Natural Knowledge of God as the Primordial Approach to God – Jaques Maritain

  • Article (book excerpt)
  • 3000 words
  • Level: high school and above

The twentieth-century French philosopher Jaques Maritain writes on God, Immanuel Kant, Auguste Comte, and science:

From Plato and Aristotle to St. Anselm and St. Thomas Aquinas, to Descartes and Leibniz, philosophers have proposed proofs or demonstrations of the existence of God, or, as Thomas Aquinas more modestly puts it, ways through which the intellect is led to the certitude of His existence. All are highly conceptualized and rationalized proofs, specifically philosophic ways of approach….

However, it is not these highly conceptualized, rationalized and specifically philosophical ways of approach which I should like to consider at present. When St. Paul affirmed that: “that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them. 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.” he was thinking not only of scientifically elaborated or specifically philosophical ways of establishing the existence of God. He had in mind also and above all the natural knowledge of the existence of God to which the vision of created things leads the reason of every man, philosopher or not.

Click here for an excerpt selected by the Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science (, which is edited by the Advanced School for Interdisciplinary Research, operating at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, and directed by Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti. The excerpt is from Maritain’s book Approaches to God (click here for a preview courtesy of Google Books).