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De Moor IV:14: God's Spirituality Argued from His Perfection

The Rationale of Scripture is added, with an argument sought from the highest Perfection of God, which by no means admits corporeal Extension; but pronounces God to be without all matter. For, since all matter is extended, and every extended thing has parts, is composite, divisible, liable to change, which is not able to conceive motion unless impelled by another, nor to restrain motion, but is necessarily moved according to the manner of the external impulse; Body and matter are not able to be attributed to God, without God Himself, consummately perfect, being accused of Imperfection: compare LULOFS’ Theologiam Naturalem theoreticam, § LIII; GISBERT BONNET’S[1] Disputationem de Notitia eorum, quæ Mens humana nec directe nec positive cognoscere potest, § 56. The more sensible among the Gentiles sensed this, as DIOGENES LAERTIUS,[2] Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, book 3, section 77, relates concerning Plato, Δοκεῖ δ᾽ αὐτῷ τὸν Θεὸν ὡς καὶ τὴν ψυκὴν, ἀσώματον εἶναι· οὕτω γὰρ μάλιστα φθορᾶς καὶ πάθους ἀνεπίδεκτον ὑπάρχειν, but it appears to him that God, like the soul, is incorporeal: for only thus is He exempt from decay and passions. Similarly out of Porphyry[3] EUSEBIUS, Præparatione Euangelica, book IV, chapter XI, relates, Θεῷ μὲν τῷ ἐπὶ πᾶσιν, ὥς τις ἀνὴρ σοφὸς ἔφη, μηδὲν τῶν αἰσθητῶν μήτε θυμιῶντες, μήτ᾽ ἐπονομάζοντες· οὐδὲν γὰρ ἔνυλον, ὃ μὴ τῷ ἀΰλῳ εὐθύς ἐστιν ἀκάθαρτον, to the God who is over all, as a certain wise man said, we must neither offer by fire, nor dedicate, any of the things of sense; for there is no material thing which is not at once impure to the immaterial. Among the Fathers ATHENAGORAS,[4] Legationem pro Christianis, page 5, has: Ἡμῖν, διαιροῦσιν ἀπὸ τῆς ὕλης τὸν Θεὸν, καὶ δεικνύουσιν ἕτερον μέν τι εἶναι τὴν ὓλην, ἀλλὸ δὲ τὸν Θεὸν, καὶ τὸ διὰ μέσου πολὺ (τὸ μὲν γὰρ θεῖον, ἀγέννητον εἶναι καὶ ἀΐδιον, νῷ μόνῳ καὶ λόγῳ θεωρούμενον· τὴν δὲ ὓλην, γεννητὴν καὶ φθαρτὴν) μήτι οὐκ ἀλόγως τὸ τῆς ἀθεότητος ἐπικαλοῦσιν ὄνομα; But to us, distinguishing God from matter, and teaching that matter is one thing and God another, and that they are separated by a great distance (for the Deity is uncreated and eternal, to be beheld by the understanding and reason alone, while matter is created and perishable), is it not absurd to apply the name of atheism?

[1] Gijsbert Bonnet (1723-1805) was a Dutch Reformed Theologian; he served as Professor of Theology at Utrecht (1761-1804).

[2] Diogenes Laertius was a biographer of Greek philosophers, writing his Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers probably sometime during the third century AD.

[3] Porphyry (c. 232-c. 304) studied in Rome under Plotinus. He endeavored to make the obscure Neoplatonism of Plotinus intelligible to the popular reader. Porphyry was one of the most able opponents of the Christianity of his day, leveling his attack upon the Scriptures themselves.

[4] Athenagoras (c. 133-190) was an Athenian philosopher. Converting to Christianity, he became an apologist for his newfound faith. Although he appears to have been influential in his day, only a few of his writings have been preserved.

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