Tuesday, 19 November 2019

God's problem and task in a pluralistic universe

I assume that the university is Pluralistic; that the starting point is many Beings. Therefore God's 'problem' is Cohesion - how to coordinate all these disparate Beings. Difference is taken-for-granted as primary; cohesion is the task of God.

Most 'classical' philosophers and theologians have an opposite assumption - that the universe is unitary (this idea is therefore termed Monism), that everything starts with one entity - that is God. Therefore, God's problem is Differentiation - diving up that unity to produce the (apparent) plurality we observe and experience. Unity is taken-for-granted as primary; differentiation is the task of God.

This differentiation is called creation. 

In the Christian tradition; Classical metaphysics has trouble explaining human free will, because men are merely subdivisions of primal unity. It also suffers the problem that evil is as much a part of God as is anything else - so God is the God of evil as well as of good.

A Monist God is, of course, the Only Thing, so is completely powerful. But a major problem with Monism is the pointlessness of God subdividing to make many things, when really there is only one thing. Indeed, there is no point to doing anything - since it is all one anyway, and all difference is merely contrived, gratuitous...

His problem is that everything starts as one thing; his task is to make the one into the many. 

The creation of a pluralist God depends on his nature - he makes a coherence that reflects his nature. This is called creation.

And a pluralist God is Not completely powerful. He may be defined as the most powerful entity; but this is a quantitative superiority, not infinite. Indeed coherence is quantitative, not absolute.

A pluralist God works-with pre-existent Beings (and perhaps other stuff, chaos) in making a coherent universe.

His problem is that things start out chaotic; his task is to make things coherent.

Note: To posit a Christian pluralist God entails making assumptions concerning his nature, motivations etc. And this, of course, has been a part of the religion: God is said to be primarily motivated by Love, and to be wholly Good. How could we know this? Well, it must be 'revelation', that is, we must come to a direct knowledge of the nature of God; which means we must believe such a knowledge is possible (including that God can be known), and that we can actually personally attain such knowledge. We must recognise when we have attained such knowledge, must take it seriously, and live by it.

1 comment:

Nym Coy said...

Have you read Neal Stephenson's new book, Fall; or Dodge in Hell? The cosmology you describe reminds me a lot of the created world in it, and I would be interested in your perspective of Egdod vs El.