De Moor IV:32: Answering Objections to God's Successionless Eternity

Objection 1: The Conceptualization of this matter is difficult. But compare the Response of our AUTHOR, and what things already preoccupied us at the beginning of this §.



Objection 2: Differences of Times are ascribed to God, Revelation 1:4, 8. Response: α. That this is not able to be understood properly, is proven of itself merely from the things produced, on account of the many absurdities of the resulting complete denial of God’s Independence, Immutability, Infinite Perfection, true Eternity, etc. β. And so the Scripture speaks improperly in this manner by συγκατάβασιν/condescension to our capacity, who grasp and express Eternity in no other way than by a certain relation to intervals of transitory and successive things; thus we contemplate Eternity as Duration exceeding all intervals in which creatures have endured, or even were able, or are going to be able, to endure. In this conception succession is included on the part of the things that are conceived to be able to exist in a certain relation to Eternity, but not on the part of Eternity. γ. Those Differences of Times are attributed to God, not formally, but eminently; not in a divided sense, as if they were predicated of Him successively, but in an undivided sense, because the Eternity of God embraces all times at once: the past is affirmed of Him, but without negation of the present and future; and the present is affirmed of Him, but without negation of the past and future. He is not called he ὁ ὢν, ὅς ἦν, who is, who was, that is, in the past, καὶ ὅς ἐρχόμενος, and who is coming, that is, ἐστὶ/is in the future; but all these difference of time are ascribed to Him without division and at the same time, when He is called He ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, which is, and which was, and which is to come.


Objection 3: God Coexists with the Differences of Times. Responses: α. A reason ought to have been given, on account of which two things of a disparate nature, and one of which is in a different mode than the other, are not able to coexist together. β. This no more follows than that God is not able to be present by His Essence to extended things, unless He Himself be extended. γ. By the same reason, but with equal absurdity, we will infer that, while the eternal Duration of God without succession is evident, even we, whose Duration is measured through present, past, and future, coexist with God, and that hence also our present, past, and future exist at the same time. δ. The Eternity of God does not coexist with the Differences of Time formally and coextensively, by way of symmetry; but by way of an Eminent and Indivisible Collocation. ε. This is illustrated by the similitude of the Middle Point in a circle, which coexists with all points of the Circumference. But, while the points are set in the circumference of the circle running and flowing, just as the moments of time are in a continual flux, the Center in itself remains the same and immobile.



Objection 4: Hence a Confusion of Time and its Moments is going to follow. Response: I deny, because, α. Time and its Moments do not coexist with Eternity adequately, as if they were of the same nature and duration; but inadequately, as completely heterogenous with respect to nature and duration. Eternity does not coexist with all the Differences of Times taken together; but it coexists with those existing separately and succeedingly one another: thus the past, while it was, coexisted with Eternity, the present coexists, the future will coexist; hence there is therefore no confusion and coexistence of those Moments. β. What things agree in a Third do indeed agree together, but these Agreeing Things are not to be extended beyond that Third. All Differences of Time agree among themselves in this, that each one, when it exists, coexists with all Eternity; but they do not therefore agree among themselves in this, that they coexist at the same time: because all Eternity does not coexist with them taken together, but separately, as they succeed one another: just as the Sun and its motion coexist with all the days of the age, yet it does not follow from that that all days coexist with each other, because each day in its own order coexists with the Sun, which is ever the same. Thus in a Circle multiple lines are able to be given coming together in the Center, in which third thing those multiple lines agree together; but those lines are not then confounded or confused, neither is one line another, much less all lines the same: likewise, the past, present, and future differ greatly from one another; but, related to the Center of Eternity, to this the past and the future, no less than the present, are equally altogether present. For the illustration of this entire paragraph, thoroughly consult HOORNBEECK, Socinianismo confutato, book II, chapter I, tome I, pages 262-285, where he also points out the consent of the Fathers in the assertion of the Eternity of God without Succession, pages 266, 267, 278.

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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