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De Moor VIII:7: The Efficient Cause of Creation, Part 2

Indeed, this work of Creation ought to be claimed for God Alone, on account of the clear passages asserting it, Nehemiah 9:6; Job 9:8; Isaiah 44:24, and for the same reasons that were just now given in § 6. Add, 1. that the one Creating will have to give to the thing created the whole Essence that it will have: but who will be able as a Creature? For, either he will have shared his very own Essence with the thing created, or another Essence outside himself: but each is ἀδύνατον/impossible. It remains, that to create belongs to Him alone, who, in an incomprehensible manner, on account of the infinity of His own perfections, is able to give of Himself to others, without Himself thereby having less. 2. Creation is an act, constituting nature in its being; hence it pertains uniquely to the very author of nature, who presides over all nature; not to the merely weak efficiency of one whose whole power is restricted to the laws of nature. 3. That no Creature is able to preserve itself in its own contingent being, much less to produce another: see VRIESIUS’ Exercitationes Rationales XXIII, § 5.

Neither does an Instrument have any place here, which is one of the less principal Causes, which, employed by the principal, is a help to the same in producing an effect; or of which the principal Cause makes use, so that through it, as a vehicle, he might transfer, as it were, his own activity unto the subject. There is no place for an Instrument of this sort:

α. In Production out of Nothing, for, 1. An Instrument presupposes matter or a subject, on which it might operate, as a pen presupposes paper on which it might inscribe letters, or an ax wood which it might cut. 2. For the transition from non-being to being is momentary; for there is nothing in between, and hence from nothing to something there can be no lapse or succession of moments, and so no successive operation: however, all operation by means of another thing after the manner of an Instrument is successive; indeed, first a Craftsman takes up the Instrument, and then disposes that to operation, next applying it to work, and finally, with the Instrument intervening, bringing the intended work to perfection by degrees, which can be illustrated by the example of a workman cutting wood with a saw or ax. Neither is there place for an Instrument:

β. In Production out of Ill-adapted Matter, which sort obtains in the Second Creation; for this also altogether exceeds the Laws of Nature, and so it, no less than Production out of Nothing, requires the infinite power of Him who is the Founder of Nature; while in the creature there is no natural power proportioned to and adequate for such an effect.

But this is at the same time to be maintained;

α. Against the Arians, who considered the Son of God as the Instrument of the Father in the first production of all things; some of whom were called specifically Dulians also, because in the Creation they made the Son of God the δοῦλον/doulos/servant of the Father: see SPANHEIM’S Historiæ Ecclesiasticæ, Century IV, chapter X, § 1, numbers 5, 9, columns 883, 888. Of these THEODORET speaks, Hæreticarum fabularum, book IV, chapter IV, opera, tome 4, page 238, relating: Χρόνῳ δὲ ὕστερον καὶ ἕτερος συνέστη σύλλογος, ἐκ τῶν Ἀρειανῶν χωρισείς· τὴν δὲ προσηγορίαν ἐκ τῆς ἀσεβείας ἐσχήκασι· Δουλειανοὶ γὰρ ὠνομάσθησαν, τὸν μονογενῆ τοῦ Θεοῦ Υἱὸν δοῦλον τοῦ Πατρὸς τολμήσαντες καλέσαι. συλλογισμῷ δὲ τοιῷδε κεχρημένοι τὴν βλασφημίαν κατασκευάζουσι. πᾶν κτίσμα φασὶ δοῦλον τοῦ κεκτικότος· κτίσμα δὲ τοῦ Πατρὸς ὁ Υἱός, at a later time another group banded together, distinct from the Arians: but they had had their name from their impiety: for they were called Dulians, daring to call the only begotten Son of God the doulos/servant of the Father. Having consulted such reasoning, they fabricate that blasphemy: it is said that all creation is the servant of the creator; but the Son is the creation of the Father. JUSTIN MARTYR speaks more prudently, by whom in his Epistle to Diognetus, page 498, Christ is called οὐκ ὑπηρέτης τὶς, ἢ ἄγγελος, ἀλλ᾽ αὐτὸς ὁ τεχνίτης καὶ δημιουργὸς τῶν ὅλῶν, ῷ τοὺς οὐρανοὺς ἔκτισεν, not some servant, or angel, but the creator and demiurge of all things, by whom He (God the Father) created the heavens.

β. Against various, that have urged that the World was of old created through Angels or Æons; which after the Simonians[1] is attributed to the Gnostics and to all the dregs of the most impure Heretics; yet not to all in exactly the same way: since some with Saturninus[2] name only a few Angels; some with Valentinus[3] and Carpocrates[4] name the evil Angels in species, or the inferior Angels, among whom the Devil was chief. In this opinion concerning the creation of the World through Angels, they were able to imitate the Gentile Philosophers, who were relating that the supreme God created this inferior World through Dæmons or Genies. Meanwhile, Ancient Heretics were speaking concerning the creation of the World by Angels, in such a way that they were all but forgetful of God Himself: as AUGUSTINE, for example, relates concerning Saturninus, libro de Hæresibus, chapter III, that he was saying that seven Angels alone, without the knowledge of God the Father, made the World; as if anything were able to be done without the knowledge, will, and command of the omnipotent God: as he also relates concerning Simon Magus, libro de Hæresibus, chapter I, He was teaching…that God did not make the world; likewise concerning Menander,[5] He was asserting that the World was made, not by God, but by Angels. Compare Historiam Symboli Apostolici, chapter II, especially § 22, 27-31, 39-51; BULL,[6] in his Epilogo Defensionis Fidei Nicænæ, pages 291, 292; DANÆUS, in his Opusculis, ad Augustinum de Hæresibus, chapters I-III, V-VIII, XI, XXIV, pages 915-917, 921-925, 929-931, 944; SPANHEIM’S Historiam Ecclesiasticam, Century I, chapter XIV, § 2, columns 574, 575, 577, Century II, chapter VI, § 2, columns 637, 640, 641, 645, 648.

What our AUTHOR also has briefly mentioned here concerning the Jews, concerning that HOORNBEECK is able to be compared, book V, contra Judæos, chapter II, pages 381, 383, although, that otherwise the Jews rightly assign the work of Creation to God alone, is the observation of À LENT,[7] de Theologia Judaica moderna, chapter VI, § 7, pages 181-184.

γ. With the Anti-Trinitarians of our age sometimes adding in the Exegesis of some Passages, for example, Genesis 1:26, etc., see HOORNBEECK in the passage just now cited, and above in Chapter V, § 13, and next in § 8 of this Chapter.

[1] The Simonians were a second century Gnostic sect, which traced its doctrines to Simon Magus. [2] Saturninus of Antioch (c. 150) was an early Gnostic teacher of the Simonian school. He taught that matter was impure, and that the universe was created by seven renegade angels. [3] Valentinus (c. 100-c. 160) was perhaps the most influential Gnostic of his day, with many followers. Although his work survives only in fragments, his system continued, albeit in modified forms, in his disciples. [4] Carpocrates of Alexandria was the founder of a libertine Gnostic sect in the early second century. [5] Menander was a first century Samaritan Simonian and magician. [6] George Bull (1634-1710) was an Anglican theologian and Bishop of St. David’s. He was fully orthodox with respect to his Trinitarian theology, but heterodox with respect to his assertion of the necessity of good works for justification, and therefore sometimes accused of Socinianism. [7] Johann à Lent (1654-1696) served as Professor of Church History, Hebrew, and Syriac at Herborn (1686-1696).

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