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Priestley, Joseph - Infinites as the cause



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A description of the experience

Institutes of Natural and Revealed Religion (1772–1774)

It may, perhaps, be true, though we cannot distinctly see it to be so, that as all finite things require a cause, infinites admit of none. It is evident, that nothing can begin to be without a cause; but it by no means follows from thence, that that must have had a cause which had no beginning. But whatever there may be in this conjecture, we are constrained, in pursuing the train of causes and effects, to stop at last at something uncaused.
That any being should be self created is evidently absurd, because that would suppose that he had a being before he had, or that he existed, and did not exist at the same time. For want of clearer knowledge of this subject, we are obliged to content ourselves with terms that convey only negative ideas, and to say that God is a being untreated or uncaused; and this is all that we mean when we sometimes say that he is self existent.

  • Vol. I : Part I : The Being and Attributes of God, § 1 : Of the existence of God, and those attributes which art deduced from his being considered as uncaused himself, and the cause of every thing else (1772)

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Priestley, Joseph

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