cause

(Latin: causa)

A primary notion derived from observation of occurring changes. In general, defined as: a principle which by its positive influence determines the existence of something else. Four causes are enumerated as mutually contributing to the final result:
  1. material cause, or the thing that is changed;
  2. formal cause, or the new manner of being induced;
  3. efficient cause, or the active agent effecting the change;
  4. final cause, or the reason why the agent acts.
An intelligent agent's mental pattern of an intended effect is the exemplary cause or idea. All things created are actualities of exemplary ideas formulated in the Divine intellect from eternity. Efficient causality is of chief concern. Every effect of an efficient cause is either a new entity or a new state, i.e., a creation or a change. Creation is attributable to God alone as the Primary Cause, all other causes but modify things that already exist.

New Catholic Dictionary

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