William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America


by William Ames

1. The efficiency of God may be understood as either creation or

2. Creation is the efficiency of God whereby in the beginning out of
nothing he made the world to be altogether good.

3. Active creation is conceived as a transitive action in which
there is always presupposed an object about which the agent is
concerned; it is virtually but not formally transitive because it
makes, not presupposes, an object.

4. Passive creation can be understood in the manner of mutation,
although it is improperly called mutation.

5. Creation refers to the whole world, i.e., whatever exists outside
of God.

6. Hence all things which exist outside of God are created - fully
created, that is, in matter as well as in form. Rev. 4:11, Because
thou hast made all things; Col. 1: 16, For by him were made all
things which are in heaven and in earth visible and invisible.

7. Creation produces in the originative sense because it produces
not only being as being, but absolutely every part.

8. Therefore before the creation, creatures had no real being either
in existence or essence, although they bad being known from eternity
in the knowledge of God.

9. Creation then produces out of nothing, that is, out of matter
that has had no preexistence but which comes into existence with the
thing created. Nothing exists from eternity but God, and God is not
the matter or a part of any creature, but only the maker.

10. Some things are said to be created whose matter preexisted. But
this creation refers not only to the immediate action whereby such
things are brought into existence, but also to the mediate action
whereby the matter of which they are formed was brought into
existence. So it was in the creation of the plants and the animals,
Gen. 1:20.

11. That state of nothing or nonbeing of things preceded their
being, not only in the order of nature, for in that case they might
coexist with God from eternity, but also in the order of duration,
as we conceive things.

12. Hence that beginning in which God is said to have created the
world, was the end of the duration of nothing and the beginning of
the world's duration.

13. In creation God wanted to show both his perfection in his not
needing any creature or outward thing (for otherwise he would have
created the world as soon as he could) and his freedom in producing
all things without natural necessity (for had be created out of
necessity, he would have done so from eternity, Rev. 4:11; Ps.

14. The world has not been in existence from eternity nor could it
have been according to the present dispensation and ordering of

15. The day of creation would not have come to be if infinite days
had bad to go before. The days going before would never have ended,
so that that day could have arrived.

16. Hence it follows that no creature was or could have been a
cause, instrumental or principal, in the act of creation.

17. Everything created was very good, because it was made neither
rashly nor in vain but for the end which the maker bad before him.
Gen. 1: 3 1, Whatever he made was very good; I Tim 4:4, Whatever God
made was good.

18. The goodness of a thing created is the perfection of its fitness
for the use which it serves. Now that use is either particular or
19. The particular is the proper use which anything serves in its
own nature.


Promoting a Greater Understanding of the Discovery of the Americas