De Moor IV:28: Omnipresence not Diffusion



But, α. that this Essential Omnipresence is not conceived of by us through the mode of Co-extension or Diffusion, is evident from the declarations concerning this matter read everywhere in our Theologians. β. That, on account of the difficulty in conceptualizing the Mode, the matter itself ought not to be denied, is no less an acknowledge fact, since this Essential Omnipresence is clearly delivered to us in Scripture. Who grasps how God understands and wills all things by one eternal act? and yet the matter is altogether certain. γ. Nothing is clearer than that doing presupposes being, doing now presupposes being now, and so doing here also presupposes being here, since nothing acts upon something distant. God especially works immediately and by His Essence. If we consider the matter in a human manner, we know that operations are number among the Accidents, which are never able to be so separated from their subject that they subsist without that. If you will take exception that this matter is not possible in a human manner, or is not to be conceived by a similitude taken from second causes; because God is here treated as the first cause, to whom Accidental Properties are not applicable: My Best Response is that, because there are then no Accidental Properties in God, all things in God are One and the same; and so the operations or Actions of God are nothing other than God’s active Essence: therefore, it is necessary that, where divine Actions are, there the divine Essence exists. But, δ. if you should say that God is Omnipresent with respect to His Operations, but Nowere with respect to His Essence; you will be obliged to consider that Operation either with respect to God Himself doing the work, or with respect to the thing created, upon which that Operation is terminated. Taken in the latter way, God’s Operation is not actually God, or any Attribute of God, but the very Essence of the creature, produced by and flowing from God doing the work. But, if you wish the Operation of God to be regarded from the stand point of the God doing the work, that it is not distinct from the Essence of God, those that acknowledge the Simplicity of God are compelled to grant. Whence it follows, if Where is applicable to a divine Operation, that is not able to be denied to the operating Essence. ε. By the denial of the Presence of the divine Essence in a certain Somewhere, you also deny the Hypostatic Union of the divine Nature of the Λόγου/Logos with the human, which is not able not to be exceedingly pleasing to the Socinians. For, that the divine Nature of Christ was united to the human, not ἐνεργητικῶς/ energetically, but οὐσιωδῶς or with respect to Essence, the Church has always held against Nestorius.[1] But, if the Union of the two Natures in Christ was not accomplished through an external denomination taken from operations only, but both Natures were united truly according to Essence: it also follows then that the divine Nature truly according to Essence is at least Somewhere. Since one thing is not able to be united to another in any other way than whereby it, being present, coexists with the other, seeing that all Union supposes presence. But if it be now granted that God’s Essence is Somewhere, His Immense Essence is easily proven by those reasons that were produce above in § 27. ϛ. But it is indeed absurd to argue that God’s Essence is not able to coexist with external things, except it be also coextensive with and contained by bodies: so that, on the other hand, no one might more accurately remove all Extension from the Essence of God than he that establishes it internally coexists with external things. For whoever conceives of it as extended, by this very thing, on account of the impossibility of the mutual penetration of two extended bodies, it exists in external things, he is by no means able to conceive of it existing in external things. Therefore, as God with respect to His Eternity coexists with the successive duration of creatures, without at the same time any successive duration of His own: so also God with respect to His Immensity coexists in all the spaces of extended things, yet without any Extension of His own.


Where is said to be Circumscriptive of Bodies, with respect to the where of a Body, on account of the local extension of this, with another body surrounding it is de facto circumscribed, or at least is able to be circumscribed; of course, when bordering bodies are wanting, that body is still bounded by its own limits: just as the Universe is Finite, although it is not actually enclosed or surrounded by any body; but, nevertheless, it is able to be circumscribed and enclosed, because it, as a finite thing, has its own boundaries and limits.


The Where of Spirits, even if it be conceived by us with relation to the space of a body, involves nothing of Extension for its part; but it asserts that Spirit, without diffusion or its own parts, is, or is able to be, where the body is, just as the soul, without any extension of its own, coexists with an extended body. But that Where of created Spirits is called Definitive; inasmuch as, while by their own finite Essence they are not omnipresent or everywhere, they so exist definitely in this or that finite and determinative Where, that they are not elsewhere.



But a Repletive Where is ascribed to God, according to which He is wherever a body is, which is His Omnipresence: while at the same time by His Immensity He is wherever a body is able to be, and is not limited even by the bounds of creatable things of this sort. Neither is it to be said that this is an excessively crass conceptualization of God, when a Repletive Where is attributed to Him, in which He appears to be compared to air, or water, beer, or wine filling a vessel. For I Respond that every corporeal concept, when we make use of this expression concerning god, is to be removed; that thus it is signified that God not only pervades all things, but also internally penetrates them: water and the other things do not properly fill vessels, but pervade the empty space in the midst of vessels, without penetrating the substance of the same: But God, replendo, in filling, all things, is said to penetrate all things internally.



Now, to this Scholastic expression, as it is able to be drawn unto a disadvantageous sense, our AUTHOR obliges no one. Yet it is not to be superciliously rejected, as if it were only able to be used of corporeal bodies, and as if it asserted in a certain measure a corporeal God. While, on the other hand, not only the Gentiles, who were sometimes too much confusing God with Nature, thus spoke, as SENECA, book IV de Beneficiis, chapter VIII, has it, “Whatever direction thou turnest thyself, there thou wilt see him meeting you: nothing is void of him: He Himself, namely, God, filleth His own work:” But in Jeremiah 23:23, 24, we heard God Himself speaking so, and we saw in that passage that there was a treatment, not only of the divine works and the filling of heaven and earth with creatures in the production and preservation of them, pouring out of gifts, etc., but of the presence of His divine Essence. Certainly the most potent penetration of all things is not incongruously signified by the Repletion/Filling of all.

[1] Nestorius (c. 386-451) taught that in Christ, there are not only two natures, but two persons, Jesus of Nazareth and the eternal Son of God. Some believe that this was not actually Nestorius’ view, but rather his opponents’ caricature of his beliefs.

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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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