Creaturely occasions cannot cause other creaturely occasions to exist. How can we know this? Causal relations between two creatures cannot obtain until they both actually exist so as to have relations in the first place. X cannot be truly said to have caused y until there is a y, so that there can be a relation of causation that obtains between them. Until there is y, x cannot have caused y. But this means that before y has come to pass, x cannot stand in any causal relation to y; it cannot function as a cause of y. So, x cannot bring y to be.
When you think about it, this is obvious. How could x reach into the future and manipulate it so that it eventually developed in such a way as to include y?
The causal relations among creaturely occasions – which is to say, their spatiotemporal relations, their loci in the extensive continuum – must be secondary characteristics, deriving from their basic characters. Extensive relations among creaturely occasions must supervene upon their actuality. Thus, first there are a set of actual creaturely occasions, and then there are their extensive relations. Those relations arise as a result of their characters in respect to each other, which reveal the degree to which the characterological features of each has found ingression in others, so that it is possible to measure their influence upon each other (and thus their relative loci in the extensive continuum).
Creaturely events cannot be generated by creaturely causes. Since there are such events, they must be generated by God. This means that the occasions of our lives arise in the first place from roots in Divine eternity. Their causal loci and functions in cosmic history, furthermore, are not basic to them, but supervene upon and derive from their “addresses” in the Providential apprehension of the Logos, sub specie aeternitatis. This is to say nothing more than that the order of the worlds derives from the order of the Divine knowledge.
Thus all creaturely occasions are procedures of eternity. To be in time is to be in eternity. In God we live, move, and have our being – literally.
What is it like to be eternal? Well, there is some aspect of our experience – of experience as such – that bears the character of eternality, the feel of eternality. This, in just the same way that, for men, experience as such is experience of what it is like to be animal, to be male, to be material, to be living, and so forth. As there is some part of creaturely experience that is what it is like to be temporal, caused, finite, so likewise is there some part of our experience that is what it is like to be eternal.
How can you tell which aspect of your experience is what it is like to be eternal? It’s pretty tough. A qualium that is characteristic of experience as such is not possible to tease out from experience. You can’t notice noticing per se. You cannot, for example, tell what it is like to be an animal, because for you what it is like to be an animal is just what it is like to be you, no matter what sort of particular experiences you may be having. So, likewise, you can’t tell what it is like to live, move and have your being in God, for because this is the only way it is possible to exist at all, living, moving and having your being in God feels like existing, and cannot feel like anything else.
Thus it is that when we drag our attention away from the particularities of life, and focus our attention on what it is like simply to be, we are led with fair reliability to an experience of sublimity.