Science is more concerned with the “how” of things rather than the “why.” If we are to have a constructive dialog between science and theology the answer to the “why” question will have to generate new knowledge about the world and actually change the direction of progressive research.
Emanuel Swedenborg, in his great theological work, Divine Providence, states that the purpose and goal of creation is to form a heaven from the human race. But WHY does God need to create anything at all, including humans?
Since the essence of spiritual love is sharing, God creates a universe as an object in which to direct and focus all that divine love. In other words, nature is the object of God’s love. Nature’s ceaseless drive towards order, self-organization and bio-complexity tells us that existence is relationship, and that all created things are self-representations of God’s nature (the essence of love is to unify).
But such a one-sided situation cannot fulfill love’s ultimate plan.
Love is not complete unless it is reciprocal. For spiritual love to be truly reciprocal, a creature must emerge in the physical world with a level of consciousness capable of acknowledging a Creator and loving God back. God seeks this ultimate relationship. (In religion this is called God’s covenant with humankind.)
Evolution, even when described in Darwinian terms, shows an obvious pattern towards increased intelligence and consciousness. However, evolutionary biology does not fully take into account that, unlike other creatures, the human species has found its niche in the world of information (as opposed to simply adapting their physical form to respond to the changing pressures of a natural environment). Humans seek out information in the same way other creatures forage for food.
Information is food and is much different than, let’s say, an apple. If you share half your apple with someone else, you are left with half an apple. If you share half your information with someone else you still possess all your knowledge. Information and knowledge are not under the same constraints of physical laws as an apple.
Knowledge and information do, however, come under the constraints of our personal values. What each of us seeks, intends, wishes and believes, shapes our attention and gives order and real organization to the ideas of our memory. In other words, it is in this non-physical niche of the mind and human spirit that evolution can still continue.
Religion deals with values.
In order for God to create a heaven from the human race, humans must be able to evolve beyond the physical world and adapt their lives to the laws of a distinct and more rarefied environment. Heaven is not a reward but is something we become. Obtaining heaven requires that the inner bio-organization of our spirit becomes responsive to, and adapted for, receiving God’s spiritual love and values.
When we adopt God’s tenets into our lives we are actually re-organizing the spiritual substances of our mind and spirit into new living structure. This process produces a spiritual body, which is the real embodiment of the spiritual principles and values we each choose and put into practice throughout our lives.
Nothing exists without form, neither in this world nor in the next. Our values and principles (whatever they may be) become the real fabric of our innermost being and involve real bio-structure. What we love molds our spiritual body exactly to our disposition. Under this system goodness is its own reward and evil is its own punishment.
So religion is God’s strategy to extend both bio-complexity and the biosphere into a non-temporal and non-spatial realm called heaven. This makes religion a “scientific” belief system with lawful intelligibility. True religion explains the laws of the heart and mind with the same systematic and rigorous methodology that science uses to explain the physical laws of the visible universe.
Do you believe that the mysteries of faith can come under the comprehension of human reasoning, as does science?