QUESTION 34: OF HATRED
We must how consider the vices opposed to charity: (1) hatred, which is
opposed to love; (2) sloth and envy, which are opposed to the joy of
charity; (3) discord and schism, which are contrary to peace; (4) offense
and scandal, which are contrary to beneficence and fraternal correction.
Under the first head there are six points of inquiry:
(1) Whether it is possible to hate God?
(2) Whether hatred of God is the greatest of sins?
(3) Whether hatred of one's neighbor is always a sin?
(4) Whether it is the greatest of all sins against our neighbor?
(5) Whether it is a capital sin?
(6) From what capital sin does it arise?
Article 1: Whether it is possible for anyone to hate God?
Objection 1: It would seem that no man can hate God. For Dionysius says (Div.
Nom. iv) that "the first good and beautiful is an object of love and
dilection to all." But God is goodness and beauty itself. Therefore He is
hated by none.
Objection 2: Further, in the Apocryphal books of 3 Esdras 4:36, it is
written that "all things call upon truth . . . and (all men) do well like
of her works." Now God is the very truth according to Jn. 14:6. Therefore
all love God, and none can hate Him.
Objection 3: Further, hatred is a kind of aversion. But according to Dionysius
(Div. Nom. i) God draws all things to Himself. Therefore none can hate
I answer that, As shown above (FS, Question , Article ), hatred is a movement of
the appetitive power, which power is not set in motion save by something
apprehended. Now God can be apprehended by man in two ways; first, in
Himself, as when He is seen in His Essence; secondly, in His effects,
when, to wit, "the invisible things" of God . . . "are clearly seen,
being understood by the things that are made" (Rm. 1:20). Now God in His
Essence is goodness itself, which no man can hate---for it is natural to
good to be loved. Hence it is impossible for one who sees God in His
Essence, to hate Him.
Moreover some of His effects are such that they can nowise be contrary
to the human will, since "to be, to live, to understand," which are
effects of God, are desirable and lovable to all. Wherefore again God
cannot be an object of hatred if we consider Him as the Author of such
like effects. Some of God's effects, however, are contrary to an
inordinate will, such as the infliction of punishment, and the
prohibition of sin by the Divine Law. Such like effects are repugnant to
a will debased by sin, and as regards the consideration of them, God may
be an object of hatred to some, in so far as they look upon Him as
forbidding sin, and inflicting punishment.
Reply to Objection 1: This argument is true of those who see God's Essence, which
is the very essence of goodness.
Reply to Objection 2: This argument is true in so far as God is apprehended as
the cause of such effects as are naturally beloved of all, among which
are the works of Truth who reveals herself to men.
Reply to Objection 3: God draws all things to Himself, in so far as He is the
source of being, since all things, in as much as they are, tend to be
like God, Who is Being itself.
Article 2: Whether hatred of God is the greatest of sins?
Objection 1: It would seem that hatred of God is not the greatest of sins. For
the most grievous sin is the sin against the Holy Ghost, since it cannot
be forgiven, according to Mt. 12:32. Now hatred of God is not reckoned
among the various kinds of sin against the Holy Ghost, as may be seen
from what has been said above (Question , Article ). Therefore hatred of God is
not the most grievous sin.
Objection 2: Further, sin consists in withdrawing oneself from God. Now an
unbeliever who has not even knowledge of God seems to be further away
from Him than a believer, who though he hate God, nevertheless knows Him.
Therefore it seems that the sin of unbelief is graver than the sin of
hatred against God.
Objection 3: Further, God is an object of hatred, only by reason of those of
His effects that are contrary to the will: the chief of which is
punishment. But hatred of punishment is not the most grievous sin.
Therefore hatred of God is not the most grievous sin.
On the contrary, The best is opposite to the worst, according to the
Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 10). But hatred of God is contrary to the love
of God, wherein man's best consists. Therefore hatred of God is man's
I answer that, The defect in sin consists in its aversion from God, as
stated above (Question , Article ): and this aversion would not have the
character of guilt, were it not voluntary. Hence the nature of guilt
consists in a voluntary aversion from God.
Now this voluntary aversion from God is directly implied in the hatred
of God, but in other sins, by participation and indirectly. For just as
the will cleaves directly to what it loves, so does it directly shun what
it hates. Hence when a man hates God, his will is directly averted from
God, whereas in other sins, fornication for instance, a man turns away
from God, not directly, but indirectly, in so far, namely, as he desires
an inordinate pleasure, to which aversion from God is connected. Now that
which is so by itself, always takes precedence of that which is so by
another. Wherefore hatred of God is more grievous than other sins.
Reply to Objection 1: According to Gregory (Moral. xxv, 11), "it is one thing not
to do good things, end another to hate the giver of good things, even as
it is one thing to sin indeliberately, and another to sin deliberately."
This implies that to hate God, the giver of all good things, is to sin
deliberately, and this is a sin against the Holy Ghost. Hence it is
evident that hatred of God is chiefly a sin against the Holy Ghost, in so
far as the sin against the Holy Ghost denotes a special kind of sin: and
yet it is not reckoned among the kinds of sin against the Holy Ghost,
because it is universally found in every kind of that sin.
Reply to Objection 2: Even unbelief is not sinful unless it be voluntary:
wherefore the more voluntary it is, the more it is sinful. Now it becomes
voluntary by the fact that a man hates the truth that is proposed to him.
Wherefore it is evident that unbelief derives its sinfulness from hatred
of God, Whose truth is the object of faith; and hence just as a cause is
greater than its effect, so hatred of God is a greater sin than unbelief.
Reply to Objection 3: Not everyone who hates his punishment, hates God the author
of punishments. For many hate the punishments inflicted on them, and yet
they bear them patiently out of reverence for the Divine justice.
Wherefore Augustine says (Confess. x) that God commands us to bear with
penal evils, not to love them. On the other hand, to break out into
hatred of God when He inflicts those punishments, is to hate God's very
justice, and that is a most grievous sin. Hence Gregory says (Moral. xxv,
11): "Even as sometimes it is more grievous to love sin than to do it, so
is it more wicked to hate justice than, not to have done it."
Article 3: Whether hatred of one's neighbor is always a sin?
Objection 1: It would seem that hatred of one's neighbor is not always a sin.
For no sin is commanded or counselled by God, according to Prov. 8:8:
"All My words are just, there is nothing wicked nor perverse in them."
Now, it is written (Lk. 14:26): "If any man come to Me, and hate not his
father and mother . . . he cannot be My disciple." Therefore hatred of
one's neighbor is not always a sin.
Objection 2: Further, nothing wherein we imitate God can be a sin. But it is
in imitation of God that we hate certain people: for it is written (Rm. 1:30): "Detractors, hateful to God." Therefore it is possible to hate
certain people without committing a sin.
Objection 3: Further, nothing that is natural is a sin, for sin is a
"wandering away from what is according to nature," according to Damascene
(De Fide Orth. ii, 4,30; iv, 20). Now it is natural to a thing to hate
whatever is contrary to it, and to aim at its undoing. Therefore it seems
that it is not a sin to hate one's I enemy.
On the contrary, It is written (1 Jn. 2:9): "He that . . . hateth his
brother, is in darkness." Now spiritual darkness is sin. Therefore there
cannot be hatred of one's neighbor without sin.
I answer that, Hatred is opposed to love, as stated above (FS, Question , Article ); so that hatred of a thing is evil according as the love of that
thing is good. Now love is due to our neighbor in respect of what he
holds from God, i.e. in respect of nature and grace, but not in respect
of what he has of himself and from the devil, i.e. in respect of sin and
lack of justice.
Consequently it is lawful to hate the sin in one's brother, and whatever
pertains to the defect of Divine justice, but we cannot hate our
brother's nature and grace without sin. Now it is part of our love for
our brother that we hate the fault and the lack of good in him, since
desire for another's good is equivalent to hatred of his evil.
Consequently the hatred of one's brother, if we consider it simply, is
Reply to Objection 1: By the commandment of God (Ex. 20:12) we must honor our
parents---as united to us in nature and kinship. But we must hate them in
so far as they prove an obstacle to our attaining the perfection of
Reply to Objection 2: God hates the sin which is in the detractor, not his
nature: so that we can hate detractors without committing a sin.
Reply to Objection 3: Men are not opposed to us in respect of the goods which
they have received from God: wherefore, in this respect, we should love
them. But they are opposed to us, in so far as they show hostility
towards us, and this is sinful in them. In this respect we should hate
them, for we should hate in them the fact that they are hostile to us.
Article 4: Whether hatred of our neighbor is the most grievous sin against our neighbor?
Objection 1: It would seem that hatred of our neighbor is the most grievous
sin against our neighbor. For it is written (1 Jn. 3:15): "Whosoever
hateth his brother is a murderer." Now murder is the most grievous of
sins against our neighbor. Therefore hatred is also.
Objection 2: Further, worst is opposed to best. Now the best thing we give our
neighbor is love, since all other things are referable to love. Therefore
hatred is the worst.
On the contrary, A thing is said to be evil, because it hurts, as
Augustine observes (Enchiridion xii). Now there are sins by which a man
hurts his neighbor more than by hatred, e.g. theft, murder and adultery.
Therefore hatred is not the most grievous sin.
Moreover, Chrysostom [*Hom. x in the Opus Imperfectum, falsely ascribed
to St. John Chrysostom] commenting on Mt. 5:19, "He that shall break one
of these least commandments," says: "The commandments of Moses, Thou
shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, count for little in their
reward, but they count for much if they be disobeyed. On the other hand
the commandments of Christ such as, Thou shalt not be angry, Thou shalt
not desire, are reckoned great in their reward, but little in the
transgression." Now hatred is an internal movement like anger and desire.
Therefore hatred of one's brother is a less grievous sin than murder.
I answer that, Sins committed against our neighbor are evil on two
counts; first by reason of the disorder in the person who sins, secondly
by reason of the hurt inflicted on the person sinned against. On the
first count, hatred is a more grievous sin than external actions that
hurt our neighbor, because hatred is a disorder of man's will, which is
the chief part of man, and wherein is the root of sin, so that if a man's
outward actions were to be inordinate, without any disorder in his will,
they would not be sinful, for instance, if he were to kill a man, through
ignorance or out of zeal for justice: and if there be anything sinful in
a man's outward sins against his neighbor, it is all to be traced to his
On the other hand, as regards the hurt inflicted on his neighbor, a
man's outward sins are worse than his inward hatred. This suffices for
the Replies to the Objections.
Article 5: Whether hatred is a capital sin?
Objection 1: It would seem that hatred is a capital sin. For hatred is
directly opposed to charity. Now charity is the foremost among the
virtues, and the mother of all others. Therefore hatred is the chief of
the capital sins, and the origin of all others.
Objection 2: Further, sins arise in us on account of the inclinations of our
passions, according to Rm. 7:5: "The passions of sins . . . did work in
our members to bring forth fruit unto death." Now all other passions of
the soul seem to arise from love and hatred, as was shown above (FS,
Question , Articles ,2). Therefore hatred should be reckoned one of the capital
Objection 3: Further, vice is a moral evil. Now hatred regards evil more than
any other passion does. Therefore it seems that hatred should be reckoned
a capital sin.
On the contrary, Gregory (Moral. xxxi) does not reckon hatred among the
seven capital sins.
I answer that, As stated above (FS, Question , Articles ,4), a capital vice is
one from which other vices arise most frequently. Now vice is contrary to
man's nature, in as much as he is a rational animal: and when a thing
acts contrary to its nature, that which is natural to it is corrupted
little by little. Consequently it must first of all fail in that which is
less in accordance with its nature, and last of all in that which is most
in accordance with its nature, since what is first in construction is
last in destruction. Now that which, first and foremost, is most natural
to man, is the love of what is good, and especially love of the Divine
good, and of his neighbor's good. Wherefore hatred, which is opposed to
this love, is not the first but the last thing in the downfall of virtue
resulting from vice: and therefore it is not a capital vice.
Reply to Objection 1: As stated in Phys. vii, text. 18, "the virtue of a thing
consists in its being well disposed in accordance with its nature." Hence
what is first and foremost in the virtues must be first and foremost in
the natural order. Hence charity is reckoned the foremost of the virtues,
and for the same reason hatred cannot be first among the vices, as stated
Reply to Objection 2: Hatred of the evil that is contrary to one's natural good,
is the first of the soul's passions, even as love of one's natural good
is. But hatred of one's connatural good cannot be first, but is something
last, because such like hatred is a proof of an already corrupted nature,
even as love of an extraneous good.
Reply to Objection 3: Evil is twofold. One is a true evil, for the reason that it
is incompatible with one's natural good, and the hatred of such an evil
may have priority over the other passions. There is, however, another
which is not a true, but an apparent evil, which, namely, is a true and
connatural good, and yet is reckoned evil on account of the corruption of
nature: and the hatred of such an evil must needs come last. This hatred
is vicious, but the former is not.
Article 6: Whether hatred arises from envy?
Objection 1: It seems that hatred does not arise from envy. For envy is sorrow
for another's good. Now hatred does not arise from sorrow, for, on the
contrary, we grieve for the presence of the evil we hate. Therefore
hatred does not arise from envy.
Objection 2: Further, hatred is opposed to love. Now love of our neighbor is
referred to our love of God, as stated above (Question , Article ; Question , Article ).
Therefore hatred of our neighbor is referred to our hatred of God. But
hatred of God does not arise from envy, for we do not envy those who are
very far removed from us, but rather those who seem to be near us, as the
Philosopher states (Rhet. ii). Therefore hatred does not arise from envy.
Objection 3: Further, to one effect there is one cause. Now hatred is caused
by anger, for Augustine says in his Rule that "anger grows into hatred."
Therefore hatred does not arise from envy.
On the contrary, Gregory says (Moral. xxxi, 45) that "out of envy cometh
I answer that, As stated above (Article ), hatred of his neighbor is a man's
last step in the path of sin, because it is opposed to the love which he
naturally has for his neighbor. Now if a man declines from that which is
natural, it is because he intends to avoid that which is naturally an
object to be shunned. Now every animal naturally avoids sorrow, just as
it desires pleasure, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. vii, x).
Accordingly just as love arises from pleasure, so does hatred arise from
sorrow. For just as we are moved to love whatever gives us pleasure, in
as much as for that very reason it assumes the aspect of good; so we are
moved to hate whatever displeases us, in so far as for this very reason
it assumes the aspect of evil. Wherefore, since envy is sorrow for our
neighbor's good, it follows that our neighbor's good becomes hateful to
us, so that "out of envy cometh hatred."
Reply to Objection 1: Since the appetitive power, like the apprehensive power,
reflects on its own acts, it follows that there is a kind of circular
movement in the actions of the appetitive power. And so according to the
first forward course of the appetitive movement, love gives rise to
desire, whence follows pleasure when one has obtained what one desired.
And since the very fact of taking pleasure in the good one loves is a
kind of good, it follows that pleasure causes love. And in the same way
sorrow causes hatred.
Reply to Objection 2: Love and hatred are essentially different, for the object
of love is good, which flows from God to creatures, wherefore love is due
to God in the first place, and to our neighbor afterwards. On the other
hand, hatred is of evil, which has no place in God Himself, but only in
His effects, for which reason it has been stated above (Article ), that God
is not an object of hatred, except in so far as He is considered in
relation to His effects, and consequently hatred is directed to our
neighbor before being directed to God. Therefore, since envy of our
neighbor is the mother of hatred of our neighbor, it becomes, in
consequence, the cause of hatred towards God.
Reply to Objection 3: Nothing prevents a thing arising from various causes in
various respects, and accordingly hatred may arise both from anger and
from envy. However it arises more directly from envy, which looks upon
the very good of our neighbor as displeasing and therefore hateful,
whereas hatred arises from anger by way of increase. For at first,
through anger, we desire our neighbor's evil according to a certain
measure, that is in so far as that evil has the aspect of vengeance: but
afterwards, through the continuance of anger, man goes so far as
absolutely to desire his neighbor's evil, which desire is part of hatred.
Wherefore it is evident that hatred is caused by envy formally as regards
the aspect of the object, but dispositively by anger.