Peter Lombard’s on God’s Will: Sententiae, Book I, Distinctions 45-46
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Keywords

Peter Lombard, Book of Sentences, medieval scholasticism, God’s will, free will

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Tkachenko, R. (2018). Peter Lombard’s on God’s Will: Sententiae, Book I, Distinctions 45-46. Multiversum. Philosophical Almanac, (1-2), 136-152. https://doi.org/10.35423/2078-8142.2018.1-2.11

Abstract

The global Peter Lombard research continues, but the Master of the Sentences’ theology proper is still to be analyzed in detail. In particular, a more thorough exposition of the distinctions 45-48 of his Book of Sentences, which deal with the notion of God’s will and its relation to the human free will, has for some while remained a desideratum. The given article partly fills this lacuna and elucidates on the doctrine of the divine will as presented by the Lombard. The doctrine ofvoluntas divina has to be put into the «Trinitarian essentialist» model, according to which the Triunity of God means that all three Persons of the Godhead share one simple essence. This essence has no parts, and therefore such things as knowledge, wisdom, or will are actually one and the same thing in God: they are one essence. Therefore God’s will is first of all God himself as willing. Any theological proposition which uses the verb «to will» intransitively is a statement of God’s essence qua willing. Yet, God’s nature is differently manifested in his outward actions which allow a theologian to speak of some distinct and distinguishable properties or aspects of this nature as it relates to what is outside the Godhead. Therefore a theological proposition which uses the verb «to will» transitively and adds an object of willing means a statement of the divine will as an outward act. In this case, God’s will should not be identified with God’s essence nor the objects or outcomes of this willing. In particular, it is shown that for him there exist two ways of speaking about God’s will: «simply and absolutely» and «not simply and absolutely» which may be identified with intransitive and transitive use of the verb «to will,» respectively. The will is primarily understood in terms of execution of one’s will (active willing) but its relation to one’s desires and inclinations (wanting) are downplayed or altogether omitted from the Lombardian doctrine of God. The divine will is by definition free and efficient but Lombard highlights that there is place for human free will, too. His explanation of the relationship between the divine and the human wills seems somewhat unconvincing but the unfolding of his theory on the basis of a few biblical texts should be acknowledged a peculiar theological exercise.

https://doi.org/10.35423/2078-8142.2018.1-2.11
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