De Moor IV:12: A Description of God, rather than a Definition

Therefore, in the place of a Definition, properly so called, we ought here to make use of a Description, in which properties adequate to the thing are ascribed. In which something is to be put in the place of the Genus, and something in the place of the specific Difference, for the sake of the manner of teaching, not because the matter is actually so in God. That is, since with our finite intellect we do not fully comprehend the Infinite God, we form various concepts concerning God, and that by the provided comparison with created things; indeed, concepts agreeing with them, or even disagreeing and proper to God: and we impose a the name of Genus on the former, in which there is a common participation, but the name of Difference on the latter, in which there is propriety. Thus in the place of the closest Genus the Spiritual Nature of God is able to be placed. But, in the place of the Difference the various Attributes of God are able to be enumerated, as that which is simple, eternal, immutable, of immeasurable wisdom, goodness, justice, and power. But that Description yet remains quite imperfect, since in this way we do indeed rightly learn what God is, but not who He is; and a Description of Deity in the abstract is given, rather than of God in the concrete, with the Essence at least mentioned in the genus with the Essential Attributes, but with no mention of the divine Persons, which each and all have their subsistence in this Essence just now mentioned: while, nevertheless, without the knowledge of the Trinity we have not taught the true God to be known, Chapter I, § 18. And so that is the best and fullest Description of God, in which in the place of the Difference the Trinity of Persons, together with the Essential Attributes, is mentioned, which sort of Description our AUTHOR gives in a few words with great vigor, saying, God is a Spirit of Infinite Perfection, Triune with respect to Persons.

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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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