Volume 76, Issue 3, Summer 2002
John F.X. Knasas
Aquinas on God’s Free Will
My article confronts three of Spinoza’s four arguments against free will in God with Aquinas’s contrary position in the Summa contra Gentiles, Book I. Spinoza’s three arguments come from his Ethics, props. XVII and XXXII. First, since free choice is always exclusive, free choice in God would leave unactualized power in God. Second, if God’s will could be different without entailing divine mutability, then a divine voluntarism would reign. Third, if God has freedom of will but his willing is his essence, the God’s essence could be otherwise. I note that these pitfalls open by assuming that the divine will bears upon creatures directly and immediately. I then show that since for Aquinas, God wills creatures by principally willing himself, none of Spinoza’s criticisms follow.