But, whatever exists in any of these three ways exists through another than itself, and is of later existence, and, in some sort, less than that through which it obtains existence. But, in no wise does the supreme Nature exist through another, nor is it later or less than itself or anything else. Therefore, the supreme Nature could be created neither by itself, nor by another; nor could itself or an other be the matter whence it should be created; nor did it assist itself in any way; nor did anything assist it to be what it was not before.
What is to be inferred? For that which cannot have come into existence by any creative agent, or from any matter, or with any external aids, seems either to be nothing, or, if it has any existence, to exist through nothing, and derive existence from nothing. And although, in accordance with the observations I have already made, in the light of reason, regarding the supreme Substance, I should think such propositions could in no wise be true in the case of supreme Substance; yet, I would not neglect to give a connected demonstration of this matter. For, seeing that this my meditation has suddenly brought me to an important and interesting point, I am unwilling to pass over carelessly even any simple or almost foolish objection that occurs to me, in my argument; in order that by leaving no ambiguity in my discussion up to this point, I may have the better assured strength to advance toward what follows; and in order that if, perchance, I shall wish to convince any one of the truth of my speculations, even one of the slower minds, through the removal of every obstacle, however slight, may acquiesce in what it finds here.
That this Nature, then, without which no nature exists, is nothing, is as false as it would be absurd to say that whatever is is nothing. And, moreover, it does not exist through nothing, because it is utterly inconceivable that what is something should exist through nothing. But, if in any way it derives existence from nothing, it does so through itself, or through another, or through nothing.
But it is evident that in no wise does anything exist through nothing. If, then, in any way it derives existence from nothing, it does so either through itself or through another. But nothing can, through itself, derive existence from nothing, because if anything derives existence from nothing, through something, then that through which it exists must exist before it.
Seeing that this Being, then, does not exist before itself, by no means does it derive existence from itself. But if it is supposed to have derived existence from some other nature, then it is not the supreme Nature, but some inferior one, nor is it what it is through itself, but through another. Again: if this Nature derives existence from nothing, through something, that through which it exists was a great good, since it was the cause of good. But no good can be understood as existing before that good, without which nothing is good; and it is sufficiently clear that this good, without which there is no good, is the supreme Nature which is under discussion.
Therefore, it is not even conceivable that this Nature was preceded by any being, through which it derived existence from nothing. Hence, if it has any existence through nothing, or derives existence from nothing, there is no doubt that either, whatever it is, it does not exist through itself, or derive existence from itself, or else it is itself nothing.
Proslogium and Monologium
It is unnecessary to show that both these suppositions are false. The supreme Substance, then, does not exist through any efficient agent, and does not derive existence from any matter, and was not aided in being brought into existence by any external causes. Nevertheless, it by no means exists through nothing, or derives existence from nothing; since, through itself and from itself, it is whatever it is. Finally, as to how it should be understood to exist through itself, and to derive existence from itself: it did not create itself, nor did it spring up as its own matter, nor did it in any way assist itself to become what it was not before, unless, haply, it seems best to conceive of this subject in the way in which one says that the light lights or is lucent, through and from itself.
For, as are the mutual relations of the light and to light and lucent lux, lucere, lucens , such are the relations of essence, and to be and being, that is, existing or subsisting. So the supreme Being, and to be in the highest degree, and being in the highest degree, bear much the same relations, one to another, as the light and to light and lucent.
In what way all other beings exist through this Nature and derive existence from it. THERE now remains the discussion of that whole class of beings that exist through another, as to how they exist through the supreme Substance, whether because this Substance created them all, or because it was the material of all. For, there is no need to inquire whether all exist through it, for this reason, namely, that there being another creative agent, or another existing material, this supreme Substance has merely aided in bringing about the existence of all things: since it is inconsistent with what has already been shown, that whatever things are should exist secondarily, and not primarily, through it.
First, then, it seems to me, we ought to inquire whether that whole class of beings which exist through another derive existence from any material. But I do not doubt that all this solid world, with its parts, just as we see, consists of earth, water, fire, and air. These four elements, of course, can be conceived of without these forms which we see in actual objects, so that their formless, or even confused, nature appears to be the material of all bodies, distinguished by their own forms.
But I ask, whence this very material that I have mentioned, the material of the mundane mass, derives its existence. For, if there is some material of this material, then that is more truly the material of the physical universe. If, then, the universe of things, whether visible or invisible, derives existence from any material, certainly it not only cannot be, but it cannot even be supposed to be, from any other material than from the supreme Nature or from itself, or from some third being -- but this last, at any rate, does not exist.
For, indeed, nothing is even conceivable except that highest of all beings, which exists through itself, and the universe of beings which exist, not through themselves, but through this supreme Being. Hence, that which has no existence at all is not the material of anything. From its own nature the universe cannot derive existence, since, if this were the case, it would in some sort exist through itself and so through another than that through which all things exist.
But all these suppositions are false. Again, everything that derives existence from material derives existence from another, and exists later than that other. Therefore, since nothing is other than itself, or later than itself, it follows that nothing derives material existence from itself. But if, from the material of the supreme Nature itself, any lesser being can derive existence, the supreme good is subject to change and corruption. But this it is impious to suppose. Hence, since everything that is other than this supreme Nature is less than it, it is impossible that anything other than it in this way derives existence from it.
Furthermore: doubtless that is in no wise good, through which the supreme good is subjected to change or corruption. But, if any lesser nature derives existence from the material of the supreme good, inasmuch as nothing exists whencesoever, except through the supreme Being, the supreme good is subjected to change and corruption through the supreme Being itself. Hence, the supreme Being, which is itself the supreme good, is by no means good; which is a contradiction.
There is, therefore, no lesser nature which derives existence in a material way from the supreme Nature. Since, then, it is evident that the essence of those things which exist through another does not derive existence as if materially, from the supreme Essence, nor from itself, nor from another, it is manifest that it derives existence from no material.
Hence, seeing that whatever is exists through the supreme Being, nor can anything else exist through this Being, except by its creation, or by its existence as material, it follows, necessarily, that nothing besides it exists, except by its creation. And, since nothing else is or has been, except that supreme Being and the beings created by it, it could create nothing at all through any other instrument or aid than itself.
But all that it has created, it has doubtless created either from something, as from material, or from nothing. Since, then, it is most patent that the essence of all beings, except the supreme Essence, was created by that supreme Essence, and derives existence from no material, doubtless nothing can be more clear than that this supreme Essence nevertheless produced from nothing, alone and through itself, the world of material things, so numerous a multitude, formed in such beauty, varied in such order, so fitly diversified.
How it is to be understood that this Nature created all things from nothing. BUT we are confronted with a doubt regarding this term nothing. For, from whatever source anything is created, that source is the cause of what is created from it, and, necessarily, every cause affords some assistance to the being of what it effects. This is so firmly believed, as a result of experience, by every one, that the belief can be wrested from no one by argument, and can scarcely be purloined by sophistry.
Accordingly, if anything was created from nothing, this very nothing was the cause of what was created from it. But how could that which had no existence, assist anything in coming into existence? If, however, no aid to the existence of anything ever had its source in nothing, who can be convinced, and how, that anything is created out of nothing?
Moreover, nothing either means something, or does not mean something. But if nothing is something, whatever has been created from nothing has been created from something. If, however, nothing is not something; since it is inconceivable that anything should be created from what does not exist, nothing is created from nothing; just as all agree that nothing comes from nothing.
Whence, it evidently follows, that whatever is created is created from something; for it is created either from something or from nothing. Whether, then, nothing is something, or nothing is not something, it apparently follows, that whatever has been created was created from something. But, if this is posited as a truth, then it is so posited in opposition to the whole argument propounded in the preceding chapter. Hence, since what was nothing will thus be something, that which was something in the highest degree will be nothing. For, from the discovery of a certain Substance existing in the greatest degree of all existing beings, my reasoning had brought me to this conclusion, that all other beings were so created by this Substance, that that from which they were created was nothing.
Hence, if that from which they were created, which I supposed to be nothing, is something, whatever I supposed to have been ascertained regarding the supreme Being, is nothing. What, then, is to be our understanding of the term nothing? There is one way, according to which we wish it to be understood, that what is said to have been created from nothing has not been created at all; just as, to one who asks regarding a dumb man, of what he speaks, the answer is given, "of nothing," that is, he does not speak at all.
According to this interpretation, to one who enquires regarding the supreme Being, or regarding what never has existed and does not exist at all, as to whence it was created, the answer, "from nothing" may properly be given; that is, it never was created. But this answer is unintelligible in the case of any of those things that actually were created. There is another interpretation which is, indeed, capable of supposition, but cannot be true; namely, that if anything is said to have been created from nothing, it was created from nothing itself de nihilo ipso , that is, from what does not exist at all, as if this very nothing were some existent being, from which something could be created.
But, since this is always false, as often as it is assumed an irreconcilable contradiction follows. There is a third interpretation, according to which a thing is said to have been created from nothing, when we understand that it was indeed created, but that there is not anything whence it was created. Apparently it is said with a like meaning, when a man is afflicted without cause, that he is afflicted "over nothing.
If, then, the conclusion reached in the preceding chapter is understood in this sense, that with the exception of the supreme Being all things have been created by that Being from nothing, that is, not from anything; just as this conclusion consistently follows the preceding arguments, so, from it, nothing inconsistent is inferred; although it may be said, without inconsistency or any contradiction, that what has been created by the creative Substance was created from nothing, in the way that one frequently says a rich man has been made from a poor man, or that one has recovered health from sickness; that is, he who was poor before, is rich now, as he was not before; and he who was ill before, is well now, as he was not before.
In this way, then, we can understand, without inconsistency, the statement that the creative Being created all things from nothing, or that all were created through it from nothing; that is, those things which before were nothing, are now something. For, indeed, from the very word that we use, saying that it created them or that they were created , we understand that when this Being created them, it created something, and that when they were created, they were created only as something.
For so, beholding a man of very lowly fortunes exalted with many riches and honors by some one, we say, "Lo, he has made that man out of nothing"; that is, the man who was before reputed as nothing is now, by virtue of that other's making, truly reckoned as something. Those things which were created from nothing had an existence before their creation in the thought of the Creator.
BUT I seem to see a truth that compels me to distinguish carefully in what sense those things which were created may be said to have been nothing before their creation. For, in no wise can anything conceivably be created by any, unless there is, in the mind of the creative agent, some example, as it were, or as is more fittingly supposed some model, or likeness, or rule. It is evident, then, that before the world was created, it was in the thought of the supreme Nature, what, and of what sort, and how, it should be.
Hence, although it is clear that the being that were created were nothing before their creation, to this extent, that they were not what they now are, nor was there anything whence they should be created, yet they were not nothing, so far as the creator's thought is concerned, through which, and according to which, they were created.
This thought is a kind of expression of the objects created locutio rerum , like the expression which an artisan forms in his mind for what he intends to make. BUT this model of things, which preceded their creation in the thought of the creator, what else is it than a kind of expression of these things in his thought itself; just as when an artisan is about to make something after the manner of his craft, he first expresses it to himself through a concept?
But by the expression of the mind or reason I mean, here, not the conception of words signifying the objects, but the general view in the mind, by the vision of conception, of the objects themselves, whether destined to be, or already existing. For, from frequent usage, it is recognised that we can express the same object in three ways. For we express objects either by the sensible use of sensible signs, that is, signs which are perceptible to the bodily senses; or by thinking within ourselves insensibly of these signs which, when outwardly used, are sensible; or not by employing these signs, either sensibly or insensibly, but by expressing the things themselves inwardly in our mind, whether by the power of imagining material bodies or of understanding thought, according to the diversity of these objects themselves.
For I express a man in one way, when I signify him by pronouncing these words, a man; in another, when I think of the same words in silence; and in another, when the mind regards the man himself, either through the image of his body, or through the reason; through the image of his body, when the mind imagines his visible form; through the reason, however, when it thinks of his universal essence, which is a rational, mortal animal. Now, the first two kinds of expression are in the language of one's race. But the words of that kind of expression, which I have put third and last, when they concern objects well known, are natural, and are the same among all nations.
And, since all other words owe their invention to these, where these are, no other word is necessary for the recognition of an object, and where they cannot be, no other word is of any use for the description of an object. For, without absurdity, they may also be said to be the truer, the more like they are to the objects to which they correspond, and the more expressively they signify these objects.
For, with the exception of those objects, which we employ as their own names, in order to signify them, like certain sounds , the vowel a for instance -- with the exception of these, I say, no other word appears so similar to the object to which it is applied, or expresses it as does that likeness which is expressed by the vision of the mind thinking of the object itself. This last, then, should be called the especially proper and primary word , corresponding to the thing.
Hence, if no expression of any object whatever so nearly approaches the object as that expression which consists of this sort of words, nor can there be in the thought of any another word so like the object, whether destined to be, or already existing, not without reason it may be thought that such an expression of objects existed with apud the supreme Substance before their creation, that they might be created; and exists, now that they have been created, that they may be known through it. The analogy, however, between the expression of the Creator and the expression of the artisan is very incomplete.
BUT, though it is most certain that the supreme Substance expressed, as it were, within itself the whole created world, which it established according to, and through, this same most profound expression, just as an artisan first conceives in his mind what he afterwards actually executes in accordance with his mental concept, yet I see that this analogy is very incomplete. For the supreme Substance took absolutely nothing from any other source, whence it might either frame a model in itself, or make its creatures what they are; while the artisan is wholly unable to conceive in his imagination any bodily thing, except what he has in some way learned from external objects, whether all at once, or part by part; nor can he perform the work mentally conceived, if there is a lack of material, or of anything without which a work premeditated cannot be performed.
For, though a man can, by meditation or representation, frame the idea of some sort of animal, such as has no existence; yet, by no means has he the power to do this, except by uniting in this idea the parts that he has gathered in his memory from objects known externally. Hence, in this respect, these inner expressions of the works they are to create differ in the creative substance and in the artisan: that the former expression, without being taken or aided from any external source, but as first and sole cause, could suffice the Artificer for the performance of his work, while the latter is neither first, nor sole, nor sufficient, cause for the inception of the artisan's work.
Therefore, whatever has been created through the former expression is only what it is through that expression, while whatever has been created through the latter would not exist at all, unless it were something that it is not through this expression itself.
BUT since, as our reasoning shows, it is equally certain that whatever the supreme Substance created, it created through nothing other than itself; and whatever. Therefore, the consideration of this expression should not, in my opinion, be carelessly passed over. But before it can be discussed, I think some of the properties of this supreme Substance should be diligently and earnestly investigated. As all things were created through the supreme Being, so all live through it. IT is certain, then, that through the supreme Nature whatever is not identical with it has been created.
But no rational mind can doubt that all creatures live and continue to exist, so long as they do exist, by the sustenance afforded by that very Being through whose creative act they are endowed with the existence that they have. For, by a like course of reasoning to that by which it has been gathered that all existing beings exist through some one being, hence that being alone exists through itself, and others through another than themselves -- by a like course of reasoning, I say, it can be proved that whatever things live, live through some one being; hence that being alone lives through itself, and others through another than themselves.
But, since it cannot but be that those things which have been created live through another, and that by which they have been created lives through itself, necessarily, just as nothing has been created except through the creative, present Being, so nothing lives except through its preserving presence. This Being is in all things, and throughout all; and all derive existence from it and exist through and in it. BUT if this is true -- rather, since this must be true, it follows that, where this Being is not, nothing is.
It is, then, everywhere, and throughout all things, and in all. But seeing that it is manifestly absurd that as any created being can in no wise exceed the immeasurableness of what creates and cherishes it, so the creative and cherishing Being cannot, in anyway, exceed the sum of the things it has created; it is clear that this Being itself, is what supports and surpasses, includes and permeates all other things. If we unite this truth with the truths already discovered, we find it is this same Being which is in all and through all, and from which, and through which, and in which, all exist.
What can or cannot be stated concerning the substance of this Being. NOT without reason I am now strongly impelled to inquire as earnestly as I am able, which of all the statements that may be made regarding anything is substantially applicable to this so wonderful Nature. For, though I should be surprised if, among the names or words by which we designate things created from nothing, any should be found that could worthily be applied to the Substance which is the creator of all; yet, we must try and see to what end reason will lead this investigation.
As to relative expressions, at any rate, no one can doubt that no such expression describes what is essential to that in regard to which it is relatively employed. Hence, if any relative predication is made regarding the supreme Nature, it is not significant of its substance. Therefore, it is manifest that this very expression, that this Nature, is the highest of all beings, or greater than those which have been created by it; or any other relative term that can, in like manner, be applied to it, does not describe its natural essence.
For, if none of those things ever existed, in relation to which it is called supreme or greater , it would not be conceived as either supreme or greater , yet it would not, therefore, be less good, or suffer detriment to its essential greatness in any degree. And this truth is clearly seen from the fact that this Nature exists through no other than itself, whatever there be that is good or great.
If, then, the supreme Nature can be so conceived of as not supreme, that still it shall be in no wise greater or less than when it is conceived of as the highest of all beings, it is manifest that the term supreme , taken by itself, does not describe that Being which is altogether greater and better than whatever is not what it is. But, what these considerations show regarding the term supreme or highest is found to be true, in like manner, of other similar, relative expressions.
Passing over these relative predications, then, since none of them taken by itself represents the essence of anything, let our attention be turned to the discussion of other kinds of predication. Now, certainly if one diligently considers separately whatever there is that is not of a relative nature, either it is such that, to be it is in general better than not to be it , or such that, in some cases, not to be it is better than to be it.
But I here understand the phrases, to be it and not to be it , in the same way in which I understand to be true and not to be true , to be bodily and not to be bodily , and the like. Indeed, to be anything is, in general, better than not to be it; as to be wise is better than not to be so ; that is, it is better to be wise than not to be wise. For, though one who is just, but not wise, is apparently a better man than one who is wise, but not just, yet, taken by itself, it is not better not to be wise than to be wise. For, everything that is not wise, simply in so far as it is not wise, is less than what is wise, since everything that is not wise would be better if it were wise.
In the same way, to be true is altogether better than not to be so , that is, better than not to be true ; and just is better than not just ; and to live than not to live. But, in some cases, not to be a certain thing is better than to be it , as not to be gold may be better than to be gold. For it is better for man not to be gold, than to be gold; although it might be better for something to be gold, than not to be gold -- lead, for instance. For though both, namely, man and lead are not gold, man is something as much better than gold, as he would be of inferior nature, were he gold; while lead is something as much more base than gold, as it would be more precious, were it gold.
But, from the fact that the supreme Nature may be so conceived of as not supreme, that supreme is neither in general better than not supreme , nor not supreme better, in any case, than supreme --from this fact it is evident that there are many relative expressions which are by no means included in this classification. Whether, however, any are so included, I refrain from inquiring; since it is sufficient, for my purpose, that undoubtedly none of these, taken by itself, describes the substance of the supreme Nature.
Since, then, it is true of whatever else there is, that, if it is taken independently, to be it is better than not to be it ; as it is impious to suppose that the substance of the supreme Nature is anything, than which what is not it is in any way better, it must be true that this substance is whatever is, in general, better than what is not it.
For, it alone is that, than which there is nothing better at all, and which is better than all things, which are not what it is. It is not a material body, then, or any of those things which the bodily senses discern. For, then all these there is something better, which is not what they themselves are. For, the rational mind, as to which no bodily sense can perceive what, or of what character, or how great, it is --the less this rational mind would be if it were any of those things that are in the scope of the bodily senses, the greater it is than any of these.
For by no means should this supreme Being be said to be any of those things to which something, which they themselves are not, is superior; and it should by all means, as our reasoning shows, be said to be any of those things to which everything, which is not what they themselves are, is inferior.
Hence, this Being must be living, wise, powerful, and all-powerful, true, just, blessed, eternal, and whatever, in like manner, is absolutely better than what is not it. Why, then, should we make any further inquiry as to what that supreme Nature is, if it is manifest which of all things it is, and which it is not? For this Being it is the same to be just that it is to be justice; and so with regard to attributes that can be expressed in the same way: and none of these shows of what character, or how great, but what this Being is.
BUT perhaps, when this Being is called just, or great, or anything like these, it is not shown what it is, but of what character, or how great it is. For every such term seems to be used with reference to quantity or magnitude; because everything that is just is so through justness, and so with other like cases, in the same way. Hence, the supreme Nature itself is not just, except through justness. It seems, then, that by participation in this quality, that is, justness, the supremely good Substance is called just.
But, if this is so, it is just through another, and not through itself. But this is contrary to the truth already established, that it is good, or great or whatever it is at all, through itself and not through another. So, if it is not just, except through justness, and cannot be just, except through itself, what can be more clear than that this Nature is itself justness?
And, when it is said to be just through justness, it is the same as saying that it is just through itself. And, when it is said to be just through itself, nothing else is understood than that it is just through justness. Hence, if it is inquired what the supreme Nature, which is in question, is in itself, what truer answer can be given, than Justness?
We must observe, then, how we are to understand the statement, that the Nature which is itself justness is just. For, since a man cannot be justness, but can possess justness, we do not conceive of a just man as being justness, but as possessing justness. Since, on the other hand, it cannot properly be said of the supreme Nature that it possesses justness, but that it is justness, when it is called just it is properly conceived of as being justness, but not as possessing justness. Hence, if, when it is said to be justness, it is not said of what character it is, but what it is, it follows that, when it is called just, it is not said of what character it is, but what it is.
Therefore, seeing that it is the same to say of the supreme Being, that it is just and that it is justness; and, when it is said that it is justness, it is nothing else than saying that it is just; it makes no difference whether it is said to be justness or to be just. Hence, when one is asked regarding the supreme Nature, what it is, the answer, Just , is not less fitting than the answer, Justness. Moreover, what we see to have been proved in the case of justness, the intellect is compelled to acknowledge as true of all attributes which are similarly predicated of this supreme Nature.
Whatever such attribute is predicated of it, then, it is shown, not of what character, or how great, but what it is. But it is obvious that whatever good thing the supreme Nature is, it is in the highest degree. It is, therefore, supreme Being, supreme Justness, supreme Wisdom, supreme Truth, supreme Goodness, supreme Greatness, supreme Beauty, supreme Immortality, supreme Incorruptibility, supreme Immutability, supreme Blessedness, supreme Eternity, supreme Power, supreme Unity; which is nothing else than supremely being, supremely living, etc.
It is simple in such a way that all things that can be said of its essence are one and the same in it: and nothing can be said of its substance except in terms of what it is. Is it to be inferred, then, that if the supreme Nature is so many goods, it will therefore be compounded of more goods than one?
Or is it true, rather, that there are not more goods than one, but a single good described by many names? For, everything which is composite requires for its subsistence the things of which it is compounded, and, indeed, owes to them the fact of its existence, because, whatever it is, it is through these things; and they are not what they are through it, and therefore it is not at all supreme. If, then, that Nature is compounded of more goods than one, all these facts that are true of every composite must be applicable to it.
But this impious falsehood the whole cogency of the truth that was shown above refutes and overthrows, through a clear argument. Since, then, that Nature is by no means composite and yet is by all means those so many goods, necessarily all these are not more than one, but are one. Any one of them is, therefore, the same as all, whether taken all at once or separately.
Therefore, just as whatever is attributed to the essence of the supreme Substance is one; so this substance is whatever it is essentially in one way, and by virtue of one consideration. For, when a man is said to be a material body, and rational, and human, these three things are not said in one way, or in virtue of one consideration. For, in accordance with one fact, be is a material body; and in accordance with another, rational; and no one of these, taken by itself, is the whole of what man is. That supreme Being, however, is by no means anything in such a way that it is not this same thing, according to another way, or another consideration; because, whatever it is essentially in any way, this is all of what it is.
Therefore, nothing that is truly said of the supreme Being is accepted in terms of quality or quantity, but only in terms of what it is. For, whatever it is in terms of either quality or quantity would constitute still another element, in terms of what it is; hence, it would not be simple, but composite. FROM what time, then, as this so simple Nature which creates and animates all things existed, or until what time is it to exist? Or rather, let us ask neither from what time, nor to what time, it exists; but is it without beginning and without end?
For, if it has a beginning, it has this either from or through itself, or from or through another, or from or through nothing. But it is certain, according to truths already made plain, that in no wise does it derive existence from another, or from nothing; or exist through another, or through nothing.
Catalog Record: Proslogium ; Monologium ; an appendix, In | HathiTrust Digital Library
In no wise, therefore, has it had inception through or from another, or through or from nothing. Moreover, it cannot have inception from or through itself, although it exists from and through itself. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. Anselm: Proslogium; Monologium; an Appendix No cover image. Read preview. Excerpt In this brief work the author aims at proving in a single argument the existence of God, and whatsoever we believe of God. Southern T. English Transla- tion [Ed. L, Lectures on the History of Philosophy.
Trans- lated from the German by E. Haldane and F, H. Sim- son. HOOK, W. Lives of t7ie Archbishops of Canterbury. Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy. The Philosophy of Religion. Translated by G. Exhortation of the mind to the contemplation of God. God cannot be conceived not to exist 8 IV. How the fool has said in his heart what cannot be conceived 9 V. God, as the only self -existent being, creates all things from nothing 10 VI.
Proslogium; Monologium: An Appendix, In Behalf of the Fool, by Gaunilon; and Cur Deus Homo
How he is omnipotent, although there are many things of which he is not capable 12 VIII. How he is compassionate and passionless 13 IX. How God is supremely just 14 X. How he justly punishes and justly spares the wicked.
God is the very life whereby he lives 19 XIII. How he alone is uncircumscribed and eternal 19 XIV. He is greater than can be conceived 22 XVI. This is the unapproachable light wherein he dwells. God is life, wisdom, eternity, and every true good. He does not exist in place or time, but all things exist in him. Is this the age of the age, or ages of ages 27 XXII. Conjecture as to the character and the magnitude of this good 2 9 XXV.
What goods, and how great, belong to those who enjoy this good 30 XXVI. There Is a being which is best, and greatest, and high- est of all existing beings , 37 II. The same subject continued 4 III. The same subject continued 43 V. Just as this Nature exists through itself, and other beings through it, so it derives existence from it- self, and other beings from it 45 VI.
This Nature was not brought Into existence with the help of any external cause, yet it does not exist through nothing, or derive existence from nothing. How it Is to be understood that this Nature created all things from nothing , Those things which were created from nothing had an existence before their creation In the thought of the Creator -.
This thought is a kind of expression of the thoughts created tocutzo rerum], like the expression which an artisan forms in his mind for what he Intends to make. The analogy, however, between the expression of the Creator and the expression of the artisan is very complete.. As all things were created through the supreme Being, so all live through it 60 XIV. This Being is in all things, and throughout all. What can or cannot be stated concerning the sub- stance of this Being 61 XVI.
It is simple in such a way that all things that can be said of its essence are one and the same in it. It is without beginning and without end 68 XIX. In what sense nothing existed before or will exist after this Being 70 XX. It exists in every place and at every time 72 XXI. How it exists In every place and time, and in none. How it is better understood to exist always than at every time 82 XXV. It cannot suffer change by any accidents 84 XXVI. His expression is identical with himseH, and con- substantial with him 89 XXX. In how incomprehensible a way he expresses or knows the objects created by him 99 XXXI!
This Word derives existence from the supreme Spirit by birth XL. He is most truly a parent, and that Word his off- spring XLI. He most truly begets, and it is most truly begotten XLII. It is the property of the one to be most truly pro- genitor and Father, and of the other to be begot- ten and Son XLII!. Consideration of the common attributes of both and the individual properties of each XLIV. How one is the essence of the other XLV.
How some of these truths which are thus ex- pounded may also be conceived of in another way in XLVII. The supreme Spirit loves himself L. The same love proceeds equally from Father and Son 1 14 LI. Each loves himself and the other with equal love. It proceeds as a whole from the Father, and as a whole from the Son, and yet does not exist ex- cept as one love LV.
This love is not their Son , ny LVI. Only the Father begets and is unbegotten ; only the Son is begotten ; only love neither begotten nor unbegotten As the Son is the essence or wisdom of the Father in the sense that he has the same essence or wis- dom that the Father has ; so likewise the Spirit is the essence and wisdom etc.
To none of these is another necessary that he may remember, conceive, or love LXI. Though this truth is inexplicable, it demands be- lief LXV. How real truth may be reached in the discussion of an ineffable subject 3LXVI. This Being gives itself in return to the creature that loves it, that that creature may be eternally blessed LXXI. And it is either forever miserable, or at some time truly blessed.
No soul is unjustly deprived of the supreme good, and every effort must be directed toward that good ,. We must believe in this Being, that is, by believ- ing we must reach for it , ,. We should believe in Father and Son and in their Spirit equally, and in each separately, and in the three at once.
The supreme Being may in some sort be called Three An answer to the argument of Anselm in the Proslogium. A general refutation of Gaunilon's argument. It is shown that a being than which a greater cannot be conceived exists in reality f II. The argument is continued. It is shown that a being than which a greater is inconceivable can be con- ceived, and also in so far, exists III.
A criticism of Gaunilon's example, in which he tries to show that in this way the real existence of a lost island might be inferred from the fact of Its being conceived IV. The difference between the possibility of conceiving of non-existence, and understanding non-existence V. A particular discussion of certain statements of Gauni- lon's VI. A discussion of Gaunilon's argument, that any unreal beings can be understood in the same way, and would, to that extent, exist VII.
The example of the picture, treated in Gaunilon's third chapter, is examined. From what source a notion may be formed of the supremely great being of which Gaunilon inquired in his fourth chapter IX. The possibility of understanding and conceiving of the supremely great being. The argument advanced against the fool is confirmed X. The certainty of the foregoing argument.
The author writes in the person of one who contemplates God, and seeks to understand what he be- lieves. To this work he had given this title : Faith Seeking Understanding. He finally named it Proslogium, that is, A Discourse. AFTER I had published, at the solicitous entreaties of certain brethren, a brief work the Monologiuvi as an example of meditation on the grounds of faith, in the person of one who investigates, in a course of silent reasoning with himself, matters of which he is igno- rant ; considering that this book was knit together by the linking of many arguments, I began to ask myself whether there might be found a single argument which would require no other for Its proof than itself alone ; and alone would suffice to demonstrate that God truly exists, and that there is a supreme good requiring nothing else, which all other things require for their existence and well-being ; and whatever we believe regarding the divine Being.
But when I wished to ex- clude this thought altogether, lest, by busying my mind to no purpose, it should keep me from other thoughts, in which I might be successful ; then more and more, though I was unwilling and shunned it, It began to force itself upon me, with a kind of impor- tunity. So, one day, when I was exceedingly weaned with resisting its Importunity, in the very conflict of my thoughts, the proof of which I had despaired offered Itself, so that I eagerly embraced the thoughts which I was strenuously repelling.
Thinking, therefore, that what I rejoiced to have found, would, if put in writing, be welcome to some readers, of this very matter, and of some others, I have written the following treatise, in the person of one who strives to lift his mind to the contemplation of God, and seeks to understand what he believes. In my judgment, neither this work nor the other, which I mentioned above, deserved to be called a book, or to bear the name of an author ; and yet I thought they ought not to be sent forth without some title by which they might, in some sort, Invite one into whose hands they fell to their perusal.
I accordingly gave each a title, that the first might be known as, An Ex- ample of Meditation on the Grounds of Faith, and its sequel as, Faith Seeking Understanding. And that this might be done more fitly, I named the first, Monologium, that is, A Soliloquy; but the second, Proslogmm, that is, A Discourse.
Exhortation o the mind to the contemplation of God. It casts aside cares, and excludes all thoughts save that of God, that it may seek Him. Man was created to see God. Man by sin lost the blessedness for which he was made, and found the misery for which he was not made. He did not keep this good when he could keep it easily. Without God it is ill with us. Our labors and attempts are in vain without God. Man cannot seek God, unless God himself teaches him ; nor find him, unless he reveals himself. God created man in his image, that he might be mindful of him, think of him, and love him.
The believer does not seek to understand, that he may be- lieve, but he believes that he may understand : for unless he believed he would not understand. UP now, slight man! Cast aside, now, thy burdensome cares, and put away thy toilsome business. Yield room for some little time to God ; and rest for a little time in him.
Enter the inner chamber of thy mind ; shut out all thoughts save that of God, and such as can aid thee in seeking him ; close thy door and seek him. Speak now, my whole heart! And come thou now, O Lord my God, teach my heart where and how it may seek thee, where and how it may find thee. Lord, if thou art not here, where shall I seek thee, being absent? But if thou art everywhere, why do I not see thee present? But where is unapproachable light, or how shall I come to it? Or who shall lead me to that light and into it, that I may see thee in it? Again, by what marks, under what form, shall I seek thee?
I have never seen thee, O Lord, my God ; I do not know thy form. What, O most high Lord, shall this man do,, an exile far from thee? What shall thy ser- vant do, anxious in his love of thee, and cast out afar from thy face? He pants to see thee, and thy face is too far from him. He longs to come to thee, and thy dwelling-place is inaccessible. He is eager to find thee, and knows not thy place. He desires to seek thee, and does not know thy face. Lord, thou art my God, and thou art my Lord, and never have I seen thee. It is thou that hast made me, and hast made me anew, and hast bestowed upon me all the blessings I enjoy ; and not yet do I know thee.
Finally, I was created to see thee, and not yet have I done that for which I was made. O wretched lot of man, when he hath lost that for which he was made! O hard and terrible fate! Alas, what has he lost, and what has he found? What has departed, and what remains? He has lost the blessed- ness for which he was made, and has found the misery for which he was not made. That has departed with- out which nothing is happy, and that remains which, in itself, is only miserable. He choked with satiety, we sigh with hunger.
He abounded, we beg. Why did he not keep for us, when he could so easily, that whose lack we should feel so heavily? Why did he shut us away from the light, and cover us over with darkness? With what purpose did he rob us of life, and inflict death upon us?
Wretches that we are, whence have we been driven out ; whither are we driven on? Whence hurled? Whither con- signed to ruin? From a native country into exile, from the vision of God Into our present blindness, from the joy of immortality Into the bitterness and- horror of death. Miserable exchange of how great a good, for how great an evil! Heavy loss, heavy grief heavy all our fate!
But alas! What have I under- taken? What have I accomplished? Whither was I striving? How far have I come? To what did I as pire? Amid what thoughts am I sighing? I sought blessings, and lo I confusion. I strove toward God, and I stumbled on myself. I sought calm In privacy, and I found tribulation and grief, In my Inmost thoughts. I wished to smile in the joy of my mind, and I am compelled to frown by the sorrow of my heart. Gladness was hoped for, and lo! And thou too, O Lord, how long?
How long, O Lord, dost thou forget us; how long dost thou turn thy face from us? When wilt thou look upon us, and hear us? When wilt thou enlighten our eyes, and show us thy face? When wilt thou restore thyself to us? Look upon us, Lord; hear us, enlighten us, re- veal thyself to us. Pity our toilings and strivings toward thee, since we can do nothing without thee.
Thou, dost In- vite us ; do thou help us. Lord, my heart is made bitter by its desolation; sweeten thou it, I beseech thee, with thy consolation. Lord, in hunger I began to seek thee ; I beseech thee that I may not cease to hunger for thee. In hunger I have come to thee ; let me not go unfed. And if, before I eat, I sigh, grant, even after sighs, that which I may eat.
Lord, I am bowed down and can only look downward; raise me up that I may look upward. My iniquities have gone over my head; they overwhelm me; and, like a heavy load, they weigh me down. Free me from them ; unburden me, that the pit of iniquities may not close over me. Be It mine to look up to thy light, even from afar, even from the depths. Teach me to seek thee, and reveal thyself to me, when I seek thee, for I cannot seek thee, except thou teach me, nor find thee, except thou reveal thyself.
Let me seek thee in longing, let me long for thee in seeking ; let me find thee in love, and love thee in finding. Lord, I acknowledge and I thank thee that thou hast created me in this thine image, In order that I may be mindful of thee, may conceive of thee, and love thee ; but that image has been so consumed and wasted away by vices, and ob- scured by the smoke of wrong-doing, that it cannot achieve that for which it was made, except thou re- new it, and create it anew.
For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to under- stand. For this also I believe, that unless I be- lieved, I should not understand. Truly there is a God, although the fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. AND so, Lord, do thou, who dost give understand- ing to faith, give me, so far as thou knowest it to be profitable, to understand that thou art as we believe ; and that thou art that which we believe. And, in- deed, we believe that thou art a being than which nothing greater can be conceived.
Or is there no such nature, since the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God? Psalms xiv. But, at any rate, this very fool, when he hears of this being of which I speak a being than which nothing greater can be conceived understands what he hears, and what he understands Is in his understanding; although he does not understand it to exist. For, it is one thing for an object to be in the un- derstanding, and another to understand that the ob- ject exists.
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When a painter first conceives of what he will afterwards perform, he has it In his under- standing, but he does not yet understand it to be, be- cause he has not yet performed it. But after he has made the painting, he both has it In his understand- ing, and he understands that It exists, because he has made it. Hence, even the fool Is convinced that something exists In the understanding, at least, than which noth- ing greater can be conceived.
For, when he hears of this, he understands it And whatever Is understood, exists in the understanding. And assuredly that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, cannot exist in the understanding alone. For, suppose it exists in the understanding alone : then It can be conceived to exist in reality ; which Is greater. Therefore, If that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, exists In the understanding alone, the very being, than which nothing greater can be con- ceived, Is one, than which a greater can be conceived. But obviously this is impossible. Hence, there Is no doubt that there exists a being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, and It exists both In the understanding and in reality.
God cannot be conceived not to exist. God is that, than which nothing greater can be conceived. That which can be con- ceived not to exist is not God. AND It assuredly exists so truly, that it cannot be conceived not to exist. For, It Is possible to conceive of a being which cannot be conceived not to exist; and this is greater than one which can be conceived not to exist. Hence, If that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, can be conceived not to ex- ist, It Is not that, than which nothing greater can be conceived.
But this Is an Irreconcilable contradiction. So truly, therefore, dost thou exist, O Lord, my God, that thou canst not be conceived not to exist; and rightly. For, if a mind could conceive of a being better than thee, the creature would rise above the Creator; and this Is most absurd. And, Indeed, what- ever else there is, except thee alone, can be conceived not to exist.
To thee alone, therefore, It belongs to exist more truly than all other beings, and hence in a higher degree than all others. For, whatever else ex- ists does not exist so truly, and hence In a less degree It belongs to It to exist. Why, then, has the fool said In his heart, there is no God Psalms xiv. Why, except that he Is dull and a fool? How the fool has said in his heart what cannot be conceived.
A thing may be conceived in two ways; i when the word sig- nifying it is conceived ; 2 when the thing itself is understood As far as the word goes, God can be conceived not to exist; in reality he cannot. BUT how has the fool said In his heart what he could not conceive ; or how is it that he could not conceive what he said In his heart?
But, if really, nay, since really, he both conceived, because he said In his heart ; and did not say in his heart, because he could not conceive ; there is more than one way in which a thing Is said in the heart or conceived. In the former sense, then, God can be conceived not to exist ; but in the latter, not at all. For no one who understands what fire and water are can conceive fire to be water, In accordance with the nature of the facts themselves, although this is possible according to the words.
So, then, no one who understands what God is can conceive that God does not exist ; although he says these words in his heart, either without any. For, God is that than which a greater cannot be conceived. And he who thoroughly understands this, assuredly under- stands that this being so truly exists, that not even in concept can it be non-existent.
Therefore, he who understands that God so exists, cannot conceive that he does not exist. God Is whatever it Is better to be than not to be ; and he, as the only self-existent being, creates all things from nothing. But what art thou, except that which, as the highest of all beings, alone exists through itself, and creates all other things from nothing? For, whatever is not this is less than a thing which can be conceived of. What good, therefore, does the su- preme Good lack, through which every good is? Therefore, thou art just, truthful, blessed, and what- ever it is better to be than not to be.
For it is better to be just than not just ; better to be blessed than not blessed. How God is sensible sensibiZzs although he is not a body. God is sensible, omnipotent, compassionate, passionless; for it is better to be these than not be. He who in any way knows, is not improperly said in some sort to feel. BUT, although it is better for thee to be sensible, omnipotent, compassionate, passionless, than not to be these things ; how art thou sensible, if thou art not a body; or omnipotent, if thou hast not all powers ; or at once compassionate and passionless?
For, if only corporeal things are sensible, since the senses encompass a body and are in a body, how art thou sensible, although thou art not a body, but a supreme Spirit, who is superior to body? But, if feeling is only cognition, or for the sake of cognition, for he who feels obtains knowledge in accordance with the proper functions of his senses ; as through sight, of colors; through taste, of flavors, whatever in any way cognises is not inappropriately said, in some sort, to feel Therefore, O Lord, although thou art not a body, yet thou art truly sensible in the highest degree in re- spect of this, that thou dost cognise all things in the highest degree ; and not as an animal cognises, through a corporeal sense.
How he is omnipotent, although there are many things of which he is not capable. To be capable of being corrupted, or of lying, is not power, but impotence. God can do nothing by virtue of impotence, and nothing has power against him. BUT how art them omnipotent, if thou art not capable of all things? Or, if thou canst not be cor- rupted, and canst not lie, nor make what is true, false as, for example, if thou shouldst make what has been done not to have been done, and the like how art thou capable of all things? Or else to be capable of these things is not power, but impotence.
For, he who is capable of these things is capable of what is not for his good, and of what he ought not to do ; and the more capable of them he is, the more power have adversity and perversity against him ; and the less has he himself against these. He, then, who is thus capable is so not by power, but by impotence. For, he is not said to be able be- cause he is able of himself, but because his impotence gives something else power over him. Or, by a figure of speech, just as many words are improperly applied, as when we use "to be" for "not to be," and "to do" for what is really "not to do," or "to do noth- ing.
For, the more he possesses this power, the more powerful are adversity and perversity against him, and the more powerless Is he against them. Therefore, O Lord, our God, the more truly art thou omnipotent, since thou art capable of nothing through Impotence, and nothing has power against thee. How he is compassionate and passionless. God is compassionate, in terms of our experience, because we experience the effect of compassion. God is not compassionate, in terms of his own being, because he does not experience the feeling affec- tus] of compassion.
BUT how art thou compassionate, and, at the same time, passionless? For, if thou art passionless, thou dost not feel sympathy; and if thou dost not feel sympathy, thy heart is not wretched from sympathy for the wretched ; but this it Is to be compassionate. But If thou art not compassionate, whence cometh so great consolation to the wretched? How, then, art thou compassionate and not compassionate, O Lord, unless because thou art compassionate In terms of our experience, and not compassionate in terms of thy being. Truly, thou art so In terms of our experience, but thou art not so In terms of thine own.
For, when thou beholdest us In our wretchedness, we experience the effect of compassion, but thou dost not experience the feeling. How the all- just and supremely just God spares the wicked, and justly pities the wicked. He is better who is good to the righteous and the wicked than he who is good to the righteous alone. Although God is supremely just, the source of his compassion is hidden. God is supremely compassionate, be- cause he is supremely just. He saveth the just, because jus- tice goes with them ; he frees sinners by the authority of jus- tice.
God spares the wicked out of justice ; for it is just that God, than whom none is better or more powerful, should be good even to the wicked, and should make the wicked good. If God ought not to pity, he pities unjustly. But this it is impious to suppose. Therefore, God justly pities. BUT how dost thou spare the wicked, if thou art all just and supremely just? For how, being all just and supremely just, dost thou aught that is not just? Or, what justice is that to give him who merits eter- nal death everlasting life?
How, then, gracious Lord, good to the righteous and the wicked, canst thou save the wicked, if this is not just, and thou dost not aught that is not just? Or, since thy goodness is incompre- hensible, is this hidden in the unapproachable light wherein thou dwellest? Truly, in the deepest and most secret parts of thy goodness is hidden the foun- tain whence the stream of thy compassion flows. For thou art all just and supremely just, yet thou art kind even to the wicked, even because thou art all supremely good.
For thou wouldst be less good if thou wert not kind to any wicked being. Therefore, thou art compas- sionate, because thou art all supremely good. And, although it appears why ihou dost reward the good with goods and the evil with evils ; yet this, at least, is most wonderful, why thou, the all and supremely just, who lackest nothing, bestowest goods on the wicked and on those who are guilty toward thee. The depth of thy goodness, O God! The source of thy compassion appears, and yet is not clearly seen! We see whence the river flows, but the spring whence it arises is not seen. For, it is from the abun- dance of thy goodness that thou art good to those who sin against thee ; and in the depth of thy good- ness is hidden the reason for this kindness.
For, although thou dost reward the good with goods and the evil with evils, out of goodness, yet this the concept of justice seems to demand. But, when thou dost bestow goods on the evil, and it is known that the supremely Good hath willed to do this, we wonder why the supremely Just has been able to will this. O compassion, from what abundant sweetness and what sweet abundance dost thou well forth to us! O boundless goodness of God, how passionately should sinners love thee! For thou savest the just, because justice goeth with them ; but sinners thou dost free by the authority of justice.
Those by the help of their deserts; these, although their deserts oppose. Those by acknowledging the goods thou hast granted; these by pardoning the evils thou hatest. O bound- less goodness, which dost so exceed all understand- ing, let that compassion come upon me, which pro- ANSELM. Let it flow upon me, for It wells forth from thee. Spare, In mercy; avenge not, In justice. For, though It is hard to understand how thy com- passion Is not Inconsistent with thy justice; yet we must believe that It does not oppose justice at all, because It flows from goodness, which Is no goodness without justice ; nay, that It Is In true harmony with justice.
For, if thou art compassionate only because thou art supremely good, and supremely good only because thou art supremely just, truly thou art com- passionate even because thou art supremely just. Help me ; just and compassionate God, whose light I seek ; help me to understand what I say. Truly, then, thou art compassionate even because thou art just.