We’re only to start the proof of the title’s contention; we’ll finish it next week. Don’t complain. I once sat through a two week proof of a theorem in a long-memory course. This is peanuts next to that.
 FROM this it is clear that God brought things into being out of no pre-existing thing as matter.
 For if a thing is an effect of God, either something exists before it, or not. If not, our point is proved, namely that God produces an effect from no pre-existing thing. If however something exists before it, we must either go on to infinity,–which is impossible in natural causes, as the Philosopher proves (2 Metaph.)–or we must come to some first thing that presupposes no other. And this can only be God. For it was shown in the First Book that He is not the matter of any thing, nor can there be anything other than God the being of which is not caused by God, as we have proved. It follows therefore that God in producing His effects requires no prejacent matter out of which to produce His work.
Notes We did this in Book One. Y could cause Z, and X could cause Y, and W cause X, and so on, but we have to bottom out somewhere to get the process going. There has to be some A which is the root or fundamental cause from which all other things have their being. prejacent = preexisting.
 Further. Every matter is constricted to some particular species by the form with which it is superendued. Hence to produce an effect out of prejacent matter by enduing it with a form in any way belongs to an agent that aims at some particular species. Now a like agent is a particular agent, since causes are proportionate to their effects. Therefore an agent that requires of necessity prejacent matter out of which to work its effect, is a particular agent. But God is an agent as being the universal cause of being, as was proved above. Therefore He needs no prejacent matter in His action.
Notes You, dear reader, a particular agent, can make an astray, a form within a species of ash-catching devices, out of preexisting clay. But you cannot make the clay out of nothing, where by nothing Aquinas means the complete and utter absence of any material thing or energy (the two are now known to be equivalent in a certain sense). superendued = endowed = superinductam in the original.
 Again. The more universal an effect, the higher its proper cause: because the higher the cause, to so many more things does its virtue extend. Now to be is more universal than to be moved: since some beings are immovable, as also philosophers teach, for instance stones and the like.
It follows therefore that above the cause which acts only by causing movement and change, there is that cause which is the first principle of being: and we have proved that this is God. Therefore God does not act merely by causing movement and change. Now everything that cannot bring things into being save from prejacent matter, acts only by causing movement and change, since to make aught out of matter is the result of movement or change of some kind. Consequently it is not impossible to bring things into being without prejacent matter. Therefore God brings things into being without prejacent matter.
Notes We’re back—as we often are!—to Chapter 13 of Book One. Aquinas, incidentally, does not mean that stones cannot be moved; he means they don’t self-motivate. That makes this the most fascinating part of this argument: “everything that cannot bring things into being save from prejacent matter, acts only by causing movement and change, since to make aught out of matter is the result of movement or change of some kind.”
Now physics is the study of movement and change. But physics is not science of how things are brought “into being without prejacent matter”. Too, that things are created out of nothing could not have been proved within physics proper. A physicist who doesn’t understand this can therefore misdirect his energy. Finding the precise point of intersection where metaphysics ends and physics begins isn’t necessarily easy, either!
 Again. That which acts only by movement and change is inconsistent with the universal cause of being; since by movement and change a being is not made from absolute non-being, but this being from this non-being. Now God is the universal cause of being, as we have proved. Therefore it is not becoming to Him to act only by movement or change. Neither then is it becoming to Him to need preexisting matter, in order to make something.
 Moreover. Every agent produces something like itself in some way. Now every agent acts according as it is actually. Consequently to produce an effect by causing in some way a form inherent to matter, will belong to that agent, which is actualized by a form inherent to it, and not by its whole substance.
Hence the Philosopher proves (7 Metaph.) that material things, which have forms in matter, are engendered by material agents that have forms in matter, and not by per se existing forms. Now God is actual being not by a form inherent to Him, but by His whole substance, as we have proved above. Therefore the proper mode of His action is to produce a whole subsistent thing, and not merely an inherent thing, namely a form in matter. And every agent that requires no matter for its action, acts in this way. Therefore God requires no preexisting matter in His action.
Notes It is not the form of the ash tray which, somehow Platonically, creates the ash tray out of the clay. It is you, the agent, which is the cause. The form in the clay is inherent, but the clay itself, its total matter-energy, is subsistent. But you still don’t have power to create the clay itself. God, since He is subsitence or being itself, can do what is impossible for you.
Next week we finish the chapter.