De Moor IV:30: The Immensity of God



By His Immensity God also coexists with all Possible Space, which, because it does not exist actually, is called Imaginary. Doubtlessly, just as by His Eternity God was also at that time when the World was not, but was able to be produced: so by His Immensity God also exists most absolutely in Himself, even where the University does not now exist, and no creature exists; so that, if there, where nothing now is, by divine Power some body be placed, with that God would also intimately coexist as Present in His Essence: just as before the production of the Universe He evidently existed in Himself, where the World now is, in such a way that, just as soon as it began to exist, the Altogether Present God verily coexisted with it.



The matter, which we signify in this manner, is most clearly proven, α. From this, that God is not circumscribed by the farthest limits of this Universe, 1 Kings 8:27. Now, that in that passage not just the presence of His Power and Operation is treated, but the presence of His Essence, the whole context shows, and the parallel text in Acts 7:47-49. But, so that the Immensity of God might be signified, the Heaven of Heavens is said not to contain Him; since this is thought to be the ultimate limit of the created Universe, not even that being without its own measure: indeed, a measure for Heaven is supposed, while on account of very limited knowledge and power man is denied to be able comprehend that, Isaiah 40:12; Jeremiah 31:37: compare HOORNBEECK’S Socinianismum confutatum, book II, chapter II, section II, tome I, pages 292, 293.


β. Neither is God able to be circumscribed by the limits of this Universe, unless we fall into one or diverse things altogether absurd; so that, a. either we impiously deny the limits of the Universe, b. or we assert God to be Finite in proportion to the Universe; and in addition, c. either we assert that God’s Power has been exhausted, so that He might not be able to create more Spaces, or, d. a separation of God’s Power from His Essence in the creation of Spaces; or, e. we pleasantly dream of new Perfection being added to His Essence; as these things are passed over in review by our AUTHOR.


With the certain Limits of this Universe admitted, it is certainly most evident, that beyond those, wherever they might ultimately be, by the inexhausible power of God some Body is able to be placed. It is also certain that by the Immensity of God, demonstrated in § 27, 28, such a Body is not able to be placed, unless God by the power of His Infinite Perfection coexist as being Present to it. While I think on those things, in that very act I also conceive of Imaginary Spaces, that is, certain possible Bodies, and likewise the divine Immensity through a certain relation to those Spaces. And so the foundations of these Possible Spaces are the Finitude of the Universe, on the one hand, and the superiority both of altogether perfect Infinity, and also of the incomprehensible divine Power, on the other hand: those that acknowledge such things, it is strange that possible Spaces are able to disturb them so.


Tertullian

But either God is said to be in Himself beyond the Universe, just as also before the Universe, being Sufficient unto Himself without Real Space (thus TERTULLIAN, adversus Praxeam, chapter V, “God alone was before all things, He being in Himself universe, and place, and all;” from whom the saying of THEOPHILUS differs little, ad Autolycum, book II, page 81, Θεὸς γὰρ ἐν τόπῳ οὐ χωρεῖται, ἀλλὰ αὐτός ἐστι τόπος τῶν ὅλων, for God is not contained in a place, but He is the place for the entire universe: AUGUSTINE, on Psalm 122 or 123, chapter IV, opera, tome 4, column 145: “Before God made the heaven and the earth, where was He dwelling? But one says, And before God made the saints, where was He dwelling? God was dwelling in Himself, was dwelling in His own presence, and is God in His own presence:” That this manner of speech makes for the acknowledgement of the Sufficiency of god, as from the verses found in DIONYSIUS CARTHUSIANUS we previously heard, § 27, so AUGUSTINE indicates the same, both in the following context in the passage cited, and in his book ad Dardanum, or Epistle CLXXXVII, chapter VI, or XVIII, opera, tome 2, column 520, “Now, in addition, what we thought to be able to be understood with precious little distinctiveness, when we say that God is wholly present everywhere, unless we add, in Himself, I see that it must be explained more carefully. For how is He everywhere, if He is in Himself? He is everywhere, because He is nowhere absent. But He is in Himself, because He is not contained by things to which He is present, as if He were not able to be without them. For He is wholly in Himself, and He is not in what things He is in such a way that He needs them, as if He were not able to be, except in them:” add LULOFS, ad Buddeum de Atheismo et Superstitione, chapter VI, § 3 (245), pages 332, 333) or in Imaginary Spaces, it comes to the same thing: for they actually beat the air, who argue that no Imaginary Spaces exist in Actuality; as with the Cartesians, see GERARDUS VRIESIUS’ Exercitationem Rationalem IX, § 2; LEYDEKKER’S Facem Veritatis, locus III, controversy XIII, pages 157, 160, MARESIUS agrees, Decade Assertionum theologicarum, § X, note 4, in Sylloge Disputationum, part II, page 226, and Systemate Theologico, common place II, § 32, note c, § 33, note c, that, when He teaches that term, no one teaches the actual existence of these.


Voetius

Neither ought it to be Objected: Imaginary Spaces will be either finite or infinite: but they are neither finite nor infinite, therefore they are not. I Respond: That Imaginary Spaces do not exist in actuality, even the very term indicates: and so also, that in actuality they are neither finite nor infinite, it follows of itself, because a Non-Entity has no Properties. But in our conceptions those Spaces are Indefinite, because beyond Imaginary Space our Conception is always able to proceed farther. Consult concering Imaginary spaces VRIESIUS disputing against Descartes, Dissertatione de Infinito, posterior Section, which is de Extensione Infinita, § 42, 43, 49; and VOETIUS likewise against Maresius, Disputationum selectarum, part V, pages 576-581. See also the Monitum of the Most Illustrious HORTHEMELS[1] as the President, subjoined to the Disputation of the Most Illustrious GISBERT BONNET de Notitia eorum, quæ Mens humana nec directe nec positive cognoscere potest, K, where he discourses concerning Space against those that describe Space as created by God just as if a body, so that the former might comprehend the latter; as extended, yet not a body itself, but having extension in its own way; capable of mutation, insofar as it may be filled with bodies or void of them; of infinite amplitude, and bounded by no limits, indivisible, penetrable by a body without resistance.

[1] Johannes Horthemels (1698-1776) was a Dutch theologian and philosopher. He served as Professor of Philosophy at Utrecht from 1742 to 1776. He was decidedly anti-Cartesian.

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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