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Article Three

Whether God Rejects Any Man

We proceed to the third article thus:

1. God, it seems, rejects no man. Nobody rejects one whom he loves, and God loves every man, according to Wisdom 11124: “Thou lovest all things that are, and hatest nothing that thou hast made.” It follows that God rejects no man.

2. Again, if God does reject anyone, rejection must be related to the rejected as predestination is related to the predestined. Rejection must then be the cause of the perdition of the rejected, as predestination is the cause of the salvation of the predestined. But this is not true, since it is said in Hos. 13:9: “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.” It follows that God does not reject anyone.

3. Again, no one can be held responsible for what he cannot avoid. But no one could avoid destruction if God were to reject him. As Ecclesiastes says (7:13): “Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight which he hath made crooked.”2121Migne: “whom he hath despised.” Men would not then be responsible for their own destruction. But this is false. It follows that God does not reject any man.

On the other hand: it is said in Mal. 1:2-3: “I loved Jacob. And I hated Esau.”

I answer: God does reject some men. We have said that predestination is a part of providence (Art. 1), and that providence permits a measure of defect in the things over which it rules (Q. 22, Art. 2). Now although providence ordains men to eternal life, it permits some of them to fail to attain this end. This is what is called rejection. Rejection is the part of providence which relates to those who fail to attain eternal life, just as predestination is the part of providence which relates to those who are ordained to it. Rejection therefore means more than foreknowledge, just as we agreed with Augustine (1 Ad Simplician 3) that providence means more than this (Q. 22, 106Art. 1). While predestination includes the will to bestow grace and glory, rejection includes the will to allow some to incur guilt, and to impose the penalty of damnation on account of guilt.

On the first point: God loves every man, and every creature also, in that he wills some good for every one of them. But he does not will every good for every one, and is said to hate some in so far as he does not will for them the good of eternal life.

On the second point: predestination is the cause of the glory which the predestined expect to receive in the life to come, and also of the grace which they receive in this present life. Rejection is the cause of desertion by God, but not of present guilt. It is the cause of eternal punishment to come, but guilt is due to the free will of him who is rejected and deserted by grace. What the prophet says is therefore true—“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself.”

On the third point: rejection by God does not deprive the rejected one of any power. When it is said that a rejected man cannot receive grace, this does not mean that it is absolutely impossible for him to do so. It means that this is conditionally impossible. The salvation of a predestined man is ensured by a necessity which is likewise conditional, in that it permits freedom of choice. Thus even though one who is rejected by God cannot receive grace, it lies with his free will whether he falls into one sin or another, and his sin is deservedly imputed to him as guilt.


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