De Moor IV:14: "God is a Spirit" (John 4:24)

But when we say that God is Spirit with respect to Essence, we speak with the Scripture, which not only Hypostatically makes use of the term Spirit for God, to designate the third Person of the Trinity, but also thus designates God Essentially considered, John 4:24, πνεῦμα ὁ Θεός, God is a Spirit, supplying ἐστί/is. For the verb ζητεῖ, He seeketh, is not to be supplied out of verse 23, as Socinus maintains, opera, tome 2, page 439b, “The Greek Codex,” says he, “does not have the verb, is…. It is not necessary that the verb, is, be understood. For, since the noun Spirit in Greek is able to be taken of the accusative case, no less than of the nominative case, the verb, He seeketh, is rather able to be understood without disadvantage, which verb is read immediately before, so that the sense might be that God seeketh Spirit:” which exegesis Vorstius signifies in his notis on Disputation III, page 220, not to displease him very much. But, 1. it is far easier to supply the substantive verb, ἐστί/is, which is wont to be omitted here and there in the Sacred Tongue. 2. If the Lord wished to say, God seeketh Spirit, without excessively obscure emphasis and expression He would repeat those things that in the immediately preceding words were more clearly set forth. 3. On the other hand, when the Lord says that God is a Spirit, He aptly gives reason why God would seek those adoring Him in Spirit and truth, and lays a foundation for the following admonition, especially concerning worshipping God in Spirit. Hence, in the more common exegesis of this passage, Crellius also acquiesces, in de Deo ejusque Attributis, chapter XV, opera, tome 4, page 37. Now, Scripture further demonstrates this, its assertion, when, α. it assigns the Spiritual Faculties of Intellect and Will to God, as we shall see in § 16: but also, β. removes from Him Body, Acts 17:29, bodily Visibility, 1 Timothy 1:17; 6:16, and all Likeness, Isaiah 40:8.

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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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