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Article Two

Whether God Loves all Things

We proceed to the second article thus:

1. It seems that God does not love all things. Dionysius says: “love carries the lover outside himself, in a sense transferring him to the loved one” (4 Div. Nom., lect. 10). But we cannot possibly say that God is carried outside himself and transferred to other things. Neither, then, can we say that he loves what is other than himself.

2. Again, God’s love is eternal. Now other things are eternal only as they exist in God. It is consequently only as they exist in himself that God loves them. But what is in God is not other than God. Hence God does not love what is other than himself.

3. Again, there are two kinds of love, namely the love of desire and the love of friendship. But God does not love irrational creatures with the love of desire, since he needs nothing besides himself. Neither does he love them with the love of friendship, since there cannot be friendship with irrational things, as the philosopher says in 8 Ethics 2. Hence God does not love all things.

4. Again, it is said in Ps. 5:5: “thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” But hate has nothing in common with love. Hence God does not love all things.

On the other hand: it is said in Wisdom 11:25: “Thou lovest all things that are, and hatest nothing that thou hast made.”

I answer: God loves all things that exist. For all things that exist are good, in so far as they are. The very existence of anything whatsoever is a good, and so is any perfection of it. Now we proved in Q. 19, Art. 4, that God is the cause of all things. 81A thing must therefore be, and be good, to the extent which God wills. It follows that God wills some good to each thing that is. Now to love is just to will good for something. Clearly, then, God loves all things that are. But God does not love as we love. Our will is not the cause of the goodness in things, but is moved by their goodness as its object. Consequently, the love by which we will good for anyone is not the cause of his goodness. On the contrary, it is his goodness, whether real or imagined, that inspires the love whereby we will both the preservation of the good which he has and the provision of the good which he lacks, and whereby we also work to this end. God’s love, on the other hand, creates and infuses the goodness in things.

On the first point: the lover is carried beyond himself and transferred to the loved one in the sense that he wills good for him, and works to provide it as if for himself. Thus Dionysius says in the same passage: “in the interest of truth we must say that even God, who in his abundant loving-kindness causes all things, is carried beyond himself by his care for all that exists.”

On the second point: it is only in God that creatures have existed from eternity. Yet, since they have existed in himself from eternity, God has known their proper natures from eternity, and for the same reason has also loved them from eternity. Our own knowledge of things as they are in themselves is similar. We know them through their likenesses which exist in us.

On the third point: friendship is possible only with rational creatures who can return it, and who can share in the work of life, and fare well in fortune and happiness. Benevolence, also, is properly towards rational creatures. Irrational creatures can neither love God nor share his intellectual life of happiness. Properly speaking, therefore, God does not love them with the love of friendship. But he does love them with the love of desire. For he has ordained them for rational creatures, indeed for himself—not as if he needed them, but for the sake of his loving-kindness, in as much as they are useful to us. We can desire something for others no less than for ourselves.

On the fourth point: there is nothing to prevent the same thing being loved in one respect and hated in another respect. God loves sinners in so far as they are natures, because they are, and have their being from himself. But in so far as they are sinners they fail to be, and are not. This deficiency is not from God, and they are hateful to God in respect of it.

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