Today we move on to section three of Zanchi’s chapter “On God, and on the Divine Persons and Properties.” 1 This chapter treats the difference between the “personal” and “essential” properties of the Trinity.
III. Proprietatibus personalibus personam a persona distingui: Essentialibus autem ab omni creatura differre.
Quoniam vero Sacrae literae ita loquuntur de Deo, ut multas illi attribuant proprietates, tum essentiales, tum personales: et essentialibus quidem eum differre docent a rebus omnibus creatis, personalibus autem unamquamque personam ab altera distingui: Idcirco nos quoque credimus sicut generare Filium, ita proprium est Patris, ut neque Filio, neque Spiritui sancto conveniat, et contra generari, non nisi Filio, atque ita de reliquis: Sic etiam, simplicissimum esse, aeternum, immensum, ubique presentem, simpliciter omniscium, simpliciter omnipotentem, simpliciter bonum, et huius generis alia, ita propria esse Dei, ut nulli queant reapse communicari creaturae: ita ut eadem (exempli causa) immensa bonitate, bona sit, aut omnipotentia omnipotens, qua et Deus est.
III. That Person is distinguished from Person by the personal properties; but that by the essential [properties] [the Persons] differ from every creature.
But because the sacred writings speak about God in such a way that they attribute many properties to him, both essential and personal; and teach that, on the one hand, he differs from all created things by the essential [properties], but, on the other, that each Person is distinguished each other by the personal [properties]–we too therefore believe that, just as it is proper to the Father to generate the Son in such a way that it is appropriate neither to the Son nor to the Holy Spirit, and, contrariwise, that being generated [is] not [appropriate to any] except to the Son, and so on concerning the rest [of the relevant distinctions], so also, [we believe that] being most simple, eternal, infinite, everywhere present, simply omniscient, simply omnipotent, simply good, and other things of this kind are proper to God in such a way that they are not able in reality to be communicated to any creature, such that (for example) [the creature] be good by the same infinite goodness, or omnipotent by [the same infinite] omnipotence, by which God also is. 2
E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.
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