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5. Of seeing all things in God [=An Examination of P. Malebranche’s Opinion] (1693)

Section 60 (of 60)

Normalized

60 Farther we see the necessary and unchangeable essences of things in the perfections of God. Water, a Rose, and a L ion have their distinct essences one from another, and from all other things; what I desire to know, are these distinct essences I confesse I neither see them in, nor out of God and in which of the perfections of God. we see each of them?

61 Page 504. I finde these words It is evident that the perfections, that are in God, which represent created or possible Beings are not at all equall: that those for example that represent bodys are not so noble as those for example that represent spirits and amongstthose themselveswhich represent nothing but body or nothing but Spirits there are more perfect one than anothertoinfinit<y>,this is conceiveable clearly and without pain, though one findes some difficulty to reconcile the simplicity of the Divine Being with this varietie of intelligible Ideas which he conteins in his wisdome. This difficulty is to me insurmountable; and , I conclude it always shall be so till I can finde a way to make simplicity and variety the same. And this difficulty must always cumber this Doctrine, which supposes that the perfections of God are the representatives to us of whatever we perceive of the creatures. for then these perfections must be many and diverse, and distinct one from another as those Ideas are that represent the different creatures to us, and this seems to me to make God formally to contein in him all the distinct Ideas of all the creatures; and that so, that they may be seen one after another which seemes to me, after all the talke of abstraction, to be but a little lesse grosse conception than of the Scat ches of all the pictures that ever a paint er draws kept by him in his closet, which are there all to be seen one afte r another as he pleases to shew them, But whilst these abstract thoughts produce nothing better to me than this, I the easier content my self with my ignorance which roundly thinkes thus. God is a simple Being, Omniscient that knows all things possible; and Omnipotent that can do or make all things possible. But how he knows or how he makes I do not conceive: his ways of knowing as well as his ways of creating are to me incomprehensible; and if they were not so I should not thinke him to be God. or to be perfecter in knowledg than I am, To which our Authors thoughts seem, in the close of what is above cited, some what to incline when he says the varietieof intelligible Ideas which God conteins in his wisdome whereby he seemes to place this varietie of Ideas in the minde of thoughts or God, as we may so say, whereby tis hard to conceive how we can see them and not in the Being of God where they are to be seen as so many distinct things in it ****

Thus far 1693

JL Of seeing all thing<s> in God 1693

Diplomatic

Farther we see the necessary and unchangeable essences of things in the perfections of God. Water, a Rose, and a L y ion have their distinct essences one from another, and from  all other things; what I desire to know, are these distinct essences I confesse I neither see them in, nor out of God and in which of the perfections of God. do we see each of them?

Page 504. I finde these words It is evident that the perfections, that are in God, which represent created or possible Beings are not at all equall: that those for example that represent bodys are not so noble as those for example that represent spirits and amongstthose themselveswhich represent nothing but body or nothing but Spirits there are more perfect one than another

85

toinfinit<y>,this is conceiveable clearly and without pain, though one findes some difficulty to reconcile the simplicity of the Divine Being with this varietie of intelligible Ideas which he conteins in his wisdome. This difficulty is to me insurmountable; and shall, I conclude it always shall be so till I can finde a way to make simplicity and variety the same. And this difficulty must always cumber this Doctrine, which supposes that the perfections of God are the representatives to us of whatever we perceive of the creatures. for then thouse these  perfections must be many and diverse, and distinct one from another as those Ideas are that represent the different creatures to us, and this seems to me .. to make God formally to contein in him all the distinct Ideas of the all the creatures; and that so, that they may be seen one one after another which seemes to me, after all the talke of abstraction, to be but a little lesse grosse conception than of the Scat ches of all the pictures that ever a paint er draws kept by him in his closet, which are there all to be seen one afte ra another as he pleases to shew them, But wils whilst these abstract thoughts produce nothing better to me than this, I the .. easier content my self with my ignorance which roundly thinkes thus. God is a simple Being, Omins Omniscient that knows all things possible; and Omnipotent

86

that can do or make all things possible. But how he knows or how he makes I do not conceive: his ways of knowing as well as his ways of creating are to me incomprehensible; and if they were not so I should not thinke th. him to be God. or to be perfecter in knowledg than I am, To which our Authors thoughts seem, in the close of what is above cited, some what to incline when he sayes the varietieof intelligible Ideas which God conteins in his wisdome whereby he seemes to place this varietie of Ideas in the minde of thoughts or God, as we may so say, whereby tis hard to conceive how we can see them and not in the Being of God where they are to be seen as so many distinct things in it ****

Thus far 1693 

1

JL Of seeing all thing<s> in God 1693


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‘Page 504’ should be p. 540 (of the fourth edition of the Recherche); see next note.
Malebranche, ‘Éclaircissement X’ in Recherche, p. 540: ‘Il est évident que les perfections qui sont en Dieu, lesquelles représentent les êtres créez ou possibles, ne sont pas toutes égales, que celles, par exemple, qui representent les corps, ne sont pas si nobles que celles qui représentent les esprits; & qu’entre celles-là mêmes qui ne representent que des corps ou que des esprits, il y en a de plus parfaites les unes les autres à l’infini. Cela se conçoit clairement & sans peine, quoiqu’on trouve quelque difficulté à accorder la simplicité de l’Etre divin avec cette varieté d’idées intelligibles qu’il renferme dans sa sagesse.’

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Thus far 1693] W:  om.
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