Source:

Textes inédits tome 1
Gaston Grua (ed)
pp 370-371



Date: 1695-1697

Translated from the Latin



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LEIBNIZ: THEODICAEA


[Gr p370]

THEODICAEA
Or, on behalf of divine justice.
Universal demonstrations up to
mathematical certainty and form
from natural theology and accurate jurisprudence
with which human kind can be freed from doubts
concerning contingency and fate, freedom and
predestination

     Because the perfections of nature are nothing other than the ordinary grace of God, I am not able to remove with mathematical certainty the problems concerning the assistance of grace, nor do I believe them capable of being settled by reason, since it is in accordance with the choice of divine wisdom how much perfection to concede to nature, and how much it may wish to reserve for grace. This therefore is to be learned from revelation, and I think that what seems to be taught by the opinions of holy men and by the judgement of the Church needs to be brought together. And I think the popes, who proclaim that this is something not yet settled, have acted wisely.
     Writing by Mr Jurieu on this subject. Vincent Baron. Molina on Thomas. Pseudo Dionysius to Hildesheim. The Stoics, Lipsius and Scioppius. Mahomedans who say 'it is written', idle talk. Selected dissertations of Voëtius.

[Gr p371]

     These are very ancient doubts. New studies: concerning the original imperfection of creatures before sin, from which the cause of sin is to be sought. All things are good but nothing is absolutely perfect. Concerning the composition of things from perfection and limitation, i.e. from action and privation, and concerning the origin of things from God and nothing, which is about the origin of numbers from 1 and 0, i.e. from unity and nothing. Concerning the root of contingency, where it is shown according to certain considerations that the contingent has the same relationship to the necessary as surd number does to rational number. Concerning the connection of things, where it is shown that God, according to his supreme wisdom, would not establish from one single act that which he could establish from the whole series of the universe; the consequence of which is that God does not determine whether a man should sin or be punished, but whether a man who is going to sin and be punished, and the possible series of things in which that is contained, should be admitted to existence before another possible form of the universe.
     All contingencies are infallible and certain, but they are not necessary.
     Perfection is pure act, i.e. pure positive. What is usually said about act and power, we shall rightly say about the positive and the privative, i.e. about the absolute and the limited.


Original translation © Maureen Sawbridge 2002
Revised translation © Lloyd Strickland 2003