Nicholas of Cusa-page 2
Make your own free website on

"God, therefore, is the one most simple essence of the entire universe..."
(p. 120)

... the essence of all essences is each essence in such a way that it is all essences together and none of them individually...
(p. 108)

God is not something... God is beyond nothing and beyond something... God cannot be called "this" rather than "that"...
(p. 211)

For God is not the root of contradiction, but God is the simplicity itself prior to every root...
(p. 212)

... God's simplicity precedes both all that can be named and all that cannot...
(p. 213)

... neither God nor God's name is to be found in the realm of all creatures and ... God flees from every concept rather than being asserted as something. For that which does not have the condition of a creature is not to be found in the realm of creatures. In the realm of composite things the non-composite is not found... And even though ... composite things are what they are only through the non-composite, yet because it is not composite, it is unknown in the realm of composite things.
(p. 213)

... the affirmative names we attribute to God apply to God in an infinitely diminished way. ...affirmative names apply according to God's infinite power in relation to creatures.
(p. 122)

Therefore, may God, who is hidden from the eyes of all the wise of the world, be blessed forever.
(p. 213)

Paraphrased: God enfolds creation, for in God all things are God. Yet God also unfolds creation in its diversity, for God is in various things like truth in an image.
(p. 137)

... strive to seek God with the most diligent vision, for God who is everywhere is impossible not to find if God is sought in the right way... God is rightly sought to the end that, in keeping with God's name, praise of God may reach the limits of the power of our earthly nature.
(p. 223)

From the infinity of your mercy, I see, O Lord, that you are infinity embracing all things. There is nothing that exists outside you, but all things in you are not other than you. You teach me, Lord, how otherness, which is not in you, does not exist in itself, nor can it exist. Nor does otherness, which does not exist in you, make one creature other than another, although one creature is not another...

Paraphrased: But you speak in me, O Lord, and tell me that otherness has no positive principle, and thus it does not exist. Otherness is derived from not-being. That the sky is not the earth is because the sky is not infinity itself, which embraces all being. God's infinity gives being to all things. Because the sky participates in this infinity, it has being. But because it participates in infinity in a contracted manner, it takes on its own unique characteristics which differentiate it from "others." It is the lack of absolute infinity that produces creatures of all sorts.
(p. 261)

Posse Itself {i.e. God in His Unbounded Potentiality} manifests itself in all things just as the posse {i.e. the potential} of Aristotle's mind manifests itself in his books, not that they disclose it perfectly, even though one book may do so more perfectly than another, and the books were produced for no other purpose than for his mind to reveal itself... The mind to be sure, is like an intellectual book, which sees in itself ... the intention of the author {i.e. God}.
(p. 301)

{Addressed to God:}... what would be more absurd than to ask that you give yourself to me, you who are all in all? And how will you give yourself to me if you do not at the same time give me heaven and earth and all that are in them? And, even more, how will you give me yourself if you do not also give me myself?

And when I thus rest in the silence of contemplation, you, Lord, answer me within my heart, saying: "Be yours and I too will be yours!"

O Lord, the Sweetness of every delight, you have placed within my freedom that I be my own if I am willing. Hence, unless I am my own, you are not mine, for you would constrain my freedom since you cannot be mine unless I also am mine. And since you have placed this in my freedom, you do not constrain me, but you wait for me to choose to be my own. This depends on me and not on you, O Lord, for you do not limit your maximum goodness but lavish it on all who are able to receive it. But you, O Lord, are your goodness.

But how will I be my own unless you instruct me? You teach me that sense should obey reason and that reason should be lord and master. When, therefore, sense serves reason, I am my own. But reason has no guide except you, O Lord, who are the Word and the Reason of reasons. I see now that if I listen to your Word, which does not cease to speak in me and which continually shines forth in my reason, I will be my own, free and not the slave of sin. And you will be mine and will grant me to see your face, and then I will be saved. May you be blessed, therefore, in your gifts, O God, who alone are able to comfort my soul and to lift it up so that it might hope to attain to you and to enjoy you as its very own gift and as the infinite treasury of all that is desirable.
(p. 247)

Who could understand how all things, though different contingently, are the image of that single, infinite Form... The infinite form is received only in a finite way; consequently, every creature is, as it were, a finite infinity or a created god, so that it exists in the way in which this could best be. It is as if the Creator had spoken: "Let it be made," and because God, who is eternity itself, could not be made, that was made which could be made, which would be as much like God as possible. The inference, therefore, is that every created thing as such is perfect, even if by comparison to others it seems less perfect. For the most merciful God communicates being to all in the manner in which it can be received... Therefore, every created being finds its rest in its own perfection, which it freely holds from the divine being. It desires to be no other created being, as if something else were more perfect, but rather it prefers that which it itself holds, as if a divine gift, from the maximum, and it wishes its own possession to be perfected and preserved incorruptibly.
(p. 134)

Blessed be God who has given us an intellect that cannot be filled within time. Because the intellect's desire does not attain its end, the intellect perceives itself, from its temporally insatiable desire, as above incorruptible time and immortal, and it knows that it can be satisfied by the desired intellectual life only in the enjoyment of the best and maximum and unfailing good.
(p. 203)

Rapt in Simplicity
Since God is not knowable in this world, where reason, opinion, and teaching lead us, by means of symbols, from the better known to the unknown, God is grasped only where persuadings leave off and faith enters in. Through faith we are rapt in simplicity so that, while in a body incorporeally, because in spirit, and in the world not in a worldly manner but celestially, we may incomprehensibly contemplate Christ above all reason and intelligence, in the third heaven {2 Cor 12:2} of the simplest intellectuality. Therefore, we also see that because of the immensity of his excellence he cannot be comprehended. And this is that learned ignorance by which the very blessed Paul, as he ascended saw that, when he was being lifted higher up to Christ, he was then ignorant of Christ...
(p. 197)

Peering past the Wall of Paradise
{Addressed to God} ... I have discovered that the place where you are found unveiled is girded about with the coincidence of contradictories. This is the wall of paradise, and it is there in paradise that you reside. The wall's gate is guarded by the highest spirit of reason, and unless it is overpowered, the way in will not lie open. Thus, it is on the other side of the coincidence of contradictories that you will be able to be seen and nowhere on this side.
(pp. 251-252)
Therefore, I must leap across this wall of invisible vision to where you are to be found. But this wall is both everything and nothing. For you, who confront as if you were both all things and nothing at all, dwell inside that high wall which no natural ability can scale by its own power.
(p. 256)

For the wall shuts out the power of every intellect, although the eye looks beyond into paradise. Yet that which the eye sees it can neither name nor understand; for what is seen is the eye's secret love and a hidden treasure, which remains hidden after having been found, because it is discovered inside of the wall of the coincidence of the hidden and the revealed.
(p. 269)

The posse {i.e. potential} of the mind to see, therefore, surpasses the posse to comprehend...

This posse of the mind to see beyond all comprehensible faculty and power is the mind's supreme posse. In it Posse Itself {i.e. God in His Unbounded Potentiality} manifests itself maximally, and the mind's supreme posse is not brought to its limit this side of Posse Itself. For the posse to see is directed only to Posse Itself so that the mind can foresee that toward which it tends, just as a traveler foresees one's journey's end so that one can direct one's steps toward the desired goal.

Therefore, think over these matters that you may see that all things are so ordained that the mind could run toward Posse Itself, which it sees from afar, and comprehend the incomprehensible in the best way it can. For Posse Itself, when it will appear in the glory of majesty, is alone able to satisfy the mind's longing. For it is that what which is sought.
(pp. 297-298)

Because the infinite light is eternity itself and truth itself, a rational creature who desires to be illumined by that light must turn toward true and eternal things, above these worldly and corruptible things... When an intellectual spirit, whose operation is above time and, as if on eternity's horizon, turns toward eternal things, it cannot convert them into itself, because they are eternal and incorruptible. But because it itself is incorruptible, it is not converted into them so that it ceases to be an intellectual substance; rather, it is converted into them in such a way that it is absorbed into a likeness of eternal things. However, this occurs in degrees, so that the more fervently an intellectual spirit is turned toward eternal things the more thoroughly it is perfected by them and the more profoundly its being is hidden in the eternal being itself. Moreover, since Christ is immortal, and further, both lives and is the truth and the life, whoever turns to Christ turns to truth and life. The more ardently one does this, the higher one is raised from worldly and corruptible things to eternal things, so that one's life is hidden in Christ {cf Col 3:3}.
(p. 193)

When according to all its intellectual powers our spirit turns by faith to the purest and eternal truth, to which it subordinates all else, and when it chooses and loves this truth as alone worthy of being loved, then, indeed, there is a turning of our spirit. For to turn by most sure faith to the truth that is Christ is to renounce the world and to tread on it victoriously.
(p. 193)

For while the soul is in time, where it does not apprehend without mental pictures, it appears to be like the senses or reason rather than the intellect, and when it is elevated above time it is the intellect, which is free and independent of pictures.
(p. 188)

When we impose names we do so out of a certain singleness of conception by which we distinguish one thing from another. But where all things are one, there can be no proper name.
(p. 121) is necessary to reject things that, along with their material accessories, are attained through the senses, the imagination, or reason, in order to reach the most simple and most abstract understanding, where all things are one; where the line is a triangle, a circle, and a sphere; where unity is trinity and trinity is unity; where accident is substance; where body is spirit and motion is rest, and so on. Understanding occurs when each thing in the one is understood as the one and the one as all things and, consequently, each thing in the one is understood as all things.
(pp. 98-99)

You love, O loving God, all things in such a way that you love each single thing. You stretch forth your love to all. Yet many do not love you but prefer another to you... But you are so magnanimous, my God, that you will for rational souls to be free to love you or not to love you.... You, therefore, my God, are united to all by a bond of love, for you stretch forth your love upon all your creatures. But not every rational spirit is united to you, because it extends its love not to your lovableness but to another to which it is united and bound.

... Human nature ... cannot be united to you as loving God {i.e. God the Father}, for as such you are not its object, but it can be united to you as its lovable God {i.e. the Son}, since the lovable is the object of the one who loves...

...For I now perceive the faith which the Catholic Church holds by the revelation of the apostles: that you who are loving God beget of yourself lovable God and that you who are begotten lovable God are absolute Mediator... For you who are loving and willing God enfold all things in yourself, who are lovable God... all things have their cause or reason for being in your lovable concept. Nor is there another cause of all things except that it so pleases you... You, therefore, lovable God, are the Son of God, the loving Father. For in you is all the Father's pleasure. Thus, all createable being is enfolded in you who are lovable God...

... a person can understand you, the Father, only in your Son, who is intelligible and is the mediator, and ... to understand you is to be united to you.
(pp. 271 - 273)

But to love Christ most ardently is to hasten toward him by spiritual movement, for he is not only lovable but is love itself. When by the steps of love the spirit hastens to love itself, it is engulfed in love itself not temporally but above all time and all worldly movement.
(pp. 193-194)

O good Jesus, you are the Tree of Life in the paradise of delights... Therefore, everyone who hopes to taste the food of life within the paradise of delights must put off the old human of presumption and put on the new human of humility, who is in accord with you.
(p. 277)

... we ought so to work that our possibility may be made actual by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that we may thus move from virtue to virtue and from degree to degree by means of the one who is faith and love. In and of ourselves we can do nothing without Christ, but all that we can do we can do in the one who alone fills our deficiencies, so that on the day of resurrection we may be found to be an integral and noble member of Christ. And, without doubt, in believing and loving with all our strength we can by diligent prayer obtain this grace of increased faith and love and draw near Christ's throne with confidence, for Christ is most merciful and allows no one to be defrauded by one's holy desire.
(pp. 202-203)

It is now obvious to us that we are drawn to the unknown God by the movement of the light of the grace of one who can be known only by self-disclosure. And God wills to be sought and wills to give to seekers the light without which they are unable to seek God.
(p. 226)

... from the intellect lift yourself up to God, who is the light of the intellect... In God's light is all our knowledge, so that it is not we ourselves who know, but rather it is God who knows in us. When we ascend to the knowledge of God, although God is unknown to us, yet we are moved only in God's light, which transmits itself into our spirit, so that we proceed toward God in God's light.
(p. 225)

... our intellectual nature can attain to the happiness of its rest only in the light of its intellectual principle. And just as sight does not discern, but rather a discriminating spirit discerns in it, so it is with our intellect, which is illuminated by the divine light of its principle in accord with its aptitude for the light to be able to enter. We will not understand or live the intellectual life in and of ourselves, but rather God, who is infinite life, will live in us. This is that eternal happiness where the eternal intellectual life, surpassing in inexpressible joy every concept of living creatures, thus lives in us in strictest unity...
(p. 226)

...the divine Word is united to the intellect... and the intellect itself is the place where the Word is received... For the Word of God illumines the intellect just as the light of the sun illumines this world. Therefore, in you, my Jesus, I see the sensible life as illumined by the intellectual light, the intellectual life as a light that illumines and is illumined, and the divine life as a light that illumines only. For in your intellectual light I see the Fountain of light, that is, the Word of God, which is the Truth enlightening every intellect.
(p. 281)

... the living intellectual light, which is called "mind," contemplates in itself Posse Itself {i.e. God in His Unbounded Potentiality}.
(p. 301)

The humanity in Christ Jesus {fills in} for all the deficiencies of all human beings... For the maximumness of Christ's human nature so works that in each person who adheres to him by formed faith Christ is this same person by a most perfect union with each one's individuality preserved. Through this union the saying of his is true: "Whatever you have done for one of the least of mine you have done for me." And, conversely, whatever Christ Jesus merited in his passion those who are one with him also merited, but different degrees of merit are preserved, according to the different degree of each one's union with Christ through faith formed by love... Because he is all fullness, in him we obtain all things if we possess him.
(p. 185)

Great, indeed, is the power of faith that makes a person Christ-like so that one forsakes sensible things, strips oneself of the contaminations of the flesh, walks reverently in the ways of God, follows joyously in the footsteps of Christ, and willingly takes up a cross in exaltation... Note well that as one's flesh is successively and gradually mortified by faith one ascends by steps to union with Christ, so that one is absorbed into him by a profound union, so far as it is possible on this path. Leaping beyond all the things that are visible and worldly, one reaches the complete perfection of one's nature.
(p. 200)

Next, the believers, continuously ascending in more ardent desire, are taken up into simple intellectuality, and leaping beyond all sensible things, they pass as if from sleep to wakefulness, from hearing to sight. And, there, those things that are seen cannot be revealed because they are beyond all hearing and beyond all instruction by voice... For there, incomprehensibly heard, as the end of all speech, is Jesus, blessed forever, the end of all understanding, because he is truth, and the end of all sense, because he is life, and the end, finally, of all being, because he is being itself, and the perfection of every creature, because he is God and human....

Such things are shown in stages to one who ascends to Christ by faith... For if the faith is great, it unites the believer with Jesus so that the believer rises above all that is not in union with Jesus himself...

See how great the power of your intellectual spirit is in the power of Christ... But because this takes place only through the conversion of the intellect, which the senses obey, to Christ by maximum faith, this faith must be formed by uniting love... Without love faith is not living but dead and not faith at all.
(p. 199)

None of the wise of this world can grasp true happiness since they do not know you. None can see anyone happy except with you, Jesus, inside paradise... For everyone of happy spirit subsists in your Spirit, as the vivified in the vivifier... And thus in you the finite is united to the infinite and to that which cannot be united, and the incomprehensible is seized by an eternal fruition, which is a most joyous and inexhaustible happiness.
(p. 278)