Biography  |  Bibliography  |  Articles  |  Quotes  |  Links  

Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, Part III (Tertia Pars) From the Complete American Edition.


Language: English

Table of Contents:


(In Six Articles)

We must now consider unity as regards the will; and under this head
there are six points of inquiry:

(1) Whether the Divine will and the human are distinct in Christ?

(2) Whether in Christ's human nature the will of sensuality is
distinct from the will of reason?

(3) Whether as regards the reason there were several wills in Christ?

(4) Whether there was free-will in Christ?

(5) Whether Christ's human will was always conformed to the Divine
will in the thing willed?

(6) Whether there was any contrariety of wills in Christ?

FIRST ARTICLE [III, Q. 18, Art. 1]

Whether There Are Two Wills in Christ?

Objection 1: It would seem that in Christ there are not two wills,
one Divine, the other human. For the will is the first mover and
first commander in whoever wills. But in Christ the first mover and
commander was the Divine will, since in Christ everything human was
moved by the Divine will. Hence it seems that in Christ there was
only one will, viz. the Divine.

Obj. 2: Further, an instrument is not moved by its own will but by
the will of its mover. Now the human nature of Christ was the
instrument of His Godhead. Hence the human nature of Christ was not
moved by its own will, but by the Divine will.

Obj. 3: Further, that alone is multiplied in Christ which belongs to
the nature. But the will does not seem to pertain to nature: for
natural things are of necessity; whereas what is voluntary is not of
necessity. Therefore there is but one will in Christ.

Obj. 4: Further, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 14) that "to will
in this or that way belongs not to our nature but to our intellect,"
i.e. our personal intellect. But every will is this or that will,
since there is nothing in a genus which is not at the same time in
some one of its species. Therefore all will belongs to the person.
But in Christ there was and is but one person. Therefore in Christ
there is only one will.

_On the contrary,_ our Lord says (Luke 22:42): "Father, if Thou wilt,
remove this chalice from Me. But yet not My will but Thine be done."
And Ambrose, quoting this to the Emperor Gratian (De Fide ii, 7)
says: "As He assumed my will, He assumed my sorrow;" and on Luke
22:42 he says: "His will, He refers to the Man--the Father's, to the
Godhead. For the will of man is temporal, and the will of the Godhead

_I answer that,_ Some placed only one will in Christ; but they seem
to have had different motives for holding this. For Apollinaris did
not hold an intellectual soul in Christ, but maintained that the Word
was in place of the soul, or even in place of the intellect. Hence
since "the will is in the reason," as the Philosopher says (De Anima
iii, 9), it followed that in Christ there was no human will; and thus
there was only one will in Him. So, too, Eutyches and all who held
one composite nature in Christ were forced to place one will in Him.
Nestorius, too, who maintained that the union of God and man was one
of affection and will, held only one will in Christ. But later on,
Macarius, Patriarch of Antioch, Cyrus of Alexandria, and Sergius of
Constantinople and some of their followers, held that there is one
will in Christ, although they held that in Christ there are two
natures united in a hypostasis; because they believed that Christ's
human nature never moved with its own motion, but only inasmuch as it
was moved by the Godhead, as is plain from the synodical letter of
Pope Agatho [*Third Council of Constantinople, Act. 4].

And hence in the sixth Council held at Constantinople [*Act. 18] it
was decreed that it must be said that there are two wills in Christ,
in the following passage: "In accordance with what the Prophets of
old taught us concerning Christ, and as He taught us Himself, and the
Symbol of the Holy Fathers has handed down to us, we confess two
natural wills in Him and two natural operations." And this much it
was necessary to say. For it is manifest that the Son of God assumed
a perfect human nature, as was shown above (Q. 5; Q. 9, A. 1). Now
the will pertains to the perfection of human nature, being one of its
natural powers, even as the intellect, as was stated in the First
Part (QQ. 79, 80). Hence we must say that the Son of God assumed a
human will, together with human nature. Now by the assumption of
human nature the Son of God suffered no diminution of what pertains
to His Divine Nature, to which it belongs to have a will, as was said
in the First Part (Q. 19, A. 1). Hence it must be said that there are
two wills in Christ, i.e. one human, the other Divine.

Reply Obj. 1: Whatever was in the human nature of Christ was moved at
the bidding of the Divine will; yet it does not follow that in Christ
there was no movement of the will proper to human nature, for the
good wills of other saints are moved by God's will, "Who worketh" in
them "both to will and to accomplish," as is written Phil. 2:13. For
although the will cannot be inwardly moved by any creature, yet it
can be moved inwardly by God, as was said in the First Part (Q. 105,
A. 4). And thus, too, Christ by His human will followed the Divine
will according to Ps. 39:9; "That I should do Thy will, O my God, I
have desired it." Hence Augustine says (Contra Maxim. ii, 20): "Where
the Son says to the Father, 'Not what I will, but what Thou willest,'
what do you gain by adding your own words and saying 'He shows that
His will was truly subject to His Father,' as if we denied that man's
will ought to be subject to God's will?"

Reply Obj. 2: It is proper to an instrument to be moved by the
principal agent, yet diversely, according to the property of its
nature. For an inanimate instrument, as an axe or a saw, is moved by
the craftsman with only a corporeal movement; but an instrument
animated by a sensitive soul is moved by the sensitive appetite, as a
horse by its rider; and an instrument animated with a rational soul
is moved by its will, as by the command of his lord the servant is
moved to act, the servant being like an animate instrument, as the
Philosopher says (Polit. i, 2, 4; _Ethic._ viii, 11). And hence it
was in this manner that the human nature of Christ was the instrument
of the Godhead, and was moved by its own will.

Reply Obj. 3: The power of the will is natural, and necessarily
follows upon the nature; but the movement or act of this power--which
is also called will--is sometimes natural and necessary, e.g. with
respect to beatitude; and sometimes springs from free-will and is
neither necessary nor natural, as is plain from what has been stated
in the Second Part (I-II, Q. 10, AA. 1, 2) [*Cf. I, Q. 82, A. 2]. And
yet even reason itself, which is the principle of this movement, is
natural. Hence besides the Divine will it is necessary to place in
Christ a human will, not merely as a natural power, or a natural
movement, but even as a rational movement.

Reply Obj. 4: When we say "to will in a certain way," we signify a
determinate mode of willing. Now a determinate mode regards the thing
of which it is the mode. Hence since the will pertains to the nature,
"to will in a certain way" belongs to the nature, not indeed
considered absolutely, but as it is in the hypostasis. Hence the
human will of Christ had a determinate mode from the fact of being in
a Divine hypostasis, i.e. it was always moved in accordance with the
bidding of the Divine will.


Whether in Christ There Was a Will of Sensuality Besides the Will of

Objection 1: It would seem that in Christ there was no will of
sensuality besides the will of reason. For the Philosopher says (De
Anima iii, text. 42) that "the will is in the reason, and in the
sensitive appetite are the irascible and concupiscible parts." Now
sensuality signifies the sensitive appetite. Hence in Christ there
was no will of sensuality.

Obj. 2: Further, according to Augustine (De Trin. xii, 12, 13) the
sensuality is signified by the serpent. But there was nothing
serpent-like in Christ; for He had the likeness of a venomous animal
without the venom, as Augustine says (De Pecc. Merit. et Remiss. i,
32). Hence in Christ there was no will of sensuality.

Obj. 3: Further, will is consequent upon nature, as was said (A. 1).
But in Christ there was only one nature besides the Divine. Hence in
Christ there was only one human will.

_On the contrary,_ Ambrose says (De Fide ii, 7): "Mine is the will
which He calls His own; because as Man He assumed my sorrow." From
this we are given to understand that sorrow pertains to the human
will of Christ. Now sorrow pertains to the sensuality, as was said in
the Second Part (I-II, Q. 23, A. 1; Q. 25, A. 1). Therefore,
seemingly, in Christ there is a will of sensuality besides the will
of reason.

_I answer that,_ As was said (Q. 9, A. 1), the Son of God assumed
human nature together with everything pertaining to the perfection of
human nature. Now in human nature is included animal nature, as the
genus in its species. Hence the Son of God must have assumed together
with the human nature whatever belongs to animal nature; one of which
things is the sensitive appetite, which is called the sensuality.
Consequently it must be allowed that in Christ there was a sensual
appetite, or sensuality. But it must be borne in mind that sensuality
or the sensual appetite, inasmuch as it naturally obeys reason, is
said to be "rational by participation," as is clear from the
Philosopher (Ethic. i, 13). And because "the will is in the reason,"
as stated above, it may equally be said that the sensuality is "a
will by participation."

Reply Obj. 1: This argument is based on the will, essentially so
called, which is only in the intellectual part; but the will by
participation can be in the sensitive part, inasmuch as it obeys

Reply Obj. 2: The sensuality is signified by the serpent--not as
regards the nature of the sensuality, which Christ assumed, but as
regards the corruption of the _fomes,_ which was not in Christ.

Reply Obj. 3: "Where there is one thing on account of another, there
seems to be only one" (Aristotle, _Topic._ iii); thus a surface which
is visible by color is one visible thing with the color. So, too,
because the sensuality is called the will, only because it partakes
of the rational will, there is said to be but one human will in
Christ, even as there is but one human nature.

THIRD ARTICLE [III, Q. 18, Art. 3]

Whether in Christ There Were Two Wills As Regards the Reason?

Objection 1: It would seem that in Christ there were two wills as
regards the reason. For Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22) that
there is a double will in man, viz. the natural will which is called
_thelesis_, and the rational will which is called _boulesis_. Now
Christ in His human nature had whatever belongs to the perfection of
human nature. Hence both the foregoing wills were in Christ.

Obj. 2: Further, the appetitive power is diversified in man by the
difference of the apprehensive power, and hence according to the
difference of sense and intellect is the difference of sensitive and
intellective appetite in man. But in the same way as regards man's
apprehension, we hold the difference of reason and intellect; both of
which were in Christ. Therefore there was a double will in Him, one
intellectual and the other rational.

Obj. 3: Further, some [*Hugh of St. Victor, De Quat. Volunt. Christ.]
ascribe to Christ "a will of piety," which can only be on the part of
reason. Therefore in Christ on the part of reason there are several

_On the contrary,_ In every order there is one first mover. But the
will is the first mover in the genus of human acts. Therefore in one
man there is only one will, properly speaking, which is the will of
reason. But Christ is one man. Therefore in Christ there is only one
human will.

_I answer that,_ As stated above (A. 1, ad 3), the will is sometimes
taken for the power, and sometimes for the act. Hence if the will is
taken for the act, it is necessary to place two wills, i.e. two
species of acts of the will in Christ on the part of the reason. For
the will, as was said in the I-II, Q. 8, AA. 2, 3, regards both the
end and the means; and is affected differently towards both. For
towards the end it is borne simply and absolutely, as towards what is
good in itself; but towards the means it is borne under a certain
relation, as the goodness of the means depends on something else.
Hence the act of the will, inasmuch as it is drawn to anything
desired of itself, as health, which act is called by Damascene
_thelesis_--i.e. simple will, and by the masters "will as nature," is
different from the act of the will as it is drawn to anything that is
desired only in order to something else, as to take medicine; and
this act of the will Damascene calls _boulesis_--i.e. counseling
will, and the masters, "will as reason." But this diversity of acts
does not diversify the power, since both acts regard the one common
ratio of the object, which is goodness. Hence we must say that if we
are speaking of the power of the will, in Christ there is but one
human will, essentially so called and not by participation; but if we
are speaking of the will as an act, we thus distinguish in Christ a
will as nature, which is called _thelesis_, and a will as reason,
which is called _boulesis_.

Reply Obj. 1: These two wills do not diversify the power but only the
act, as we have said.

Reply Obj. 2: The intellect and the reason are not distinct powers,
as was said in the First Part (Q. 79, A. 8).

Reply Obj. 3: The "will of piety" would not seem to be distinct from
the will considered as nature, inasmuch as it shrinks from another's
evil, absolutely considered.


Whether There Was Free-will in Christ?

Objection 1: It would seem that in Christ there was no free-will. For
Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 14) that _gnome_, i.e. opinion,
thinking or cogitation, and _proairesis_, i.e. choice, "cannot
possibly be attributed to our Lord, if we wish to speak with
propriety." But in the things of faith especially we must speak with
propriety. Therefore there was no choice in Christ and consequently
no free-will, of which choice is the act.

Obj. 2: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 2) that choice is
"a desire of something after taking counsel." Now counsel does not
appear to be in Christ, because we do not take counsel concerning
such things as we are certain of. But Christ was certain of
everything. Hence there was no counsel and consequently no free-will
in Christ.

Obj. 3: Further, free-will is indifferent. But Christ's will was
determined to good, since He could not sin; as stated above (Q. 15,
AA. 1, 2). Hence there was no free-will in Christ.

_On the contrary,_ It is written (Isa. 7:15): "He shall eat butter
and honey, that He may know to refuse the evil and to choose the
good," which is an act of the free-will. Therefore there was
free-will in Christ.

_I answer that,_ As was said above (A. 3), there was a twofold act of
the will in Christ; one whereby He was drawn to anything willed in
itself, which implies the nature of an end; the other whereby His
will was drawn to anything willed on account of its being ordained to
another--which pertains to the nature of means. Now, as the
Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 2) choice differs from will in this,
that will of itself regards the end, while choice regards the means.
And thus simple will is the same as the "will as nature"; but choice
is the same as the "will as reason," and is the proper act of
free-will, as was said in the First Part (Q. 83, A. 3). Hence, since
"will as reason" is placed in Christ, we must also place choice, and
consequently free-will, whose act is choice, as was said in the First
Part (Q. 83, A. 3; I-II, Q. 13, A. 1).

Reply Obj. 1: Damascene excludes choice from Christ, in so far as he
considers that doubt is implied in the word choice. Nevertheless
doubt is not necessary to choice, since it belongs even to God
Himself to choose, according to Eph. 1:4: "He chose us in Him before
the foundation of the world," although in God there is no doubt. Yet
doubt is accidental to choice when it is in an ignorant nature. We
may also say the same of whatever else is mentioned in the passage

Reply Obj. 2: Choice presupposes counsel; yet it follows counsel only
as determined by judgment. For what we judge to be done, we choose,
after the inquiry of counsel, as is stated (Ethic. iii, 2, 3). Hence
if anything is judged necessary to be done, without any preceding
doubt or inquiry, this suffices for choice. Therefore it is plain
that doubt or inquiry belong to choice not essentially, but only when
it is in an ignorant nature.

Reply Obj. 3: The will of Christ, though determined to good, is not
determined to this or that good. Hence it pertains to Christ, even as
to the blessed, to choose with a free-will confirmed in good.

FIFTH ARTICLE [III, Q. 18, Art. 5]

Whether the Human Will of Christ Was Altogether Conformed to the
Divine Will in the Thing Willed?

Objection 1: It would seem that the human will in Christ did not will
anything except what God willed. For it is written (Ps. 39:9) in the
person of Christ: "That I should do Thy will: O my God, I have
desired it." Now he who desires to do another's will, wills what the
other wills. Hence it seems that Christ's human will willed nothing
but what was willed by His Divine will.

Obj. 2: Further, Christ's soul had most perfect charity, which,
indeed, surpasses the comprehension of all our knowledge, according
to Eph. 3:19, "the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all
knowledge." Now charity makes men will what God wills; hence the
Philosopher says (Ethic. ix, 4) that one mark of friendship is "to
will and choose the same." Therefore the human will in Christ willed
nothing else than was willed by His Divine will.

Obj. 3: Further, Christ was a true comprehensor. But the Saints who
are comprehensors in heaven will only what God wills, otherwise they
would not be happy, because they would not obtain whatever they will,
for "blessed is he who has what he wills, and wills nothing amiss,"
as Augustine says (De Trin. xiii, 5). Hence in His human will Christ
wills nothing else than does the Divine will.

_On the contrary,_ Augustine says (Contra Maxim. ii, 20): "When
Christ says 'Not what I will, but what Thou wilt' He shows Himself to
have willed something else than did His Father; and this could only
have been by His human heart, since He did not transfigure our
weakness into His Divine but into His human will."

_I answer that,_ As was said (AA. 2, 3), in Christ according to His
human nature there is a twofold will, viz. the will of sensuality,
which is called will by participation, and the rational will, whether
considered after the manner of nature, or after the manner of reason.
Now it was said above (Q. 13, A. 3, ad 1; Q. 14, A. 1, ad 2) that by
a certain dispensation the Son of God before His Passion "allowed His
flesh to do and suffer what belonged to it." And in like manner He
allowed all the powers of His soul to do what belonged to them. Now
it is clear that the will of sensuality naturally shrinks from
sensible pains and bodily hurt. In like manner, the will as nature
turns from what is against nature and what is evil in itself, as
death and the like; yet the will as reason may at time choose these
things in relation to an end, as in a mere man the sensuality and the
will absolutely considered shrink from burning, which, nevertheless,
the will as reason may choose for the sake of health. Now it was the
will of God that Christ should undergo pain, suffering, and death,
not that these of themselves were willed by God, but for the sake of
man's salvation. Hence it is plain that in His will of sensuality and
in His rational will considered as nature, Christ could will what God
did not; but in His will as reason He always willed the same as God,
which appears from what He says (Matt. 26:39): "Not as I will, but as
Thou wilt." For He willed in His reason that the Divine will should
be fulfilled although He said that He willed something else by
another will.

Reply Obj. 1: By His rational will Christ willed the Divine will to
be fulfilled; but not by His will of sensuality, the movement of
which does not extend to the will of God--nor by His will considered
as nature which regards things absolutely considered and not in
relation to the Divine will.

Reply Obj. 2: The conformity of the human will to the Divine regards
the will of reason: according to which the wills even of friends
agree, inasmuch as reason considers something willed in its relation
to the will of a friend.

Reply Obj. 3: Christ was at once comprehensor and wayfarer, inasmuch
as He was enjoying God in His mind and had a passible body. Hence
things repugnant to His natural will and to His sensitive appetite
could happen to Him in His passible flesh.

SIXTH ARTICLE [III, Q. 18, Art. 6]

Whether There Was Contrariety of Wills in Christ?

Objection 1: It would seem that there was contrariety of wills in
Christ. For contrariety of wills regards contrariety of objects, as
contrariety of movements springs from contrariety of termini, as is
plain from the Philosopher (Phys. v, text. 49, seq.). Now Christ in
His different wills wished contrary things. For in His Divine will He
wished for death, from which He shrank in His human will, hence
Athanasius says [*De Incarnat. et Cont. Arianos, written against
Apollinarius]: "When Christ says 'Father, if it be possible, let this
chalice pass from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done,' and again,
'The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak,' He denotes two
wills--the human, which through the weakness of the flesh shrank from
the passion--and His Divine will eager for the passion." Hence there
was contrariety of wills in Christ.

Obj. 2: Further, it is written (Gal. 5:17) that "the flesh lusteth
against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh." Now when the
spirit desires one thing, and the flesh another, there is contrariety
of wills. But this was in Christ; for by the will of charity which
the Holy Spirit was causing in His mind, He willed the passion,
according to Isa. 53:7: "He was offered because it was His own will,"
yet in His flesh He shrank from the passion. Therefore there was
contrariety of wills in Him.

Obj. 3: Further, it is written (Luke 22:43) that "being in an agony,
He prayed the longer." Now agony seems to imply a certain struggle
[*Greek, _agonia_] in a soul drawn to contrary things. Hence it seems
that there was contrariety of will in Christ.

_On the contrary,_ In the decisions of the Sixth Council [*Third
Council of Constantinople, Act. 18] it is said: "We confess two
natural wills, not in opposition, as evil-minded heretics assert, but
following His human will, and neither withstanding nor striving
against, but rather being subject to, His Divine and omnipotent will."

_I answer that,_ Contrariety can exist only where there is opposition
in the same and as regards the same. For if the diversity exists as
regards diverse things, and in diverse subjects, this would not
suffice for the nature of contrariety, nor even for the nature of
contradiction, e.g. if a man were well formed or healthy as regards
his hand, but not as regards his foot. Hence for there to be
contrariety of wills in anyone it is necessary, first, that the
diversity of wills should regard the same. For if the will of one
regards the doing of something with reference to some universal
reason, and the will of another regards the not doing the same with
reference to some particular reason, there is not complete
contrariety of will, e.g. when a judge wishes a brigand to be hanged
for the good of the commonwealth, and one of the latter's kindred
wishes him not to be hanged on account of a private love, there is no
contrariety of wills; unless, indeed, the desire of the private good
went so far as to wish to hinder the public good for the private
good--in that case the opposition of wills would regard the same.

Secondly, for contrariety of wills it is necessary that it should be
in the same will. For if a man wishes one thing with his rational
appetite, and wishes another thing with his sensitive appetite, there
is no contrariety, unless the sensitive appetite so far prevailed as
to change or at least keep back the rational appetite; for in this
case something of the contrary movement of the sensitive appetite
would reach the rational will.

And hence it must be said that although the natural and the sensitive
will in Christ wished what the Divine will did not wish, yet there
was no contrariety of wills in Him. First, because neither the
natural will nor the will of sensuality rejected the reason for which
the Divine will and the will of the human reason in Christ wished the
passion. For the absolute will of Christ wished the salvation of the
human race, although it did not pertain to it to will this for the
sake of something further; but the movement of sensuality could
nowise extend so far. Secondly, because neither the Divine will nor
the will of reason in Christ was impeded or retarded by the natural
will or the appetite of sensuality. So, too, on the other hand,
neither the Divine will nor the will of reason in Christ shrank from
or retarded the movement of the natural human will and the movement
of the sensuality in Christ. For it pleased Christ, in His Divine
will, and in His will of reason, that His natural will and will of
sensuality should be moved according to the order of their nature.
Hence it is clear that in Christ there was no opposition or
contrariety of wills.

Reply Obj. 1: The fact of any will in Christ willing something else
than did the Divine will, proceeded from the Divine will, by whose
permission the human nature in Christ was moved by its proper
movements, as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 15, 18, 19).

Reply Obj. 2: In us the desires of the spirit are impeded or retarded
by the desires of the flesh: this did not occur in Christ. Hence in
Christ there was no contrariety of flesh and spirit, as in us.

Reply Obj. 3: The agony in Christ was not in the rational soul, in as
far as it implies a struggle in the will arising from a diversity of
motives, as when anyone, on his reason considering one, wishes one
thing, and on its considering another, wishes the contrary. For this
springs from the weakness of the reason, which is unable to judge
which is the best simply. Now this did not occur in Christ, since by
His reason He judged it best that the Divine will regarding the
salvation of the human race should be fulfilled by His passion.
Nevertheless, there was an agony in Christ as regards the sensitive
part, inasmuch as it implied a dread of coming trial, as Damascene
says (De Fide Orth. ii, 15; iii, 18, 23).