Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.
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This Part: 52 Pages
21. Could He then have made Himself otherwise than as He did?
If He could we must deny Him the power to produce goodness for He certainly cannot produce evil. Power, There, is no producer of the inapt; it is that steadfast constant which is most decidedly power by inability to depart from unity: ability to produce the inapt inability to hold by the fitting; that self-making must be definite once for all since it is the right; besides, who could upset what is made by the will of God and is itself that will?
But whence does He draw that will seeing that essence, source of will, is inactive in Him?
The will was included in the essence; they were identical: or was there something, this will for instance, not existing in Him? All was will, nothing unwilled in Him. There is then nothing before that will: God and will were primally identical.
God, therefore, is what He willed, is such as He willed; and all that ensued upon that willing was what that definite willing engendered: but it engendered nothing new; all existed from the first.
As for his “self-containing,” this rightly understood can mean only that all the rest is maintained in virtue of Him by means of a certain participation; all traces back to the Supreme; God Himself, self-existing always, needs no containing, no participating; all in Him belongs to Him or rather He needs nothing from them in order to being Himself.
When therefore you seek to state or to conceive Him, put all else aside; abstracting all, keep solely to Him; see that you add nothing; be sure that your theory of God does not lessen Him. Even you are able to take contact with Something in which there is no more than That Thing itself to affirm and know, Something which lies away above all and is — it alone — veritably free, subject not even to its own law, solely and essentially That One Thing, while all else is thing and something added.
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