Dr. William Ames (1576-1633)
Something we do not take the time to think very much about.
Creation by Dr. William Ames
1. The efficiency of God may be understood as either creation or providence.
2. Creation is the efficiency of God whereby in the beginning out of nothing he made the world to be altogether good.
3. Active creation is conceived as a transitive action in which there is always presupposed an object about which the agent is concerned; it is virtually but not formally transitive because it makes, not presupposes, an object.
4. Passive creation can be understood in the manner of mutation, although it is improperly called mutation.
5. Creation refers to the whole world, i.e., whatever exists outside of God.
6. Hence all things which exist outside of God are created – fully created, that is, in matter as well as in form. Rev. 4:11, Because thou hast made all things; Col. 1: 16, For by him were made all things which are in heaven and in earth visible and invisible.
7. Creation produces in the originative sense because it produces not only being as being, but absolutely every part.
8. Therefore before the creation, creatures had no real being either in existence or essence, although they bad being known from eternity in the knowledge of God.
9. Creation then produces out of nothing, that is, out of matter that has had no preexistence but which comes into existence with the thing created. Nothing exists from eternity but God, and God is not the matter or a part of any creature, but only the maker.
10. Some things are said to be created whose matter preexisted. But this creation refers not only to the immediate action whereby such things are brought into existence, but also to the mediate action whereby the matter of which they are formed was brought into existence. So it was in the creation of the plants and the animals, Gen. 1:20.
11. That state of nothing or nonbeing of things preceded their being, not only in the order of nature, for in that case they might coexist with God from eternity, but also in the order of duration, as we conceive things.
12. Hence that beginning in which God is said to have created the world, was the end of the duration of nothing and the beginning of the world’s duration.
13. In creation God wanted to show both his perfection in his not needing any creature or outward thing (for otherwise he would have created the world as soon as he could) and his freedom in producing all things without natural necessity (for had be created out of necessity, he would have done so from eternity, Rev. 4:11; Ps. 115:3).
14. The world has not been in existence from eternity nor could it have been according to the present dispensation and ordering of things.
15. The day of creation would not have come to be if infinite days had bad to go before. The days going before would never have ended, so that that day could have arrived.
16. Hence it follows that no creature was or could have been a cause, instrumental or principal, in the act of creation.
17. Everything created was very good, because it was made neither rashly nor in vain but for the end which the maker bad before him. Gen. 1: 3 1, Whatever he made was very good; I Tim 4:4, Whatever God made was good.
18. The goodness of a thing created is the perfection of its fitness for the use which it serves. Now that use is either particular or universal.
19. The particular is the proper use which anything serves in its own nature.