In On Divine Revelation—one of Garrigou-Lagrange’s most significant works, here available in English for the very first time—he offers a classic treatment of this foundational topic. It is an organized and thorough defense of both the rationality and supernaturality of divine revelation. He presents a careful yet stimulating account of the scientific character of theology, the nature of revelation itself, mystery, dogma, the grace of faith, the powers of human reason, false interpretations thereof (rationalism, naturalism, agnosticism, and pantheism), the motives of credibility, and much more.
Though written a century ago, On Divine Revelation will restore confidence in theology as a distinct and unified science and return focus to the fundamental questions of the doctrine of revelation. It also serves as a salutary corrective to contemporary theology’s anthropocentrism and concern with what is relative in revelation and religious experience by reorienting our theological attention to what is most certain, central, and sure in our knowledge of divine revelation: the Triune God who has revealed his inner life and salvific will.
Readers will see the great splendor of the gift of divine revelation: radiant with credibility before the gaze of reason and drawing our supernatural assent to the mysteries through the gift of faith. As Fr. Cajetan Cuddy, O.P. observes, “On Divine Revelation . . . is a stunning work of inestimable value. No other subsequent work on this topic has come close to meeting it (much less surpassing it).”
About the Author
Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. (1877–1964), was a French Catholic theologian and leading Thomist of the twentieth century who taught at the Dominican Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelicum, in Rome from 1909 to 1960.
About the Translator
Matthew K. Minerd is a Ruthenian Catholic, husband, and father, serving as Professor of Philosophy and Moral Theology at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, PA. He has been published in Nova et Vetera, The American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, The Review of Metaphysics, Études Maritainiennes, Downside Review, and Homiletic and Pastoral Review. He has also served as a translator or editor for volumes published by Emmaus Academic, Cluny Media, and The Catholic University of America Press.
Charles Schmidt –
On Divine Revelation Volume Two by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange is a magnificent book of Catholic apologetics. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange was a French Catholic philosopher and Dominican priest who was nicknamed the Sacred Monster of Thomism (due to his outstanding knowledge of the works of Thomas Aquinas). This book uses reason to show that Catholic miracles, Christ’s character, the Old and New Testaments, Catholic doctrines and ethics, and the history and results of the Catholic Church, all are credible and are strong evidence that Catholicism is the one, true religion.
This book is a masterpiece filled with profound wisdom. Here are excerpts that will give examples of the wisdom found in this book:
God must necessarily be immaterial and intelligent, for otherwise he could not produce our intellects nor order the world, for the greater is not produced from the lesser.
Indeed, if all of our nature’s legitimate aspirations, even its loftier ones, are marvelously satisfied – nay, surpassed – in some given religion, this is a sign of this religion’s divine origin, for solely by their natural powers, men would not be able to discover so great a conformity and interior peace, as is especially clear from what we said above concerning the moral necessity of the revelation of the sum of the natural truths of religion. Indeed, as we there said, men morally cannot readily arrive at firm, error-free knowledge concerning all the truths of natural religion. Therefore, if in some religion all the essential questions concerning God and the soul are harmoniously resolved, and all the aspirations of our nature marvelously satisfied and surpassed, it is morally certain that this religion is from God, especially if some legitimate aspiration is offended in other religions and philosophical systems, or at least if not all of them are satisfied in them. It is reasonable to believe that Catholicism is true based on the sublimity of the Church’s teaching and from her marvelous religious life.
As regards natural truths, inasmuch as this doctrine exceeds, by far, all the systems of philosophers and other religions, proposing nothing that reason would show to be false, and perfectly teaches all things that person to natural religion concerning God’s existence, nature, attributes, providence, and creation, as well as concerning man’s origin, nature, and end, along with those truths concerning moral precepts and counsels, so that it fully suffices for rightly establishing a way of life for man and indeed perfectly responds to all of man’s legitimate aspirations. A divine religion would exceed all the systems of philosophers and other religions.
Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Immortale Dei wrote: It cannot be difficult to find out what is the true religion, if only it be sought with an earned and unbiased mind.
Absolute indifferentism denies the necessity of any given form of religion, even of natural religion (i.e., religion based solely on reason). Pope Pius IX condemned indifferentism in the third proposition of his Syllabus of Errors: It is wrong to state that human reason, without any consideration at all of God, is the sole judge of truth and falsehood, of good and evil; it is a law unto itself and by its natural powers, it suffices to care for the good of men and nations.” [Reason needs God. Reason comes from God and depends on God. Without God, reason is lost in darkness. Human reason is very fallible and prone to error, whereas God is infallible.]
The Catholic Church is the liberator of the human mind. All other freedoms necessarily flow from freedom of the intellect. Neither peace nor freedom is possible outside of the truth. Lies are, of themselves, evil.
Let us consider whether any non-Christian philosophies can satisfy man’s natural desires. Certain absolutely erroneous systems of philosophy such as materialism, pantheism and agnosticism sate our natural aspirations much less than does natural reason, and they do incredibly grave harm to those that are chief and the loftiest. However, other systems (e.g., those of Plato and of Aristotle) that approach more closely to the truth do not go without manifest error concerning certain attributes of God (e.g., the divine freedom), nor do they speak about the future life with firm certitude – or when they do, they confuse it with the transmigration of soul (or metempsychosis), which does not suitably respond to our aspirations. Likewise, the ethics set forth by these systems is highly inferior to Christian ethics and contains a number of manifest errors. However, modern philosophers who have separated themselves from the Church do no better job than the ancients at resolving the chief problems of philosophy but instead fall into agnosticism or pantheism/determinism.
Just as religion cannot exist without truths concerning God, so too no ethics can exist without God, who is the foundation of obligation and the judge of human actions.
Divine Revelation is God’s wisdom and is highest wisdom, and this outstanding book explains, clarifies that wisdom and gives convincing reasons for believing that Catholicism is true, beautiful and divinely good.