“Everything that derives its existence from participation in some other reality presupposes the ontological priority of that other reality. Thus it is clear that the divine Cause of created beings – which derive their existence from participation in that Cause – is incomparably superior to all such beings in every way since by nature its existence is prior to theirs and they presuppose its ontological priority. It does not exist as a being with accidents, because I that were the case the divine would be composite, its own existence receiving completion from the existence of created beings. On the contrary, it exists as the beyond-beingness of being. For if artists in their art conceive the shapes of those things which they prelude, and if universal nature conceives the forms of the things within it, how much more does God Himself bring into existence out of nothing the very being of all created things, since He is beyond being and even infinitely transcends the attribution of beyond-beingness. For it is He who has yoked the sciences to the arts so that shapes might be devised; it is He who has given to nature the energy which produces its forms, and who has established the very is-ness of beings by virtue of which they exist.” ~The Philokalia
Any being or thing that was created by some other being is a derived being and has a derived existence. This quote from the Philokalia is saying that such a derived being, having been created by some other being, cannot be greater than that which created it. This is really very logical if you think about it without letting ego or passions cloud your thinking. After all, an artist may create a great work of art that lives on long after the artist has been forgotten, but that doesn’t make the work of art greater than the being that created it.
There are many causes of things and creators of things, but there is only one Divine Cause and that is God. Naturally, God is greater than anything He has created, that is essentially the definition of God. If you accept that the universe is logical and intelligent rather than random, then it is reasonable to believe that an intelligent organization has a hierarchy with a being or force at the very top of the structure. That is what most of us call “God”. And as such, He must be greater than any and all of the created beings and things on the lower levels of creation. Continue reading “Divine Cause and Derived Existence”