God’s perfections are infinitely above our understanding

February 11, 2022 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 18
By Venerable Louis of Granada

The Divine Being thus comprises in its unity apparently opposite qualities and perfections which we can never sufficiently admire; for, as St. Augustine observes,*

He is a profoundly hidden God, yet everywhere present;

He is essentially strength and beauty;

He is immutable and incomprehensible;

He is beyond all space, yet fills all the universe;

invisible, yet manifest to all creatures;

producing all motion, yet is Himself immovable;

always in action, yet ever at rest,

He fills all things and is circumscribed by nothing;

He provides for all things without the least solicitude;

He is great without quantity, therefore He is immense;

He is good without qualification, and therefore He is the Supreme Good.

Nay, “He alone is good.” [Matt. xix. 17.]

Finally, all created things have a limited being, their power is equally limited; the works they accomplish, the space they fill, their very names, are no less limited. Human words can define them; they can be assigned a certain character and reduced to a certain species.

But the Divine Substance cannot be defined nor comprehended under any species, nor can it be confined to any place, nor can any name express it. Though nameless, therefore, as St. Denis says, it yet has all possible names, since it possesses in itself all the perfections expressed by these names.

As limited beings, therefore, creatures can be comprehended; but the divine essence, being infinite, is beyond the reach of any created understanding. For that which is limitless, says Aristotle, can only be grasped by an infinite understanding.

As a man on the shore beholds the sea, yet cannot measure its depth or vastness, so the blessed spirits and all the elect contemplate God, yet cannot fathom the abyss of His greatness nor measure the duration of His eternity.

For this reason also God is represented “seated upon the cherubim,” [Dan. iii. 55 and Ps. xvii. 11.] who, though filled with treasures of divine wisdom, continue beneath His majesty and power, which it is not given them to grasp or understand.

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