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  • WORKS OF ARMINIUS - ON THE POWER OR CAPABILITY OF GOD


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    DISPUTATION XXII

    ON THE POWER OR CAPABILITY OF GOD

    I. When entering on the consideration of the power or capability of God, as we deny the passive power which cannot belong to God who is a pure act, so we likewise omit that which is occupied with internal acts through necessity of nature; and at present we exhibit for examination that power alone which consists in the capacity of external actions, and by which God not only is capable of operating beyond himself, but actually does operate whenever it is his own good pleasure.

    II. And it is a faculty of the divine life, by which, (subsequently to the understanding of God that shows and directs, and to his will that commands,) he is capable of operating externally what things soever he can freely will, and by which he does operate whatever he freely wills.

    III. The measure of the divine capability is the free will of God, and that is truly an adequate measure; so that the object of the capability may be, and, indeed, ought to be, circumscribed and limited most appropriately from the object of the free will of God. For, whatever cannot fall under his will, cannot fall under his capability; and whatever is subject to the former, is likewise subject to the latter.

    IV. But the will of God can only will that which is not opposed to the divine essence, (which is the foundation both of His understanding and of his will,) that is, it can will nothing but that which exists, is true and good. Hence, neither can his capability do any other. Again, since, under the phrase "what is not opposed to the divine essence," is comprehended whatsoever is simply and absolutely possible, and since God can will the whole of this, it follows that God is capable of every thing which is possible.

    V. Those things are impossible to God which involve a contradiction, as, to make another God, to be mutable, to sin, to lie, to cause some thing at once to be and not to be, to have been and not to have been, &c., that this thing should be and not be, that it and its contrary should be, that an accident should be without its subject, that a substance should be changed into a pre-existing substance, bread into the body of Christ, that a body should possess ubiquity, &c. These things partly belong to a want of power to be capable of doing them, and partly to a want of will to do them.

    VI. But the capability of God is infinite -- and this not only because it can do all things possible, which, indeed, are innumerable, so that as many cannot be enumerated as it is capable of doing, [or after all that can be numbered, it is capable of doing still more]; nor can such great things be calculated without its being able to produce far greater, but likewise because nothing can resist it. For all created things depend upon him, as upon the efficient principle, both in their being and in their preservation. Hence, omnipotence is justly ascribed to him.

    VII. This can be communicated to no creature.

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