The Art of Nature

If we cannot see the interiority of Nature then we will never be able to properly distinguish the natural from the artificial. A human doctor uses the human art of medicine to heal other human beings. An automobile manufacturer takes parts from the world and puts them together in order to function according to his design. If we conclude from these examples that nature is simply the machine that God has put together then we have missed the essential difference between nature and artifice. To say that something is natural is to say that it possess a power which is in itself. No machine can boast this. As a machine, meaning ignoring what the parts and components and elements were doing before we grabbed them, no machine exists apart from human beings who serve as the external agent and artist. This is one of the most significant disanalogies between nature and art.

If we were to properly analogize between nature and art, we would have to say that nature is that in which the work of art and the artist are the same thing.


What Is That

Fundamentally, the Five Ways rest upon the distinction between what something is and that it is. This distinction is both within ourselves and within all the objects of our experience. I can know what the do-do bird is while also knowing that it does not exist anymore. The do-do bird still has a what but it does not possess a that. All of creation is a composition of what and that. The what is what gives definition and limit to things. It is what separates an atom from an animal from a planet from a universe. The that is actual existence or being.

Notice that if something is a composition of a what and a that, its existence must be explained by something outside itself. All of our physical reality, though, is made up of this type of composition. Things are constantly coming in and going out of existence; we all will go out of our current mode of existence when we die. Existence is a gift given to all things. That is given to what in order for something to actually exist.

Ultimately, though, we must reach a Giver of Existence. We must reach something that does not share in existence or even merely have it. In order to properly explain the existence of all things we must reach a Being whose what and that are identical. What it is to be this being is simply that He Is. His definition is that He Exists.

When Moses asked God for His Name He replied:" I AM."