Whether the Infusion of Grace is the First of the Things required for the Justification of the Ungodly, According to the Order of Nature
We proceed to the eighth article thus:
1. It seems that the infusion of grace is not the first of the things required for the justification of the ungodly, according to the order of nature. For according to Ps.34:14: |Depart from evil, and do good,| departure from evil comes before approach to good. Now remission of guilt pertains to departure from evil, and infusion of grace pertains to the pursuit of good. Hence remission of guilt is naturally prior to infusion of grace.
2. Again, a disposition naturally precedes the form to which it is disposed, and the movement of the free will is a disposition towards the reception of grace. It therefore precedes grace naturally.
3. Again, sin prevents the soul from freely inclining to God. Now what prevents a movement must be removed first, before the movement can follow. The remission of guilt, and the movement of the free will in recoil from sin, are therefore naturally prior to the movement of the free will toward God, and also to the infusion of grace.
On the other hand: a cause naturally precedes its effect. Now we said in the preceding article that the infusion of grace is the cause of all other things which are necessary for the justification of the ungodly. It is therefore naturally prior to them.
I answer: as we said in the preceding article, the justification of the ungodly is not gradual. It follows that the four things which we said were required for it (Art.6) are simultaneous in time. But one of them is nevertheless prior to another in the order of nature. In the order of nature, the infusion of grace is first, the movement of the free will toward God is second, its recoil from sin is third, and the remission of guilt is last. The reason for this is that, according to the order of nature, the motion of the mover is first in any movement. The adaptation of the matter, or the movement of the thing moved, is naturally second, and the end or termination of the movement, in which the motion of the mover finds its completion, is last. Now the motion of God, who is the mover, is the infusion of grace, as we said in Art.6, and the movement or adaptation of the thing moved is the twofold movement of the free will. We also made it clear that the termination or end of the movement is the remission of guilt. Hence in the justification of the ungodly, the infusion of grace is first in the order of nature, the movement of the free will toward God second, and its recoil from sin third. The movement of the free will toward God precedes its recoil from sin as its ground and cause, since he who is justified abhors sin on the ground that it is opposed to God. Fourth and last is the remission of guilt, which is the end for which this transmutation is ordained, as we said in Arts.1 and 6.
On the first point: departure from one term and approach to another may be considered in two ways. If we consider them on the part of a subject which is moved, departure from one term naturally comes before approach to another, because the one contrary which a subject abandons is in it first, and the other contrary which it acquires as the result of movement is in it afterwards. But if we consider them on the part of an agent, this order is reversed. It is because a form is already in it that an agent acts to repel a contrary form. For example, it is because of its light that the sun acts to repel darkness. On the part of the sun itself, illumination is prior to the expelling of darkness. But on the part of the air which it illuminates, liberation from darkness is naturally prior to the reception of light. Yet these are simultaneous. Now if we are speaking of infusion of grace and remission of guilt as on the part of God who justifies, the infusion of grace is naturally prior to the remission of guilt. But if we are looking at them from the point of view of a man who is justified, this order is reversed. Liberation from guilt is then naturally prior to the reception of justifying grace. Or we may say that guilt is the terminus a quo of justifying grace, and justification its terminus ad quem, and that grace is the cause both of the remission of guilt and of the acquisition of justice.
On the second point: the disposition of a subject is naturally prior to its reception of a form. But it follows the action of the agent whereby the subject becomes thus disposed. In the order of nature, therefore, the movement of the free will precedes the reception of grace, but follows the infusion of grace.
On the third point: as it is said in 2 Physics, text 89, |the first movement of the soul is essentially that which relates to the principle of speculation, or to the end of action.| Outwardly, the removal of an obstacle precedes the pursuit of the end. But the movement of the free will is a movement of the soul. Its movement toward God as its end therefore precedes its movement in removing the obstacle of sin, according to the order of nature.