Reconciliation #1: Initial Discussion on the Inorganic Sciences and Christianity [3/3]   2 comments

I. Introduction

The Concepts of Eastern Christian teaching founded throughout the Theological Writings of Mystics and Clergymen from the Patristic Era to the Modern Day itself are not in conflict with the Modern Scientific understandings concerning Physics at the Quantum Level, Relativity, Chaos and Uncertainty as well as the the Emerging Science of Systems/Network Science. This blog post will be broken up into 3-Parts in order to accommodate for space in respect to the reader. This is the third part of the initial discussion done in order to begin the work of reconciling the Christian God to Inorganic Nature. Sources will be cited at the end the end of the First Post, the Second Post, and the Third Post, to point to further reading.

IV. The Initial Synthesis Created: Addressing Christian Theology through the Spiritual Parallels with Current Scientific Understanding

In this part of the post I wish to do 2 things. The first is address directly certain scientific conclusions addressed in the first part of the article to Christian Theology, in particular a balanced universe that exists exactly because of the tension of Order and Chaos and how Matter is not separate from us but that we are all part of one Creation. After doing this I wish to move on to the second thing which is to, discuss the Spiritual Parallels of the Far East that were drawn from the Scientific conclusion of the previous post, as they relate to Christian Spiritual Theology, addressing both the Emergent Phenomena and the general conclusions from the previous section.

A. Chaos Is Not Completely Chaotic, but even it too has deterministic elements in it and that therefore, the Created Order is neither Fully Ordered nor Fully Disordered, but exists because of the Tension between the Two.

Before I go into the conclusions drawn from the Part 2 of 3, I want to point out a direct relation between certain Scientific Principles and Catholic Theology. The first direct relation concerns the existence of the cosmos between the tension of Order and Disorder. It is written in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that,

“But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better. But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world ‘in a state of journeying’ towards its ultimate perfection. In God’s plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.” – Part 1 Sec.2 Chap. 1 Article 1 Paragraph 4.5: 310

So we understand then that Creation is in Constant Change, it is not set in stone, it was not just an initial condition and then suddenly order and stability occurred in the Universe. Rather everything happening is happening for a reason, toward the perfection of creation that God envisions, we might not be able to see what good will come about at this point in time, because we are like people living in a neighborhood and all around is a construction site, whatever is to come, it surely must be great and surpasses our expectations, for it is not men at the helm of great construction but God Himself, with mankind (knowingly or not) as His Co-Constructor.

B. Matter is Not Dead, for We Are Made of the stuff of Matter and that Nature like Man is in a State of Change

The next direct relation is similar to the first, but more directly the inherent “aliveness” of all creation and the State of Change that is present in the Cosmos around us. The closest Christian Theological Parallel that exists between this Far Eastern Spiritual belief and thus scientific parallel is found also in the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it was written that,

“Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created “in a state of journeying” (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call “divine providence” the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection:

‘By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, “reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well”. For “all are open and laid bare to his eyes”, even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures.’” – Part 1 Sec.2 Chap. 1 Article 1 Paragraph 4.5: 302

We also find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church an interesting parallel concerning the inherent interconnectedness found in all of Creation when it was written that,

“God wills the interdependence of creatures. The sun and the moon, the cedar and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow: the spectacle of their countless diversities and inequalities tells us that no creature is self-sufficient. Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other.” – Part 1 Sec.2 Chap. 1 Article 1 Paragraph 5.2: 340

I would go so far as to say then, that if what is written here makes mention of the scientifically Inorganic things as the Sun and the Moon, then let us also consider the seemingly Inorganic realm of the Quantum Universe from which also sustains the existence of both the Inorganic and Organic parts of Creation written in the excerpt above. Surely then there is a parallel between this cornerstone Christian Theological viewpoint and that which is founded even in the Far Eastern writings and by association that which is currently understood by science.

C. Other Conclusions Drawn From Part III

Having now discussed the particular parallels from the final part of the whole initial reconciliation attempt, I now wish to discuss the 3 Concluding Points I made in the previous section as they relate to Spiritual Christian Theology. The parallels to be argued here are the following:

1. “It is important to realize that this change is not seen as occurring as a consequence of some force, but rather as a tendency which is innate in all things and situations. The movement of the Tao is not forced upon it, but occurs naturally and spontaneously.”

According once again to the Catechism of the Catholic Church we see that,

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’: three things are affirmed in these first words of Scripture: the eternal God gave a beginning to all that exists outside of himself; he alone is Creator (the verb “create” – Hebrew bara – always has God for its subject). The totality of what exists (expressed by the formula “the heavens and the earth”) depends on the One who gives it being.” – Part 1 Sec.2 Chap. 1 Article 1 Paragraph 4.2: 290

“In the beginning was the Word. . . and the Word was God. . . all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.’ The New Testament reveals that God created everything by the eternal Word, his beloved Son. In him ‘all things were created, in heaven and on earth all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.’ The Church’s faith likewise confesses the creative action of the Holy Spirit, the ‘giver of life’, ‘the Creator Spirit’ (Veni, Creator Spiritus), the ‘source of every good’.” – Part 1 Sec.2 Chap. 1 Article 1 Paragraph 4.2: 291

“The Old Testament suggests and the New Covenant reveals the creative action of the Son and the Spirit, inseparably one with that of the Father. This creative co-operation is clearly affirmed in the Church’s rule of faith: ‘There exists but one God. . . he is the Father, God, the Creator, the author, the giver of order. He made all things by himself, that is, by his Word and by his Wisdom’, ‘by the Son and the Spirit’ who, so to speak, are ‘his hands’. Creation is the common work of the Holy Trinity.” – Part 1 Sec.2 Chap. 1 Article 1 Paragraph 4.2: 292

We also read in Christ the Eternal Tao by Hieromonk Damascene that, “each part of creation has for itself its own indwelling logos/tao or Word. Its own unique principle, which makes that thing distinctively itself, and which directs that thing towards its end which is, God the Supreme Logos/Tao or Word.” The author goes on to say that, “He draws all things to Himself, yet He controls without compulsion, directing each thing naturally, according to its own logos/tao or Word.” The author was offering additional commentary to the Gi-ming Shien translation of Lines 3 and 5 from Chapter 51 of the Tao Te Ching. To further this case even more, a monk by the name of St. Maximus the Confessor of the Hesychast Tradition of Eastern Christianity wrote that, “The Origin and Cause of created beings has, as Truth, conquered all things naturally, and has drawn their activity to Himself.”

2. This Pure Energy, this Nothingness for which all things stem, is not empty or in some Nihilistic sense, but rather is empty of all our concepts about reality.

According to Christ the Eternal Tao once again we see another valuable insight into the nature of reality itself. Nothingness properly understood, is self-emptying rather than an impersonal void and this is the very mode of existence by which Christ as Tao/Logos exists and through which everything else exists as well. More to the point, this Nothingness ought to be understood more as a point of convergence; Lao Tzu understood it as such,

“Thirty spokes converge upon a single hub; It is the hole in the centre that the use of the cart hinges.” – (Tao Te Ching: Chapter 11)

This emptiness proper, is not impersonal, because an impersonal God-Image as I have made mention in an earlier writing would lead to a highly judicial, vengeful, stern, and demanding outlook on God. The real nature of nothingness is spontaneity, therefore since the Tao is self-existent and complete unto itself, it can create, give, and sustain life while seeking nothing of its own.

3. Due to the notion’s of Quantum Tendencies of matter to exist in no particular place at no particular time and events to occur in no particular place and no particular time forced us to conclude that all of creation is interconnected, and that the old Classical view of a separate, independently existing reality from us must be relinquished or at the very least not given monopoly over our outlook of reality.

An interesting parallel exists here, we see that things only have a tendency to happen and exist. According to a Spiritual Christian Theology such as what is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church once again, we see that,

“With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence:
‘For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured, if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living.’” – Part 1 Sec.2 Chap. 1 Article 1 Paragraph 4.4: 301

From both these conclusions I feel left to conclude that, without the love of the Creator to His entire creation, that which tends to exist and that which tends to happen at the most basic level of all creation, would cease to happen, and things would tend not to happen and not to exist. From reading more of Christ the Eternal Tao we also read that, the Universal Benevolence in creation was not some impersonal force but something personable,

“It is true that Lao Tzu approached this realization, for as he observed the Tao at work in Nature, he saw actions that were benevolent, like those of a person: ‘Everything in existence depends on it, and it doesn’t deny them. It accomplishes its work without naming or making claims for itself. Everything in existence is clothed and nourished by it, but it doesn’t lord over anything.’ (Tao Te Ching: Chapter 33)”

One could say then that, one can have a relationship with this force in the universe because it is personal; by living in alignment with it and turning around if deviation from the Way ever occurred.

V. Conclusion

I always like to leave a Disclaimer regarding Scientific Progress and Theological Revelations; I have made it known [elsewhere] that we must be careful so as to not tie spirituality too closely with scientific progress. To this I feel that like I must point out that inherent need to realize the inherent differences between Science and Spirituality so as to make sure that confusion is not met between the two.

With regards to Science and Scientific Knowledge, their aim is toward understanding the Cosmos. In doing this they establish theories based on relative approximations and conditional limitations arrived at through rational and empirical research. This is not to deny science its due, but to recognize science’s strength and success. However, with regard to True Spirituality and True Spiritual Knowledge, their aim is toward understanding Creation through a relationship with its Creator. In doing this they pursue a different kind of knowledge, an intuitive knowledge arrived at through deep introspection, this knowledge is an Absolute sort of Knowledge and an absolute sort of Revelation, whereas Science sought knowledge of the relative kind the Spiritual-Philosophical Traditions of the world all sought Transcendent Truth.

Again, as I made known elsewhere on this blog as well, I do not seek to give a once and for all argument, because as I said above the conclusion, the answers science provide are ever changing and ever going deeper, with revisions to be made, in the end I leave you with the notion that, God Created The Universe, but our Jobs as Christians who want to reconcile our Faith to modern understandings should be saying, “and through empirical research this is how He made the Cosmos, as we understand it so far!”

Let it be known that I did not tackle the notions of Timelessness in the Relative Sense and the Spiritual Sense because this is one notion that is most well known. What Quantum Physics and Relativity Theory have shown us is that, time is not absolute but relative; therefore in the Spiritual Sense it is illusory because in light of the highest points of Spiritual Development, time is lost in the experience of the Spirit. According in the Writers of the Philokalia, the notions of time in “this Present Age,” are a result of the fallen humanity. Therefore, “the Age to Come” we can grasp the notion of time as the way that God would be able to grasp time, not as something to come in the future, but by grace experience right now today, more precisely it is the mystical blessings held in store for all of humanity.

From the Conclusions Drawn from the Science All The Way Toward a Truer Sense of Authentic Spiritual Christian Theology we can see that Science and Christianity in the Organic Realm is not in conflict with each other. The following Conclusions are what I hoped you have drawn from this Initial Attempt at Reconciliation:

1. Without the love of the Creator toward His entire creation, that which tends to exist and that which tends to happen at the most basic level of all creation, would cease to happen, and things would tend not to happen and not to exist.

2. Nothingness properly understood, is self-emptying rather than an impersonal void and this is the very mode of existence by which Christ as Tao/Logos exists and through which everything else exists as well.

3. The Natural Order is filled with a Spirit of Spontaneity and that God Himself is Spontaneous in work toward His creation.

4. God wills Interdependence Upon All of Creation that nothing created is complete unto itself, but has its purpose through the interaction with other Agents of Creation and its Creator, through this we can also see its “aliveness.”

5. Creation is still under construction and is in a State of Constant Change, the forces of Constructiveness and Destructiveness are at work in Unison with Gods Final Plan of Creation.

Sources: (1) Catechism of the Catholic Church (2) Christ the Eternal Tao (3) The Tao Te Ching


Posted August 14, 2011 by jimbo9889 in The Objectives

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2 responses to “Reconciliation #1: Initial Discussion on the Inorganic Sciences and Christianity [3/3]

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  1. Pingback: The Parables: Yesteryear and Today « Reality and Illusions

  2. Pingback: “Christian Libertarianism” Excerpt #3: On Human Reason and Grasping Divinity and Spirit [1/2] « Reality and Illusions

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