The cosmic duh

Question for today: Does God exist?

It is a difficult question. For as we read in the (Svetasvatara) Upanishad, “He is not a male, He is not a female, He is not a neuter. He neither is nor is not. When He is sought He will take the form in which He is sought, and again He will not come in such a form. … It is indeed difficult to describe the Name of the Lord.”

It is also a silly question. Of course God “exists,” in a sense that is prior to all existence. The more interesting questions concern those attributes, discernible to us. Has He personhood? Does He will good or evil? Why were we created, and what will happen to us? But answers to such questions will require Revelation, and command action on our part. Today’s question is only about existence.

There are some things that cannot be verified, or falsified. These would include all axioms of logic; even those of post-modern “paraconsistent” logics, wherein the very Law of Non-Contradiction is (implausibly) denied, but which are axiomatic on their own terms. We are out the door of “science” when we discuss logic; or the principles of mathematics for that matter. All we can say is that the world makes sense on axioms; and not otherwise. Otherwise it is incomprehensible mush.

For science, or human knowledge more broadly, God is not an hypothesis, but an Axiom. Start in Aristotle, if you will, to see that the world has no purchase on sense, without the Unmoved Mover. The “Five Ways” by which the inevitability of God was demonstrated by Thomas Aquinas, and the related ways in which this was done by others before and after him, are easily misunderstood, because they are not proofs of an hypothesis but recursions. They show, without the “God Axiom,” that there can be no causation, no change, no being in itself, no gradation, no direction to an end. We need a Still Point, from which to depart. It cannot be hypothesized. It is too simple for that. You need to assume it even to contradict it.

I should think that “post-modern” developers of “natural theology” (not the theology of nature, but theology constructed without Revelation) are onto something when they refuse to attribute “causation,” “being,” “ends,” and the like, to God. But they are onto nothing new; just a new way to express the old inexpressibles.

There is not merely a huge difference between our being and God’s beyond-being. For He is prior to being; being’s ultimate cause; and end beyond all ends. These are not relative terms. They have nothing to do with the plaything of “infinity.” To my mind, it follows that God does nothing without angels; or nothing without mediation; as it were, the “absolute idler,” Who does nothing at all. “I am that I am,” in Hebrew Scripture. In no way does He need the Creation; in every way, it needs Him. There can be no gradations, such as, we are small and He is large. That is mere metaphor. Any attempt to get around this, plunges us into pantheism, which is atheism by halves: it affirms immanence by denying transcendence.

Yet we must affirm transcendence without denying immanence.

“Created in His image.” … What can this mean but that we are endowed with an irreducible “spark” of the same axiomatically perfect Stillness, from which we proceed, inerrantly but for the subverting Adam within us all. But that “spark” remains, ineradicably. (Or one might call it freedom: which is what makes the evil we do terrible, for it is not involuntary.)

Too, we were made to resemble Christ: the perfect self-giving of this self-revealing, Triune God, prior to all being. The embodiment of Christ is beyond thinking. But so are we. For even to begin thinking of ourselves as being, we must consider ourselves from a standpoint of not-being, which is unthinkable. The situation resembles what they call a “singularity” in physics, but is more fundamental. An “is” requires an is-maker.

Observe, now by Revelation, that God is Love, not being; and that on Love, all being depends. That in persona Christi, walking as He did, when and where, we see Love, embodied. God, beyond all being, brought Himself even into being, for Love.

A thought not reductive: this is what I’m trying, haplessly, to articulate. Our universe may be reduced to some primordial egg or atom. God cannot be reduced in such a way, by our glib scientists — the “global village idiots.” At one hundred billionth the breadth of a proton, that cosmic egg from which we were hatched would be far too large. Ditto, at one hundred trillionth, and with a whole multiverse tucked inside. We are NOT dealing here with gradation, and the relativists can all go fly.

Or, to bring out paradox in a season of folly: to be an atheist is to believe too much.