Here's something the Pope said recently:

Tutti siamo fragili e bisognosi, ma lo sguardo di compassione del Vangelo ci porta a vedere le necessità di chi ha più bisogno. E a servire i poveri, i prediletti di Dio che si è fatto povero per noi : gli esclusi, gli emarginati, gli scartati, i piccoli, gli indifesi. Sono loro il tesoro della Chiesa, sono i preferiti di Dio!

Translating (Google translate)

We are all fragile and needy, but the compassionate gaze of the Gospel leads us to see the needs of those who are most in need. And to serve the poor, the beloved of God who made himself poor for us: the excluded, the marginalized, the rejected, the little ones, the defenceless. They are the treasure of the Church, they are God's favorites!

Well, does God really have favorites? Does He love some people more than others? Is there any biblical evidence for this?

3 Answers 3


This is one of those dichotomies where Christians need to hold both sides of a truth in tension.

On the one hand you can find scriptures that tell you that God loves everyone without bias or favour. I have no doubt that other answers will be posted saying exactly that. The people doing it will probably identify as Evangelical and North American. They will quote appropriate scriptures and end their post there. And they will in a sense be right.

On the other hand, anyone reading the scriptures as a whole, especially the gospels, cannot help but notice that God demonstrates at least a "special concern" for the disadvantaged. The Beatitudes show it. In the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats judgement is pronounced on the people specifically because of how they treat the least of society. You gain favour for clothing the naked, not for giving nice clothes to those who already have them. You visit the sick, not the well. Widows and orphans get special treatment.

Being God's "favourites" does not necessarily mean that God loves others less. But God has more concern for how the disadvantaged are treated, and "favourite" is not an unreasonable thing to say to reflect that. It's possible that Pope Francis is guilty of a little hyperbole here - after all, if Jesus did it so can he.


Whether or not the Pope is right in saying the God prefers the poor. God definitely hears the cry of the poor.

This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.

Psalm 34:6

And the Church, since the times of Leo XIII at least, in Rerum Novarum, always advocated on behalf of the poor against big business and big government is consistent. But elevating a poor individual over a rich individual is not something that she is apt to do.

However, in the Gospels, God shows the spiritual benefits of being poor:

  • Jesus said that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven
  • Blessed be the poor (in spirit)
  • "go sell all your things and follow Me" - Jesus says to a rich young man

and G.K. Chesterton summarizes this by writing, in Orthodoxy, that if nothing else, the Gospel message shows that being rich puts your soul in a precarious position.

Lastly, since St. John Paul II's Social Doctrine (which is a product of the Second Vatican Council), the term "Preferential Option for the Poor" is pretty common in church parlance, the Church, if not God, has a primary duty to serve the poor. So perhaps those who are served more seem loved more, but the real gist of it is, those who are the most dependent on the love of God (like the prodigal son) can rightly be called God's beloved, those who are lest dependent (like the prodigal son's brother) who look at their brothers with bitterness, pomposity, hostility or grandiosity not so much.


Does He love some people more than others?

Yes, He loves those more whom He wills more good.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica I q. 20 a. 3 "Whether God loves all things equally?" co.:

Since to love a thing is to will it good, in a twofold way anything may be loved more, or less:

  1. In one way on the part of the act of the will itself, which is more or less intense. In this way God does not love some things more than others, because He loves all things by an act of the will that is one, simple, and always the same.
  2. In another way on the part of the good itself that a person wills for the beloved. In this way we are said to love that one more than another, for whom we will a greater good, though our will is not more intense. In this way we must needs say that God loves some things more than others. For since God's love is the cause of goodness in things, as has been said (a. 2), no one thing would be better than another, if God did not will greater good for one than for another.

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