Proclo: Teologia de Platão I-XVIII

In the next place, let us survey the immutability and simplicity of the Gods, what the nature of each of them is, and how both these appear to be adapted to the hyparxis of the Gods, according to the narration of Plato. The Gods therefore are exempt from the whole of things. But filling these, as we have said, with good, they are themselves perfectly good; each of them according to his proper order possesses that which is most excellent; and the whole genus of the Gods is at once allotted predominance according to an exuberance of good.

But here again, we must oppose those who interpret in a divisible manner that which is most excellent in the Gods, and who say, that if the first cause is most excellent, that which is posterior to the first is not so. For it is necessary, say they, that what is produced should be inferior to that by which it is produced. And this indeed is rightly asserted by them. For it is necessary in the Gods, to preserve the order of causes unconfused, and to define separately their second and third progressions. But together with a progression of this kind, and with the unfolding into light of things secondary from those that are first, that which is most excellent must also be surveyed in each of the Gods.

For each of the Gods in his own characteristic peculiarity is allotted a transcendency which is primary and perfectly good. One of them indeed, that we may speak of something known, is allotted this transcendency, and is most excellent as possessing a prophetic power, another as demiurgic but another as a perfecter of works. And Timaeus indicating this to us, continually calls the first demiurgus the best of causes. For the world, says he, is the most beautiful of generated natures, and its artificer is the best of causes; though the intelligible paradigm, and which is the most beautiful of intelligibles, is prior to the demiurgus. But this is most beautiful and at the same time most excellent, as the demiurgic paradigm; and the maker and at the same time father of the universe is most excellent as a demiurgic God.

In the Republic also, Socrates speaking of the Gods, very properly observes that each of them being as much as possible most beautiful and most excellent, remains always with a simplicity of subsistence in his own form. For each of them being allotted that which is first and the summit in his own series, does not depart from his own order, but contains the blessedness and felicity of his own proper power.

And neither does he exchange his present for a worse order; for it is not lawful for that which possesses all virtue to be changed into a worse condition; nor does he pass into a better order. For where can there be any thing better than that which is most excellent?

But this is present with each of the divinities according to his own order, as we have said, and also with every genus of the Gods. It is necessary therefore that every divine nature should be established immutably, abiding in its own accustomed manner.

Hence from these things the self-sufficiency, undefiled purity, and invariable sameness of subsistence of the Gods is apparent. For if they are not changed to a more excellent condition of being, as possessing that which is best in their own nature, they are sufficient to themselves, and are not in want of any good.

And if they are not at any time changed to a worse condition, they remain undefiled, established in their own transcendencies. If also they guard the perfection of themselves immutably, they subsist always with invariable sameness. What the self-sufficiency therefore of the Gods is, what their immutability, and what their sameness of subsistence, we shall in the next place consider.

The world then is said to be self-sufficient, because its subsistence is perfect from things perfect, and a whole from wholes; and because it is filled with all appropriate goods from its generating father.

But a perfection and self-sufficiency of this kind is partible, and is said to consist of many things coalescing in one, and is filled from separate causes according to participation.

The order of divine souls also, is said to be self-sufficient, as being full of appropriate virtues, and always preserving the measure of its own blessedness without indulgence.

But here likewise the self-sufficiency is in want of powers.

For these souls have not their intellections directed to the same intelligibles; but they energize according to time, and obtain the complete perfection of their contemplation in whole periods of time.

The self-sufficiency therefore of divine souls, and the whole perfection of their life is not at once present. Again, the intellectual world is said to be self-sufficient, as having its whole good established in eternity, comprehending at once its whole blessedness, and being indigent of nothing, because all life and all intelligence are present with it, and nothing is deficient, nor does it desire anything as absent.

But this, indeed, is sufficient to itself in its own order, yet it falls short of the self-sufficiency of the Gods. For every intellect is boniform, yet is not goodness itself, nor primarily good; but each of the Gods is a unity, hyparxis and goodness. The peculiarity however of hyparxis changes the progression of the goodness of each. For one divinity is a perfective goodness, another is a goodness connective of the whole of things, and another is a collective goodness. But each is simply a goodness sufficient to itself. Or it may be said, that each is a goodness possessing the self-sufficient and the all-perfect, neither according to participation, illumination, but by being that very thing which it is.

For intellect is sufficient to itself by participation, and soul by illumination, but this universe, according to a similitude to a divine nature. The Gods themselves, however, are selfsufficient through and by themselves, filling themselves, or rather subsisting as the plenitudes of all good.

But with respect to the immutability of the Gods, of what kind shall are say it is? Is it such as that of a [naturally] circulating body?

For neither is this adapted to receive anything from inferior natures, nor is it filled with the mutation arising from generation, and the disorder which occurs in the sublunary regions. For the nature of the celestial bodies is immaterial and immutable. But this indeed is great and venerable, as in corporeal hypostases, yet it is inferior to the nature of the Gods. For every body possesses both its being, and its perpetual immutability from other precedaneous causes.

But neither is the impassive and the immutable in the Gods such as the immutability of souls. For these communicate in a certain respect with bodies, and are the media of an impartible essence, and of an essence divided about bodies.

Nor again is the immutability of intellectual essences equivalent to that of the Gods. For intellect is immutable, impassive, and unmingled with secondary natures, on account of its union with the Gods. And so far indeed as it is uniform, it is a thing of this kind; but so far as it is manifold, it has something which is more excellent, and something which is subordinate, in itself. But the Gods alone having established their unions according to this transcendency of beings, are immutable dominations, are primary and impassive. For there is nothing in them which is not one and hyparxis.

But as fire abolishes everything which is foreign to it and of a contrary power, as light expels all darkness, and as lightning proceeds through all things without defilement, thus also the unities of the Gods unite all multitudes and abolish everything which tends to dispersion and all-perfect division.

But they deify everything which participates of them, receiving nothing from their participants, and do not diminish their own proper union by the participation.

Hence also the Gods being present everywhere, are similarly exempt from all things, and containing all things are vanquished by no one of the things they contain; but they are unmingled with all things and undefiled. In the third place, this world indeed is said to subsist with invariable sameness, so far as it is allotted an order in itself which is always proved indissoluble.

At the same time however, since it possesses a corporeal form, it is not destitute of mutation, as the Elean guest observes. The psychical order likewise is said to obtain an essence always established in sameness; and this is rightly said.

For it is entirely impassive according to essence; but it has energies extended into time, and as Socrates says in the Phaedrus, at different times it understands different intelligibles, and in its progressions about intellect comes into contact with different forms. Besides these also, much-honored intellect is said both to subsist and to understand with invariable and perpetual sameness, establishing at once in eternity its essence, powers, and energies.

Through the multitude however of its intellections, and through the variety of intelligible species and genera, there is not only an invariable sameness, but also a difference of subsistence in intellect.

For difference there is consubsistent with sameness. And there is not only a wandering of corporeal motions, and of the psychical periods, but likewise of intellect itself, so far as it produces the intelligence of itself into multitude; and evolves the intelligible.

For soul indeed evolves intellect, but intellect the intelligible, as Plotinus somewhere rightly observes, when speaking of the intelligible subjections. For such are the wanderings of intellect and which it is lawful for it to make. If therefore we should say that a perpetual sameness of subsistence is primarily in the Gods alone, and is especially inherent in them, we shall not deviate from the truth, and we shall accord with Plato, who says in the Politicus, that an eternally invariable sameness of subsistence alone pertains to the most divine of all things. The Gods, therefore, bind to themselves the causes of a sameness of this kind, and guard with immutable sameness their proper hyparxis established according to the unknown union of themselves. And such is the immutability of the Gods, which is contained in self-sufficiency, impassivity and sameness.

PROCLUS. On the Theology of Plato (complete electronic text). (Martin Euser, Ed.), [s.d.]. Disponível em: <>