Finite And Infinite. -- By: H. B. Fry

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 050:200 (Oct 1893)
Article: Finite And Infinite.
Author: H. B. Fry


Finite And Infinite.1

Rev. H. B. Fry

The difference of conception which we must form of the Finite and the Infinite belongs to the nature of ideas. There is, however, a difference in their modes of existence and their relations, which belongs to the nature of substance. Their nature is in some respects essentially diverse. Not that the one is more real than the other; reality is one. In it there are no degrees or varieties; hence things cannot be more or less real and be real at all. Nor can they be real in different ways or in different senses. The real is something, the unreal is nothing; and there is no compromise between them. Nor does one have more or less claim to being than the other. Being is the reality of substance; hence it cannot vary in degree or in kind. In their modes of existence, however, the infinite and finite do differ. This will become evident as this discussion develops.

All reality is determined according to the principle of necessity; and is either conditioned or unconditioned. The term condition is equivocal, and means, first, state or situation in which a thing exists; second, it denotes naked sine qua non. It includes mere possibility. Thus, unity is the condition of plurality and identity, of diversity. Third, it is used to denote influence and dependence. In this last sense it is used in this discussion. The unconditioned is the ultimate condition of all that is conditioned; and all reasoning by implication is based upon the relations of the conditioned to its condition, and vice versa, reasoning from the conditioned to its condition is called a posteriori, and that in the opposite direction is call a priori. The former brings to view the principle of dependence and support. The latter discloses influence and result. Now, dependence implies support, and vice versa. The same is true of influence and result; because they are really only the same principle regarded from different points of view.

Existence takes two forms, viz. change and unchange. These are the result of action and inaction, and result in sameness and difference. Pure change is achronic, and is the result of spontaneous activity. The principle of action is causation. The correlate of pure action is pure passion. These give us the ultimate subject and object of action. In pure action we never look beyond the subject to find whence the influence comes. The spontaneity of the subject forbids this; for it is the unconditioned condition of change. In pure passion also we never look beyond the object to find the end of influence. The passivity of the , object forbids this. In causation the subject is called cause, because it posses...

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