Faith and Reason according to Hilary of Poitiers


On the Trinity Book 1 chapter 8

Thus my mind, full of these results which by its own reflection and the teaching of Scripture it had attained, rested with assurance, as on some peaceful watchtower, upon that glorious conclusion, recognising that its true nature made it capable of one homage to its Creator, and of none other, whether greater or less; the homage namely of conviction that His is a greatness too vast for our comprehension but not for our faith. For a reasonable faith is akin to reason and accepts its aid, even though that same reason cannot cope with the vastness of eternal Omnipotence.

I couldn’t resist posting this. “…His is a greatness too vast for our comprehension but not for our faith…” Wonderful.

I sometimes hear condescending words from Atheists about the faith. They ridicule and scoff at our beliefs. But I have to admit, I wouldn’t want to live in a world solely confined to what we can rationally prove. Give me the vastness of faith any day.

Atheist! Your world is too small! This is how reason should lead you.

Then, while the devout soul was baffled and astray through its own feebleness, it caught from the prophet’s voice this scale of comparison for God, admirably expressed, By the greatness of His works and the beauty of the things that He has made the Creator of worlds is rightly discerned Wisdom 13:5 . The Creator of great things is supreme in greatness, of beautiful things in beauty. Since the work transcends our thoughts, all thought must be transcended by the Maker. Thus heaven and air and earth and seas are fair: fair also the whole universe, as the Greeks agree, who from its beautiful ordering call it κόσμος, that is, order…For though the splendour of His eternal glory overtax our mind’s best powers, it cannot fail to see that He is beautiful. We must in truth confess that God is most beautiful, and that with a beauty which, though it transcend our comprehension, forces itself upon our perception.



“Infinitas in Aeterno, Species in Imagine, Usus in Munere,” rendered, “the Infinitely Eternal, the Image and Likeness, the Supreme Enjoyment.” - St. Hilary L. 2 De Trinitate, n.1:highprayer:

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