chapter  2
Thomas Aquinas on Freedom and Determinism
WithDidier Njirayamanda Kaphagawani
Pages 19

The question whether or not Aquinas sees it as necessary to distinguish philosophy from theology, when dealing with the problem of freedom and necessity, is a question which requires immediate attention and clarification because it is exceptional in Aquinas though not relevant to his theory of free choice. As far as the problem of freedom and necessity is concerned Aquinas’ position is that it is not necessary to distinguish philosophical issues from theological ones because this problem bestrides, as it were, philosophy and theology. Aquinas’ attitude in fact reflects the way in which the problem of freedom and necessity was approached during his time. In medieval times, as Lonergan 1 has pointed out, freedom and grace were conceived as intimately connected; they were regarded as correlated and complementary. Freedom was thought of as a consequence of grace, and grace as what makes human actions free. Thus freedom was defined in theological terms. For instance, free will was defined as ‘what does what is right with the aid of grace, and, without grace, does evil’. 2