“What is it that I love?
I asked the earth, and it said, ‘It’s not me,’ and everything in it admitted the same thing.
I asked the sea and the great chasms of the deep, and the creeping things that have the breath of life in them, and they answered, ‘We aren’t your God: search above us.’
I asked the gusty winds, and all the atmosphere there is, along with its inhabitants, said, ‘I’m not God.’
I asked the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, and they said, “We’re not the God you’re looking for, either.”
I told all those beings who stand around outside my body’s gates, its senses, ‘Tell me about my God. You aren’t Him, but tell me something about Him.’ And they declared with a shout, ‘He made us!’
My question was the act of focusing on them, and their response was their beauty.
But then I turned myself toward myself and asked myself, ‘Who are you?’ and I answered, ‘A human being.’ Here at my service were my body and my soul, the one of which is outward, the other inward.
Which was the one I should use to seek my God– whom I’d already sought through material objects from the earth clear up to the sky, as far as I could send the message-bearing rays of my eyesight?
The soul within is certainly better for informing me, as all the messengers that are material objects relay to it their news, and it presides and judges the depositions of the sky and the earth and everything in them that says ‘We are not God,’ and ‘God made us.’
The inside person has found this out through the help of the outside person; my inside self found this out– I did, it was me, my mind working through my physical perception.
I asked the whole huge universe about my God, and it answered me, ‘I am not God, but God made me.'”
–Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, trans. Sarah Ruden (New York: Modern Library, 2017), 284-284.