“Not all things can have a life merely at second hand, that would give an infinite series. There must be some nature which, having life primary, shall be of necessity indestructible, immortal, as the source of life to all else that lives. This is the point of which all that is divine and blessed must be situated, living and having being of itself, possessing primal being and primal life, and its own essence rejecting all change, neither coming to be nor passing away.
“Whence could such a being arise or into what could it disappear: the very word, strictly used, means that the thing is perdurable. … In such an entity this primal and eternal Being cannot be dead like stone or plank: it must be alive, and that with a life unalloyed.” `Plotinus
Plotinus doesn’t just make spiritual sense with his statements here, he is also logical in the intellectual sense.
If there is a factory that produces paper cups, and truckloads come out of the factory daily, it stands to reason that there must be something other than the cups themselves inside the factory. There must be machines forming the cups and probably people operating the machines. The temporary cups can’t make themselves.
All material beings are temporary like those paper cups. And while we can certainly see that people, animals, and even plants are capable of reproduction, that is only part of the story. That reproduced body of matter must be given life. There must be a source for that life, a permanent Being that is always alive and therefore always generating life energy. At some point, the first being of matter had to be created and given life by a being that had life, but was not material. That being cannot be material because everything material changes and dies. This infinite life that is the source of all other lives is God.
All That is Divine
Plotinus says that this is not only the nature of God, but of all divine beings or divine lives. This means that the angels of God are also immortal and infinite. Beyond that, even we have some of that infinite life in us. Our souls, which are created by God, must also be divine. Therefore, they too are infinite and immortal. So don’t ask, “where is my soul?” or “Is my soul young or old?” The soul is everywhere, and every soul is ageless.
Change is the cause of death. If a living being never changes, it would never die. So an infinite being that was never born and will never die cannot change. The infinite life of God is permanent, unchanging. Worlds, stars, even entire universes of matter can be born, live out their life, and die. But in all that time, God remains the same.
Likewise, our spirit and soul rejects change. Our permanent self cannot get sick or die. It cannot get old. It just is. Infinite life is part of all spirits and souls. The question is, do we make the effort to join our material mind and personality with that permanent soul while we can, or do we just let our mind and personality die while the soul moves on to a higher level? The choice is ours. If we foolishly wait until we are dead to make that decision, it is too late.
Perdurable Infinite Life
Plotinus says this infinite being is “perdurable”. That is logical to assume given the nature of God. If He is unchanging, infinite, all-powerful, than he must also be very durable. He is the ultimate of durability, since He can never be worn down, used up, or get dull and non-functional. It sure would be nice if we could make cars that met that definition!
He also says this infinite being must be “unalloyed.” By that, he means it cannot be mixed with anything else, anything less than it is. Specifically ,God cannot be a mixture of good and evil. Likewise, he cannot be a mixture of matter and spirit. He is all good and all spirit.