Plastic Nature

Plastic Nature an absurd doctrine, which some have thus described: "It is an incorporeal created substance, endued with a vegetative life, but not with sensation or thought; penetrating the whole created universe, being co-extended with it; and, under God, moving matter, so as to produce the phenomena which cannot be solved by mechanical laws: active for ends unknown to itself, not being expressly conscious of its actions, and yet having an obscure idea of the action to be entered upon." To this it has been answered that, as the idea itself is most obscure, and, indeed, inconsistent, so the foundation of it is evidently weak. It is intended by this to avoid the inconvenience of subjecting God to the trouble of some changes in the created world, and the meanness of others. But it appears that, even upon this hypothesis, he would still be the author of them; besides, to Omnipotence nothing is troublesome, nor those things mean, when considered as part of a system, which alone might appear to be so. See Doddridge, Lectures, lect. 37; Cudworth, Intellectual System, p. 149,172; More, Imm7ortality of the Soul, lib. 3, c. 12; Ray, Wisdom- of God, p. 51, 52; Lord Monboddo, Ancient Metaphysics; Young, Essay on the Powers and Mechanism of Nature; Cocker, Theism; Tulloch, English Prot. Theol. 2, 269, 273, 397.

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