Of God and His Creatures

It is possible, I fear, in any school of learning to pass examinations and take degrees, philosophical and theological, by consistent repeating of an accepted phraseology that one does not really understand. What is the meaning of the axiom that God is His own goodness, His own wisdom, His own power, and the rest? It means that goodness, wisdom, power, is inseperable from God; and that each of the divine attributes, could we but view it adequately, would be found to involve all the rest. On the other hand, any given man, as Dr Smith, is not inseparable from his own learning except hypothetically, if his learning is to be at all, inasmuch as Dr Smith's learning has and can have no existence apart from Dr Smith. Formally speaking, the Doctor gives being to his own learning, so long as it lasts. But, besides that he might die and his learning with him -- whereas God and God's goodness cannot cease to be -- he might also forget all that he knows, and still remain Dr Smith. Nor does his learning involve his other attributes, his stature, for example, or his irascibility.

Of God and His Creatures: 1.38