On the love of God

31 03 2010

A spiritual creature can love God more than himself because the relation of a creature to God is the relation of the part to the whole. A part can love the whole on which it depends for its existence more than it loves itself. The hand moves instinctively to sacrifice itself in protecting the body whose part it is. The citizen willingly gives up his life for the community of which he is a member. So the creature can love the God on whom he depends even more than he loves himself- more so indeed than the hand or citizen in the examples cited. For the creature’s relation to God is no ordinary relation of part to whole. It is a relation of participation, the relation of a participant to the Infinite Existence in whose plenitude it shares. The creature depends on God for everything he is and does. God dwells in the creature through His creative action. In a way God is the creature while transcending it because creature and God are one through the unity of participation. As the ever-present creative source of creature’s being, God is the creature’s good more than the creature himself is. If therefore a spiritual creature loves his own good truly, he must love God more than he loves himself.

-Gerald A. McCool, S.J., From Unity to Pluralism: The Internal Evolution of Thomism