I've got something right on the tip of my tongue, and I'd really like to figure it out. The most I remember about it was that it was in French, was two or three words, and had something to do with having a sort of innate knowledge of God. There was also some French atheist philosopher who, I think, on the subject of God said that he was simply born without this if indeed God really existed. The English translation was something like "divine spark" or "touch of God" or something, I'm really reaching here. If anyone knows, please tell me. Thanks.


Calvin, as Mauro said:

.... in Calvin’s vastly influential 1559 Institutes of the Christian Religion, he wrote, “There is within the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, an awareness of divinity.” This awareness of divinity, or sensus divinitatis, is “beyond dispute” according to Calvin. (Greg Cootsona, 'Science and the Sensus Divinitatis The Promise and Problem of the Natural Knowledge of God', Connecting Faith and Science, Claremont Press, 2017:100.)

Ref: J. Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion [Institutio Christianae Religionis, 1.3.1], 1st ed., Latin, 1536. Final Latin edition, 1559.


Wasn't French at all. Sensus divinitatis, it turned out to be. Came from a French guy though.

  • 2
    Sensus divinitatis by Jean Calvin. Jun 28 '19 at 7:16
  • I wonder who was the "French atheist philosopher" born without the "divine sense".
    – Conifold
    Jun 28 '19 at 8:29
  • 1
    @Conifold Well, Calvin definitely had been widely considered an atheist by his peers, especially in France. He has been expelled under threat of death iirc, which was why he resided in the Netherlands and the Free City of Geneva. This is from memory. Doesn't fit with not being born with it, though.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Jun 28 '19 at 9:11
  • 2
    @PhilipKlöcking True. But "said that he was simply born without this if indeed it really existed" does not sound like Calvin. My first thought was Voltaire but I did not find anything like that. Still, "Atheists know there is a God" is a common sentiment, apparently. Lamartine claimed "they lost their divine sensethey lost their divine sense, they became brutal as the animal" of unnamed others, not himself.
    – Conifold
    Jun 28 '19 at 9:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.