The object of philosophy can be proved not only by means of the scientific lights of the four sciences, psychology, logic, ethics, and theology; but it can be proved directly and immediately also by means of the logical and scientific light itself that proceeds from it; that is to say, it proves itself that it is the unique and pre-eminent object of philosophy, as we are about to show.
The Word, or Logos, became flesh, and dwelt among us; was born a male child, and was reared according to the divine law, being unknown in the midst of men and of the nation of the Jews, who expected the coming of a Messiah and Deliverer, just as the prophets of God had predicted to them. In the thirtieth, year of His age He was baptized by John the Baptist, and it was attested that He was Christ, whom the nation expected and whom the prophets had previously announced. He was believed by a few and disbelieved by most, and was a sign that was spoken against. The first Passover after the baptism and summoning of the first disciples, Jesus went up into Jerusalem. He found in the temple sellers of oxen and sheep and doves, and the money-changers seated. Making a whip of ropes, He drove all of them out of the temple, the sheep and oxen as well, and poured out the change of the money-changers, turned over tables, and to those who were selling doves He said: “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise.” When Jesus did these things and revealed His descent, His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for thy house shall eat me up”; and the Jews asked him, saying, “What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?” Jesus answered and said unto them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Jesus meant the destruction of the temple of His body, and the resurrection in three days from the dead, as a proof of His descent from God, while they thought that He was talking to them about the stone-built temple, and said, “Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days?”
During these days of the Passover there came to visit Him by night a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, acknowledging Him to be a teacher sent by God, come from God, but ignorant as to His identity. In revealing Himself, Jesus said:
If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God [Jn. 3: 12-21].
In these words Jesus revealed to Nicodemus, the teacher of the law, His eternal descent from God, that He is the light of the world, and that He was to be lifted up on the cross to save the world, to save everyone who should believe in Him. He proves Himself to be, as He is proved by the testimony of the scientific lights to be, the Son of God, and a self-knowing and all-knowing God, and the object of philosophy that was being sought.
After these things Jesus went from Judea into Galilee, and met by Jacob’s well about noontime a woman of Samaria. He talked with her and revealed to her her hidden deeds, and then He taught her to worship God in spirit and truth. When she said: “I know that Messiah cometh, who is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things,” Jesus revealed Himself to her by saying: “I that speak unto thee am he.” Running to the city, the woman told people:
Come, see a man who told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him . . . So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own word; and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
After this Jesus went up to Jerusalem on a Jewish holiday, and on the Sabbath healed a paralytic thirty-eight years old lying in bed. When the Jews saw this, they sought to kill Him, because He had done the healing on the Sabbath. Christ, by way of defending and revealing Himself, said: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Therefore, the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. But Jesus, confirming this truth still more, answered:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father Ioveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father who hath sent him [Jn. 5: 19-23].
Again Jesus spoke to them, and said:
I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou hearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell me whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me . . . I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me [Jn. 8:12-18].
And on many other occasions, bearing witness of Himself and revealing Himself, Jesus said:
I and my Father are one. He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. l am in the Father, and the Father is in me. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knowest any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man shall eat of this bread, he shall live forever. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
Moreover, the Truth bears witness of Itself, saying: “I am the truth,” and is testified to by all who know and love It, and through all that It said and did and suffered among men, It clearly revealed Its own nature and origin, and always attracts to Itself those who love the Truth and all truth. In sum, the object of philosophy, speaking and operating in the midst of men, acting and suffering in the midst of men, and altering men’s affairs according to Its own design and frame of mind, reveals and shows forth Its own essence and nature, as these are shown forth and proved by the scientific lights of the four sciences of psychology, logic, ethics, and theology.
Therefore the object of philosophy is self-evident, in the same manner that the luminous sun by means of the luminous rays it emits evidences its own existence to those having eyes to see. But the blind and those not having eyes to see the sun upon the horizon, the cause of day, have need of witnesses who can see in order to assure themselves of the existence of the sun. Likewise, those who live in caves and subterranean parts of the earth, and are unable directly to see and know the sun, also have need of heralds from whom to hear and learn of the existence of the sun; but also those who live at night, like nocturnal animals, and who are unable to move and act in the light of day,· have a like need of witnesses through whom they may be informed of the existence and nature of the sun, which in due season rises and can be directly and immediately seen by those who are awake and have eyes that are sound, by which they are illuminated and see directly the self-evident sun.
The same analogies are observed also in the case of the object of philosophy, this most luminous Sun of the spiritual world. There are but few who have eyes to see Him directly, such as the Prophets, and the Apostles after them: the rest of men, some being like those who have no eyes, others like those who live at night or in dark and subterranean caves, have need of guides and witnesses in order to get an idea and knowledge of this splendid and pre-eminent Being, who is called the Logos, or Rationale, of all that exists, Truth Itself, Wisdom Itself, and the like. The prophets and apostles, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers of the Church guide nations and peoples to knowledge of this object in order that they may thereby satisfy the religious need they feel and become partakers of life everlasting. But the new philosophical sciences of ours, psychology, logic, ethics, and theology, guide those who speculate philosophically to the discovery and knowledge of this object in their hunting for rational and scientific knowledge of real beings, thus enabling them to satisfy the philosophical need they feel within them to learn and know all that is unknown. And when these scientific lights lead the philosophical soul within view of the object of philosophy, then such soul is illumined by It directly and immediately, and sees It such as the sciences prove it to be; and the soul then rejoices and is elated at the sight of It, saying: I have found the Truth, the life that is true, the knowledge that is unerring, the boon I had need of to become good and admirable, and live forever with this perfect boon.
This self-proof of the object of philosophy confirms and verifies the proofs of the other sciences. And if the object of philosophy were not self-evident, just as the sensible sun is by virtue of its physical radiation, the proofs of the other sciences would be invalidated, on the ground that they showed a false object incapable of showing itself to be such as they attest it to be. But now, the object of philosophy being shown forth by its own light, the proofs of the other sciences are confirmed and verified. Therefore, not only do the true sciences prove the true object of philosophy, but they themselves in turn are proved by it to be really true sciences; and true philosophy dances and makes merry with the true sciences, uniting with them in exposing the false sciences and pseudo-philosophy, their mother, which is an empty deception having no object of knowledge. It is obvious, however, that the rational illumination resplendent with these mutual proofs will dissolve and disperse in the end the prevailing darkness of false philosophy and of sciences falsely so called, and contribute to the founding and establishing of a civilization that will be just and peaceful among men, when the now existing pseudo-civilization will be abolished, which is based on brute force and on falsehood and causes the unhappiness of the nations and peoples that live in accordance with it.