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45. How Things Come From God

1. The first beginning of things must be by total production out of nothing. All things, in final analysis, are created.

2. Things are coming into existence all the time; some,such as living things, come as the product of natural forces; some come as the products of man's activity and skill, that is, as products of art. But nature and art must have something to work upon; neither can give a completely first beginning. A living thing has something of itself, in germ or seed, derived from parent beings; nature develops this into the new living body. And a thing made by art (that is an artificial, as contrasted with a natural thing) is made of materials; thus a house is made of building materials; such materials are called the subject out of which the artificial thing is made. Thus nature and art require, for producing a new thing, either something of the thing itself, or some subject out of which the thing is to be made. Butfirst beginning is absolute beginning; nothing of the thing to be produced exists; there is nothing either of itself or of a subject. Such first beginning is creation, which is defined as the producing of a thing out of nothing.

3. Creation, in God, is an act of infinite power. Creation, in the thing created, is a real relation to the Creator as the principle of creatural being.

4. God creates substances, and with them their accidentals. When God created the first man, Adam had a definite size, weight, shape, color, and so forth. These accidentals are said to have in-being rather than being, and they are cocreated with the substance in which they inhere. This explains their first beginning. Accidentals change according to what substances do or undergo, but their first origin must be in theircoming along with the substance created.

5. Only absolute power can create; only the universal cause can produce the universal effect of being. Only infinite perfection can summon reality out of nothingness. Hence, only God can create. A creature cannot even serve as an instrument or ministering cause in the act of creating; for there is nothing,either of the creature to be produced or of any subject, upon which an instrument could be employed; there is nothing that a ministering cause could arrange or prepare or have at hand. Thus creation is an act proper to God alone.

6. Creation is not, strictly speaking, proper to any one Person of the Trinity; it is proper to the Trinity itself. Yet we may say that the creative act proceeds from the Father through his Word and through his Love, that is, from the Father through the Son and the Holy Ghost.

7. It is true that every maker leaves some sort of image of himself in what he makes, and in creatures there is a trace of the Trinity. In rational creatures (men and angels) there is the subsisting principle, the word of understanding, and the act of love proceeding from the will. In non rational creatures as well as in rational creatures, there is that which exists, its kind by which it is distinct from other things, and its relationship to other things that sets and fits it in its order and place in the created world. Hence in every creature there is a trace, however imperfect and faint, of the Trinity.

8. Nature and art produce effects by using existing things. Creation is not mingled with nature and art, but is presupposed to them and to their activity. Creation givesfirst beginnings.

"God gives us some things, as the beginning of faith, even when we do not pray. Other things, such as perseverance, he has only provided for those who pray."
St Augustine

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"God has no need of men."
St Philip Neri

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"To do God's will -- this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul. "
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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