What does it mean that God rewards good intentions?

After all, good intentions are not enough to make a person good. (newadvent.org/summa/2019.htm#article6)

This seems to be the case since whatever attracts the will automatically renders the willing at least partly voluntary.

But if that is the case, then a good intention cannot be rewarded unless it has good outcomes and is knowingly done for good per se.

That is something cannot be good except just in the case when it is knowingly, intentionally, and objectively good.

So what solves this conundrum?

"…a good intention cannot be rewarded unless it has good outcomes and is knowingly done for good per se. "

Lets tell that to the doctor who fights to save a human life, and in spite of all her or his efforts, the patient does not live through the procedure.

We know this is a problem. That’s why the OP asked for a solution to this conundrum.

I don’t know it (the solution), but this is just a more blunt restatement of the original post.

We can’t even know if God is good let alone anything else.

The action of trying to save the persons life is a good action(I believe you are confusing a good outcome for a good action), regardless of the result. Where the intention comes in is if the doctor was only trying to save the patients life for, let’s say, a salary bonus. That is an intention that would nullify the action, even though the action was, in itself, a good action.

The term “outcome” I think is what brings confusion.I think “action” is a less confusing term, instead of outcome. Outcomes are not in our control, actions are.

So for the OP’s question, God can reward an intention, regardless of outcome, so long as the intention and the action itself are objectively good.

With your good intention you took action to revise the OP’s question to make it more clear. I think this leaves room for the outcome to end up being very positive.

What is the connection between this and the original question?

This is an honest question, not a snarky one. I’m just confused :confused:

Marc, Let it go. I could start a thread on it if that would please you for the sake of protocol.

Fair enough, I’ll let it go. :stuck_out_tongue: I don’t really think I’m up for that discussion. My knowledge is far too limited in philosophy. I’m mostly a prowler who sympathizes heavily with Thomism thanks to Dr. Ed Feser (although I’d love to learn more about Scotism too). I wouldn’t be able to contribute a lot.

Can we also, perhaps, say that the act of intending something good (regardless of the other action and the outcome) is a good action and so merits a reward?

In one way, just having the intention to fight for human life and not being able to actually achieve the outcome is blameworthy since (1) it would follow than any intention is sufficient to do good even though you don’t even lift a finger to actually help, (2)if it isn’t blameworthy, then it would be absurd to try and study useful arts since only the intention needs to be good, and (3) it would follow that the nature of being a good doctor or any artist is not inherently connected with good outcomes. That’s like saying a ship’s captain is still a good captain even though his boat sank.

The Church defines three criteria for determining the morality of any thought, word, or deed (act).

  1. The intention
  2. The nature of the thought word or deed
  3. The circumstance

If the objective nature of the thought, word or deed is immoral, no amount of good intentions can change act into a moral act.

Please do not confuse act with intention.

It seems to me the only time that good intentions deserve merit is when an amoral or moral act’s good intention is defeated by circumstances.

Lol :thumbsup:

But a good intention is an action too right? And if it is, then it deserves praise both when and not when the objective nature of what is intended is good or bad and whether or not the external purpose is gained. Unless of course, the intention is either to do something which is not objectively good or includes something that is not objectively good (that is to say, evil and not merely neutral). Right or wrong?

Depends on what definition you are using.

[quote=dictionary.com]1. an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.
2. the end or object intended; purpose.
[/quote]

And if it is, then it deserves praise both when and not when the objective nature of what is intended is good or bad and whether or not the external purpose is gained. Unless of course, the intention is either to do something which is not objectively good or includes something that is not objectively good (that is to say, evil and not merely neutral). Right or wrong?

An intention can be judged as to its morality, independent of the intended result (object) and and its circumstances.

Your statements here are very confusing. I cannot imagine an intention without an object. Your attempt to separate them as separate acts does not seem reasonable. So, I think you are neither right,nor wrong.

When a good (moral) intention is married to wrong action (object) the result is immoral.

Here’s what I’m saying:

I intend to do something I think is good but is really wrong. This intention is a good act. But to accomplish the end, I intend to act so to bring about the end (which is evil). And this latter intention is evil.

In this example your intention isn’t an act.

Second point. If the wrongness wasn’t known, how is there any sin?

How is the intention not an action?

Actually, that solves some problems, for even though one has a bad will, still the invincible ignorance excuses.

Yet how could one’s will be called bad when there is no sin? But whatever, the Summa essentially says it so I believe it.

When it is one of the three fonts of morality.

Actually, that solves some problems, for even though one has a bad will, still the invincible ignorance excuses.

God doesn’t accept excusses, only humility and repentence.

Yet how could one’s will be called bad when there is no sin? But whatever, the Summa essentially says it so I believe it.

What one wills can be wrong, but there is no sin if there is no knowledge of the wrong’s sinfulness.

(1) an intention is not an act because it is a font of morality (as far as I understand the phrase “font of morality” and “act” they don’t seem to be contradictory). After all it seems that the font of morality is equivalent to this: a person intends something, the something is an object of the act of intending. So intention is identical to act and object under some interpretation. Therefore, the intention and the act cannot be different per the meaning of either act or intention alone.

So why is act supposed to be essentially different from object? I thought that they were two aspects of one thing?

(2) God does except excuses in the proper meaning of the word. For ignorance excuses -I don’t know why you would interpret this any other way.

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