Aquinas, Free Choice, & Divine Sovereignty, Part 2

Here’s Part 2 of an intermittent series on Thomas Aquinas’ view of free choice and divine sovereignty, or God’s causation.

The quotes below are from Aquinas’ commentary On Romans, Chapter 9 (paragraph 777). Romans 9 is a key passage in the discussion concerning sovereignty and free will.

“But if willing does not depend on the man willing or exertion on the man exerting himself, but on God moving man to this, it seems that man is not master of his own action, which pertains to freedom of will.

But the answer is that God moves all things, but in diverse ways, inasmuch as each is moved in a manner befitting its nature. And so man is moved by God to will and to perform outwardly in a manner consistent with free will. Therefore, willing and performing depends on man as freely acting; but on God and not on man, as initial mover.”

Keep in mind that whenever Thomas says “it seems that” he is always explaining something that seems one way, but he is about to disprove it. (those new to reading Thomas sometimes get confused with this, for his writing is lengthy and full of “it seems that”) Thus Thomism supports the Moderate Calvinist view that God is primary mover of the will, but does it in accordance with man’s free will, his ability to choose. This view is also taught by Shedd, Hodge, Geisler, and others.


About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
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