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Proposition VI. That the self-existent being must be infinite and omnipresent.

VI. Proposition VI. That the self-existent being must be infinite and omnipresent. The self-existent Being must of necessity be infinite and omnipresent. The idea of infinity or immensity, as well as of eternity, is so closely connected with that of self-existence, that, because it is impossible but something must be infinite independently and of itself, (for else it would be impossible there should be any infinite at all, unless an effect could be perfecter than its cause,) therefore it must of necessity be self-existent: and because something must of necessity be self-existent, therefore it is necessary that it must likewise be infinite. To be self-existent (as has been already shown,) is to exist by an absolute necessity in the nature of the thing itself. Now, this necessity being absolute in itself, and not depending on any outward cause, it is evident it must be everywhere as well as always, unalterbly the same. For a necessity, which is not everywhere the same, is plainly a consequential necessity only, depending upon some external cause, and not an absolute one in its own nature; for a necessity absolutely such in itself, has no relation to time or place, or any thing else. Whatever therefore exists by an absolute necessity in its own nature, must needs be infinite as well as eternal. To suppose a finite being to be self-existent, is to say that it is a contradiction for that being not to exist, the absence of which may 41yet be conceived without a contradiction; which is the greatest absurdity in the world. For if a being can, without a contradiction, be absent from one place, it may, without a contradiction, be absent likewise from another place, and from all places: and whatever necessity it may have of existing, must arise from some external cause, and not absolutely from itself; and, consequently, the being cannot be self-existent.

From hence it follows,

1st. That the infinity of the self-existent being must be an infinity of fulness as well as of immensity; that is, it must not only be without limits, but also without diversity, defect, or interruption: For instance; could matter be supposed boundless, it would not therefore follow that it was in this complete sense infinite; because, though it had no limits, yet it might have within itself many assignable vacuities. But whatever is self-existent, must of necessity exist absolutely in every place alike, and be equally present everywhere; and consequently must have a true and absolute infinity, both of immensity and fulness.

2dly. From hence it follows, that the self-existent being must be a most simple, unchangeable, incorruptible being; without parts, figure, motion, divisibility, or any other such properties as we find in matter. For all these things do plainly and necessarily imply finiteness in their very notion, and are utterly inconsistent with complete infinity. Divisibility is a separation of parts, real or mental: meaning, by mental separation, not barely a partial apprehending, (for space, for instance, which is absolutely indivisible and inseparable, either really or mentally, may yet be partially apprehended;4242   Ordo partium spatii est immutabilis; moveantur hæ de locis suis, et movebuntur (ut ita dicam) de seipsis. Newton. Princip. Schol. ad definit. 8. but a removing, disjoining or separating of parts one from another, even so 42much as in the imagination. And any such separation or removing of parts, one from another, is really or mentally a setting of bounds; either of which destroys infinity. Motion, for the same reason, implies finiteness; and to have parts, properly speaking, signifies either difference and diversity of existence, which is inconsistent with necessity; or else it signifies divisibility, real or mental as before, which is inconsistent with complete infinity. Corruption, change, or any alteration whatsoever, implies motion, separation of parts, and finiteness. And any manner of composition, in opposition to the most perfect simplicity, signifies difference and diversity in the manner of existence, which is inconsistent with necessity.

It is evident, Of the manner of our conceiving the immensity of God. therefore, that the self-existent being must be infinite in the strictest and most complete sense. But as to the particular manner of his being infinite or everywhere present, in opposition to the manner of created things being present in such or such finite places; this is as impossible for our finite understandings to comprehend or explain, as it is for us to form an adequate idea of infinity. Yet that the thing is true, that he is actually omnipresent, we are as certain as we are that there must something be infinite, which no man who has thought upon these things at all ever denied. The schoolmen, indeed, have presumed to assert that the immensity of God is a point, as his eternity (they think) is an instant. But this being altogether unintelligible, that which we can more safely affirm, and which no atheist can say is absurd, and which nevertheless is sufficient to all wise and good purposes, is this: that whereas all finite and created beings can be present but in one definite place at once, and corporeal beings even in that one place very imperfectly and unequally, to any purpose of power or activity, only by the successive motion of different members and organs; the Supreme Cause, on the contrary, being an infinite and most simple essence, and comprehending all things 43perfectly in himself, is at all times equally present, both in his simple essence, and by the immediate and perfect exercise of all his attributes, to every point of the boundless immensity, as if it were really all but one single point.


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