J. H. Heidegger on the Simplicity of God

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Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
From the Medulla theologiae.
The simplicity of God.
XIX. God, by his simplicity, is without all composition, coalition, concretion, confusion, and diversity, absolutely simple, one, and indivisible, so that whatsoever is or is conceived of as being in him is God. I shall be who I shall be, or, I am who I am, Ex. 3:14. That which is his being is not even composed from being and essence, which is the most subtle of all composition. Likewise, יהוה Jehovah exists, both according to his own reason par excellence, because in him there is nothing except the first, most perfect, and therefore most simple היות, being, and because he gives to all else to be, move, and live, Act. 17:28, and therefore, beginning. All composition is for this reason, that it has beginning and dependency. But God is absolutely אחד, one, Deut. 4:35, 6:4, and so it plainly ἀμέριστος, indivisible, and absolutely simple. Finally, he is Spirit, Jn. 4:24, and he is Creator, not created, perfect, not imperfect: truth, life, Jn. 14:6, love, 1 Jn. 4:16. the strength of Israel, 1 Sam. 15:29, and therefore act, most pure form, most simple, and absolutely perfect, Job 37:15, Mt. 5:40, which cannot have composition. He has life in himself, Jn. 5:26, but as a fountain of life, Ps. 36:10, and life itself, Jn. 1:4. His soul, by which he is said to swear, Jer. 51:14, is God himself, because he swears בו by himself, Gn. 22:16. Neither are his attributes really distinct from him: neither the things of diverse persons, but they are ἕν, one, 1 Jn. 5:7, neither do the attributes differ, except by reason of objects and effects, which are outside of God. XXXII. XXXIII.
God cannot come into composition.
XX. Not only is God simple, but he cannot in fact come into composition with a thing outside of himself. Which the Platonists and Manichaeans of old, as well as the most recent Fanatics affirmed. For how can the Creator and the creature, which cannot be compared to him, Is. 40:17, Act. 17:29, incorruptible and corruptible, immortal and mortal, coalesce in one essence? But even the most vile creature should in this way come into part of the Godhead. Which is the delirium of Spinoza, recalled from hell. Indeed, in God, we are, live, and move, Act. 17:28; that is, through God, who made the world, and everything in it, ibid. 24-26. In which sense we are in fact called the offspring of God in the same place. XXXIV.
He is Spirit.
XXI. God is certainly a Spirit, Jn. 4:24, and he is most simple, and without all matter, because, as a Spirit, he is opposed to flesh, Jer. 31:3, Luc. 24:39; and all brute matter is inactive; God, if he does not think, is an idol, as the old Audians and Spinoza make him. For the members that are attributed to him must be understood concerning the like operations of members. And, as he has a great discrepancy from the mind of man in infinite ways, his Spirit is diverse in every way from the same. XXXV.
Plainly invisible.
XXII. God, just as he is Spirit, is also invisible. For he dwells in inaccessible light, which no man has seen, nor can see, 1 Tim. 6:16. He is simply ἀόρατος, invisible, 1 Tim. 1:17. Jn. 1:18. Who sees his own mind? And yet the mind of God is infinitely more simple and more perfect. If man, in that part in which he is the genus and image of God, cannot be extended, nor seen in parts, much less can God. Hence, the glory of God and the likeness of the creature are opposed, Is. 40:16, 25. Rom. 1:23. Therefore, whatsoever vision there is by which Scripture asserts that God is seen, it is not of his essence, of which no similitude is given, Deut. 4:15. 16, but it is either a perceiving of Christ incarnate, or of a symbol and organ that God took to himself, or of his Name, as it is revealed, or of an appearance before the face of God, decreed for his facing, or of his goodness and glory in eternal life. XXXVI. XXXVII.
He is incomprehensible.
XXIII. But God is also ἀκατάληπτος, incomprehensible. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! Rom. 11:33. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Ps. 139:6. His greatness is unsearchable. Ps. 145:3. For it may be that what is revealed about God by God is to be believed: yet nevertheless we do not know how they on the whole have what is revealed. Man has not known his very self perfectly. They are some meanderings of his thoughts. His heart עָקֹ֥ב is deceitful; who has known it? Jer. 17:9. And how much less is it given to know the deep things of God, of whom there are neither thoughts, nor ways, as the ways and thoughts of men, Is. 55:6-7, and which only the Spirit of God has known, 1 Cor. 2:10-11. XXXVIII.
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