De Moor IV:41: God's Love of Benevolence and Complacency



According to diverse Considerations and the variety of Effects and Objects, the Names of this divine Goodness also vary.



Unto this, says our AUTHOR, Love, considered as an act flowing from Goodness, or as an Affection to be referred to Goodness, has regard. And which we here understand not a Natural Love, which is terminated on the Divine Persons themselves, etc. To this the saying of AUGUSTINE has regard, tractate CX on John, chapter VI, opera, tome 3, part 2, column 567, “God hates nothing of those things which He has made. Therefore, since He hates nothing that He has made, who can worthily express, how much He loves the members of His Only-begotten: and how much more the Only-begotten Himself, in whom are hid all things visible and invisible?”



But a Voluntary Love, which extends unto the Creatures: All Creatures, Psalm 36:5, 6; and Rational Creatures, Men, Matthew 5:45; Acts 14:17; and especially Elect Men, John 3:16; etc.: hence a threefold degree of the Divine Love is established with respect to Effects, φιλοκτισία/creature-love, φιλανθρωπία/philanthropy, ἐκλεκτοφιλία, love of the elect.


If you should ask the reasons for this Inequality in the demonstration of the Divine Love, it is able to be said, 1. that He does this to demonstrate the Liberty of God: it was befitting His supreme Dominion, to show the greatest freedom of power in diffusing its gifts, which especially shines forth in this Inequality. 2. He does this to augment the Beauty of the Universe, inasmuch as creatures are furnished, distinguished in form, actions, and abilities. 3. In this way, divine Wisdom shines forth in the suitable order constituted, which is seen in the connection of superior and inferior things. 4. Rather, He was doing this to demonstrate the inexhaustible fountain of divine Goodness, since one creature is not able to receive the whole communication of the good things of God, that it might be drawn on to a great many things and of diverse sorts.


This Love with respect to its Acts is called Love of Benevolence or Love of Complacency. The Benevolence of God is either Eternal, or Temporal, which is Beneficence itself: by the former God chose certain ones, Romans 9:11-13; by the latter He redeems and sanctifies the same, Ephesians 5:25, 26: both precede His Love of Complacency, of which it is spoken in Isaiah 62:3, 4; Hebrews 11:6. God did not choose men, because they were pleasing through their faith and study of holiness; but rather, so that they might be pleasing, Ephesians 1:4, He reconciled to Himself through the death of His Son men impious and enemies of God, Romans 5:8, 10: in this way the good Father is able to will good things for His child, whose depraved manners He still hates. But Complacency follows Benevolence and Beneficence, and those are commensurate: since, apart from the divine gift, there is nothing in us that is able to please God.



Perhaps You Will Object, that divine Love is sometimes said to follow human Love toward God, Proverbs 8:17; John 14:21. Response: It is not as if human Love is the cause eliciting divine Love, but thus, 1. the persons loved are merely designated, who they are, not why they are such. 2. The mutual bond of divine and human Love is indicated, and the consequent, more evident demonstration of the divine Love in them, who through the antecedent Grace of God also learned greatly to love Him.

ABOUT US

Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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