Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
According to the First Vatican Council, "God, one and true, our Creator and Lord [can] be certainly known by the natural light of human reason from the things that are made" (Denzinger 3026). God's first witness of himself, therefore, is in the world of creation as declared by St. Paul: "Ever since God created the world, His everlasting power and deity -- however invisible -- have been there for the mind to see in the things He has made" (Romans 1:20). Moreover, the human mind "can even demonstrate" his existence and attributes by reasoning from the effects in the universe to their ultimate cause (Pope St. Pius X, Oath Against Modernism, Denzinger 3538). However, God has also manifested himself supernaturally in what is commonly called revelation, as found in the Bible and sacred tradition. Such revelation is morally necessary to enable everyone to know God easily, with certitude and without error. Revelation is also absolutely necessary "because God in His infinite goodness has ordained man to a supernatural end," which therefore requires man's knowledge of his destiny and of the means of getting there (Denzinger 3005).