We shall now begin to consider those attributes [of
God] which we called Propria. [N1] And, first of all, how
God is a cause of all things.
[Note N1]: The [attributes] following are called Propria,
because they are only Adjectives, which cannot be understood
without their Substantives. That is to say, without them God would
indeed be no God, but still it is not they that constitute God; for
they reveal nothing of the character of a Substance, through
which alone God exists.
Now, we have already said above that one
substance cannot produce another; and
that God is a being of whom all
attributes are predicated; whence it clearly
follows that all other things can by no means be, or be
understood, apart from or outside him. Wherefore we may say
with all reason that God is a cause of all things.
As it is usual to divide the efficient cause in eight divisions,
let me, then, inquire how and in what sense God is a cause.
First, then, we say that he is an emanative or
productive cause of his works; and, in so far
as there is activity, an active or operating
cause, which we regard as one and the same, because they
involve each other.
Secondly, he is an immanent, and not a transeunt
cause, since all that he produces is within himself, and not
outside him, because there is nothing outside him.
Thirdly, God is a free cause, and not a natural
cause, as we shall make clear and manifest when we come to
consider whether God can omit to do what he
does, and then it will also be explained wherein true
Fourthly, God is a cause through himself, and not
by accident; this will become more evident from the
discussion on Predestination.
Fifthly, God is a principal cause of his
works which he has created immediately,
such as movement in matter, &c.; in which there is no place for a
subsidiary [instrumental] cause, since this is confined to
particular things; as when he dries the sea by means of a strong
wind, and so forth in the case of all particular things [N1] in Nature.
The subsidiary provoking cause is not [found] in
God, because there is nothing outside him to incite him. The
predisposing [N2] cause, on the other hand, is his perfection
itself; through it he is a cause of himself, and, consequently, of
all other things.
[Note N1]: B omits the semi-colon before "as," in the preceding line,
and gives the words "as when ... particular things" in a note, instead
of in the text.
[Note N2]: A and B: voorgaande.
Sixthly, God alone is the first or Initial cause,
as is evident from our foregoing proof.
Seventhly, God is also a Universal cause, but only in
so far as he produces various things; otherwise this can never be
predicated of him, as he needs no one in order to produce any
Eighthly, God is the proximate cause of the things that
are infinite, and immutable, and which we assert to have been
created immediately by him, but, in one sense, he is the remote
cause of all particular things.