Summary Against Modern Thought: The Wills of the Damned Are Unchangeable

Previous post.

Two short chapters this week, extending the last chapter. Again, you only get once chance.


1 In the same way, also, the souls which immediately after death are made miserable in punishment become unchangeable in their wills.

2 For we showed in Book III that mortal sin deserves everlasting punishment. But there would be no everlasting punishment of the souls of the damned if they were able to change their will for a better will; it would be unjust, indeed, if from the moment of their having a good will their punishment would be everlasting. Therefore, the will of the damned soul cannot be changed to good.

3 There is more. The very disorder of the will is a kind of punishment and one of extreme affliction. The reason: So far as one has a disordered will he is displeased by whatever is done rightly, and the damned souls will be displeased because God’s will is fulfilled in all those who by sinning have sided against Him. Therefore, their disordered will shall never be taken away from them.

4 The change of a will, furthermore, from sin to good takes place only by the grace of God, as what was said in Book III makes clear. But, just as the souls of the good are admitted to a perfect sharing in the divine goodness, so the souls of the damned are entirely excluded from grace. Therefore, they will not be able to change their will for the better.

5 Then again: just as the good when living in the flesh make God the end of all their works and desires, so also the wicked do with some improper end which turns them away from God. But the separated souls of the good will cleave unchangeably to the good they have set before themselves in this life; namely, to God. Therefore, the souls of the wicked will cleave unchangeably to the end which they themselves have chosen. Therefore, as the will of the good will not be able to become evil, so the will of the evil will not be able to become good.

Notes This is a most sobering conclusion.


1 There are some souls, however, which do not attain beatitude immediately after separation, and for all that are not damned, such are those who carry with them something subject to purging, as was said; therefore, one ought to show that not even souls of this kind after separation from the body are able to be changed in their wills.

Now, the blessed and the damned souls have an unchangeable will by reason of the end to which they adhered, as what was said makes clear; but the souls which carry with them something subject to purging do not differ in end from the blessed souls, for they depart in charity by which we cleave to God as to an end. Those very souls, then, will have an unchangeable will.

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