Hello everyone. I hope you all have enjoyed reading back posts on Deeper Waters. I have been enjoying myself on a honeymoon and getting used to married life. This doesn’t mean Deeper Waters is ending. Not at all. The wife and I are interested in expanding Deeper Waters further. We do hope to have a more global outreach however so that my activity in other areas will be shortened so that it can be more focused in still other areas. For now however, we are returning to our study of Thomas Aquinas and the doctrine of God in the Summa Theologica. This can be read for free at newadvent.org. Tonight, we’re going to start discussing the justice of God and asking the question if justice does exist in God.
Aquinas wishes us to realize that there are two kinds of justice. The first is communicative justice. This consists in the mediums of exchange such as buying and selling. This does not exist in God. The other is distributive justice. In this, a ruler gives someone the rank that they deserve. This kind does exist in God since he does give his creation what they have.
But does not justice lie in not doing what one wills but what one ought? However, in Ephesians 1:11, we are told that God works all things according to the counsel of his will. Since doing what one wills and pleases is not justice, then it appears that God is not just.
However, this is answered in that this is the way it is for humans. Humans need a law outside of themselves to reach the potential that they ought to reach. However, there is no moral restraint outside of God on God. I do not even consider it accurate to say God is moral, in that it implies that he does what he ought to do and there is nothing outside of God that says he ought to do such. God does not will anything that is not in accordance with wisdom and is rather a law unto himself. Thus, God is just.
How can God be said to be just however if it cannot be said that there is nothing that he owes anyone?
Justice in God however is the fitting accompaniment of his goodness and is fitted to each person according to the divine wisdom. God has a debt to himself. He is to act according to his will and his wisdom. Aquinas quotes Anselm who said that if God punishes the wicked, that is good for they deserve it. If he does not punish them, that is also good for mercy belongs to his goodness. Essentially, we simply have to trust God.
We conclude then with Aquinas that justice does rely in God. Of course, the outworkings of that justice will be pointed out in further blogs and again, I can highly recommend doing what one reader of Deeper Waters is doing. Going to Newadvent.org and reading up on Aquinas’s thought yourself. There is nothing like approaching the old saint himself.
We shall continue tomorrow.