Reflection on the evidence of the existence of God based on Hugues de Saint-Victor’s (1096-1141) Treatise on the Three Days of the Invisible Light.
If we meditate on created things, we realize that God exists. Let us reflect, therefore, on the immensity, the beauty, and the utility of created things.
Creating a tiny thing out of nothing air requires a huge potency. Here, we’re not talking about transformation, rather about truly creating something out of nothing. So, to create a tiny thing out of nothing would already be very admirable, but even more extraordinary is to create all things, the immensity of the universe. This can’t be all coming out of nothing, there has to be a root cause behind it.
The immensity of created things manifests the potency of the Creator, beauty manifests his wisdom, and utility manifests his goodness. We see that there is harmony among created things. Think, for example, of the sun, the rain, the trees that grow with the sun and the rain, the animals and their food… We notably see harmony among the details of the human body: skin, bones, blood, the organs… Then, even in a small creature there are so many details, for example, the legs of an ant, the colors of a bee… Again, we see that it is not possible for all of this to come out of nothing, there has to be an intelligence behind it all.
In addition to creating all things, God keeps them in existence. That is, not only were things created, but they continue to exist. It is God who keeps them in existence. Therefore, without him, we could not continue to exist.
In the Treatise on the Three Days of the Invisible Light, Hugues de Saint-Victor invites us to seek God by considering created things.
“Let us therefore consider how great the admirable things of God are and, by means of the beauty of created things, seek the most beautiful of all, so admirable and so ineffable that all transient beauty, even if it is true, cannot be compared to him”.
The psalmist also invites us to meditate on the works of God.
“I remembered the days of old, I meditated on all thy works: I meditated upon the works of thy hands” (Ps. 142, 5).
In addition to the visible things, let us also reflect on the invisible things created by God. We perceive our own existence, that is to say, we realize that we exist. We have a body, but we see that we also have a reason which, although infused and mixed with the flesh, is distinct from the flesh. That is to say, we see that our reason is not our flesh. Thus, we see that there are not only visible things, but also invisible ones. We realize that we have an invisible soul.
We know that we had a beginning, that we were created. So not only our visible body had a start, but also our invisible soul. It is not possible that the invisible was created from visible matter that already existed. How could a material thing give rise to an immaterial thing? There has to have a potency that works to create an immaterial thing out of nothing. Therefore, God created our soul out of nothing.
In addition to being able to perceive the reality of invisible things by meditating on our existence, the Holy Scriptures also show us that the invisible exists.
“For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable” (Rom. 1, 20).
God is the first origin of all things; therefore, he was not created, he had no beginning. He has always existed. He has no end. He will always exist.
By meditating on Creation, we can also see that God is one, for the harmony that exists in the universe shows that there is no division in the presidency of nature. Therefore, there is only one source and one origin. We also see that God is immutable because he is omnipresent and almighty. God is everywhere, but he is not contained in the universe, and God is more powerful than everything, so nothing can change him.
They are three Persons (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), but only one God, because, despite They are three different Persons, in these three Persons there is only one substance.
God created all things, visible and invisible, and he maintains all things in existence. Among all of Creation, God has made a special place for us. Let us seek, therefore, by meditating on created things and in particular on our own existence, the good God who loves us so much.
Finally, let us remember that God is righteous and good and that he leaves us free to make decisions. Are we going to choose to live on our own? Or will we choose to accept the Redeemer and thus live according to His teachings? In the Treatise on the Three Days of the Invisible Light, Hugues de Saint-Victor propose us this reflection:
“O man, what caused your ignorance? Now your very nature accuses and condemns you. You knew who you are, where you come from, what Creator you have, what mediator you need, but you still cry out against God in your defense. You knew that you are evil, and that you were not made evil by a good Creator, and you do not cry out to the one who made you to come and remake you, to redeem you. Do not doubt his power, but contemplate his works, so numerous. Do not doubt his wisdom, but contemplate his works, so beautiful. Do not doubt his benevolence, but contemplate his works, so useful to you. Here he shows you by his works how powerful he is in your redemption. He also shows you what a serious judge you will have to wait for if you do not want to accept him as a Redeemer. No one can resist him, for he is almighty; no one will be able to escape him, for he is perfectly wise; no one can corrupt him, for he is the best; no one will be able to hide from him, because he is everywhere; no one can tolerate him, for he is eternal; no one will be able to bend him, because he is immutable. Therefore, if we don’t want to have him as a judge, let’s seek him out as a Redeemer”.