De Moor IV:10: Buddeus on the Insanity of Atheism

Concerning the Insanity of the ancient Atheism and the Impiety of the new Atheism, consult LEYDEKKER,[1] in his Veritate Euangelica triumphante, tome I, book II, chapters III, IV. The Insanity of Atheism is briefly and palpably demonstrated by GERARDUS VAN AALST[2] in his præfatione ante Explicationem Parabolæ de Satore, * 1-4. Concerning Atheism, see STAPFER laboriously discoursing in his Theologicæ polemicæ, tome 2, chapter VI, pages 586-741, in which, 1. he gives a definition and classification of Atheism; the Atheists’ πρῶτον ψεῦδος, fundamental error, and the Errors connected with it; the Characteristics of those; the Causes of Atheism; its Occasion; a Refutation of the Atheistic hypothesis, of which, having never been proven, he shows the impossibility and absurdity, then the Resolution of the principal Objections for Atheism, and the Remedies to be applied to Atheism. 2. He treats of Spinozism, πρῶτον ψεῦδος, fundamental error, of which, again, he shows, and the Errors connected with that; then he exhibits a refutation of Spinozism and a resolution of Objections. 3. Materialism he explains, refutes, and resolves the objections for it. Concerning Atheism, the Theological Theses of JOHANN FRANZ BUDDEUS are also to be thoroughly considered, in his de Atheismo et Superstitione, where in chapter I, he asks, Whether there be any Atheists?; in chapter II, What is Atheism? and how diverse?: in chapter III he discusses Doctrines that are conjoined with Atheism, or that lead to it; in chapter IV, the causes, properties, and effects of Atheism: in chapter V he demonstrates that there is a God: in chapter VI he overturns the foundations of Atheism and responds to the principal arguments of the Atheists: in chapter VII he refutes the doctrines conjoined with Atheism or leading to it. Now, BUDDEUS in Chapter V, pages 224-318, and LULOFS in his Annotationibus ad eum,[3] in addition to the Innate Knowledge of God, concerning which above, Chapter I, § 11, 12, 15, advance these arguments for the Existence of the Divine,

α. Metaphysical,

1. From the existence and constitution of our Mind, concerning the existence of which we are certain through our inmost consciousness: but, if anything exists now, something must have existed from all eternity without beginning, which is God, § 2, pages 240, 241.

2. From the origin of Motion; since whatever is moved is moved by another, and in the case of moving things an infinite regress is not granted.

3. From the Dependence of created things upon their causes.

4. From the Contingency of the entire Universe; since each and every thing that is furnished in this Universe is able to be conceived as not existing or existing in another manner than that in which they now exist, is liable to continual mutation, is limited in every respect, endures by succession, and so we ought by ascending to arrive at last at their beginning, § 3, pages 242-249.

β. Physical,

1. From the greatness/fullness of the Universe, the variety of the things contained therein, the most elegant order, most fitting disposition, and most wise direction of all things toward their certain uses and ends, § 4, pages 249-254.

2. They especially demonstrate as conspicuous the highest Majesty, Power, and Wisdom of Deity in the heavenly bodies, the Sun, Moon, Stars, § 4, pages 254-259.

3. On earth, they show neither lesser nor fewer arguments for the Divine Wisdom, Power, and Goodness: if you consider,

a. The eminent Uses that they furnish, and which make it a most commodious habitation for Men and Animals, namely, Fire; Water, in which the Ocean not without reason occupies so vast a space; Atmosphere; Earth, distinguished into mountains, valleys, and forests, § 5, pages 260-266.

b. The vast Treasures that it supplies, which partly are conspicuous on its surface, partly are hidden in its innards, thence to be drawn out by the industry of men, § 5, pages 266, 267.

4. They present multifarious Animals to be contemplated, terrestrial, flying, swimming, the marvelous structure of each, the conservation, generation, and nourishment of the species, the arms whereby they defent themselves by natural instinct, the nest-building of birds, § 5, pages 267-277.

5. They teach that various arguments for the Existence of Deity are able to be taken in turn especially from Man: whether,

a. You attend to his Body, and its erect Stature, the variety of Faces in whatever individuals, the workmanship and perfection of his individual members, and the most fitting position and conjunction of all, § 6, pages 277-282.

b. Or you contemplate his Soul and its faculties, of thinking, forming and comparing Ideas, willing freely, operating upon the body, making use of Memory and Conscience: which thhings argue a God infinitely separate from all matter, and an infinitely perfect Spirit, § 7, pages 283-296.

c. Or you think of the Origin both of the entire Human race, and of individual Men, in the case of which they that not ascended unto the Wisdom and Power of the Divine Creator are able to offer nothing except what is inept and discordant, § 8, pages 296-304.

γ. Historica, sought from the rise and growth of kingdoms and republics, of nations and peoples, of arts and sciences, and of all those things that were invented and devised for the use and convenience of this life: which argue that the world neither is eternal, nor had its beginning in any other manner than Moses taught us, § 9, pages 304-317; to which others from the motion of the Planets, the light of the Sun, Rivers, Mountains, Water of the sea and its Saltiness, taken in their mutual relations, are able to be added against the Eternity of the Word, as one may see in § 8, pages 317, 318.

Then, in chapter VI, there is a refutation of Atheism,

α. Skeptical, § 1, pages 320-325, compared with chapter II, § 4, 8, pages 125-127.

β. Dogmatic,

1. Regarded generally, by showing that Matter is not eternal, nor necessarily existent, § 2, pages 326-329.

2. Particularly,

a. Aristotelian, § 3, pages 329-336, compared with chapter I, § 15, pages 25-28, chapter II, § 9, 10, pages 134, 135, 139, 140.

b. Stoic, § 4, pages 336-340, compared with chapter I, § 18, pages 33-35, chapter II, § 9, 10, pages 132, 135, 139.

c. Epicurean and Stratonic,[4] § 5, pages 340-351, compared with chapter I, § 19, 16, pages 36, 39-42, 28, 30, chapter II, § 9, 10, pages 132, 135-137, 139, 141.

d. Spinozistic, § 6, pages 351-363, compared with, chapter I, § 26, pages 95-103, chapter II, § 9, 10, pages 132, 133, 137, 139.

Concerning Spinozism see also below in § 14.

[1] Melchior Leydekker (1642-1721) studied under Voetius at Utrecht, and Hoornbeeck and Cocceius at Leiden. He was appointed Professor of Theology at Utrecht (1676).

[2] Gerardus van Aalst (1678-1759) was a Dutch Reformed pastor.

[3] Johannes Lulofs (1711-1768) was a Dutch astronomer, mathematician, and physicist. He wrote Annotationes upon Buddeus’ de Atheismo et Superstitione.

[4] Strato of Lampsacus (c. 335-c. 269) was an Aristotelian philosopher, and the third director of the Lyceum. He emphasized and augmented the naturalistic elements in Aristotle’s philosophy, and denied the need of a Deity to explain the Universe.

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