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Home > Summa Theologica > First Part > Question 60

Question 60. The love or dilection of the angels

  1. Is there natural love in the angels?
  2. Is there in them love of choice?
  3. Does the angel love himself with natural love or with love of choice?
  4. Does one angel love another with natural love as he loves himself?
  5. Does the angel love God more than self with natural love?

Article 1. Whether there is natural love or dilection in an angel?

Objection 1. It would seem that there is no natural love or dilection in the angels. For, natural love is contradistinguished from intellectual love, as stated by Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv). But an angel's love is intellectual. Therefore it is not natural.

Objection 2. Further, those who love with natural love are more acted upon than active in themselves; for nothing has control over its own nature. Now the angels are not acted upon, but act of themselves; because they possess free-will, as was shown above (Question 59, Article 3). Consequently there is no natural love in them.

Objection 3. Further, every love is either ordinate or inordinate. Now ordinate love belongs to charity; while inordinate love belongs to wickedness. But neither of these belongs to nature; because charity is above nature, while wickedness is against nature. Therefore there is no natural love in the angels.

On the contrary, Love results from knowledge; for, nothing is loved except it be first known, as Augustine says (De Trin. x, 1,2). But there is natural knowledge in the angels. Therefore there is also natural love.

I answer that, We must necessarily place natural love in the angels. In evidence of this we must bear in mind that what comes first is always sustained in what comes after it. Now nature comes before intellect, because the nature of every subject is its essence. Consequently whatever belongs to nature must be preserved likewise in such subjects as have intellect. But it is common to every nature to have some inclination; and this is its natural appetite or love. This inclination is found to exist differently in different natures; but in each according to its mode. Consequently, in the intellectual nature there is to be found a natural inclination coming from the will; in the sensitive nature, according to the sensitive appetite; but in a nature devoid of knowledge, only according to the tendency of the nature to something. Therefore, since an angel is an intellectual nature, there must be a natural love in his will.

Reply to Objection 1. Intellectual love is contradistinguished from that natural love, which is merely natural, in so far as it belongs to a nature which has not likewise the perfection of either sense or intellect.

Reply to Objection 2. All things in the world are moved to act by something else except the First Agent, Who acts in such a manner that He is in no way moved to act by another; and in Whom nature and will are the same. So there is nothing unfitting in an angel being moved to act in so far as such natural inclination is implanted in him by the Author of his nature. Yet he is not so moved to act that he does not act himself, because he has free-will.

Reply to Objection 3. As natural knowledge is always true, so is natural love well regulated; because natural love is nothing else than the inclination implanted in nature by its Author. To say that a natural inclination is not well regulated, is to derogate from the Author of nature. Yet the rectitude of natural love is different from the rectitude of charity and virtue: because the one rectitude perfects the other; even so the truth of natural knowledge is of one kind, and the truth of infused or acquired knowledge is of another.

Article 2. Whether there is love of choice in the angels?

Objection 1. It would seem that there is no love of choice in the angels. For love of choice appears to be rational love; since choice follows counsel, which lies in inquiry, as stated in Ethic. iii, 3. Now rational love is contrasted with intellectual, which is proper to angels, as is said (Div. Nom. iv). Therefore there is no love of choice in the angels.

Objection 2. Further, the angels have only natural knowledge besides such as is infused: since they do not proceed from principles to acquire the knowledge of conclusions. Hence they are disposed to everything they can know, as our intellect is disposed towards first principles, which it can know naturally. Now love follows knowledge, as has been already stated (1; 16, 1). Consequently, besides their infused love, there is only natural love in the angels. Therefore there is no love of choice in them.

On the contrary, We neither merit nor demerit by our natural acts. But by their love the angels merit or demerit. Therefore there is love of choice in them.

I answer that, There exists in the angels a natural love, and a love of choice. Their natural love is the principle of their love of choice; because, what belongs to that which precedes, has always the nature of a principle. Wherefore, since nature is first in everything, what belongs to nature must be a principle in everything.

This is clearly evident in man, with respect to both his intellect and his will. For the intellect knows principles naturally; and from such knowledge in man comes the knowledge of conclusions, which are known by him not naturally, but by discovery, or by teaching. In like manner, the end acts in the will in the same way as the principle does in the intellect, as is laid down in Phys. ii, text. 89. Consequently the will tends naturally to its last end; for every man naturally wills happiness: and all other desires are caused by this natural desire; since whatever a man wills he wills on account of the end. Therefore the love of that good, which a man naturally wills as an end, is his natural love; but the love which comes of this, which is of something loved for the end's sake, is the love of choice.

There is however a difference on the part of the intellect and on the part of the will. Because, as was stated already (59, 2), the mind's knowledge is brought about by the inward presence of the known within the knower. It comes of the imperfection of man's intellectual nature that his mind does not simultaneously possess all things capable of being understood, but only a few things from which he is moved in a measure to grasp other things. The act of the appetitive faculty, on the contrary, follows the inclination of man towards things; some of which are good in themselves, and consequently are appetible in themselves; others being good only in relation to something else, and being appetible on account of something else. Consequently it does not argue imperfection in the person desiring, for him to seek one thing naturally as his end, and something else from choice as ordained to such end. Therefore, since the intellectual nature of the angels is perfect, only natural and not deductive knowledge is to be found in them, but there is to be found in them both natural love and love of choice.

In saying all this, we are passing over all that regards things which are above nature, since nature is not the sufficient principle thereof: but we shall speak of them later on (62).

Reply to Objection 1. Not all love of choice is rational love, according as rational is distinguished from intellectual love. For rational love is so called which follows deductive knowledge: but, as was said above (59, 3, ad 1), when treating of free-will, every choice does not follow a discursive act of the reason; but only human choice. Consequently the conclusion does not follow.

The reply to the second objection follows from what has been said.

Article 3. Whether the angel loves himself with both natural love, and love of choice?

Objection 1. It would seem that the angel does not love himself both with natural love and a love of choice. For, as was said (2), natural love regards the end itself; while love of choice regards the means to the end. But the same thing, with regard to the same, cannot be both the end and a means to the end. Therefore natural love and the love of choice cannot have the same object.

Objection 2. Further, as Dionysius observes (Div. Nom. iv): "Love is a uniting and a binding power." But uniting and binding imply various things brought together. Therefore the angel cannot love himself.

Objection 3. Further, love is a kind of movement. But every movement tends towards something else. Therefore it seems that an angel cannot love himself with either natural or elective love.

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. ix, 8): "Love for others comes of love for oneself."

I answer that, Since the object of love is good, and good is to be found both in substance and in accident, as is clear from Ethic. i, 6, a thing may be loved in two ways; first of all as a subsisting good; and secondly as an accidental or inherent good. That is loved as a subsisting good, which is so loved that we wish well to it. But that which we wish unto another, is loved as an accidental or inherent good: thus knowledge is loved, not that any good may come to it but that it may be possessed. This kind of love has been called by the name "concupiscence" while the first is called "friendship."

Now it is manifest that in things devoid of knowledge, everything naturally seeks to procure what is good for itself; as fire seeks to mount upwards. Consequently both angel and man naturally seek their own good and perfection. This is to love self. Hence angel and man naturally love self, in so far as by natural appetite each desires what is good for self. On the other hand, each loves self with the love of choice, in so far as from choice he wishes for something which will benefit himself.

Reply to Objection 1. It is not under the same but under quite different aspects that an angel or a man loves self with natural and with elective love, as was observed above.

Reply to Objection 2. As to be one is better than to be united, so there is more oneness in love which is directed to self than in love which unites one to others. Dionysius used the terms "uniting" and "binding" in order to show the derivation of love from self to things outside self; as uniting is derived from unity.

Reply to Objection 3. As love is an action which remains within the agent, so also is it a movement which abides within the lover, but does not of necessity tend towards something else; yet it can be reflected back upon the lover so that he loves himself; just as knowledge is reflected back upon the knower, in such a way that he knows himself.

Article 4. Whether an angel loves another with natural love as he loves himself?

Objection 1. It would seem that an angel does not love another with natural love as he loves himself. For love follows knowledge. But an angel does not know another as he knows himself: because he knows himself by his essence, while he knows another by his similitude, as was said above (56, 1,2). Therefore it seems that one angel does not love another with natural love as he loves himself.

Objection 2. Further, the cause is more powerful than the effect; and the principle than what is derived from it. But love for another comes of love for self, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. ix, 8). Therefore one angel does not love another as himself, but loves himself more.

Objection 3. Further, natural love is of something as an end, and is unremovable. But no angel is the end of another; and again, such love can be severed from him, as is the case with the demons, who have no love for the good angels. Therefore an angel does not love another with natural love as he loves himself.

On the contrary, That seems to be a natural property which is found in all, even in such as devoid of reason. But, "every beast loves its like," as is said, Sirach 13:19. Therefore an angel naturally loves another as he loves himself.

I answer that, As was observed (3), both angel and man naturally love self. Now what is one with a thing, is that thing itself: consequently every thing loves what is one with itself. So, if this be one with it by natural union, it loves it with natural love; but if it be one with it by non-natural union, then it loves it with non-natural love. Thus a man loves his fellow townsman with a social love, while he loves a blood relation with natural affection, in so far as he is one with him in the principle of natural generation.

Now it is evident that what is generically or specifically one with another, is the one according to nature. And so everything loves another which is one with it in species, with a natural affection, in so far as it loves its own species. This is manifest even in things devoid of knowledge: for fire has a natural inclination to communicate its form to another thing, wherein consists this other thing's good; as it is naturally inclined to seek its own good, namely, to be borne upwards.

So then, it must be said that one angel loves another with natural affection, in so far as he is one with him in nature. But so far as an angel has something else in common with another angel, or differs from him in other respects, he does not love him with natural love.

Reply to Objection 1. The expression 'as himself' can in one way qualify the knowledge and the love on the part of the one known and loved: and thus one angel knows another as himself, because he knows the other to be even as he knows himself to be. In another way the expression can qualify the knowledge and the love on the part of the knower and lover. And thus one angel does not know another as himself, because he knows himself by his essence, and the other not by the other's essence. In like manner he does not love another as he loves himself, because he loves himself by his own will; but he does not love another by the other's will.

Reply to Objection 2. The expression "as" does not denote equality, but likeness. For since natural affection rests upon natural unity, the angel naturally loves less what is less one with him. Consequently he loves more what is numerically one with himself, than what is one only generically or specifically. But it is natural for him to have a like love for another as for himself, in this respect, that as he loves self in wishing well to self, so he loves another in wishing well to him.

Reply to Objection 3. Natural love is said to be of the end, not as of that end to which good is willed, but rather as of that good which one wills for oneself, and in consequence for another, as united to oneself. Nor can such natural love be stripped from the wicked angels, without their still retaining a natural affection towards the good angels, in so far as they share the same nature with them. But they hate them, in so far as they are unlike them according to righteousness and unrighteousness.

Article 5. Whether an angel by natural love loves God more than he loves himself?

Objection 1. It would seem that the angel does not love God by natural love more than he loves himself. For, as was stated (4), natural love rests upon natural union. Now the Divine nature is far above the angelic nature. Therefore, according to natural love, the angel loves God less than self, or even than another angel.

Objection 2. Further, "That on account of which a thing is such, is yet more so." But every one loves another with natural love for his own sake: because one thing loves another as good for itself. Therefore the angel does not love God more than self with natural love.

Objection 3. Further, nature is self-centered in its operation; for we behold every agent acting naturally for its own preservation. But nature's operation would not be self-centered were it to tend towards anything else more than to nature itself. Therefore the angel does not love God more than himself from natural love.

Objection 4. Further, it is proper to charity to love God more than self. But to love from charity is not natural to the angels; for "it is poured out upon their hearts by the Holy Spirit Who is given to them," as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xii, 9). Therefore the angels do not love God more than themselves by natural love.

Objection 5. Further, natural love lasts while nature endures. But the love of God more than self does not remain in the angel or man who sins; for Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiv), "Two loves have made two cities; namely love of self unto the contempt of God has made the earthly city; while love of God unto the contempt of self has made the heavenly city." Therefore it is not natural to love God more than self.

On the contrary, All the moral precepts of the law come of the law of nature. But the precept of loving God more than self is a moral precept of the law. Therefore, it is of the law of nature. Consequently from natural love the angel loves God more than himself.

I answer that, There have been some who maintained that an angel loves God more than himself with natural love, both as to the love of concupiscence, through his seeking the Divine good for himself rather than his own good; and, in a fashion, as to the love of friendship, in so far as he naturally desires a greater good to God than to himself; because he naturally wishes God to be God, while as for himself, he wills to have his own nature. But absolutely speaking, out of the natural love he loves himself more than he does God, because he naturally loves himself before God, and with greater intensity.

The falsity of such an opinion stands in evidence, if one but consider whither natural movement tends in the natural order of things; because the natural tendency of things devoid of reason shows the nature of the natural inclination residing in the will of an intellectual nature. Now, in natural things, everything which, as such, naturally belongs to another, is principally, and more strongly inclined to that other to which it belongs, than towards itself. Such a natural tendency is evidenced from things which are moved according to nature: because "according as a thing is moved naturally, it has an inborn aptitude to be thus moved," as stated in Phys. ii, text. 78. For we observe that the part naturally exposes itself in order to safeguard the whole; as, for instance, the hand is without deliberation exposed to the blow for the whole body's safety. And since reason copies nature, we find the same inclination among the social virtues; for it behooves the virtuous citizen to expose himself to the danger of death for the public weal of the state; and if man were a natural part of the city, then such inclination would be natural to him.

Consequently, since God is the universal good, and under this good both man and angel and all creatures are comprised, because every creature in regard to its entire being naturally belongs to God, it follows that from natural love angel and man alike love God before themselves and with a greater love. Otherwise, if either of them loved self more than God, it would follow that natural love would be perverse, and that it would not be perfected but destroyed by charity.

Reply to Objection 1. Such reasoning holds good of things adequately divided whereof one is not the cause of the existence and goodness of the other; for in such natures each loves itself naturally more than it does the other, inasmuch as it is more one with itself than it is with the other. But where one is the whole cause of the existence and goodness of the other, that one is naturally more loved than self; because, as we said above, each part naturally loves the whole more than itself: and each individual naturally loves the good of the species more than its own individual good. Now God is not only the good of one species, but is absolutely the universal good; hence everything in its own way naturally loves God more than itself.

Reply to Objection 2. When it is said that God is loved by an angel "in so far" as He is good to the angel, if the expression "in so far" denotes an end, then it is false; for he does not naturally love God for his own good, but for God's sake. If it denotes the nature of love on the lover's part, then it is true; for it would not be in the nature of anyone to love God, except from this--that everything is dependent on that good which is God.

Reply to Objection 3. Nature's operation is self-centered not merely as to certain particular details, but much more as to what is common; for everything is inclined to preserve not merely its individuality, but likewise its species. And much more has everything a natural inclination towards what is the absolutely universal good.

Reply to Objection 4. God, in so far as He is the universal good, from Whom every natural good depends, is loved by everything with natural love. So far as He is the good which of its very nature beatifies all with supernatural beatitude, He is love with the love of charity.

Reply to Objection 5. Since God's substance and universal goodness are one and the same, all who behold God's essence are by the same movement of love moved towards the Divine essence as it is distinct from other things, and according as it is the universal good. And because He is naturally loved by all so far as He is the universal good, it is impossible that whoever sees Him in His essence should not love Him. But such as do not behold His essence, know Him by some particular effects, which are sometimes opposed to their will. So in this way they are said to hate God; yet nevertheless, so far as He is the universal good of all, every thing naturally loves God more than itself.

The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas
Second and Revised Edition, 1920
Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province
Online Edition Copyright © 2008 by Kevin Knight
Nihil Obstat. F. Innocentius Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor. Theol.
Imprimatur. Edus. Canonicus Surmont, Vicarius Generalis. Westmonasterii.
APPROBATIO ORDINIS
Nihil Obstat. F. Raphael Moss, O.P., S.T.L. and F. Leo Moore, O.P., S.T.L.
Imprimatur. F. Beda Jarrett, O.P., S.T.L., A.M., Prior Provincialis Angliæ

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