Who is God? (According to St. Augustine)

Get this artwork

A couple of years ago I started reading the book ‘Confessions’ by st. Augustine and it was a surprisingly wonderful book. So many beautiful thoughts and phrases, it inspires me every time I open it and read a bit. 

I read it in Dutch and there was one sentence that struck me. In Dutch it is: “U zoekt maar mist niets.” Which literally translated says: “You search but miss/lack nothing.” 

It’s one of those phrases that show the mystery of God. Why did he create us? Why does he keep on caring for us? He looks for us even though He is absolutely complete, He doesn’t really miss anything or anyone like we do. Yet He searches as though He does. It’s amazing!

Below you can read the context of this phrase in Dutch or English.

English

“What, therefore, is my God? What, I ask, but the Lord God? “For who is Lord but the Lord himself, or who is God besides our God?”

Most high, most excellent, most potent, most omnipotent; most merciful and most just; most secret and most truly present; most beautiful and most strong; stable, yet not supported; unchangeable, yet changing all things; never new, never old; making all things new, yet bringing old age upon the proud, and they know it not; always working, ever at rest; gathering, yet needing nothing; sustaining, pervading, and protecting; creating, nourishing, and developing; seeking, and yet possessing all things.

Thou dost love, but without passion; art jealous, yet free from care; dost repent without remorse; art angry, yet remainest serene. Thou changest thy ways, leaving thy plans unchanged; thou recoverest what thou hast never really lost.

Thou art never in need but still thou dost rejoice at thy gains; art never greedy, yet demandest dividends. Men pay more than is required so that thou dost become a debtor; yet who can possess anything at all which is not already thine? Thou owest men nothing, yet payest out to them as if in debt to thy creature, and when thou dost cancel debts thou losest nothing thereby.”

(Translated by Albert C. Outler – read online)

Nederlands: 

Wat bent U eigenlijk, mijn God? Ja, wat anders dan God de Heer? Wie is er Heer behalve de Heer? En wie is er God behalve onze God?

U bent verheven, voortreffelijk, machtig en almachtig, barmhartig en rechtvaardig, verborgen en toch aanwezig, mooi en sterk, stabiel en toch ongrijpbaar en zonder zelf te veranderen verandert u alles. U bent nooit nieuw, nooit oud en maakt alles nieuw. De hoogmoedigen maakt u oud zonder dat ze het merken. U bent voortdurend werkzaam en toch altijd in de rust. U haalt naar u toe maar komt niets tekort. U draagt, vervult en beschermt. U schept, u voedt en voltooit. U zoekt maar mist niets.

U bemint maar die gloed verteert u niet. U bent jaloers en blijft onbewogen. U kunt ergens spijt van hebben zonder dat het u pijn doet. U wordt boos en blijft toch rustig. U verandert uw werk maar niet uw plan. U krijgt terug wat U vindt maar niet verloren had.

U hebt nergens behoefte aan en vindt toch vreugde in wat u krijgt. U bent niet hebzuchtig maar vraagt wel rente. U krijgt meer terugbetaald dan het verschuldigde en komt zo zelf in het krijt te staan, en toch, wie heeft er iets dat niet van u is? U betaalt terug zonder iemand iets schuldig te zijn, u scheldt schulden kwijt en schiet er niets bij in.  

(Vertaald door Wim Sleddens- lees deze vertaling via de bieb)

 

And if you enjoyed reading this, I think you might like these things as well:

A Hopeful Song for When You Don’t Feel Strong

Sometimes songs say it better than anything else. As long as God surrounds us with...

Be Reminded of The Greatness of God

This song is simple in melody and lyrics, but it can linger in me for...

Tell Him What You’ve Never Dared to Say Out Loud

You can end up having all you desire, yet end up lonely anyway. You can...

Herman Brood & Henk Binnendijk

Henk Binnendijk in gesprek met Herman Brood. Geen logische combinatie, maar het levert wel interessante...

“Let’s Be More Real With Each Other.” – Interview with Thirze

I would love it if we would communicate more of what we really think and...

Is God Here?

We all wonder from time to time, is God here? Is he present in our...

The Snail on The Garden-Path

Dorothy L. Sayers writes in The Mind of The Maker this beautiful sentence: “God is...

Who is God? (According to St. Augustine)

A couple of years ago I started reading the book ‘Confessions’ by st. Augustine and...

How to Alter the Past

This letter is one of the most interesting and thought-provoking things I’ve read so far....

My Perspective on Sufjan Stevens’ Song Vesuvius

To me it is almost a worship song. Not a typical one. And others might...

I Am Not Who I Am (Rembrandt And I)

God says “I am who I am.” But with human beings it should be: “We...

“God is Here When We Are Wholly Unaware of It.” – By A.W. Tozer

God is here when we are wholly unaware of it. He is manifest only when...

What is Grass? – Walt Whitman’s Beautiful Answer to this Question.

A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands, How...

Oscar Wilde’s Take on The Bible

When Oscar Wilde  ends up in prison, he starts to read the Bible and writes...

What I Learned From My 90-year-old Friend

When we got to know each other we were surprised at how similar we were,...

7 Questions to Ask Yourself to Become A Better You. – by A.W. Tozer

In the following passage from the book ‘That Incredible Christian’ A.W. Tozer helps us to...

Light

Find my way back to the light through light

Does It Have To Be So Hard?

Jesus wants us to stick with Him through the awkward learning parts so we can...

An Encounter with God by Anne Bronte

“God help me now!” I murmured, sinking on my knees among the damp weeds and...

0 0 votes
Artikelbeoordeling
Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Reacties
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments