De Moor IV:14: The More Modern Anthropomorphites

Among the more recent Anthropomorphites, our AUTHOR names theoretically Vorstius, who in his notis on Disputation III de Deo, pages 199-203, thinks that in the future age, when we shall no longer be flesh and blood, but ἰσάγγελοι, angel-like,[1] and spiritual, we are going to see God; which opinion he sets over against that of others, who speak here of the vision of the mind only, not of the eyes, or of an internal, not external, and true contemplation. And he believes that this is mere logomachy, if anyone should wish to reprehend sharply Tertullian or anyone else that attributes a Body to God with respect to genus, since Spirit is sometimes comprehended under Body, as a species under a genus. But thus Theologians establish out of the discourse of Vorstius, and out of similar things that he adduces both of corporeal Angels according to the Ancients, whom they nevertheless believe to be Spirits; and of animal and vital Spirits; that Vorstius is a more subtle Anthropomorphites, who wishes God to be called a Spirit, because He has a most subtle corporeal substance: and with a far different aim they suppose it to be defended by him, that Body is able to be atrribed to God, than formerly Tertullian made use of this expression; since Tertullian was willing thus to establish further the true reality of God, but Vorstius is judged thus to have willed to assail the Simplicity and Infinity of God. At the very least it is certain that, 1. since Scripture is not wont to subordinate Spirit to Body, but to oppose Spirit to Body; and, 2. since it says that God is a Spirit, never a Body; and, 3. since Body is usually used of a thing material, extended, etc.; it is certainly worthy of rebuke, if one should wish to attribute Body to God, following the alleged paradox of Tertullian, and trifling in the less common signification, which he assigns to Body: compare chapter VI Exeg. apolo. Vorstii in TRIGLAND’S Kerckelycke Geschiedenissen, part 4, page 576; add excerpts from Tractatu de Deo in TRIGLAND’S Kerckelycke Geschiedenissen, part 4, pages 585b, 586, 603a, 604b, 609a; and RIVET[2] on Psalm 16:11, opera, tome 2, page 68b.

That God is a Body, Hobbes also argues at length (see SPANHEIM’S Elenchum Controversiarum, opera, tome 3, columns 995, 997); disputing against him in this matter, consult COCQUIUS in his Anatome Hobbesianismi, locus VI, chapter XII, pages 109-114.

In addition, the Spirituality of God is to be held as far as possible from all Corporeity, both against Le Clerc, and especially against Spinoza; see LULOFS’ Theologiam naturalem theoreticam, § LIV; SPANHEIM’S Elenchum Controversiarum, opera, tome 3, columns 994, 1003; PICTET’S[3] Syllabum Controversiarum, book I, chapter I, pages 3-9, in which all the errors of Spinoza are set forth in a brief table, as it were: and in general against those that are wont to be called Materialists, see STAPFER’S Theologicæ polemicæ, tome 2, chapter VI, § 323-335.

[1] See Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25.

[2] Andrew Rivet (1573-1651) was a Huguenot minister and divine. He ministered at Sedan and at Thouara; he went on to teach at the University of Leiden (1619-1632) and at the college at Breda. His influence among Protestants extended well beyond France.

[3] Benedict Pictet (1655-1724) was a Swiss Reformed theologian, and cousin of the great Francis Turretin. He served as a pastor in Geneva, and was appointed Professor of Theology in 1686. He is a transitional figure, having been influenced both by Genevan theological orthodoxy and by some measure of Enlightenment philosophy. Among other works, he wrote Theologiam Christianam and Morale chrétienne.

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