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August 04, 2005

Ch.IX. Q.58. Divine Justice

THE Justice of God is "His constant and efficacious will of dispensing rewards and punishments to creatures according to the merits of each."1

2. The Justice of God is the counterpart of His righteousness, and is sometimes identified with it;2 Justice being the foundation of Divine Law, righteousness the basis of Divine judgment passed upon failure to fulfil the law.3

3. The merits of the creature do not, in the first instance, arise from his own efforts, but from the meritorious passion of Christ. But the blood of Christ is the seal of an everlasting covenant, by virtue of which the members of Christ are enabled to do the will of God and deserve His favour.4 "God rewards Christ's work for us and in us"—not, in the first instance, on account of man's works, but, none the less, according to them.5

4. The judgments of God are without respect of persons, being the impartial expression of His righteousness in the presence of moral evil. They are not vindictive but vindicative. It is consistent with this impartiality, and involved in it, that personal conditions—knowledge and opportunities—should be allowed for in Divine judgments.6

1 St. Thos., Summa, I., xxi. 1, 2, 4; Schouppe, Elementa, Tr. V., §§208, 210; Weidner, Theologia, pp. 39-40; Clarke, Outline of Theol., pp. 92-93; Wilhelm and Scannell, Manual, Vol. I., pp. 241-246. Cf. Gen. xviii. 25; Psa. vii. 9-11; xviii. 24; Ixxxix. 14; cxix. 37; Jer. xxiii. 5; Rom. ii. 2-11; I. Pet. i. 17; Jas. ii. 12 et seq.; Rev. xix. 11; xx. 13.

2 Rom. iii. 26.

3 Strong, Syst. Theol., p. 138. Cf. Heb. x. 30, 31.

4 Rom. iv. 25; Heb. xiii. 20, 21.

5 Wilhelm and Scannell, pp. 244, 245. Cf. Luke xvii. 7-10, w. Acts x. 34, 35; II. John 8 and Tit. iii. 4-7, w. Rom. ii. 6.

6 Strong, p. 139e. Cf. Acts x. 34, 35; Rom. ii. 11.

Posted by Debra Bullock at August 4, 2005 10:23 PM

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