Thomas on Faith/Faithfulness

Part of the NPP debates concern the proper meaning of pistis in the pistis Christou construction: those who opt for the objective genitive reading tend to take the word in the sense of intellectual assent, while those who opt for the subjective genitive reading tend to understand it more in the sense of “faithfulness,” of a habitual movement of the will to obedience.

In IIa IIae, 3, 2, Thomas employs a characteristic distinction among faculties to explain faith’s relation to the will and to the intellect: “credere est actus intellectus secundum quod movetur a voluntate ad assentiendum, procedit enim huiusmodi actus et a voluntate et ab intellectu.” That last bit is critical: “For the act in this manner proceeds both from the will and by the intellect.”

Sustaining our fragmentary, proleptic vision of our heavenly future is faith’s project, whose end is increasing knowledge of God, but whose act is willed obedience to that gracious revelation. As Paul’s evocation of Abraham’s heroic belief in the promise of God indicates, this is no small task.

This entry was posted in Faith, Habit, New Perspective on Paul, St. Paul, Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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