Ex nihilo nihil fit. From nothing comes nothing—i.e. every effect must have a cause. It was the dictum of Xenophanes, founder of the Eleatic school (sixth century), to prove the eternity of matter. We now apply the phrase as equivalent to “You cannot get blood from a stone.” You cannot expect clever work from one who has no brains.
When all is said, “deity” is an exception.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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