Today’s Aquinas: The Will is in the Willing

Today’s Aquinas: The Will is in the Willing May 4, 2015

ThomasAquinas We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.

Thomas has shown that God has a divine will, and that His will is the same as His intellect.  His next move is more of the same:

Hence it is also clear that the divine will is the very act of willing in God. As has been pointed out, God’s will is identical with the good willed by Him. But this would be impossible if His willing were not the same as His will; for willing is in the will because of the object willed. Accordingly God’s will is His willing.

With regard to human will, there are three things: the capability to will things, the actual willing of a thing, and the execution of that willing.  For example, I can choose to eat an apple if I like; I do choose to eat an apple; I take the apple and eat it.  For God, His will is always active.  His capability to will, the act of willing a thing, and the execution of that will are all one single eternal act (although to us in time it might look more complicated than that).

Thus, we see the same pattern with God’s will as we saw with God’s being and God’s intellect:

Again, God’s will is the same as His intellect and His essence. But God’s intellect is His act of understanding, and His essence is His existing. Therefore His will must be His act of willing. And so we see clearly that God’s will is not opposed to His simplicity.

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