Having an eternal life does not guarantee that one will have a happy eternal life. Such an existence, in timelessness, is prospectively so unfamiliar that it is frightening because it is a matter of being thrust into a void, a spaceless nothing with no communication. One needs a Guide in such a sphere, and there is only One of these available, One who is the destination.
“Where could this Guide come from?” we ask. “How could He ever come to be?” These two questions are almost synonymous with two others: “Does God exist, and, if He does, how can that be?” My answer is that He indeed exists, and He is the God of the Christian Bible. Let us explore His credentials in this regard, and, if there is anyone else who could hold out such hope for us, let us see who that might be.
The Arche’: “Ruling principle,” that from which everything that is emanates. Various entities have been held up throughout history as the identity of the Arche’. I say It is The Truth.
The Truth is all-Goodness, everything that is good for the cognitive. It consists of no evil and all absolutes, e.g.. mathematics and various ethical principles e.g. “Love is a good thing,” and “Murder is a bad thing.” It contains all knowledge of excellence and probably a lot more besides. The Truth is unique: it is an abstraction without origin, as it needs no creation in order to exist.
Yet, How can we say that an abstraction is capable of doing anything, particularly since abstractions are timeless. Doing something is an event, and events are time-bound occurrences. That is a difficult question; I can only say that Stephen Hawking, in his bestseller, A Brief History of Time, did not shy from at least speculating with regard to an abstraction as the Arche’. Here his words as he wrote them almost at the end of this book. “Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing? Is the unified theory so compelling that it brings about its own existence? Or does it need a creator, and, if so, does he have any other effect on the universe? And who created him.” The unified theory is an abstraction; thus, if one wishes to dispute my idea of an abstraction that can do something, he will have to go up against Hawking.
There is no alternative to Goodness as the origin of everything. We see in our present lives that it is the most compelling entity with regard to causing desirable things to happen, and that has always been the case. The universe and we are here, and there must be a reason why. There is no entity other than The Truth that is as compelling and which contains within itself all the ingredients of a perfect creation.
If we agree that there is any such thing as The Truth, what can we say about its potential? Consider a boulder on the side of a hill that is more or less round. The longer it lies on the hillside, the more likely it is to roll down (unless it sinks into the ground, but let us allow that it does not). In timelessness, there is no difference between potential and kinesis; therefore, such a boulder outside of time will roll down – there is no doubt about it. It rolls down or it is rolling down; it did not roll down, and it will not roll down, because, outside of time, there is no past or future – only a forever present.
Now, what is it that The Truth can do? Every possible thing here takes mind in order that it may be imagined and then come into actuality by way of the force of personality. But we have no life yet in the course of our discussion. It personifies because personification requires no guidance or direction. Besides, if The Truth did not personify into a living Person, it would be inferior to all living things e.g. humans, and The Truth is superior to everything else. As it is perfection, it personifies into Perfection. The Truth gives rise to God. But let us again be careful because “gives rise” sounds like an event. It is more accurate to say that The Truth equilibrates with God; it is equivalent to God and is that forever. Put another way, The Truth gives rise to God constantly and forever, and God does the same with regard to The Truth.
Remember that Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life and that the truth is what philosophers have always sought. Karl Marx call religion the opiate of the people,” but he went against the grain of history in doing so. We humans have not believed in deity since the disappearance of pre-history in the mist of time because of fear of death; we have done so because such existence seems most likely in terms of what we observe and experience in our world. Until quite recent times, the great majority of people in the world did not even imagine that atheism could be a rational way of looking at things. (It seems to me that consensus is highly important – that humanity would have to be a race of stupidity in order to have believed to such a degree as we have and for such a long period as we have while living in a state of the absence of any divinity.) Atheism was not wide-spread until the 19th century.
Those who dispute the existence of divinity these days do so on three foundations, all of which are weak: First, they take advantage of the average person’s mediocre knowledge of science and claim that there is no pure knowledge other than the findings of science. Next, they tend to assume that modern individuals are basically more intelligent than people who lived five to ten thousand years ago in spite of the fact that, by their own admission, evolution is a very slow-going process. Third, they tend to claim that science has disproved the existence of God, when there is no direct or positive evidence at all that this is true. In conjunction with this, they claim that the corporate knowledge of humankind has grown to the point that we, as a race, are too sophisticated to believe “fairy tales.” Fourth, they falsely assume that theology is based entirely on claims of authority, tradition, fear mongering, rationalization, lack of intelligence, and lack of objective research.1 Fifth, they ignore consensus, that has changed little concerning the truth of the existence of one or more gods since ancient times and before. Sixth, they fail to realize, or perhaps realize but are unwilling to admit that science is as much about faith as is religion. They speak of scientific knowledge and religious belief, a false concept through and through. Seventh, many of the more scientific minded of them try to tell us that the combination of the strong and final anthropic principles constitutes a reasonable concept of creation. These are utterly fantastic theories backed by no evidence. Eighth, they turn their heads to the side and ignore the fact that quantum mechanics has nearly proved the existence of God such that the discoveries of Albert Einstein and Max Planck and his successors have more than reversed the anti-religion effects of Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud.
In casual conversation, I have most often heard the expression, “Well, I just think it happened to happen” as a non-explanation of the beginning of the universe. I call this the “chancist” position. With there being no evidence against the existence of God, one cannot avoid the suggestion that those who believe such a thing lack broadmindedness and probably wish to avoid confronting the subject together. The person who believes this non-solution tends to believe that the religious have no objectivity; yet, by holding to such an idea, the atheistic reveal their own subjectivity.
Famous Proofs of the Existence of God
The best known attempt at proving God’s existence is that of Anselm (1033 -1109), but Rene’ Descartes fabricated a proof that was of the same kind, though I like it better. He demanded rationality of the highest order, and he satisfied himself that God is real and that He lives as a Person by reasoning as follows. He said he could imagine a perfect being, and that he could imagine a unicorn. He knew a unicorn possessed one horn, by definition, but he did not know whether a unicorn existed. However, he could see that there was no necessity in the unicorn’s existence in terms of the satisfaction of logic. It could be and remain a figment of one’s imagination without comprising an affront to reason. On the other hand, the Perfect Being exists by definition; without existence, it is not perfect and is not even a being.
The atheist responds, “Come on and admit it; you don’t really believe this mumbo-jumbo – you are just afraid of death.” In other words, the non-believer dismisses God a priori, for no reason. His method amounts to intimidation that takes advantage of the average person’s mediocre knowledge of science. As such, it fits perfectly into the Sophist’s way of thinking.
Next, the atheist tends to assume that modern individuals are basically more intelligent than people who lived five to ten thousand years ago in spite of the fact that, by their own admission, evolution is a very slow-going process. Third, he tends to claim that science has disproved the existence of God, when there is no direct or positive evidence at all that this is true. In conjunction with this approach, he claims that the corporate knowledge of humankind has grown to the point that we, as a race, are too sophisticated to believe “fairy tales.” This amounts to diversion from the actual subject. It is speculation for which there is no evidence at all. Fourth, the skeptic falsely assumes that theology is based entirely on claims of authority, tradition, fear-mongering, rationalization, lack of intelligence, and lack of objective research. Atheists and agnostics have an advantage in this argument, which is that, ever since the scientific revolution, began by Copernicus and headed by Newton, inhabitants of the western world have tended to assume that scientific findings take precedence over all other kinds of observation, experimentation, and reasoning. There was never any reason to believe this, but science came on like Elvis Presley – the most common expression is “like gangbusters – and one is not quick to forget about Elvis. Fifth, the militant scientist conveniently ignores consensus and/or assumes that it has radically changed in response to the amazing discoveries of the 16th and 17th centuries. But it has not. The consensus of intellectual and highly –ranked individuals is still in favor of theism. Sixth, it is very easy to show that science is as much about faith as is religion, and I have already done so in Things Are Not as They Seem. The concept of scientific knowledge and religious belief is false through and through. Neither those who are primarily scientists nor those who are primarily religionist know anything except for mathematics and the rest of absolute truth, which consist largely of ethical principles. Believers admit this, but non-believers cannot if they are to hold their paradigm together. Interestingly, this places militant scientists in an almost reductio ad absurdum situation. The concept of relative truth is indispensible to their worldview, but, their beliefs about scientific matters force them into an absolute truth kind of status. Seventh, many non-believers try to explain the Origin of everything that is by way of combination of the strong and final anthropic principles constitutes, but these are utterly fantastic theories backed by no evidence, and the likes of Stephen Hawking sees little validity in them. Eighth, atheists and agnostics turn their heads to the side and ignore the fact that quantum mechanics has nearly proved the existence of God, since the discoveries of Albert Einstein and Max Planck and his successors more than reversed the anti-religion effects of Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud.
In casual conversation, I have most often heard the expression, “Well, I just think it happened to happen” as a non-explanation of the beginning of the universe. I call this the “chancist” position. With there being no evidence against the existence of God, one cannot avoid the suggestion that those who believe such a thing lack broadmindedness and probably wish to avoid confronting the subject together. The person who believes this non-solution tends to believe that the religious have no objectivity; yet, by holding to such an idea, the atheistic reveal their own subjectivity.
My Own Reasoning on this Subject
The connection between creativity and goodness is ever before us in our world.
It has looked all along as though such a Person might indeed exist because “Here we are!” and it would appear that the simplest way for us to have come into existence is for such a God to have made us, except of course for that one thing: Who made Him?
God and The Truth
He emanated from The Truth outside of time. Now, at this point, the more imaginative of us will say, “In a scenario where nothing changes because time is necessary if there is to be change, nothing requires creation in order to be. To which I reply, “I’ll take it.” If you will believe that, so will I. Nevertheless, it leaves us with an incomplete feeling. Perhaps if we put it another way, “God derives from The Truth from always to always, such that we can never say, “God came from The Truth,” – we say, “God comes from The Truth in the present tense, and, in fact, The Truth comes from God in the same manner; they are in sort of an equilibrium.
Yet another way to look at this relationship is to realize and recognize that, outside of time, potential = kinesis, such that God is The Truth, and The Truth is God, eternally, without beginning or end. We cannot say Who or What came first. Nothing can precede or come after anything else in the timeless domain. It is irrelevant to say anything further in this instance except that for an omniscient God to give rise to The Truth seems quite logical.
Both God and The Truth are Arche,’ the Prime Movers. This cannot be sacrilege for Christians since Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
The majority of intellectuals and others throughout human history have believed that the truth is absolute, i.e., for example, “Murder is a bad thing,” no matter who you are, where you live, what your culture is and when in history you inhabit planet earth. A minority of people, the relative ethicists, believes that what is right or wrong does not vary according to factors e.g. culture, time in history and the place where one lives. Natural Law directs us with regard to such matters, and all laws require the existence of a lawgiver, in this case, God. If ours were a universe of chance, arising in a dead and purposeless manner, we would not expect there to be any such thing as absolute truth. In that situation, we would not expect any concept of sin, guilt, regret, or any other similar feelings to exist. Yet, guilt, for example, is very real. Many people who are depressed because of guilt kill themselves every day of the year. This would not happen if there were no absolute standard in existence.
Advocates of the principle of relative truth do not so much claim that everything is a matter of opinion as they contend that there is no ultimate standard, such that there is no right answer at all for any argument or debate. I myself have no argument with the statement humans are unable to find many answers to many questions, such that, from our perspective, there are no answers to these questions. I only say that there nevertheless is a correct answer to all of these, regardless of our ability or inability to access it. Everything is either good or bad, and God invariably knows which is which. Therefore, when two people contend with each other on any subject or issue, each indeed has his opinion, but that does not mean that both are correct. The fact is that one is right and the other is wrong. There are also various degrees of goodness and evil, as in “good, better and best,” and of evil, as in bad, worse, and worst.
A corollary here is that The Truth can personify into only a single Being because It is unique, i.e. there is only a single entity with perfection, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Thus, if supposedly separate persons both claim to be perfection and are that, they are not separate persons: they are the same person.
We should also keep in mind that “created” must always be inferior to “Creator,” and omniscience gives rise to omnipotence. God is both of these and transcendent as well because He is outside of time.
There is exceedingly long precedent for believing that lack of absolute truth leads to nihilism, non-existence. Belief in absolutes and meaning, purpose, and reason connect irrevocably with one another, and disbelief connects with uncertainty. Without absolute Truth, we humans are imaginary, whatever that would mean. With it, we live and can know we do because we can trace our ability to live right back to the beginning, which is the abstraction I am calling “The Truth.”
Basic Buddhism, as excellent as it is concerning the definition and recommendation of desirable behavior, is relativistic with regard to Truth. Certainly, the Dalai Lama is: he stated that clearly in an article in Time Magazine several years ago.2 Therefore, the DL is nihilistic, and it is common knowledge that he is just that and that he believes he does not actually exist.3
I must therefore ask, “Life is the most desirable and fundamental entity; yet, we have two major religions in our world that disdain it because there is so much suffering in the geographical areas that gave rise to these religions. Why would anyone who is aware that it is possible to live without so much suffering ascribe to either of these faiths?
In both Buddhism and Sophism, votaries go from death to death; I do not wish to be insulting, but to go from non-life to consumption by nirvana, is essentially death to death, from quasi-identity to no identity at all. In Christianity, one goes from life to better life, from some identity to complete and glorious identity. Again, in Sophism and Buddhism, one goes from nothing to nothing, whereas, in Christianity, one passes from something to something better.
If one believes, with Descartes, “I think, therefore I am,” then a very basic part of Buddhism is based on error, and, if such a fundamental part that this faith lies in ruins, can the faith itself retain its significance? I say that it cannot and that it cannot avoid its connection with Sophism, the ultimate humanism of the time of Socrates.
Gorgias, the ultimate example of Sophism in Plato’s day, quite readily stated that he doubted his own existence. Death to him was therefore irrelevant. In some sense and to some degree, this is true with regard to Christianity as well, but there are major differences. Though it takes adherents to The Truth to a glorious state, the shadowy and frightening passage to that destination and state – - death — is not to be taken lightly. Death is in no way good; it is thoroughly bad. It is not a “part of life.” Jesus considered it a tragedy and wept in its presence.4 There could be something positive to be said for it (since it represents passage from this world to a better world – provided one has the Guide) were it not the wages5 of sin, which is deviation from The Truth.
Another way in which we may reason is as follows. When one denies the existence of natural laws, axiomatic and irrefutable Natural Law of the ethical kind, then one has nothing to discuss with anyone else. What kind of debate, what kind of argument, what kind of agreement, what kind of worthwhile, gratifying, and enjoyable discussion can we have if there is no such thing as a conclusion that is worth coming to? Why bother to have a discussion to begin with under such a paradigm?
Yet we know that communication among humans is crucial. Lack of communication leads to chaos (which is, of course, the hallmark of Satan). Do humans hold learning up as good? Even where advocates of relative truth are concerned, the answer is yes. Yet, no one of the words we have used to describe Satan or evil is can be logically connected with the pursuit of learning. What is the use of an imaginary person’s exchanging beliefs or so-call knowledge with anyone? Nothing could be more vain. Communication and learning may indeed be even more important components of The Truth than love because, without love, it would probably not be worthwhile to exist, but, without learning and communication, we essentially do not exist. Objective research has revealed that solitude for extended periods of time leads to profound changes in human mentality for the worse.
The Sophists had as their life’s work persuasion that thus and such is true, knowing all the time that there is no truth and that nothing is true (or false). This makes them liars from the beginning, and can it be a coincidence that lies are at the end of the spectrum from truth? Can it be a coincidence that Satan is the father of lies? In any God-Satan discourse, The Truth speaks and the liar answers. (Satan’s basic lie is a matter of pride, which is bound into his belief that he is or can become equal to God.)
I must amplify the statement I made that God is the Arche’, since you can essentially hear that in church without bothering to read a book on Christian apologetics. We all know what the next question is: “Who created Him?” I think that a very reasonable answer to that question can be formulated, though it will of course never be proved. God is the Personification of The Truth. God is The Truth, and The Truth is God. God exists because The Truth IS, and the HE IS the Personification of The Truth, for His existence the First Cause cannot have a cause — Prime Mover cannot require creation in order to exist. The Truth is axiomatic. The Truth is inevitable. The Truth must exist. No other entity has these characteristics. God as The Truth and The Truth as God is the only candidate for this something. We do not have to accept this, if we are ready to give up science and therefore causation, but I am not prepared to do that. I believe that modern physics and even string theory are basically correct, and we have seen that Relativity and quantum physics correlate beautifully with the Bible and its God.
This Truth is everything that is axiomatic, as I have essentially said, and it appears that everything that is axiomatic is also be everything that is good for cognitive individuals. The components of The Truth are mathematics; obvious ethical statements, e.g. “Love is a good thing”; and the ultimately greatest entities, states, and qualities, such as life, communication, learning, love, and humility; there may also be other aspects or parts of It. The Truth cannot be prevented, and It cannot be terminated.
The ultimate state of things is timeless. If this is so, God did not emanate from The Truth in time; therefore, though we can say God proceeded from The Truth, we can just as truthfully say that The Truth emanated from Him. God has always been; He exists from always. We can represent The Truth and God as being in a kind of equilibrium, like a chemical equation that denotes a reaction that can go in either direction.
Here is a fun story to define a term I will be using from time to time: There once was a little old lady who was heckling a young cosmologist who was trying to explain in scientific terms, as best he could, the origin of our universe. From the back of the room, she enunciated in a loud voice, “Young man, everyone knows the earth is all there is to the world we live in and that it is supported on the back of a huge tortoise.” Thinking he had her where he wanted her, he responded, “Please tell me, Ma’am, what is supporting that tortoise?” “You are very clever, young man, but it’s turtles, all the way down!”
Natural Law; The Contents of Conscience
Natural Law or “The Law of Human Nature,” which was C.S. Lewis’ favorite term6 for it, may well join mathematics as the two main constituents of The Truth. Natural Law is probably synonymous with The Absolute Standard of Ethics; neither, in any case, is of human origin. C.S. Lewis presents, in the first chapter of Mere Christianity, evidence that there is a God from Whom conscience flows into our minds, bringing us this or that component of Natural Law when and as we need it in making the choices that every day brings. Even the person who claims to be an relative ethicist will cite it if he or she feels that he or she is being mistreated – treated unfairly. That is the contradiction of belief in relative ethics; in fact, such belief leads the believer into a reductio ad absurdum situation. Otherwise, he cannot complain about anything; he must say things like, “Oh, you just punched me in the eye rendering me blind. But – that could be good.” Once he says it is bad that you committed such an atrocious act, he has appealed to that which he claims does not exist.
There was once a giant panda who appealed to relative truth, and he got away with it. His story is the niftiest example of belief in relative truth that I have encountered. He walked into a restaurant and ordered a mean. The waiter brought it, and he sat down and ate it all. Then, he stood up, pulled out a pistol, shot the waiter dead, and left. He was arrested and tried: his defense was that he was merely engaging in normal panda behavior. He said, “Your honor, if you will consult Wikipedia, you will find that the normal panda eats shoots and leaves. He was acquitted — wrongly, but he was acquitted.
Well, that was a special case, one that comes under the heading of tongue-in-cheek. Ordinarily, absolute truth is absolutely “where it’s at.” Let us look at what Lewis says in the reference I have cited. “Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking your promise to him he will be complaining ‘It’s not fair’ before you can say Jack Robinson. A nation may say treaties don’t matter; but then, next minute they spoil their case by saying that the particular treaty they want to break was an unfair one. But if treaties do not matter, and if there is no such thing as Right and Wrong – in other words, if there is no Law of Nature – what is the difference between a fair treaty and an unfair one? Have they not let the cat out of the bag and shown that, whatever they say, they really know the Law of Nature just like anyone else? It seems then, we are forced to believe in a real Right and Wrong. People may be sometimes mistaken about them, just as people sometimes get their sums wrong; but they are not a matter of mere taste and opinion any more than the multiplication table.”
Thus, there is a standard unspoken Natural Law that governs all ethical situations, and its contents are not disputed to any significant degree, even by relative ethicists. The relative ethicist thinks he believes that what is right or wrong is dependent upon factors like cultural tradition, the time in history that one occupies, the place on earth what a person lives, or some other situational factors, and situation is all about humans, and has nothing to do with any higher power. Therefore, relative ethicism is based upon the claim by Protagoras that “Man is the measure of all things. Because ethics are determined by way of humanity in this system of belief, it is based on opinion. Now, it is true that opinion is all humans have because we have no authority that we can use to back up our beliefs, unless we resort to God and His absolute standards of right and wrong. The person who champions absolute morality has God to fall back on.
People who believe in relative truth debate, but they do so in arguments where there can be no winner, according to the believer in relative truth.
Examples of relative ethics that relativists have been known to put forward are that, if you are a Mafia member, murder may not always be bad; if you live in the southern islands of the Pacific ocean, it may be okay for you to practice free love. They are disadvantaged from the first, however, as their opposition only needs a single example of the truth and reality of absolute ethics to show that the relativist position is incorrect, and I do not think anyone can make a case for child abuse. Another good example of the weakness of the relativist position is seen in a psychiatrist’s office when the practitioner labels a person sociopathic when the patient’s behavior substantially and persistently harms others; a diagnostic assessment of this sort meets essentially no opposition. Yet, the accused might say, “It is a lifestyle with me. I am a child abuser; therefore, it is normal for me to abuse children. You go to football games; I get my kicks by scalding little girls. In addition, very few deny the goodness of Mother Theresa or Albert Schweitzer.
The Law of Human Nature is like mathematics, much like the multiplication table, in that it represents part of absolute truth, but is ordinarily taught to us by parents and/or teachers. We cannot tell whether something is a mere useful convention or an axiomatic truth of nature by how it gets into our minds. Absolute Truth is “out there” – it exists from always to always without any dependence on humanity or even God. It is God; at least, it is part of God. The relative truth person might just as well not bother to quarrel about anything, for, by his own admission, he cannot be right, just as his opponent cannot be right.
The Natural Law of Ethics is our reference for telling which of two sets of morals is correct or more nearly correct than any other, but the relative ethicist cannot reference the ultimate standard; therefore, he cannot participate in this investigation and determination. This person is highly handicapped; he can hardly function at all. Again quoting Lewis, “If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazis less true, there must be something – some Real Morality – for them to be true about.”
The Stoics of ancient Greece based their thought on God, the Truth and Natural Law, and their concepts have been virtually uncontested to the present day, at least in places where freedom predominates. The writers of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America had no difficulty in perceivingNatural Law and its existence, and they were thoroughly dependent upon it in their deliberations. They we also well aware of the fate of countries that had floundered by ignoring it.
Lewis nicely outlined the rules and regulations of numerous societies throughout history in the Appendix of his book, The Abolition of Man, showing that marked similarities exist/have existed among these various cultures in spite of major differences in religion and even differences in ways of thinking that are highly variable and fundamental. Again in Mere Christianity, Lewis introduces this appendix thus: “If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own. I need only ask the reader to think what an entirely different morality would mean. Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where and two made five.7
Selfishness has never been admired by anyone. Men have differed as to whether one should have one wife or four, but they have never agreed that it is proper for a man to have any woman he likes.
Humans all over the world have the same set of morals, from the pressure of which we cannot rid ourselves. We hear a voice of conscience emanating from Eternal Truth and telling us what us ought to do, but all of us break these laws with considerable regularity, whether we think we believe in absolute morality or not. Lewis calls these two observations “the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.”
Whether or not we agree regarding the existence of an absolute standard of ethics that supersedes humanity, one thing is certain: we do not follow it very well, and all of us consistently make excuses when it becomes apparent to others that we are not doing so – even those who deny the existence of absolute Truth. In this way, all of us provide more evidence yet of its universality and genuineness. Again, Lewis: “If we do not believe in decent behavior, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently?”
The relative ethicist often attempts to play upon the idea that human progress has left behind the need for rules because we are now like adults, able to regulate ourselves, whereas in ancient times, which were brutal times, we could not, or at least did not, do that. Such a claim is belied by the fact that the twentieth century probably has given us the most extreme examples of the abandonment of Natural Law ever seen on planet earth in the hubris, savagery, and devotion to murder of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. They appealed to the most base and dark regions of human souls, smothering kindness and decency by lighting fires of resentment, envy, and prejudice. They used their power to consume, just like Satan does.8 Like the Sophists of old, Hitler dominated thorough rhetorical persuasion, while Stalin concentrated on the use of fear and force. monster mesmerized while the Moscow monster brutalized.
Natural Law provides the basis of true liberalism, belief in the freedom of the individual to do as he chooses so long as he does no harm to anyone else, directly or indirectly, in the process. Such is an example of eternal and axiomatic truth, potential if there are no extant cognitive individuals to practice it. The antithesis of this way of thinking begins in earnest with Nietzsche and his supermen, though Heraclitus foreshadowed this way of thinking long before Nietzsche came along. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, even in the case of the originally visionary Alexander the Great, who degenerated into a murderous and utterly arrogant carouser. Any superman of Nietzsche provides a similar example; this man died in an asylum for the insane. Heraclitus was no philosopher, and Nietzsche was no authority.
God does not waffle; yet, He is not entirely inflexible, and He is certainly not compulsive. There may be times when the various parts of the Rules about Right and Wrong are or seem to be mutually exclusive, though this does not interfere with their validity or their effectiveness. If you, for example, resolve to follow a single admonition of the Absolute Standard of Ethics at all costs, you may neglect another aspect of the standard to the detriment of both yourself and others. It is not a good thing, for example, to invariably maintain love for humanity at the expense of justice. Our principle of political correctness emanates from this error – that of applying the Rules without an element of common sense and judgment thrown in. A starving person who kills for a loaf of bread cannot be condoned or allowed to go unpunished without wounding a system of order and justice.
A detail that should be mentioned here is that there may be differences among people’s ideas of decent behavior that are apparent but not real because of current/prevalent misconception. For example, the absence of persecution and execution of supposed witches in the United States in the present era may be not so much a matter of kindness or the application of Christian belief as it is a matter of the fact that, unlike the people of Salem, Massachusetts of 1692, most of us do not believe that effective evil power is available for the asking nowadays, such that we, by and large, do not believe in witches, whereas many of our forebears did. If we believed as they did, that there were women in our midst who had sold their souls to the devil and had received in turn supernatural powers that they were using in murderous fashion against their neighbors, there would no doubt be many people about in favor of terminating them.
The Origin of Natural Law
There are many who will try to tell you that our morals are the result of evolution. A summary of my feelings here is “Nice guys finish last.” Leo Durocher coinedthis term, which is similar to Johnny Carson’s “No good deed will ever go unpunished.” Durocher meant that empathy directed toward opponents in sports is likely to lead to losing ballgames. It is probably true that nice guys fare poorly in our time-bound world, but, in eternity, in the long run, their prospects of comfort and happiness are infinitely greater than those of the self-seeking. There is no evolutionary advantage to being a nice guy. Hence, good morals, especially consideration of one’s neighbor, are not commensurate with the survival of the fittest, such that the fact that so many people are so altruistic almost proves the existence of God and is equally evidential with regard to His goodness.
Indeed, the majority of us experience innate impulsion to help others that feels quite natural, and many if not most of us are willing to risk our lives in order to yield to it. There are plenty of seemingly bad people who will rush to a burning automobile in order to pull someone out of it, and, when asked later why they thus risked their lives, they do not know. When these occasions arise in which we seem to be impelled toward rendering aid, our feeling is that we ought to help when we really don’t want to, and Lewis observes that this is strange indeed.9 He suggests that we analyze as follows: We ordinarily do not have just two feelings in response to this kind of call for help; we have three. We feel we ought to help and are also worried about incurring the risk of injury or death, but, in addition, we perceive a sort of voice that judges which response on our part would be right, good and correct and urges us to enact it.
Again, this voice of conscience is disadvantageous from an evolutionary point perspective, since it tends to place us in danger. In addition, it cannot be one of the other two urges. We have talked at length about the nature of the God of the Bible, and we can easily see here that The Law of Human Nature is something we might well associate with Him, considering His attributes, particularly as described in Chapter 14 of Things Are Not as They Seem. It is not likely that we on our own would have three thoughts about the single situation in question here: “do it,” “don’t do it,” and “you ought to do it.” The third one sounds out of place as an intrinsic idea. It comes from God, and it is the abstraction we call Natural Law. It centers on unselfishness and love, which means that it correlates quite well with the message of Jesus.
The Law of Human Nature can be about intent, because of our free will. To be resolved to do something evil is bad in itself, even if circumstances arise that prevent one’s carrying out his plans. Lewis notes that he is angry at a person who tries to steal his briefcase even if the person doesn’t succeed, but that he is not angry at the man who is occupying the best seat on the train because he got there first. In other words, when one behaves in a certain way for a reason that is reasonable and fair, he is not to be maligned even if what he does is not in our favor.
In this context, let us recall that the God of the Bible has given us free will and that one of Jesus’ interpretations of Old Testament Law consists of bringing intent into the mix—the concept that intending to do something that is evil is as bad as actually doing it.10 Thus, Natural Law seems right at home in God’s Word, especially in the New Testament.
We would not expect to be able to perceive a Creator/Maintainer/Super-Intelligence outside of the universe except perhaps through faith or by way of revelation on His part, which happened through Jesus. There is a second way we could imagine that He might reveal Himself, and that would be for Him to indwell us in order to have an intimate effect on us. He indeed does this through His Holy Spirit, in the case of those who will allow; at least part of which the Holy Spirit communicates to us is the Natural Law that we have been discussing. Thus, we find in ourselves just what we would expect in the case of a Biblical Holy Spirit Who is real and concerned about us.
Therefore, out of two good ways in which we might expect God to show Himself to us, He has done both. We might further expect that His message would be what He wants us to do and not do, and, lo and behold, Bible study reveals that this is exactly the case. Every person who believes himself educated should have read the entire Bible at least once or twice.
Some people say there is no use in trying to “find” God because he is so far “above” us that there is no hope of doing so. There is no one who thinks of Him as having greater magnitude than I so, but I still think it is good that we maximize our efforts to find Him, because we could not possibly need Him more. He is as close as the air we breathe. Look t it this way. Consider Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Einstein pictured us as existing in a universe that is comparable to the surface of a sphere. A little use of one’s imagination reveals that this means that we are no distance from timelessness.
Good parents desire maximal closeness with their offspring and desire that their children understand them to the greatest degree possible, though they may have parts of themselves that they will never share. I think God is like this and that, in the absence of our existence and mutual communication, He might be lonely or at least not be as happy as He could otherwise be. (I hope this is true for His sake, for He has sacrificed much for us.) I actually believe, however, that He intends for lovers of The Truth that is Him to learn of Him to a degree and an extent that we cannot possibly begin to imagine. I think of heaven as primarily the joy of exploring His Mind forever and possibly as a realm “where” we learn with Him throughout all of eternity.
Absolute vs. Relative Truth
The tradition of at least the western world is to divide philosophy into that which entails absolute truth and that which advocates the validity of relative truth. I do not see the latter as truth at all, and I therefore am unable to call it philosophy and am therefore unable to call it philosophy, which is the search for truth. The very term is an oxymoron because to be true is to be right, not “perhaps right.”
Western philosophy began with the enlightened Greeks with Thales of Miletus, and, within a hundred years, had split into these two supposed camps. Heraclitus of Ephesus (See the glossary.) originated the thought of relative truth and Parmenides that of absolute truth. As far as I am concerned, Parmenides is the great-grandfather of western philosophy. He immersed himself in eternity and exuded the truth of Being. His branch of philosophy is huge, with vigorous branching and glorious flowering. Though he lived in a polytheistic society, he believed in a single God, Being itself, and championed meaningful life wherein one cares about others because they and their lives are highly significant.
Parmenides way of absolute truth repeatedly leaves the concept of nothingness, worthlessness and lack of identity behind with its connection and correlation with logic, the best ideas of humanity, and the greatest events of our history. As we have noted, it is the way of logos, while Heraclitus’ thought is that of doxa. Parmenides was objective, positive, clear, and optimistic, while Heraclitus’ thought was vague, shallow, and pessimistic. The difference between the two is perhaps best illustrated by looking at their philosophical offspring; Descartes, in the case of Parmenides, and Nietzsche in the case of Heraclitus. Descartes was one of the two main founders of modern science and probably the most precise philosopher ever, as he refused to include anything in his philosophy about which he had any doubt. As we have seen, he began with confirmation of his existence and worked from there.
We begin to see relative truth in action with Protagoras, a Greek Sophist teacher who lived nearly twenty-five hundred years ago, who, as the first known11 humanist, said that man is the measure of all things. This is not, in my view, merely wrong — it inevitably leads to a situation wherein that which is good and right depends solely upon what the most persuasive people are able to impose upon those who are less so, and I do mean impose. Hence, one ends up not with objective learning, but with the declarations and orders to the oppressed from the tyrant or tyrant. Protagoras used and recommended rhetoric as the means of persuasion and was a professional instructor in it. However, though Protagoras did not teach military science, means of persuasion can certainly include physical force as well as speech making.
Hitler was the all-time ultimate beneficiary and user of the Sophist method, and, when he combined it with his vicious amorality, which included no inhibition with regard to killing anyone who stood in his way, we clearly saw what humanism could become. Bolstered by Nietzsche’s concept of “the Superman,” the ultimate evil and destructiveness of that Sophist thought of so long ago dramatically emerged in the person of the Nazi monster. Sophist thought and that of Nietzsche and Hitler all reject absolute truth. Hitler also presented it as Darwinism extrapolated into the socio-political arena, something that Darwin never envisioned.
The Sophists taught that no issue is about absolute truth – it is about who wins. The Sophist’s favorite exercise was to show their ability to argue either side of a case, regardless of the truth of either side of a contention. Sophism is the philosophy, or perhaps pseudo-philosophy, of power. It remains the mindset of attorneys who do not have a moral compass that leads them to better values and higher goals. The Sophist creed was that the end justifies the means; this is also the way of the tyrant who calls himself a leader.
Two-thirds of the people of our present world ascribe, when asked, to as religion based on Absolute Truth, which, so far as I am concerned, is synonymous with The Truth that I have described. These are the devotees of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. With regard to the other two most prominent faiths, Buddhism and Hinduism, the former is thoroughly about relative truth, and the latter is so dilute – it houses so many different beliefs – that one can believe almost anything and be a Hindu. Buddhism espouses a wonderful moral code, but that is all one can say for it.
The Truth Is Irrepressible
The Truth represents potential of the highest order. Its component, mathematics, underlies all of the mechanics of the universe, all action thereof, by way of equations like f = ma, force equals mass times acceleration. Mathematics underlies existence as well as action. We have previously seen that all matter reduces to energy and that the warping of space-time is precisely captured in mathematical equations.
It would seem obvious that mathematics can be placed in the category of “good things,” and, on the level of time-bound cognition, it is goodness (and only goodness) that underlies everything meaningful that ever happens because goodness is constructive and creative. Evil is destructive, and is therefore unable to be associated with any true progress—any worthwhile event.
Nothing is weaker than a lie, and the components of The Truth that we have discussed are what drive our existence. Also, something must be the Arche’ because we and our universe exist, and, though we cannot fully visualize the mechanism of The Truth’s personifying, its existence without the need for creation and its personification add up to the only possible explanation for the existence of the universe and humans.
If we consider The Truth to be all-Goodness, there is actually nothing additional to think about as a possible bottom turtle except for evil, but evil is never creative or constructive. We clearly see that in the world in which we live. (There are probably objects and events in our world that are neutral in terms of good and evil, but it is impossible to think of such entities as compelling.)
There is no wound in the absence of the wounded. There is no death in the absence of the living. The following story beautifully illustrates what I am saying.
A physics professor confronts his class with some metaphysics: “Is God good?” “Sure! God’s good, replies a student.” “Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?” “Yes,” the same student replies. “Are you good or evil?” “The Bible says I’m evil.” The professor grins knowingly. “Aha! The Bible!” He considers for a moment. “Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. Would you help him? Would you try?” “Yes sir, I would.” “So you’re good.” “I wouldn’t say that.” “But why do you say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.” The young man hesitates; a few snickers are (barely) heard. The student does not answer, so the professor continues. “He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Can you answer that one?” The student remains silent. “No, you can’t, can you?” the professor exclaims.” He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax. “Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?” “Er..yes,” the student says. “Is Satan good?” The student doesn’t hesitate on this one and replies, “No.” “Then. where does Satan come from?” The student falters. “From God,” he admits. “That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?” “Yes, sir, Evil’s everywhere.” “And God did make everything, correct?” “Yes” “So who created evil?” the professor continued. “If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.” Again, the student has no answer. “Is there immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?” The student squirms on his feet. “Yes,” He admits. “So who created them?” The student once again does not answer, so the professor repeats his question. “Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. “Tell me,” he continues with another student. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?” The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. “Yes, professor, I do.” The old man stops pacing. “Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?” “No sir, I’ve never seen Him.” “Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?” “No, sir, I have not.” “Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?” “No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.” “Yet you still believe in him?” “Yes” The professor continues his barrage, “According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?” “Nothing,” the student replies. “I only have my faith.” “Yes, faith,” the professor repeats. “And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence of His existence, only faith.” The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own. “Professor, is there such thing as heat?” “Yes.” “And is there such a thing as cold?” “Yes, son, there’s cold too.” “No sir, there isn’t. You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, or a little heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can get down to 458 degrees below zero Celsius, which represents no heat at all, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we could be colder minus 458 degrees cold. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel when we have insufficient heat.” “This is going to be a good semester,” thought the professor. The student continued. “Professor, does darkness exist?” The professor responded, “Of course it does.” The student replied, “Once again, sir, you are wrong. Darkness also does not exist. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. We can study light, but we cannot study darkness. In fact, we can use Newton’s prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color, but we cannot measure darkness per se. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. A single candle eliminates darkness. How can you know how dark a certain area is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn’t this correct? Darkness is a term used to describe what happens when there is no light present.” The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer. “This is going to be a great semester,” thought the professor, who was quite fair-minded – a person who believed that whoever has the best evidence in hand is the person we should believe, even if he disagrees with us. He begins to smile at the student in front of him.
Finally, the student asks the professor, “Sir, do you believe in the existence of evil?” Now uncertain, the professor responded, “Of course, as I have already said, we see it every day. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.” To this the student replied, “Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that we have created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God and His love present in his heart. The existence of evil did not require creation. It is, from always to always, unless it has been annulled by the sacrifice of Jesus, and I believe that is just what Jesus’ death and resurrection accomplished. It is like the cold that comes when there is no heat and the darkness that comes when there is no light. The heat and light exist, but the cold and darkness do not, except in terms of the absence of heat and light, respectively. In this way of looking at our subject of discussion, God could not be further removed from evil.”
“So what is the point you are making, young man,” the professor replied. “My point is, professor, that your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and therefore your conclusion must be flawed as well.” The professor cannot hide his surprise. “Flawed?! Can you explain how?!” You are working on a premise of duality,” the student explains. “You essentially argue that there is life and then there is death, and that there is a good God, and there is a bad God. Additionally, you are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science cannot even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one of these. To view death as the opposite of life is to be dualistic and inaccurate; death is the harbinger of the opposite of life, unless one is a follower of the Christ. Now, tell me, sir, do you teach your students that humans evolved from monkeys?” “I do not, but I am not a zoologist. My colleagues do, and I believe them. I believe in evolution.” Sir, have you ever viewed, tasted, heard, felt, or smelled the evolutionary process?” A few more little snickers. The professor shakes his head, smiling; he realizes where the conversation is going. “Wow, this will be the semester of my dreams!” The student continues, “Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work, we cannot even be sure that this process is an on-going one. Sir, are you therefore teaching nothing more than your opinion? Are you now not so much a scientist as a preacher?” The class collapses into an uproar, and the student remains silent until the commotion has subsided. He then looks around the room. “Has anyone ever seen the professor’s brain?” he inquires. “Has anyone ever heard, felt, smelled, or tasted the professor’s brain? I see no hands. Thus, professor, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, and, with all due respect, sir, I must ask how we are able to trust your lectures.” The room fills with an atmosphere of stunned silence. Visions of administrative and punitive ire pervade the students’ minds. The professor stares at the student, his face unreadable. Finally, after what seems an eternity, he answers, “I guess you’ll have to take it on faith.” I will do that, sir; your reputation precedes you. However, I ask that you also respect my faith.
“Son, you are more perceptive than most. E-mail me what you have said; I would like to ponder it. I look forward to more discussion on the subject of whether God is real.”
Positivity underlies all creative events of significance; all positivity is good, and all that is good is positive except in the case of the removal of a subtraction, e.g. the removal of cancer, from a person’s body. In the latter case, we have the subtraction of a subtraction, and we know that, for example, eight minus a minus three is, eleven, such that the subtraction of a negative entity involves two minuses, and two minuses make a plus. Thus, the removal of something bad, is a positive act. All evil is negative, and all negativity is evil, or at least useless, except when something bad is subtracted. As the sum total of all of goodness, conveniently abbreviated to “all-Goodness,” and all positivity, The Truth is so compelling as to be irresistible in terms of causing events, though there is only one event it can cause, and that is its personification. All other events would require the pre-existence of something actual like the Personification of The Truth, and the Personification can deal with these once He has arisen.
As creativity is a good thing, we would expect the Personification of Goodness, The Truth, to be creative. As The Truth is not only good, but all-Good, the Best, we would expect its Personification to be maximally creative. A person of maximal creativeness would be able to make any and every thing (good) and probably would be able to do so without difficulty. Having proposed that His thought is reality, I believe we have here a second reason to believe this might be so. I am not talking about sleight of hand here; there is nothing magic about God or His creative ability. It is not a “Let there be….” and “Zap! There it is” thing. It is a matter of the nature of God and of The Truth. These natures are inevitable, and, if everything that I have said about God and The Truth is true, one would expect a God Who emanated from The Truth to be, at least for practical purposes, omnipotent. If He is that and maximally creative, His thought’s comprising reality follows seamlessly. Now, knowledge and wisdom are vital ingredients in any person’s ability to do things. Therefore, omnipotence cannot be separated from omnipotence. We humans are able to make things by thinking, planning, learning and the acquisition of needed materials, followed by some work. That being so, it does not seem strange to me that God, on a level of existence much higher than ours and vastly superior to ours, would be able to create by thinking, that whatever He thought of would be, would come to exist. Having expected this ability of His on a philosophical basis, we then find that bright and famous scientists e.g. Sir Arthur Eddington and Sir James Jeans, believed in it for scientific reasons, because of the profound “fall-out” of quantum physics and Relativity12 Then we can consult the first chapters of the book of Genesis and find this same ability of God in the Bible. We and all that we perceive in the world in which we live are the thought of God. This claim is of course repetitious, but we now have a new reason to believe it.
As the most beautiful aspect of goodness is love, one would logically suspect that God created in order to love and be loved – particularly in order that love might be manifested. Now, love means nothing if it is coerced, such that, if I am right about why He made us, He had to give us free will in order to work out his plan and be loved for who He is. This has led to undesired consequences for both Him and us, inevitable considering our lack of perfection. A good God, like a good earthly father, wants to treat His children lovingly at all times, but a father cannot be a good one unless he tries to have his children be all they can be, to be the best they can be. They must have proper attitudes and values in order to accomplish this goal, and they must learn to treat others as they should. Similarly, like the good parent, God must discipline, and He must do it in order to maintain His very identity, particularly as He is justice personified, as justice is part of The Truth. When this situation exists between the Lord of all and people such as us, between perfect Creator and imperfect created, it is extremely serious, as we shall see; it is, in fact, a matter of life and death. Moreover, it is not such only with regard to the time-bound world; it is a matter of life vs. what amounts to death in the realm beyond. This is a tremendous problem for humanity; it would in fact be deadly if the Biblical God had not made our problem His. As I have noted, he is unique in this respect. No other supposed god bends so low for the benefit of His votaries. No other supposed God can begin to compare with Him of the Bible in terms of love and mercy. All this causes Him misery, however – misery far beyond any that can ever come our way.
Philosophers have sought the truth as long as there have been philosophers to pursue it; however, they have differed with one another with regard to their concepts of what it is. No doubt most people have thought of it or think of it as the answers to questions like these:”Where did everything come from?” Is there a God in charge of our world?” “If so, what is His nature?” “Do we live in a purposeful universe?” “Is it likely, or even possible, that we will or even can live forever?” They might be correct, but I am going to call these responses to our most profound questions “the Answer,” as I am reserving “The Truth” for something more basic yet, i.e. the Origin of all things, the term that summarizes the description of the identity and nature of the Arche’. Because The Truth is so vital, I am capitalizing not only “Truth” but even “the” when it precedes “Truth.” Now, I realize I have previously referred to God as the Arche’, but it is easy to explain why The Truth is also: God is The Truth, and The Truth is God, He of the Bible.
Pontius Pilate asked, “What is truth?” as The Truth—the incarnation of the true God–stood directly before him. This is probably the most ironical scene in the history of reality.13
The Contents of The Truth
The Truth is everything that is good, right and correct, containing no bad, wrong, or evil. The Truth is all of goodness that is axiomatic, requiring no creation, requiring no existence of any other entity in order to exist. The Truth is all that is good for cognitive individuals, particularly those who are able to understand the concept of the Answer and its pursuit.
The Truth must contain mathematics as math is the entity that most certainly represents knowledge as opposed to belief, and it is my philosophical belief that “2 + 2 = 4″ is true even in the absence of anything to count (just as “Love is a good thing” is true even in the absence of lovers.) The Truth must also contain the Natural Law, the “Law of Human Nature,” that by which conscience urges us to live—all things good. These might be categorized as “Other (in addition to math) obvious truths. Natural Law, synonymous with the Absolute Standard of Ethics, also contains all good qualities that cognitive people can have, e.g. excellence, honesty, lovingness, humility, friendliness, creativity, and desire to communicate and learn, though these may not comprise anything additional to the axiomatic ethical principles I have just exemplified. It is not really necessary to put these into an additional category, however, because, if we take any of these qualities and put “is a good thing” after it, we have an irrefutable moral statement.
As I have essentially said, The Truth is the Personality of the one true God—the contents of His Mind; it is the summation of perfection, and there can only be a single perfect Being because, for there to be more than one, the personality sets of the others would have to be different from that of this Divinity, and, if they were different, they could not be perfect. On the other hand, if they were perfect, they would be Him and not a different or additional Being. The true God is, in fact, Being itself, as Parmenides noted so very long ago.14
The Truth is the abstract counterpart of the unique Person Who is the One, the unique, the true God, just as your personality is your abstract counterpart. Both The Truth and God may be considered to be the Arche’, and we cannot temporally put one before the other because (1) they are not separate from one another and (2) they are both outside of time.
The Truth is in no way dependent upon humans; it is not the corporate thought of humanity nor is it a summation of all we have learned in pursuing our disciplines and endeavors. Perhaps stated in the most important terms possible, it is not anything of the future — it exists forever and from always in the present and not in the past or future at all. Humans have only scratched the surface of learning, and The Truth goes much more deeply than this surface, though it is not necessarily all knowledge that exists. In any case, The Truth is something that is something that we can find, that we candiscover, much as we have already found natural physical laws that underlie and summarize the order of our universe.
As I have essentially said, for The Truth to be the First Cause, the Prime Mover, the Arche’, it would have to exist inevitably, even in the absence of anything else, abstract or actual, and I believe this is the case where The Truth is concerned. If there were no one in existence able to think, for example, the components of The Truth would still be – they would still exist. Gandhi agreed that The Truth is indeed the beginning of all things.15
An Interesting Sidelight
Though I am not sure it is necessary, I cannot resist addressing the question as to whether The Truth contains all worthwhile knowledge or not. There would seem to be major consequences or implications that result if this is so and if this is not so. If The Truth does not contain all meaningful knowledge and God is omniscient, as the majority of religious people in the world believe, God must learn or have learned. If The Truth contains all knowledge of significance, He has nothing to learn.
I noted from the first that I would at times engage in discussion that would not entail strong conviction. I am certainly doing that now. I am speculating; yet, my thoughts here are compatible with my intuition, though they could be just be a matter of wishful thinking. Jesus said that He had other flocks to which to attend; God may have any number of sources of knowledge besides humans even if my idea concerning our supplying Him with possible knowledge has some element of truth to it
If we conclude that God learns, we must ask ourselves where He would go for information that He does not already possess. Now, the methods of learning are that we can receive information from someone and believe it, we can observe, and/or we can experiment. How might God go about observing or experimenting? These actions would seem to require time in order that they might be carried out, and God is outside of time. At this point, an entirely fascinating idea comes to me. Suppose He created cognitive individuals in time who would generate knowledge, or at least tentative knowledge that would become certain if or when God judged it to be such? Suppose He created us with free will partly so that we can have things happen to us and cause things to happen from which knowledge is derived?
This is reminiscent of Haisch’s idea, expressed in The Purpose-Guided Universe, that the purpose of our existence is to enable God to vicariously enjoy what happens to us and what we cause to happen. I do not think such an idea is in opposition to Judeo-Christian belief, though it is not part of it. Yet, it sounds like God’s “using” us, and that thought is not quite commensurate with my idea of the nature of God, though I do not believe we are in a position to try to be authoritative with regard to what is right and what is wrong in that respect. (I do, however, think we are fairly good judges, especially because of our consciences.) It is fascinating that we can consider whether God learns or not and still consider Him to be omniscient. If He learns outside of time, there is no “when” regard to his learning. Therefore, He has always known everything, even if He did not achieve the omniscient state by being The Truth. The nicest thing for us about all of this is that we may be partners with our God.
If God learns, The Truth is fundamental reality, but not all of reality. Does this mean, then, that God is dependent upon us humans? No, because He is not dependent upon knowing everything in order to be Himself or to be superior to us in every way. Anything that He might learn as god is certainly out of our reach. None of what I have written would relate in any way whatsoever to superiority of humans over Him. If He learns and is aided in that learning by humans, He still judges our “contribution” with regard to whether it is good and worthwhile, such that He is ultimately in charge of everything. That confirms His ultimate authority with regard to all knowledge. Though The Truth, synonymous with Him, may not contain all knowledge, it does contain all wisdom and therefore the ability to judge. As The Truth, the Personification of mathematics and all other goodness, He is the only possible judge of the ultimate and permanent value of any and everything. If He learns, we are partners of His, in a sense, placed in time at least partly to correct the difficulty of doing anything without the passage of time, which may accrue to everyone, no matter who or how powerful he is.
The nature of what I am talking about here appeals to me because it seems to fit with everything else that I have in my mind regarding the nature and purposes of God and how I see His relationship with us. For example, DeMille spoke of God’s mind’s flowing through ours, and Jeans spoke of “a designing and/or controlling power that has something in common with our own individual minds….” In addition, Jesus spoke of becoming “one” with God.16 (We are not, however, one with Him on the basis of being merely parts of Him; we are distinct individuals, or at least will be when we are beings in the Kingdom of God as opposed to becomers in time.)
My thought with regard to the possibility of God’s learning is similar – at least analogous — to that of Haisch in The Purpose-Guided Universe, who expresses therein his belief that we are created in order to provide pleasure for God, vicariously obtained through our experiences. However, I do not believe that to be the case. It sounds too much like a case wherein God is “using us.” Now, He created us and is therefore justified in doing whatever He likes with us; He is also able to do that, but, again, His nature as I perceive it is not commensurate with Haisch’s idea.
In my believing that God exists outside of time, the problem arises as to how He is able to do anything. What takes time to do, and what does not? I suspect that, outside of time, thinking takes no time, such that, outside of time, one can think. If this is not so, we have a particularly grand dilemma, as eternal life would appear to be not only useless, but false, if one cannot think throughout all of eternity. Certainly, I hope to live forever in a scenario wherein I am able to think. Fortunately, I believe I am talking nonsense here; if God is outside of time and therefore cannot think, He would have a mind no greater than that of a sheep, in which case we could certainly not talk about His having done anything of moment. Time’s being illusory could be the entire key to our problem here. If it is indeed not what it seems to be, its absence may not be what it seems to be, such that our grand dilemma dissolves.
Now, God could occupy more time than do we, in terms of dimensions thereof, as Ross believes. If this is the case, there is of course no concern with regard to His being or not being able to engage in activity that would seem to be impossible without the involvement of time. However, His being outside of time fits best with everything else about Him.
Now, regardless of anything else, God would never take anything into His mind other than what is good; if He did, He would no longer be God, at least as we know Him. I do, however, believe it is possible that knowledge emanates from events that can only happen in time. If this is so, it may be that the existence of large numbers of people is desirable and possibly necessary in order that many things may happen, such that much knowledge can be produced. Humanity might be sort of a matrix through which events that generate knowledge occur, scientific and otherwise. In this instance, God might learn by assimilating such knowledge. We may generate knowledge in this life and learn it as such in the next by exploring the Mind of God. God may have other sources of learning, of knowledge, for instance, through other people on other planets, who may even be in other universes. Whether He learns or not, He might or might not have any need for us as producers of possible knowledge.
If we are His thought, as I believe, and if God learns as I have speculated He might, we have before us a scenario of God’s learning through logos, in fact through thought experiments. This situation would correlate nicely with our previous discussion concerning learning through study of doxa vs. learning via engagement in logos.
Conclusions Concerning the Truth
I conclude my fundamental beliefs, ideas, and opinions concerning The Truth by stating how I feel about its components in terms of their relative importance: (1) Cognitive life is the most important factor because, without life of the kind associated with thought, nothing else is of any importance at all. Without organisms possessing this kind of life, no other entity can be perceived, such that all is vanity. (2) communication, of greater importance than love only because love cannot be felt without communication, such that it can come to fruition only in connection with communication. (3) learning, of little value without the ability to communicate and more important than love only because love cannot be manifested unless we learn of someone to love. (Perhaps we could be pre-programmed with knowledge of one or more individuals to love, e.g. God; thus, we have here a subject here for possible argumentation.)(4) love, high on our list for obvious reasons. It is the centerpiece of Christianity and the most important source of its strength other than the triune God Himself. Its position in the forefront of Christian belief, behavior, and evangelism is what led to this religion’s conquering the Roman Empire. Mercy is the most important corollary of love. (5) humility, which, if we all possessed and exercised it, would eliminate all strife, such as war, and lead to something like heaven on earth. Pride was and is the prime sin of Satan. (6) justice, so important, so vital that seeing it as far down our list as number six does not seem right until we look at the examples of goodness that subordinate it. Justice is necessary for the cohesion of reality. I can go no further; there are numerous qualities in contention for number eight here. I can only conclude by saying that, as The Truth is axiomatic, all-Good, and inclusive with regard to the answers to our most profound questions, it must be the summation of perfection. The Truth is also virtually synonymous with beauty, as we shall see, and the same can possibly be said with regard to simplicity.
Mind’s subordination of matter is demonstrable even without the help of Relativity or quantum physics. Now, when two paths exist that lead to the same conclusion, the likelihood of the conclusion’s being correct is markedly heightened, and, when there are three ways, the evidence in favor of that which is claimed is usually of the highest order. For the subordination of matter to mind, we have at least three paths.
I believe that Einstein was telling the widow, as per that chapter, that he felt her husband had experienced his death much more pleasantly than had she and that he probably remained alive in some realm. Those who have little in their personalities that is opposed to The Truth, such that relatively little of their en bloc selves requires excision as they access heaven seem to have particularly peaceful deaths, as in the following example.I had a good friend (who died in 2004) whose wife, a particularly godly lady, died in 1991. When he called to tell me of his passing, I remember his saying something like, “And then it got more peaceful, then it got more peaceful yet, then it got even more peaceful, and then she died.” (I find that highly comforting.) Demented people tend to die peacefully as well, because they essentially die by degrees and usually have no concept of death by the time they expire. Their cardiac arrests are anti-climactical. They gradually lose their concepts of time, eventually not realizing how old they are. Slowly, they in fact turn into what is virtually a non-entity, as their minds are entirely elsewhere before their bodies wear out, and their serial presents of this life become of less and less significance; this I believe to be the mercy of God in action, largely dispensed to those who fear death more than most.
1. The Reverend Dr. John Polkinghorne writes repeatedly in his works about the similarity of the research done in science and that of theology.
2. Time magazine, in its March 19, 2008, issue, depicted the Dalai Lama as a relative ethicist.
3. College Course, “Buddhism,” presented by The Teaching Company.
4. John 11:35.
5. Romans 6:23.
6. Lewis, C.S., Mere Christianity.
7. In George Orwell’s 1984, Big Brother has the masses, which comprise almost all of his country, accepting as truth whatever he says is truth. The most startling example of pseudo-truth with which he confronts them is “2 + 2 = 5.”
8. as we see in The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis.
9. Lewis, C.S., Mere Christianity.
10. Matthew 5:21-22.
11. Roochnik, David, “An Introduction to Greek Philosophy,” presented through The Teaching Company, www.teach12.com.
12. Foster, David, The Philosophical Scientists, 1985, Barnes and Nobel Books, New York.
13. John 18:37-38.
14. Plato, Parmenides.
15. Aristotle used the term, “unmoved Mover, to denote his Arche’. He was the third member of the astounding intellectual lineage of Socrates, Plato and himself. These men sat or walked and talked to students and others so very long ago that they may seem to us to reside in a misty past of epic heroes, but they were “regular guys,” as real as anyone and in no way mythical. Plato’s dialogues do not include Aristotle in their characters, but, in reading these gems, wherein Socrates is usually the source of all wisdom, one almost feels as though he is part of the conversations. Plato transports us back to ancient Athens and makes at least the more imaginative of us integral parts of scenarios that seem as ordinary as modern day poker games but are at the same time examples of the most sublime debates and other intellectual conversation Because there is no transition at all, the first two alternatives are immediately ruled out. Though reincarnation is in the creeds of two of the major religions of our world, I cannot accept it because it does not connect with our development into unique beings that are separate from God, and I am convinced that C.S. Lewis was right when he said that we will be, in heaven, all that we have experienced, said, and done in time.7 Additionally and for example, if I came back as a worm, would I really be me? Do I have any memory at all of James Ivey? I do not think it would be possible for that to be the case. I therefore say that reincarnation is a fanciful idea and one that does not stand up to an apologetic approach or to any other approach that involves reason (if there is any such thing). Nirvana, the closest entity to heavens in terms of meaning, is a “place” of absorption, where the mighty consume the weak; individual souls are terminated, and that sounds like death to me. With Christianity, we have growth in identity; with Hinduism and Buddhism, identity is disdained altogether. I also know of no positive evidence in favor of their legitimacy. One of these is so tolerant of differences in belief that one can believe almost anything and be a votary thereof, and both are belief systems that advocate annihilation as an ideal goal toward which we should strive. As I cannot accept the latter idea, I cannot accept any religion that incorporates it.
Our earthly lives are valuable only in terms of potential, that which can emanate from them. As Plato and Socrates believed, we are becomers, not beings, and our time-bound lives exist solely that they might be actualized once they have generated all the being of which they are capable, and their actualization consists of accessing heaven, that unique realm of genuine reality.
The multiverse is a popular concept, but there is no objective evidence that supports its existence.
s that have ever graced our planet, with the exception of the discourse of the gospels. Socrates is my greatest hero save Jesus and possibly Joan of Arc, and I am ever grateful to Plato for presenting his thought and no doubt many of his very words to us.
16. John 17.