THE WILL OF MAN
Why is man capable of evil at all? On
account of the freedom of his will, which is suitable to his position as a
rational being. Released from all restraint, and receiving from his Maker a
life which is free because he is made in the image of God, he perceives the
good and knows the happiness of it, and has power, if he continues in the
contemplation of the good and the enjoyment of spiritual blessings, to keep
the life which is according to his nature but has also power on occasion to
turn from the good; therefore, expelled from Paradise, he was deprived of
that happy life, and became evil, not of necessity, but through
That there may be an evil will, even
without any spirit either seducing or inciting, is sufficiently clear in the
instance of Satan himself, who is found to have become a demon, not through
some other demon, but of his own proper will. An evil will, therefore,
whether it be hurried on by temptation, whether called back by fear, whether
expanded by gladness, whether contracted by sadness may, without another
spirit to goad it on, seduce itself and fall lower than an angel can
God is the creator of the good will in man.
But the evil will, which is in man before his evil works is caused rather by
his falling away from the work of God and preferring his own works.
Therefore, his works are evil because it is according to the will of man and
not according to the will of God.
Thus, Scriptures advises us always to
prefer God's will and deny our own will.
Sts. Basil and Augustine