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Anonymous Jomhar wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Does God love everyone equally?


  { Does God love everyone equally? }

Eric replied:

Dear Jomhar,

No, John 13:23 refers to "the disciple Jesus loved", clearly distinguishing Christ's ( =God's) love for Him over and above the love He had for the other Apostles. Malachi 1:2-3 says that God loved Jacob and hated ( =loved less) Esau.

St. Thomas Aquinas teaches in his (Summa, Part I, question 20 answer 3):

Article 3. Whether God loves all things equally?

On the contrary, Augustine says (Tract. in Joan. cx): God loves all things that He has made, and among them rational creatures more, and of these especially those who are members of His only-begotten Son Himself.

I answer that, since to love a thing is to will it good, in a twofold way anything may be loved more, or less. In one way on the part of the act of the will itself, which is more or less intense. In this way God does not love some things more than others, because He loves all things by an act of the will that is one, simple, and always the same. In another way on the part of the good itself that a person wills for the beloved. In this way we are said to love that one more than another, for whom we will a greater good, though our will is not more intense. In this way we [must needs] say that God loves some things more than others. For since God's love is the cause of goodness in things, as has been said (Article 2), no one thing would be better than another, if God did not will greater good for one than for another.

Hope this helps,


Jomhar replied:

Thanks Eric!

The reason I asked is because someone told me that the belief that God doesn't love equally is "Calvinistic" or contrary to Church teaching. I just wanted to get the "Catholic" view.


Eric replied:

Jomhar —

My understanding is that the Calvinist view is that God doesn't love the reprobate, or that He only loves the elect. This would not be true from a Catholic perspective; God loves everyone (just not equally):

Love Your Enemy and Make a Friend.

The unique, the highest proof of love is this, to love the person who is against us. This is why Truth himself bore the suffering of the Cross and yet bestowed His love on his persecutors, saying,

"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

Why should we wonder that his living disciples loved their enemies, when their dying master loved his? He expressed the depth of his love when he said, "No one has greater love than this, than that he lay down his life for his friends." The Lord had come to die even for his enemies, and yet he said he would lay down his life for his friends to show us that when we are able to win over our enemies by loving them, even our persecutors are our friends.

Pope St. Gregory the Great, 540-604 A.D. (excerpt from Forty Gospel Homilies, 27)

God did not first begin to love us when we were reconciled to God through the blood of God's Son. God loved us before the establishment of the world, before we even existed, so that we too might then become God's children, along with God's Only-Begotten. When we hear that we were reconciled to God through the death of God's Son, we should not understand this as meaning that while God hated us, the Son reconciled us to the Father, and only then did God begin to love us. This is the way enemies are reconciled to one another, so that they become friends and begin to love instead of hate one another.

No, we were reconciled to God who was already loving us, even while we were still holding enmity against God through our sin. The Apostle makes clear that I am telling the truth: God shows love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. God was extending love toward us even while we were still building our animosity against God by the evil deeds we performed. Yet the Scripture truly says to God, You hated, O Lord, all those who do evil (Psalm 6:8). Thus in some wondrous and divine way, God loved us even while God hated us. God hated us for being other than what God had made us. But since our wickedness had not yet completely consumed God's good work in us, God was able, simultaneously in each of us, to hate what we had made of ourselves and to love what God had made in us. This is a general truth about God, understood in all God does: you hate nothing that you have made (Wisdom 11:25). What God hated would not be allowed to exist; nor could anything exist without the Omnipotent's tolerance. In anything God hates, therefore, must be something God loves.

(St. Augustine on Romans 5:8)

Christ commanded us to love our enemies. He would not ask us to do something he refused to do Himself.


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