Incomprehensibilitate Creationis ex Nihilo | The Incomprehensibility of Creation out of Nothing

Utgivningsår: 23.06.1750
Publicerad i 01.09.2009
The dissertation treats the different attempts by philosophers to explain creation by way of metaphysics. The authors are K. F. Mennander (later appointed archbishop) and his student M. J. Wallenius (later appointed professor of mathematics at Turku).

Dissertaatio käsittelee eri filosofien yrityksiä selittää luominen metafyysisesti. Kirjoittajat ovat K. F. Mennander (myöh. arkkipiispa) ja hänen opiskelijansa M. J. Wallenius (myöh. matematiikan professori).

Avhandlingen behandlar olika filosofers försök att förklara skapelsen metafysiskt. Författare är prof. i fysik, senare ärkebiskop Karl Fredrik Mennander och hans elev Martin Johan Wallenius, blivande professor i matematik i Åbo.

English translation (c) Johan Sten (tekn. dr. doc.) 2009
Transcription: Johan Sten 2009
May God turn it for the best

An academic exercise


the incomprehensibility of creation out of nothing

Carl Fredrik Mennander, Professor of physics at the Royal Academy of Åbo (Turku, Finland)
and Martin Johan Wallenius, student, holder of a royal scholarship
Defended in the large auditorium, on June 23, 1750,
before noon at an adopted time
(Compiled and translated by Johan Stén, 2009)

We recognise with certainty and evidence that there be given some Supreme Being apart from this world, and also we are convinced that this world itself would not exist if it was not a product of this Being. Notwithstanding, in times before this printing, we find that there have been philosophers, who favoured views of the origin of the world that were both erroneous and most contrary to reason. Thus there has not been a lack of such men, who have believed the world to exist by necessity and to have existed from eternity. Others allow a beginning to be introduced to the present form at some time, yet not denying that the matter itself, from which it was made up, is granted an eternal and necessary existence.  They truly go far back. For example Epicure wanted to see everything as due to a fortuitous gathering of the atoms. Plato, on the other hand, thought that God by his free will has bestowed matter an eternal existence and thence arranged the world. All these various and mixed options for the origin of the world agree in this, that the principal matter is co-eternal with God. The error this leads to is that anything impossibly could be produced out of nothing. At this point reference should also be made to Spinozism and other related errors, in which the world is either seen as built from one and the same substance as God, or it is asserted that emanations by necessity appear from this Divine essence. There were not many to reject such kind of figments adverse to reason and sober philosophising, who recognised that the whole world is dependent on God, and contend that it is created by the same. Some of these truly great men and bright intellects, while wanting to move forward for a long time, have failed in another part, as far as it goes to an attempt to carefully examine the manner of the creation, or at least by examples and likenesses to a certain point explain it and render it conceivable. Yet, even if this matter would survive for long the human intellect, the initiative seems hopeless, not to say reckless. Therefore, guided by the mandate and authority of those who always oppose a violation of the Divine law, by issuing some academic proofs, we resolve to show on a few small pages the incomprehensibility of creation out of nothing, moreover to review the contrary opinions and modestly examine them by means of our restricted intellects. Difficult and worthy as this commendable question is duly pursued, and delicate and insufficient for the strength of our immature intellects, we have indeed thought it best to also say this work to be deterring for us. Still, as the work has been approached, we have rather wished for strengths than for determination for perfecting it. So with good judgement and our promised constructive oversight we beg very obligingly that these youthful efforts be considered as worthy a fair and benign evaluation.

To allow us advance more successfully and without hinder in our pursuit, a short explanation will be put forward on the expressions, which occur in the title of our work, and to distinctly develop their meanings. By creation out of nothing, then, we understand the production of something out of nothing pre-existent, or the action, which takes to actual existence that which before has only been possible. Something will be called truly incomprehensible, as long as the manner, by which it has been produced or could have been produced, cannot be understood.  But when this is said of the creation, this is not accepting: it is almost unconditionally and in itself such or even it cannot be conceived by any being; indeed anything that is possible, must also be conceivable in itself, and the infinite intellect, especially like that of the Creator himself, is completely, most distinctly and exclusively aware of everything. Nor [do we accept] this sense: only by reason nothing of the creation can be established.  In fact, we point out this: that the mere reality of the creation permits us to know and to recover it afterwards by means of reason; yet its own nature and possible modes cannot be known in any way by a human being, not saying distinctly it cannot be examined, but this coming into being out of nothing exceeds by far all our comprehension. However, this does not obstruct a less particular definition to be made; given for instance the definitions, from which it does not appear, whether and in what way defining could be possible, if not by an indication as far as they present themselves. The definition thus given does not reveal anything but the mere production of the creation, nor by whom it was accomplished; it does not expose the method itself by which it is done, or the beginning itself. Moreover human reasoning cannot examine relations of mutual limitations, which they contain, and neither indeed determine from them alone, whether this notion would be possible or not so. It is sufficient that we establish as certain that the creation out of nothing really is a fact, although we are not the least capable of knowing and explaining its innate character and its manner, but from the part of being eminent and admirable it can justly and deservedly be held a mystery.

Above all it can certainly not be asserted, whether the creation out of nothing could become known by the human intellect, as far as convincing arguments could be pointed out. But although this cannot be denied, pagan philosophers, while wanting to discover the origin of the world, have been imagining to an extensive degree and thus arrived at a number of strange opinions (cf. §I.); it is also permitted for us Christians to examine more accurately, as if on occasion, the Divine revelation, so much as the method would be valid in this part; yet not rashly denying, as the history of philosophy testifies, what very famous philosophers of old also have thought and said about the origin of the world, the kind of examples that were collected above all by Grotius (Huig de Groot)  and Huetius (Pierre Daniel de Huet). Neither do we doubt that from the solid principles of reason, this visible world can be examined, not as far as its principles and elements and the existence itself is concerned, and at this point some authors admit, that it is created out of nothing.* This is shown by the writings of those, to whom it is abundantly clear. And so there is seemingly no reason why not all pagan philosophers could have recognised the same thing, if only emptied from the prejudices of the soul, inviting a just attention to the reasoning following an attentive examination of the matter. But whatever be the case, yet the evidence, aimed at by reason, maintains its certainty. But in order to establish the method, we attempt to contribute a little to the creation out of nothing.
* As to things which regard the creation in itself, they are not concealed from reason. What truly concerns the special circumstances, e.g. regarding the succession and order of the events of the creation itself, they do not lend themselves to reason, and therefore the knowledge of these will be drawn up solely from revelation. In which of its things there is reason, as far as the things themselves are not merely historical, but also plainly arbitrary, and which saved by the creation are absent and may have varied; neither is there any evidence, from which they may be collected. Hence it would be hopeless to want to investigate these kinds of things by reason, when nobody could pursue those things even by conjecturing; it is much less certain to decide between them, unless having obtained their acquaintance through a story. But otherwise it is altogether comparable with the creation itself, which is concluded by looking at the effects that come across at this universe.

Because truly, as §1. already reminded, especially pagan philosophers were lead into this principle of theirs; nothing comes out of nothing,  in order to set up the eternal matter of the world, and also to deny its creation out of nothing; therefore only a few wanted to consider beforehand, what importance the word could have. But its sense of meaning is the most indeterminate and admits several significances. If nothing, as it is sometimes habitually accepted, is that it cannot exist, or it is contradictory, then it has this meaning: that which is impossible, cannot be made possible or existent; and this indeed, if one does not want to accept something manifestly contradictory, is giving up entirely. It is the same, when it signifies nothing, which corresponds to no notion. If, on the other hand, nothing is said to be, where something not present is acting, then it is not quite certainly out of nothing, as it were an efficient cause, anything cannot happen, that is, something cannot be made freely, nor can a non-existent contain a sufficient reason, which is why anything that acts either becomes or would become; but, if something must attain existence, this requires something truly existent, which brings itself to actuality. But just as this principle thus explained is the most evident and indubitable, so the creation out of nothing is not overthrown or undermined by it, but rather helping to confirm it. Then nothing can also be seen as a terminus, from which anything existing begins, and thus the announcement is valid also in this sense: what cannot be naturally and produced by the forces of any finite being, unless it actually would be already, this provides as if were a basis and material from which [the world itself] should be made and formed. Hence and through natural causes there is not spontaneously produced any new substance, but only by combination and arrangement of a certain part of it the form and figure of other things appear. If the named canon would more often be extended so that all things that come into being must necessarily originate from something else, then indeed not even a being possessing an infinite power cannot deny the same without presupposing that it is valid that all material causes lead to something. For not alone is this truly destitute all foundation, as it cannot be proved that its opposite involves anything absurd; but also its falsehood will be proved, as soon as we have adduced something for establishing the truth of the creation out of nothing.

Whatever presents itself to us in this universe, we recognise that it could be entirely otherwise. As far entire bodies concern, the same is easily seen as to the number, figure, size, order, distance, motion; the rest being contingent. Equally it is not disagreeable, that partial bodies enjoy many more structures of the parts and numbers, quantity, position, proportions etc. Therefore, as the constitution of existing things is not necessary, the true matter itself, as much as it is untied from all reason, cannot be determined this way; it follows, that all this is such disposed and set in order by some other Being, and similarly the relation and form of the present world has the same origin.
As anything cannot have existence, yet its essential power exists, it can have [existence] in only one way, that is when all of its limitations are necessary.  Actual, or in fact, individual existence is possible for anything specific inseparably connected with any sort of limits of the existing, without which indeed it cannot be conceived. Thus, as far as any being actually existing is thought, this existence is limited in various ways; and if this be simultaneously necessary, also these limitations, in consequence, must be such. Evidently there must be a sufficient reason, because the limitations would be by these and by no other being. This cannot be recognised outside the being itself, so indeed an external cause would need to arise, neither can it be sufficiently limited through its essence, according to the hypothesis. Hence it contains the sufficient reason in itself. Yet because it cannot be said, that they have assumed one another freely, if not the existence, and with it various limitations earlier supposed, and thus the previous question returns for the second time; it then follows, that by its essence the limitation be in this existing way, indeed all of its limitations be necessary. From this it is at the same time clear, that they be unchangeable, and this kind of entity cannot put into another state, or being responsible of mutations.

We see that all the bodies that fall under our senses can be resolved and divided into several parts. As is well-known from mathematics, whatever extended parts always enjoy some extension and size, and neither is it ever possible, that any division would converge to a point. How far indeed can we also progress and continue the division of natural bodies in smaller and smaller parts, and be anyone ever so small, they still have extension, and indeed also a dimension and a definite shape, to enjoy. But these sizes and these shapes, which are actually provided, do not essentially and necessarily agree among themselves, since there is an infinite diversity possible in them. Thus, there is no existence by itself, but all is given by other beings. (§6.) When truly the whole existence is coming from something else, it must be made out of nothing, (§2.) so indeed, if something would have been made by itself, not the existence itself, but up to a certain state, it would have been by something else. Therefore, the parts of all bodies are created out of nothing. The same is overcome also in another way, if we embrace that opinion on the elements of bodies, which pleases so many. They introduce of course the explanation, that the number of parts of which a body consists cannot be infinite, establishing the first given principle of bodies, or the oneness of different parts, which are not composite and indivisible. This we conclude obviously assuming what is said in the beginning of this §. These elements themselves, the equal and ordered small parts, all have their peculiar dimensions and shapes. But truly these limitations, such as those involved here, are not necessary. This is the reason for composing it in this way and not in other ways in the search for an external cause for something, by which it should be produced. Because the true particles are lacking and therefore they also cannot take other shapes, it is impossible that they have been shaped from some other pre-existent matter. They are therefore made either out of nothing or from an immaterial substance. If so, yet the same admits that this material, wherein these elements reside, is born out of nothing, as there is no matter supposed to exist in this immaterial substance. Therefore, these elements are themselves created out of nothing. But having also supposed they are produced earlier by something or hence yet admitting that the creation out of nothing is permitted. And indeed that pre-existence, whatever kind it be, should disappear on another level such that a clear change should be visible, hence neither would it remain itself, (§6) so that nothing can ever become out of something which the principal material bodies could provide, and simultaneously the existence by something else is not allowed, such that it would still subsist the creation out of nothing. Besides we observe that bodies are liable to several changes, such as when they are moving, when they are destroyed, built up, divided. These prove satisfactorily, that it is in fact their elements that move, go together, separate and act reciprocally, so that they endure changes. Thus or hence it follows that a creation of that same existence at some time is indeed accepted. Likewise an argument can be raised against the inevitability of the existence of the elements on the grounds of their finitude. For they are one as far as their extension, qualities and forces are concerned, defined and circumscribed by fixed and very narrow limits. They are also very much imperfect and utterly incapable of several perfections; So for instance the ability of realizing and desiring are utterly foreign for matter by nature. Hence it is apparent that their essence is most limited. Thus their existence is necessary and independent inasmuch as some infinite perfection cannot fall upon the same, or establish limitation of their essence; and as to itself, it cannot be limited by any cause. And thus, their existence is contingent and depends on some other being. Indeed, he who wants to deny this, he himself would admit many and almost innumerable necessary beings, with matter being composed of an astonishing multitude of elements, which is most abhorring for pure reason. Therefore as (by way of this and the preceding §) every given body in this universe, as far as its beginnings, its present form and connection as well as mutual relation are concerned, depends on God; the same is clearly created**  by Him out of nothing. If we make a crossing into the immaterial realm, even by slight attention anybody can easily discover that his soul suffers continual changes in any moment. So very imperfect is above all the understanding, and all its faculties and its whole essence are limited in various ways. From this it is gathered by similar reasoning that the human souls, equally and wholly, which relate to the material world, the ultimate reasons of their existence is in God by the creation; chiefly as hardly anything as absurd as that they would have existed from eternity would persuade. If truly the spirit, which is much nobler than the nature, could become out of nothing, then why not also the material entities? Then, if the possibility of creation of this kind would be denied, it would necessarily be establishing itself: that, however many these be till now, beyond those now actually existing, in themselves are equally possible, as anybody can see; nevertheless it cannot be that God grants any of their existence, if not something would be already, from which indeed the others are made, which would destroy itself in return. That asserts that God is most unworthy his absolute and unlimited power. It is surely superfluous to argue extensively against the possibility of creation out of nothing. Indeed that cannot be doubted, after its reality is already shown. But as to the way in which it could be made, our imagination or the forces of our talents cannot form any notion, as of things acting next to us, so much that proves the feebleness our intellects, but truly detracts nothing at all of the truth itself. Who indeed ignores many concepts, even in obvious natural things, which remain exceedingly obscure and difficult for us, if not plainly impossible?
**Although they be many, namely human bodies, the rest of animals and vegetables, of which there are now found individuals, they have not appeared in the world in the same form at once, but from this day on, they are born and descended naturally; notwithstanding, this does not prevent that the same could also be said to have been created by God. For and as long as its first species are produced by God, who has released the substance of the plant itself, the matter or the elements from which it is composed, its existence and qualities and innate forces, following which even today they be produced with fixed form, are begotten entirely through creation.

Although undoubtedly well enough overcome already, and yet it could further be elucidated that there be reason for creation out of nothing; still the human reason does not reach so far, that it could straight from itself see that possibility, as it has an imperfect notion of the same. But just as there is much physical that certainly will remain to be acquainted with our capacity, so much we account on the testimony of the infallible Divine, and submit by His firm as well as unchanging approving; such truths are also given, which, due to indubitable experiments and certain principles of reason, we cannot but embrace, given that the ideas which they contain, considered immediately in agreement or in disagreement with, would not be allowable to us; therefore later at length, or from the knowledge of reality from elsewhere, we must conclude that it could be entirely done. And that we have likewise now impressed upon by the study of the present matter itself. We have also proven this by the truth of creation. Truly the other remains, insofar as it will be ours, evidently, following our short plan, the reasons of which have been so much examined, as much as the way of the creation itself is insufficient for us to conceive and comprehend.

Just as something generally can come into being in only two ways, evidently: either from a pre-existing subject, or not; so also are the forces, which existing beings contain by way of reason, of two origins in this respect, just as either from nothing, or from something already being which leads to it. But the force which acts only before is clearly more wholly efficient than that which operates only afterwards, so much and by far it surpasses that, no indeed, it is infinitely greater than the same. And since the virtue that provides something to become out of nothing, because it needs nothing to be acting, is complete and not in any way circumscribed; but a finite force without adjacent material and succession of time cannot act; with the moment opposite of creation, as we will show in the next §, it should perish. The force of the creator should therefore be infinite and unlimited. Who really wants to know the way that some action is possible, he should have clear what the sufficient forces are and in what manner they would influence the production of the effect. Therefore anybody sees, it is adverse to the character of the intellect of the kind we humans are endowed with to be restraining that the action, which infinite power can take so far, which is its character, would be comprehended. From this we collect that the creation, to the extent the effect is of infinite power only, remains incomprehensible to us.

This will itself become truly more evident than thus far, when we consider such kind of innate creation somewhat more closely and more specifically, as far as it be possible. Existence and non-existence are absolutely opposite to each other. Hence there are no intermediate grades between nothing and something. Let us now conceive something to be born out of nothing. As soon as nothing stops being, next it itself begins to exist, or turns into actual. Then with respect to such kind of becoming there cannot take place a succession, no before or after. And indeed the creation, as far as it leads a non-being into being, is entirely released at the same time, moment and in instance, neither can one discern in it several mutual successions. Further, that is the cause of our agreement, that of a single action only, reason cannot itself make out the way a certain action is brought about, but to successively match together its idea, by paying attention to the various ideas, which take part in the action and the ways that follow each other in turn, and by comparing these with each other one finally realises, for which reason the effect would turn out. That by the way mentioned the region near the act of creation would not be disclosed, it is thus not astonishing, that we are unable to represent the way it would come about.

If we would examine the origin of our ideas, we recognise that nothing is innate in us, if not that coming either immediately by experience, and thereof we accept either external or internal, or something we form by abstracting and combining out of them. Now apply this to the way of the creation. We have ourselves, as limited beings, no ability of creating out of nothing. None of us can offer an example of such kind of production, which could be examined by the senses. Not any traces of such an action can be discovered, which involves this notion. And hence neither is it possible to abstract its idea from other related beings. For the same reason composing this idea from other partial ideas is impossible, especially as in addition, it is not possible to distinguish in this instantaneous action several ingredients. From where, then, can this knowledge be obtained?  We see that all our ways are blocked from conceiving any way whatsoever leading to complete the creation. And certainly, who strives to investigate this with more zeal, the less progress is experienced. I ask where we should be fixing our attention, when we want to dig up and study the way and its way of performing, when substance becomes reality out of nothing? Astounding is the virtue, that brings about this, and its way of acting which would surpass all our forces of imagination. Surely not could it be understood to come out of nothing? What is it that provides it with relations? What with coherence or consistency? What in the end could be made a reason, such that we would grasp idea of the way of creation?

To these general arguments, and extended to anything that can be created, one can also add special reasons, by bringing on all sorts of chosen substances. It would suffice only three words for us to touch this. Thus concerning material things, we know them to consist of an astounding number of particles. Of these the subtleness is truly so incomprehensible, that our senses cannot perceive it, whence also their internal constitution flees from us entirely, and we know nothing of them, besides that which we recollect afterwards by calculation, their materials certainly be of nature, and hence all the properties of bodies can be obtained, except perhaps of those, which result from composition. In addition we also ignore, how these particles unite and how bodies would form in various ways; and what is then the reason for their mutual cohesion; what kind of force is it, that unite these parts in such a way; why is the attraction of diverse bodies dissimilar by grade? and so forth. Now if we do not know the nature of these principles and the ways they would make the bodies join together, it is much less in our power to explain their creation. In fact, everyone can easily see how much they would separate from each other. Then everything already present would come by joining mutual parts, this is truly nonsense. If we consider immaterial things, it would be admitted, they are much obscure to us than thus far. Indeed of these we know nothing, except some operations and abilities, which we experience in our mind; of their substance itself we have no clear idea.  Thus, who could understand how such kind of substance had emerged, and indeed out of nothing?

We have been asserting as a truth, that the way of the creation is surely beyond investigation for the human reason, as indeed whatever we can think of investigating. This can also be challenged by a very own experiment; because there will be no-one, we hope, who by paying due attention, would not notice it to be impossible entirely by itself to embrace any thought of it. Also there has been nobody hitherto and neither will there be anybody in the future, who is so attentive as to be able to explain it. Nevertheless because some men of great name seem to disagree with this in part; therefore these thoughts will be examined, yet only in the briefest. It is actually easily understood from our discussion that our facts do not concern them, who have made the theory of the formation of the earth, and, of the already created matter, by the rules of motion, have alleged to dress the shape which [the earth] now has; but those we modestly beg to consider, who have believed that the production of the things themselves out of nothing can be conceived to a certain extent. Of the illustrious Isaac Newton it is asserted, that by putting forward the fundamental place of his infinite and necessary space, he wanted to disclose the creation. However, the cited author does not explain, in what manner this would render conceivable the way of the creation, which nevertheless we chiefly are expecting in this matter; and in the want of other books to work with, from which we could exhaust their ideas, and not Newtonian, which we have at hand, where writings by anyone are contained; it is for this reason that we thought to disregard it with dry feet. It will be permitted for us to renounce a much closer inquiry into the space, which of course is not shown in the matter of the heading, and a very long as well as difficult it would be. So much then may be said about this, that either admitting this thought on space, yet being unable to understand how it will match with the creation, or how to lead from it and to understand [the creation] more easily. Or thus indeed creation out of nothing proceeds; but the space cannot, in as much as it is necessary and unchangeable, establish the material cause of the created things in any way.

Here reference can also be made to the most acute Locke, who does not indeed attempt to explain the way of creation, but yet having not seen the same as plainly inconceivable, in fact rather incites ourselves to its painstaking investigation. He writes as thus§§: Indeed, it may be, if by commonplace independent notions our thoughts, as far as it be possible, we aim at the matters themselves by the most interior contemplations, we would conceive some way, and, as if through the darkness, we would discern, how matter is made in the beginning, as well as by the power of this first eternal Being could commence: but it would be harder to conceive, how the omnipotent force initially would assign the existing of the spirit. He also adds an example, which cannot be similarly denied, that the voluntary motion of our bodies is born only from the liberty of the agitations of our mind and thoughts, not letting us conceive, how something, except by the impact of a body, can change the location of a body; thus neither would the infinite power of the Being, creating out of nothing, be called into doubt, if we actually do not comprehend Its operations. He then joins in these words: This explained, meaning of course the inflow of this spirit into the body, so that it can be understood, then also the way how the creation is accomplished would be most nearly understood***. We only note about the former: as far as it is already said by the same: as indeed it is only just said to be the case, the way of creation of all sorts, matter as well as spirits, are for us by all parts hidden; hence he who commits himself to pursue the same, would be very much mislead, and be disregarding the feebleness of his intellect. Then also, whoever wants to investigate this question, would undertake an ineffective and useless work, indeed it can hardly be considered to flee knowing out of thoughtlessness. Therefore it is appropriate for us to admire this sublime mystery rather than examine it carefully. As to the latter words: comparing the two of them the difference between of them appears quite large. Suppose indeed that the soul would direct and move about its body without an evident reason, because it evidently disagrees with its nature, as it is itself conscious of the ways these actions are brought about; permitting the matter as well as the sensual ideas just adopted and accustomed to, or even for reasons not sufficiently known to us, it is now unknown. From another side, however, the creation, the work of an infinite Being, is for long otherwise established, and clearly does not fall below our intelligence. And even if the greatest actions of the minds in our bodies would be observed, yet it has nothing to do with creation, much less can it open new ways for understanding it.  That of course does not imply, except certain motions or changes in the body, that by undergoing these they would be apt to it by their structures and dispositions; that truly is production of substance, and this indeed out of nothing. Therefore the proportion between these two given is nothing, or they are clearly the most diverse.
§§   Concerning human understanding. Book 4, C. X. §. 18.
*** local citation, §. 19.

Many have wanted to attack a certain image of the creation by the illustrious man Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibnitz. As indeed usual computing turns out to be prone to reasoning, judgment and failures, he devised another, indeed the dyadic arithmetic, where, continuing in the shortest and easiest development, only two characters are accepted, a pure one and a zero, by means of which he shows that any number can be expressed; by closely respecting this principle, that zero meets the rule of a binary unit multiplied, just as in common arithmetic of ten; so that when unity occupies a place more distant to the left, its value will be thought to increase constantly to the double, meaning 2 in the second place, 4 in the third, 8 in the fourth, and so forth. This zero is truly inserted there to show, at which location the unity is to be put. He does not recommend his arithmetic for common use, inasmuch as it is inconvenient due to the multitude of characters. So, here, as an example, for expressing the number 8 there is a need for 4 symbols, which in the usual way of computing needs one; however, he recommends it to be assigned for higher uses. Among these there would be also this one, that he sees here an image of the creation. Unity indeed will represent the omnipotent Divine, the zero is in fact nothing, or the absence of all material causes. Hence, just as unity and zero would be primary, required for the origin of numbers; and just as this in itself and on its own signifies nothing, but when unity is attached to the same, various numbers are produced; in the same way he supposes that the Divine omnipotence is able to produce everything that has not been before. Leibniz also communicated to the Duke of Braunschweig Rudolph August, in a letter to him, a model of a certain coin to be struck, which on one side would carry the portrait of the Duke, and on the other side it would furnish, in fact, the image of this creation, of which a kind of a sketch is seen on the last page of our dissertation. But as much as these thoughts can appear spectacular at the first look, yet by a somewhat more particular examination there is nothing of importance noticed here. In fact, all numbers as such and specifically considered are not some multiple of unity, or based on repeating unity several times. Accordingly, as the arrangements of unities would accept only of them, no numbers can be said to arise out of zero or nothing. But as the value of such a positive sign would be multiplied and extended by adjacent zeros, it would not come to be appropriately ascribed by them, but by a translation of the sign to a higher place; from which zero is not always necessary in this, as indeed its place is determined without its help. So for example in 111 there is indeed no zero, yet the first one, because it occupies the third place, signifies 4; the second, as it is the second, 2; and the finally the furthest 1, and the whole series makes precisely 7. Also this method of denoting numbers, where the value of some of its characters is indeed estimated from its placement, and that is obtained as well in the common arithmetic of base ten, is dependent only on human judgment and accepted because calculation thus becomes easy, convenient as well as expedient. But to keep it short: this resemblance does not agree in this; first, because numbers are only abstract concepts, knowing them distinctly to be made up by a multitude of things whatever, neither do they have a real existence, in the way that the created objects are real. Then also, their origin, if one may say so, is most easy, plain and natural for the intellect; indeed they are made up by the same as well as homogeneous parts; on the contrary, the creation supposes no material cause, which contains the produced things, but merely the external efficient cause. Furthermore no rule is introduced for designing to them actual change, neither is the force signifying in itself this or that, in truth it is given by chance, and hence it has been serviceable only for our concepts; however, the creation comes about not by ideas alone, but by the act itself. Therefore numbers have nothing in common with creation, but to infer at least a resemblance, when none can be carved out; which is seen to be very carelessly as well as impudently made in so many sublime and difficult things.

Although the creation is for us plainly inconceivable, the celebrated Wolff announces these very eloquent words: Gott hat denen Dingen / die durch seinen Verstand blosz möglich waren / auch durch seine Macht die Würckligkeit gegeben. Diese Würchung Gottes wird die Schöpffung genennet; von welcher wir keinen Begriff haben / weil wir keine Kraft haben etwas zu erschaffen+++. Yet, next he subjoins this: Man kan sich die Schöpffung einiger massen durch die Kraft der Einbildung vorstellen / indem unsere Einbildungen sich gegen die Seele verhalten / wie die Creaturen gegen Gott / wenn Wir den Satz des zureichenden Grundes nicht aus den Augen setzen. Denu wir bringen alsdenn Dinge hervor in Gedancken / in denen Wahrheit ist / und die zuvor nicht da waren / nach unserem Wohlgefallen / und erhalten die Durch die Krafft der Seele gegenwärtig / so lange wir wollen. Jedoch können wir ihnen keine Würckligkeit ausser der Seele geben / welches doch Gott in der Schöpffung thut / und darin eigentlich die Schöpffung bestehet. And indeed the last words imply that it is brought to look similar to us without a sufficient reason at all. In fact, that the similitude does not make the representation of the thing in itself clearer at all, it will be held as nothing, even if it would agree perhaps in some more general circumstance to the same. Otherwise any similitude would be most easy to describe by anything at pleasure. Neither would the production of these ideal and imaginary things be out of nothing. In fact either the ideas, that have been present in our souls before, will become present anew on the occasion of objects or previous ideas, or they will be formed from other ideas in various ways. Hence it is also apparent that the creation can be suitably represented by infinitely many equally convenient, if not better, equivalents. Thus for instance as far as producing things, which actually enjoy existence, by invention, means and work of humans, I maintain that thus far these kinds of actions have closer agreement with creation. But this we only say out of hypothesis; in fact, the most certain remains, no similarity can be found, neither from physical or human kind, that cannot be as distant from creation, as much as anything can be far away.

+++In den vernünfft. Vernünftige Gedanken von Gott, der Welt und der Seele des Menschen / §1053.

This argument would indeed deserve the most accurate and extensive treatment. But yet various circumstances prohibit us to remain at it any longer. Therefore, baccalaureate, you would be deign a mild judgment touching this little as well as unarranged [work], that ordinary intelligence by a distracted mind and a hasted hand has put on paper. Truly we now think of the incomprehensible magnitude and astounding vastness of this whole universe; the infinite things, both in multitude and variety, that are found therein; and their admirable qualities, structures and compositions; myriads are also of the most excellent spirits, of which we are informed by revelation. All this the omnipotent Creator has made out of nothing by His infinite virtue, without the help and support of any instruments, or by material subjects. I say, he made it most skillfully and wisely, but at the same time also without any trouble and painstaking toil, only by His most efficient word and mandate. The mind is plainly astounded of these justified considerations, and seized in the most profound admiration. So we would get to know the total perfection of the highest Creator, or to acknowledge, adore in the heart and speak out about this visible work. The Creator has made it so, that we and the heavenly inhabitants are always allowed to celebrate Him eternally by praises and to exclaim:

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created
Rev. 4: 11


Q. B. V. D.§
Incomprehensibilitate Creationis ex Nihilo

Carolo Friderico Mennander,
H. A. M. C.

Qua certitudine & evidentia dari Ens aliquod supremus & a mundo hoc diversum agnoscimus, eadem quoque hunc mundum a seipso non existere, sed a supremo isto Ente productum esse, convincimur. Nihilo tamen minus, antiquiori imprimis tempore, repertos fuisse Philosophos, qui de eius origines erroneas, & a sana ratione maxime alienas sententias foverunt, deprehendimus. Sic non defuere inter gentiles, qui mundum necessario & ab aeterno extitisse putarunt. Alii, licet eum, quo ad praesentem formam, initium aliquando coepisse non negaverint, ipsi tamen materiae, ex qua deinde conflatus sit, aeternitatem & necessariam existentiam tribuere.  Hi vero rursus in longe diversa abierunt, Nam Epicurus per fortuitum atomorum concursum omnia orta esse voluit. Plato autem Deum pro libera sua voluntate aeternae huic materiae se adiunxisse, & ex eadem mundum adornasse, putavit. Hae de origine mundi allatae aliaeque eiusdem farraginis optiones in eo omnes consentiunt, quod materia principium Deo coaeternum sit. Qui error inde ortum duxit, quod ex nihilo aliquid producti impossibile iudicarent. Referri huc etiam debent Spinozismus, aliique cognati errores, quibus mundus vel unam eandemque substantiam cum Deo construere, vel ex ipsa essentia Divina per necssariam emanationem extitisse asseritur. Fuere contra plurimi, qui reiectis eiusmodi sanae rationi adversis  figmentis, sobrius philosophantes, mundum hunc in totum a Deo dependentem agnoscunt, & ab ipso creatum esse contendunt. Ex his vero nonnulli magni viri & praeclaro ingenio, dum longius progredi voluere, ab altera parte in eo peccarunt, quod ipsum modum creationis curiose rimari, vel saltem per exempla ac similitudines aliquatenus explicare & conceptibilem reddere, conati sint. Ast, cum haec res intellectum humanum longe superet, frustraneus, ne dicam temerarius, hic ausus nobis videtur. Nos igitur ex mandato & auctoritate eorum, quibus refragari semper nefas duximus, specimen aliquod academicum edituri, constituimus incomprehensibilitatem creationis ex nihilo paucis hisce pagellis ostendere, contrarias autem sententias recensere, &, pro modulo ingenii nostri, modeste examinare. Arduo huic & dignitate sua commendabili argumento rite persequendo, tenuis & immaturi nostri ingenii vires quam parum sufficiant, optime nobis conscii sumus, adeo ut etiam ab hoc labore fere deterriti simus. Cum tamen opus aggrediendum sit, vires quam voluntatem id perficiendi a nobis desiderari maluimus. B. I. [Bonum Iudicium] itaque benignam censuram nobis promittimus, utque iuveniles hosce conatus aequi bonique consulere dignetur, perofficiose rogamus.
§ Quod bene vertat Deus.

Ut autem in sequentibus eo felicius & inoffenso pede progredi nobis liceat, praemittenda erit brevis explicatio vocum, quae in rubro opellae nostrae occurrunt, & sensus earum distincte evoluendus. Per creationem igitur ex nihilo intelligimus productionem alicuius entis ex nullo alio praeexistente, sive actionem, qua existentiam accipit id, quod antea possibile tantum fuit. Incomprehensibile vero aliquid dicitur, dum modus, quo vel factum est vel fieri potest, intelligi nequit. Quando autem hoc de creatione praedicatur, id non ita accipiendum: quasi absolute & in se talis sit, vel etiam a nullo ente concipi queat; quicquid enim possibile est, id quoque in se intelligibile esse oportet, & intellectus infinitus, qualis ipsi Creatori unice competit, omnia, quae sunt vel fieri possunt, perfecte, distinctissime & unico actu cognoscit. Neque hoc sensu: quasi ex ratione nihil de creation constare possit. Sed id indigitamus: quod, licet ipsam actualitatem creationis ex dictamine rationis a posteriori cognoscere & colligere queamus; ipsa tamen eius natura & modus possibilitatis a nemine mortalium ullatenus, ne dicam distincte, perspici possit, sed hic ortus ex nihilo omnem nostrum captum longe transcendant. Hoc tamen non obstat, quo minus proprie definiri queat; dantur namque definitiones, ex quibus non apparet, an & quomodo definitum sit possibile, sed quae notam eius duntaxat propriam exhibet. Sic allata definitio non nisi effectum creationis, sive quid per eam praestetur, indicat; modum vero, quo fiat, sive ipsam genesin illius, non exponit. Ratio autem humana non potest relationem mutuam terminorum, qui eam ingrediuntur, perspicere, adeoque nec ex definitione illa sola decernere, an notio ista possibilis sit vel minus. Sufficit tamen nobis certo constare, creationem ex nihilo reipsa factam esse, quamvis indolem ac modum assequi & explicare haud valeamus, sed hac ex parte pro insigni & admirando mysterio iure meritoque habenda sit.

Inter omnes quidem non convenit, utrum creatio ex nihilo per lumen rationis innotescat, vel saltem apodicticis argumentis demonstrari queat. Etsi autem negari non possit, Philosophos gentiles, dum mundi originem indagare voluerunt, tam mire hallucinatos fuisse, & in tot monstrosas opiniones incidisse  (confr. §I.); licet etiam nobis Christianis revelatio occasionem quasi praebuerit accuratius inquirendi, quantum ratio hac in parte valeat; non tamen temere negandum, quod testatur historia philosophica, varius etiam veterum Philosophorum praeclare de mundi origine sensisse & locutos fuisse, qualia exempla collegerunt imprimis Grotius & Huetius. Neque dubitamus, quin ex principiis sanae rationis solide probari queat, mundum hunc adspectabilem, nec quoad materiam, sive principia sua & elementa, a seipso esse, adeoque ab Auctore aliquo existentiam accepisse h.e. ex nihilo creatum.* Ostendunt id scripta eorum, a quibus id abunde evictum est. Nihil itaque obstare videtur, quin omnes Philosophi gentiles idem cognoscere potuissent, modo animo praeiudiciis vacuo, adhibita iusta attentione, rationis ductum sequentes, sedulo in rem inquisivissent. Sed quicquid hac de re sit, argumentis tamen a ratione petitis sua certitudo manet. Nos autem pro institute ratione paucis solum creationem ex nihilo adstruere conabimur.

*Haec, quae ad creationem in se spectatam pertinent, a ratione abscondita non sunt. Quod vero speciales circumstantias  concernit; e.g. quae ad successionem & ordinem creationis spectant, illas ratio sibi relicta non potest non ignorare, ideoque harum cognitio ex sola revelatione haurienda. Cuius rei ratio in eo sita est, quod hae ipsae non solum sint res mero historicae, sed etiam plane arbitrariae, & quae salva ipsa creatione abesse & variari potuissent; neque ulla prostent indicia, ex quibus easdem colligere liceret. Hinc frustraneum foret, eiusmodi res ex ratione investigare velle, cum nemo illas vel coniectando assequi posit, multo minus certi quid de his statuere, nisi per narrationem notitiam earum acquisiverit. Aliter autem omnino comparatum est cum creatione in se, quae ex effectibus in hoc universo obviis tuto concluditur.

Quoniam vero, ut §I. iam monuimus, Philosophi gentiles imprimis per canonem istum suum: ex nihilo nihil fit, eo inducti sunt, ut materiam mundi aeternam statuerent, & hinc etiam creationem ex nihilo negarent; igitur in antecessum paucis dispicere lubet, quo loco effatum istud habendum sit. Est autem sensus eius maxime indeterminatus, & plures  significationes admittit. Si nihilum, uti nonnunquam solet, pro eo accipiatur, quod esse non potest, sive contradictorium est, tum is sensus erit: id quod impossibile est, non posse possibile aut existens fieri; & hoc quidem , nisi quis manifestam contradictionem admittere velit, omnino concedendum. Idem valet, quando nihilum id significat, cui nulla notio respondet. Si rursus nihilum dicatur, ubi aliquid acta non adest; tum non minus certum est, a nihilo, tanquam caussa efficiente, quicquam fieri non posse, h. e. non posse aliquid sua quasi sponte fieri, neque in non existente contineri rationem sufficientem, cur quid actu sit vel fiat; sed, si quid ad existentiam pervenire debet, necessario requiri aliquid vere existens, quod id ipsum ad actualitatem perducat. Prout  autem axioma illud sic explicatum maxime evidens est & indubitatum, ita creatio ex nihilo per idem non subvertitur aut labefactatur, sed potius eius auxilio confirmatur. Deinde potest etiam nihilum spectari ut terminus, a quo aliquid existere incipit, & tum valet istud pronunciatum etiam in eo sensu: quod non possit naturaliter, & per vires entis finiti quicquam producti, nisi iam actu aliquid adsit, quod fundamentum quasi & materiam praebeat, unde id ipsum fieri & formari debet. Hinc & per caussas naturales nulla nova substantia immediate producitur, sed tantum per certam partium combinationem ac dispositionem res alia forma & figura prodeunt. Si vero saepius nominatus canon eousque extendatur, quasi omne, quod oritur, necessario debeat ex alio oriri, adeo ut ne quidem ens infinita potentia praeditum sine praesupposita omni caussa materiali aliquid producere valeat, tum idem admitti nequit. Non enim solum omni vero fundamento destituitur, cum probari non possit, oppositum eius quicquam absurdi involvere; sed etiam falsitas eius manifesta erit, quando mox pro stabilienda veritate creationis ex nihilo nonnulla adducturi sumus.

Quaecunque in hoc universo nobis se offerunt, ea talia esse deprehendimus, ut aliter omnino comparata esse possent. Sic quod ad corpora totalia attinet, facile apparet, eadem quoad numerum, figuram, magnitudinem, ordinem, distantiam, motum, reliqua, contingentia esse. Pari modo nihil repugnant, ut corpora partialia longe alia structura partiumque numero, quantitate, situ, proportione &c. gauderent. Cum igitur praesens rerum constitutio necessaria non sit; ipsa vero materia, utpote omni ratione carens, seipsam hoc modo determinare non potuerit; sequitur, haec omnia ab alio quodam Ente sic disposita & ordinata esse, adeoque praesentem mundi nexum & formam ab eodem originem habere.

Quod existentiam ab alio non habet, sed vi essentiae suae existit, id unico tantum modo se habere potest, sive eius omnes determinationes sunt necessariae. Actualis namque seu individualis existentia habet quoque certum aliquem ac omnimode determinatum existendi modum inseparabiliter coniunctum, nec absque eo concipi quidem potest. Quatenus igitur ens aliquod actu existere ponitur, erit illa existentia variis modis determinata; & si haec simul sit necessaria, non possunt non quoque determinationes istae, quae eam sequuntur, tales esse. Nimirum ratio sufficiens adesse debet, cur hae & non aliae enti insint determinationes. Haec non potest deprehendi extra ipsum ens, sic enim caussa externa indigeret ad existendum, neque ad id per essentiam suam sufficienter foret determinatum, secundum hypothesin. Ergo in seipso habet rationem sufficientem earum. Quoniam tamen dici non potest, quod libere eas sibi adsciverit, nisi existentiam, & cum hac varias determinationes, iam ante habuisse supponatur, & sic prior iterum recurrit quaestio; sequitur, quod per essentiam suam determinatum sit ad hunc existendi modum, adeoque omnes eius determinationes erunt necessariae. Unde simul patet, eas esse immutabiles, & eiusmodi ens alium statum induere non posse, aut mutationibus esse obnoxium.

Corpora omnia, quae sub sensus nostros cadunt, in plurimas partes resolvi ac divide posse observamus. Ex Mathesi vero notissimus est, partes quaslibet extensi semper extensione & magnitudine aliqua gaudere, neque unquam fieri posse, ut divisione ulla in puncta covertatantur. Quousque igitur etiam corporum naturalium divisionem, in partes minores minoresque, progredi & continuari ponamus, earum quaelibet, quantumlibet exigua, extensa adhuc erit, adeoque etiam dimensione, & figura determinate, non potest non gaudere. Haec autem magnitudo, haecque figura, qua actu iam praeditae sunt, essentialiter & necessario ipsis non competit, cum in his infinita diversitas sit possibilis. Ergo existentiam a seipso nullam, sed omnem ab alio ente habent. (§6.) Quod vero totam existentiam ab alio habet, id ex nihilo factum esse oportet, (§2.) siquidem, si a seipso iam aliquid fuisset, haud ipsam existentiam, sed certum duntaxat statum, ab alio haberet. Ergo partes corporum omnes ex nihilo sunt creatae. Idem alio quoque modo evincitur, si eam, quae multis placet, de elementis corporum, sententiam anplectamur. Hi nempe, ea inducti ratione, quod numerus partium, corpus quodvis constituentium, nequeat esse infinitus, statuunt, dari prima corporum principia, seu unitates ex aliis partibus non compositas, & indivicibiles. Hoc nimirum assumto, ex iis quae huius §:phi initio dicta sunt, ita concludimus. Haec ipsa elementa, aeque ac particulae compositae, suam habent dimensionem & figuram. Hae vero determinationes, quales ipsis insunt, non sunt necessariae. Igitur ratio, cur iam hoc & non alio modo comparata sint, in caussa aliqua externa erit quaerenda, a qua eadem sic facta esse oportet. Quoniam vero partibus carent, & proinde etiam aliam figuram induere nequeunt, ex alia quadam materia praeexistente formari non potuere. Aut igitur ex nihilo, aut ex substantiis immaterialibus, facta sunt. Si hoc; admittitur tamen eo ipso, materiale illud, quod elementis hisce inest, ex nihilo ortum habere, cum materia in substantiis his immaterialibus nulla supponatur. Ergo elementa haec ipsa ex nihilo creata sunt. Sed posito etiam, eadem ex principio aliquo priori esse producta, vel hinc tamen creationem ex nihilo admittendam esse probatur. Etenim praeexistens illud, qualecunque etiam fuerit, sic in aliam plane formam abeundo, insignem mutationem pateretur, hinc neque illud a seipso foret, (§6.) sic ut nunquam perveniri queat ad aliquid, quod primam corporibus materiam praebere potuerit, quodque simul ab alio non acceperit existentiam, adeoque in creatione ex nihilo tamen subsistendum sit. Praeterea observamus, corpora multis mutationibus esse obnoxia, velut quando moventur, destruuntur, componuntur, dividuntur. Haec satis arguunt, ipsa quoque eorum elementa moveri, coniungi, separari, & in se invicem agere, adeoque mutationes subire. Ergo vel hinc sequitur, eadem existentiam aliquando, & quidem per creationem accipisse. Peti etiam potest, contra necessariam elementorum existentiam,  argumentum  ex eorum finitudine. Sunt namque singula, quoad extensionem, qualitates ac vires suas, certis & arctis admodum limitibus definite ac circumscripta. Sunt etiam valde imperfecta, & plurimarum perfectionum prorsus incapacia; Sic e.g. intelligendi & appetendi facultates a natura materiae prorsus alienae sunt. Hinc apparet, essentiam illorum maxime esse limitatam. Existentia igitur necessaria & independens, utpote infinita qaedam perfectio in eadem cadere nequit, aut in essentia illorum limitata fundari; & quod a seipse est, a nulla caussa limitari potest. Adeoque existentia eorum est contingens, & ab alio ente dependet. Imo, qui hoc negare vellet, eo ipso admitteret, plura & propemodum innumera, entia necessaria dari, cum material ex stupenda elementorum multitudine componatur, quod a sana ratione maxime abhorret. Cum igitur (per hanc & praec. §:phum) singula, quae in hoc universe dantur, corpora, tam quoad sua principia, quam formam praesentem, & nexum ac rationem mutuam, a Deo dependeant; eadem ab illo ex nihilo creata esse+  perspicuum est. Si ad regnum immateriale transitum facimus, vel levi attentione quivis facile experitur, animam suam quovis momento continuas subire mutationes. Valde imperfecta insuper cognitione, omnesque illius facultates, & tota essentia, variis modis limitatae sunt. Ex quibus pari ratione conficitur, animas humanas, aeque ac omnia, quae ad mundum materialem pertinent, ultimam existentiae suae rationem in Deo per creationem habere; imprimis cum vix quisquam tam absurdus sit, ut easdem ab aeterno extitisse persuadeat. Si vero spiritus, nobilioris multo naturae, ex nihilo oriri possunt, quidni etiam entia materialia? Deinde, si quis omnis eiusmodi creationis possibilitatem negaret, eo ipso necessario statuendum ipsi foret: quod, quamvis plurima adhuc entia, praeter ea quae iam actu existunt, in se aeque possibilia esse, nemo non videat; fieri tamen non posset, ut Deus ulli eorum existentiam largiatur, nisi aliquod iam existens, ex quo nimirum alterum illud faciendum esset, hoc ipso rursus destrueret. Quod Deo, eiusque potentia absoluta & illimitata, maxime indignum est asserere. Enimvero supervacaneum est de possibilitate creationis ex nihilo prolixe disputare. De hac enim dubitari nequit, postquam actualitas eius iam est ostensa. Quod autem ipsius modi, quo fieri potuerit, notionem nulla imaginationis aut ingenii vi nobis formare queamus, qua de re mox agendum nobis erit, id tantum intellectus nostri imbecillitatem arguit, haud vero quicquam ipsius rei veritati derogat. Quis enim ignorat, non pauca, vel in rebus naturalibus obvia, admodum nobis obscura & conceptu difficilia, si non plane impossibilia, manere?
+Quamvis multa sint, utpote corpora humane, animalium reliquorum & vegetabilium, quorum, quae nunc reperiuntur, individua, non eadem forma, statim a mundi initio extitere, sed ad hunc usque diem, naturaliter gigni & oriri solent; hoc tamen non impedit, quin eadem quoque a Deo creata esse dicendum sit. Nam & quoad speciem suam primum a Deo producta sunt, &, quae ipsam substantiam corum obsolvit, materia, seu elementa ex quibus componuntur, existentiam suam, & qualitates ac vires sibi infinitas, secundum quas hodieque certa cum forma procreantur, omnino per creationem habent.

Quamvis nimirum satis evictum sit, & ulterius adhuc demonstrari posset, creationem ex nihilo ratione patere; non tamen eousque pertingit ratio humana, ut directe ex ipsa, quam de eadem habet, notione imperfecta, possibilitatem eius perspicere queat. Sed quemadmodum multa, quae nempe facultatem nostram cognoscendi naturalem prorsus superant, tantum propter testimonium infallibile Divinum credimus, iisque assensum firmum ac immotum praebemus; sic etiam dantur veritates, quas, ob indubiam experimentam, & certa rationis principia, non possumus non amplecti, licet idearum, quae eas ingrediuntur, convenientiam vel repugnantiam immediate intueri, nobis concessum non sit; quare a posteriori demum, sive ex cognita aliunde rei actualitate, illa omnino fieri posse, concludere debemus.Et haec quoque de praesenti materia studio iam saeipsus inculcavimus. Probavimus etiam hac via veritatem creationis. Restat vero alterum illud, quod iam nostrum erit, nimirum, secundam propositam brevitatem, quibusdam tantum rationibus probare, quod ipse modus creationis a nobis concipi & comprehendi minime possit.

Sicut generatim duplici tantum modo aliquid oriri potest, nimirum: aut ex paeexistente subiecto, aut minus; ita etiam vires, quae existentiae entium rationem continent, hoc respectu duplici sunt generis, prout vel ex nihilo, vel ex aliquo iam actuali, quid producunt. Vim autem quae priori modo agit, plus omnino efficere perspicuum est, quam quae posteriori modo operatur, adeoque & illa hanc longe superat, imo, eadem infinities maior est. Etenim virtus, quae ex nihilo aliquid praestare valet, quia nulla re ad agendum indiget, absoluta nec ullo modo circumscripta est; finita autem vis absque subiecta materialia & temporis successione agere non potest; cum ex adverso creatio, ut §:pho sequenti ostendemus, momento peragi debeat. Vis igitur creatrix infinita & illimitata esse debet. Qui vero modum, quo actio aliqua possibilis est, cognoscere cupit, illum oportet vires, quae eidem sufficiunt, perspectas habere, & quo pacto in ipsum effectum producendum influant. Quare nemo non videt, a natura intellectus, quali nos homines praediti sumus, limitati abhorrere, ut actionem, quae a potentia infinita tantum proficisci potest, eique propria est, comprehendat; hoc quippe admisso illimitati quid in se contineret. Hinc ergo colligimus, creationem, quatenus effectus est solius potentiae infinitae, nobis incomprehensibilem manere.

Hoc ipsum vero clarius adhuc erit, ubi indolem eiusmodi creationis paulo propius & specialius, quantum fieri potest, consideraverimus. Existentia & non-existentia immediate sibi invicem opposita sunt. Hinc inter nihilum & aliquid gradus nulli intermedii dantur. Concipiamus iam aliquid ex nihilo oriri. Quamprimum definit esse nihil, eo ipso mox incipit existere, sive transit ad actualitatem. In tali igitur ortu nulla successio, nullum prius aut posterius, locum habere potest. Adeoque creatio, quatenus perducit ens a nonesse ad esse, tota absolvitur simul, momento & in instanti, neque in eadem distingui possunt plura sibi mutuo succedentia. Porro, ea est mentis nostrae conditio, ut uno simplici actu, non possit cogitatione sibi sistere modum, quo actio aliqua perficitur, sed ideam eius successive sibi comparare debeat, attendendo ad varia illa, quae actionem ingrediuntur, & modum, quo se invicem insequuntur, haecque inter se comparando demum intelligit, qua ratione effectus inde prodeat. Quae cum per modo dicta locum non inveniant circa creationis negotium, hinc mirum non est, quod modum quo fiat, nobis repraesentare nequeamus.

Si in originem idearum nostrarum inquiramus, deprehendimus, nullas nobis inesse, nisi quas aut immediate per experientiam, eamque vel externam vel internam, accepimus, aut ex his abstrahendo & combinando formavimus. Applicentur iam haec ad modum quo fit creatio. Nullam habemus nos ipsi, utpote entia limitata, facultatem ex nihilo creandi. Nullum nobis prostat eiusmodi productionis exemplum, quod sensibus cognosci queat. Non reperitur ullum vestigium talium actionum, quibus haec notio involvatur. Hinc neque ideam eius ex aliis, quibus coniuncta sit, licet abstrahere. Ob eandem rationem nec potest haec idea componendo ex aliis partialibus derivari, imprimis cum insuper, in hac actione instantanea, plura eam ingredientia distingui nequeant.  Unde igitur haec cognitio acquirenda? Videmus omnes nobis vias praeclusas esse, ad conceptum qualemcunque modi, quo creatio peragitur, perveniendi. Et quidem, quo maiori studio hunc investigare annitimur, eo minus nos proficere posse experimur. Ubi quaeso attentio nostra defigenda est, quando eruere & contemplari volumus modum, quo ex nihilo substantia ad realitatem transit? Stupenda illa virtus, quae hoc efficere valet, eiusque operandi modus, omnem nostram cogitandi vim superat. Num ex nihilo id intelligi poterit? Qualis heic apparet nexus? Quae cohaerentia aut convenientia? Qua tandem rationem fieri poterit, ut modum creationis mente concipiamus?

Generalibus hisce argumentis, & quae ad omnia creabilia extenduntur, addi etiam possent speciales rationes, ab inductione omnis generis substantiarum desumtae. Nobis autem tribus tantum verbis haec tangere sufficiat. Quod igitur ad res materiales attinet, novimus illas ex stupendo numero particularum constare. Harum vero tam incomprehensibilis est subtilitas, ut sensibus nostris percipi non possint, unde quoque interna earum constitutio nos plane fugit, & nihil de iis scimus, praeter id, quod a posteriori ratiocinando colligimus, nimirum eas materialis esse naturae, & proinde omnia corporibus propria, exceptis forte iis, quae ex compositione resultant, possidere. Praeterea ignoramus etiam, quomodo hae particulae coeant, & corpora varii generis constituant; quaenam sit ratio mutuae illarum cohaesionis; qualis vis illa sit, quae partes has ita inter se coniugit; cur diversa corpora attractionis gradibus invicem differant? & sic porro. Si igitur naturam horum principiorum, & modum, quo ex iis corpora coalescant, non intelligimus, multo minus in nostra erit potestate, creationem eorum explicare. Facile enim quisque videt, quantum heic intercedat discriminis. Ibi omnia iam adsunt, modo mutua partium applicatio accedat, heic vero nihil. Si res immateriales consideremus, fatendum est, illas multo adhuc nobis esse obscuriores. Nihil enim de his cognoscimus, praeter certas operationes, & facultates, quas in mente nostra experimur; de ipsa vero earum substantia nullam plane habemus ideam. Quomodo ergo eiusmodi substantiae ortum, & quidem ex nihilo, capere quis poterit?

Veritatem asserti nostri, quod nempe modus creationis rationi humanae impervestigabilis, sic quidem cuilibet patescere existimamus. Provocari adhuc quoque potest ad propriam cuiuslibet experimentam; quia neminem fore speramus, qui, iusta attentione adhibita, in semetipso non animadvertat, impossibile prorsus sibi esse eundem cogitatione ulla complecti. Nemo etiam hactenus fuit, neque posthac unquam erit, ea perspicacia, ut illum explicare potuerit. Quoniam tamen nonnulli, iidemque magni nominis viri, hac in parte a nobis dissentire videntur; idcirco horum cogitata, sed brevissimis tantum, contemplabimur. Facile vero ex tractatione nostra dispalescit, non nobis cum illis rem esse, qui geogonias condiderunt, & creatam iam materiam, per regulas motus, illam, quam nunc habet, formam induisse asseruerunt; sed illorum nos examinare modeste placita, qui ipsam rerum ex nihilo productionem aliquatenus concipi posse crediderunt. De Illustri IS. NEUTONO perhibetur++, eum per spatium suum infinitum atque necessarium, fundamenti loco praesuppositum, creationem declarare voluisse. Sed quoniam citatus auctor non exponit, quo pacto hinc modum creationis conceptibilem reddere velit, quod tamen in re praesenti praecipue attendendum; & penuria laboramus aliorum librorum, unde mentem eius haurire possemus, nec Neutoniana, quae nobis ad manus sunt, scripta quidquam huc spectans contineant; ideo hoc ipsum sicco pede praeterire cogimur. Multo magis disquisitioni de spatio, quippe quae ad caput rei non spectat, & prolixa nimis atque difficilis futura esset, supersedere nobis liceat. Proinde hoc tantum dixisse sufficiat, quod vel hac de spatio admissa sententia, concipere tamen nequeamus, quomodo creatio cum eo cohaereat, aut ex eo deduci & intelligi facilius possit. Vel sic enim creatio ex nihilo procedit; nec spatium, utpote necessarium & immutabile, caussam materialem rerum creandarum constituere ullo modo potest.
++J. A. Buttstedt in den vernünft. Gedanken über die Schöpfung der Welt überhaupt / CVI §. 9. 10.
Referri huc etiam potest acutissimus LOCKIUS, qui modum creationis non quidem explicare adgreditur, sed eundem tamen pro plane inconceptibili non videtur habere, quin potius ad sedulam eius inquisitionem nosmet excitare. Sic enim scribit§: Imo, fortasse, si a vulgaribus notionibus liberi, cogitationes nostras, quantum fieri potest, ad rerum ipsarum penitissimam contemplationem intenderemus, conciperemus aliquo modo, &, quasi per caliginem, cerneremus, quomodo materia initio fieri, atque per primi istius Entis aeterni potentiam incipere posset: concipere autem magis foret arduum, quomodo vis omnipotens existendi initium spiritui tribueret. Addit etiam exemplum, quod sicut negari nequeat, motus corporis nostri voluntarios ex libera mentis agitatione & cogitatione tantum oriri, licet haud concipiamus, quomodo quippiam, praeter corporis impulsum, corpus loco movere possit; ita neque Entis infiniti potentia, ex nihilo creandi, in dubium vocanda sit, si vel operationes Eius non comprehendamus. Subiungit deinde haec verba: Explicetur, scil. influxus hic animae in corpus, ita ut intelligi possit, tunc creatio quomodo perficiatur proxime intelligemus**. Notamus solum, circa prius illud: quod haec gratis ab ipso dicantur: Cum enim modo evictum sit, modum creationis, ut in genere omnis, ita materiae aeque ac spirituum, a nobis omni ex parte esse absconditum; hinc vehementer fallitur, & intellectus sui infirmitatem ignorat, qui eundem se assecuturum fore, sibi pollicetur. Proinde etiam, qui hanc rem indagare vellet, laborem & irritum & inutilem susciperet, imo vix temeritatis notam effugere censendus esset. Convenit ergo nobis sublime hoc mysterium admirari potius, quam curiosi rimari. Quod ad posteriora verba attinet: magna admodum inter duo haec comparata adest differentia. Posito enim, quod anima corpus suum dirigat & moveat, nulla apparet ratio, cur naturae ipsius plane repugnet, ut conscia sibi sit modi, quo actionem istam efficit; licet materiae atque ideis sensualibus adeo immersa & adsueta, vel ob rationem nobis non satis cognitas, illum iam ignoret. Ex adverso autem creatio, infiniti Entis opus, longe aliter comparata est, & sub intelligentiam nostram plane non cadit. Et si vel maxime actio mentis in corpus nobis esset perspecta, ea tamen nihil ad creationem facit aut spectat, multo minus viam ad hanc intelligendam aperire posset. Illa quippe non infert nisi certos motus sive mutationes in corpore, quod ad istas subeundas per structuram ac dispositionem suam aptum est; haec vero productionem substantiae, idque ex nihilo. Nulla igitur inter haec duo datur proportio, sed diversissima plane sunt.
 §  De intell. hum. Lib. IV. C. X. §. 18.
** loc. cit. §. 19
Vir Illustris GODOFR. GVIL. LEIBNITIUS imaginem quandam creationis a numeris petere voluit. Cum enim vulgarem computandi rationem & arbitrariam & defectibus obnoxiam reperiret, aliam excogitavit, arithmeticam nimirum dyadicam, ubi, manens in progressione brevissima & simplicissima, duos tantum assumsit characteres, unitatem puta & ciphram, quorum ope omnes numeros exprimi posse ostendit; servata iuxta hac lege, ut ciphrae competat potestas unitatem binario, ut in vulgari arithmetica denario, multiplicandi; adeo ut, quando remotiorem versus sinistram locum unitas ista occupat, valor eius continuo in duplum augeri censeatur, ut in secundo loco 2, in tertio 4, in quarto 8, & sic porro, significet. Ciphra vero illa eo inservit, ut indicetur, quo loco unitas sit posita. Hanc arithmeticam suam non vulgari usui commendat, utpote quae ob multitudinem characterum esset incommoda. Ita e. g. hic ad exprimendum octonarium 4. opus est signis, quod in vulgari computandi arte fit unico; sed altioribus usibus dicandam suadet. Inter quos & is esset, quod creationis hic compareret imago. Haec enim unitas omnipotentiam Divinam repraesentabit, ciphra vero ipsum nihil, sive absentiam omnis caussae materialis. Quemadmodum igitur unitas & ciphra principia forent, quae ad originem numerorum requiruntur; & prout haec in se, & solitarie posita, nihil significat, dum vero unitas varie eidem adiungitur, varii inde prodeunt numeri; pari modo existimat, per omnipotentiam Divinam res omnes, quae nihil antea fuerunt, posse produci. Communicavit etiam Leibnitius Duci Brunsvicensi Rudolpho Augusto, in epistola ad eum data, exemplar monetae cuiusdam cudendae, quae ab una parte effigiem huius Ducis gereret, ab altera vero, cuius aliqualis pagina dissertationis nostrae ultima extat delineatio, imaginem hanc creationis exhiberet. At quantumvis haec cogitata videri possent primo intuitu speciosa, paulo tamen propius considerata, nullius hac in re deprehenduntur esse momenti. Omnes namque numeri in se & proprie spectati non sunt nisi unitatum multitudo quaedam, sive ex unitate aliquoties repetita constant. Cum itaque unitates compositionem eorum unice ingrediantur, ex ciphra sive nihilo numeros oriri nequaquam dici potest. Quod autem valor signi istius positivi ciphris adpositis multiplicetur ac intendatur, id proprie non his adscribendum venit, sed translationi notae illius in alteriorem locum; unde neque ciphra huc semper necessaria est, quando nimirum absque eius ope loca illa determina]n[tur. Sic e. g. in 111 nulla quidem reperitur ciphra, sed tamen unitas prima, quia tertium occupat a sine locum, significat 4; altera, quia secundum, 2; & ultima denique 1, totaque adeo series 7. Et haec methodus numeros designandi, qua nimirum valor alicuius characteris ex loco quoque eius aestimatur, & quae etiam in arithmetica communi decadica obtinet, tantum ab arbitrio humano dependet, & quia numeratio sic facilis, commoda atque expedita redditur, est recepta. Sed ut rem in compendio sistamus: haec similitudo huc non congruit; primo, quia numeri sunt tantum conceptus abstracti, ad multitudinem rerum quarumcunque distincte cognoscendam comparati, nec habent realem existentiam, quemadmodum quae creationis sunt obiecta. Deinde origo eorum, si ita locui liceat, est intellectu maximi facilis, plana & naturalis; componuntur enim ex partibus iisdem atque homogeneis; creatio contra nullam supponit caussam materialem, quae res producendas ingrediatur, sed caussam duntaxat externam efficientem. Porro ratio illos designandi actualem mutationem non infert, nec hanc vel illam significandi vim per se, verum ab arbitraria impositione, habet, & proinde conceptibus nostris solum inservit; creatio autem non in ideis solis, sed ipso actu, fit. Numeri itaque nihil habent cum creatione commune, sed fingitur saltem, ubi nulla exculpi potest, similitudo; quod in tam sublimi & ardua re nimis imprudenter atque audacter factum videtur.
Quamvis Cel. WOLFIUS creationem nobis esse plane inconceptibilem disertis his verbis pronunciet: Gott hat denen Dingen / die durch seinen Verstand blosz möglich waren / auch durch seine Macht die Würckligkeit gegeben. Diese Würchung Gottes wird die Schöpffung genennet; von welcher wir keinen Begriff haben / weil wir keine Kraft haben etwas zu erschaffen++. Mox tamen subiungit: Man kan sich die Schöpffung einiger massen durch die Kraft der Einbildung vorstellen / indem unsere Einbildungen sich gegen die Seele verhalten / wie die Creaturen gegen Gott / wenn Wir den Satz des zureichenden Grundes nicht aus den Augen setzen. Denu wir bringen alsdenn Dinge hervor in Gedancken / in denen Wahrheit ist / und die zuvor nicht da waren / nach unserem Wohlgefallen / und erhalten die Durch die Krafft der Seele gegenwärtig / so lange wir wollen. Jedoch können wir ihnen keine Würckligkeit ausser der Seele geben / welches doch Gott in der Schöpffung thut / und darin eigentlich die Schöpffung bestehet. Et haec quidem ultima verba faciunt, ut absque omni ratione sufficienti simile hoc adductum nobis videatur. Quae enim similitudo ipsam rem repraesentandam nihil clariorem reddit, pro nulla erit habenda, etiamsi fortassis in generaliori aliqua circumstantia eidem conveniat. Alioquin ex quolibet cuiuslibet similitudinem pro lubitu effingere facillimum foret. Neque productio haec rerum idealis & imaginaria fit ex nihilo. Vel enim ideae, quae ante in animo adfuerunt, ex occasione obiectorum & praeviarum idearum, denuo praesentes fiunt, vel ex aliis ideis novae vario modo formantur. Ex his quoque apparet, creationem per infinita alia simulacra aeque commode, si non melius, adumbrari posse. Sic e. g. dum inventione, arte & opere humana res, quae actuali gaudent existentia, producuntur, eiusmodi inquam actiones propiorem adhuc cum creatione habent convenientiam. Sed haec tantum loquimur ex hypothesi; certissimum enim manet, nullum reperiri posse, ex naturalibus aut humanis, simile, quod non a creatione tantum distet, quantum quicquam potest longissime.
++In den vernünfft. Vernünftige Gedanken von Gott, der Welt und der Seele des Menschen / §1053.

Accuratiorem & prolixiorem pertractationem argumentum hoc quidem mereretur. Ast variae circumstantiae eidem diutius immorari nos prohibent. Digneris ergo, b. l. mitiori censura perstringere pauca atque incomta haecce, quae rudi Minerva, distracto animo & festinanti manu in chartam coniecimus. Cogitemus vero iam incomprehensibilem totius huius universi magnitudinem & stupendam vastitaem; infinitam rerum, quae inibi reperiuntur, multitudinem ac varietatem; earumque admirandam naturam, structuram & compositionem; myriades etiam praestantissimorum spirituum, de quibus ex revelatione informamur. Haec omnia, per virtutem suam infinitam, omnipotens Creator produxit ex nihilo, absque ope & adminiculo ullius instrumenti, aut subiectae materiae. Fecit inquam artificiosissime & sapientissime, sed simul etiam absque ulla molestia & operosa molitione, solo efficacissimo suo verbo atque mandato. Ad horum iustam considerationem animus plane obstupescit, & in profundam admirationem rapitur. Discamus igitur summas summi Conditoris perfectiones, vel ex hoc opere conspicuas, agnoscere, corde venerari, ore praedicare. Faxit ille ipse Creator, ut tandem, cum incolis coelestibus, aeternis Eum laudibus celebrare nobis liceat & exclamare:



Apoc. IV. 11

αξιοσ ει ο κυριοσ και ο θεοσ ημων λαβειν την δοξαν και την τιμην και την δυναμιν οτι συ εκτισασ τα παντ
α και δια το θελημα σου ησαν και εκτισθησαν