Monday, January 7, 2008

Augustine on God

Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) was an early church father and one of the greatest theologians in church history. In his autobiographical work Confessions, he gives this beautiful glimpse into our mysterious and majestic God:
Most high, utterly good, utterly powerful, most omnipotent, most merciful and most just, deeply hidden yet most intimately present, perfection of both beauty and strength, stable and incomprehensible, immutable and yet changing all things, never new, never old, making everything new and 'leading' the proud 'to be old without their knowledge' (Job 9:5); always active, always in repose, gathering to yourself but not in need, supporting and filling and protecting, creating and nurturing and bringing to maturity, searching even though to you nothing is lacking: you love without burning, you are jealous in a way that is free of anxiety, you 'repent' (Gen. 6:6) without pain of regret, you are wrathful and remain tranquil. You will a change without any change in your design. You recover what you find, yet have never lost. Never in any need, you rejoice in your gains (Lk. 15:7); you are never avaricious, yet you require interest (Mt. 25:27). We pay you more than you require so as to make you our debtor, yet who has anything which does not belong to you? (1 Cor. 4:7). You pay off debts, though owing nothing to anyone; you cancel debts and incur no loss. But in these words what have I said, my God, my life, my holy sweetness? What has anyone achieved in words when he speaks of you? Yet woe to those who are silent about you because, though loquacious with verbosity, they have nothing to say. (Confessions, p. 5)

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