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CHAPTER LXXXVIIIThat there is a Free Will in God

GOD does not necessarily will things outside Himself (Chap. LXXXI).

3. Will is of the end: choice of the means.168168The terminology is from Aristotle, Eth. Nic. III, 1113. What St Thomas here calls voluntas, and elsewhere intentio is the Aristotelian βούλησις. Choice, electio, is προαίρεσις. See my Ethics and Natural Law, pp. 31 sq.; Aquinas Ethicus I, 52-54. Since then God wills Himself as end, and other things as means, it follows that in respect of Himself He has will only, but in respect of other things choice. But choice is always an act of free will.

4. Man by free will is said to be master of his own acts. But this mastery belongs most of all to the Prime Agent, whose act depends on no other.169169For Scripture authority St Thomas might have quoted: The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens (Ps. CXII). God’s free will is contained in His real physical distinctness from the universe, His sovereign pre-eminence over it, and absolute independence of it. Identify God with the universe, and logically He is no longer free. Pushed to extremity, Idealism means Pantheism, and Pantheism Determinism. For if God has no free will, still less has man.


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