April 24, 2017

Richard Muller on Divine Benevolence, Goodness, Longsuffering and Grace

benevolentia: literally, goodwill or good willing: a synonym for eudokia (q.v.) and favor dei, related also to the good pleasure (beneplacitum, q.v.) of God. The benevolentia Dei is one of the affections or attributes of God’s will. See amor Dei; attributa divina; bonitas Dei; voluntas Dei.
Richard Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985), 58.
bonitas Dei: the goodness or moral excellence of God; a term used by scholastics in arguing that goodness belongs to God in an absolute sense and, with all the divine attributes (attributa divina, q.v.), is to be viewed as identical with the divine essence in its perfection. Thus God is good in se, in himself, and is the absolute good, the ground and standard of all created goodness. By extension, therefore, God is good respectively or in relation to his creatures. The bonitas Dei in relation to creatures is to be considered in three ways: (1) efficienter, or efficiently, as the efficient cause that produces all finite or created goodness; (2) as the exemplar or causa exemplaris, the standard or exemplary cause, of all created good, i.e., as the standard of good according to which goodness is created and judged; (3) as the summum bonum (q.v.), the highest good or final cause (causa finalis, q.v.), the ultimate end of all good things. Thus the bonitas Dei is most clearly manifest in the goodwill (benevolentia, q.v.) of God toward his creatures, specifically, in the positive attributes or affections of God’s will, grace (see gratia Dei), mercy (misericordia, q.v.) longsuffering (longanimitas, q.v.), love (see amor Dei), and patience (patientia, q.v.).
longanimitas: longsuffering; the patient bearing of an offense, particularly over a long period of time; thus, the willingness of God to endure the offense of sin rather than immediately annihilate the world in its wickedness. The longanimitas Dei is the affection of the divine will according to which God wills to await repentance and to allow millennia to elapse, for the sake of mankind, between the fall and the final judgment. Longanimitas is virtually synonymous with patientia, indicating the height of patience.
Ibid., 180.
gratia communis: common grace; i.e. a nonsaving, universal grace according to which God in his goodness bestows his favor upon all creation in the general blessings of physical sustenance and moral influence for the good. Thus, rain falls on the just and the unjust, and all men have the law engraved on their hearts. Gratia communis is therefore contrasted by the Reformed with particular or special grace (gratia particularis sive specialis, q.v.).
Ibid., 130.
gratia Dei: the grace of God; viz., the goodness of God (bonitas Dei, q.v.) toward mankind manifest as undeserved favor and, specifically, the cleansing power of God which renews and regenerates sinners.
gratia particularis sive specialis: particular or special grace; i.e., the grace of God that is given savingly only to the elect. The Reformed contrast this gratia particularis or gratia specialis with the gratia universalis (q.v.), or universal grace of the gospel promise, and with the gratia communis (q.v.), the common, nonsaving grace given to all. Lutheran orthodoxy argues against the concept on the ground of the efficacy of the Word and in the name of universal grace as a gratia seria, a serious grace or grace seriously offered to all, and therefore salvific.
Ibid., 131.
gratia universalis: universal grace; i.e. that grace of God in the universal call of the gospel according to which salvation is offered to all.
Ibid., 133.

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