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CHAPTER LXXIIThat God has a Will

FROM the fact that God has understanding, it follows that He has a will. Since good apprehended in understanding is the proper object of the will, understood good, as such, must be willed good. But anything understood involves an understanding mind. A mind then that understands good, must, as such, be a mind that wills good.

3. What is consequent upon all being, is a property of being, as such. Such a property must be found in its perfection in the first and greatest of beings. Now it is a property of all being to seek its own perfection and the preservation of its own existence. Every being does this in its own way: intelligent beings, by their will: animals, by their sensitive appetite: unconscious nature, by a certain physical nisus.151151Appetitum naturalem. It is not easy to kill a willow tree, nor to break up an atom of water. Unstable compounds are easily broken up; but the more perfect and stable, with difficulty. This resistance offered to destruction is the ‘physical nisus,’ often spoken of by the schoolmen under the name of appetitus naturalis. The will is appetitus rationalis; and the region of soul in which passion dwells is a appetitus sensibilis. It makes a difference however whether the thing craved for is possessed or not. Where it is not possessed, the nisus of desire proper to each several kind goes out to seek what is wanting: where the thing is possessed, it is rested in and clung to. This characteristic of all being cannot be wanting in the first of beings, which is God. Since then God has understanding, He has also a will, whereby He takes complacency in His own being and His own goodness.

4. The more perfect the act of understanding is, the more delightful to the understanding mind. But God has understanding and a most perfect act thereof (Chap. XLIV): therefore that act yields Him the utmost delight. But as sensible delight is through the concupiscible appetite, so is intellectual delight through the will. God then has a will.

This will of God the testimonies of Holy Scripture confess: All things whatsoever he hath willed, the Lord hath done (Ps. cxxxiv, 6): Who resisteth his will? (Rom. ix, 19).


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