In the Beatific Vision, both Freedom and Necessity

  • Justin Noia Saint Louis University
Keywords: Beatific vision, Aquinas, Free will, Necessity, Incompatibilism


According to Aquinas, the souls in heaven (hereafter, the blessed) are both necessitated (i.e., determined) and free in their choice to love God. But if Aquinas is right, it may seem that we cannot give an incompatibilist account of the freedom of the souls in heaven to love God. Roughly put, incompatibilism is the thesis that free will is incompatible with determinism. In this paper, I take inspiration from Kevin Timpe and Timothy Pawl’s account of the impeccability of the blessed to argue for a more refined view of incompatibilism, consistent with some of the literature, according to which free will is compatible with a certain kind of determinism. I then modify Timpe and Pawl’s account along Thomistic lines, removing a problematic character-based contingency, to argue that anyone, regardless of character, is necessitated to love God in the beatific vision – necessitated in a sense consistent with incompatibilism.

How to Cite
Noia, J. (2018). In the Beatific Vision, both Freedom and Necessity. TheoLogica: An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology, 2(2), 77-96.