Summa Th. I EN Qu.20 a.3

Article: 3 Whether God loves all things equally?

Objection: 1. It seems that God loves all things equally. For it is said: "He hath equally care of all" (Sg 6,8). But God's providence over things comes from the love wherewith He loves them. Therefore He loves all things equally.

2. Further, the love of God is His essence. But God's essence does not admit of degree; neither therefore does His love. He does not therefore love some things more than others.

3. Further, as God's love extends to created things, so do His knowledge and will extend. But God is not said to know some things more than others; nor will one thing more than another. Neither therefore does He love some things more than others.

On the contrary Augustine says (Tract. in Joan. cx): "God loves all things that He has made, and amongst 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.

Reply to Objection: 1. God is said to have equally care of all, not because by His care He deals out equal good to all, but because He administers all things with a like wisdom and goodness.

2. This argument is based on the intensity of love on the part of the act of the will, which is the divine essence. But the good that God wills for His creatures, is not the divine essence. Therefore there is no reason why it may not vary in degree.

3. To understand and to will denote the act alone, and do not include in their meaning objects from the diversity of which God may be said to know or will more or less, as has been said with respect to God's love.

Article: 4 Whether God always loves more the better things?

Objection: 1. It seems that God does not always love more the better things. For it is manifest that Christ is better than the whole human race, being God and man. But God loved the human race more than He loved Christ; for it is said: "He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all" (Rm 8,32). Therefore God does not always love more the better things.

2. Further, an angel is better than a man. Hence it is said of man: "Thou hast made him a little less than the angels" (Ps 8,6). But God loved men more than He loved the angels, for it is said: "Nowhere doth He take hold of the angels, but of the seed of Abraham He taketh hold" (He 2,16). Therefore God does not always love more the better things.

3. Further, Peter was better than John, since he loved Christ more. Hence the Lord, knowing this to be true, asked Peter, saying: "Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me more than these?" Yet Christ loved John more than He loved Peter. For as Augustine says, commenting on the words, "Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me?": "By this very mark is John distinguished from the other disciples, not that He loved him only, but that He loved him more than the rest." Therefore God does not always love more the better things.

4. Further, the innocent man is better than the repentant, since repentance is, as Jerome says (Cap. 3 in Is), "a second plank after shipwreck." But God loves the penitent more than the innocent; since He rejoices over him the more. For it is said: "I say to you that there shall be joy in heaven upon the one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance" (Lc 15,7). Therefore God does not always love more the better things.

5. Further, the just man who is foreknown is better than the predestined sinner. Now God loves more the predestined sinner, since He wills for him a greater good, life eternal. Therefore God does not always love more the better things.

On the contrary Everything loves what is like it, as appears from (Si 13,19): "Every beast loveth its like." Now the better a thing is, the more like is it to God. Therefore the better things are more loved by God.

I answer that It must needs be, according to what has been said before, that God loves more the better things . For it has been shown (Articles [2],3), that God's loving one thing more than another is nothing else than His willing for that thing a greater good: because God's will is the cause of goodness in things; and the reason why some things are better than others, is that God wills for them a greater good. Hence it follows that He loves more the better things.

Reply to Objection: 1. God loves Christ not only more than He loves the whole human race, but more than He loves the entire created universe: because He willed for Him the greater good in giving Him "a name that is above all names," in so far as He was true God. Nor did anything of His excellence diminish when God delivered Him up to death for the salvation of the human race; rather did He become thereby a glorious conqueror: "The government was placed upon His shoulder," according to Is 9,6.

2. God loves the human nature assumed by the Word of God in the person of Christ more than He loves all the angels; for that nature is better, especially on the ground of the union with the Godhead. But speaking of human nature in general, and comparing it with the angelic, the two are found equal, in the order of grace and of glory: since according to Rev 21:17, the measure of a man and of an angel is the same. Yet so that, in this respect, some angels are found nobler than some men, and some men nobler than some angels. But as to natural condition an angel is better than a man. God therefore did not assume human nature because He loved man, absolutely speaking, more; but because the needs of man were greater; just as the master of a house may give some costly delicacy to a sick servant, that he does not give to his own son in sound health.

3. This doubt concerning Peter and John has been solved in various ways. Augustine interprets it mystically, and says that the active life, signified by Peter, loves God more than the contemplative signified by John, because the former is more conscious of the miseries of this present life, and therefore the more ardently desires to be freed from them, and depart to God. God, he says, loves more the contemplative life, since He preserves it longer. For it does not end, as the active life does, with the life of the body.

Some say that Peter loved Christ more in His members, and therefore was loved more by Christ also, for which reason He gave him the care of the Church; but that John loved Christ more in Himself, and so was loved more by Him; on which account Christ commended His mother to his care. Others say that it is uncertain which of them loved Christ more with the love of charity, and uncertain also which of them God loved more and ordained to a greater degree of glory in eternal life. Peter is said to have loved more, in regard to a certain promptness and fervor; but John to have been more loved, with respect to certain marks of familiarity which Christ showed to him rather than to others, on account of his youth and purity. While others say that Christ loved Peter more, from his more excellent gift of charity; but John more, from his gifts of intellect. Hence, absolutely speaking, Peter was the better and more beloved; but, in a certain sense, John was the better, and was loved the more. However, it may seem presumptuous to pass judgment on these matters; since "the Lord" and no other "is the weigher of spirits" (Pr 16,2).

4. The penitent and the innocent are related as exceeding and exceeded. For whether innocent or penitent, those are the better and better loved who have most grace. Other things being equal, innocence is the nobler thing and the more beloved. God is said to rejoice more over the penitent than over the innocent, because often penitents rise from sin more cautious, humble, and fervent. Hence Gregory commenting on these words (Hom. 34 in ) says that, "In battle the general loves the soldier who after flight returns and bravely pursues the enemy, more than him who has never fled, but has never done a brave deed."

Or it may be answered that gifts of grace, equal in themselves, are more as conferred on the penitent, who deserved punishment, than as conferred on the innocent, to whom no punishment was due; just as a hundred pounds [marcoe] are a greater gift to a poor man than to a king.

5. Since God's will is the cause of goodness in things, the goodness of one who is loved by God is to be reckoned according to the time when some good is to be given to him by divine goodness. According therefore to the time, when there is to be given by the divine will to the predestined sinner a greater good, the sinner is better; although according to some other time he is the worse; because even according to some time he is neither good nor bad.


After considering the divine love, we must treat of God's justice and mercy. Under this head there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether there is justice in God?

(2) Whether His justice can be called truth?

(3) Whether there is mercy in God?

(4) Whether in every work of God there are justice and mercy?

Article: 1 Whether there is justice in God?

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.

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" (Ep 1,11). Therefore justice cannot be attributed to Him.

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.

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.

On the contrary It is said (Ps 10,8): "The Lord is just, and hath loved justice."

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?" (Rm 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."

Reply to Objection: 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 (Question [20], Article [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.

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.

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. 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."

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.

Article: 2 Whether the justice of God is truth?

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.

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.

On the contrary it is said (Ps 84,11): "Mercy and truth have met each other": where truth stands for justice.

I answer that Truth consists in the equation of mind and thing, as said above (Question [16], Article [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.

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.

Reply to Objection: 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.

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.

Article: 3 Whether mercy can be attributed to God?

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.

2. Further, mercy is a relaxation of justice. But God cannot remit what appertains to His justice. For it is said (2Tm 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.

On the contrary it is said (Ps 110,4): "He is a merciful and gracious Lord."

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 [misericors], as being, so to speak, sorrowful at heart [miserum cor]; 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. Now defects are not removed, except by the perfection of some kind of goodness; and the primary source of goodness is God, as shown above (Question [6], Article [4]). It must, however, be considered that to bestow perfections appertains not only to the divine goodness, but also to His justice, liberality, and mercy; yet under different aspects. The communicating of perfections, absolutely considered, appertains to goodness, as shown above (Question [6], Articles [1],4); in so far as perfections are given to things in proportion, the bestowal of them belongs to justice, as has been already said (Article [1]); in so far as God does not bestow them for His own use, but only on account of His goodness, it belongs to liberality; in so far as perfections given to things by God expel defects, it belongs to mercy.

Reply to Objection: 1. This argument is based on mercy, regarded as an affection of passion.

2. God acts mercifully, not indeed by going against His justice, but by doing something more than justice; thus a man who pays another two hundred pieces of money, though owing him only one hundred, does nothing against justice, but acts liberally or mercifully. The case is the same with one who pardons an offence committed against him, for in remitting it he may be said to bestow a gift. Hence the Apostle calls remission a forgiving: "Forgive one another, as Christ has forgiven you" (Ep 4,32). Hence it is clear that mercy does not destroy justice, but in a sense is the fulness thereof. And thus it is said: "Mercy exalteth itself above judgement" (Jc 2,13).

Article: 4 Whether in every work of God there are mercy and justice?

Objection: 1. It seems that not in every work of God are mercy and justice. For some works of God are attributed to mercy, as the justification of the ungodly; and others to justice, as the damnation of the wicked. Hence it is said: "Judgment without mercy to him that hath not done mercy" (Jc 2,13). Therefore not in every work of God do mercy and justice appear.

2. Further, the Apostle attributes the conversion of the Jews to justice and truth, but that of the Gentiles to mercy (Rm 15). Therefore not in every work of God are justice and mercy.

3. Further, many just persons are afflicted in this world; which is unjust. Therefore not in every work of God are justice and mercy.

4. Further, it is the part of justice to pay what is due, but of mercy to relieve misery. Thus both justice and mercy presuppose something in their works: whereas creation presupposes nothing. Therefore in creation neither mercy nor justice is found.

On the contrary It is said (Ps 24,10): "All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth."

I answer that Mercy and truth are necessarily found in all God's works, if mercy be taken to mean the removal of any kind of defect. Not every defect, however, can properly be called a misery; but only defect in a rational nature whose lot is to be happy; for misery is opposed to happiness. For this necessity there is a reason, because since a debt paid according to the divine justice is one due either to God, or to some creature, neither the one nor the other can be lacking in any work of God: because God can do nothing that is not in accord with His wisdom and goodness; and it is in this sense, as we have said, that anything is due to God. Likewise, whatever is done by Him in created things, is done according to proper order and proportion wherein consists the idea of justice. Thus justice must exist in all God's works. Now the work of divine justice always presupposes the work of mercy; and is founded thereupon. For nothing is due to creatures, except for something pre-existing in them, or foreknown. Again, if this is due to a creature, it must be due on account of something that precedes. And since we cannot go on to infinity, we must come to something that depends only on the goodness of the divine will---which is the ultimate end. We may say, for instance, that to possess hands is due to man on account of his rational soul; and his rational soul is due to him that he may be man; and his being man is on account of the divine goodness. So in every work of God, viewed at its primary source, there appears mercy. In all that follows, the power of mercy remains, and works indeed with even greater force; as the influence of the first cause is more intense than that of second causes. For this reason does God out of abundance of His goodness bestow upon creatures what is due to them more bountifully than is proportionate to their deserts: since less would suffice for preserving the order of justice than what the divine goodness confers; because between creatures and God's goodness there can be no proportion.

Reply to Objection: 1. Certain works are attributed to justice, and certain others to mercy, because in some justice appears more forcibly and in others mercy. Even in the damnation of the reprobate mercy is seen, which, though it does not totally remit, yet somewhat alleviates, in punishing short of what is deserved.

In the justification of the ungodly, justice is seen, when God remits sins on account of love, though He Himself has mercifully infused that love. So we read of Magdalen: "Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much" (Lc 7,47).

2. God's justice and mercy appear both in the conversion of the Jews and of the Gentiles. But an aspect of justice appears in the conversion of the Jews which is not seen in the conversion of the Gentiles; inasmuch as the Jews were saved on account of the promises made to the fathers.

3. Justice and mercy appear in the punishment of the just in this world, since by afflictions lesser faults are cleansed in them, and they are the more raised up from earthly affections to God. As to this Gregory says (Moral. xxvi, 9): "The evils that press on us in this world force us to go to God."

4. Although creation presupposes nothing in the universe; yet it does presuppose something in the knowledge of God. In this way too the idea of justice is preserved in creation; by the production of beings in a manner that accords with the divine wisdom and goodness. And the idea of mercy, also, is preserved in the change of creatures from non-existence to existence.


Having considered all that relates to the will absolutely, we must now proceed to those things which have relation to both the intellect and the will, namely providence, in respect to all created things; predestination and reprobation and all that is connected with these acts in respect especially of man as regards his eternal salvation. For in the science of morals, after the moral virtues themselves, comes the consideration of prudence, to which providence would seem to belong. Concerning God's providence there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether providence is suitably assigned to God?

(2) Whether everything comes under divine providence?

(3) Whether divine providence is immediately concerned with all things?

(4) Whether divine providence imposes any necessity upon things foreseen?

Article: 1 Whether providence can suitably be attributed to God?

Objection: 1. It seems that providence is not becoming to God. For providence, according to Tully (De Invent. ii), is a part of prudence. But prudence, since, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 5,9,18), it gives good counsel, cannot belong to God, Who never has any doubt for which He should take counsel. Therefore providence cannot belong to God.

2. Further, whatever is in God, is eternal. But providence is not anything eternal, for it is concerned with existing things that are not eternal, according to Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 29). Therefore there is no providence in God.

3. Further, there is nothing composite in God. But providence seems to be something composite, because it includes both the intellect and the will. Therefore providence is not in God.

On the contrary It is said (Sg 14,3): "But Thou, Father, governest all things by providence [*Vulg. But 'Thy providence, O Father, governeth it.']."

I answer that It is necessary to attribute providence to God. For all the good that is in created things has been created by God, as was shown above (Question [6], Article [4]). In created things good is found not only as regards their substance, but also as regards their order towards an end and especially their last end, which, as was said above, is the divine goodness (Question [21], Article [4]). This good of order existing in things created, is itself created by God. Since, however, God is the cause of things by His intellect, and thus it behooves that the type of every effect should pre-exist in Him, as is clear from what has gone before (Question [19], Article [4]), it is necessary that the type of the order of things towards their end should pre-exist in the divine mind: and the type of things ordered towards an end is, properly speaking, providence. For it is the chief part of prudence, to which two other parts are directed---namely, remembrance of the past, and understanding of the present; inasmuch as from the remembrance of what is past and the understanding of what is present, we gather how to provide for the future. Now it belongs to prudence, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 12), to direct other things towards an end whether in regard to oneself---as for instance, a man is said to be prudent, who orders well his acts towards the end of life--or in regard to others subject to him, in a family, city or kingdom; in which sense it is said (Mt 24,45), "a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath appointed over his family." In this way prudence or providence may suitably be attributed to God. For in God Himself there can be nothing ordered towards an end, since He is the last end. This type of order in things towards an end is therefore in God called providence. Whence Boethius says (De Consol. iv, 6) that "Providence is the divine type itself, seated in the Supreme Ruler; which disposeth all things": which disposition may refer either to the type of the order of things towards an end, or to the type of the order of parts in the whole.

Reply to Objection: 1. According to the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 9,10), "Prudence is what, strictly speaking, commands all that 'ebulia' has rightly counselled and 'synesis' rightly judged" [*Cf. I-II 57,6]. Whence, though to take counsel may not be fitting to God, from the fact that counsel is an inquiry into matters that are doubtful, nevertheless to give a command as to the ordering of things towards an end, the right reason of which He possesses, does belong to God, according to Ps 148,6: "He hath made a decree, and it shall not pass away." In this manner both prudence and providence belong to God. Although at the same time it may be said that the very reason of things to be done is called counsel in God; not because of any inquiry necessitated, but from the certitude of the knowledge, to which those who take counsel come by inquiry. Whence it is said: "Who worketh all things according to the counsel of His will" (Ep 1,11).

2. Two things pertain to the care of providence---namely, the "reason of order," which is called providence and disposition; and the execution of order, which is termed government. Of these, the first is eternal, and the second is temporal.

3. Providence resides in the intellect; but presupposes the act of willing the end. Nobody gives a precept about things done for an end; unless he will that end. Hence prudence presupposes the moral virtues, by means of which the appetitive faculty is directed towards good, as the Philosopher says. Even if Providence has to do with the divine will and intellect equally, this would not affect the divine simplicity, since in God both the will and intellect are one and the same thing, as we have said above (Question [19]).

Article: 2 Whether everything is subject to the providence of God?

Objection: 1. It seems that everything is not subject to divine providence. For nothing foreseen can happen by chance. If then everything was foreseen by God, nothing would happen by chance. And thus hazard and luck would disappear; which is against common opinion.

2. Further, a wise provider excludes any defect or evil, as far as he can, from those over whom he has a care. But we see many evils existing. Either, then, God cannot hinder these, and thus is not omnipotent; or else He does not have care for everything.

3. Further, whatever happens of necessity does not require providence or prudence. Hence, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 5,9, 10,11): "Prudence is the right reason of things contingent concerning which there is counsel and choice." Since, then, many things happen from necessity, everything cannot be subject to providence.

4. Further, whatsoever is left to itself cannot be subject to the providence of a governor. But men are left to themselves by God in accordance with the words: "God made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel" (Si 15,14). And particularly in reference to the wicked: "I let them go according to the desires of their heart" (Ps 80,13). Everything, therefore, cannot be subject to divine providence.

5. Further, the Apostle says (1Co 9,9): "God doth not care for oxen [*Vulg. 'Doth God take care for oxen?']": and we may say the same of other irrational creatures. Thus everything cannot be under the care of divine providence.

On the contrary It is said of Divine Wisdom: "She reacheth from end to end mightily, and ordereth all things sweetly" (Sg 8,1).

I answer that Certain persons totally denied the existence of providence, as Democritus and the Epicureans, maintaining that the world was made by chance. Others taught that incorruptible things only were subject to providence and corruptible things not in their individual selves, but only according to their species; for in this respect they are incorruptible. They are represented as saying (Jb 22,14): "The clouds are His covert; and He doth not consider our things; and He walketh about the poles of heaven." Rabbi Moses, however, excluded men from the generality of things corruptible, on account of the excellence of the intellect which they possess, but in reference to all else that suffers corruption he adhered to the opinion of the others.

We must say, however, that all things are subject to divine providence, not only in general, but even in their own individual selves. This is mad evident thus. For since every agent acts for an end, the ordering of effects towards that end extends as far as the causality of the first agent extends. Whence it happens that in the effects of an agent something takes place which has no reference towards the end, because the effect comes from a cause other than, and outside the intention of the agent. But the causality of God, Who is the first agent, extends to all being, not only as to constituent principles of species, but also as to the individualizing principles; not only of things incorruptible, but also of things corruptible. Hence all things that exist in whatsoever manner are necessarily directed by God towards some end; as the Apostle says: "Those things that are of God are well ordered [*Vulg.'Those powers that are, are ordained of God': 'Quae autem sunt, a Deo ordinatae sunt.' St. Thomas often quotes this passage, and invariably reads: 'Quae a Deo sunt, ordinata sunt.']" (Rm 13,1). Since, therefore, as the providence of God is nothing less than the type of the order of things towards an end, as we have said; it necessarily follows that all things, inasmuch as they participate in existence, must likewise be subject to divine providence. It has also been shown (Question [14], Articles [6],11) that God knows all things, both universal and particular. And since His knowledge may be compared to the things themselves, as the knowledge of art to the objects of art, all things must of necessity come under His ordering; as all things wrought by art are subject to the ordering of that art.

Reply to Objection: 1. There is a difference between universal and particular causes. A thing can escape the order of a particular cause; but not the order of a universal cause. For nothing escapes the order of a particular cause, except through the intervention and hindrance of some other particular cause; as, for instance, wood may be prevented from burning, by the action of water. Since then, all particular causes are included under the universal cause, it could not be that any effect should take place outside the range of that universal cause. So far then as an effect escapes the order of a particular cause, it is said to be casual or fortuitous in respect to that cause; but if we regard the universal cause, outside whose range no effect can happen, it is said to be foreseen. Thus, for instance, the meeting of two servants, although to them it appears a chance circumstance, has been fully foreseen by their master, who has purposely sent to meet at the one place, in such a way that the one knows not about the other.

2. It is otherwise with one who has care of a particular thing, and one whose providence is universal, because a particular provider excludes all defects from what is subject to his care as far as he can; whereas, one who provides universally allows some little defect to remain, lest the good of the whole should be hindered. Hence, corruption and defects in natural things are said to be contrary to some particular nature; yet they are in keeping with the plan of universal nature; inasmuch as the defect in one thing yields to the good of another, or even to the universal good: for the corruption of one is the generation of another, and through this it is that a species is kept in existence. Since God, then, provides universally for all being, it belongs to His providence to permit certain defects in particular effects, that the perfect good of the universe may not be hindered, for if all evil were prevented, much good would be absent from the universe. A lion would cease to live, if there were no slaying of animals; and there would be no patience of martyrs if there were no tyrannical persecution. Thus Augustine says (Enchiridion 2): "Almighty God would in no wise permit evil to exist in His works, unless He were so almighty and so good as to produce good even from evil." It would appear that it was on account of these two arguments to which we have just replied, that some were persuaded to consider corruptible things---e.g. casual and evil things---as removed from the care of divine providence.

3. Man is not the author of nature; but he uses natural things in applying art and virtue to his own use. Hence human providence does not reach to that which takes place in nature from necessity; but divine providence extends thus far, since God is the author of nature. Apparently it was this argument that moved those who withdrew the course of nature from the care of divine providence, attributing it rather to the necessity of matter, as Democritus, and others of the ancients.

4. When it is said that God left man to himself, this does not mean that man is exempt from divine providence; but merely that he has not a prefixed operating force determined to only the one effect; as in the case of natural things, which are only acted upon as though directed by another towards an end; and do not act of themselves, as if they directed themselves towards an end, like rational creatures, through the possession of free will, by which these are able to take counsel and make a choice. Hence it is significantly said: "In the hand of his own counsel." But since the very act of free will is traced to God as to a cause, it necessarily follows that everything happening from the exercise of free will must be subject to divine providence. For human providence is included under the providence of God, as a particular under a universal cause. God, however, extends His providence over the just in a certain more excellent way than over the wicked; inasmuch as He prevents anything happening which would impede their final salvation. For "to them that love God, all things work together unto good" (Rm 8,28). But from the fact that He does not restrain the wicked from the evil of sin, He is said to abandon them: not that He altogether withdraws His providence from them; otherwise they would return to nothing, if they were not preserved in existence by His providence. This was the reason that had weight with Tully, who withdrew from the care of divine providence human affairs concerning which we take counsel.

5. Since a rational creature has, through its free will, control over its actions, as was said above (Question [19], Article [10]), it is subject to divine providence in an especial manner, so that something is imputed to it as a fault, or as a merit; and there is given it accordingly something by way of punishment or reward. In this way, the Apostle withdraws oxen from the care of God: not, however, that individual irrational creatures escape the care of divine providence; as was the opinion of the Rabbi Moses.

Summa Th. I EN Qu.20 a.3