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Article Five

Whether God can be Loved Wholly

We proceed to the fifth article thus:

1. It seems that God cannot be loved wholly. Love follows knowledge, and God cannot be known wholly by us, since this would be to comprehend him. He cannot then be loved wholly by us.

2. Again, love is a kind of union, as Dionysius explains (4 Div. Nom., lect. 9). But the heart of man cannot be united wholly with God, since “God is greater than our heart” (I John 3:20). God cannot then be loved wholly.

3. Again, God loves himself wholly. Hence if he were loved wholly by any other, another would love God as much as God loves himself. But this is impossible. It follows that God cannot be loved wholly by any creature.

On the other hand: it is said in Deut. 6:5: “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart.”

I answer: when love is understood as a medium between the lover and the loved, the question whether God can be loved wholly may be understood in three ways. If the character of wholeness refers to what is loved, God ought to be loved wholly, since one ought to love everything that pertains to God. If it refers to him who loves, again God ought to be loved wholly, since a man ought to love God with all his might, and to devote his all to the love of God in accordance with Deut. 6:5: “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart.” But the character of wholeness may be understood as referring to the comparison between the lover and what is loved, and as 363meaning that the manner of his love should be adequate to what is loved. This is impossible. God is infinitely lovable, since each thing is lovable in proportion as it is good, and since God’s goodness is infinite. But no creature can love God infinitely, since every power that any creature possesses is finite, whether it be natural or infused.

The reply to the objections is then obvious. The three objections argue from this third meaning of the question. The contrary assumes the second meaning.

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