De iustitia et misericordia Dei
The Justice and Mercy of God
Post considerationem divini amoris, de iustitia et misericordia eius agendum est.
After considering the divine love, we must treat of God’s justice and mercy.
Et circa hoc quaeruntur quatuor.
Under this head there are four points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum in Deo sit iustitia.
(1) Whether there is justice in God?
Secundo, utrum iustitia eius veritas dici possit.
(2) Whether His justice can be called truth?
Tertio, utrum in Deo sit misericordia.
(3) Whether there is mercy in God?
Quarto, utrum in omni opere Dei sit iustitia et misericordia.
(4) Whether in every work of God there are justice and mercy?
Utrum in Deo sit iustitia
Whether there is justice in God?
Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod in Deo non sit iustitia. Iustitia enim contra temperantiam dividitur. Temperantia autem non est in Deo. Ergo nec iustitia.
Objection 1: It seems that there is not justice in God. For justice is divided against temperance. But temperance does not exist in God: neither therefore does justice.
Praeterea, quicumque facit omnia pro libito suae voluntatis, non secundum iustitiam operatur. Sed, sicut dicit Apostolus, ad Ephes. I, Deus operatur omnia secundum consilium suae voluntatis. Non ergo ei iustitia debet attribui.
Obj. 2: Further, he who does whatsoever he wills and pleases does not work according to justice. But, as the Apostle says: God worketh all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph 1:11). Therefore justice cannot be attributed to Him.
Praeterea, actus iustitiae est reddere debitum. Sed Deus nulli est debitor. Ergo Deo non competit iustitia.
Obj. 3: Further, the act of justice is to pay what is due. But God is no man’s debtor. Therefore justice does not belong to God.
Praeterea, quidquid est in Deo, est eius essentia. Sed hoc non competit iustitiae, dicit enim Boetius, in libro de Hebdomad., quod bonum essentiam, iustum vero actum respicit. Ergo iustitia non competit Deo.
Obj. 4: Further, whatever is in God, is His essence. But justice cannot belong to this. For Boethius says (De Hebdom.): Good regards the essence; justice the act. Therefore justice does not belong to God.
Sed contra est quod dicitur in Psalmo X, iustus Dominus, et iustitias dilexit.
On the contrary, It is said (Ps 10:8): The Lord is just, and hath loved justice.
Respondeo dicendum quod duplex est species iustitiae. Una, quae consistit in mutua datione et acceptione, ut puta quae consistit in emptione et venditione, et aliis huiusmodi communicationibus vel commutationibus. Et haec dicitur a Philosopho, in V Ethic., iustitia commutativa, vel directiva commutationum sive communicationum. Et haec non competit Deo, quia, ut dicit Apostolus, Rom. XI, quis prior dedit illi, et retribuetur ei? Alia, quae consistit in distribuendo, et dicitur distributiva iustitia, secundum quam aliquis gubernator vel dispensator dat unicuique secundum suam dignitatem. Sicut igitur ordo congruus familiae, vel cuiuscumque multitudinis gubernatae, demonstrat huiusmodi iustitiam in gubernante; ita ordo universi, qui apparet tam in rebus naturalibus quam in rebus voluntariis, demonstrat Dei iustitiam. Unde dicit Dionysius, VIII cap. de Div. Nom., oportet videre in hoc veram Dei esse iustitiam, quod omnibus tribuit propria, secundum uniuscuiusque existentium dignitatem; et uniuscuiusque naturam in proprio salvat ordine et virtute.
I answer that, There are two kinds of justice. The one consists in mutual giving and receiving, as in buying and selling, and other kinds of intercourse and exchange. This the Philosopher (Ethic. v, 4) calls commutative justice, that directs exchange and intercourse of business. This does not belong to God, since, as the Apostle says: Who hath first given to Him, and recompense shall be made him? (Rom 11:35). The other consists in distribution, and is called distributive justice; whereby a ruler or a steward gives to each what his rank deserves. As then the proper order displayed in ruling a family or any kind of multitude evinces justice of this kind in the ruler, so the order of the universe, which is seen both in effects of nature and in effects of will, shows forth the justice of God. Hence Dionysius says (Div. Nom. viii, 4): We must needs see that God is truly just, in seeing how He gives to all existing things what is proper to the condition of each; and preserves the nature of each in the order and with the powers that properly belong to it.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod virtutum moralium quaedam sunt circa passiones; sicut temperantia circa concupiscentias, fortitudo circa timores et audacias, mansuetudo circa iram. Et huiusmodi virtutes Deo attribui non possunt, nisi secundum metaphoram, quia in Deo neque passiones sunt, ut supra dictum est; neque appetitus sensitivus, in quo sunt huiusmodi virtutes sicut in subiecto, ut dicit Philosophus in III Ethic. Quaedam vero virtutes morales sunt circa operationes; ut puta circa dationes et sumptus, ut iustitia et liberalitas et magnificentia; quae etiam non sunt in parte sensitiva, sed in voluntate. Unde nihil prohibet huiusmodi virtutes in Deo ponere, non tamen circa actiones civiles sed circa actiones Deo convenientes. Ridiculum est enim secundum virtutes politicas Deum laudare, ut dicit Philosophus in X Ethic.
Reply Obj. 1: Certain of the moral virtues are concerned with the passions, as temperance with concupiscence, fortitude with fear and daring, meekness with anger. Such virtues as these can only metaphorically be attributed to God; since, as stated above (Q. 20, A. 1), in God there are no passions; nor a sensitive appetite, which is, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 10), the subject of those virtues. On the other hand, certain moral virtues are concerned with works of giving and expending; such as justice, liberality, and magnificence; and these reside not in the sensitive faculty, but in the will. Hence, there is nothing to prevent our attributing these virtues to God; although not in civil matters, but in such acts as are not unbecoming to Him. For, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. x, 8), it would be absurd to praise God for His political virtues.
Ad secundum dicendum quod, cum bonum intellectum sit obiectum voluntatis, impossibile est Deum velle nisi quod ratio suae sapientiae habet. Quae quidem est sicut lex iustitiae, secundum quam eius voluntas recta et iusta est. Unde quod secundum suam voluntatem facit, iuste facit, sicut et nos quod secundum legem facimus, iuste facimus. Sed nos quidem secundum legem alicuius superioris, Deus autem sibi ipsi est lex.
Reply Obj. 2: Since good as perceived by intellect is the object of the will, it is impossible for God to will anything but what His wisdom approves. This is, as it were, His law of justice, in accordance with which His will is right and just. Hence, what He does according to His will He does justly: as we do justly what we do according to law. But whereas law comes to us from some higher power, God is a law unto Himself.
Ad tertium dicendum quod unicuique debetur quod suum est. Dicitur autem esse suum alicuius, quod ad ipsum ordinatur; sicut servus est domini, et non e converso; nam liberum est quod sui causa est. In nomine ergo debiti, importatur quidam ordo exigentiae vel necessitatis alicuius ad quod ordinatur. Est autem duplex ordo considerandus in rebus. Unus, quo aliquid creatum ordinatur ad aliud creatum, sicut partes ordinantur ad totum, et accidentia ad substantias, et unaquaeque res ad suum finem. Alius ordo, quo omnia creata ordinantur in Deum.
Reply Obj. 3: To each one is due what is his own. Now that which is directed to a man is said to be his own. Thus the master owns the servant, and not conversely, for that is free which is its own cause. In the word debt, therefore, is implied a certain exigence or necessity of the thing to which it is directed. Now a twofold order has to be considered in things: the one, whereby one created thing is directed to another, as the parts of the whole, accident to substance, and all things whatsoever to their end; the other, whereby all created things are ordered to God.
Sic igitur et debitum attendi potest dupliciter in operatione divina, aut secundum quod aliquid debetur Deo; aut secundum quod aliquid debetur rei creatae. Et utroque modo Deus debitum reddit. Debitum enim est Deo, ut impleatur in rebus id quod eius sapientia et voluntas habet, et quod suam bonitatem manifestat, et secundum hoc iustitia Dei respicit decentiam ipsius, secundum quam reddit sibi quod sibi debetur. Debitum etiam est alicui rei creatae, quod habeat id quod ad ipsam ordinatur, sicut homini, quod habeat manus, et quod ei alia animalia serviant. Et sic etiam Deus operatur iustitiam, quando dat unicuique quod ei debetur secundum rationem suae naturae et conditionis. Sed hoc debitum dependet ex primo, quia hoc unicuique debetur, quod est ordinatum ad ipsum secundum ordinem divinae sapientiae. Et licet Deus hoc modo debitum alicui det, non tamen ipse est debitor, quia ipse ad alia non ordinatur, sed potius alia in ipsum. Et ideo iustitia quandoque dicitur in Deo condecentia suae bonitatis; quandoque vero retributio pro meritis. Et utrumque modum tangit Anselmus, dicens, cum punis malos, iustum est, quia illorum meritis convenit; cum vero parcis malis, iustum est, quia bonitati tuae condecens est.
Thus in the divine operations debt may be regarded in two ways, as due either to God, or to creatures, and in either way God pays what is due. It is due to God that there should be fulfilled in creatures what His will and wisdom require, and what manifests His goodness. In this respect, God’s justice regards what befits Him; inasmuch as He renders to Himself what is due to Himself. It is also due to a created thing that it should possess what is ordered to it; thus it is due to man to have hands, and that other animals should serve him. Thus also God exercises justice, when He gives to each thing what is due to it by its nature and condition. This debt however is derived from the former; since what is due to each thing is due to it as ordered to it according to the divine wisdom. And although God in this way pays each thing its due, yet He Himself is not the debtor, since He is not directed to other things, but rather other things to Him. Justice, therefore, in God is sometimes spoken of as the fitting accompaniment of His goodness; sometimes as the reward of merit. Anselm touches on either view where he says (Prosolog. 10): When Thou dost punish the wicked, it is just, since it agrees with their deserts; and when Thou dost spare the wicked, it is also just; since it befits Thy goodness.
Ad quartum dicendum quod, licet iustitia respiciat actum, non tamen per hoc excluditur quin sit essentia Dei, quia etiam id quod est de essentia rei, potest esse principium actionis. Sed bonum non semper respicit actum, quia aliquid dicitur esse bonum, non solum secundum quod agit, sed etiam secundum quod in sua essentia perfectum est. Et propter hoc ibidem dicitur quod bonum comparatur ad iustum, sicut generale ad speciale.
Reply Obj. 4: Although justice regards act, this does not prevent its being the essence of God; since even that which is of the essence of a thing may be the principle of action. But good does not always regard act; since a thing is called good not merely with respect to act, but also as regards perfection in its essence. For this reason it is said (De Hebdom.) that the good is related to the just, as the general to the special.
Utrum iustitia Dei sit veritas
Whether the justice of God is truth?
Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod iustitia Dei non sit veritas. Iustitia enim est in voluntate, est enim rectitudo voluntatis, ut dicit Anselmus. Veritas autem est in intellectu, secundum Philosophum in VI Metaphys. et in VI Ethic. Ergo iustitia non pertinet ad veritatem.
Objection 1: It seems that the justice of God is not truth. For justice resides in the will; since, as Anselm says (Dial. Verit. 13), it is a rectitude of the will, whereas truth resides in the intellect, as the Philosopher says (Metaph. vi; Ethic. vi, 2,6). Therefore justice does not appertain to truth.
Praeterea, veritas, secundum Philosophum in IV Ethic., est quaedam alia virtus a iustitia. Non ergo veritas pertinet ad rationem iustitiae.
Obj. 2: Further, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 7), truth is a virtue distinct from justice. Truth therefore does not appertain to the idea of justice.
Sed contra est quod in Psalmo LXXXIV dicitur, misericordia et veritas obviaverunt sibi; et ponitur ibi veritas pro iustitia.
On the contrary, it is said (Ps 84:11): Mercy and truth have met each other: where truth stands for justice.
Respondeo dicendum quod veritas consistit in adaequatione intellectus et rei, sicut supra dictum est. Intellectus autem qui est causa rei, comparatur ad ipsam sicut regula et mensura, e converso autem est de intellectu qui accipit scientiam a rebus. Quando igitur res sunt mensura et regula intellectus, veritas consistit in hoc, quod intellectus adaequatur rei, ut in nobis accidit, ex eo enim quod res est vel non est, opinio nostra et oratio vera vel falsa est. Sed quando intellectus est regula vel mensura rerum, veritas consistit in hoc, quod res adaequantur intellectui, sicut dicitur artifex facere verum opus, quando concordat arti.
I answer that, Truth consists in the equation of mind and thing, as said above (Q. 16, A. 1). Now the mind, that is the cause of the thing, is related to it as its rule and measure; whereas the converse is the case with the mind that receives its knowledge from things. When therefore things are the measure and rule of the mind, truth consists in the equation of the mind to the thing, as happens in ourselves. For according as a thing is, or is not, our thoughts or our words about it are true or false. But when the mind is the rule or measure of things, truth consists in the equation of the thing to the mind; just as the work of an artist is said to be true, when it is in accordance with his art.
Sicut autem se habent artificiata ad artem, ita se habent opera iusta ad legem cui concordant. Iustitia igitur Dei, quae constituit ordinem in rebus conformem rationi sapientiae suae, quae est lex eius, convenienter veritas nominatur. Et sic etiam dicitur in nobis veritas iustitiae.
Now as works of art are related to art, so are works of justice related to the law with which they accord. Therefore God’s justice, which establishes things in the order conformable to the rule of His wisdom, which is the law of His justice, is suitably called truth. Thus we also in human affairs speak of the truth of justice.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod iustitia, quantum ad legem regulantem, est in ratione vel intellectu, sed quantum ad imperium, quo opera regulantur secundum legem, est in voluntate.
Reply Obj. 1: Justice, as to the law that governs, resides in the reason or intellect; but as to the command whereby our actions are governed according to the law, it resides in the will.
Ad secundum dicendum quod veritas illa de qua loquitur Philosophus ibi, est quaedam virtus per quam aliquis demonstrat se talem in dictis vel factis, qualis est. Et sic consistit in conformitate signi ad significatum, non autem in conformitate effectus ad causam et regulam, sicut de veritate iustitiae dictum est.
Reply Obj. 2: The truth of which the Philosopher is speaking in this passage, is that virtue whereby a man shows himself in word and deed such as he really is. Thus it consists in the conformity of the sign with the thing signified; and not in that of the effect with its cause and rule: as has been said regarding the truth of justice.
Utrum misericordia Deo competat
Whether mercy can be attributed to God?
Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod misericordia Deo non competat. Misericordia enim est species tristitiae, ut dicit Damascenus. Sed tristitia non est in Deo. Ergo nec misericordia.
Objection 1: It seems that mercy cannot be attributed to God. For mercy is a kind of sorrow, as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 14). But there is no sorrow in God; and therefore there is no mercy in Him.
Praeterea, misericordia est relaxatio iustitiae. Sed Deus non potest praetermittere id quod ad iustitiam suam pertinet. Dicitur enim II ad Tim. II, si non credimus, ille fidelis permanet, seipsum negare non potest, negaret autem seipsum, ut dicit Glossa ibidem, si dicta sua negaret. Ergo misericordia Deo non competit.
Obj. 2: Further, mercy is a relaxation of justice. But God cannot remit what appertains to His justice. For it is said (2 Tim 2:13): If we believe not, He continueth faithful: He cannot deny Himself. But He would deny Himself, as a gloss says, if He should deny His words. Therefore mercy is not becoming to God.
Sed contra est quod dicitur in Psalmo CX, miserator et misericors Dominus.
On the contrary, it is said (Ps 110:4): He is a merciful and gracious Lord.
Respondeo dicendum quod misericordia est Deo maxime attribuenda, tamen secundum effectum, non secundum passionis affectum. Ad cuius evidentiam, considerandum est quod misericors dicitur aliquis quasi habens miserum cor, quia scilicet afficitur ex miseria alterius per tristitiam, ac si esset eius propria miseria. Et ex hoc sequitur quod operetur ad depellendam miseriam alterius, sicut miseriam propriam, et hic est misericordiae effectus. Tristari ergo de miseria alterius non competit Deo, sed repellere miseriam alterius, hoc maxime ei competit, ut per miseriam quemcumque defectum intelligamus.
I answer that, Mercy is especially to be attributed to God, as seen in its effect, but not as an affection of passion. In proof of which it must be considered that a person is said to be merciful, as being, so to speak, sorrowful at heart; being affected with sorrow at the misery of another as though it were his own. Hence it follows that he endeavors to dispel the misery of this other, as if it were his; and this is the effect of mercy. To sorrow, therefore, over the misery of others belongs not to God; but it does most properly belong to Him to dispel that misery, whatever be the defect we call by that name.