De Moor IV:32: Divine Eternity without Succession (against the Socinians)



Moreover, that by Eternity all Succession is removed from God, we hold in particular against the Socinians, who write, that Time is also eternal, which is applicable to God, in which there is prior and posterior, since all duration, according to their understanding, has parts, of which one follows upon another, one is prior and another posterior. Whom in this conception Vorstius follows, who says that Eternity is nothing other than eternal Time; see HOORNBEECK’S Socinianismum confutatum, book II, chapter I, section I, tome I, pages 265, 266. The opinion of Vorstius out of Exegese Apologetica, chapter XII, TRIGLAND relates with a critical evaluation in his Kerckelycke Geschiedenissen, volume 4, pages 576, 577. The Catechesis Racoviensis de Cognitione Dei, chapter I, question 10, page 28, answering the question, “What is it to know that God is eternal?” hence only has: That He is without beginning and end: without any added negation of the Succession of moments in the divine Subsistence; which Socinian error ARNOLDI refutes at length in Refutatione Catecheseos Racovianæ, on the place cited, § XVIII-XXXIII, pages 86-92. The same opinion of the Socinians is hold by Hobbes, against whom COCQUIUS disputes concerning this matter in his Anatome Hobbesianismi, locus VI, chapter XII, pages 125-127.



The πρῶτον ψεῦδος, fundamental error, again is the finite and corporeal conception that they form of God, whom they wish to understand completely with their intellect. While, as God with respect to His entire Essence is Incomprehensible, so also such stands forth with respect to this Essential Attribute, the Idea of which is clear and distinct, ὑπερέχουσα πάντα νοῦν, being above all mind, and having nothing similar to it in the whole universe. Neither is it strange that a genuine and adequate conception of the divine Eternity does not fall to us; for the manner of operation follows the manner of subsistence: our subsistence is only successive, therefore all our operation is such, and so all our perception is also such. Now, what in its own nature is in every respect successive, is not able to represent that which by its entire nature is removed from and alien to all succession. And so by the nature of the case Eternity is Incomprehensible to us.

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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