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Chapter 1 : God has made himself Known

Chapter 1 : God has made himself Known - JMJ Catholic Products

All philosophers agree in describing God as the Wholly Other, and so as the Unknowable. Pascal said: "If there is a god, he is infinitely incomprehensible, and we cannot know  what he is only in relation to ourselves, or more precisely what we are in relation to him. We can know nothing of his essence. We can only affirm that he exists, for without him the world would be impossible. It is correct to maintain that the "Unknowable" is the only divine name. St Albert the Great called God the "unnameable". 

 We can know God only if he sees good to make himself known to us, to lift the veil, to reveal himself and speak to us. As opposed to de Vigny cursing " the eternal silence of the divinity", I have faith in God who has spoken and continues to speak to me. That is the boldest and most certain affirmation that a Christina can make. 

How does God speak? Where can we hear this Word? The Word of God is quite different from any human word because it is effective, bringing to pass what is says. Unfortunately (or fortunately) our words do not alter the course of events. It is quite otherwise with the Word of God of which the Bible tells us , dixit et facta sunt. So God will speak to us by actions, by facts and events. 

Creation is God's first word, an eternal word. "The world is a sign by which God signs to us. Through the universe, God himself is revealed and shows himself". But above all God has spoken historically. He has intervened in the events of human history. He plays a decisive part in the history of Israel until the day when the very Word of God took flesh in Jesus of Nazareth, and we heard with our own hands the Word of life. 

The reader who is in a hurry had better leave out the rest of this chapter and go on to the next in which we shall discuss the discovery of God in Jesus Christ. But sometime or other he will have to review this long process by which God willed to make himself gradually known to men, with all the cautious delays of a wise teacher, so that we might learn, one by one, the attitudes which we ought to take up in his regard. We watch God's initiative and man's fumbling search for him, bound up with one another, throughout the course of eighteen centuries. We can give only one proof that this is not an arbitrary and imaginative interpretation of this long "sacred history", but it is a sufficient one : "The Bible  makes an extraordinary impression on the historian: the contrast between the humble beginnings of Israel and the potency of the seeds, or rather the explosives, which it contains: its concrete shape shrouded from the outset in the loftiest beliefs: then its stately expansion, its confident though hidden progress to boundless and unpredictable end: nowhere can be found anything in the least like it. But it is not my business to write apologetics. My purpose is only to go over the stages of a discovery, to show how it can be made once more. 

What is Faith? by Eugene Joly