341. Under the belief that the man who lives well and believes aright is not saved, and that God is able freely and at pleasure to save and damn whom He will, the man who is lost may justly accuse God of unmercifulness and severity, and even of cruelty, and may even deny that God is God. He may also claim that in His Lord God has spoken unmeaning things, and has commanded things of no importance, or that are trifling. Or again, if the man who lives well and believes aright is not saved, he may also accuse God of violating His covenant, which He made on Mount Sinai and wrote with His finger upon the two tables. That God cannot but save those who live according to His commandments and have faith in Him, is evident from the Lord's words (in John 14:21-24); and anyone in possession of religion and sound reason can confirm himself in this, when he reflects that God who is unceasingly in man and who gives him life and also the ability to understand and love, must needs love him who lives well and believes aright, and must needs conjoin Himself with him by love. Is not this inscribed by God on every man and every creature? Can a father and mother reject their children, or a bird or beast its young? Not even tigers, panthers, or serpents can do this. For God to do otherwise would be contrary to the order into which He is and according to which He acts, and also contrary to the order into which He created man. Since then, it is impossible for God to damn anyone who lives well and believes aright, so on the other hand it is impossible for Him to save anyone who lives wickedly and therefore believes what is false; this too is also contrary to order, and therefore contrary to God's omnipotence, which can proceed only in the path of justice; and the laws of justice are truths that cannot be changed. For the Lord says:
It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one tittle of the law to fall (Luke 16:17).
This can be seen by anyone who knows anything about the essence of God, and man's freedom of will. For example, Adam was at liberty to eat of the tree of life, and also of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If he had eaten of the tree or trees of life only, would it have been possible for God to expel him from the garden? I believe that it would not. But after he had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and will, would it have been possible for God to retain him in the garden? Again I believe that it would not; likewise that God cannot cast into hell an angel that has been received into heaven, neither introduce into heaven a condemned devil. That neither of these can He do from His Divine omnipotence, may be seen above in the section on the Divine Omnipotence (n. 19-70).