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Article Three

Whether God Loves All Things Equally

We proceed to the third article thus:

1. It seems that God loves all things equally. Wisdom 6:8 says: “He cares for all things equally.” Now God’s providential care for all things is due to his love for them. He therefore loves all things equally.

2. Again, God’s love is his essence. But his essence does not admit of more and less. Neither, consequently, does his love. He does not, therefore, love some things more than others.

3. Again, God’s knowledge and will extend to all things, in the same manner as his love. But we cannot say that God knows, or wills, some things more than others. Neither then does he love some things more than others.

On the other hand: Augustine says (Tract, 110 in Joan.): “God loves all that he has made. He loves rational creatures more; members of his only begotten still more; his only begotten much more.”

I answer: since to love is to will good for something, there are two ways in which one thing may be loved more or less than another. First, the act of the will may be more or less intense. God does not love some things more than others in this sense, because he loves all things by the same simple act of will, which is always of the same degree. Secondly, the good which is willed for something may be more or less. We are said to love one thing more than another when we will a greater good for it, even if the will is not more intense. Now we are bound to say that God loves some things more than others in this latter sense. For we said in the preceding article that his love is the cause of the goodness in things, and hence one thing would not be better than another, if God did not love one thing more than another.

On the first point: God is said to care for all things equally because he administers all things with equal care and wisdom, not because he provides an equal good for each thing.

On the second point: this reasoning argues from the intensity of the act of will which love involves. This does belong to the divine essence. But the good which God wills for a creature does not belong to the divine essence, and there is nothing to prevent it being more or less.

On the third point: knowledge and will signify the divine 83act only. Their meaning does not include any of the objects, whose diversity permits us to say that God knows and wills more and less, just as we said above concerning his love.

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