On eliminating thingness from the Creator

  January 19, 2022   Read time 2 min
On eliminating thingness from the Creator
The notion of being a ‘thing’ should be eliminated from the Creator, as this is properly that by which creatures are designated and through which they can be distinguished from each other, for every thing preserves the form of its respective species in order for the soul to be enabled to tell the colours of the spiritual [lit. ‘subtle’] world.

Now, which thing, whose [specific] form would be neither of Soul, nor of Nature, nor of Art, would be suitable for God? Such is far from Him by virtue of the majesty (buzurgwārī) of His power and the pervasiveness (rawāʾī) of His sovereignty. Indeed, God’s majesty is beyond taking the name of a thing, whatever thing that may be. It is improper to attribute thingness to Him or to link him with thingness—except by establishing His transcendent Essence (dhāt-i buzurgwār-i ʾū) beyond all the things by which creatures are designated.

Further, all men believe that ‘God was while no thing was’, and they have commonly agreed that God is not like His own deed [i.e., The Creation]. But a ‘thing’ cannot escape being either a substance or a body or an accident or motion or rest, whereas God is beyond coming under any of these divisions, so that [it can truly be said that] neither is creature like the Creator, nor the Creator like creature. If God were a ‘thing’, and had brought forth ‘things’, He would [himself] be a [thing] ‘come forth’ since ‘things’ come forth by way of generation (bi-nawʿ-i tawlīd). Therefore, since you have ruled that ‘No one was generated from Him, nor He from any one’, now [you also must accept that] ‘thing’ and ‘thingness’ are eliminated from God, and that ‘thingness’ is attributed to creature. Understand this!

Further, if attribution of ‘thingness’ to God were admissible, it would become necessary to say that ‘one thing is the Creator’ and ‘one thing is the creature’. But these ‘things’ are either substance or accident, and substance is either body or spirit, and body is either animate or inanimate, and animate is either vegetal or animal. Now, coming back to the division of [the thing supposed to refer to] the Creator, what shall we say? Which one among these divisions would apply to the Creator? Clearly the Creator does not come under these divisions, nor does any non-divided [i.e., not subsumed] division apply to Him.

No, He is [absolutely] alone and beyond being susceptible of our attributing to Him things either spiritual or corporeal, [all of] which are multiple. Since we have from the start asserted His being beyond, it necessarily follows that God does not come under the division of the creatures, which may well be thought to be many or few, and since this is so, they are divisible, and every divisible is defined, and every defined is finite, and every finite is created; for every created there is the necessity of the Creator. Thus, God is the Creator, and there is for us the necessity to recognize His absolute sovereignty (kibriyāʾī wa ʿaẓamat-i ʾū) so that the assertion of His Oneness be far beyond [implying] the attributes of the creatures whether corporeal or spiritual. Understand this!