The Purpose of Creation

 

Science is not concerned with the purpose of creation. Religion is. Science focuses its attention on the “how” rather than on the more philosophical question of “why.” This is simply an extension and outcome of science’s interest in facts and religion’s interest in values.

Science does indeed recognize that people live by values, but values are subjective choices and do not have an objective existence outside of us (like the moon has). Therefore, values are not a proper subject for scientific investigation. In spite of this, I am going to propose in my next book, Proving God, that values DO have an objective existence outside of us – starting with the idea that Love is the ultimate substance of the universe (substantia prima).

Allow me to give you a small “taste” of where my labors are headed concerning the how and why of creation and evolution. To start, it will be profitable to share with you a very, very, simple overview of the various scientific and theological camps along with their contentious views.

Evolutionary Science (the neo-Darwinian synthesis) embraces natural selection. Simply put, mutational variation within evolutionary biology has physical causes rather than Divine causes. This theory’s greatest challenge is that the fossil evidence does not do an adequate job of demonstrating the principle of gradualism. Often the fossil record shows distinct “jumps” of accelerated speciation (punctuated equilibrium).

In Creationism, we are given a totally theological answer for evolution. The laws of the universe have emerged from God’s Holy Word. Humans are viewed as a distinctly unique creation from other creatures – with an important role to play in the drama of the cosmos. While Creationists do not have an answer for the mechanism by which God creates all the richness of the manifest universe, they point out that no one has ever witnessed one species transforming into another distinct species (macroevolution).

Intelligent Design allows for purposiveness (teleology) to be used as an explanatory tool for explaining the emergence of bio-complexity in nature. Unfortunately, it leads us to an intellectual dead end in not being able to enlighten us to the wisdom of God’s grand scheme. For instance, detractors will ask why evolution must be so wasteful in order just to bring forth the human species, a species whose actions are threatening the globe? While Intelligent Design sees itself as a scientific approach, most scientists feel it uses bad science.

Theistic Evolution believes in both natural selection (good science) and that God is the Creator and Maintainer of the universe (good theology). It has serious problems in trying to marry the concept of purposeful creation with the blind and non-intelligent mechanism of natural selection. Somehow, God is able to hide His activity within the scientific framework of randomness.

I would like to propose another concept which I believe straddles the “how” and “why” of creation. I call it CONJUNCTIVE DESIGN, which is based on the scientific and theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. Swedenborg put forth the idea that a God of love must create a world because Divine Love needs a subject to love (something other than itself). Evolution is also necessary to creation because for Love to find perfection and fullness, it must be reciprocal. In other words, a creature has to emerge with the appropriate higher-order complexity to recognize a Creator and love God back. Love cannot be one-sided.

God creates only by conjunction, and, can only have conjunction through self-representation. In other words, the Lord’s love and truth can only flow into, and have relationship with, forms that in some way mirror the Divine nature. Therefore, all created things are created for their usefulness and utility – which is an expression of love. Intelligent design misses this theological point. (I will address the theodicy issue and evil in the world in another post.)

The reason why science and theology can be unified is that evolution is spiritual. The engine of adaptation is not from the strategies of “selfish” genes to ensure survival from the ever-changing external pressures of a given physical environment. Humans have evolved to exploit a more rarefied niche – information. This includes becoming receptive to religious values – which have their objective existence in God’s eternal Being.

Evolution is the exaltation of love (through more complex and noble forms of usefulness). The Lord’s conjunction with the universe is perfected through His covenant with humankind, especially when humans adopt the tenet of loving the neighbor as the guiding principle for their industriousness.

Religion is God’s strategy to extend the evolution of the biosphere into a non-material realm (we call this realm heaven). The directionality of evolution has been towards the spiritual world, because as God’s principle of love descends more perfectly into matter and physical complexity, utility ascends and becomes more spiritual. The ultimate purpose of creation and evolution is to form a heaven from the human race – the only species whose utility can evolve to actions of conscious love. It is through conjunction with God that we can have a blessed and eternal life.

Do you believe we are more than our genes?

Posted on by

http://www.provinggod.com

This entry was posted in god, Inner growth, Life after death, love, metaphysics, psychology, Reality, religion, science, spirituality, unity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

The New Jerusalem And Its Metaphysical Light

 

I have been maintaining through my various posts that Sacred Scripture contains a quantum vocabulary within the literal meaning of its narratives. As further evidence, I offer you the following “strange” verse concerning the Holy City, the New Jerusalem:

And the city hath no need of the sun and of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the lamp thereof is the Lamb. (Rev. 21:23)

Scripture then goes on to say “And the nations which are saved will walk in the light of it,” (21:24) also that, “the gates of it shall not be shut by day, for there shall be no night there” (21:25).

The above passage makes no sense when considered from the merely natural or material comprehension of the human habitual mind. We have a situation here where there will be no physical light source yet the Holy City will never be in darkness. How can this be? How would one improve his or her navigational skills in a busy urban setting without the electromagnetic influence of the sun’s rays?

On reflection, we can easily ascertain for ourselves that we can avoid obstacles and problems not just by ocular vision but also from the mind’s ability (the mind’s eye) to visualize certain unfavorable outcomes. Eyesight lets us see physical objects but understanding lets us “see” concepts and evaluate them.

The human understanding does not need physical light to operate. It is this inner and deeper capacity of seeing things within the human mind that God’s Revelation is directed at. All enlightenment deals with matters of truth. God’s Truth is metaphysical light. This is why the Lord makes two appearances. First He appears in natural light and in a physical body, then, He appears in metaphysical light, by opening our understanding to the deeper levels of truth within Scripture. This new spiritual light will shine through from the Lord’s Word as we begin to recognize the deeper, quantum vocabulary of its narratives.

This quantum vocabulary provides the answer to the strange idea that the New Jerusalem will not need a sun or moon yet it will never be in darkness. Understood from its elevated meaning, the Holy City is the Lord’s new “construction” project within our inner being.

The New Jerusalem represents a new spiritual doctrine, which will take the shape of a new “cosmopolitan” framework and dwelling place in the human psyche and spirit. This doctrine will replace the current fabricated dogma about the destruction of the physical world and its eschatological replacement. The Second Coming is a paradigm shift that is to take place in the human heart and mind. This is how the Lord will make “all things anew.”

Would you agree that a powerful inner change could change how you view everything in the physical universe?

Posted on by

http://www.provinggod.com

This entry was posted in god, Inner growth, metaphysics, psychology, Reality, religion, spirituality, symbolism, unity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

 

He did come to make an atonement

Time would fail me to quote the passages in which he plainly declares that He came to reveal the Divine truth to men, to bring the Divine life down to them, and to open their eyes to see it. He says nothing about satisfaction, about the payment of debt. He is the good Shepherd, the great Physician, the perfect Teacher, the faithful Exemplar in every work. He did come to make an atonement, to make us at one with Him and the Father who dwells within Him. He assumed a human Nature because He could not come to man in any other way. He did what a just, wise, and loving father would do. If one of your children had wandered from home, had spent all his living, was sick and dying, would you not do all in your power to save him? Would you not spend time, money, labor; would you not provide yourself with all the instrumentalities in your power that were necessary to reach him? And do you suppose that infinite love, compared with which your love is not so much as a drop of water to ,the ocean, would refuse to be reconciled to His lost and dying children until he had received full compensation for their sin; until there had been measured to Him, “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe,” or an exact equivalent? It cannot be. Reason, Scripture, the perceptions of justice and mercy which the Lord has given us, and the deep, spontaneous yearnings of our own hearts, declare it to be impossible. No, the Lord did not come into the world to satisfy the demands of an inflexible and arbitrary justice. He came rather to satisfy the demands of infinite love; not to pay a debt, but to reach the dying soul, to cleanse it from its impurities; to heal its diseases; to mould it into His own image and likeness, and fill it with His own peace and blessedness.

By Chauncey Giles

Father Son and Holy Spirit, Are the three essentials, of the one  God, Like body soul, and operation in man.

Consumption – Is this a problem?

consumption

Some commentators have written about consumption in terms of our acquisitive society. Gaining respect — particularly amongst younger people –often depends on wearing fashionable gear and owning the latest electronic gizmo rather than for one’s personal qualities. It seems you are not valued so much for who you are but for what you possess. One might wonder whether an emphasis on consumption is arguably a cause of the problem of looting during the riots in 2011 in some English cities.

Looting and a consumption orientated society

Many people have been shocked, frightened and angry at the breakdown of law and order that has caused great damage in some of the larger cities ; violence against unarmed police, arson and destructive behaviour together with widespread looting and mugging which terrorised shopkeepers and residents. A lot of those going on the rampage were teenagers. How has this happened? How do we make any sense of these disgraceful scenes that have brought shame on a nation? There are probably several complex factors that can throw light on this. Here I am thinking about material consumption.

Talking about the looting, one man said to a television reporter,

‘People round here have got no money man, so people are going to do things like that—it’s opportunity isn’t it.’ A woman said that it is not wrong to loot ‘something that is mass-produced and you can get millions of them from a factory and if I could pick it up, of course I would take it home’

A journalist writing in the Independent newspaper noticed:

“the startling inarticulacy of so many of those now being dragged through the magistrates courts… The great majority appear to be those for whom tertiary education – or even a job – is almost as unlikely as a trip to the moon.”

You might have the illusion that by looting something expensive you can acquire added value to yourself.

Feeling undervalued in a society orientated towards consumption

All of us, including those with little money to spare, are exposed to non-stop advertising and the materialistic values of western culture. Those who can afford it, tend to take nice foreign holidays, drive smart cars, and live in large houses in prestigious areas. All this is well beyond the wildest dreams of the poor. Many people with little or no money feel of no value in a consumption orientate culture which judges worth in terms of money.

Someone talked on a radio phone-in about children overlooked by the educational system because they have practical aptitude but not academic aptitude.

“They get put to the back, they get ignored and they bunk off school. They are not given anything of value to do in a practical sense and have just been told they are useless. And so they go on the downhill spiral.”

Our culture seems to highly value verbal intelligence at the expense of practical skills using the hands although arguably the latter is what our economy needs much more of at this time. Consequently, many kids who have difficulty and thus little interest in reading and writing also lack job opportunities. They haven’t been helped by a national shortage of apprentice-style training that would have provided personal role-models and socialisation as well as other working skills.

Some are unwilling to work for low wages and others are just not employable. Welfare benefits have been thought to provide a perverse incentive not to look for low paid jobs. Each person addicted to the dependency culture will remain on the dole and the vicious circle continues as they each consequently continue to feel and act as a social failure. When you live in a consumption orientated society having no money is pretty much a definition of failure.

What does an emphasis on consumption do to the very poor?

The so-called very poor social underclass are likely to live in inhuman tower blocks or in anonymous sink estates with few if any social amenity buildings. Such people have seen those at the top of society getting away with amoral acts; greedy bankers, who despite their reckless loss-making investments, have exploited public funding for their own extravagant bonuses. They have read all about cheating politicians who have lied over their expenses; a kind of smash and grab of sorts.

Is it so surprising that many poor people in western culture have a sense of entitlement and want some of this wealth too? Of course, just because one is poor, doesn’t make one a criminal and lack morality. There can be no excuse for acting badly.

Gaining appreciation through consumption or through communication

It is not always so obvious that we might be really appreciated for what we do rather than how much money we have. Is there not a tremendous unsung spiritual value in being courteous, giving someone a little time, showing consideration, taking the initiative to do some little job that will be of help to someone else, and generally making oneself useful. What a pity more people cannot experience what it is like to feel respected, appreciated, and esteemed by others for what they do that is good and useful.

Copyright 2011 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

Gay Pride and Straight Talk.

gayWhether to allow gay bishops is currently a hot issue in the Church of England. In line with British equality law, the Church cannot allow sexual orientation in itself to be grounds for preventing a priest being promoted to the role of bishop. However, consistent with provisions contained within the Act for a religious organisation to operate in accordance with its doctrine, the document, ‘Choosing Bishops – The Equality Act 2010’, makes clear that those considered for promotion must be celibate and to have been celibate during their time as a priest.

Many people feel puzzled by this reluctance to embrace homosexuality by strands of organised religion. And some feel angry and want to promote the idea that gay people should be proud of their sexual orientation feeling this is their natural inclination.

The same idea about natural inclination of course could be said of those attracted to the opposite sex who feel they have no conscious choice in the matter. However although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no firm findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles.

From a spiritual perspective, we might ask whether a gay partnership has the same potential for human happiness as that of a heterosexual one. So what does Swedenborg have to say about it?

Conjugial principle and gay partnership

Swedenborg coined a new word ‘conjugial’ by adding an ‘i’ to the old legal term ‘conjugal’. He did this to distinguish a quality of love that unites a couple as one in heart, mind and life. When the understanding of what is true in one person makes one with the affection of what is good in the other, there is said to be a union of the two minds into one.

A deep union between two people is said to be characterized by spiritual states of peace, tranquility, intimate friendship, full trust, joy and sexual pleasure. According to Swedenborg this state of ‘conjugial love,’ has a spiritual source ie the divine union of what is good and what is true. Without this harmony there would be inner tension — thinking one thing but wanting another. Hence in so far as the partnership is a conjugial one, there is a profound joy because the divine harmony is present within the relationship.

Given that each of us has both of some of what is good and true within us, it might be asked whether the conjugial principle has the potential to apply equally to the relationship between two people of the same sex in the same way as between two of the opposite sex. In other words can there be conjugial love in a gay marriage between masculine and feminine natures in each person if we assume we all have both masculine and feminine within us?

Gender difference

The idea there is both masculine and feminine in each person came from Carl Jung. On the contrary, although Swedenborg says that both sexes have thinking heads and feeling hearts and should be equally valued, he nevertheless maintains they are not the same. In his book Conjugial Love (section 32) he says there is an essential difference between male and female and that after death a male lives on as a male and a female as a female.  He goes on to describe the underlying psycho-spiritual difference between male and female minds.

According to Swedenborg, both sexes are capable of intelligent thought and empathy. At the same time, his contention is that men are more naturally inclined towards using their heads and taking an objective stance. On the other hand, women are said to be more likely to observe what is going on with their intuition and take a subjective perspective. Whilst the man is suited to thinking about what is right for longer in the light of understanding, the woman is suited to sustaining a warm feeling for what is good in the heat of love.

Heterosexual love

This supposed gender difference is Swedenborg’s rationale for heterosexual love. Just as opposites attract, the love between a man and a woman can be deeper because it can be between an understanding and its corresponding affection. And so each complements the other. This difference offers the potential to enter deeply and unite them. Also (in his book Conjugial Love section 181), he contends that conjugial love can only happen in the relationship between a man and a woman.

If Swedenborg is right about the difference between men and women, then love between two people of the same sex cannot be the same as the love between those of the opposite sex.

Gay love

We might wonder if these ideas from the eighteenth century have anything to teach us in this day and age. The marriage statistics show that there are lots of people in less than satisfactory heterosexual relationships. Some gay partnerships last longer than heterosexual ones. And given the sexual prejudice still around, one might argue that to persist as a gay couple requires a better inner resilience in the partnership.

Swedenborg doesn’t address the issue of gay partnerships – there was no word for it in his day. However one thing he does state (in his book Conjugial Love section 55) is that the love of a man for a man or that of a woman for a woman cannot be a deep one. He may have got it wrong, but he says that the love of a man for a man and of a woman for a woman make relatively superficial contact not leading to any deep inner union of the two.

In other words according to this view the love between two men is more about the association between one way of thinking and another way of thinking – between one understanding and another understanding. The love between two women is more about the association of one state of feeling and another state of feeling.

In aspiring to reach the heavenly condition of what Swedenborg calls conjugial love, one could argue that people stand a better chance within a heterosexual rather than a gay partnership.

Copyright 2011 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems