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De Moor IV:41: The Benignity of God toward the Creature

But rather here by the Goodness of God we understand His Benignity, by which He offers Himself as Loveable/Desirable to various Creatures in various modes and degrees, since He desires and does good, to all Creatures generally, and to Men specifically, and to the Elect most especially. From this His abundance and ὑπεροχῇ/pre-eminence of Goodness, God is called יְהוָ֥ה הַטּ֖וֹב, the good Lord, κατ᾽ ἐξοχὴν, par excellence, 2 Chronicles 30:18; indeed, the only Good, Matthew 19:17, οὐδεὶς ἀγαθός, εἰ μὴ εἷς, ὁ Θεός, there is none good but one, that is, God. That is, God is transcendently good, originally and independently good, the fountain of all goodness; indeed, essentially good, Goodness itself, whose Essence is not perfected to a greater extent through addition of the quality of Goodness that as an accidental property may adhere to Essence; but Goodness, no less than the remaining Attributes, has regard to the very Essence of Him, who is altogether Simple. Indeed, this Benignity, as also Love, which our AUTHOR in the next place refers to Goodness, attributively and from the standpoint of an internal act in God, is equal toward all creatures, which He pursues with His Benignity, since it does not fall upon God variably: but regarded effectively and from the standpoint of a good which He wills to someone, it is unequal, because He does not bestow the same things or equal benefits upon all. Universal Benignity of God toward all His creatures is declared in Psalm 145:7, 9; 33:5; the special Benignity of God toward His Elect is celebrated in Psalm 73:1: now, this Benignity is conjoined with the Goodness of God and is derived from it, Psalm 119:68.

On account of this Goodness, by the Gentiles God was wont to be called Optimus, and also Maximus: CICERO in de Natura Deorum, book II, chapter XXV, “But Jupiter himself…by the poets is called the father of gods and of men: but by our ancestors, Optumus Maxumus; and indeed Optumus, that is, the most beneficent one, before Maxumus, because it is a greater and certain more agreeable thing to be advantageous to all, than to have great power:” on which place compare the notes of Davisius. LACTANTIUS, ridiculing the madness of the Gentiles in the worship of idols, has in his Institutionibus Divinis, book I, chapter X, “How is Jupiter the father of all these things, who in solemn prayer is called Optimus Maximus?... but that Optimus Maximus had one and the same woman as a sister and a spouse.” Concerning the name Optimus Maximus as proper to Jove, see in addition BRISSONIUS’[1] de Formulis Populi Romani, book I, page m. 47.

[1] Barnabas Brissonius (1531-1591) was a French jurist and political figure.

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