|Aquinas's Thoughts On Morality
Aquinas subscribes to what Augustine
says about evil and vice. He believes that all is good, and that God made everything good,
and that the source of evil does not come from God, but from the defect of action. He also
says that God is the source of evil in punishment, but not from the evil of fault. In other words,
every man that is born is good,a nd stays good, until that man acts in an evil way.
Aquinas' concept of sin is like
Augustine's as "a word, deed, or desire, contrary to God's eternal law." There
are two kinds of sin to Aquinas, a sin in doing something wrong ("a sin of commission"),
and in not doing what we ought to do ("a sin of omission".)
Aquinas distinguishes between
"natural right", and "positive right". Capitol punishment, in
Aquinas's eyes, is justifiable and even commendable, because "if a man be dangerous
and infectious to the community, on account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and
advantageous that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good."
Suicide on the other hand, Aquinas
says is a mortal sin, and is morally wrong "for three reasons": because it
violates the natural law of self-preservation, because it represents an injury
to the community of which each of us is a part, and because it negates the power of life
and death that "belongs to God alone."