Catholic Apologetics



In the beginning, God created ...

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. ...
And God said, Let there be a firmament ... and it was so. ...
And God said: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. ...
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit ... and it was so. ...
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven ... and it was so. ...
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that has life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
And God created great whales, and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind ...
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, ... and it was so. ...
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image ... "

Thus, the sacred Books begin with the story of creation, which in its unembroidered simplicity is falling in with man's imaginative faculty as well as possible, without, however, being able to completely put into words and concepts what's naturally a secret for man: the secret of God's efficacy.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Man perceives the object of God's act of creation as an existing reality, which he can perceive with his senses, or at least ascertain indirectly through the things he can perceive with his senses. Lifeless matter, plants, animals, man himself, are open to natural perception and show an infinite diversity of forms of being that participate in the cosmos, which no genius of physics shall ever completely fathom as a whole.
However, man's intellect is able indeed to unerringly know for certain that the cosmos in all its length and depth is not existing on the strength of itself, nor thanking its being to itself.
This very knowledge made us conclude God must exist as the first cause.
This same knowledge makes us admit God must be the creating cause of the world.

So, again, natural reason has the ability to positively speak out about the natural credibility of a Catholic dogma: the dogma of creation.
Catholic doctrine of creation certainly is much broader and deeper than what natural reason can say about the origins of the world. It maintains, above all, that the creation took place in time, and not from eternity. We only know this truth with certainty after the Revelation of God's own word, but it's not contradictory to any naturally known truth, either. Although we don't have the strong certainty of a metaphysical demonstration, it's got a high measure of probability by the findings of modern science.
Anyhow, the main theses of Catholic dogma about creation are entirely open to verification and judgment of natural reason. These main theses are the following:
First, that God as creator calls the things to existence from nothingness;
second, that God is the Creator of the whole universe and all it includes;
third, that God has created the world for his own glory.
The Vatican Council gave a clear summary of these facts in the following canon:
"If anybody would deny that the world and all it contains, whether these are things spiritual or things corporeal, have been called to existence by God from nothingness, with regard to their entire substances, or if anybody would say that God didn't create voluntarily and without any necessity, but was forced to create by the same necessity He loves Himself with, or if somebody would refuse that the world has been made for God's own glory, we excommunicate him."

God's outward efficacy

It's already difficult, not to say impossible, to form a clear image of what causality is, because we mostly do perceive the caused thing and the causing thing, but nowhere and never the dependence relation between these two things; but it's much more difficult yet to fasten down in a concrete and clear-cut concept what we should understand by divine causality in creation. Because God's act of creation is lying out of the reach of both our sensory perception, which only begins after creation, and our own personal activity, which exclusively restricts itself to making a few changes in things, without calling the entire things to existence.
However, certain knowledge isn't necessarily tied to a clear image.
We don't have any proper concept of divine Essence. The highest, most beautiful and noble thing our faculty of sensory perception is able to perceive, is still something natural and corporeal, and has nothing to do with the transcendent and incorporeal Essence. And our intellectual concept of God, which couldn't come about without the cooperation of the senses, can't ever be so perfect and stripped of corporeal stains that it could represent God as He is in full reality.
Yet we know for certain God exists. The natural proofs of God's existence have paved the way for the mystery of the origins of this world, and they have made us acknowledge there must be a first cause that is existing by itself and on its own strength as the Esse Subsistens. We're crediting this highest Being "which all people call God" with some properties we also find in natural things but are in God coinciding with his Essence so that we can only know them in an analogous sense.
"About God we know that He is, but not what He is."
In the same sense we might say about God's act of creation that we do know it's a reality but not what it's really consisting of.
However, although we aren't able to form a hundred percent concept of creation, due to the natural weakness of our intellect, because the act itself of creation doesn't immediately fall within the reach of our experience, but only the final term of creative causality, yet we do have some intellectual understanding of creation. Because the creative act is showing its effect in visible creation, in the creature, which as a realisation of being by participation has a near equivalent in every concrete phenomenon that originates, that wasn't before but is now. And creation in its active sense, as a deed, finds its analogy in any causality that springs from ourselves or the things surrounding us. Although this analogous knowledge is of course very defective, yet it's true knowledge, and certainly not less perfect than, for instance, our natural knowledge of spiritual substances, which are essentially very different from what we can imagine through the images of corporeal substances we can directly perceive.

What is the meaning of "to create"?
Saint Thomas repeatedly gives a short and sharp answer to this question:
"To create is nothing else than to produce something without any matter existing beforehand."
"Creation as the origins of being as a whole comes about from nothingness."
"It belongs to the concept of creation that being as such is produced, not this or that being."
"To create is to produce some thing as an entire substance, without presupposing anything."
As the production from nothingness, creation is a very exceptional form of causality. It is sharply distinguished from any other causality by its own object, which is being as such. Not being as an abstract concept, not being under a certain form of essence or changeable modality, but concrete being as a whole, together with its form of essence and with the thing that's staying after any change of form: matter.
This definition of creation needs some elucidation.
Whenever man, or any arbitrary thing of nature, is working as a cause, he brings about some change in a certain thing; he makes this thing into something new, gives it a new form of being, but in any case he's presupposing something that exists before: at least matter. We may distinguish in the object of natural causality a local change, whereby the thing takes an other place with respect to its corporeal measures; or a quantitative change, which gives the thing an other exterior form; or a qualitative change, which brings about a new specific quality in it; or a substantial change, whereby one substance passes into an other one, like with metabolism. But which kind of the change we may consider, there's always someting that's staying the same under every change, and only delivers up its former condition to get an other one.
The act of creation, however, isn't presupposing anything; it brings about the whole thing, and it hereby completely distinguishes itself from any other causality. Saint Thomas says:
"There's a twofold causality. The first is the one whereby something comes about whilst it is presupposing something else. In this case we say something originates by new composition, because the new thing that appears is in relation to the thing that existed before as its new form of being. The second is the form of causality that's presupposing nothing. In this case we say something originates by creation."
Whereas a thing may by some change spring from something else as to a certain modality of being, a thing can't originate from something else as a whole being. Because in the imaginary case it would spring from something else, it would be anyway presupposing itself as existing beforehand:
"Being in its fullness comes about by creation that's presupposing nothing, because if anything is ever supposed to exist beforehand, it's already sharing the state of being in a universal sense."
So the relative and contingent things that have their being by participation and not by essence, may by some cause have sprung from something else according to some modality of being under the influence of a natural cause, but according to their total being they must of necessity have been produced from nothingness.
After this explanation about what we should understand by creation, it's not difficult to ascertain that God created the world. Indeed, God is the universal cause of all things that exist outside Him, which explains everything. This was exactly the common conclusion of the classical proofs of God's existence. Saint Thomas sums it all up with the following words:
"We are forced to acknowledge that all being, which in some sense is, comes from God. In fact, when we find in a thing something it's apparently sharing with something greater, then it must be caused by the thing that's having it by essence, like when iron becomes hot by fire ... Now God is the Esse Subsistens ... and the Esse Subsistens can only be one and undivided ... Hence it follows that all other things outside God don't have their being by essence but by participation. Therefore, all things that are distinguishing themselves from each other as more or less perfect, according to the measure of their participation in being as such, must be caused by the one and undivided first being, which is all perfection."
And because God's causality with respect to the being of things can't be anything else but a creative causality, nature with all it contains must of necessity have come to existence as an entire being by a divine act of creation:
"The universal cause of all that is can't only be active as a principle of motion and change; because being doesn't spring from nothingness by motion and change alone, since motion and change make a thing with a certain property out of a thing that doesn't have this property. Now God is the universal principle of all being, and therefore He's not only active by moving and changing it, nor does he need any pre-existing matter to call something to existence."
So God produced the world by creation!

The doctrine of creation precludes any other theory about the origins of the universe.
It is the most decisive refutation of both the dualistic philosophy of life, which accepts a specific and numerical distinction within the absolutely perfect and necessary being, and the pantheistic explanation of nature, which says there's no essential distinction between different things, because everything's essentially one and undivided in spite of the appearance of the world of our experience.

{{Pantheism came in several shapes during the history of philosophical thinking. The most important shapes are the following:

I) Panlogical pantheism. The foremost representatives of this system were the Eleates (Xenophanes, Parmenides, Zeno and Melissus). They considered Deity as the one and indivisible, unchangeable and imminent primitive base of the whole cosmic reality, in which every multiplicity and change, and all measures of space and time weren't real but only seeming.

II) Emanatistic pantheism. The foremost representatives of this system were the New-Platonists (Plotinus, Porphyrius, Proclus). These men did preserve the concept of God's transcendence, but taught that from the one and undivided, absolute Being, which is essentially unchangeable itself, all other beings have sprung by emanation. Visible nature isn't an immediate, but an indirect reflection of divine substance; several intermediate emanations (like the Nous, the Logos and the Psyche are distinguishing it from its divine primitive base.

III) Panentheistic pantheism. The foremost representative of this system was Baruch Spinoza. For Spinoza there was only one substance: the All-One, which is God when viewed upon as natura naturans (nature that gives form), and visible nature when viewed upon as natura naturata (nature that receives form). This divine substance is existing of numerous attributes, and each one of them is a special expression of one single infinity. By these attributes, and in them, the One is working in everything : Deus est omnium rerum causa immanens - God is the immanent cause of all things. However, human mind only perceives them in the manifestations of thinking and extent.

IV) Idealistic pantheism: this is the rationalistic and to some extent evolutionistic theology of Fichte (who speaks of an absolute Me), Schelling (who says Me and not-Me are absolutely identical), and Hegel (according to whom the idea of logic coincides with being in general and is the primitive base of all things).

V) Biological monism: this is the very superficial pantheism of Haeckel, who in his Welträtsel is deifying the world, without giving a slightly acceptable explanation for the riddle of the properties of the imperfect beings of nature, which are not very divine indeed.

In its most elementary form already, pantheism is full of inner contradiction.
From a logical point of view, we see it denies the general principle things contradictory can't exist. Things absolute are relative at the same time, things infinite are finite, things unchangeable are changeable. It also refutes the general law of causality: "Das Absolute setzt sichselbst." The abstract, shapeless being develops into concrete reality, life is springing from things lifeless, and consciousness from things unconscious.
As a theodicy, pantheism makes God a being which can't exist and which we can't understand. The God of pantheism is a blind and unconscious force of nature, which, on the one hand, does develop in the revelations of nature, but, on the other hand, is bearing within it all the shortcomings of cosmic reality. In the end we see it's even less than an imperfect thing of nature, and not a God at all, because it's lacking an individual existence and a selfconsciousness.
To conclude with, pantheism is also contradicting the datums of experience.
The pantheist can't answer the question how individual consciousness is possible in a man, and for convenience it refers to the universal but very problematical consciousness of the general spirit of the world. The pantheist has no tolerable explanation whatsoever for the endless multitude of phenomenons, a multitude our experience can perceive in both species and matter. Subject and object, beings living and lifeless, things corporeal and spiritual, physical reality and logical thinking, all these things are for the pantheist concepts he identifies in God, but he has to distinguish in his own consciousness. The presence of physical evil, too, is forming against the pantheistic view on world and life an objection he can only allay at the cost of new and even greater difficulties. Pantheism makes evil an even more difficult enigma than it already is. It offers a solution that's satisfying nobody, and it declares that the shortcomings in nature aren't shortcomings at all with regard to the absolute being! One Mgr d'Hulst says: "On peut écrire ces choses à la condition de tromper les autres, on ne peut les penser qu'en se dupant soi-même."

Pantheism is an amalgama of all possible and impossible phantasies at the same time. This is true in spite of the genius of men like Spinoza and Hegel. The Church repeatedly condemned it.}}

Thus, natural reason teaches us to acknowledge God as the Creator, one and undivided, absolutely singular, independent, unchangeable, immeasurable, infinite and very perfect: the Esse Subsistens. And this highest Being used the creative act of his free will to give existence outside himself to other beings that are possessing their being by participation and not by essence, which essentially distinguishes them from their transcendental divine Origin.

Had our world ever a beginning in time?
Philosophical reflection can't answer this question, neither in an affirmative nor in a negative sense.
This may seem strange, because creating means 'making out of nothing', so it seems the world came to existence after it first wasn't there. Yet this opinion is an error. Although we can more easily imagine the created world with a beginning in time than without a beginning in time, yet the essence of creation isn't such that a something follows after a nothing. 'To create' means: to produce and realize a thing in such a way that some creative power is bearing its complete being, without needing something outside itself to make the creature exist. Whereas a thing that comes about by change originates from something and after something, a being that comes about by creation has its being from nothing but not necessarily after nothing. Therefore, even if we maintain that the cosmic world is existing from eternity, we can rightly say (as Saint Thomas did): "God created it from nothingness; although not in the sense He made it after nothingness, but in the sense He didn't make it from something else".
However, whereas we can't say about creatures as such that they must of necessity have had a beginning in time, perhaps we may be able to reveal in this concrete world as a very particular instance of creation some characteristic we might deduce its finite age from.
Which kind of characteristic? Some form of being? Something in matter itself?
But the forms of being are coming and disappearing. As far as we experience them, they have a limited duration and are succeeding each other. It's the very succession and variation of forms of being that brings about in the world of our experience the constant and almost self-evident change.
However, must this succession necessarily have begun in time? Could we ever conclude with absolute certainty there must have been at some point of time in the past some first form of being without any predecessor?
And what about matter? Matter is the only constant thing during change in visible things. It thanks its actual existence to the moulding by the form of essence, so it's finite or infinite with respect to time according as the principle of form is realising it, in the things and with the things, from eternity or during a limited duration only.
So we can hardly conclude from the corporeal character of our world that the cosmos must have had a beginning in time.

However ... isn't eternity a characteristic of things divine? Shouldn't we refrain from calling the dependent and contingent world eternal, for this very reason?
The concept 'eternal' can be understood in more than one sense.
If we would feel obliged to credit the world with eternity, this eternity should be understood in a very particular sense. It is something quite different from the eternity that is an attribute of God. Because, whereas God is eternal in a Nunc stans - a permanent Now - wherein there doesn't exist any change or succession, the eternity of creation can only be understood as a succession of separate moments of time without a beginning or end.
Boëthius already saw things this way, when he wrote:
"Although Aristotle thought that the duration of the world didn't have a beginning nor will have an end, and life will continue to exist during all this infinite time, yet this duration isn't such that we may rightly consider it an eternity. Because the duration of socalled infinite life doesn't embrace and span everything at the same time, but is waiting for future things that haven't come yet."
Now would God find it difficult to create the world without a beginning or an end of time?
If creation as such doesn't necessarily imply it came about at a point of time, so, if a cosmos without a beginning in time is possible and God is free to create every possible world, we can't conclude with absolute certainty that this world we live in has been created at a point of time and will disappear at another point of time. Saint Thomas says:
"We can't prove whether people or the sky or the stones have always been present or not."

However, although natural reason can't prove that the world must have had a beginning in time, it isn't able to acquire certainty under its own power that it must always have been existing, either.
Experience doesn't tell us anything about it.
Nor is there any historical document that might make us believe the cosmos didn't have a beginning far away in the past; and it's hard to understand what such a document should consist of.
The only way we could plead the 'eternity' of the world, is by supposing that God eternal, who's creating from eternity on the strength of the identity of essence and acting, must of necessity give existence to an eternal creation.
But this demonstration can't really convince us.
First, we can't compare the eternity of God and an infinite lifetime of creation. God's eternity isn't a duration composed of an endless past and an endless future, with which the lifetime of creation between two points of time could run parallel.
Second, God can't be anyhow dependent on the things He calls to existence outside himself. If this were the case, then God would be imperfect by the very restriction imposed by his creatures. So, we can say God's intellect and will aren't receiving any determination at all from the object created. It's just the reverse: creation, with all characteristics of its essence and existence, is as God's intellect is knowing it and God's will is carrying it into effect. God's omnipotence implies it can call all possible worlds to existence, and God's free will guarantees the Creator can choose a world with a beginning in time or a world without a beginning in time. Because both of these worlds are possible. If God decides from eternity the duration of the cosmos will have no beginning or end in time, there will actually be an 'eternal' cosmos. On the other hand, if God wants to create a different world that does have a beginning in time, then a world with a limited lifetime will come about.
Whereas philosophy isn't able to give an affirmative answer to the question whether the cosmos we live in had a beginning in time or not, the findings of modern sciences like astrology, cosmogony, geology and biology are making it very probable there must have been a first beginning in time, because modern man can see the gradual development of the cosmos since its earliest condition.
What most scientists consider almost a certainty, Catholics are confessing on the authority of God's word of revelation: "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth".

God's causality didn't only call the world to existence, it's also preserving it in its being.
Our world is completely dependent on God's transcendental power. It has been so in the past, it is so now, and it will be so in the future. Because it doesn't possess its being on the strength of itself. We can only explain its actual presence by referring to Him who is the very essence of being and who is supporting and bearing its contingent existence. Without divine influence on creation, all creatures would immediately fall back into nothingness.
Take care lest we let appearances deceive us.
As opposed to the causality of a creature, who can only bring about a change of form, but can't give being as a whole, God's outward causality has as its object the complete being of the things.
When a sculptor has changed the form of a marble block, and produced a statue, his job is finished. He can pay attention to other things, because the statue won't disappear. However, if our Creator calls a world to existence from nothingness, then this world isn't only dependent of the creative cause with respect to some modality, but with respect to all of its essence and existence: as soon as God withholds his direct influence, it disappears into nothingness.
Therefore, there's no essential distinction between creating and preserving. They both are the same act of divine creation that realizes the creature.
Some people named the preserving a prolonged creation - creatio continuata. From a theological standpoint, we can't object very much against this name, provided we don't consider God's act of preservation a multitude of independent acts of creation. That's not true! In God, the act of creating and the act of preserving coincide. Saint Thomas says: "God calls all things to existence and preserves them through one and the same act of efficacy".
Why, then, do we say: "God creates and preserves the world. And why do we speak of God as Creator and Preserver?
That's because this expression is more suited to our human imagination and finds in the reality of this world a reasonable base.
Indeed, there's an accidental distinction between 'creating' and 'preserving'. As an activity they may be perfectly one and undivided in divine Essence, but when we consider it from the side of the creation as it's concretely existing, creating is more a first gift of being, whereas preserving is presupposing this being already exists. Saint Thomas usually speaks about creating and preserving in this same sense. He calls the creation of this world an act of God that doesn't presuppose anything existing before, and say "preserving a thing is nothing else but the continuation of its being".

However, God's causality in nature isn't restricted to creating and preserving this world with all it contains, in so far as it has being, but it also has its effect in the activity of the creatures as second causes. The second cause isn't only directly dependent on God as a being, but it's also immediately influenced as a cause by divine causality. In fact, this is a logical consequence from the second proof of God's existence, which, in order to explain the causality of the things in this our world, concludes there must exist a first and highest cause that is causality itself and makes causality possible in all things of nature that have causality by participation.
We can also deduce the fact of divine cooperation - concursus divinus - from the character of the consequence produced by the natural cause, as Saint Thomas does. For the consequence is always more than the natural cause can ever bring about. When a plant is feeding, an animal is moving, or man as homo faber is cultivating matter or assimilating thoughts as a thinking being, they ain't the complete causes that explain everything they're bringing about. Because the consequence comes about by their cooperation, but not through them alone. Plant, animal and man can give an arbitrary thing an other aspect, an other condition, but they can't be the whole cause of the thing that comes about by change. Indeed, a change is effected in a being. And being as such is the own object of God's causality. Whatever comes about by change, can only be dependent on the natural cause with respect to a certain modality. But in so far as it's a being that's receiving a new modality by the change, only divine causality can explain it. Saint Thomas says:
"The consequences reveal the same good order as the causes. Among all consequences, the first one is being, because all other things are only a modification of being. For this reason, being is the very own consequence of the first cause, and all other things can only influence it in so far as they are allowed to do so with cooperation of the first cause. The second causes are each giving the efficacy of the first cause a separate and definite quality. The object of their own efficacy is perfection, which modifies being."
To understand God's cooperation with the creatures, we shouldn't unilaterally emphasize the consequences of natural efficacy. In fact, the object decides on the character of the efficacy and gives the deed its reason to occur. But it's not only the object of the natural action that necessitates divine cooperation as to its being. The natural action, too, has a being - in fact, not an actual being but a potential one. This is something real we can't explain from its own natural active potential alone.

Thus, God is also working in this our world to complete the being of all things that have already a form of essence of their own. He influences all actions of second causes that are on their way to give some being a new actuality by changing it. So the second cause doesn't work independent from divine causality; it works on the strength of the first cause. Saint Thomas says:
"If several causes are tied to each other, the second always works on the strength of the first. Because the first cause makes the second work. Thus, all things are working on the strength of God. This way, God causes the efficacy of all things."
Hence, does God make the own activity of his creatures superfluous?
This would be the case if divine and human causes would work in the same way, so, if they would have nearly the same value and if they would both have an independent part in the joint work. Indeed, one action can be brought about by both the first and the second cause. But the second cause is working on the strength of the first.
Now shouldn't the cosmos inspire us with awe for the glory of God's wisdom, because He guides and regulates everything according to a plan that is too great and comprehensive for natural reason to fully understand? For the cosmos appeared from nothingness by creation, and God's omnipotence continues to bear all of its essence and existence, and at any moment the activity of the cosmos is presupposing the cooperation of the first cause.
"Its strength is ranging from the one end to the other; it is ordering everything for the best." (Wisdom, VIII, 1)

Why did God create?

God is highest perfection. He is an intellectual Being and has a purpose for everything He does. God can't work without a purpose. Any deed of God has its sense. It is the sense God himself gave to it.
However, there's a great and even radical distinction between the intellectual purpose in a reasonable creature and the intention of God's will.
For example, man is really influenced by the object he proposes to himself. Indeed, the object has the character of something good; so it's working as an allurement. Man can't resist the good of highest happiness, he isn't really able to choose. Although the partial good may leave to man the freedom of deed and choice, yet, in so far as it's a good, it has something attractive that's influencing his will. Bonum est appetibile - things good are desirable. The allurement of things desirable always is influencing the faculty of striving. Things good always evoke striving.
However, no thing outside God can influence divine Essence, which is entirely sufficient to itself and can't increase or diminish. God may voluntarily choose to bring about a creation which is worthy of that choice because of the good things it contains, but the good things of creation can't ever influence God's will.
Saint Augustine says: "If God's will would have a cause, then it would be something that precedes God's will, and we can't accept such a thing."
So, God's will can't yield to the allurement of any good of creation.
God's act of will is one and undivided. It's not a multiplicity of separate longings, but it's an enjoying will, comprehending all things at the same time: the good things divine and the good things outside him, which are essentially directed to God's goodness as their final end.
This unity and indivisibility of his act of will guarantees that not even his own goodness moves God to will things outside himself. Only creatures can be determined by the object they're striving after, because they can't will everything at the same time, but will the object first and thereafter - and therefore - the means that can lead them to the object. However, we can't accept in God such a mutual dependence of deeds of will. As He knows in his own Essence all things outside himself, He wills in his own good the good of everything. Saint Thomas says:
"When somebody is striving after his object in one act of the will, and in another after the means that lead to this object, then the striving causes he wills the means. But it's impossible he's striving after the object and the means in the same act of the will, because nothing can be the cause of itself. Nevertheless, we can rightly say, in this case too, he wills the means because of the object ... However, when God wills some object, then this will is not the cause He wills the means that are aimed at the object, although it's true He wills that the means are aimed at the object. Therefore, He wills the means because of the object, but He doesn't will the means because He wills the object."
So, God as Creator wills that creation be there because of God. But God need not will the creatures because He wills his own Essence.

{{As to the purpose our Creator has in view when He's creating, we may exaggerate in two directions:
First, we may deny each purpose because we have some blind respect for the absolute independence of God; second, we may unilaterally emphasize the altruistic character of divine outward efficacy, because we have some reluctance against an egoism we might falsely ascribe to it.
Saint Thomas already had to refute a current opinion that maintained God creates only because He fancies to do so. The angelical doctor objects that God's will is intellectual, so it must be aimed at some object. This object doesn't anyhow endanger God's independence. As God is the object of his intellectual knowledge, He's also the object of his conscious act of the will.

The opinion that the cosmos, and especially man, is the object of God's act of creation because God is so infinitely perfect and loving He can't have any selfishness, has greater historical importance.
Kant, Bayle, Hegel, Hermes, Janet and many others accepted, for this very reason, in God's will a dualism that forms a greater contradiction than the one these philosophers wanted to ward off. Janet apparently felt this objection, when he wrote: "Dieu a pour fin une nature dont il serait lui-même la fin". However, this way he didn't solve the difficulty at all. Indeed, if created nature would be the immediate object of his will, the Creator would still would be dependent on creation in his outward efficacy.}}

If God does have a purpose when creating the cosmos, but isn't dependent on any purpose when doing so, and isn't prompted to create anything, not even by the goodness of his own Essence, because the act of the creating will is identical to the Essence of the Creator, why and how can we still speak of a purpose in God?
The purpose God has in view, not as an object He's striving after because He hasn't realized it yet, but as a good He's loving because it's already present, can only be the glory of divine Essence itself.
Again, we should take care lest our natural concept of God might become too natural, and anthropomorphic imaginations might pollute our knowledge of divine efficacy. Whenever a man pursues his own glory, he strives after some perfection of himself, or tries to enrich himself with some good he doesn't have yet. Of course, we can't accept such a striving in God, because, in fact, it would be an imperfection. He's very perfect in Himself and doesn't need any good outside Him.
The glory God has in view in his outward creating activity, can't consist of anything else but the manifestation of his own unlimited perfection which is full of glory for Himself indeed.
As a knowing subject, God is identical to the object of his knowledge, and that's his own Essence. He fathoms for ever in this his own incorporeal Essence the bottomless riches of his perfections. He's respecting and esteeming this and finds here his immeasurable and untriable happiness. This knowledge and happiness are forming God's gloria interna, his internal glory, which is as infinite as divine Essence itself.
However, whereas nothing can enrich or diminish the internal glory which God is enjoying in eternity, the perfection of divine Essence may reveal itself in the good that's present in his creatures by participation, if restricted by time and space. This outward manifestation of God's perfection is his gloria externa, his external glory. This is Godīs purpose as a Creator.

Is the creature in no way a purpose of God's act of creation?
We can't answer this question in the negative without contradicting a respectable tradition, which especially representatives of the augustine school used to uphold through all centuries.
Saint Augustine always strongly emphasized the communicativeness of God's good and the generosity of God's love. He considered creation in the first place the work of the Principle of all good, which communicates itself to the creatures.
Isidorus of Sevilla is very positive in his expressions. In his Sententiae he even dares to write "all things on earth have been made for man, and man has been made because of himself".
Saint Bernard is a bit more moderate. He says: "God made everything for himself and for the benefit of his chosen race".
In our days, another representative of augustine tradition, Blondel, contested in sharp words the more or less imaginary opinion of them who maintain that the good of creation is too trivial, as compared with God's limitless goodness, to be the object of an act of God:
"Dépricier la créature sous prétexte de glorifier le Créateur, c'est peut-être le méconnaître Lui-même."

If we would deny that the creature is a purpose of the act of creation, we wouldn't only contradict a famous tradition, which is as old as theology itself, but our reasonable concept of God would be in danger as well.
In fact, the Creator's glorification in his works and through his works, the gloria externa, necessarily implies God wills the creatures, because, in so far as they are participating in being, they are good.
Indeed, divine Essence is absolutely singular and indivisible, so it can't communicate itself without changing itself and abandoning its unity, but it can still call things to existence outside itself that are finite expressions of itself. In creation, God communicates not his divine Essence itself, but the perfections of being we can credit both God and creature with, albeit in different ways and in an analogous sense. They are of necessity a benefit and something good for the beings that receive them. That's why God, who loves all things in proportion as they are good, must necessarily include the creatures in his love.
However, this love for the creation doesn't imply that His intellect or will should be dependent on it. It is a creating love. It doesn't ask or seek anything. It enriches things, but doesn't enrich Himself. It is essentially tied to the love God has for his own Essence, which would also be sufficient for God's love and happiness without this outward reflection. The creatures should pay tribute to God almighty for this love, which He's generously revealing to them as the first and perfect cause of all things existing. He doesn't need this tribute, but, nevertheless, it's not superfluous either.
We all know Lessius' example of the love parents cherish for their children. This parental love for the offspring is a love for both the parents themselves and their children. Because they want to survive themselves in their children, but they also want to donate the benefit of life.
Of course, this representation is poor, like any natural image that's meant to illustrate things divine. Nevertheless, it's making clear that two distinct purposes need not stand apart or follow each other, but may coincide in the one and only intended object that's comprehending both purposes.
Human intellect can't fathom God's love, nor his Essence. But natural reason is able to decide with certainty that creation is a free act of love and God can't be anyhow dependent on the things that completely thank their existence to his omnipotence. And it's also sure that God, now that He wills creation, is glorifying Himself in the glory He's giving to his creatures.
Blondel said: "Dieu donne à ses créatures de le glorifier, mais c'est en les glorifiant elles-mêmes".

(second part of meijercreation)