Tuesday 18 June 2019

Absence of God entails nihilism; but God alone does not cure nihilism (the cure requires Jesus Christ)

Absence of God causes nihilism. But the mere fact of the reality of God does not solve nihilism. God is necessary but not sufficient.

This is indeed why Christianity is necessary. If God was sufficient, there would be no need for Jesus - and Judaism/ Islam would be better (being more simply coherent and not having that distraction).

God is an essential part of the solution to nihilism - God is the primary creator. And creation is love-in-action.

Nihilism is solved (for God as well as for ourselves) by creation - more exactly by our choice in permanently joining creation as eternal and divine (i.e. resurrected) Men. We do this because of love.

The solution to nihilism is participation in loving-creation.

When I state baldly that it is The Solution - more exactly it is the solution for those for whom it is the solution: me for example.

I can understand why loving-creation might not be the solution for someone incapable of love (for example) - such a person might not have a solution to nihilism (e.g. a genuine psychopath).

Or, a person who deeply and permanently disliked all Men and prefers solitude to family (e.g. perhaps a genuine adherent of ascetic negative Buddhism who has no attachment to anything).

What about the past? - when Men had god/s but were not-Christian - and were not nihilistic? The answer relates to the evolution of consciousness. In the past (and still, for some Men in the present) their consciousness is not sufficiently developed that they can be nihilists - a nihilist must be sufficiently self-aware to recognise he is not the universe.

Young children, also, are not nihilists - because children do not distinguish them-selves from the not-self. They are (almost wholly) immersed-in reality.

What of Satan - what does he offer? To those who cannot or do not love; it may be the 'promise' of having consciousness abolished, so as to escape nihilism in just-being - and that state of just-being made pleasurable by using other beings for that pleasure.

So the answers to nihilism (in those sufficiently developed in consciousness to experience nihilism) include to join loving-creation on the one hand; and annihilation of consciousness (and the capacity for nihilism) on the other hand. 

To put it simply, God made creation so that there was a purpose and meaning in the midst of chaos (chaos entails nihilism); and creation is an opt-in cure for nihilism for those of us who want it.

Note: The above post is an edited and expanded version of a response to WmJas in a comment thread to an earlier post: https://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2019/06/the-incoherent-insanity-of-having.html


Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Is God strictly necessary, then, or are love and creation sufficient? If God gave meaning and purpose to what would otherwise have been chaos, couldn't we have done the same, if we had found purse in a world where there was no God?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm Jas - I get that purse = purpose.

"Is God strictly necessary" If you mean something like 'logically necessary' then no.

God is necessary because God as a matter of 'historical' fact created creation - and then procreated us as divine children.

God being our Heavenly parents, and the ultimate cause of/ reason for creation was their mutual love - so you can't have love and creation without God.

As usual, we get back to a 'just is' assumption. In the beginning of creation, God 'just was' God, and no other being was God.

There is no real meaning in 'if' questions with this kind of metaphysics. But if we had been like God, then we could have been the creator.

And indeed (as you know from Mormon theology), the ultimate end of spiritual progression is some Man becoming gods that can create/ procreate in the exactly same 'way' that God did - the difference is that we will still be in God's primary creation; and therefore our creation would be secondary.

Faculty X said...

Do you see your approach as different or the same as the apostles?

The way I read it, especially in Romans, Paul is saying again and again that the best approach is to partially withdraw from the world and form an in-group with others who are committed to God and Christ. His approach is not unloving, but it is a more narrow approach. I would not describe that as participating in creation as a whole.

Many quotes in the Bible from Jesus to Paul show an attitude that 'the world', by which I believe they mean the social world, the world of governments, politics, media, marriage and children and sexuality, conventional work not done in devotion, is corrupting in some form and under the dominion of S.

James Higham said...

Interesting heading, Bruce - is the Logos not part of the Godhead?

Bruce Charlton said...

@FX - I recently published Lazarus Writes - which is about the Fourth Gospel and the disciple 'John''s work (I beliueve tha the was Lazarus) - I would regard my approach as the same as his. The others - only partially so.

@JH - No, if I understand you aright. I have a pluralist metaphysics - derived mostly from Mormonism - which sees God as having created within pre-existent chaos. There is a reality (chaos) outwith creation.