PLEASE NOTE: This essay is supplemental to the Formal Introduction Essay, and the Formal Statement Essay for the Philosophy of the GOOD, and should be read in conjunction with them.
In this essay I will add a cosmology 2 for the Philosophy of the GOOD that can allow the reconciliation of science and philosophy with religion. It will rationally explain the answer to the age old question that was posed by the story of Job in the Bible, and for once and all time demystify the answers to this same question that religion has to this point answered only through mysticism 3 . At the same time we will keep our answer hopefully compatible with any of the existing religions. We partially answered these questions in the Formal Statement Essay, in pointing out how Fate was part and parcel of the Mortal World and an inevitable outcome of it. But we did not really reconcile this with why the GOOD allows this to occur. Here we will fill in this very important gap in our rational knowledge.
Firstly I will pose my inquiry in a semi-Thomistic form as St.Thomas Aquinas did in Summa Theologica 4 .
We will pose some important preliminary questions.
What is the final end 5 (purpose) of man’s existence?
If the individual “self” of man has as its final end only the divine purpose of God then man’s individual existence is meaningless.
If Divine Providence is the actual determiner of man’s purpose (in this world) then his life and existence is but a tool for God’s indiscriminant use. Again his existence as an “individual” is a farce; so again his existence is meaningless.
(The following question is a group of related inquiries.)
Therefore what is the purpose of “free will” in a determinate existence? Is man only a sophisticated puppet for God’s use? Or does the life and individual existence of the “self” have an intrinsic value?
This brings us back to the story of Job, and the failure of the Bible to answer the question of the arbitrary fate of man in this world, as opposed to God’s Final End for mankind. Or for that matter the failure of organized religion to answer this same question beyond the stock answer of “God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform”.
If man as “self” has no purpose beyond Divine purpose then man is only a chimera for the actual reality of God Himself. Or man is but an extension of God, or God as another form – a mortal form. Or if man has truly a free will, and therefore a purpose of his own, is this purpose only the purpose of his own life or a purpose shared with all others? Can man’s life have any purpose (assuming there is one) except as a part of all other men’s purposes?
None of these questions have been adequately answered in an intelligible or reasonable way until now. The Bible tried to answer these questions with the concepts then available to it; but having found the concepts, now available through science, we are at last able to give intelligible answers that both confirm the Bible and advance the Bible, and give to humanity a unified way of understanding that the Great Commandments of God are in essence not only the meaning and purpose of each individual life, but the overall purpose of the universe of humanity.
We will understand existence (or being) to be the will 6 (or self) of the individual Ego, which can only be perceived by an individual Ego in the present time. You will remember that we defined elsewhere, that there were only two things perceived by the Self or will: the Ego and “everything else”. Let us first delve into “non-existence”.
Can one even imagine “non-existence”? The mere thought of it, presupposes existence, or will. For what is existence but will; hence the ability to perceive, feel or think. If we physically black out or faint; it all must be contemplated only in hindsight – memories. Death is irrevocable, and cannot be contemplated at all – that is by a similar will, with memories. The lack of immortality (or an immortal will or a soul) would mean an absolute end – never perceiving again. But this is a contradiction, because the death of one perceiver does not mean the death of all perceivers. Perception can only be known through the viewpoint of the individual Ego. The death of one Ego only means the shift of perception from one viewpoint to another or, from one Ego to another. Viewpoint or Ego is for us, the will, and only a single viewpoint or Ego or perceiver can be experienced at a time. So in a way Bishop Berkeley’s idealism 7 is correct: death entails at the same time the end of the universe and also its revival, or the trade of one Ego for another. This would mean that the Ego is really only a chimera, a mask to contain the viewpoint, the perceiver. The will must have a perceiver or an Ego attached to it, if it is to function. This has far reaching implications for individual life and its meaning. If the Ego were merely the vehicle for the will or its viewpoint, then it itself has no significance per se; this would mean that the quest for meaning in life is futile on an individual basis. Seen in this way, the quest for meaning in life is the quest for meaning in all human life. Let’s expand on this.
The will is but one will 8 (we will call this the multidimensional Id-Ego) inhabiting each Ego in turn, and with each death inhabits another Ego. Think of all humanity as being a huge multidimensional object (Id-Ego); with every individual life played out in turn by the single will, yet at the same time all played out together, but with only one Ego perceiving in the present 9 . So that the will can only see the viewpoint from one single Ego during each life, but at the same time (within the view of this single Ego) all other Egos are also playing out there lives (as if from the view of each of their Egos). The time frame is in that of the whole multidimensional Id-Ego; yet each part of the Id-Ego (every individual will) has a timeframe relative to that Ego. The will lives in the timeframe of the multidimensional Id-Ego. The rationality of each individual Ego drives the will in compliance with the particular Ego it then inhabits, in the manner outlined in the essay on Ontology and Epistemology. But the rationality of the Id-Ego (which shows itself in each Ego it is then inhabiting), as the agency of the GOOD, supercedes this rationality. In doing this, it is fulfilling the purpose of Divine Providence, or the rationality of the Id-Ego; this is the overall meaning to existence, which does not exist in the individual Ego, who is at the whim of free will, but in the rationality of the Id-Ego that represents the purpose of all individual Egos within itself. So the overall purpose of life, is this very same purpose as shown in the Id-Ego, but only expressed in and through the free will of the individual Ego. So humanity’s essence is, if you will, contained in the Id-Ego but is implemented through the individual Ego’s freely determined interaction with the mortal world. Thus the single Will, the Id-Ego, God if you will, makes His purpose known through the individual’s free acceptance of the GOOD within him (as the individual Ego). The overall course of humanity through the lives of all the individual Egos (in accordance with the process described in the Formal Statement Essay) is both freely determined, and yet guided by the overall purpose of the single Id-Ego which is a part of all the individual Egos.
So human life is the implementation of the Divine Will through the free will of the individual as opposed to the (arbitrary) fate of the mortal world. Every individual therefore contributes to the overall course of mortal existence in the mortal world through his individual acceptance or denial of the GOOD within him, and consequently through his individual contribution to his own society, either positively (in line with the GOOD) or negatively (opposed to the GOOD). The overall course of humanity is therefore determined by the contributions of every individual to all the societies of the world. So history is shaped by these individual struggles against both the mortal world and the individual Ego to carry out or to contradict the guiding force of the Divine Providence of the Id-Ego, which freely guides humanity.
In stating this system, the individual can now rationally perceive the overall purpose of God working to shape humanity’s course, yet see the hardships of mortal individual life as fully explained, and fully compatible with this Divine Purpose 10 .
The Bible, as an ancient book, was not able to fully verbalize these motivations; yet remarkably through the various uneducated yet divinely inspired authors, both before and during Christ’s day, the gist of these concepts could be seen shining through the superstitions, prejudices and biases of the ancient cultures that shaped their author’s concepts. Like diamonds in the rough, these underlying truths are there to be interpreted, (as all books must be interpreted) with the help of the GOOD, which was foreshadowed by the New Covenant created in the hearts of all men and women.
Thus this rationally explainable system, by which the problems of God’s seeming arbitrary rule are fully opened to the minds of modern man, exists not as reasons for belief, but rational goads to provide his actions with rational meaning in line with belief. Still his own acceptance is needed, as free will dictates. The GOOD does not dictate, but guides man with the help of the intuition it provides and the use of rationality.
This system can also include the concepts of Heaven and Hell or Divine Justice through reward or punishment.
This is allowed in that the individual Egos through their free wills can either accept or reject the Divine Purpose of the GOOD in accepting this purpose and living in accordance with the Great Commandments of God (the rationality or purpose of the Id-Ego). In doing this, they attain unity with the Id-Ego and eternal freedom from the mortal world – this is the concept of Heaven. Alternatively, in rejecting the GOOD, they bind themselves to the eternal hardships of mortality, and the continued existence of their mortal Ego – this is Hell. Any of the religions can shape these concepts to their own doctrines to allow compliance with their own beliefs. The importance being that the unity of all mankind is emphasized, and that rationality can supercede non-rational “mystical” concepts.
This view of the Universe also opens up the idea of a final end in History. Will man continue to allow his greed, in the form of such truly evil systems as capitalism 11 , as it now exists, and the institutions such as poverty, slavery (in its varied forms: e.g. sexual, i.e. prostitution and pornography, and drug dependency), crime and war that it breeds to bring him to the Apocalyptic end the Bible portends? Or will man finally throw off the divisions that his societies, governments and economy perpetuate at present, and unite with his fellows to form the world into the Kingdom of God on Earth? As I write this the ominous signs of his dissolution continue to grow with the disparity his world shows between the prosperity of some and the misery of many.
If as I have mentioned above, History is, in fact, the result of a Providential influence, but subject to the free will of man’s societies, then man can only progress by bringing these societies in line with this Providential Will, through the tutelage of previous History. If man can indeed learn from the mistakes of the proceeding generations, in which task to this point he seems to have failed utterly, then he may be able to break out of the spiraling spin toward total destruction his civilization is bent on.
If I myself, as an individual can have come to these conclusions through a study of History, then I would hope that much smarter people than I, especially the religious and temporal leaders we have delegated for our societies would also come to the same conclusions.
1 An unknown will or purpose can be substituted for a Supreme Being here, and throughout this essay. See later further comments on this note in Errata
2 Cosmology is a way (a hypothesis) of interpreting the Universe.
[Added: October 6, 2010] This essay is an early one; it seems very religious in its tone, but I later stressed that religion is not what I mean, per se. See the essay: "The Concept and Primacy of Love" for a later more non-religious interpretation.
[Added: May 16, 2008] This brings up the question: “Is a hypothesis better than a mystical answer to such questions as Job poses in the Bible?”
Rationality is always better then mysticism, in that mysticism is too easily perverted into a way of coercing man’s will through suggestion. Rational explanations are not counter to God but what distinguishes God’s own ways. Rationality is a gift of God’s which enables freedom of action. Freedom depends on the rational in that it is what actually brings man the distinction of self-awareness, which allows him the freedom to mimic God himself. Man can make this gift into what he wants; this is his free choice allowed by the same gift itself. He can use it to bury himself in the mortal world and its futility, or liberate himself through being a participant in the purpose of the Universe itself. It is indeed his agony and ecstasy!
In the same way the GOOD acts with rationality to widen man’s perspective, so he no longer sees through the blinders of mortality. It allows him more knowledge which his rationality may work on unhindered by the narrow self-centered view mortality suggests to him.
3 Mysteries of any kind should not be used to explain away the conflict between the Will of an All-Loving and All-Beneficial God and the hardships of the righteous in daily life; these concerns should not be beyond the ken of rationality (see preceeding footnote for more on this). In this discussion we will use the concepts of hyperspace, or a multidimensional Universe, and the multidimensional object, which are in line with modern science.
4 Summa Theologica by St.Thomas Aquinas; Volumes 19, 20, Britannica Great Books, Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. 1952.
5 Final end is used here as in Aristotle’s Philosophy.
6 We can say that the will is the soul or immortal part of man. As we use this below, we will see that it is an extension of God Himself (or the first cause: a process or intelligence) in each of us. In the Id-Ego, which is the one Divine Will of God there are individual parts, which I call the “Ego” below. The Ego is itself both mortal (as the identity) and immortal (as the will), as we will show, and is the “individual” free will that man exhibits. The Id-Ego is also the totality of the Universe and therefore includes the mortal world, about which we spoke in the essay of the formal statement (An Ontology and Epistemology for the Philosophy of the GOOD). None of what we say here contradicts what we said there, but instead expands it to show how the Universe can be imagined in this Philosophy. The fate that we spoke of there is relative only to the individual Ego, as is the mortal world itself. The Id-Ego, which we can identify as God, contains the entire Universe and is beyond the scope of the mortal world or fate itself, although it contains them.
7 Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous by George Berkeley; The Liberal Arts Press Inc, 1954.
This switching of the viewpoint or perceiver gives us a way of explaining what death is: merely the termination of that perceptual viewpoint. Since there is only one perceptual viewpoint at any one time (for instance as I write this I am the only perceiving organism in my universe) the death of that perceiver terminates that viewpoint (in essence the viewpoint switches to another perciever), thus a new viewpoint and perceiver is in the universe. God is the only one who knows all viewpoints in the universe simultaeneously, since they are all a part of him.
8 This means that as in Bishop Berkeley’s Idealism (see above note) there is only one will existing in the Universe at the present time, for as long as that will exists.
9 This discussion also shows a special multidimensional aspect for time. Each perceiver or Ego showing a time line relative to him but also an absolute time for the Id-Ego that is relative to all perceivers or Egos. In other words (according to our notion of time) the present is the present for all perceivers simultaneously. Although there is only one perceiver at any present time (our time), the simultaneous perceiving of all perceivers is relative only to the absolute time line of the Id-Ego. Therefore the Id-Ego, being itself unity shows a time line, which is absolute and simultaneously the present for all perceivers, since the Id-Ego is the totality of the Universe and all presents. The Id-Ego is essentially all individual objects in the Universe, and also only one multidimensional object of all of these. Therefore relative to it all of its parts experience the present; but its various parts only experience their own present. The other Egos all look to this one perceiver, in his present, as though they are also perceiving; but this is only an illusion, although when any of the other perceivers are perceiving they experience the same illusion. Also seeing time in this way shows that for the Id-Ego all presents are simultaneously known therefore the entire time line for every Ego has already been determined within the Id-Ego. Determinism is absolutely known quantity (past, present and future for all Egos) to the Id-Ego, and indeterminism exists only in the individual Egos.
10 The Distinction between Government and Purpose in Religion:
Religions too often view God as a Ruler over humanity. This is the throwback to the Bible that viewed religion as a kind of government; and that is exactly what religion was in biblical times – a moral government. Thus the people of that time, including the writers of the Bible, saw religion as God’s government on earth, with rules and codes to keep man’s conduct within certain norms of behavior, through the use of rewards and punishments. But God had given man freedom of will, which allowed him to freely choose the course of his actions. The new covenant brought with it a new perspective. God no longer looked to rules and government to show man the way, but allowed man to feel the purpose or design he expressed, in the heart of man by the agency of the GOOD. Although the Bible never really seemed to break loose of the biblical “government on earth” concept since the people of that time only understood this way of perceiving religion.
The design or purpose that guides man through the GOOD, does not coerce or hold out rewards or punishment, but infuses man with the rationality of God, his purpose for all humanity. This leaves man with the freedom to choose his destiny, and the freedom to accept or reject the purpose of God, as shown in the GOOD. Religions, today are still following the viewpoint of religion stressed in the Bible, because they have accepted religion as a static process that solidified 2000 years ago within the Bible. They fail to see that the Bible was a process evolving along with the people whose book it was. As the people changed through the purpose of God, so did the Bible. But today, religions still see the Bible only as the rulebook, not the diary of God’s purpose at work in History. Religion is not static but grows and progresses as its people grow and change according to God’s purpose or design. The Bible that God placed in man’s heart is the true Bible that never goes out of date. It grows and flourishes with the spiritual growth of his people. The Bible is merely the record of the past growth of His design on earth; and the record of the successes and failures of his people.
11 See the Formal Introduction Essay or the other essays under the Government, Resources and Society section, to see how capitalism can be reformed or brought in line with the GOOD.
Originally Published:March 31, 2008
Revised:June 26, 2014