PTypes - Personality Types
PTypes Pride Sin, Pride, and Self-Acceptance


From the essay by Eileen Sweeney, "Vice and Sin (Ia IIae, qq. 71-89)" in The Ethics of Aquinas.

According to Thomas Aquinas:

"Pride is the first sin, the source of all other sins, and the worst sin.

"He defines pride as an excessive desire for one's own excellence which rejects subjection to God (IIa IIae, q. 162, aa. 1, 5).

"It is the worst sin, Aquinas argues, because it is of its very nature an aversion from God and his commandments, something that is indirectly or consequently true of all sins (IIa IIae, q. 162, a. 6).

"Pride is the source of all other sins, Aquinas argues, in the sense that it is first in intention. First, every sin begins in turning from God and hence all sins begin in pride. Second, he argues, the motive for acquiring all the lesser goods one prefers to God is pride, that through them one 'may have some perfection and excellence' (quandam perfectionem et excellentiam habeat) (Ia IIae, q. 84, a. 2). Covetousness is the first sin in the order of execution, Aquinas observes, since it desires what become the means for the commission of other sins (ibid).

[see The Capital Vices and Pride]

"In the Secunda secundae, Aquinas depicts pride as the original sin. Adam and Eve could not have sinned first in a carnal sin, a desire for physical pleasure against the order of reason, because in the state of nature the physical appetites were perfectly subordinated to reason. Nor was their sin disobedience, unbelief, or the desire for knowledge. Their sin is not essentially disobedience since they could not have desired to rebel for its own sake unless their wills were already disordered (IIa IIae, q. 163, a. 1, ad 1). And Eve's belief of the serpent's claim (and hence disbelief of God) about the results of eating and the desire for knowledge excited by his false promise were, Aquinas argues, results of pride, not themselves the original sin (IIa IIae, q. 163, a. 1, ad 4).

"Hence, the first sin must have been the coveting of some spiritual good, not ordinately but disordinately, 'above one's measure as established by the Divine rule', and, Aquinas concludes, this pertains to pride (IIa IIae, q. 163, a. 1)" (Sweeney, 162-63).

"Aquinas interprets the first sin as the coveting of God's likeness in regard to knowledge and operation (IIa IIae, q. 163, a. 2). Adam and Eve desired to decide for themselves what was good and evil and to foreknow the good and evil that would befall them. Further, they desired to achieve happiness by their own natural power. The sin is to have desired to set one's own standards and limits, to be in control -- in other words, not to be confronted by the other in the prophetic model of sin" (163).

Eileen Sweeney (2002). "Vice and Sin (Ia IIae, qq. 71-89)" The Ethics of Aquinas. Ed. Stephen J. Pope. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown UP.

Whether pride is a sin?

Whether pride is a mortal sin?

Whether pride is the most grievous of sins?

Whether pride is the beginning of every sin?

Whether pride was the first man's first sin?

Whether the first man's pride consisted in his coveting God's likeness?

Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas

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