De Moor IV:18: The Infinity and Perfection of the Divine Being, Part 1

[Of all the divine Attributes or Perfections there is a certain Complex/ Inclusion in Infinity, as it is stated negatively, or with Consummate Perfection, as it is stated positively:] Indeed, this is not so much to be called an Attribute, as rather a certain Complex of all the Attributes, whereby as a brief compendium, as it were, but a conception less distinct and obscure enough, our mind strives to apprehend whatever comes to be understood concerning God. Now, although Infinity is expressed negatively, yet it designates a positive Perfection in God, and is actually the same thing as Consummate Perfection. For what extends to a certain point, but no farther, is Finite; and so something greater than it is able to be conceived. On the other hand what extends as far as it is able to extend absolutely, is Infinite; and so nothing greater than it is able to be conceived: because it is as much as is possible to be. And so, the Infinity of a thing denotes the overflowing plenitude of the same without any limit and measure; but the Finitude of a thing, the want of that: whence it follows that the former on its part denotes what is positive, the latter what is negative. Thus also the Infinity of the Divine Perfections indicates such an immense amplitude of the same, that they do not suffer any limit of number, nor measure of degrees.


For, through this Infinity and Consummate Perfection God possesses whatever belongs to Perfection or is able to be conceived of as belonging to Perfection, either Formally or Eminently, or Virtually. That is, in what some Perfection is simply according to its proper definition, it is said to be in that Formally, that is to say, according to its intrinsic form or essence; just as, for example, the faculty of judging and contemplating is in the human intellect. But if a certain Perfection, as it exists in this or that subject, has some imperfection joined to it, which nevertheless, with the mark of all imperfection removed, is contained in another thing in a degree and manner far more eminent, that Perfection is said to be contained by the latter thing Eminently; in which sense, for example, the divine Intellect contains in itself the human intellect. While in addition whatever Perfection is able to be produced by any other, even if perhaps it be not contained in it formally or eminently, it is said to be in that Virutally, namely, because by Virtue of that cause it is able to be implemented: and so, for example, the painter contains in himself the perfections of his picture, the architect the perfections of the house built by himself. If we apply these things to God, thus it must be established: 1. What Perfections are simply and absolutely such, and have no mixture of imperfection, those also are to be attributed to God simply according to His Definition, or Formally. Thus God is Formally Eternal, Simple, Intelligent, etc. 2. Whatever predicates denote any Perfection, limited and relative, those, as far as they, with imperfections removed, emanate something of Perfection, have a place in God Eminently; while, with every imperfection cut off, they are only attributed to Him in the most excellent degree and manner. Thus to God is applicable, for example, the where, when, intellect, will, of created things; while all dependence, finitude, succession, division, and mutability is removed from them. 3. Finally, those relative Perfections, which are not able to be separated from all adhering imperfection, in such a way that they are able to be conceived θεοπρεπῶς, in a manner suitable to God, are said only to be contained in God Virtually, as in the first cause, which is able outside of itself to produce those Perfections, as they are in the creatures. And in this manner there are in God, for example, sight, speech, movement, figure, and whatever other attributes of corporeal things.

ABOUT US

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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