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August 04, 2005

Ch.IX. Q.55. Divine Goodness

THE goodness of God is the attribute by reason of which He imparts life and other blessings to His creatures.1

2. The term good signifies in general what is desirable, whether because of utility, pleasure, or morality. A good person may mean either one who possesses desirable qualities, morally speaking, or one who is wont to give desirable things to others. It is in the latter sense that we speak of Divine goodness—His bountifulness. But God is good also in the former sense; and it is by reason of His perfection that, comprehending in Himself everything desirable, He is the source of all good things to others.2

3. Divine goodness is eternal and necessary. It does not depend upon the existence of creatures for its exercise. Apart from time the goodness of the Father moved Him to beget His Beloved Son, to whom He eternally communicates His own self-existent essence. By virtue of the same attribute, the Father and the Son eternally communicate their common essence to the Holy Ghost; and all the Blessed Three eternally communicate of their richness to each other.

4. Ad extra, the goodness of God moves Him to create and communicate being and life to finite things, external to His own essence, in order that He may impart to them such good gifts as they can receive. This communication is voluntary, and is determined as to its results by finite conditions imposed by the Creator Himself. The creatures are made indigentia Dei, and satisfaction of the need is made possible.3

5. The goodness of God ad extra includes His BENEVOLENCE, by which is meant "the constant will of God to communicate felicity to His creatures, according to their conditions and His own wisdom."4

6. Because of His benevolence, God has determined, by His will of good pleasure, to alleviate the miseries of this life which have been caused by the sins of the creature, and to employ such means for the Salvation of mankind as are consistent with His own holiness and creaturely responsibility.5

1 Martensen, Dogmatics, § 50-51; Strong, Syst. Theol., p. 138b; Hodge, Syst. Theol., Vol. I., pp. 427-436; Pearson, De Deo, VII., pp. 73, 74; Schouppe, Elementa, Tr. V., §§ 173, 177, 179-194; Wilhelm and Scannell, Manual, Vol. I. pp. 205-206. Cf. Psa. Ixv. 4; cxlv. 7-16; Neh. ix. 35; Jerem. xxxi. 12, 14; Zech. ix. 17; Matt. v. 45; Jas. i. 5, 17.

2 St. Thos., Summa, I., vi. 1.

3 Pearson, p. 74; Martensen, § 50.

4 Schouppe, § 173. Neh. i. 7; Psa. cxlv. 9.

5 Schouppe, § 177-194.

Posted by Debra Bullock at August 4, 2005 07:12 PM

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