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  • WORKS OF ARMINIUS - ON THE LIFE OF GOD


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    DISPUTATION XVI

    ON THE LIFE OF GOD

    I. Life is that which comes under our consideration, in the second impulse of the divine nature; and that it belongs to God, is not only evident from its own nature, but is likewise known, per se, to all those who have any conception of God. For it is much more incredible that God is something senseless and dead, than that there is no God. And the life of God is easily proved. For, as whatever is beside God is from him, we must also attribute life to him, because among his creatures are many things which have life; and we affirm that God is a living substance, and that life belongs to him, not only eminently but also formally, since life is simply perfection.

    II. But, as life is taken, either in the second act, and is called "operation," or in the first, principal and radical act, and thus is the very nature and form of a living thing, we attribute this, of itself, primarily and adequately to God; so that he Is the life of himself, not having it from His union with another thing; (for that is the part of imperfection,) but existing the same as it does -- he being life itself, and living by the first act, but bestowing life by the second act.

    III. The life of God, therefore, is most simple, so that it is not, in reality, distinguished from his essence; and according to the confined capacity of our conception, by which it is distinguished from his essence, it may, in some degree, be described as being "an act that flows from the essence of God," by which is intimated that it is active in itself; first, by a reflex act on God himself, and then on other objects, on account of the most abundant copiousness, and the most perfect activity of life in God.

    IV. The life of God is the foundation and the proximate and adequate principle not only of ad intra et ad extra, an inward and an outward act, but likewise of all fruition by which God is said to be blessed in himself. This seems to be the cause why God wished himself, principally in reference to life, to be distinguished from false gods and dead idols, and why he wished men to swear by his name, in a form composed thus: "The Lord liveth."

    V. As the essence of God is infinite and most simple, eternal, impassable, unchangeable and incorruptible, we ought likewise to consider His life with these modes of being and life; on which account we attribute to him per se immortality, and a most prompt, powerful, indefatigable and insatiable desire, strength and delight to act and to enjoy, and in action and enjoyment, if it be lawful, thus to express ourselves.

    VI. By two faculties, the understanding and the will, this life is active towards God himself; but towards other things it is active by three faculties, power, or capability, being added to the two preceding. But the faculties of the understanding and the will are accommodated to fruition, and this chiefly as they tend towards God himself; secondarily, and because it thus pleases him of his abundant goodness, as they tend towards the creatures.

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