Summary: The argument that all things utterly depend on God or there will be nothing there at all rules out the relevance of the thought that God primarily causes all things but there are indirect secondary causes too which allows for evil and harm to happen though God is against them.  We will find that a secondary cause only describes something's position and says nothing about how deeply God is involved.  Literally speaking, as God is the being on which all depends he cannot be anything but deeply involved.  It is deeper than anything we can comprehend.

If God is God there is no indirect.  It would not matter if there were.  If you fire your bullet at a bouncy sheet of metal for it to ricochet and hit a person in the forehead you are still a murderer.  Trying to make yourself feel better by doing it that way makes you a worse person not a better one. We should note that God is clearly doing something like that when evil happens.

A secondary cause is just as close to God as anything else.  Or to speak correctly, God is close to everything.

If I take over John's body but still move it when his brain tells it to move John thinks he is walking.  I am behind it.  I am the one doing the walking though it looks like I am not. Yet the doctrine of creation says it is really God moving me.

Primary and secondary causes simply make a distinction without a difference and are useful in language and that is all.  Religion uses this cover to pretend that science and religion are different but rather than contradicting each other are friends.  Science cannot function if water does not cause a seed to grow and we should say it is God meaning the water is only a technicality. 


Christians hold that God makes all things completely. In other words, all things come from him and nothing else. Without him there would not be anything. Does this mean that all actions in the universe, even the nurse giving you water, are God's? Some say no. The idea is that God supports you to make your own choices. This is the difference between,

# I walk and I think I move my legs but it is God who is moving them so God walks.

# God gives me the power to walk myself. I really do move my legs but with his power.

In one God does the work and in the other God does the support.

Either way you do not own your walking. It is not your power. The power is on loan. 

Your experience says your walking is yours but this says you are really a passive thing and only moving for God is using his power to create to move you.

There is no meaningful difference. We need to talk about the same thing in two ways. It is a practical matter. It is a language construct.

When I walk I say I walk though it is true that God is behind it all 100%.  If you are a Pantheist, who says nature and God are the same entity, then God walks when I walk.  But if you are something else then you modify this to God as good as walks when I walk.

Here is what somebody says about God supporting you to do things.

QUOTE, God is not, on this view, the sole cause of all worldly events, as has sometimes been claimed. The creatures serve as “secondary causes,” and their causality, though needing to be sustained by God in his conserving activity, is genuine and distinct from that of God himself. Furthermore, God’s causal involvement in worldly events is different for different classes of events. In particular, God’s relation to morally evil actions is not the same as his relation to good actions (see pp. 168–71, 190–1). It is often said in this connection that God “permits” evil actions to occur, but does not cause them to occur. But this language of permission can easily become evasive and misleading. No doubt, on this view, God “permits” evil actions without actively assisting them in the way that he assists good actions through his gracious influence. Nevertheless, the evil actions are the necessary consequence of causes that were deliberately created by God with full knowledge of what their results would be. God’s involvement may be less direct than in the case of good actions, but it is no less decisive. In the end, it is simply incoherent for the no risk view to deny that God is the cause of sin. As Helm states, his view “does not, in the final analysis, attribute certain evils to the human will and certain others to natural causes; rather, all are finally attributed to the divine reason and will” (p. 198).

So human responsibility is never independence of God. The key is that when we do evil God is involved as much as he would be if it were good we were doing. The difference is his approval and disapproval. It is only indirect in the sense that God can say, "I did not tell you to do that or inspire you." It is an attempt to be independent but even then you are only attempting because God is providing you with the power and will to try it.


In Catholic doctrine, as God makes all things and holds them in being there is no such thing as anything being at a distance from him. Though God can cure a heart attack (primary cause) he may use doctors (secondary cause) instead. These are described as primary and secondary causes. They are not direct and indirect causes. They are simply two different ways in which he acts as direct cause.
“The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator. God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 308).

The Bible frequently ascribes “actions to God without mentioning any secondary causes. This is not a ‘primitive mode of speech,’ but a profound way of recalling God’s primacy and absolute Lordship over history and the world” (CCC 304).


Those who say God made all and is good are saying that evil cannot be a power but must be just when good falls short of what it could be. So evil is really a form of good. The idea that sickness and temptation and evil are not directly caused by God but caused by things he has made meaning he is not the primary cause but the secondary is total rubbish.

It does not matter for it is possible to be evil and do it at a distance.  It may even look less evil then.  It is possible for indirect evil to be worse than the direct version.  Evil that is direct is actually not as strong as evil that is indirect in this sense. Evil gets its power from disguising.

Religion is trying to build faith on how we make excuses for bad people when their evil seems a bit distant from them. 

Also if God creates all out of nothing he is not distant from anything.  He is closer to all than it is to itself.

 If evil is the mere absence of good then it does not matter if a cause is primary or secondary – it is still evil.  Evil needs to be indirect if it is parasitic on good. It is essentially indirect.  The talk of God being the good prime cause and evil being something other is a distraction.  The primary and secondary cause stuff is window dressing to hide the absurdity of God.

And what about science?  If God is the real cause and science only looks at how things fit together and how a causes b then science is no more science than a forensic investigation that acts as if finger-printing was never invented is.  Science is investigation and this is not investigating.


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