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44. God as First Cause of All Things

1. Every actual reality, every existing thing, has its being either by necessity (and hence is necessary being, that is, God) or by participation, that is, by having its being given,imparted, or shared unto it. And that which has its being by participation must come, ultimately, from that which has its being by necessity. In other words, all creatures have their being, in ultimate analysis, from a direct act of God. God imparts or shares out being to creatures. God does not share or divide himself, for he is infinite and indivisible. God gives being directly by the act of creating. To create is to produce a thing in entirety out of nothing. All creatures have their first origin in creation.

2. Bodies are made up of two substantial elements, primal matter and substantial form. Primal matter has no proper existence of its own, but exists only in existing bodies; it cannot exist separately by itself, but only as in-formed by the substantial principle which makes a body an existing body of an essential kind; this constituting substantial principle is called substantial form. Primal matter is the common substrate of all existing bodies; it is that by which a body is bodily. Primal matter, though in all kinds of bodies and in each of every kind, has nothing in itself by which body is distinguished from body; for all bodies (mineral, vegetal, animal, human) are equally bodily things. Substantial form gives a body its existence in a specific or essential kind. Primal matter is the most imperfect of things, and yet it is a thing, it is a being, and, like all creatural things, it has being by participation. Hence primal matter has its first beginning in the act of God's creation. Primal matter is created by God. In creating bodies God creates their primal matter.

3. Things are of definite kinds; they are constituted according to some plan, model, or exemplar. As we have seen, all the exemplar ideas of creatable things are in God. Thus (since God's ideas or knowledge is identified with the divine essence)God himself is the exemplar of all things that have being by participation.

4. In creating things God does not act to acquire anything, for he is infinite and needs nothing, nor can he be in any way increased or made more excellent by acquiring anything. God creates to communicate his goodness. And creatures are made to manifest or acquire perfection in the likeness of God's goodness. Therefore the goodness of God is both the first effecting cause of things and the ultimate final cause (the end or goal) for which things are created.

"As the flesh is nourished by food, so is man supported by prayers"
St Augustine

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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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"Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life eases the mind and a clean conscience inspires great trust in God."
Thomas á Kempis

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