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Short Treatise on God, Man, and His Well-Being:
Part 1, Dialogue 2.
Relating Partly To The Preceding, Partly To The Following Second Part

    ERASMUS. I have heard you say, Theophilus, that God is a cause of all things, and, at the same time, that he can be no other than an Immanent cause. Now, if he is an immanent cause of all things, how then can you call him a remote [N1] cause? For, that is impossible in the case of an Immanent cause.
[Note N1]: B: prior.

    THEOPHILUS. When I said that God is a remote [N1] cause, I only said it with reference to the things [which God has produced mediately, and not with reference to those] which God (without any other conditions beyond his mere existence) has produced immediately; but on no account did I mean to call him a remote cause absolutely: as you might also have clearly gathered from my remarks. For, I also said that in some respects we can call him a remote cause.
[Note N1]: B: prior.

    ERASMUS. I understand now adequately what you want to say; but I note also that you have said, that the effect of the [N1] immanent cause remains united with its cause in such a way that together they constitute a whole. Now, if this is so, then, methinks, God cannot be an immanent cause. For, if he and that which is produced by him together form a whole, then you ascribe to God at one time more essence than at another time. I pray you, remove these doubts for me.
[Note N1]: B: an.

    THEOPHILUS If, Erasmus, you want to extricate yourself from this confusion, then mark well what I am going to tell you now. The essence of a thing does not increase through its union with another thing with which it constitutes a whole; on the contrary, the first remains unchanged. I will give you an illustration, so that you may understand me the better. An image-carver has made from wood various forms after the likeness of the parts of the human body; he takes one of these, which has the form of a human breast, joins it to another, which has the form of a human head, and of these two he makes a whole, which represents the upper part of a human body; would you therefore say that the essence of the head has increased because it has been joined to the breast? That would be erroneous, because it is the same that it was before. For the sake of greater clearness let me give you another illustration, namely, an idea that I have of a triangle, and another resulting from an extension of one of the angles, which extended or extending angle is necessarily equal to the two interior opposite angles, and so forth. These, I say, have produced a new idea, namely, that the three angles of the triangle are equal to two right angles. This idea is so connected with the first, that it can neither be, nor be conceived without the same. [N1] Mark well now that although the new idea is joined to the preceding one, the essence of the preceding idea does not undergo any change in consequence; on the contrary, it remains without the slightest change. The same you may also observe in every idea which produces love in itself: this love in no way adds to the essence of the idea. But why multiply illustrations? since you can see it clearly in the subject which I have been illustrating and which we are discussing now. I have distinctly stated that all attributes, which depend on no other cause, and whose definition requires no genus pertain to the essence of God; and since the created things are not competent to establish an attribute, they do not increase the essence of God, however intimately they become united to him. Add to this, that "whole" is but a thing of reason, and does not differ from the general except in this alone that the general results from various Disconnected individuals, the Whole, from various United individuals; also in this, that the General only comprises parts of the same kind, but the Whole, parts both the same and different in kind. [N2]
[Note N1]: A continues: And of all ideas which any one has we make a whole, or (which is the same) a thing of reason, which we call Understanding.

[Note N2]: B: ... the general results from various unconnected individuals of the same kind; but the whole from various connected individuals different as well as the same in kind.

    ERASMUS. So far as this is concerned you have satisfied me. But, in addition to this, you have also said, that the effect of the [N1] inner cause cannot perish so long as its cause lasts; this, I well see, is certainly true, but [N2] if this is so, then how can God be an inner cause of all things, seeing that many things perish? After your previous distinction you will say, that God is really a cause of the effects which he has produced immediately, without any other conditions except his attributes alone; and that these cannot perish so long as their cause endures; but that you do not call God an inner cause of the effects whose existence does not depend on him immediately, but which have come into being through some other thing, except in so far as their causes do not operate, and cannot operate, without God, nor also outside him,[N3] and that for this reason also, since they are not produced immediately by God, they can perish. But this does not satisfy me. For I see that you conclude, that the human understanding is immortal, because it is a product which God has produced in himself. Now it is impossible that more than the attributes of God should have been necessary in order to produce such an understanding; for, in order to be a being of such supreme perfection, it must have been created from eternity, just like all other things which depend immediately on God. And I have heard you say so, if I am not mistaken. And this being so, how will you reconcile [N4] this without leaving over any difficulties?
[Note N1]: B: an.

[Note N2]: B: this, I see, is not true, because if...

[Note N3]: B: without and outside him.

[Note N4]: B: explain.

    THEOPHILUS. It is true, Erasmus, that the things (for the existence of which no other thing is required, except the attributes of God) which have been created immediately by him have been created from eternity. It is to be remarked, however, that although in order that a thing may exist there is required a special modification and [N1] a thing beside the attributes of God, for all that, God does not cease to be able to produce a thing immediately. For, of the necessary things which are required to bring things [N2] into existence, some are there in order that they should produce the thing, and others in order that the thing should be capable of being produced. For example, I want to have light in a certain room; I kindle a light, and this lights up the room through itself; or I open a window [shutter], now this act of opening does not itself give light, but still it brings it about that the light can enter the room. [N3] Likewise in order to set a body in motion another body is required that shall have all the motion that is to pass from it to the other. But in order to produce in us an idea of God there is no need for another special thing that shall have what is to be produced in us, but only such a body in Nature whose idea is necessary in order to represent God immediately. This you could also have gathered from my remarks: for I said that God is only known through himself, and not through something else. However, I tell you this, that so long as we have not such a clear idea of God as shall unite us with him in such a way that it will not let us love anything beside him, we cannot truly say that we are united with God, so as to depend immediately on him. If there is still anything that you may have to ask, leave it for another time; just now circumstances require me to attend to other matters. Farewell.
[Note N1]: B: of.

[Note N2]: B: a thing.

[Note N3]: B: I kindle this [light], or I open a window, whereupon the room becomes light; now the act of kindling, or of opening the room does not produce the light, but prepares the way for the light to be able to light up the room, or to enter it.

    ERASMUS. Nothing at present, but I shall ponder what you have just told me till the next opportunity. God be with you.
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Slack padding.