The Nature of Infinity and Our Dependence in Being - "Metaphysics" Book II by Aristotle

Metaphysics Book II

In this second book of Aristotle's Metaphysics he addresses a very important point which I have found to be all but universally unmentioned in discussions today on the topic of cosmology; the impossibility of infinity both temporally and regarding the types of things. Now it needs to be mentioned here that Aristotle is talking about a type of "actual infinity" in which there is complete possession of infinity in being altogether, or, in a way, simultaneously. This is distinct from "potential infinities," which is more like the continual unfolding of one moment to the next. For example, one can could indefinitely to higher and higher numbers, and there's no end. But this does not mean that one possesses all these numbers together. Rather, one moment to the next provides a continual unfolding. This type of potential infinity does not imply that reality is actually unending, but just that from our perspective it seems that the unfolding could keep going on and on. As asymptote will continually get closer to the y axis with each moment, but there is never an "infinite" reality which contains the whole of this situation. The point of this is that Aristotle is making the claim that reality is not self-explanatory, rather it is dependent. And here this idea connects to the first point in Book II, that truth and being are interchangeable. That which is most true is also that which is greatest in being. What is most universally true as a cause to things is that which is also universally existent. 

This material universe [hylomorphic universe] cannot be universally true as a cause, as we have shown that it cannot be an actual infinite. Again, Aristotle makes the argument that the universe cannot be actually infinite because everything in has limitations. There are material, formal, agent, and final limitations to all the entities in the universe. If there were not, then we as knowers could not comprehend the nature of anything. If there are no limitations regarding the size, shape, nature, etc of things, then it has no nature that we can comprehend. And it's self-evident that we comprehend things all around us because of their limitations. All this is to say, that the universe is not the explanation, cause, or source of itself. Again, the PreSocratic question that Aristotle is addressing is about explaining the ultimate sources of matter, identity, and the reason for change. This is all leading and culminating towards his argument at the end of the Metaphysics where he concludes about the necessary existence of the self-existent prime reality - God - "Thought Thinking Itself." 

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Many Naturalist scientists today claim that the universe is some type of infinite set of material causes. The earth was caused by the elements from exploding stars, which were formed through gravity and fundamental elements, which we caused by the Big Bang, which was cause by ?? a multiverse, and on to infinity. Aristotle, though, addresses claims about infinity in Book II of his Metaphysics. He claims that actual infinity and our hylomorphic [composed of matter and form] universe are incompatible with one another. Why? Because an actual infinity implies the whole and simultaneous possession of infinite being. This would destroy every limitation by which we comprehend the world around us. Material, Formal, Efficient, and Final causes are all predicated on knowing the boundaries of a thing. I only know the tree because I see that it is this color and not others, that it is this shape and not others, than it exists for this purpose and not others. Is it not possible to comprehend something with our five senses that has no limits, form, cause, or purpose. Thus if the universe were actually infinite then we couldn't know anything around us. Rather, Aristotle argues that this is why the universe depends on a reality which is beyond the physical, or "metaphysical," and he will continue to develop this argument until Book VIII where he lays out the claims for an non-material "Unmoved Mover" and "Uncaused Cause" for which actual infinity would not be contradictory. 

Ch. 1- Truth and Being are Interchangeable
Aristotle begins book II briefly reflecting on the nature of truth. The acquisition of truth is something that happens in pieces and chunks. We cannot grasp the whole of it at once. Rather, we understand this or that truth, and we hear something else go on about this other truth. From the disparate, and sometimes wrong, pieces we being to form a unified picture, though blurry to us. "A sign of this is that, while no one happens to be capable of it in an adequate way, neither does anyone miss it, but each one says something about nature, and though one by one they add little or nothing to it, from all of them put together something comes into being with a certain stature." Thus, we are dependent on those who have gone before us, who have made formulations of truth which have been passed on to us. Whether they were right or wrong opinions and ideas, they all play a part in the process of capturing a vision of the whole. 

This is essentially what philosophy is. Philosophy is to seek the knowledge of truth in its highest form, not just a truth which helps us take a particular action, but truth that is most universally causal in nature. 1 What exactly does this mean? Aristotle clarifies at the end of chapter one. He says that truth can be predicated more of those realities which are more universally causes of other realities. He gives the example of fire. Fire, in his mind, is the source of heat from which all other hotness is going to proceed. Therefore, that which is a greater cause of other things in their being is also a greater cause in terms of truth. Philosophy then is to seek that which is the cause of all things universally, in the highest sense, for that thing will also be ultimately true as well. "Therefore, also what is responsible for the being-true of derivative things is more true than they are. For this reason the sources of the things that always are must be true in the highest sense (for they are not sometimes true, nor is anything a cause for them of their being, but they are the cause of other things), so what each thing has of being, that too it has of truth." 

Ch. 2 - Against an Actual Infinite Regression of Causes
But wait... what about if there is no first or ultimate causes? What if there is simply an infinite regression of causes. Well, Aristotle rejects this possibility both as a temporal chain or as a non-temporal formal causal chain. "Now surely it is clear that there is some source of things and that the causes are not infinite either in a straight line or in kind." He then goes on to reject infinite regression regarding the other three fundamental causes as well. A material cause or the substance of prior parts that make up things cannot be infinite. An agent cause, as that by which things are moved cannot be infinite. And as a final cause, that for which, cannot also be infinite either. If you take a causal series, the middle cause and effects will have some cause before them and some status after them. But neither the end status, nor the middle cause and effect, can be said to be the cause of the thing, as that which is prior to them is more fundamental. Thus, an infinite series has nothing being intermediate causes, with no first or final cause to its existence. "But of things infinite in this way, and of the infinite in general, all the parts are alike middle ones down to the present one; therefore, if there is no first thing, there is no cause at all." 2 

Returning back to a non-temporal formal causal chain, Aristotle rejects infinite regression likewise. In other words, if one element were responsible for another element, which were responsible for another element, and so on ... it could not go on forever. "But surely it is not possible to go to infinity in the downward direction either, of something that has a beginning above, so that out of fire would come water, and out of this earth, and so forever some other kind coming into being." With formal causation, Aristotle talks about two types, when a form changes in the state of becoming (towards its final end), as when a boy grows into a man, and when a form is destroyed, thus generating other forms from it. "But in both ways it is impossible to go to infinity; for of the in-between sort of beings there must necessarily be an end, while the other sort turn back into one another, since the destruction of one of them is the coming into being of the other." 

Actual Infinities Make the Universe Unintelligible to Us
Aristotle continues he critique of the idea of infinity. He says that if there is a real end for which things act, then the idea of an end contradicts the existence of infinity. If there are no ends, then we cannot talk about any teleology to things. Likewise, infinity also does away with any notion of "goodness" and "intelligence". Our wills and our minds only act for things that are comprehendible through their limits. It is their limits that allow us to know them, and thus to act for them. "But those who make there be an infinite are unaware that they abolish the nature of the good. (Yet no one would make an effort to do anything if he were not going to come to a limit)." 3 Similarly with causality. We say we know what a thing is when we know its causes. But if the causes go on to infinity, then we could never know. "... if the kinds of causes were infinite in number, neither would there be any knowing for that reason; for we think that we know something when we are acquainted with its causes, but what is infinite by addition is not possible to go all the way through in a finite time." In other words, actual infinity in which there is simultaneous possession of infinity, is contradictory to the nature of the material universe. 4

1 - Aristotle, Metaphysics, (Santa Fe: Green Lion Press, 1999) Pg. 29.
2 - 30
3 - 31
4 - 32
5 - 33

An interesting exchange that I think adds to this post. 

"Jim Phillippi
I view this as a solid case that there are no particles - only waves and fields.Think how that might be what is called "metaphysical". Also, there is likely even more to discover about it than that. Science and religion will eventually arrive at the same place, in my opinion. And both will be enriched by the other. They are not opposed to each other. What did you think?
The Great Perennial Questions
Jim Phillippi Hi Jim, thanks for your comment! I too agree that science and religion will converge and enrich one another. To get technical, Aristotle would still consider waves and fields as “matter” because he defines matter as the state of having parts (quantity), which even waves and fields have. The metaphysical is the reality that stands beyond having any divisibility and therefore behind any material state. It is the indivisible source which gives an identity to the physical world. I’m hoping that makes a little sense? You may want to check out the post on Metaphysics ch. 1 which introduces metaphysics as the pursuit of ultimate causes and sources of reality.
Jim Phillippi
The Great Perennial Questions I will check it out - right now, before I have checked it out, it sounds like an omnipresent consciousness is being referred to. I will see how it sounds to me after I check it out.
Jim Phillippi
The Great Perennial Questions In order for us to understand one another, I have to ask you a question: Are you strictly talking 3 dimensions? Or 4? Or generally including dimensions which have mathematically been proven? Or just how many dimensions is included in "the universe"? Cuz, seriously, that makes a difference in context.
The Great Perennial Questions
Jim Phillippi Hi Jim, yeah it is leading to Book VIII of the metaphysics where Aristotle talks about the necessity of an Unmoved Mover.
The Great Perennial Questions
Jim Phillippi so I am speaking from a broad philosophical context which would include all dimensions. So even mathematical numeration would still imply a type of “quantity” to it, and so would still fall within Aristotle’s argument of “the universe”. In fact, in his book “The Physics” he makes the distinction between three types of being, the natural, the mathematical, and the metaphysical. The natural and the mathematical still depend on something more universally true than themselves, the metaphysical (and all things on an ultimately perfect being which is immaterial, without any parts, self-existent, immutable, and transcendent). Yeah it’s hard to talk about these big topics without taking past each other a bit. But I appreciate you engaging here!!
Jim Phillippi
The Great Perennial Questions Ok. Then we should read Dante. He did a good job of addressing all of that. But, regarding the field aspect we were talking about, I think we should look at induction. How does induction make it past any and all shielding? Is it traveling in a direction unknown to our senses (because we're only 3-dimensional)? And, can information be transmitted, via induction? If so, what, exactly, does that prove (especially regarding the existence of dimensions more than the 3 our bodies allow us to apprehend)? And, how is that related to metaphysics? Well, you have to make a cutoff point somewhere - I mean, if you're going to include all dimensions both conceivable and inconceivable then that would have to include the fields present in them and energy traveling via those fields which means that, by YOUR OWN definition, that would include the 'ultimately perfect being which is immaterial, without any parts, self-existent, immutable, and transcendent'. Do you see what I mean? In order for that to be so, there HAS to be a cutoff point IN YOUR DEFINITION of metaphysical OTHERWISE that very being is included in your definition (whether on purpose or not). Semantics are actually important, here. And ask yourself this - how could we be created, then, if not FROM this very being (in His image)? And does that give US the ability to transcend, too? What does all of this mean? This is really a whole can of worms unto itself!
The Great Perennial Questions
Jim Phillippi Hi Jim, let me get back to you this afternoon when I can respond with more thought. Enjoying this!
Jim Phillippi
The Great Perennial Questions Ok. Will look forward to it!
The Great Perennial Questions
Jim Phillippi So sorry for the delay in responding. So first, I may need you to help me understand the meaning of "induction" as it is being used. By "all dimensions" I am talking about those which are physical in nature, meaning they have some amount of "quantity" to them, regardless of what type of quantity - whether energy, space, or matter.
In fact, one could go even more broadly, and simply say that (to use Aristotle's terms) the quantity of actuality and potentiality includes all existence which is not God.
In simple words, wherever there is potential for some type of change in being, that being is dependent on something more fundamental to itself for its existence. Thus, God is the resolution to this metaphysical chain as he is the needed resolution of existence without potentiality, quantity, time, space, etc. The Unmoved Mover is pure simplicity, existence fully contained without potential. Some of the confusion might be coming from the difference in terminology between modern science and ancient philosophy.
Jim Phillippi
The Great Perennial Questions It sounds like your definition is "that which is measurable." Ok, so let's just go with 3-dimensions, then, as it encompasses all that we consider to be "physical". Is that agreeable? Additionally, "potential for some type of change" literally starts getting into time which some believe is what we perceive of a fourth dimension (an actual direction just like height, width and length) - not true but it works to explain what we can "physically" perceive. Here's where it starts to get tricky and why agreed upon definitions matter so much before such a discussion can take place - there's more to what our current physics calls "induction" than currently taught in our institutions. I will have to cover that in another post. Thanks for being patient. PS I, too, believe there is a God, a higher consciousness existing everywhere throughout the universe. I arrived at that notion in a different way, though. It will take time to explain it so I hope you're willing to continue for a long time having this discussion. Thanks. I will post about induction is n a few hours.
Jim Phillippi
The Great Perennial Questions So, I guess it will have to be two posts about induction rather than one. First I need to explain about the relationship between gravitational fields and electromagnetic fields. This relationship can be shown through the process of charging or discharging electric capacitors. A basic experiment: set up two or more large, high-voltage capacitors that are spatially close enough so that an object can be dropped in various areas around them while a gravimiter (glorified accelerometer - the thing used to see how fast a pitcher can throw the ball) measures changes in acceleration as it falls. Both magnetic (such as neodymium magnetic balls and no magnetic balls) and non-magnetic objects should be used (calibration). In this experiment, careful observations are made of any gravitational anomalies present that are associated with an area that also has a change in electrical state. And you vary different things like total capacitance, rate of change of the electric charge (how rapidly you charge or discharge the capacitor), how much mass does the material being measured have (e.g. neodymium), specific inductive capacity (always represented by the variable K) of those same materials, and (this is the most important one) WHETHER ANY SPECIAL EFFECTS ARE OBSERVED - ARE THEY VECTOR (3-DIMENSIONAL) OR SCALAR (4-DIMENSIONAL) IN NATURE. After all of that you can use the data to derive a mathematical equation which includes all of the above factors.
THEN, you can do basic studies on variations in Earth charge (these variations are believed by some to be due to natural variations in the relationship between Earth's gravitational and electromagnetic fields). So, I'll let you digest this part first and then, when you let me know that you're ready for the second part, I will post it. PS Feel free to add anything you have to this, if you like.
The Great Perennial Questions
Jim Phillippi Happy to have this discussion! This is what I want GPQ to be about
The Great Perennial Questions
Jim Phillippi Thanks for the first post in explaining what you mean by induction and getting into a fourth dimension. Go ahead and post the second part, and then I will offer some thoughts from a philosophical perspective. I cannot engage with you at this level scientifically, but I think that the philosophical distinctions/questions will still be valid though. Looking forward to post 2.
Jim Phillippi
The Great Perennial Questions Yes, that's the exchange I want. I want input from your much greater knowledge of the philosophical asoecty. So, thank you in advance!
Jim Phillippi
The Great Perennial Questions Ok, so the second part has to do with wave propagation. It turns out that there is ALSO an interaction between the two capacitors in the experiment laid out EVEN IF they're shielded against electromagnetic radiation! Again, a discharging capacitor induces a voltage in an adjacent capacitor and this effect "PENETRATES" (or, perhaps, circumvents) electromagnetic shielding! That effect appears to be due to the relationship between the electromagnetic and gravitational fields. And THAT means that this is an undiscovered type of wave propagation (which means it can be used in a new method of wireless communication).
The question is: Is the wave propagation taking place 3-dimensionally (vector) or 4-dimensionally (scalar)? I lean toward scalar BECAUSE OF the EM shielding penetration. Now, if that is PROVEN to be the case THEN we have a potential avenue for what we currently call 'spiritual' activity and maybe even our connection to whatever conception of a Higher Power one adheres to (prayer, image of God, what Jesus taught when Thomas doubted, etc...).
And that's the basic gist of it - I really look forward to your input on this!
PS There's a lot more from "the science side" but this much should suffice for now.
Jim Phillippi
The Great Perennial Questions Oh, and one other thing - bear in mind that our bodies produce EM fields, too. That's why an MRI works on us. Our brains are especially active in this way but interestingly, so are our hearts.
Just bear that in mind as you ponder the "spiritual" aspects I introduced into this.
Note: MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imager. It is due to this fact that this device was able to be created and works to image the insides of our bodies.
More animals than many know of can "see" this way, too. Sharks is one example.
The Great Perennial Questions
Jim Phillippi This is quite interesting. If I am understanding correctly, there is an interaction between the capacitors even with the electromagnetic shielding .. and therefore the question is how this would happen ... pointing to a possible new way of interaction between fundamental forces that seem to transcend our current three dimensional model of the universe currently?
This reminds me of the debate around quantum entanglement. How do they effect each other seemingly simultaneously across huge distances? It also brings to mind the double slit experiment and the debate over the role of conscious perception in the actualizing of particles.
Here are my thoughts ...
The universe clearly has many more secrets that we have not understood fully or even uncovered (dark matter and energy I think could fit here too). My own opinion is that we are going to discover how many of these mysterious forces work in the coming centuries. I hesitate to deem something that we don't understand yet as "spiritual" because we may yet indeed figure a material cause out which explains these things.
Regardless, though, Aristotle's philosophy (the discipline of metaphysics) aims at being "as such," or "being qua being," meaning that he is seeking the most universal causes and entities from which everything else comes. So the language he formulates are terms that attempt to describe reality in the most universally broad categories possible ("actuality and potentiality"). These terms simply refer to how a thing currently exists versus how change could alter its existence (its potential existence). This is so broad that you can fit every possible type of descriptive scientific category or factor into them. You could fit waves, energy, space, particles, dimensions, etc... anything into these categories because they are subject to two universal realities - change and causality.
Implied in your description of the experiment, and in all scientific experiments, is the idea of intelligible causality, meaning that we can actually find out why something happens and formulate a universal principle which describes it, like a mathematical equation. To deny that causality exists is to render all pursuit of truth, scientific or practical truth, purely meaningless.
If causality exists, then we can talk about the "change" that occurs when anything transitions from a state of potentiality to actuality or actuality to potentiality. (Again these terms are so broad you can use them to describe any type of change you want.)
Now Aristotle has formulated the most basic description of the universe with these terms. Everything that exists has some amount of actual existence and potential existence, a propensity to change, and an intelligible chain of causal interactions related to that change. Again, this applies to everything except ... Aristotle recognizes that if there was an infinite regress of things causing other things, then nothing would exist. There must be one ultimate explanation which has no potential for change, but is purely actual existence. This is the Unmoved Mover.
Again, since the Unmoved Mover is free from change and causality, it is beyond everything that is changing (again, whatever type of change you want to talk about). Thus, the Unmoved Mover is transcendent of everything that changes.
And so, in this way, I would tie this back to our original discussion by saying that I don't believe that it matters what science discovers because it will always discover being which is subject to change, has both actuality and potential to its existence, and therefore will always be dependent on something more perfect than itself.
I hope this all made some sense??? My argument is basically that these philosophical terms are more universally broad in their definition such that no matter what science does, they will still be true regardless. The metaphysically Unmoved Mover will always be necessary!
In other, other, words the metaphysical is revealed through the physical, but not reducible to the physical.
Jim Phillippi
The Great Perennial Questions Ok. I understand the argument. But my next question, then, is: Does this argument constitute proof of a being that exists wholly independent of everything else in the universe? And, if so, then how can we use the word "universe" when the word means literally everything? If it includes everything then why isn't that being considered part of it?
The Great Perennial Questions
Jim Phillippi So, by definition and necessity, this ultimate prime reality/being has no dependency on anything. Dependency implies change and causality, which Aristotle established there must be one reality which has neither. Rather, every other reality depends on it for its existence.
And with the word universe, you could take that word to mean different things depending on how you define it. You could take it to mean everything that is subject to physical (having parts or quantity of any sort) change and causality (how I usually use the word). You could take it to include what Aristotle calls "separated substances" which some might call today "angels" or dimensions that seem to transcend our physical senses, or mathematical equations, yet are still subject to change and causality in their own way. And then you could take it to include both the physical, separated substances, and ultimate prime reality. It just depends on how you want to use the term.
Jim Phillippi
The Great Perennial Questions But, essentially, then, this being is a cause but itself uncaused. Am I understanding that correctly?
The Great Perennial Questions
Jim Phillippi Yes! Book VIII of the Metaphysics Aristotle talks about this. The Unmoved Mover moves and causes in the sense of attraction. (My own example here, haha, A beautiful woman walks down the street, a man catches a glimpse of her and feels a draw/attraction to her. She caused something in him, but not by moving - rather by simply being.) This is how Aristotle describes the ultimate perfection of the prime reality. It draws all lesser things into motion by virtue of all things longing for their perfection in the prime reality.
Aquinas adds to this conception and makes it a bit richer. He talks about creation not being a "temporal" event, but an eternal relationship of metaphysical necessity. Since God has no time (no change) and thus is everything all at once, even his work of creation is part of his eternal existence. Even if the universe continued temporally in an unending way, there would be an timeless dependency of it to God on a metaphysically causal level.
And so this is how they explain God as an Uncaused Cause or Unmoved Mover. You can either understand it by attraction towards perfection, or as all his work part of his one eternal existence, creating a dependency of our being on his, but not a temporal event or dependency.
Jim Phillippi
The Great Perennial Questions Here's my problem with that. If what Aquinas believed is true then, by virtue of his assertion, such a being CAN be approached via tracing causality (because his creation is part of Him) - that part, at least, CAN be approached via causality tracing. Meanwhile, Aristotle says the opposite.
How can this be reconciled?
The part that is outside the creation would, then, NOT be rationally demonstrable.
The Great Perennial Questions
Jim Phillippi I would say yes, that’s the essence of his argument for Gods existence, is tracing causality.
For Aquinas God is not something that you can ever know with the senses, but the rational mind is able to form a scientific (old meaning of the word) demonstration that necessitates if the premises are true, the terms clear, and the form accurate, then the conclusion follows necessarily.
I’m not sure exactly what you mean by Aristotle says the opposite? Could you explain more?
The difference between the two is that Aristotle doesn’t fully flesh out all the implications of his argue, whereas Aquinas tries to give it some more depth.
Jim Phillippi
The Great Perennial Questions It just seems to me that Aristotle is saying that this higher being is totally outside of the universe that we can possibly know while Aquinas is saying that part of that being IS the universe that we can know. To my mind, those are two different things.
Jim Phillippi
The Great Perennial Questions Also, if a thing has only POTENTIAL for existence then it's existence is not ACTUAL. Putting that in the context of Christianity, or any of the Abrahamic religions, the if one assumes that God created the universe according to His desire then the universe's potentiality must have existed BEFORE its actuality which, in turn, would mean that God can be only pure existence.
What do you think if that?
The Great Perennial Questions
Jim Phillippi so I guess the term here that Aquinas uses is “analogy of being.”
Every effect pre exists in its cause in some manner. So the universe, dependent on the prime reality, shows it’s traces of that, and we can know some about God by use of analogy. Here, for example, his existence.
I would argue that Aristotle has the same notion, a dependence of the universe on God, through which we can come to the knowledge of the prime reality. His ethical work culminates with the act of rational contemplation of these realities.
Like a painter and a painting. There are causal traces of the artist in the painting, but the artist is distinct from it. The whole existence of the painting, though, depends on the act of the artist to create it and keep it around.
Jim Phillippi
The Great Perennial Questions So, let me ask you this: It is said that our prayers reach God - let's suppose that the painting has people in it and that this painter can give them consciousness. How do the people in the painting communicate with the painter (alluding to prayer, here)?
And also, the higher being's own potentiality cannot have preceded it's existence if we assume all that Aristotle and Aquinas have said to be true. And keep in mind, I'm just going by what you have said - I haven't read either of what they wrote on this subject (but I have on some other subjects).
This is a fascinating conversation!
The Great Perennial Questions
Jim Phillippi Hi Jim, so I would argue that it's all connected here. The point of Aristotle's Metaphysics is showing that there is a mysterious deeper reality that lays at the foundation of the physical and changing reality that we deal with everyday. Aristotle uses the term "form" to get at that reality, and for living things he adds a new term, "soul." The unchanging identity that remains constant in things throughout physical changes. So for humans, we have a rational soul which not only provides us with life as a human, but allows us to conceptualize the world in a rational manner, the realm of ideas. Ideas (and this is what Plato talked about so well) are realities that aren't physical themselves, they are abstract and immutable ... yet Aristotle recognizes that the mind can become any idea. And so the rational soul, like ideas, Aristotle thought will also be indestructible and survive the death of the body. It is here that I would point to the idea of prayer. Prayer is the rational discourse with God. And God being pure actuality is required to be omniscient, and thus knows all of this rational discourse directed at him.
The key here is (and I think with the part about potentiality you're asking about how prayer could change anything since God doesn't change??) that God exists in an eternal, unchanging, present in which our changing temporal reality -past, present, future- is simultaneously existent and completed to God. Just because we interact with God in our temporal manner doesn't mean that he interacts with us in that way. All of his acts are present in his eternal present.
The Great Perennial Questions
Jim Phillippi Don't think about God's "desire" to create or the action thereof as something temporal, like we desire things and create things. Since there is no knowledge or revelation that can be added to God, his desire and work is eternal like himself. That's why it's important to thing about creation as an eternal relationship with God, because God has no time or change within himself. We take in new information all the time with changes our mind or informs our desires, but imagine if every piece of knowledge was simultaneously present to you. You're choice is perfect and complete.