Of God and His Creatures

That it is not necessary for Creatures to have existed from Eternity*

IF either the entire universe or any single creature necessarily exists, this necessity must arise either from the being itself or from some other being. From the being itself it cannot arise: for every being must be from the first being; and what has not being of itself, cannot necessarily exist of itself.

But if this supposed necessity arises from another being, that is, from some extrinsic cause, then, we observe, an extrinsic cause is either efficient or final. Now an effect necessarily arising from an efficient cause means that the agent acts of necessity: when the agent does not act of necessity, neither is it absolutely necessary for the effect to arise. But God does not act under any necessity in the production of creatures (Chap. XXIII). So far therefore as the efficient cause is concerned, there is not any absolute necessity for any creature to be. Neither is there any such necessity in connexion with the final cause. For means to an end receive necessity from their end only in so far as without them the end either cannot be at all, or cannot well be. Now the end proposed to the divine will in the production of things can be no other than God's own goodness, as has been shown (B. I, Chap. LXXV): which goodness depends on creatures neither for its being nor for its well-being (B. I, Chapp. XIII, XXVIII). There is then no absolute necessity for the being of any creature: nor is it necessary to suppose creation always to have existed.*

3. It is not necessary for God to will creation to be at all (B. I, Chap. LXXXI): therefore it is not necessary for God to will creation always to have been.*

2.30 : How Absolute Necessity may have place in Creation
2.32, 35 : Reasons alleged for the Eternity of the World on the part of God, with Answers to the same