi. Non ergo macula ponit aliquid positive in anima. Similiter etiam nec est privatio pura. Quia omnia peccata conveniunt ex parte aversionis et privationis gratiae. Sequeretur ergo quod omnium peccatorum esset macula una. Ergo macula non est effectus peccati.   Objection 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.
Sed contra est quod dicitur, Eccli. XLVII, Salomoni, dedisti maculam in gloria tua. Et Ephes. V, ut exhiberet sibi gloriosam Ecclesiam non habentem maculam aut rugam. Et utrobique loquitur de macula peccati. Ergo macula est effectus peccati.   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.
Respondeo dicendum quod macula proprie dicitur in corporalibus, quando aliquod corpus nitidum perdit suum nitorem ex contactu alterius corporis, sicut vestis et aurum et argentum, aut aliud huiusmodi. In rebus autem spiritualibus ad similitudinem huius oportet maculam dici. Habet autem anima hominis duplicem nitorem, unum quidem ex refulgentia luminis naturalis rationis, per quam dirigitur in suis actibus; alium vero ex refulgentia divini luminis, scilicet sapientiae et gratiae, per quam etiam homo perficitur ad bene et decenter agendum. Est autem quasi quidam animae tactus, quando inhaeret aliquibus rebus per amorem. Cum autem peccat, adhaeret rebus aliquibus contra lumen rationis et divinae legis, ut ex supradictis patet. Unde ipsum detrimentum nitoris ex tali contactu proveniens, macula animae metaphorice vocatur.   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 (Question [71], Article [6]). Wherefore the loss of comeliness occasioned by this contact, is metaphorically called a stain on the soul.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod anima non inquinatur ex rebus inferioribus virtute earum, quasi agentibus eis in animam, sed magis e converso anima sua actione se inquinat, inordinate eis inhaerendo, contra lumen rationis et divinae legis.   Reply to Objection 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.
Ad secundum dicendum quod actio intellectus perficitur secundum quod res intelligibiles sunt in intellectu per modum ipsius intellectus, et ideo intellectus ex eis non inficitur, sed magis perficitur. Sed actus voluntatis consistit in motu ad ipsas res, ita quod amor conglutinat animam rei amatae. Et ex hoc anima maculatur, quando in ordinate inhaeret; secundum illud Osee IX, facti sunt abominabiles, sicut ea quae dilexerunt.   Reply to Objection 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."
Ad tertium dicendum quod macula non est aliquid positive in anima, nec significat privationem solam, sed significat privationem quandam nitoris animae in ordine ad suam causam, quae est peccatum. Et ideo diversa peccata diversas maculas inducunt. Et est simile de umbra, quae est privatio luminis ex obiecto alicuius corporis, et secundum diversitatem corporum obiectorum diversificantur umbrae.   Reply to Objection 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.

 

Index  [<< | >>]
First Part of the Second Part  [<< | >>]
Question: 86  [<< | >>]
Article: 2  [<< | >>]

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

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod macula non maneat in anima post actum peccati. Nihil enim manet in anima post actum, nisi habitus vel dispositio. Sed macula non est habitus vel dispositio, ut supra habitum est. Ergo macula non manet in anima post actum peccati.   Objection 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 (Article [1], Objection [3]). Therefore the stain does not remain in the soul after the act of sin.
Praeterea, hoc modo se habet macula ad peccatum, sicut umbra ad corpus, ut supra dictum est. Sed transeunte corpore, non manet umbra. Ergo, transeunte actu peccati, non manet macula.   Objection 2: Further, the stain is to the sin what the shadow is to the body, as stated above (Article [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.
Praeterea, omnis effectus dependet ex sua causa. Causa autem maculae est actus peccati. Ergo, remoto actu peccati, non remanet macula in anima.   Objection 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.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Iosue XXII, an parum vobis est quod peccastis in Beelphegor, et usque in praesentem diem macula huius sceleris in vobis permanet?   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?"
Respondeo dicendum quod macula peccati remanet in anima, etiam transeunte actu peccati. Cuius ratio est quia macula, sicut dictum est, importat quendam defectum nitoris propter recessum a lumine rationis vel divinae legis. Et ideo quandiu homo manet extra huiusmodi lumen, manet in eo macula peccati, sed postquam redit ad lumen divinum et ad lumen rationis, quod fit per gratiam, tunc macula cessat. Licet autem cesset actus peccati, quo homo discessit a lumine rationis vel legis divinae, non tamen statim homo ad illud redit in quo fuerat, sed requiritur aliquis motus voluntatis contrarius primo motui. Sicut si aliquis sit distans alicui per aliquem motum, non statim cessante motu fit ei propinquus, sed oportet quod appropinquet rediens per motum contrarium.   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 (Article [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.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod post actum peccati nihil positive remanet in anima nisi dispositio vel habitus, remanet tamen aliquid privative, scilicet privatio coniunctionis ad divinum lumen.   Reply to Objection 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.
Ad secundum dicendum quod, transeunte obstaculo corporis, remanet corpus diaphanum in aequali propinquitate et habitudine ad corpus illuminans, et ideo statim umbra transit. Sed remoto actu peccati, non remanet anima in eadem habitudine ad Deum. Unde non est similis ratio.   Reply to Objection 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.
Ad tertium dicendum quod actus peccati facit distantiam a Deo, quam quidem distantiam sequitur defectus nitoris, hoc modo sicut motus localis facit localem distantiam. Unde sicut, cessante motu, non tollitur distantia localis; ita nec, cessante actu peccati, tollitur macula.   Reply to Objection 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.

This document converted to HTML on Fri Jan 02 19:10:20 1998.