Concerning the Incomprehensibility of God…

“Concerning God, and those that are of him, and in him, neither is the mind of man able to conceive what they be, how great they be, and of what fashion they be: neither doth the eloquence of man’s mouth utter in speech words in any point answerable unto his majesty. For to the thinking upon, and uttering out of his majesty, all eloquence is mute and dumb, and the whole mind is too, too little. For it is greater than the mind: neither can it be conceived how great it is: because if it can be conceived, then must it needs be less than man’s mind, wherein it may be comprehended. It is also greater than all speech, and cannot be spoken. Because if it may be spoken, then is it lesser than man’s speech, by which, if it be spoken, it may be compassed and made to be understood. But what sooner may be thought of him shall be less than he and whatsoever in speech is showed of him, being compared with him shall be much less than he. For in silence to ourselves we may partly perceive him: but as he is, in words to express him, it is altogether impossible. For if you call him light, then do you rather name a creature of his, than him, but him you express not. Or if you call him virtue, then do you rather name his power than him, but him you declare not. Or if you call him Majesty, then do you rather name his honor than him, but him you describe not. And why should I, in running through every several title, prolong the time? I will at once declare it all. Say all of him whatsoever thou canst, and yet thou shalt still rather name some thing of his, than himself. For what canst thou fitly speak or think of him, that is greater than all thy words and senses? Unless it be, that after one manner, and that too as we can, as our capacity will serve, and as our understanding will let us, we shall in mind conceive what God is, if we shall think that he is that, which cannot be understood, nor can possibly come into our thought, what kind of thing, and how great it is… What can you fitly think of him, that is above all loftiness, higher than all height, deeper than all depth, lighter than all light, clearer than all clearness, brighter than all brightness, stronger than all strength, more Virtuous than all virtue, fairer than all fairness, truer than all truth, greater than all greatness, mightier than all might, richer than all riches, wiser than all wisdom, more liberal than all liberality, better than all goodness, justice that all justice, and gentler than all gentleness. For all kinds of virtues must needs be less than he, that is the Father and God of all virtues: so that God may truly be said to be such a certain Being, as to which nothing may be compared. For he is above all that may be spoken.”

~ Heinrich Bullinger

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