THE PRINCIPLES OF RELIGION
Now, this Singular Infinite Being cannot be described in the normal sense of the word “Infinite”. This is because the infinite is limited to being infinite. For example, an infinite number at no point transitions into a finite number. It can only be infinite. Though it is unlimited, nonetheless, to this degree it is limited, in that the beginning of the finite is the limit of the infinite. Therefore, this type of infinity is also limited to the definition of being infinite. It, too, has a beginning and an end. In other words, its end is where the finite begins. Therefore, this type of infinity also does not exist intrinsically and must be compelled into being. Moreover, a defined infinity is limited to its definition and is only infinite in that regard. For instance, an infinite number is limited to the definition of being a number, or even if we would say that time is infinite, nonetheless, it is limited to the definition of being time, rather than anything else. Rather, the infinity of the Singular Infinite Being mentioned above, is beyond this, for we must say that He is not limited in any way, whatsoever, and can do anything, literally. He absolutely has no defining limitations. Rather, He defines both the finite and the infinite, and is beyond both. (It is also clear from the above that relative to this Singular Infinite Being, it is an equally inconsequential effort to create a grain of sand as it is to create the above mentioned limited or defined infinities.)
Furthermore, for this same reason, it is necessary to state that this Being has no body or form. In other words, He has no defined form whatsoever. If one were to say that He has a body or form, even in the most refined and spiritual way, he would be imposing limitations upon this Being. This is impossible to say, as explained above. Therefore, it is necessary to say that He has no body or form whatsoever.
Because of all the above, it is impossible for those who are limited to grasp this Infinite Being through their own efforts, in any way whatsoever. For, as explained above, the finite can never reach the infinite. It is therefore impossible for a human being to grasp the ultimate truth of reality, this Singular Infinite Being, through any of his own efforts. This may be further understood from several points: Firstly, an effect can never grasp its cause, since, by definition, the cause must always be beyond the effect. Secondly, a limited being is confined to its limitations. It is impossible for it to transcend these limitations by its own means. It is therefore impossible for anything which has a body or defined form, even the “defined infinity” mentioned above, to grasp the essence of that which is beyond body or form.
Nonetheless, it is clear that this constraint only applies to limited beings, not to the Singular Infinite Being, since He has no limitations. In other words, although, by their own means, limited created beings can in no way grasp the Singular Infinite Being, nonetheless, the Singular Infinite Being can certainly make Himself known to them. This is quite simple to understand, for although He is beyond us due to our limitations, we are not beyond Him, for He has no limitations.
Let us now return to what we spoke of earlier, and understand some of its ramifications. We explained above that any limited entity must have its existence imposed upon it in order to be. If this was not the case, it would revert back to its original state of not being. In other words, all created existence is as nothing relative to the Singular Infinite Being, whose existence is intrinsic to Him. Therefore, it follows with certainty that any created entity must be created continuously, for, as explained above, it exists within time and space, and time and space are also compelled into being by this Infinite Being. In other words, there must be a constant creative force from the Singular Infinite Being, which imposes and compels time and space and everything therein into existence.
Since all of Creation is compelled into existence out of nothing continuously, we must say that this is intentional, rather than accidental. Firstly, something cannot come out of nothing accidentally, for there is nothing for the accident to occur upon. Therefore, all existence must be brought about intentionally. Secondly, this is further supported by the fact that, as explained above, the Infinite Being is not limited or defined by any nature, whatsoever. Rather, it is He who defines nature. Therefore, it would be erroneous to say that at some point, our existence just “came into being”, accidentally (especially since He is beyond time). Furthermore, it would be erroneous to say that there is some nature which compels the Infinite Being to create. This cannot be, for, as explained above, He is above nature. He defines nature, rather than being defined by it. Rather, we are forced to say that the Infinite Being chose to bring us into existence, intentionally. Furthermore, the intention for creation must be constant, for if it were to cease, our existence would cease.
Now, if there is an intention to our existence, this means it has purpose. By definition, something is purposeless if it occurs accidentally without intention. Conversely, if something is intentional, there is purpose. If we were to say that our existence was unintentional and accidental, we would be saying that there is no purpose to our existence. Such a view is impossible, as explained above, because something cannot come out of nothing unintentionally. It is also foolish, for clearly, even when a human being chooses to do something intentionally, there is purpose. If this is the case with a human being (who is limited and is only the effect), then, certainly, the Creator (who is unlimited and is the cause) is certainly capable of choosing to do or to not to do. Furthermore, our choices are limited, for we are limited. However, His choices are unlimited since He is unlimited. Therefore, He is the sole possessor of true choice and unlimited free will.
To argue that He cannot have free choice, because in order for there to be choice there must be “existent things” to choose from, is entirely foolish. Firstly, this would be limiting Him. Secondly, our existence itself is a testament to His free will. Thirdly, He can intentionally choose to bring “things” into being, as explained above. Since He is unlimited, He can do whatever He wishes. In any case, here we are! This means that He chose to create us, and that He chose to create us in the manner and way in which we are. On the other hand, His is the only existence which does not need to be intended into being, for He always exists and His existence is intrinsic to Him.
It follows from the above that there is a general intention for the whole of Creation and particular intentions for all the particulars of that whole, even to the finest particle. If a single particle of Creation lacked its intention for being, it could not exist. Everything that exists has an intention and purpose. In other words, all of existence, as a whole, fulfills a general purpose and intention, and every particular of that whole, fulfills its particular, specific intention and purpose, in order to bring about the general intention and purpose. This is obvious, since the particulars are merely part and parcel of the whole.
Furthermore, from the fact that the Singular Infinite Being compelled everything into being with purpose, intent and free will, it is quite clear that He is a conscious Being, rather than merely a “Primal Cause” which is devoid of any awareness or consciousness, and that He is aware of everything, down to the finest particular. If this was not so, they could not exist.
From all the above, we further understand
that unless the nature of existence changes and is exchanged by a different
nature, the purpose and intention of
existence remains constant.