Passive Power

Passive Power a phrase employed to denote a power of producing change, not actively, but negatively. Dr. Williams, who has revived the use of it in theology, understands by it what some philosophers have denominated malum metasphysicum, by which is meant the immediate cause of defectibility, mutability; or limitation in creatures. Every created being and property must necessarily be limited. Limitation is as essentially an attribute of a creature as infinity is of the Creator. This limitedness implies defectibility, fallibleness, and mutability. It is to this principle, which is entirely of a negative character, that evil is ultimately to be referred. It is not communicated to the creature by his Maker, nor could any act of will or power prevent its connection with any created nature, any more than such an act of will or power could change the very essence of creatureship, or cause an uncaused being. As the principle is not communicated or caused by the Creator, so neither are its results. They can be traced no higher than to the being in whom they ate developed. To himself alone must every one ascribe them; to himself as a creature, in relation to the principle; but to himself as sinful in relation to the moral results. Gilbert, Life of Dr. Williams, note C.

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