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CHAPTER XCIThat there is Love in God.178178Quod Deus est Amor, is the heading of the chapter: but all the conclusion argued and drawn in the text is “that God loves,” “that there is love in God.” God is love, and God is light, says St John (1 John iv, 9; i, 5); and, owing to the divine simplicity (Chap. XVIII), it may be argued that whatever attribute is in God, is God.

IT is of the essential idea of love, that whoever loves wishes the good of the object loved. But God wishes His own good and the good of other beings (Chap. LXXV); and in this respect He loves Himself and other beings.

2. It is a requisite of true love to love the good of another inasmuch as it is his good. But God loves the good of every being as it is the good of that being, though He does also subordinate one being to the profit of another.

3. The essential idea of love seems to be this, that the affection of one tends to another as to a being who is in some way one with himself. The greater the bond of union, the more intense is the love. And again the more intimately bound up with the lover the bond of union is, the stronger the love. But that bond whereby all things are united with God, namely, His goodness, of which all things are imitations, is to God the greatest and most intimate of bonds, seeing that He is Himself His own goodness. There is therefore in God a love, not only true, but most perfect and strong.

But some might be of opinion that God does not love one object more than another; for a higher and a lower degree of intensity of affection is characteristic of a changeable nature, and cannot be attributed to God, from whom all change is utterly removed. Besides, wherever else there is mention of any divine activity, there is no question of more and less: thus one thing is not known by God more than another. In answer to this difficulty we must observe that whereas other activities of the soul are concerned with one object only, love alone seems to tend to two. For love wishes something to somebody: hence the things that we desire, we are properly said to ‘desire,’ not to ‘love,’ but in them we rather love ourselves for whom we desire them. Every divine act then is of one and the same intensity; but love may be said to admit of ‘greater 68and less’ in two ways, either in point of the good that we will to another, in which way we are said to love him more to whom we wish greater good; or again in point of the intensity of the act, in which way we are said to love him more to whom we wish, not indeed a greater good, but an equal good more fervently and effectually. In the former way then there is nothing to object to in the saying that God loves one more than another, inasmuch as He wishes him a greater good: but, understood of the second way, the saying is not tenable.

Hence it appears that of our affections there is none that can properly be in God except joy and love, though even these are in Him not by way of passion, as they are in us. That there is in God joy or delight is confirmed by the authority of Holy Scripture. I was delighted day by day playing before him, says the Divine Wisdom, which is God (Prov. viii, 30). The Philosopher also says that God ever rejoices with one simple delight.179179“God’s delight is ever one and simple,” says Aristotle, Eth. Nic. vii, 1154b. He adds: “For there is not only an actuality involving change, but also one involving unchangeableness.” In the latter there is nothing of potentiality. The Scripture also speaks of love in God: With everlasting love I have loved thee (Jer. xxxi, 3); For the Father himself loveth you (John xvi, 27).

But even other affections (affectiones), which are specifically inconsistent with divine perfection, are predicated in Holy Writ of God, not properly but metaphorically, on account of likeness of effects. Thus sometimes the will in following out the order of wisdom tends to the same effect to which one might be inclined by a passion, which would argue a certain imperfection: for the judge punishes from a sense of justice, as an angry man under the promptings of anger. So sometimes God is said to be ‘angry,’ inasmuch as in the order of His wisdom He means to punish some one: When his anger shall blaze out suddenly (Ps. ii, 13). He is said to be ‘compassionate,’ inasmuch as in His benevolence He takes away the miseries of men, as we do the same from a sentiment of pity: The Lord is merciful and compassionate, patient and abounding in mercy (Ps. cli, 8). Sometimes also He is said to be ‘repentant,’ inasmuch as in the eternal and immutable order of His providence, He builds up what He had previously destroyed, or destroys what He had previously made, as we do when moved by repentance: It repenteth me that I have made man (Gen. vi, 6, 7). God is also said to be ’sad,’ inasmuch as things happen contrary to what He loves and approves, as sadness is in us at what happens against our will: And the Lord saw, and it seemed evil in his eyes, because judgement is not: God saw that there is no man, and he was displeased, because there was none to meet him (Isa. lix, 15, 16).


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