« Prev Chapter III. Of the shape and bodily visible… Next »

Chapter III.

Of the shape and bodily visible figure of God.

Mr Biddle’s question:—

Is God in the Scripture said to have any likeness, similitude, person, shape?

The proposition which he would have to be the conclusion of the answers to these questions is this, That, according to the doctrine of 99the Scriptures, God is a person shaped like a man; — a conclusion so grossly absurd that it is refused as ridiculous by Tully, a heathen, in the person of Cotta (De Nat. Deor. lib. i. 6), against Velleius the Epicurean, the Epicureans only amongst the philosophers being so sottish as to admit that conceit. And Mr B., charging that upon the Scripture which hath been renounced by all the heathens who set themselves studiously to follow the light of nature, and, by a strict inquiry, to search out the nature and attributes of God, principally attending to that safe rule of ascribing nothing to him that eminently included imperfection,166166   “Sine corpere ullo Deum vult esse, Græci dicunt ἀσώματον.” Tull. de Nat. Deor. lib. i. 12, de Platone. “Mens soluta quædam et libera, segregata ab omni concretione mortali.” — Id., Tusc. Quæst. lib. i. 27. hath manifested his pretext of mere Christianity to be little better than a cover for downright atheism, or at best of most vile and unworthy thoughts of the Divine Being. And here also doth Mr B. forsake his masters.167167   “Ex his autem intelligitur, membra humani corperis, quæ Deo in sacris literis ascribuntur, uti et partes quædam aliarum animantium, quales sunt alæ non nisi improprie Deo tribui; siquidem a spiritus natura prorsus abhorrent. Tribuuntur autem Deo per metaphoram cum metonymia conjunctam. Nempe quis facultates vel actiones Deo conveniunt, illarum similes, quæ membris illis, aut insunt, aut per ea exercentur.” — Crell. de Deo, sive de Vera Relig. lib. i. cap. xv. p. 107. Some of them have had more reverence of the Deity, and express themselves accordingly, in express opposition to this gross figment.

According to the method I proceeded in, in consideration of the precedent questions, shall I deal with this, and first consider briefly the scriptures produced to make good this monstrous, horrid assertion. The places urged and insisted on of old by the Anthropomorphites168168   Epiph. tom. i. lib. iii. Hæres. lxx.; Theod., lib. iv. cap. x. were such as partly ascribed a shape in general to God, partly such as mention the parts and members of God in that shape, his eyes, his arms, his hands, etc.; from all which they looked on him as an old man sitting in heaven on a throne, — a conception that Mr B. is no stranger to. The places of the first sort are here only insisted on by Mr B., and the attribution of a “likeness, image, similitude, person, and shape” unto God, is his warrant to conclude that he hath a visible, corporeal image and shape like that of a man; which is the plain intendment of his question. Now, if the image, likeness, or similitude, attributed to God as above, do no way, neither in the sum of the words themselves nor by the intendment of the places where they are used, in the least ascribe or intimate that there is any such corporeal, visible shape in God as he would insinuate, but are properly expressive of some other thing that properly belongs to him, I suppose it will not be questioned but that a little matter will prevail with a person desiring to emerge in the world by novelties, and on that account casting off that reverence of God which the first and most common notions of mankind would instruct him into, to 100make bold with God and the Scripture for his own ends and purposes.

1. I say then, first, in general, if the Scripture may be allowed to expound itself, it gives us a fair and clear account of its own intendment in mentioning the image and shape of God, which man was created in, and owns it to be his righteousness and holiness; in a state whereof, agreeable to the condition of such a creature, man ing created is said to be created in the image and likeness of God, — in a kind of resemblance unto that holiness and righteousness which are in him, Eph. iv. 23, 24, etc. What can hence be concluded for a corporeal image or shape to be ascribed unto God is too easily discernible. From a likeness in some virtue or property to conclude to a likeness in a bodily shape, may well befit a man that cares not what he says, so he may speak to the derogation of the glory of God.

2. For the particular places by Mr B. insisted on, and the words used in them, which he lays the stress of this proposition upon: the first two words are דְּמוּת‎ and צֶלֶם‎; both of which are used in Gen. i. 26. The word דְּמוּת‎ is used Gen. v. 1, and צֶלֶם‎, Gen. ix. 6; but neither of these words doth, in its genuine signification, imply any corporeity or figure. The most learned of all the rabbins, and most critically skillful in their language, hath observed and proved that the proper Hebrew word for that kind of outward form or similitude is תֹּאַר‎; and if these be ever so used, it is in a metaphorical and borrowed sense, or at]east there is an amphiboly in the words, the Scripture sometimes using them in such subjects where this gross, corporeal sense cannot possibly be admitted: כִּדְמוּת חֲמַת־נָחָשׁ‎, — “Like the poison of a serpent,” Ps. lviii. 4. There is, indeed, some imaginable, or rather rational, resemblance in the properties there mentioned, but no corporeal similitude. Vide Ezek. i. 28, xxiii. 14 (to which may be added many more places), where if דְּמוּת‎ shall be interpreted of a bodily similitude, it will afford no tolerable sense. ‘The same likewise may be said ofצֶלֶם‎. It is used in the Hebrew for the essential form rather than the figure or shape; and being spoken of men, signifies rather their souls than bodies. So it is used, Ps. lxxiii. 20; which is better translated, “Thou shalt despise their soul,” than their “image.” So where it is said, Ps. xxxix. 6, “Every man walketh in a vain show” (the same word again), however it ought to be interpreted, it cannot be understood of a corporeal similitude. So that these testimonies are not at all to his purpose. What, indeed, is the image of God, or that likeness to him wherein man was made, I have partly mentioned already, and shall farther manifest, chap. vi.; and if this be not a bodily shape, it will be confessed that nothing can here be concluded for the attribution of a shape to God; and hereof an account will be given in its proper place.

The sum of Mr B.’s reasoning from these places is: “God, in the 101creation of the lower world and the inhabitancy thereof, making man, enduing him with a mind and soul capable of knowing him, serving him, yielding him voluntary and rational obedience; creating him in a condition of holiness and righteousness, in a resemblance to those blessed perfections in himself, requiring still of him to be holy as he is holy, to continue and abide in that likeness of his; giving him in that estate dominion over the rest of his works here below, — is said to create him in his own image and likeness, he being the sovereign lord over all his creatures, infinitely wise, knowing, just, and holy: therefore he hath a bodily shape and image, and is therein like unto a man.” “Quod erat demonstrandum.”

His next quotation is from Num. xii. 7, 8, where it is said of Moses that he shall behold the “similitude of the Lord.” The word is תְּמוּנָה‎; which, as it is sometimes taken for a corporeal similitude, so it is at other times for that idea whereby things are intellectually represented. In the former sense is it frequently denied of God; as Deut. iv. 15, “Ye saw no manner of similitude,” etc. But it is frequently taken, in the other sense, for that object, or rather impression, whereby our intellectual apprehension is made; as in Job iv. 16, “An image was before mine eyes,” namely, in his dream; which is not any corporeal shape, but that idea or objective representation whereby the mind of man understands its object, — that which is in the schools commonly called phantasm, or else an intellectual species, about the notion of which it is here improper to contend. It is manifest that, in the place here alleged, it is put to signify the clear manifestation of God’s presence to Moses, with some such glorious appearance thereof as he was pleased to represent unto him; therefore, doubtless, God hath a bodily shape.

His next quotation is taken from James iii. 9, “Made after the similitude of God,” — Τοὺς καθ ὁμοίωσιν Θεοῦ γεγονότας. Certainly Mr B. cannot be so ignorant as to think the word ὁμοίωσις to include in its signification a corporeal similitude. The word is of as large an extent as “similitude” in Latin, and takes in as well those abstracted analogies which the understanding of man finds out, in comparing several objects together, as those other outward conformities of figure and shape which are the objects of our carnal eyes. It is the word by which the LXX. use to render the word דְּמוּת‎; of which we have spoken before. And the examples are innumerable in the Septuagint translation, and in authors of all sorts written in the Greek language, where that word is taken at large, and cannot signify a corporeal similitude; so that it is vain to insist upon particulars. And this also belongs to the same head of inquiry with the former, — namely, what likeness of God it was that man was created in, whether of eyes, ears, nose, etc., or of holiness, etc.

His next allegation is from Job xiii. 7, 8, “Will ye accept his 102person?”הֲפָנָיו‎, πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ, — an allegation so frivolous that to stand to answer it studiously would be ridiculous, 1. It is an interrogation, and doth not assert any thing. 2. The thing spoken against is προσωποληψία, which hath in it no regard to shape or corporeal personality, but to the partiality which is used in preferring one before another in justice. 3. The word mentioned, with its derivatives, is used in as great or greater variety of metaphorical translations than any other Hebrew word, and is by no means determined to be a signification of that bulky substance which, with the soul, concurs to make up the person of mare It is so used, Gen. xxxiii. 18, אֶת־פְנֵי‎, — “Jacob pitched his tent before” (or “in the face of”) “the city.” It is confessed that it is very frequently translated πρόσωπον by the LXX., as it is very variously translated by them; sometimes ὁ ὀφθαλμός. See Jer. xxxviii. 26; Neh. ii. 13; Job xvi. 16; Deut. ii. 36; Prov. xxvii. 23. Besides that, it is used in many other places for ἀντί ἔναντι ἀπέναντι ἐπάνω ἐνώπιον, and in many more senses. So that to draw an argument concerning the nature of God from a word so amphibological, or of such frequent translation in metaphorical speech, is very unreasonable.

Of what may be hence deduced this is the sum: “In every plea or contest about the ways, dispensations, and judgments of God, that which is right, exact, and according to the thing itself, is to be spoken, his glory not standing in the least need of our flattery or lying; therefore God is such a person as hath a bodily shape and similitude, for there is no other person but what hath so.”

His last argument is from John v. 37, “Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape,” — Οὔτε εἶδος αὐτοῦ ἑωράκατε. But it argues a very great ignorance in all philosophical and accurate writings, to appropriate εἶδος to a corporeal shape, it being very seldom used, either in Scripture or elsewhere, in that notion; — the Scripture having used it where that sense cannot be fastened on it, as in 1 Thess. v. 22, Ἀπὸ παντὸς εἴδους πονηροῦ ἀπέχεσθε which may be rendered, “Abstain from every kind,” or “every appearance,” but not from every shape “of evil;” and all other Greek authors, who have spoken accurately and not figuratively of things, use it perpetually almost in one of these two senses, and very seldom if at all in the other.

How improperly, and with what little reason, these places are interpreted of a corporeal similitude or shape, hath been showed. Wherein the image of God consists the apostle shows, as was declared, determining it to be in the intellectual part, not in the bodily,169169   Plato said the same thing expressly, apud Stobæum, Eclogæ Ethicæ, lib. ii. cap. iii. p. 163. Col. iii. 10, Ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν νέον (ἄνρθωπον) τὸν ἀνακαινούμενον εἰς επίγνωσιν κατ εἰκόνα τοῦ κτίσαντος αὐτόν. The word here used, εἰκών, 103is of a grosser signification than εἶδος, which hath its original from the intellectual operation of the mind; yet this the apostle determines to relate to the mind and spiritual excellencies, so that it cannot, from the places he hath mentioned, with the least colour of reason, be concluded that God hath a corporeal similitude, likeness, person, or shape.170170   Θεὸς ἐστι πνεῦμα νοερὸν οὐκ ἔχον μορφήνPosidonius apud Stobæum; Eclogæ Physicæ, lib. i. cap. i. p. 2. I confess Epicurus said, Ἀνθρωποειδεῖς εἷναι τοῦς Θεούς. Stobæus ibidem. cap. iii. p. 5. And possibly Mr B. might borrow his misshapen divinity from him and the Anthropomorphites; and then we have the pedigree of his wild positions. But the more sober philosophers (as Stobæus there tells us) held otherwise: Θεὸν οὐχ ἁπτὸν οὐδὲ ὁρατὸν οὐδὲ μετρητὸν οὐδὲ διαστατὸν οὐδὲ ἄλλῳ τινὶ σώματι ὅμοιον; which Guil. Canterus renders thus, “Quod nec tangi, nec cerni potest Deus, neque sub mensuram, vel terminum cadit aut alicui est corpori simile.

What hath already been delivered concerning the nature of God, and is yet necessarily to be added, will not permit that much be peculiarly spoken to this head, for the removal of those imperfections from him which necessarily attend that assignation of a bodily shape to him which is here aimed at. That the Ancient of Days is not really one in the shape of an old man, sitting in heaven on a throne, glistering with a corporeal glory, his hair being white and his raiment beautiful, is sufficiently evinced from every property and perfection which in the Scripture is assigned to him.

The Holy Ghost, speaking in the Scripture concerning God, doth not without indignation suppose any thing to be likened or compared to him. Maimonides hath observed that these words, Aph, Ira, etc., are never attributed to God but in the case of idolatry; that never any idolater was so silly as to think that an idol of wood, stone, or metal, was a god that made the heavens and earth; but that through them all idolaters intend to worship God. Now, to fancy a corporeity in God, or that he is like a creature, is greater and more irrational dishonour to him than idolatry. “To whom will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?” Isa. xl. 18. “Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth,” etc. “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One,” verses 21–23, 25. Because the Scripture speaks of the eyes and ears, nostrils and arms of the Lord, and of man being made afar his likeness, if any one shall conclude that he sees, hears, smells, and hath the shape of a man, he must, upon the same reason, conclude that he hath the shape of a lion, of an eagle, and is like a drunken man, because in Scripture he is compared to them, and so of necessity make a monster of him, and worship a chimera.171171   Videsis Rab. M. Maimonid. de Idolat. sect. 2, 3, etc; et Notas Dionysii Vossii ibidem. “Quæ de Deo dicuntur in sacro codice ἀνθρωποπαθῶς, interpretanda sunt θεοπρεπῶς.”

Nay, the Scripture plainly interprets itself as to these attribution 104unto God. His arm is not an arm of flesh, 2 Chron. xxxii. 8. Neither are his eyes of flesh, neither seeth he as man seeth, Job x. 4. Nay, the highest we can pretend to (which is our way of understanding), though it hath some resemblance of him, yet falls it infinitely short of a likeness or equality with him. And the Holy Ghost himself gives a plain interpretation of his own intendment in such expressions: for whereas, Luke xi. 20, our Saviour says that he “with the finger of God cast out devils;” Matt. xii. 28, he affirms that he did it “by the Spirit of God,” intending the same thing. It neither is nor can righteously be required that we should produce any place of Scripture expressly affirming that God hath no shape, nor hands, nor eyes, as we have, no more than it is that he is no lion or eagle. It is enough that there is that delivered of him abundantly which is altogether inconsistent with any such shape as by Mr B. is fancied, and that so eminent a difference as that now mentioned is put between his arms and eyes and ours, as manifests them to agree in some analogy of the thing signified by them, and not in an answerableness in the same kind. Wherefore I say, that the Scripture speaking of God, though it condescends to the nature and capacities of men, and speaks for the most part to the imagination (farther than which few among the sons of men were ever able to raise their cogitations), yet hath it clearly delivered to us such attributes of God as will not consist with that gross notion which this man would put upon the Godhead. The infinity and immutability of God do manifestly overthrow the conceit of a shape and form of God.172172   Vid. D. Barnes in 1. partem Aquinatis, quæst. 3, art. 1, et Scholasticos passim. Were it not a contradiction that a body should be actually infinite, yet such a body could not have a shape, such a one as he imagines. The shape of any thing is the figuration of it; the figuration is the determination of its extension towards several parts, consisting in a determined proportion of them to each other; that determination is a bounding and limiting of them: so that if it have a shape, that will be limited which was supposed to be infinite, which is a manifest contradiction. But the Scripture doth plainly show that God is infinite and immense, not in magnitude (that were a contradiction, as will appear anon) but in essence. Speaking to our fancy, it saith that “he is higher than heaven, deeper than hell,” Job xi. 8; that “he fills heaven and earth,” Jer. xxiii. 24; that “the heaven of heavens cannot contain him,” 1 Kings viii. 27; and it hath many [such] expressions to shadow out the immensity of God, as was manifest in our consideration of the last query. But not content to have yielded thus to our infirmity, it delivers likewise, in plain and literal terms, the infiniteness of God: “His understanding is infinite,” Ps. cxlvii. 5; and therefore his essence is necessarily so. This is a consequence that none can deny who will consider it till he understands 105the terms of it, as hath Been declared. Yet, lest any should hastily apprehend that the essence of God were not therefore necessarily infinite, the Holy Ghost saith, Ps. cxlv. 3, that “his greatness hath no end,” or is “inconceivable,” which is infinite; for seeing we can carry on our thoughts, by calculation, potentially in infinitum, — that is, whatever measure be assigned, we can continually multiply it by greater and greater numbers, as they say, in infinitum, — it is evident that there is no greatness, either of magnitude or essence, which is unsearchable or inconceivable besides that which is actually infinite. Such, therefore, is the greatness of God, in the strict and literal meaning of the Scripture; and therefore, that he should have a shape implies a contradiction. But of this so much Before as I presume we may now take it for granted.

Now, this attribute of infinity doth immediately and demonstratively overthrow that gross conception of a human shape we are in the consideration of; and so it doth, by consequence, overthrow the conceit of any other, though a spherical shape. Again, —

Whatever is incorporeal is destitute of shape; whatever is infinite is incorporeal: therefore, whatever is infinite is destitute of shape.

All the question is of the minor proposition. Let us therefore suppose an infinite body or line, and let it be bisected; either then, each half is equal to the whole, or less. If equal, the whole is equal to the part; if less, then that half is limited within certain bounds, and consequently is finite, and so is the other half also: therefore, two things which are finite shall make up an infinite; which is a contradiction.

Having, therefore, proved out of Scripture that God is infinite, it follows also that he is incorporeal, and that he is without shape.

The former argument proved him to be without such a shape as this catechist would insinuate; this, that he is without any shape at all. The same will be proved from the immutability or impassibility of God’s essence, which the Scripture assigns to him: Mal. iii. 6, “I am the Lord; I change not” “The heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou endurest: they shall Be changed: but thou art the same,” Ps. cii. 25, 26.

If he be immutable, then he is also incorporeal, and consequently without shape.

The former consequence is manifest, for every body is extended, and consequently is capable of division, which is mutation; wherefore, Being immutable, he hath no shape.

Mr B.’s great plea for the considering of his Catechism, and insisting upon the same way of inquiry with himself, is from the success which himself hath found in the discovery of sundry truths, of which he gives an account in his book to the reader. That, among the glorious discoveries made by him, the particular now 106insisted on is not to be reckoned, I presume Mr B. knoweth. For this discovery the world is beholding to one Audæus, a monk, of whom you have a large account in Epiphanius, tom. i. lib. 3, Hær. 70; as also in Theodoret, lib. iv. Eccles. Hist., cap. x., who also gives us an account of the man and his conversation, with those that followed him. Austin also acquaints us with this worthy predecessor of our author, De Hær. cap. l. He that thinks it worth while to know that we are not beholding to Mr B., but to this Audæus, for all the arguments, whether taken from the creation of man in the image of God or the attribution of the parts and members of a man unto God in the Scripture, to prove him to have a visible shape, may at his leisure consult the authors above mentioned, who will not suffer him to ascribe the praise of this discovery to Mr B.’s ingenious inquiries. How the same figment was also entertained by a company of stupid monks in Egypt, who, in pursuit of their opinion, came in a great drove to Alexandria, to knock Theophilus the bishop on the head, who had spoken against them, and how that crafty companion deluded them with an ambiguity of expression, with what learned stirs ensued thereon, we have a full relation in Socrat. Eccles. Hist. lib. vi. cap. vii.173173   Οὕτως ὑμᾶς εἶδον ὡς Θεοῦ πρόσωπον. — Sozom. Hist. Eccles. lib. viii. cap. xi.

As this madness of brain-sick men was always rejected by all persons of sobriety professing the religion of Jesus Christ, so was it never embraced by the Jews, or the wiser sort of heathens, who retained any impression of those common notions of God which remain in the hearts of men.174174   Minut. Felix. in Octav. Lactan de Vera Sap. Mutius Pansa Pianensis de Osculo Ethnicæ et Christianæ Theol. c. 25; Origen. in Genesis Hom. 3; Aug. l. 83, quæst. 22. The Jews to this day do solemnly confess, in their public worship, that God is not corporeal, that he hath no corporeal propriety, and therefore can nothing be compared with him. So one of the most learned of them of old: Οὔτε γὰρ ἀνθρωπόμορφος ὁ Θεὸς οὔτε θεοειδὲς ἀνθρώπινον σῶμα, Phil. de Opificio Mundi; “Neither hath God a human form, nor does a human body resemble him.” And in Sacrifi. Abel: Οὐδὲ τὰ ὅσα ἀνθρώποις ἐπὶ Θεοῦ κυριολογεῖται κατάχρησις δὲ ὀνομάτων ἐστὶ παρηγοροῦσα τὴν ἡμετέραν ἀσθένειαν — “Neither are those things which are in us spoken properly of God, but there is an abuse of names therein, relieving our weakness.”

Likewise the heathens, who termed God νοῦν, and ψύχωσιν and πνεῦμα, and δυναμοποιόν or δύναμιν, had the same apprehensions of him. Thus discourses Mercurius ad Tatium, in Stobæus, serm. 78: Θεὸν μὲν νοῆσαι χαλεπὸν φράσαι δὲ ἀδύνατον· τὸ γὰρ ἀσώματον σώματι σημῆναι ἀδύνατον καὶ τὸ τέλειον τῷ ἀτελεῖ καταλαβέσθαι οὐ δυνατόν καὶ τὸ ἀΐδιον τῷ ὀλιγοχρονίῳ συγγενέσθαι δύσκολον ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἀεί ἐστι τὸ δὲ παρέρχεται καὶ τὸ μὲν ἀλήθειά ἐστι τὸ δὲ ὑπὸ φαντασίας σκιάζεται τὸ δὲ ἀσθενέστερον τοῦ ἰσχυροτέρου καὶ τὸ ἔλαττον τοῦ κρείττονος δίεστηκε τοσοῦτον ὅσον τὸ 107θνητὸν τοῦ θεὶου ἡδὲ μέση τούτων διάστασις ἀμαυροῖ τὴν τοῦ καλοῦ θέαν ὀφθαλμοῖς μὲν γὰρ τὰ σώματα θεατὰ γλώττῃ δὲ τὰ ὁρατὰ λεκτὰ τὸ δὲ ἀσώματον καὶ ἀφανὲς καὶ ἀσχημάτιστον καὶ μήτε ἐξ ὕλης ὑποκείμενον ὑπὸ τῶν ἡμετέρων αἰσθήσεων καταληφθῆναι οὐ δύναται. Ἐννοοῦμαις ᾧ τάτ ἐννοοῦμαι ο` ἐξειπεῖν οὐ δυνατὸν τοῦτο ἐστιν ὁ Θεός. And Calicratides apud Stob., Serm. 83: Τὸ δὲ ἕν ἐστιν ἄριστον αὐτὸς ὅπερ ἐστὶ καττὰν ἔννοιαν ζῶον οὐράνιον ἄφθαρτον ἀρχά τε καὶ αἰτία τᾶς τῶν ὅλων διακοσμάσιος

Of the like import is that distich of Xenophanes in Clemens Alexan., Strom. 5:—

Εἰς Θεὸς ἔν τε θεοῖσι καὶ ἀνθρώποισι μέγιστος

Θὔτε δέμας θνητοῖσιν ὁμοίϊος οὐδὲ νόημα.

“There is one great God among gods and men,

Who is like to mortals neither as to body nor mind.”

Whereunto answers that in Cato:—

Si Deus est animus nobis ut carmina dicunt,” etc.

And Æschylus, in the same place of Clemens, Strom. 5:—

Χωρεῖτε θνητῶν τὸν Θεὸν καὶ μὴ δόκει

Ὅμοιον αὐτῷ σαρκικὸν καθεστάναι.

“Separate God from mortals, and think not thyself, of flesh, like him.”

And Posidonius plainly in Stobæus as above: Ὁ Θεὸς ἐστι πνεῦμα νοερὸν καὶ πυρῶδες οὐκ ἔχον μορφήν — “God is an intelligent fiery spirit, not having any shape.” And the same apprehension is evident in that of Seneca, “Quid est Deus? Mens universi. Quid est Deus? Quod vides totum, et quod non vides totum. Sic demure magnitude sua illi redditur, qua nihil majus excogitari potest, si solus est omnia, opus suum et extra et intra tenet. Quid ergo interest inter naturam Dei et nostram? Nostri melior pars animus est, in illo nulla pars extra animum.Natural. Quæst. lib. 1. Præfat. It would be burdensome, if not endless, to insist on the testimonies that to this purpose might be produced out of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Epictetus, Julius Firmicus, and others of the same order. I shall close with one of Alcinous, de Doctrina Platon. cap. x.: Ἄτοπον δὲ τὸν Θεὸν ἑξ ὕλης εἶναι καὶ εἴδους οὐ γὰρ ἔσται ἁπλοῦς οὐδὲ ἀρχικός — “It is absurd to say that God is of matter and form; for if so, he could neither be simple, nor the principal cause.”

The thing is so clear, and the contrary, even by the heathen philosophers, accounted so absurd, that I shall not stand to pursue the arguments flowing from the other attributes of God, but proceed to what follows.

« Prev Chapter III. Of the shape and bodily visible… Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |