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Aquinas Experiment: The Love of God?


     While there isn't much room for aesthetic, the Thomist theological format is fun and interesting to play with. "Thomist" refers to a specific kind of thinking, writing, or a following of arguably the greatest theologian ever: Thomas Aquinas. While he advocated many traditionally Catholic doctrines, like paedobaptism and transubstantiation, he supported many biblical principles with stunning arguments, summing up the five arguments for the existence of God and predicting many future heresies. Love or hate him, he was a genius, and is worth reading--if you can get through his "brief summary of theology" that is five thick volumes. An example is always worth looking at. Note that Aquinas did not write what follows. I am copying his style.

WHETHER GOD LOVES HUMANITY OR NOT?

Obj. 1. It appears God does not love humanity. Love is a promise, a promise to do everything in our power to bless the object (person or inanimate object) of our love. Sacred Scripture says "with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." (Matt. 22:37)  Does God love us with all His heart, soul and mind? It would seem that He does not. 
Obj. 2. If God is love, (1 John 4:8) then he would do everything in His power to us. God has all power. But we do not have all goods. Either God does not have all power, which contradicts Scripture, or he does not love us.
Obj. 3. Scripture says "God is angry with the wicked every day." (Psa. 7:11) And the Apostle says that "all have sinned" (Rom. 3:23). Sinning is an essential quality of humanity, making all wicked. God is angry with the wicked, ergo, God is angry with the world, and that excludes love.
     On the contrary, Scripture says "For God so loved the world" (1 John 3:16) which excludes completely any claim to God not having love. To say otherwise would be to claim Scripture is inconsistent and capable of contradiction, a gross heresy. 
     I answer that, God is love, and loves humanity. He sent Jesus Christ to Earth in order to save us from ourselves, and ultimately, from His wrath. Scripture says "Greater love has none than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13) Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity incarnate, perfectly human, perfectly God, calls His followers His friends, and subsequently lays down His life for them as the consummation of the Incarnation. And as the Philosopher says, "what is a friend, but one soul in two bodies," we live and die for those we love, because we love our true friends as we love our own flesh. He has the greatest love, as the greatest Being, and holds all good qualities, all those goods perfected, has the greatest love.
Reply to Obj. 1. To say that God does not bless us in all ways is absurd. God allows us to exist, after our affront to Him by the vice in our original sin and our continued expression of it in the situational sins we commit and the vices we accept. While we sin, we ask more of God than we ever should--to allow us to continue doing what he considers an abomination. It is true to say that it does not appear that God loves us, but appearances deceive. Appearances do not always reflect truth.
Reply to Obj. 2. God does do all in His power to do good on behalf of humanity. God, in His infinite wisdom, orders all things that happen, causes certain events to not happen, and also has planned the end of the universe and all lives on the planet, human and otherwise. God is good, and therefore His ends are good. Even what we perceive as evil has a good end. God can utilize bad means for good ends because of His perfection. Whatever happens to us in life or death is an expression of God's perfect--perfect including good--will for humanity and the cosmos.
Reply to Obj. 3. It has been established that God has love, and furthermore, that he has perfect love. Perfect love is not love that acquits a sinner or someone who has committed a fault completely. Actions must have consequences. And if God is perfect, he can have perfect anger, anger that does not harm the one who has provoked the anger. And also, God is unchanging. God both loves and is angry with the wicked, because He loves the whole world. (John 3:16) He can hold both in perfect harmony, never letting the one override the other.

     And if God loves us, we will love our neighbors. And if we truly love our neighbors, we will have truly loved God. God loves those he disciplines. God loves those he blesses. And even though it may sound wrong, God loves everyone, and does what is best for them. Sometimes what is best for someone is pain. Sometimes it is success. So we can rest assured. Whatever happens to us is a manifestation of God's plan. His plans for good will never be thwarted. He wins every battle. 
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