Creation and the Second Person -- A Foundational Summary

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, chapter 28, can be found here.]

[This entry starts chapter 29, "Resolving The Grand Paradox".]

During the previous few chapters, I think I have established many useful and true notions. One result of this process, however, has been to deepen the paradox I had already detected (as a potentially cataclysmic contradiction to my argument) back toward the end of Section Two.

Now it is time to resolve that paradox--if possible.

Let me begin, conceptually speaking, at the beginning.

One and only one Independent Fact exists; no other IF could exist along with or instead of It. Being self-generative and rationally active, the basic self-sustaining action of the IF is to beget Itself. This most primary of Its actions--and as a rationally active entity, the most fundamentally chief cause of any effects, we should describe the IF with a personal and philosophical 'He'--allows the IF (God) to take any other type of action. Only one of God's actions results in the generational upkeep of Himself: there is only one Son begotten of the Father (borrowing analogical language for describing something uniquely real that has no truly equivalent parallel), and so He is God Himself as a multi-personal Unity. Any other action taken by God than self-generation must be a declension of some type; for the logical math easily indicates that to 'do' something other than 'to generate the infinite self' is to 'generate something other than the infinite self'. (As noted previously I could in fact infer the existence of a Third Person of God here, but I am waiting until the next Section to cover that topic. The existence of this 3rd Person of full substantial deity does not contravene the principles I have discovered and related in this Section, nor previously so.) Nothing exists, or can exist, 'outside' God (the Independent Fact) into which God can 'create'. If He chooses to create, therefore, He must do so using Himself as material (so to speak).

He cannot do this throughout the totality of His infinite being, for this would leave no fully active God; and only that type of God can ground Himself. He must therefore do something to a part of Himself. More precisely (for the IF is not constituted of ‘parts’ per se), He chooses not to do something within Himself; in effect, and to a degree, He subjects Himself to a death, not entirely unlike the way the Son chooses self-abdication in order to maintain the Unity of the self-generative God--and indeed it would be this Person of God, the Son, Who abdicates for sake of creation (even though both Persons, as the single God, are acting to create. The Son does not create apart from the intention, authority and empowerment of the Father). God acts in such a way that He ceases (to one limited degree or other) to act--thus creating (not begetting) something distinctly not-He.

I can be sure He has done this, because I do not perceive I am God; a perception that either must be true, or a mistake, or a willfully intransigent self-delusion. God, however, would not be willfully intransigent with respect to Himself--that would be the end of Himself and all reality. And He would not intentionally delude Himself, for much the same reason. The Son, in other words, would not rebel against the Father; and the Father would never at bottom (or as 'the bottom' or 'ground' or ‘foundation’ of all reality, including the Deity’s own reality) disown the Son.

Thus, one way or another, if reality must be presumed (literally 'for purposes of argument') to be consistent, and if God is the ultimate reality, then I cannot be God. I would either know that I am God, or at worst God would never let me consider the question and reach a wrong answer.

Taken altogether, I find I myself am my own strongest evidence that God exists and has created, not only begotten.

The first thing God creates (not self-begetting) must be something which, as 'itself', is reactive and not active--for action (specifically self-generation) is the most primary and basic attribute of God upon which He Himself and all else is 'based'; and His first creation must be fundamentally distinctive in characteristic from Himself, else He would not be creating. A reactive Nature of some sort is therefore a necessary component of a reality that includes not-God (i.e. created) entities. If God creates, at least one 'Nature' must exist, and it must be (considered as itself) reactive.

Thus God limits Himself within His infinite particularity. [See first comment below for an extended footnote here.]

Yet (as I have already explained) He retains by default the ability to reestablish direct control to any degree at any and all points of this Nature. Even so, the Nature considered as itself is not-God. It will have its own particular not-God behaviors; ones which fit the intentions of God Himself, and which He can still supersede and add to at any 'time and place', but which taken as themselves are still "Nature's" behaviors, not God-behaviors.

God, in other words, is committed (in at least some degree), to "let Nature be Nature"; otherwise nothing is or can be actually accomplished by His 'creating' it. To that extent, God must allow Nature some leeway to "do its own thing". This does not mean that anything Nature 'does' will take God by surprise; for He has access to all points of this subsystem (points we would describe and perceive as 'space and time'). But neither must it mean that God determines every little movement of every particle of matter and energy at all times and places within the Nature. He could do this, but that would moot 'creation' per se. He could and can precisely determine the character of very many events that happen within Nature--He can work miracles; but in a way He lets His self-imposed rule of how 'a Nature should distinctively behave' be its own controlling factor within, and for, that Nature.

Computers once more provide a useful analogy, though not a specially close one: what happens within a game reflects (or at least should reflect) the intentions of the designer, both specifically and generally; yet the designer has no wish to be constantly doing every little single thing himself within the game--not first and foremost due to a lack of energy, time and attention (problems which are real for human programmers but which would not be limiting factors for God), but because otherwise there would be no point to making a game. (By 'game', I don't mean the events are necessarily petty. I doubt anything is truly 'petty' to God, anyway. Call it a living and growing story. (...and don't those make the best 'games'?))

To that extent, then, I think a process that may be called 'luck', must be a real contributor to what happens within Nature. I know this seems a bit heretical, but unless we supernaturalistic theists wish to deny the creation altogether and propose that Everything is fully God (that is, unless we wish to propose pantheism after all), then I think we need to take seriously the idea of 'creation' as 'creation'. (And I don't think pantheism holds water anyway, as I have already indicated; although I think I can grant that such a state is potentially true, in a way. God could act pantheistically, and/or could reestablish such a condition; but either way would be to moot creation.)

When I say 'luck' is a contributor to Nature's history, however, I am not yet talking about any active sub-contribution. What I mean instead, is that in terms of Nature-as-Nature, God has chosen to 'percolate'.

That doesn't sound very dignified; but then again God has, in some ways, evidently abandoned what we might call 'His dignity', by creating at all! (Certainly this divine abdication of dignity for creation has long been a common position among Christian theologians and devotionalists!)

I know from my own experience that I, as a presumably rational entity, can intentionally disassociate my consciousness from my behaviors, while at the same time modifying and 'shaping' the flow of those behaviors. Although I was never a drummer in school (bass clarinetist and tenor saxist, actually), I do have some percussive talent; and to amuse myself I occasionally will 'turn myself loose' while driving or walking or thinking on other subjects, and so produce a complex percussive rhythm. Any rhythms or series of rhythms I thus produce are certainly not randomly chaotic noise (at least I don't intend them to be) but fit such-n-such patterns. I am listening and approving, but I am also modifying 'on the fly', and I am also the originator of the intent to do this in the first place. (I would, in this fashion, be analogically manifesting the aspects of the Trinity, according to the British dramatist and theologian Dorothy Sayers in her book The Mind of the Maker.)

But I think it would be incorrect to say I am pedantically acting directly from scratch at every moment within that rhythm. A jazz artist--including during a vocal 'scat'--works much the same way, and produces what many people consider to be very fine art. It is true, in one way, to say the jazz scat-er is consciously producing her music; it is also true, in another way, to say she is merely guiding something she has willfully unleashed from within herself, which now has its own 'character'.

If I, a mere man with limited resources, can accomplish this type of creation, then I do not find it very difficult to grasp the notion of God doing the same to-and-for Nature as a whole. It would be a working-out of the same general principle, on an unimaginably vast scale. Aside from the plausibility I see in it, I run into outright contradiction if I try to go down other paths; so up to this point I am satisfied with the outworking of the principles.

[Next up: relational creation]


Jason Pratt said…
[Extended footnote from main text above]

An infinite particularity, by the way, does not mean that mutually exclusive facts will be true about it or within it. I only mean that God, as an actual entity, is one positively real thing--the Most Real Thing--with a particular character that can be at least partly defined.

I know theologians, including Christian ones, have often claimed that God is undefinable--but even that claim is itself a defining characteristic. Plus, the same theologians who say this, usually have no reluctance about going on to say God exists, is just, is loving, is the Creator etc.: they provide a list of particular characteristics, and often quite a long list, which they expect to be accepted. When (to avoid such lists of particularity) they resort to negative theology (or to an unrestricted positive theology), they end up saying nothing at all about God. I consider this to be a well-meant but deadly addiction to the pleasure of contradiction.

Theology should go somewhere--to God, for God, about God. Even an atheology goes somewhere, away from God; and so, to that extent, may respect God more than a so-called theology that goes nowhere in regard to God!

Put another way: some theologies prefer the equivalent of an autoerotic fantasy--even if the fantasy has 'God' for the subject. I say rather it is better to be the spouse of a true Husband.

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