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Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) involves a merger of at least two apparently disparate traditions: Aristotelian eudaimonism and Christian theology.
On the one hand, Aquinas follows Aristotle in thinking that an act is good or bad depending on whether it contributes to or deters us from our proper human end—the , or happiness, where “happiness” is understood in terms of completion, perfection, or well-being.
For this reason, Aquinas says that something is evil “inasmuch as it is deprived of some particular good that pertains to its due or proper perfection” (). For him, something is evil insofar as its existence is diminished or corrupted in some way.
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If something had no goodness whatsoever, it would lack all goods, even the good of existence itself.
And since incorruptibility is better than corruptibility, it looks as if something lacking goodness is better than its corruptible counterpart, which has goodness. Augustine writes: “What can be more monstrous than to maintain that by losing all [its] goodness [something can] become better” (Ibid.)?
Yet this is precisely the implication of claiming that something with no goodness whatsoever can exist.
While our nature is not wholly corrupted by sin, it is nevertheless by sin’s stain, as evidenced by the fact that our wills are at enmity with God’s.
Thus we need God’s help in order to restore the good of our nature and bring us into conformity with his will.