Sacred Texts  Classics  Index  Previous  Next 

Section 11

11. But this Unoriginating, what is it?

We can but withdraw, silent, hopeless, and search no further. What can we look for when we have reached the furthest? Every enquiry aims at a first and, that attained, rests.

Besides, we must remember that all questioning deals with the nature of a thing, its quality, its cause or its essential being. In this case the being- in so far as we can use the word- is knowable only by its sequents: the question as to cause asks for a principle beyond, but the principle of all has no principle; the question as to quality would be looking for an attribute in that which has none: the question as to nature shows only that we must ask nothing about it but merely take it into the mind if we may, with the knowledge gained that nothing can be permissibly connected with it.

The difficulty this Principle presents to our mind in so far as we can approach to conception of it may be exhibited thus:

We begin by posing space, a place, a Chaos; into this existing container, real or fancied, we introduce God and proceed to enquire: we ask, for example, whence and how He comes to be there: we investigate the presence and quality of this new-comer projected into the midst of things here from some height or depth. But the difficulty disappears if we eliminate all space before we attempt to conceive God: He must not be set in anything either as enthroned in eternal immanence or as having made some entry into things: He is to be conceived as existing alone, in that existence which the necessity of discussion forces us to attribute to Him, with space and all the rest as later than Him- space latest of all. Thus we conceive as far as we may, the spaceless; we abolish the notion of any environment: we circumscribe Him within no limit; we attribute no extension to Him; He has no quality since no shape, even shape Intellectual; He holds no relationship but exists in and for Himself before anything is.

How can we think any longer of that "Thus He happened to be"? How make this one assertion of Him of whom all other assertion can be no more than negation? It is on the contrary nearer the truth to say "Thus He has happened not to be": that contains at least the utter denial of his happening.

Next: Section 12