quotations about God

The life of God -- the life which the mind apprehends and enjoys as it rises to the absolute unity of all things -- may be described as a play of love with itself; but this idea sinks to an edifying truism, or even to a platitude, when it does not embrace in it the earnestness, the pain, the patience, and labor, involved in the negative aspect of things.

GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL, The Phenomenology of Spirit


There are many aspects of the universe that still cannot be explained satisfactorily by science; but ignorance only implies ignorance that may someday be conquered. To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.

ISAAC ASIMOV, "The Threat of Creationism", New York Times Magazine, Jun. 14, 1981


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God was invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand. Now, when you finally discover how something works, you get some laws which you're taking away from God; you don't need him anymore. But you need him for the other mysteries. So therefore you leave him to create the universe because we haven't figured that out yet; you need him for understanding those things which you don't believe the laws will explain, such as consciousness, or why you only live to a certain length of time -- life and death -- stuff like that. God is always associated with those things that you do not understand. Therefore I don't think that the laws can be considered to be like God because they have been figured out.

RICHARD FEYNMAN, attributed, Superstrings: A Theory of Everything


You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.

ANNE LAMOTT, Bird by Bird


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It would be very nice if there were a God who created the world and was a benevolent providence, and if there were a moral order in the universe and an after-life; but it is a very striking fact that all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be.

SIGMUND FREUD, The Future of an Illusion


Who would imagine that the Deity conducts his providence similar to the detestable despots of this world? Oh horrible? most horrible impeachment of Divine Goodness!

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man


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Given the world that he created, it would be an impiety against God to believe in him.



A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word "darkness" on the walls of his cell.

C. S. LEWIS, The Problem of Pain


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The Earthlings behaved at all times as though there were a big eye in the sky -- as though that big eye were ravenous for entertainment. The big eye was a glutton for great theater. The big eye was indifferent as to whether the Earthling shows were comedy, tragedy, farce, satire, athletics, or vaudeville. Its demand, which Earthlings apparently found as irresistible as gravity, was that the shows be great. The demand was so powerful that Earthlings did almost nothing but perform for it, night and day.... The big eye was the only audience that Earthlings really cared about.

KURT VONNEGUT, The Sirens of Titan


Whatever we cannot easily understand we call God; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues.

EDWARD ABBEY, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto)


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I have often a suspicion God is still trying to work things out and hasn't finished.

REBECCA WEST, The Paris Review, spring 1981


The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.

G. K. CHESTERTON, "The Book of Job: An Introduction"


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God is love. I don't say the heart doesn't feel a taste of it, but what a taste. The smallest glass of love mixed with a pint pot of ditch-water. We wouldn't recognize that love. It might even look like hate. It would be enough to scare us - God's love. It set fire to a bush in the desert, didn't it, and smashed open graves and set the dead walking in the dark. Oh, a man like me would run a mile to get away if he felt that love around.

GRAHAM GREENE, The Power and the Glory


God depends on us. It is through us that God is achieved.

ANDRE GIDE, Autumn Leaves


We have usurped many of the powers we once ascribed to God.
Fearful and unprepared, we have assumed lordship over the life or death of the whole world -- of all living things.
The danger and the glory and the choice rest finally in man. The test of his perfectibility is at hand.
Having taken Godlike power, we must seek in ourselves for the responsibility and the wisdom we once prayed some deity might have.

JOHN STEINBECK, Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Dec. 10, 1962


The different ideas which men form of God (whilst the scripture character of him is overlooked), result from the various dispositions and propensities which they derive from constitution, education, and habit. The voluptuary will imagine with a certain dissolute monarch (Charles II), that God will not damn a man for taking "a little pleasure in an irregular manner;" nor can the ambitious warrior or covetous oppressor be convinced that the supreme Being will demand a strict account of all the blood shed, or the injustice committed, in their respective pursuits: a speculating philosopher may imagine a deity too dignified to notice the conduct, or too clement to punish the crimes, of puny mortals; at least he will deem him very favorable to the self-wise, and such as are superior to vulgar prejudices, whatever he may do in respect to debauchees and sanguinary tyrants. Thus men's ideas of God are framed according to their own prevailing propensities; and then those ideas of him reciprocally tend to form their characters, and influence their conduct, both in respect of religious duties and in the common concerns of life.

THOMAS SCOTT, "On the Scripture Character of God", Essays on the Most Important Subjects in Religion


How things stand, is God.
God is, how things stand.

LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN, Notebooks, Aug. 1, 1916


The Stoics affirm that God is a thing more common and obvious, and is a mechanic fire which every way spreads itself to produce the world; it contains in itself all seminal virtues, and by this means all things by a fatal necessity were produced. This spirit, passing through the whole world, received different names from the mutations in the matter through which it ran in its journey. God therefore is the world, the stars, the earth, and (highest of all) the mind in the heavens. In the judgment of Epicurus all the gods are anthropomorphites, or have the shape of men; but they are perceptible only by reason, for their nature admits of no other manner of being apprehended, their parts being so small and fine that they give no corporeal representations. The same Epicurus asserts that there are four other natural beings which are immortal: of this sort are atoms, the vacuum, the infinite, and the similar parts; and these last are called Homoeomeries and likewise elements.

PLUTARCH, "What is God?", Essays & Miscellanies


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At the entrance of the modern time stands the 'God-man'. At its exit will only the God in the God-man evaporate? And can the God-man really die if only the God in him dies? They did not think of this question, and thought they were finished when in our days they brought to a victorious end the work of the Enlightenment, the vanquishing of God: they did not notice that man has killed God in order to become now -- 'sole God on high'. The other world outside us is indeed brushed away, and the great undertaking of the men of the Enlightenment completed; but the other world in us has become a new heaven and calls us forth to renewed heaven-storming: God has had to give place, yet not to us, but to -- man. How can you believe that the God-man is dead before the man in him, besides the God, is dead?

MAX STIRNER, The Ego and Its Own


He that trusts in the Lord with all his heart, does not indeed expect, that God will do that for him which he has never promised; far less that he will be favorable unto him, in what is contrary to his revealed will. But, first, he sees that his matters are good and right; and then he commits the keeping of his soul unto the faithful creator; who is a buckler to them alone that walked uprightly. If he is called of God to any difficult duty, for which he finds himself unequal, he persuades himself that God will command his strength, and work in him both to will and to do of his good pleasure; and out of weakness he is made strong.

WILLIAM MCEWEN, "On Trusting God", Select Essays Doctrinal & Practical on a Variety of the Most Important and Interesting Subjects in Divinity