“Why do some people make it so hard to love them?”

“Are they inherently unlovable?”


“So then there’s nothing in them that makes them unlovable in general, and by you in particular?”



“So there is something lacking in me that makes me unable to love them as they ought to be loved?”


“Would loving them be a good thing, considering how difficult loving them would be?”

“Loving them would be a good thing, but the difficulty or ease with which we love someone has no bearing on the goodness of having loved them.”

“Why doesn’t the difficulty with which we came to love them bear on the goodness of having loved them?”

“If it were the case that the difficulty with which a virtue were obtained bore on the goodness of the virtue, so that only the most laudable virtues were the most difficult to obtain, then God would obtain only the most base of virtues.”

“How would he obtain only the most base of virtues?”

“Is anything difficult for God?”


“Would you claim God to be virtuous?”


“So, if it could reasonably be said that God had virtues, and the most laudable virtues were the most difficult to obtain, and nothing were difficult for God, then it would follow that God would only have the least laudable virtues. Is that correct?”

“That seems correct.”

“So, either the most laudable virtues could be had with no difficulty at all, or God is the least virtuous.”

“Yes. But it makes no sense to believe that God is the least virtuous, because the greater does not come from the lesser, but the lesser from the greater.”

“So the most laudable virtues can be had with no difficulty at all.”

“Yes. But if the most laudable virtues can be had with no difficulty at all, why is it difficult for me, in particular, to have the virtue of loving some people?”

“Why should it follow that because something is not difficult for God that it shouldn’t be difficult for you?”

“It doesn’t follow. But couldn’t God give me the virtue of loving them such that it wasn’t difficult to have the virtue?”

“He could.”

“Well, I don’t have the virtue, so what do we make of God not having given me this virtue? Shouldn’t I have the virtue?”

“You should have the virtue, in the sense that, without the virtue you do not have a perfection you could have, and we ought to be perfect, and so you ought to have the virtue, so thereby you can come further to perfection, but you are not due the virtue, because virtue is not something due in compensation or somehow owed to you, but is rather a gift from God.”

“And in no sense could a gift be said to be due, because otherwise it is not a gift.”


“But aren’t some virtues due in some sense?”

“Please give me an example.”

“Suppose, after diligent exercise, I am able to scale a certain height by jumping. I’d be said to have a certain virtue in this sense, wouldn’t I?”

“Yes, you would.”

“And my gaining of the virtue was a result of actions performed by me?”


“So in this sense, the virtue, the natural virtue of being able to perform this physical task, is due by my having exercised in the ways necessary to obtain the virtue?”


“So would this virtue said to be due to me?”

“It seems so.”

“But if this virtue is due to me, why isn’t it the case the virtue of being able to love someone be due to me?”

“As you said before, this virtue is a natural virtue. Natural virtues, though they obtain as a gift from God (for everything that is good is from God, and God owes nothing anything, and so any truly good thing a thing had would properly be called a gift) are such that they require, and follow from, the obtaining of previous things. In the case of scaling the wall, this would be the obtaining of whatever physical conditions necessary to scale the wall. They are natural in the sense that they come about as a result of some thing doing what is in its power to do so that they may be obtained.”

“So the virtue of love is different?”

“It seems to be.”

“It is different in that it is not natural?”


“And it not being natural means that there is nothing in my power for me to do so that I may obtain it?”


“But what does it mean that I may obtain something that is not natural to me?”

“It means you obtaining it would result in, and be the result of, something supernatural.”

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