349. THE VISIBLE THINGS IN THE CREATED UNIVERSE BEAR WITNESS THAT NATURE HAS PRODUCED AND DOES PRODUCE NOTHING, BUT THAT THE DIVINE OUT OF ITSELF, AND THROUGH THE SPIRITUAL WORLD, HAS PRODUCED AND DOES PRODUCE ALL THINGS.
Speaking from appearances, most men say that the sun by heat and light produces whatever is to be seen in plains, fields, gardens, and forests; also that the sun by its heat hatches worms from eggs, and makes prolific the beasts of the earth and the fowls of the air; and that it even gives life to man. Those who speak from appearances only may speak in this way without ascribing these things to nature, because they are not thinking about the matter; as there are those who speak of the sun as rising and setting, and causing days and years, and being now at this or that altitude; such persons speak from appearances, and in doing so, do not ascribe such effects to the sun, because they are not thinking of the sun's fixity or the earth's revolution. But those who confirm themselves in the idea that the sun produces the things that appear upon the earth by means of its heat and light, end by ascribing all things to nature, even the creation of the universe, and become naturalists and, at last, atheists. These may continue to say that God created nature and endowed her with the power of producing such things, but this they say from fear of losing their good name; and by God the Creator they still mean nature, and some mean the innermost of nature, and then the Divine things taught by the church they regard as of no account.