This somewhat silly but intriguing question comes from an essay in the most recent Journal of the History of Philosophy by Rondo Keele. Take any painting by Picasso — let’s say Guernica. Could God have created that painting, without using Picasso himself as an intermediate cause?
Some would say yes, since Guernica is just a creature, and an omnipotent being can create any creature, it seems.
But some would say no, since part of Guernica‘s identity is tied to the fact that Picasso painted it. Look at it this way: suppose a stroke-for-stroke duplicate of Guernica is created ex nihilo. Is it Guernica? No, at most it can only be a wonderful forgery of Guernica, because it didn’t come from Picasso.
So really the question is: can God make Guernica, or at most only a forgery of Guernica?
(This debate, by the way, originates from a dispute between the medieval philosophers William Ockham and Walter Chatton.)