28. (1) God is Infinite because He is Being and Existence in Himself, and because all things in the universe have their being and existence from Him. It has been already shown that God is One, that He is the Itself, that He is the primal Esse of all things, and that all things in the universe that have being, existence, and subsistence, are from Him, and consequently that He is infinite. That human reason is able from very many things in the created universe to recognize this will be made clear hereafter. But although the human mind is able from all this to acknowledge that the primal Being or primal Esse is infinite, it is nevertheless unable to comprehend what that Being is, and therefore can only define it as the infinite All and the Self-subsistent, and hence as the very and the only substance; and since nothing can be predicated of substance unless it has form, it is the very and only Form. But what does this mean? It does not make clear what the infinite is; for the human mind itself, even when in the highest degree analytical and exalted, is finite; and its finiteness is inseparable from it; and for this reason the human mind is wholly incapable of seeing the infinity of God as it is in Itself thus of seeing God; although it can from behind see God obscurely, as was said to Moses when he prayed to see God:
That he should be placed in a cleft of the rock, and should see His back parts (Exod. 33:20-23);
"the back parts of God" meaning what is visible in the world, and especially what is perceptible in the Word. All this shows how vain it is to wish to comprehend what God is in His Esse, or in His substance; and that it is sufficient to acknowledge Him from finite things, that is, from things created, in which He is infinitely. The man who is not content with this may be likened to a fish out of water, or to a bird under an air pump, which, as the air is withdrawn, gasps and finally dies. Or he may be likened to a vessel which, overcome by a storm and failing to obey its helm, is carried upon rocks and quicksands. So it is with those who wish to comprehend from within the infinity of God, and are not content with being able to acknowledge it in its manifest indications from without. It is related of a certain philosopher among the ancients that not being able to see or comprehend the eternity of the world in the light of his own mind he threw himself into the sea. What if he had wished to see or comprehend the infinity of God!