Philosophical Dictionary, by Voltaire

ETERNITY.

In my youth I admired all the reasonings of Samuel Clarke. I loved his person, although he was a determined Arian as well as Newton, and I still revere his memory, because he was a good man; but the impression which his ideas had stamped on my yet tender brain was effaced when that brain became more firm. I found, for example, that he had contested the eternity of the world with as little ability as he had proved the reality of infinite space.

I have so much respect for the Book of Genesis, and for the church which adopts it, that I regard it as the only proof of the creation of the world five thousand seven hundred and eighteen years ago, according to the computation of the Latins, and seven thousand and seventy-eight years, according to the Greeks. All antiquity believed matter, at least, to be eternal; and the greatest philosophers attributed eternity also to the arrangement of the universe.

They are all mistaken, as we well know; but we may believe, without blasphemy, that the eternal Former of all things made other worlds besides ours.

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