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; Now an action may imply a contradiction two ways, either in respect of the object, or in respect of the agent. In respect of the object it may imply a contradiction immediately or consequentially. That doth imply a contradiction immediately, which plainly and in terms doth signify a repugnancy, and so destroys itself, as for the same thing to be and not to be, to have been and not to have been. And therefore it must be acknowledged, that it is not in the power of God to make that not to have been, which hath already been :* but that is no derogation to God's power, because not within the object of any power. And he may certainly have all power, who hath not that which belongeth to no power. Again, that doth imply a contradiction consequentially, which in appearance seemeth not to be impossible, but by necessary consequence, if admitted, leadeth infallibly to a contradiction. As that one body should bo at the same time in two distinct places, speaks no repugnancy in terms; but yet by consequence it leads to that which is repugnant in itself; which is, that the same body is but one body, and not but one. Being then a covert and consequential contradiction is as much and as truly a contradiction as that which is open and immediate, it followeth that it is as impossible to be effected, and therefore comes not under the power of God.
That doth imply a contradiction in respect of the agent, which is repugnant to his essential perfection; for being every action floweth from the essence of the agent, whatsoever is totally repugnant to that essence, must involve a contradiction as to the agent. Thus we may say, God cannot sleep, God cannot want, God cannot die ;t he cannot sleep, whose being is spiritual; he cannot want, whose nature is all-suffi
* Td yeyovòs ook év éxetai un yɛvé- lity in the object, it proveth no defiσθαι· διό ορθώς 'Αγάθων,
ciency in God. Μόνου γάρ αυτού και Θεός στερίσκεται, , + Neque enim et vitam Dei et 'Αγένητα ποιεϊν άσσ' αν η πεπραγμένα. praescientiam Dei sub necessitate po
Aristot. Ethic. Eud. I. v. c. 2. nimus, si dicamus, Necesse est Deum Quisquis dicit, Si omnipotens est semper vivere et cuncta præscire; sicDeus, faciat ut quæ facta sunt, facta ut nec potestas ejus minuitur, cum non fuerint; non videt hoc se dicere, dicitur mori fallique non posse. Sic Si omnipotens est, faciat ut ea quæ enim hoc non potest, ut potius, si posvera sunt, eo ipso quo vera sunt set, minoris esset utique potestatis. falsa sint.' S. August. contra Fau- Recte quippe omnipotens dicitur qui stum, l. xxvi. c. 5. It is granted there- tamen mori et falli non potest. Difore to be true, which Pliny objects, citur enim Omnipotens faciendu quod Nat. Hist. I. ii. c. 7. • Deum non vult, non patiendo quod non vult: facere ut qui vixit non vixerit, qui quod si ei accideret, nequaquam honores gessit non gesserit;' as this esset Omnipotens. Unde propterea proves nothing against omnipotency, quædam non potest, quia Omnipotens because it is no act of possibility. est.' S. August. de Civ. Dei, I. v. c. Had the act objected been feasible, 10. • Nam ego dico quanta non posand God had not the power to effect sit. Non potest mori, non potest pecit, then had he wanted some power, carc, non potest mentiri, non potest and consequently had not been om- falli. Tanta non potest; quæ si posset, nipotent. But being it is not want non esset Omnipotens.' Idem, de Temof power in the agent, but of possibi- pore Serm. 119. al. 213. . 1.
cient; he cannot die, who is essentially and necessarily existent. Nor can that be a diminution of his omnipotency, the contrary whereof would be a proof of his impotency, a demonstration of his infirmity. Thus it is “impossible for God to lie,”* (Heb. vi. 18.) to whom we say nothing is impossible ; and, he who can do all things, “cannot deny himself.”+ (2 Tim. ii. 13.) Because a lie is repugnant to the perfection of veracity, which is essential unto God as necessarily following from his infinite knowledge, and infinite sanctity. We who are ignorant may be deceived; we who are sinful may deceive: but it is repugnant to that nature to be deceived, which is no way subject unto ignorance; it is contradictory to that essence to deceive, which is no way capable of sin. For as it is a plain contradiction to know all things, and to be ignorant of any thing; so is it to know all things and to be deceived : as it is an evident contradiction to be infinitely holy, and to be sinful; so is it to be infinitely holy and deceive. But it is impossible for any one to lie, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. Therefore it is a manifest contradic
Nunquidnam mentitur Deus? Jobias gives this solution to the same Sed non mentitur; quia impossibile objection: "A pajèv uri dúvaolar rò est mentiri Deum. Impossibile autem θείον, ταύτα των μήτε όντων εστί μήτε istad nunguidnam infirmitatis est ? δυνατών όλως υφεστάναι, πού γάρ υφέNon utique. Νam quomodo Omnia στηκε το αρνήσασθαι τον θεόν εαυτόν, ή potest, si aliquid eficere non potest ? η τροπή, ή ή της αγαθότητος έκπτωσις, ή Quid ergo ei impossibile? Illud uti- την αλήθειαν ψεύδος γενέσθαι; Παντοδύque quod nature ejus contrarium est, γαμος δε υμνείται και λέγεται, ώς τα τε non quod virtuti arduum. Impossi- πρέποντα αυτό και σωτήρια των δημιουρbile, inquit, est ei mentiri, et impossi- γημάτων πάντα δυνάμενος ότε βούλεται. bile istud non infirmitatis est, sed Job. de Verb. Incarn. I. iii. c. 13. apud virtutis et majestatis ; quia veritas Photium in Biblioth. p.586. 'O 'ATÓnon recipit mendacium, nec Dei vir- στολός φησι περί του θεού και πατρός, Έν tus levitatis errorem.' S. Ambros. Αη- οίς αδύνατον ψεύσασθαι θεόν" ουκ ασθεnot. in Num. «Si volunt invenire νειάν τινα κατηγορών της παγκρατούς quod Omnipotens non potest, habent δυνάμεως, αλλά μεγίστην ρώμην, ότι άνεprorsus; ego dicam, mentiri non po- πίδεκτός έστι του ψεύδους και της αληθείας test. Credamus ergo quod potest, πατήρ. Και αλλαχόσε δε ταύτην οχυρών non credendo quod non potest. S. την έννοιαν έφη, Εάν άρνησώμεθα αυAugust. de Civ. Dei, 1. xxii. C, 25. τόν, εκείνος πιστός μένει αρνήσασθαι
* This was the argument of Ely- γαρ εαυτόν ου δύναται. Και τούτο γάρ mas the sorcerer beforementioned, to ουκ ασθενείας εστίν απόδειξις, αλλ' ανυwhich Dionysius Areopagita gives περβλήτου ισχύος, ότι ουκ εγχωρεί την this answer: Η εαυτού άρνησις έκπτω- θείαν φύσιν εαυτήν αρνήσασθαι. Isid. σις αληθείας εστίν η δε αλήθεια όν εσ- Ρείus. Ep. 335. 1. iii. Theodoret upon τι, και η της αληθείας έκπτωσις τοϋ that place of St. Paul, “It is imposόντος έκπτωσις. Eί τοίνυν η αλήθεια sible for God to lie:” Ουκ ασθενές το όν έστιν, ή δε άρνησης της αληθείας του αδύνατον, αλλά άγαν αυτό δεικνύς δυόντος έκπτωσις, εκ τού όντος εκπεσείν ο νατόν. Ούτω γαρ, φησίν, εστίν αληθές θεός ου δύναται και το μή είναι ουκ έσ- ώς αδύνατον είναι ψεύδος εν αυτώ γετιν, ώς άν τις φαίη το μη δύνασθαι ου νέσθαι ποτέ. Το δυνατόν άρα (ita lege, δύναται, και το μή ειδέναι κατά στέρησιν non αδύνατον ούν) της αληθείας διά ουκ οίδεν. De Divin. Νom. c. 8. 5. 6. του αδυνάτου σημαίνεται. Dial. iii. p. Φαμέν δε και ότι ου δύναται αισχρά ο 123. And upon that,
« He cannot θεός, έπει έσται ο θεός δυνάμενος μή εί- deny himself:” Πάλιν ούν το ου δύναται ναι θεός" ει γαρ αισχρόν δρά ο Θεός, ούκ της απείρου δυνάμεως υπάρχει δηλωτιέστι Θεός. Orig. cont. Cels. 1. ν. 3. 23. κόν, &c. Ιbid. p. 124.
tion to say that God can lie, and consequently it is no dero, gation from his omnipotency, that he cannot. Whatsoever then God cannot do, whatsoever is impossible to him, doth not any way prove that he is not Almighty, but only shew that the rest of his attributes and perfections are as essential to him as his power; and as his power suffereth no resistance, so the rest of his perfections admit no repugnance. Well therefore may we conclude him absolutely omnipotent, who, by being able to effect all things consistent with his perfections, sheweth infinite ability:* and by not being able to do any thing repugnant to the same perfections, demonstrateth himself subject to no infirmity or imbecility. And in this manner we maintain God's omnipotency, with the best and eldest, against the worst and latest, of the heathen authors.
* Theodoret. having proved that potius τοϊς θεούς) τα δε αδύνατα, ώσπερ there were many things, which fell οίεσθαι τους σοφιζομένους, αλλά πάντα not under the power of God, at last δυνατά και η αρχή ή αυτή έστι των επών, thus concludes: Πολλά τοίνυν ευρήκα- 8 εκείνοι φασι μεν είναι Λίνου, έστι μένμεν, αδύνατα όντα το παντοδυνάμω θεώ. τοι ίσως εκείνων 'Αλλά το μή δυνηθήναι τι τούτων, απεί- "Ελπεσθαι χρή πάντ'· επεί ουκ έστ' ουδέν ρου δυνάμεως, ουκ ασθενείας τεκμήριον αελπτον: το δέ γε δυνηθήναι, αδυναμίας δήπουθεν, Ράδια πάντα θεώ τελέσαι, και ανήνυου δυνάμεως. "Οτι τούτων έκαστον το άτρεπτον του Θεού κηρύττει και αναλ Iamb. de Vit. Pythag. c. 28. λοίωτον. Dial. iii. p. 123. And Origen So Epicharmus a disciple of Pythacont. Cels. gives this for the Christian's goras: 'Αδυνατεί ούδέν θεώ. Αp. Grot. general rule: Δύναται καθ' υμάς πάν- Excerpt. ea Trug. et Comed. Gr. p. τα ο Θεός, άπερ δυνάμενος, τού Θεός εί- 481. So Pater Omnipotens, and Juναι, και τού αγαθός είναι, και του σοφός piter Omnipotens, familiar in Virgil είναι ουκ εξίσταται. Ι. iii. 5. 70. And and the poets before and after him. the words of Celsus, though ill in- These do far outweigh the authority tended, are yet very true: Αυτός γάρ in Ρlutarch, and that of Pliny, with (ο Θεός) εστίν ο πάντων των όντων λό- the addition of Galen, who opposeth γος, ουδέν ούν οιός τε παρά λόγον ουδέ the opinion of the philosophers to that παρ' εαυτόν εργάσασθαι. Αpud Orig. of Moses expressly, and to our Sa1. ν. 5. 14. And so Origen in this viour obliquely: Ου γαρ δή το βουληanswer confesses: 'Αλλά και καθ' ημάς θήναι τοιαύτας γενέσθαι μόνον ήν αυταρουδέν οίός τε παράλογον ούτε παρ' εαυ- κες" ουδέ γάρ ει την πέτραν εξαίφνης έθετον εργάσασθαι έστιν θεός. Ιbid. S. 24. λήσειεν άνθρωπον ποιήσαι, δυνατόν αυ
+ It was the constant opinion of tab. Which seems to be opposed to the most ancient heathens, as appear- those words of our Saviour, “ God is eth by Homer, who expresseth it able to raise children unto Abraham plainly, Odyss. Ķ. 303.
out of these stones.' Και τούτ' έστι, --Χαλεπόν δέ τ' ορύσσειν καθ' και της Μωσέως δόξης ήθ' ημετέρα και "Ανδράσι γε θνητοίσι, θεοί δέ τε πάντα Πλάτωνος και η των άλλων παρ'“Ελληδύνανται.
σιν ορθώς μεταχειρισαμένων τους περί And the same sense is attributed to φύσεως λόγους διαφέρει. Τα μεν γάρ Linus in a distich. cited for his by αρκεϊ, το βουληθήναι τον θεόν κοσμήσαι Stoheus, tit. 110. 1.; but may rather την ύλην, ή δ' ευθύς κεκοσμηται πάντα be thought to have been made by γάρ είναι τω θεώ δυνατά νομίζει, κάν εί Some of the Pythagoreans. For this την τέφραν ίππον ή βούν εθέλοι ποιεϊν was the plain doctrine of Pythagoras, ήμεϊς δ' ουχ ούτω γινώσκομεν, αλλ' είναι who taught his scholars to believe γάρ τινα λέγομεν αδύνατα φύσει, και miracles, and to doubt of nothing said τούτοις μηδ' επιχειρείν όλως τον θεόν, to be done by the gods, because all αλλ' εκ των δυνατών γενέσθαι το βέλthings were possible to them. Ου τιον αρεΐσθαι. De Usa Part. 1. xi. γάρ είναι τα μεν δυνατά των θεών, (vel c. 14.
Thus God is omnipotent, and God only. For if the power of all things beside God be the power of God, as derived from him, and subordinate unto him, and his own power from whence that is derived can be subordinate to none,
then none can be omnipotent but God.
Again, we say, that God the Father is Almighty ; but then we cannot say, that the Father only is Almighty: for the reason why we say the Father is Almighty, is because he is God; and therefore we cannot say that he only is Almighty, because it is not true that he only is God.* Whosoever then is God, hath the same reason and foundation of omnipotency which the Father hath, and consequently is to be acknowledged properly and truly omnipotent as the Father is. But we have already shewed that the Son of God is truly God; and shall hereafter shew that the Holy Ghost is also God, and that by the same nature, by which the Father is God. The Father therefore is Almighty, because the Father is God; the Son Almighty, because the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost Almighty, because the Holy Ghost is God. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are God, by the same Divinity: therefore, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are omnipotent by the same omnipotency. The Father then is not called Almighty by way of exclusion, but is here mentioned with that attribute peculiarly, because the power of God answereth particularly to the right hand of God, as being the right hand of power.t The Father therefore is here described by the notion of Almighty, to shew, that Christ having ascended into heaven, and being set down at the right hand of God, is invested with a greater power than he exercised before: and that power which was then actually conferred upon him, acknowledgeth no bounds or limits; but “all power” in the ultimate extent of its infinity is “ given unto him,” (Matt. xxviii. 18.) who is set down on the right hand of him who is God the Father ; .and, being so, is therefore truly and properly Almighty.
It is necessary to profess belief in God Almighty; First, because the acknowledgment of his omnipotency begetteth that fear and reverence, submission and obedience, which are due unto his infinite Majesty. Our God is a great God, a mighty, and a terrible ;” (Deut. x. 7.) therefore terrible be
Non ergo quispiam audebit potens, rather in relation to the prequamlibet creaturam sive coelestem sent occasion, than in reference to the sive terrestrem dicere Omnipotentem, 'person who is said to be omnipotent; nisi solam Trinitatem, Patrem scilicet as is observed by Servius upon that et Filium et Spiritum Sanctum. Non verse of Virgil, Æneid. ix. 625. enim cum dicimus nos credere in Jupiter omnipotens, audacibus anDeum Patrem Omnipotentem, sicut nue coeptis. Hæretici Ariani, negamus filium Om- Hoc epitheton interdum ad gloriam nipotentem, aut Spiritum Sanctum.' numinis ponitur, interdum ad causam Auctor Lib. de Symbolo ad Catechum. diceptis. Namque hoc loco dicendo 1. ii. c. 3.
omnipotens ostendit eum etiam bis, + Nor is it unusual in other au- qui per se minus valent, præstare thors to make use of the word omni- posse virtutem.'
cause mighty. “I will forewarn you (saith our Saviour), whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; I say unto you, fear him.” (Luke xii. 5.) Three times we are commanded to fear, and one only reason rendered, but sufficient for a thousand fears, the power of him, who is able eternally to punish us. God gave a general command to Abraham, and with it a powerful persuasion to obedience, when he said unto him, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” (Gen. xvii. 1.) It was a rational advice which the apostle gives us, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” (1 Pet. v. 6.) And it is a proper incentive to the observation of the Law of God, to consider that he is the “one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy." (James iv. 12.)
Secondly, The belief of God's omnipotency is absolutely necessary, as the foundation of our faith. All the miracles, which have been seen, were therefore wrought, that we might believe; and never miracle had been seen, if God were not omnipotent. The objects of our faith are beyond all natural and finite power; and did they not require an infinite activity, an assent unto them would not deserve the name of faith. If God were not Almighty, we should believe nothing ; but being he is so, why should we disbelieve any thing ?* What can God propound unto us, which we cannot assent unto, if we can believe that he is omnipotent.
Thirdly, It is not only necessary in matters of bare faith, and notions of belief, but in respect of the active and operative reliance upon the promises of God. This was the particular confidence of Abraham the father of the faithful, “who staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being persuaded that what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” (Rom. iv. 20, 21.) The promises of God are therefore firm and sare, because he is both willing and able to perform them.t We doubt or distrust the promises of men, either because we may fear they intend not to do what they have promised, or cannot do what they intend: in the first, we may suspect them because they are subject to iniquity; in the second, because they are liable to infirmity. But being God is of infinite sanc
* This was the argument which απομνημονεύουσιν, ως μηδέν άπιστούνthe Pythagoreans used, who believed τες ότι αν εις το θείον ανάγηται" and many miraculous actions, which others whereas others looked upon them as Jooked upon as fabulous ; because weak and simple people for giving - they would disbelieve nothing, which credit to such fabulous relations : após was referred to the Divine power: and πάντα τα τοιαύτα ούχί αυτούς ευήθεις the reason of that was, because they νομίζουσιν, αλλά τους άπιστούντας. thought all things possible to God, as Iambl. de Vit. Pythag. c. 28. we shewed before. Tūv TOLOÚTWY dè + • Nulla est in promissis Dei falsi(saith lamblichus, having related se- tas, quia nulla est in faciendis difficulveral strange actions, either fabulous - tas aut impossibilitas.' Fulgent, ad or miraculous) των δοκούντων μυθικών Monim. 1. i. c. 12.