Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Early Church Fathers Nota Bene Sacred Doctrine

Isidore, Sententiae 1.2.1b

Sententiae 1.2.1b carries on in the same vein:1

Non ita putandus est esse in omnibus Deus ut unaquaeque res pro magnitudine portionis suae capiat eum, id est maxima maius, et minima minus, dum sit potius ipse totus in omnibus, sive omnia in ipso.

God must not be thought of as being in all things in such a way that each and every thing receives him in in accordance with the size of its own portion–that is, [as though] a thing greater in size receives more, and a thing smaller receives less; since he himself is rather wholly in all things, or all things are in him.

Where in 1.2.1a Isidore noted that God is not parceled out bit by bit, he here expands the point to say as well that objects that are bigger don’t have more of God in them; God’s immensity is not divisible in that way, or in any way, because he is simple. If God has no parts, there cannot be a larger part of him in one place and a smaller one in another. He is, rather, omnipresent and, so to speak, totipresent:2 he is present everywhere, and all of him is present everywhere.

As both older and more recent editors of the text point out, the kind of thought to which Isidore takes its beginning from Jeremiah 23.24 (“Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord”);[^3] when the verse is reflected upon in metaphysical perspective, it leads to formulations like that above.

[^3] Though the verse is mis-cited in both the PL and CCSL versions of the text.

  1. The translation is my own. 
  2. Yes, I realize how barbaric that word sounds. But it is only because you’re not used to it. Don’t worry, the revulsion will fade. 

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.