Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

INCOMPREHENSIBLE

That which cannot be fully understood. In one sense nothing is totally comprehensible by humans since they are not the first cause of anything. But, properly speaking, only God is said to be incomprehensible because only he is infinitely perfect and no finite mind can exhaustively understand the infinite. The Church teaches that God is incomprehensible (Denzinger 800). However, there is a difference between his incomprehensibility on earth and in heaven. On earth God is incomprehensible because he known only by faith; in heaven he is still incomprehensible because he is infinite, even though in the beatific vision we shall see him in his essence as he is. Although not comprehensible, God is not unintelligible. He can be known, here by faith and hereafter by sight. But neither on earth nor in heaven can he be totally known in the fullness of his own comprehensive knowledge of himself. "God whose Being is infinite, is infinitely knowable. No created understanding can, however, know God in an infinite manner" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I, 12, 7).

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Sons of Dominic Prepare for Family Synod 11 hours ago
Dominican theologians assess proposals for divorced and remarried 12 hours ago
The ‘Pope Francis effect’—changing the way the world sees the papacy 13 hours ago
Renewal with God Behind Us: Man Determines All July 28
Introducing the Church Fathers July 27

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
New management, new changes coming for reformed Vatican bank CWN - July 8
Sweeping reforms to Vatican's media, financial operations CWN - July 9
‘Even Genghis Khan didn’t do this’: Mosul emptied of Christians CWN - July 21