Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) on simultaneous love and hate of the sinner


In an earlier post on Stephen Charnock (1628-1680), something of the simultaneous love and wrath of God toward the yet-unbelieving elect was said:

We now turn to a more anthropological perspective: our own simultaneous love and hate of the sinner.

This idea of loving and hating a person at the same time but in different respects is very old in church history, at least going back to Augustine. Here’s the same idea in Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274):

“It is our duty to hate, in the sinner, his being a sinner, and to love in him, his being a man capable of bliss. And this is to love him truly, out of charity, for God’s sake.”

– Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), Summa Theologica, II-II, 25, 6

The slogan “love the sinner but hate the sin”, popularized by the Hindu Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948), is a distortion of the ancient truth that we are to both love the sinner and hate the sinner at the same time but in different respects.

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