II Sentences, Distinction 43, Question 1
Concerning the Sin against the Holy Spirit

a. 1: utrum sit aliquod peccatum in spiritum sanctum. Article 1: Whether there is a sin against the Holy Spirit.
ad primum sic proceditur. videtur quod nullum sit peccatum in spiritum sanctum.It would seem that there is no sin against the Holy Spirit.
quia, secundum quod in littera dicitur, illi dicuntur in spiritum sanctum peccare quibus placet malitia propter se sicut piis bonitas. sed malitia nulli propter se placet: quia malum est praeter voluntatem, et nullus ad malum intendens operatur, ut dionysius dicit. ergo secundum hoc nullus in spiritum sanctum peccat. Objection 1: For, according to what has been said in the (Lombard's) text, those are said to sin against the Holy Spirit who find malice itself pleasing, just as the pious find goodness pleasing in itself. However, malice is in no way pleasing in itself. For evil is contrary to the will, and no one acts intending evil, as Dionysius states. Therefore, according to this consideration, no one sins against the Holy Spirit.
praeterea, omne peccatum hominis ex corruptione naturae nascitur. sed peccatum quod est ex corruptione naturae, est ex infirmitate. cum autem peccatur per infirmitatem, non peccatur in spiritum sanctum, ut in littera dicitur. ergo nullum peccatum est in spiritum sanctum. Objection 2: Furthermore, every sin of man arises from the corruption of his nature. But that sin which results from the corruption of nature is due to weakness. However, when one sins by reason of weakness, one does not sin against the Holy Spirit, as has been said in the (Lombard's) text. Therefore, there is no sin against the Holy Spirit.
praeterea, augustinus dicit, quod omne peccatum ex errore est. sed error ignorantiam includit. quod autem per ignorantiam est, condividitur contra peccatum in spiritum sanctum. ergo nullum peccatum est in spiritum sanctum.Objection 3: Furthermore, Augustine says that every sin is due to error. But error includes ignorance, and what (is done) through ignorance is distinguished from the sin against the Holy Spirit. Therefore, there is no sin against the Holy Spirit.
praeterea, si aliquis peccat in spiritum sanctum, aut est in statu viae, aut post viam. sed post viam esse non potest: quia tunc non erit tempus merendi et demerendi, ut plures dicunt: sed recipiendi pro his quae gessit, sive bonum sive malum. similiter nec in statu viae: quia de nemine desperandum est, secundum augustinum, dum vivit. peccatum autem in spiritum sanctum est peccatum desperantium, quia pro eo oratio interdicitur 1 joan. ult.. ergo nullus in spiritum sanctum peccat. Objection 4: Furthermore, if someone sins against the Holy Spirit, it is either in this present life, or in the life to come. But this (sin) cannot be committed in the life to come, because it will not then be the time for meriting or not meriting, as many authors have said, but of receiving either good or evil in accordance with the things one did. Likewise (this sin cannot be committed) in the present life, because, according to Augustine, no man is to be despaired of while he lives. However, the sin against the Holy Spirit is the sin of one despairing, on behalf of whom 1 John 5:16 forbids prayer. Therefore, no one sins against the Holy Spirit.
praeterea, quorum una est majestas et gloria, una est offensa. sed patris et filii et spiritus sancti una est divinitas, aequalis gloria, coaeterna majestas. ergo et eorum est una offensa; et ita cum peccatum in spiritum sanctum dividatur contra peccatum in patrem et filium, videtur quod nullum peccatum sit in spiritum sanctum. Objection 5: Furthermore, their majesty and glory are one, as is the offense (committed against them). But the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one in their divinity, equal in glory, and co-eternal in majesty. Therefore, the offense committed against them is concomitant. And so, as the sin against the Holy Spirit is distinguished from the sin against the Father and the Son, it would seem that there is no sin against the Holy Spirit.
sed contra est quod dicitur matth. 12, 32: qui blasphemaverit in spiritum sanctum, non remittetur ei in aeternum. 1st. on the contrary: It is said at Matthew 12:32 that "He that shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, (neither in this world, nor) in the world to come."
praeterea, sicut potentia attribuitur patri, sapientia filio; ita bonitas spiritui sancto. sed peccatum quod fit ex impotentia, dicitur peccatum in patrem; quod fit ex ignorantia, in filium. ergo quod fit ex malitia, in spiritum sanctum. cum ergo aliquod tale peccatum sit, erit aliquod peccatum in spiritum sanctum.2nd. on the contrary: Furthermore, as power is attributed to the Father, and wisdom to the Son, so is goodness attributed to the Holy Spirit. But a sin which arises from a lack of power is called a sin against the Father, and that which arises from ignorance, a sin against the Son. Therefore, that which arises from malice is a sin against the Holy Spirit. Therefore since there is this kind of sin, there is a sin against the Holy Spirit.
respondeo dicendum, quod peccare in spiritum sanctum dicitur dupliciter: aut quia peccatur contra personam spiritus sancti; aut quia peccatur contra attributum personae. peccatur contra personam spiritus sancti, scilicet quando de ea male sentitur; sicut qui dixerunt spiritum sanctum creaturam esse, et ministrum patris et filii: et sic etiam peccare in filium, est male sentire de persona filii. sic autem non loquimur hic de peccato in spiritum sanctum, quia sic est peccatum infidelitatis. peccare autem in attributum spiritui sancto, est ex certa malitia peccare, sicut peccare in patrem, est peccare ex infirmitate, et peccare in filium, est peccare ex ignorantia; ut dicatur peccatum in patrem, quando deficit istud quod patri attribuitur, scilicet potentia; et peccatum in filium, quando deest sapientia, quae filio attribuitur: et peccatum in spiritum sanctum, quando ponitur oppositum bonitatis, quae spiritui sancto attribuitur.Response: To sin against the Holy Spirit is said in two ways, either because one sins against the person of the Holy Spirit, or because one sins against an attribute of the Spirit's person. One sins against the person of the Holy Spirit when one considers the Spirit badly, as those who say that the Holy Spirit is created, and the minister of the Father and the Son. So too, to sin against the Son is to consider the person of the Son badly. However, we do not speak here of a sin against the Holy Spirit as it is (rather) a sin of infidelity. But to sin against an attribute of (the person of) the Holy Spirit is to sin by reason of a definite malice, just as to sin against the Father is to sin by reason of weakness, and to sin against the Son, is to sin by reason of ignorance. One is said to sin against the Father when one fails in that very thing that is attributed to the Father, namely power. One sins against the Son when one errs in that which is attributed to the Son, namely wisdom. And one sins against the Holy Spirit when that which is opposed to goodness (which goodness is attributed to the Holy Spirit) is held (by this sinner).
differentia autem horum potest accipi ex his quae philosophus dicit, ubi ostendit, quod peccatum tribus modis committitur; vel ex ignorantia, vel ex passione, vel ex electione. ex ignorantia peccatum committitur, quando ignoratur aliquod eorum quorum scientia a peccato impedivisset; unde ignorantia est ibi causa peccati: et hoc dicitur peccatum in filium. ex passione autem sive innata sive illata peccatur, quando propter impetum passionis, rationis judicium obruitur; et hoc proprie est ex infirmitate peccare, quod est peccatum in patrem. ex electione autem peccatur, quando homo deliberans peccato adhaeret, non quasi aliqua tentatione victus, sed quia propter hoc quod habet corruptum appetitum, placet sibi illud peccatum secundum se: et hoc est ex malitia peccare, quod est peccare in spiritum sanctum.Now the difference between these can be understood through that which the Philosopher says when he shows that a sin can be committed in three ways, namely through ignorance, passion or choice. A sin is committed through ignorance when something pertaining to one's (action) is unknown, the knowledge of which would have prevented one from committing this sin. Hence, ignorance is the cause of that sin. And this is called a sin against the Son. One sins by reason of passion, either innate or inflicted, when due to the impulsion of the passion, the judgment of reason is overpowered. And this especially is to sin by way of weakness, which is to sin against the Father. But when one sins by choice, when man, having deliberated, binds himself to sin, not as if having been overcome by some temptation, but rather because he has a corrupt appetite, that very sin in itself is pleasing to him. And this is to sin by way of malice, which is to sin against the Holy Spirit.
ad primum ergo dicendum, quod malitiam sub ratione malitiae nullus unquam voluit; sed secundum quod peccatum aestimatur bonum ipsi peccanti, quasi quietans corruptum appetitum, propter hoc secundum se desideratur. Response to Objection 1: No one ever wills malice under the description of malice, but rather as the sin is considered good by the one committing the sin, as that which quiets the corrupt appetite, on account of which (this sin/malicious act) is desired in itself.
ad secundum dicendum, quod res non habet speciem neque denominatur a causis primis, sed a causis proximis. corruptio ergo naturae, quae est infectio fomitis, non est proxima causa cujuslibet peccati, cum aliquando homo sine aliquo incentivo concupiscentiae peccatum eligat; sed est causa prima: quia ex corruptione naturae inest homini quaedam debilitas, ut facilius in peccatum ruat: et ideo non oportet quod omne peccatum propter hoc ex infirmitate esse dicatur. Response to Objection 2: A thing does not have its species, nor is it denominated by first causes, but rather by its proximate cause. Therefore, the corruption of nature, which is the infection of our concupiscence (infectio fomitis - the infection of the incitement to evil desiring), is not the proximate cause of sin, since there are times when man chooses sin without the provocation of his concupiscence. But it is the first cause because from the corruption of his nature, there is in man a certain frailty such that it is easier for him descend into sin. And thus, it is not fitting that every sin be said to arise from weakness on account of this (line of reasoning).
ad tertium dicendum, quod error ille ex quo omne peccatum procedit, est error electionis, secundum quem philosophus omnem malum ignorantem esse dicit. haec autem ignorantia non causat involuntarium, immo est ex voluntate causata: quia ex ipsa inclinatione corruptae voluntatis in peccatum, quae est per habitum vel passionem, consequitur ut hoc quasi bonum aliquis eligat quod voluntati placet; unde ex tali ignorantia non dicimus peccatum in filium: peccatum enimin filium est quando principalis causa peccati est ignorantia. Response to Objection 3: That error by reason of which every sin arises is an error of choice, according to which the Philosopher says that all ignorance is evil. This ignorance, however, does not cause the involuntary, but rather is caused by way of the will. For from this corrupted inclination of the will to sin, which comes about either through habit or passion, it follows that one chooses this as if it were a good which is pleasing to the will. Hence from this sort of ignorance we do not say that one sins against the Son. For the sin against the Son is when the principal cause of sin is ignorance.
ad quartum dicendum, quod peccatum in spiritum sanctum non est desperatum ex parte medici curantis, scilicet dei, qui immensitate suae misericordiae quemlibet in statu viae salvare potest: sed est desperatum ex parte ipsius morbi, qui quantum in se est, omnem viam curationis excludit, ut infra patebit.Response to Objection 4: The sin against the Holy Spirit is not the cause of despair on the part of the solicitous physician, namely God, who is able to save anyone in the present life through the immensity of His mercy. However, the sin against the Holy Spirit is the cause of despair on the part of those the illness itself, which, insofar as it is in him, excludes every avenue of cure, as will be made clear in what follows below.
ad quintum dicendum, quod quamvis sit una majestas trium personarum, tamen personae distinguuntur proprietatibus personalibus, et etiam quaedam appropriantur uni quae non appropriantur alii personae; et secundum hoc contingit quod aliquod peccatum dicitur esse specialiter in filium vel in spiritum sanctum dupliciter: vel quia male sentitur de his quae sunt propria filii vel spiritus sancti; et sic non accipitur hic peccatum in spiritum sanctum: vel quia peccatur contra appropriatum filii vel spiritus sancti; et sic hic sumitur peccatum in spiritum sanctum.Response to Objection 5: Although the majesty of the three persons is one, nevertheless their persons are distinguished by what is proper personally to each, and that (consequently) some things are appropriate to one which are not appropriate to the other persons. Because of this, it is fitting that there be a sin said to be especially against the Son and the Holy Spirit, and this in a twofold way; either because one considers badly of those things which are proper to the Son or the Holy Spirit, and this is not understood as a sin against the Holy Spirit; or because one sins against that which is an attribute of the Son or the Holy Spirit. And this is so understood as a sin against the Holy Spirit.

© Stephen Loughlin
(sjl1@desales.edu)



The Aquinas Translation Project
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