by HFH Reuvers


In the thirteenth century, the pope ordered the Dominican monk Saint Thomas Aquinas to make a synthesis of the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle. Thomas shows that simple ideas, like perfect circles and perfect goodness, don't have an independent existence in nature. The concrete things in nature are imperfect compositions of these ideas. They have a bent toward perfection, and are striving after that. He deduces creation must have a first cause and a final end, in which the ideas find their origin and destiny. This is God, the Being that exists because of itself.

The master poet from our Golden Age, Joost van den Vondel, wrote in his Lucifer:

Who's sitting there at such a height
in such unfathomable light,
Whom can't measure clock nor weight
and needs no help from outside?
That's God, Whose Essence does decide
upon the life of man and maid.

Goethe showed in his Faust even a devil's henchman can't deny the existence of God:

GRETCHEN: ... Do you believe in God?
FAUST: My love, who can say: I believe in God! You may ask a priest or a wise man, and it seems the answer only mocks at you.
GRETCHEN: So you don't believe?
FAUST: Don't misunderstand me, you pretty face!
Who can name Him and who can confess: I believe in Him. Who can experience Him and yet dare to say: I don't believe in Him!
He contains and preserves everything, so doesn't He contain and preserve you and me and Himself?

Saint Paul says it in even simpler words, in his letter to the faithful of Rome (1, 19-20):
"Because whatever a man can know about God, is in fact known among the people; God himself revealed it to them. Since the creation of the world, our reason does behold his invisible essence in his works, namely his eternal power and his divinity ... "