Solidity does not exist in them (nec esse in ea ullam soliditatem)

  • ‘…but this form is not body, but quasi-body [quasi corpus], nor has it blood, but quasi-blood’ given such statements one might at first think of a statue as a good analogy. But as we know, every discrete object will eventually break up into the parts that composed it. “τὸ λέγειν ὡς οὐδ' ἐν τοῖς σώμασιν καταλείπει τοὺς θ[εούς] ‘τῶν σωμάτων’ λέγων ‘τὰ μὲν εἶναι συγκρίσεις, τὰ δ' ἐξ ὧν αἱ συγκρίσεις πεπόηνται.’ μήτε γὰρ ἀτόμους νομίζειν τοὺς θεοὺς μήτε συγκρίσεις, ἐπειδήπερ οὗτοι μὲν διαιώνιοι τελέως, αἱ δὲ πᾶσαι φθαρταί. μηδὲν δὲ σῶμ' ἔχειν τοὺς θεοὺς ἀφθάρτους ὄντας, [they say that] regarding the claim that (Epicurus) does not allow the gods to be bodies when he says ‘of bodies some are compounds, and others are those things out of which compounds are formed’ for he considers the gods to be neither simple entities nor compounds, since those are completely eternal, while these are destructible, so in no way can gods have bodies, since they are indestructible (Philodemus On Piety column 2, Obbink lines 34-50).”


    For the gods “there is in them no solidity, so to speak, or numerical identity, like those things which on account their compactness he calls ‘solids’ (ND I.37.105)” Not every object is discrete. Some objects are formed by a process: as in the common example of a waterfall, which although a flowing mass of constantly changing matter, we nevertheless “κατ᾽ ἀριθμὸν ὑφεστῶτας, conceive (them) as numerically distinct (ΔΛ Χ139)”


    Of course, no amount of assault against such a nondiscrete object will effect its continued existence (following our analogy, stabbing a waterfall with a sword is inconsequential to the existence of a waterfall). “εἴ γ' εὐ[σκοποῦσίν] φησιν φύσιν τούτων πραγμάτων καὶ πολλῶν αὐτὴν περιεστώτων δοξ[άζειν ἐξεῖναι] καὶ πολλοῖς [ἀι]δίοις [θεοῖς κἀθα]νάτοις [εἶναι], (Epicurus says) that he thinks that is is possible for their nature to exist even with many troubles surrounding it, and that it is possible thus for many eternal and immortal gods to exist (Philodemus On Piety column 3, Obbink lines 62-70).”


    The only threat to a nondiscrete ‘constant flow’ existence is insufficient supply of material. However, the material in the entire universe is infinite. In the infinity of space with infinite material, that there will be areas through which matter infinitely passes is a certainty. This process can take any shape, and when in the shape of man, here we find gods. They are certain to exit. They are certainly eternal. They are certainly indestructible. “...οὓς δὲ καθ᾽ ὁμοείδειαν, ἐκ τῆς συνεχοῦς ἐπιρρύσεως τῶν ὁμοίων εἰδώλων, ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ἀποτετελεσμένους ἀνθρωποειδεῖς, in a similar shape, from the continuous influx of similar films, to the same place where they are rendered as human-shaped (ΔΛ Χ139).”


    Mελετᾶν οὖν χρὴ τὰ ποιοῦντα τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν.

    It is necessary to study what produces wellbeing.