Wednesday, April 18, 2007

God is Truly All-Loving

1. God is truly all-loving, for "God is love" [1 Jn 4:16]. St. John the Theologian also records the saying of Christ in Jn 3:16: "For God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting." In Wisdom 11:25, the inspired author addresses God as follows: "For Thou lovest all things that are, and hatest none of the things which Thou hast made: for Thou didst not appoint, or make any thing hating it." The Angelic Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas, the prince of theologians, proved that God cannot literally hate anything as we sinful humans do since His will "cannot be inclined to evil;" in other words, because He ""wills the good of everything.".{1}

2. Nevertheless, we seem to encounter a difficulty when we read passages that say God hates certain persons and things. This, however, is a figurative hatred. St. Thomas says that because God loves things and wills "their good to be," He "wills their evil not to be", and so God says He hates evil things in the sense of wishing them "not to be."{2} Thus we read in Zech 8:17: "And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his friend: and love not a false oath: for all these are the things that I hate, saith the Lord." Secondly, God "hates" by "wishing some greater good, which cannot be without the privation of a lesser good."{3} This is the meaning of passages like Sir 12:7: "For thou shalt receive twice as much evil for all the good thou shalt have done to him: for the Highest also hateth sinners, and will repay vengeance to the ungodly."

Notes & References
{1} Aquinas, St. Thomas (Doctor Angelicus). "Book I, Article 96: That God hates nothing." Trans. Joseph Rickaby, S.J., M.A. Summa Contra Gentiles: Of God and His Creatures. London: Burnes and Oates, 1905. 18 Apr. 2007 <http://www2.nd.edu/Departments/Maritain/etext/gc1_96.htm>.
{2} Ibid.
{3} Ibid.

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