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The Power of annihilation proves a Vacuum.       § 21 [bis]. Farther, those who assert the impossibility of Space
existing without Matter, must not only make Body infinite, but
must also deny a power in God to annihilate any part of Matter. No
one, I suppose, will deny, that God can put an end to all motion
that is in Matter, and fix all the Bodies of the Universe in a perfect
quiet and rest, and continue them so as long as he pleases. Whoever
then will allow, that God can, during such a general rest, annihilate
either this Book, or the Body of him that reads it, must necessarily
admit the possibility of a Vacuum. For it is evident, that the Space,
that was filled by the parts of the annihilated Body, will still remain,
and be a Space without Body. For the circumambient Bodies being
in perfect rest, are a Wall of Adamant, and in that state make it a
— 177 —
perfect impossibility for any other Body to get into that Space. And
indeed the necessary motion of one Particle of Matter, into the
place from whence another Particle of Matter is removed, is but a
consequence from the supposition of Plenitude; which will there-
fore need some better proof, than a supposed matter of fact, which
Experiment can never make out; our own clear and distinct Ideas
plainly satisfying us, that there is no necessary connexion between
Space and Solidity, since we can conceive the one without the other.
And those who dispute for or against a Vacuum, do thereby confess,
they have distinct Ideas of Vacuum and Plenum, i.e. that they have an
Idea of Extension void of Solidity, though they deny its existence;
or else they dispute about nothing at all. For they who so much
alter the signification of Words, as to call Extension Body, and con-
sequently make the whole Essence of Body, to be nothing but pure
Extension without Solidity, must talk absurdly, whenever they
speak of Vacuum, since it is impossible for Extension to be without
Extension. For Vacuum, whether we affirm or deny its existence,
signifies Space without Body, whose very existence no one can deny
to be possible, who will not make Matter infinite, and take from
God a power to annihilate any Particle of it.
Locke Hum II, 13, §21bis, pp. 176-177