De Moor IV:28: Divine Omnipresence in the Hand of the Philosophers


With respect to the Mode of divine Omnipresence, it is certainly exceedingly difficult to understand. In particular, it ought not to be placed in a certain Co-extension or Diffusion of the divine Essence: because, 1. it is inconsistent with the Spiritual and Perfectly Simple Essence of God: 2. and with the Nature of extended bodies, which are not able to penetrate each other; but they exclude other bodies from the same place. 3. And so, when the divine Essence is said to be diffused, the speech is improper, and it is a metaphor drawn from corporeal bodies, which have quantity, just as it is in AUGUSTINE, de Præsentia Dei, or Epistle CLXXXVII, chapter IV or XIV, opera, tome 2, column 519, “Therefore, God is diffused through all things. Yet not through the spaces of places, as would be the case with a diffused mass, in such a way that half would be in half the body of the world, and half in the other half, and so the the whole through the whole; but the whole is in heaven alone and on earth alone, both in heaven and on earth is the whole, and contained in no place, but in itself everywhere the whole.”

Christoph Wittich

The Philosophical doctrine of the More Recent Men on this point is not to be approved, who everywhere most hatefully traduce the received opinion concerning the Essential Omnipresence of God, as if it asserted an Extended God, and attributed to Him a most subtle Body pervading all things: while they refer this Presence solely to Operation, and think that God by reason of His Essence ought to be said to be Nowhere, rather than Everywhere, which Mode of the matter we could with difficulty conceive of: see VRIESIUS’ Narrator. confut., chapter I, § 7, pages 15-17, and his Exercitationem Rationalem IX, § 3, 5, 6, and likewise his Disquisitionem de Nullibilitate Spirituum, § 2, 3, 7, 11, 14-16, 19, 22-28, and Exercitationem de Mente sola Cogitatione, § 5, 6; LEYDEKKER’S Facem Veritatis, locus III, controversy XII, locus VIII, controversy I; compared with WITTICH’S Theologiam Pacificam, chapter XV; BURMAN’S Synopsin Theologiæ, tome I, book I, chapter XXVI; ALLINGA’S[1] Erotem. Decad. IX, pages 293-299. An Apology for Wittich’s opinion concerning the Omnipresence of God Heidanus writes upon occasion of this thesis, proscribed by the Curators of the Academy of Leiden on January 16, 1676, “The Omnipresence of God is the most efficacious will of God, whereby He sustains and governs all things, to be explained by that operation whereby He produces something outside of Himself:” see HEIDANUS’ Consideratien, etc., pages 78-82. On the other hand, WITSIUS, Twist des Heeren met zynen Wyngaard, chapter XXI, pages 271-274, altogether repudiates this sort of description of divine Omnipresence as very dangerous and almost agreeing with the errors noted in § 27, with the words of TRIGLAND, JUNIUS, and GROTIUS also cite: add VAN MASTRICHT’S Gangrænam Novitatum Cartesianarum, posterior Section, chapter XV, pages 285-304; ANTONIUS HULSIUS’ Theologiæ hypotheticæ, disputation XXX, § 21, part 2, pages 392-394.

[1] Petrus Allinga (died 1692) was a Dutch Reformed minister; he served in North Holland. He was a Cartesian and Cocceian.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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