Sixteen Philosophical Quotations on God (With References)

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This page contains a collection of philosophical quotes on God, arranged in roughly chronological order. These quotes are all genuine and details about the author, book, chapter number, and translation are included where applicable. Without further ado, here are sixteen philosophical quotes on God:

What is it that I love when I love You [God]? Not the beauty of any bodily thing, nor the order of seasons, not the brightness of light that rejoices the eye, nor the sweet melodies of all songs, nor the sweet fragrance of flowers and ointments and spices: not manna nor honey, not the limbs that carnal love embraces. None of these things do I love in loving my God. Yet in a sense I do love light and melody and fragrance and food and embrace when I love my God—the light and the voice and the fragrance and the food and embrace in the soul, when that light shines upon my soul which no place can contain, that voice sounds which no time can take from me, I breathe that fragrance which no wind scatters, I eat the food which is not lessened by eating, and I lie in the embrace which satiety never comes to sunder. This it is that I love, when I love my God.

– St. Augustine, Confessions, X, 6, trans. Francis J. Sheed

What is . . . God? I asked the earth and it answered: “I am not He”; and all things that are in the earth made the same confession. I asked the sea and the deeps and the creeping things, and they answered: “We are not your God; seek higher.” I asked the winds that blow, and the whole air with all that is in it answered: “Anaximenes was wrong; I am not God.” I asked the heavens, the sun, the moon, the stars, and they answered; “Neither are we God whom you seek.” And I said to all the things that throng about the gateways of the senses: “Tell me of my God, since you are not He. Tell me something of Him.” And they cried out in a great voice: “He made us.” My question was my gazing upon them, and their answer was their beauty. And I turned to myself and said: “And you, who are you?” And I answered: “A man.” Now clearly there is a body and a soul in me, one exterior, one interior. From which of these two should I have enquired of my God? I had already sought Him by my body, from earth to heaven, as far as my eye could send its beams on the quest. But the interior part is the better, seeing that all my body’s messengers delivered to it, as ruler and judge, the answers that heaven and earth and all things in them made when they said; “We are not God,” and, “He made us.” The inner man knows these things through the ministry of the outer man: I the inner man knew them, I, I the soul, through the senses of the body. I asked the whole frame of the universe about my God and it answered me: “I am not He, but He made me.”

– St. Augustine, Confessions, X, 6, trans. Francis J. Sheed

All that I have written seems to me like straw compared to what has now been revealed to me.

– St. Thomas Aquinas, Attributed

Perhaps not everyone who hears this word “God” understands it to signify something than which nothing greater can be thought, seeing that some have believed God to be a body. Yet, granted that everyone understands that by this word “God” is signified something than which nothing greater can be thought, nevertheless, it does not therefore follow that he understands that what the word signifies exists actually, but only that it exists mentally.

– St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I-I, 2, 1, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Provence

Whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

– St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I-I, 2, 3, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Provence

Not only the zeal of those who seek Him proves God, but also the blindness of those who seek Him not.

– Blaise Pascal, Pensées, III, 200, trans. W. F. Trotter

It is incomprehensible that God should exist, and it is incomprehensible that He should not exist; that the soul should be joined to the body, and that we should have no soul; that the world should be created, and that it should not be created, etc.; that original sin should be, and that it should not be.

– Blaise Pascal, Pensées, III, 230, trans. W. F. Trotter

Let us then examine this point, and say, “God is, or He is not.” But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us. . . . Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.

– Blaise Pascal, Pensées, III, 233, trans. W. F. Trotter

It is the heart which experiences God, and not the reason. This, then, is faith: God felt by the heart, not by the reason.

– Blaise Pascal, Pensées, IV, 278, trans. W. F. Trotter

It is as certain that there is a God, as that the opposite angles made by the intersection of two straight lines are equal. There was never any rational creature that set himself sincerely to examine the truth of these propositions that could fail to assent to them; though yet it be past doubt that there are many men, who, having not applied their thoughts that way, are ignorant both of the one and the other.

– John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Bk. I, III, 17

The visible marks of extraordinary wisdom and power appear so plainly in all the works of the creation, that a rational creature, who will but seriously reflect on them, cannot miss the discovery of a Deity. And the influence that the discovery of such a Being must necessarily have on the minds of all that have but once heard of it is so great, and carries such a weight of thought and communication with it, that it seems stranger to me that a whole nation of men should be anywhere found so brutish as to want the notion of a God, than that they should be without any notion of numbers, or fire.

– John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Bk. I, III, 9

This supreme wisdom, united to a goodness that is no less infinite, cannot but have chosen the best. For as a lesser evil is a kind of good, even so a lesser good is a kind of evil if it stands in the way of a greater good; and there would be something to correct in the actions of God if it were possible to do better. . . . So it may be said . . . that if there were not the best (optimum) among all possible worlds, God would not have produced any.

– G. W. Leibniz, Theodicy, 1, trans. E.M. Huggard

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

– Voltaire, Epistle to the author of the book, The Three Impostors, trans. Jack Iverson

If we ever encountered a god who always cured us of a cold in the head at just the right time, or got us into our carriage at the very instant heavy rain began to fall, he would seem so absurd a god that he’d have to be abolished even if he existed. God as a domestic servant, as a letter carrier, as an almanac-man—at bottom, he is a mere name for the stupidest sort of chance.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist, LII, trans. H. L. Mencken

After Buddha was dead people showed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a cave, an immense frightful shadow. God is dead:— but as the human race is constituted, there will perhaps be caves for millenniums yet, in which people will show his shadow. And we we have still to overcome his shadow!

– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 108, trans. Thomas Common

Have you ever heard of the madman who on a bright morning lighted a lantern and ran to the market-place calling out unceasingly: “I seek God! I seek God!” . . . “Where is God gone?” he called out. “I mean to tell you! We have killed him — you and I! We are all his murderers! . . . God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! . . . There never was a greater event, and on account of it, all who are born after us belong to a higher history than any history hitherto!”

– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 125, trans. Thomas Common

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