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16

Part One

35

Man’s faculties make him capable of coming to a knowl-

edge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to

enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself

to man and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this

revelation in faith. The proofs of God’s existence, however, can

predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed

to reason.

III.

T

he

K

nowledge of

G

od

A

ccording

to

the

C

hurch

36

“Our holy mother, the Church, holds and teaches that

God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known

with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human

reason.”

11

Without this capacity, man would not be able to wel-

come God’s revelation. Man has this capacity because he is created

“in the image of God.”

12

37

In the historical conditions in which he finds himself,

however, man experiences many difficulties in coming to know

God by the light of reason alone:

Though human reason is, strictly speaking, truly capable by

its own natural power and light of attaining to a true and

certain knowledge of the one personal God, who watches

over and controls the world by his providence, and of the

natural lawwritten in our hearts by the Creator; yet there are

many obstacles which prevent reason from the effective and

fruitful use of this inborn faculty. For the truths that concern

the relations between God and man wholly transcend the

visible order of things, and, if they are translated into human

action and influence it, they call for self-surrender and abne­

gation. The human mind, in its turn, is hampered in the

attaining of such truths, not only by the impact of the senses

and the imagination, but also by disordered appetites which

are the consequences of original sin. So it happens that men

in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they

would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful.

13

38

This is why man stands in need of being enlightened by

God’s revelation, not only about those things that exceed his

understanding, but also “about those religious and moral truths

which of themselves are not beyond the grasp of human reason, so

that even in the present condition of the human race, they can be

11 Vatican Council I,

Dei Filius

2: DS 3004; cf. 3026; Vatican Council II,

Dei

Verbum

6.

12 Cf.

Gen

1:27.

13 Pius XII,

Humani Generis,

561: DS 3875.

50

159

355

1960

2036