Greetings in the season that so emphatically illustrates the vertical dimension of our universe: the Up and the Down directions of all corporeal things. Even the Angels obey these laws of our physical world - whenever they come and go on missions to us from God. And even the Reveternity which is the Angels' version of Time, is known, at least by us, in terms of Up and Down, as in Jacob's Ladder, wherein the Angels ascend and descend in a temporal dimension that appears to us, and is really, a horizontal or linear dimension, known in Thomistic theology as the Order of Generation of processes, that obey the laws of their specific Forms. So these two dimensions, the vertical - up and down, and the linear-temporal - horizontal co-exist, and, indeed, one cannot exist without the other. Together they define the Formal Cause and Principle of the Universe as a whole, and as a Substantial Being - the first of all things - corporeal - created by God on Day One of the First Week of the World.
Now it seems not only fair and true, but even necessary, to say that this First of all Substantial Forms is also the First of all Secondary Causes. God is, and always acts as, Universal Governor and Maintainer-Sustainer - Efficient First-Primary Cause after having first created and made all things ex nihilo and in toto - just as He has told us infallibly and in no uncertain words, just how and where and when He did this. Genesis One through three is of primary importance for our Catholic Science - supporting our Catholic theology - in all of its ascending and descending branches of the great Hierarchy of Reality.
In these earliest chapters of Genesis - God Himself defines and describes for us the entire Order of Creation. And by chapters two and three - we see the Order of Generation - though in prophecy (Gen.3:15) - until the birth of Cain and then Abel, (Gen. 4: 1-11.) It is very important to understand - because of the prevalence of the heresy of evolutionism - that after Day Six of the First Week of the World - God has created no new Substantial Forms, except those human souls. Now, while the Human Rational (intellect & will) - is the one substantial form of the human being - and must be created directly and immediately by God for each human being, the physical being of humans are still liable to a great deal of physical variation. But these accidental variations of the physical categories, are strictly limited in their possibilities BY THE FORM - which dictates and controls, UNDER GOD'S PRIMARY - EFFICIENT CAUSALITY - exercised in the Beginning. When God created the first SUBSTANTIAL FORMS OF ALL CORPOREAL (hylemorphic, matter-form) beings, - He obviously gave to these beings the power of agency - that is - of re-producing their own kinds.
This is secondary causality, because God, as the sole source of EXISTENCE - remains always and everywhere - the FIRST PRIMARY EFFICIENT CAUSE of all things - acting now - in the Order of Generation - not as some erroneously suppose as secondary cause - but as First Cause (in the Six Days!) - having conferred upon His living creatures, the power of agency to transmit by reproduction ("increase and multiply") - the same Substantial Form - which God alone could first of all create - ex nihilo and in toto in the beginning - you see the absolute importance and necessity for the literal Six Days!
Empirical science even proves, insofar as induction can, that there are no new Substantial Forms in the history of the world that science studies. Empirical science has discovered many wonderful properties, as those of the elements - especially of the electro-magnetic spectrum and the atoms. It is from these elements that science has provided all the wonders of modern technology. And so, what are the elements? That is the big question.
Aristotelian-Thomistic Metaphysics tells us that the elements, (we are speaking of hydrogen, oxgen, carbon, nitrogen, etc etc...) are structures constantly in motion, and constantly changing their formal arrangements, in order to combine with other elements to form other elements, such as larger molecules of sugar, salt etc. This versatility of the atomic elements indicates that they are accidental properties of some larger Substantial Form, in which they inhere, and from which they receive their directions for operations - but also the limitations beyond which they may not go. The elements are most remarkable for the fact that they obey the dictates of whatever substantial form into which they enter: plant, animal, mankind.
You see the importance - the primacy of form over function! As I never tire of pointing out: only green plants perform the process of photosynthesis - and yet - the very same elements of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, etc...are present and operative in the Substantial Forms of animals and man. The elements simply obey the dictates of that Substantial form they have entered into. Discovering the synthesizing processes unique to each substantial form is a very fertile field of research awaiting study and experimentation.