Causes and Creatures

Fundamentally, most of the classical arguments for the existence of God can be simply seen as the realization that the world, us included, does not and cannot exist of its own power. In other words, everything we encounter, again, including ourselves, has being by participation and not of itself. This is the Truth that lies at the heart of metaphysics, it is the Truth of Genesis: We are created things.

This insight is not benign, for the original sin of man is pride, which is nothing else than a refusal to acknowledge our existence qua creatures. To understand that God is the Uncaused Cause or our Creator is the ultimate truth about ourselves that we must know in order to begin to be as God wants us to be.


The World of Philosophy

Consider a stone. A stone exists within the world but the stone does not "have" a world. What is the difference? Having a world means existing within a field of relations in connection with some interior power. The dirt does not have a world. A plant within the dirt, though, does. The dirt, inasmuch as it provides the plant with nutrients, nutrients which are "taken into" the plant in both a literal and a figurative fashion, is part of the world of the plant. The plant has a relatedness to the dirt in the way a stone does not.

Is there a simpler distinction that can be made between things that "have" worlds and things that are merely within worlds? Of course. What else are we describing other than the difference between living and non-living things? To be a living thing is to have a soul, and the soul is the interior power by which living things possess fields of relations.

Not all living things contain within themselves identical fields of relations, though. Animals have more expansive fields of relations than plants, and human beings' fields of relations are even more expansive than irrational animals. By considering the degree to which living things have fields of relations, then, we can establish a hierarchy of being and existence.

But what is man's proper field of relations? Being in its totality! As a being that is capable of knowing, man is able to place himself in relation to all things simply. What do we call this activity of placing oneself in relation to Being as a whole?



The old light illuminates the young soul
who stands beneath the ancient fires
of a world unseen and unheard
His hands can only touch the winter
and the visions are only of fear
But this boy is patient
as he is consumed and burned
by ancestral heat
Now a man enkindled
he may walk through the snow
and it shall melt