Summary Against Modern Thought: Our State Upon Death

Summary Against Modern Thought: Our State Upon Death

Previous post.

Once again, and for the last time, we remind you that you only get once chance.


1 That the unchangeable character of will follows from the end in all the separated souls can be made clear this way.

2 “For the end,” as was said, “acts in matters of appetite as the first principles of demonstration do in speculative matters.” Of course, principles of this kind are known naturally, and, should there be an error about principles like these, it would come from the corruption of nature. Hence, a man could not change from a true acceptance of these principles to a false one, or conversely except by a change in his nature, for he who errs in the principles cannot be called back by something more certain, as a man is called back from his error about a conclusion. In the same way, one could not be led away from his acceptance of the principles by something more evident. Thus, then, it is with regard to the end, for every man has by nature a desire of the ultimate end.

3 To be sure, it follows universally on rational nature to desire beatitude, but the desire of this thing or that thing under the aspect of beatitude and ultimate end arises from some special disposition of nature; hence, the Philosopher says that “as a man is, so also the end appears to him.” Therefore, if that disposition in which something is desired as ultimate end cannot he removed from the man, neither will his will be able to be changed in respect to desire of that end.

4 Dispositions like these, of course, can be removed from us so long as the soul is united to the body. For, that we desire a thing as the ultimate end sometimes happens from our being so disposed by a passion which quickly passes; hence, too, this desire of the end is easy to remove, as appears among the continent. Sometimes, however, we are disposed to the desire of a good end or a bad one by a habit, and that disposition is not easily taken away; hence, such a desire for an end persists rather strongly, as is clear among the temperate. For all that, an habitual disposition can be removed in this life.

5 Thus, therefore, it is manifest that so long as the disposition persists in which a thing is desired as ultimate end, the desire of that end is not changeable, because the desire of the ultimate end is an extreme; hence, one cannot be called from desire of the ultimate end by something more desirable.

The soul is, of course, in a mutable state so long as it is united to the body, but it will not be after it has been separated from the body. A disposition of the soul is changed incidentally with some change in the body, for, since it is at the service of the soul for its very own operations, the body was given to the soul by nature with this in view: that the soul existing within the body be perfected, be, as it were, moved toward its perfection. When it shall, then, be separated from the body it will not be in a state of motion toward the end, but in a state of rest in the end acquired. The soul’s will, therefore, will be immovable regarding a desire for the ultimate end.

Note Recall the soul is the form of the living body. When the body is dead, the form is gone.

6 Now, on the ultimate end the entire goodness or wickedness of the will depends, for whatever goods one wills in an order toward a good end he wills well; whatever evil he wills in an order toward an evil end he wills badly. Therefore, there is not in the separated soul a will changeable from good to evil, although it is changeable from this object of will to that so long as the order to the same ultimate end is preserved.

7 It is now apparent that such immutability is not in conflict with the power of free will whose act it is to choose, for choice is of the things for the end; choice is not of the ultimate end. Therefore, just as there is now no conflict with free will in the fact that with an immutable will we desire beatitude and fly from misery in general, so there will be no contrariety to free will in the fact that the will is unchangeably fixed upon some definite thing as upon an ultimate end. The reason: just as there now inheres in us unchangeably that common nature by which we desire beatitude in general, so then there will persist in us unchangeably that special disposition by which this thing or that is desired as ultimate end.

8 On the other hand, the separate substances—namely, angels—are in the nature in which they are created closer neighbors to their ultimate perfection than human souls are, for they do not need to acquire knowledge from the senses nor to arrive at conclusions by reasoning from principles as souls do; rather, they are able by infused species to arrive straightway at the contemplation of truth. And therefore, just at the moment they adhered to the end which was due, or that which was not they persisted unchangeably therein.

Notes Direct, and not inductive or deductive, reasoning?

9 For all that, one should not think that the souls, after they take up their bodies again in the resurrection, lose the immutability of will; rather, they persevere therein, because, as was said above, the bodies in the resurrection will be disposed as the soul requires, but the souls will not be changed by means of the bodies.


  1. dave shoppel

    This is more asummary against anciwnt thought (i.e. against Platonism). No wonder we ended up in the atheism we did; this was the beginning of that slide. Aquinas was the schoolmaster to lead the West to atheism.

  2. AG

    Reminds me of my arguments with a prominent atheist. He said if he died and met God, he’d have some pointed questions for Him.

    I replied that Jesus would say, “I do not know you” and dispatch him with heels clicking towards Heaven.

    Imagine thinking you get a Q&A with God after death.

  3. Ian Macleod

    Imagine believing that you know what Jesus would say. Even as a believer, I’d have some questions.

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