Maimonides’ 4th Principle: God is First

Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim

Maimonides 4th principle reads as follows:

God is the exclusive first being, and all that exists aside from Him has no eternality. 

The obvious question is that as the first principle is that God created everything, doesn’t this mean—by definition—that God preceded everything? As such, this 4th Principle is redundant. 

Aristotle maintained that the universe is to God, as a shadow is to an object: the universe is a forced result of God’s existence. As such, God did not “will” the universe to exist. This is Maimonides 4th principle, that the universe exists as an act of God’s will. Although the 1st principle is that God created the universe, according to Aristotle, that creation can be viewed as devoid of God’s will, just as the shadow which I make is devoid of my will. Maimonides’ 4th principle is that we must know that God “intended” the universe verse to exist.