Absolute nothing is the absence of our universe and its laws. Without these rules, nothingness has infinite potential. This implies that within the infinite probability of nothing, infinity can emerge. This would be expressed through infinite universes like our own. Infinite of these universes will differ by several particles, appearing and disappearing for no reason other than fulfilling every possibility. This universe is the product of a greater realisation of infinity and we can test this theory via the measurement of (...) our universe’s most fundamental particles appearing and disappearing for no discernible internal reason (random to our perspective). (shrink)
Origen of Alexandria can be credited as the founder of a Christian speculative angelology, in which Christ the Logos is both the creator and the interpreter of the angels. He introduces the angels as the first created rational beings who, in contemplating the divine Word (Logos), freely choose to direct their will as holy angels in service to or wicked demons in antagonism against the love of God. The first created rational beings are divided into three orders: the angels, the (...) demons, and the neutral spirits of human souls. The angels remain closest in contemplation of the Logos, yet, due to their negligence, descend to unfold in the angelic hierarchy. The angels and demons thereafter guide the movements of all spirits, substances, and signs in the created world. The neutral spirits of human souls can choose to follow either the guidance of guardian angels or demons. And yet after the Incarnation, the angels are distinguished from the demons by their choice to follow Christ. Origen’s angelology has often been regarded as an early Christian alternative to Middle Platonic daemonologies. And after Karl Barth, his angelology has come to be dispensed from Christian theology. However, as Jean Daniélou has observed, Origen had previously departed from Platonic daemonology in affirming that angelic mediacy must pass away like the light of the stars before the brilliance of the Logos of Christ. He had, in this way, already assimilated the mediacy of the angels to the absolute mediation of Christ. And, in assimilating angelic to christic mediacy, Origen also attributes the reason with which the world is moved to the divine reason of the divine Word (Logos) of Christ in God. Origen’s angelology can thus be read both before and after Barth as a science of the angels. (shrink)
Many believe that a peaceful, tolerant and respectful coexistence among religions is not compatible with the conviction that only one of them is true. I argue that this ‘incompatibility problem’ (IP) is grounded in a ‘naturalistic assumption’ (NA), that is, the assumption that every subject, including religion, should be treated without taking into account that a super‐natural being may exist and reveal to us an unexpected way to deal with our experience. I then argue that in matters of religion, NA (...) is untenable and that its very opposite, which I call ‘super‐naturalistic assumption’ (SA), should be adopted. My thesis is that, once SA is adopted, IP can be dismissed and that it is plausible to maintain that a peaceful, tolerant and respectful coexistence among religions is compatible with the conviction that only one of them is true. (shrink)
In the following paragraphs, I will describe ten strategies through which we can show the weaknesses of every form of theism based on the "One God", while postulating that the Trinity is a good solution. This approach follows up on Swinburne’s claims about the existence of a priori and a posteriori proofs for the existence of the Trinity (his proofs are part of the sixth strategy). Clearly, these strategies are not “new”: they have been advocated by many thinkers in the (...) past and in the present. I merely revived them, and brought them together in a kind of cumulative reasoning: the strength of them arises when these strategies are considered together, showing that the Trinity is a reasonable hypothesis even though it is contradictory. The proposed strategies lead to the conclusion that there must exist in God something similar to what we call ‘real relations’ and ‘multiplicity’; and in order for God to be relational, there must exist in Him some “distincts” that relate to one another. This is postulated by philosophical reasoning, not just by Revelation, and regardless of the choice to support a process metaphysics. As Trinitarian theology contains the mystery of eternal generation, the strategies do account for the fact that in philosophy we contemplate the mystery of eternal self-distinction and of all the other ‘self-actions’ of the One. The eternal generation remains mysterious, but it is the idea that best helps us describe how God is (One and Triune) and how he creates the world. God must be Triune in every theistic system. The One God is, as One, also Triune. The Unity-Trinity of the Principle is the only apophatic point that we can reach from many quarters. Once autonomous paths of reason have established that God is a Person and Persons, One-Multiple, Creator (communicated), Free, Relational and Infinite possibility, it therefore emerges that our most reliable hypothesis is that of the Trinitarian God. (shrink)
Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? We answer: it depends. To begin, we clear away some specious arguments surrounding this issue, to make room for the central question: What determines the reference of a name, and under what conditions do names shift reference? We’ll introduce Gareth Evans’s theory of reference, on which a name refers to the dominant source of information in that name’s “dossier,” and we then develop the theory’s notion of dominance. We conclude that whether Muslims’ (...) use of “Allah” co-refers with Christians’ use of “God” depends on how much weight is given to what type of information in the dossiers of these two names, and we offer a two-part test by which the reader can determine whether Muslim and Christian uses of the divine names co-refer: If Christianity were true and Islam false, might “Allah” still refer to God? And: If Islam were true and Christianity false, might “God” still refer to Allah? We explain the implications of your answers to those questions, and we close with a few reflections about what, in addition to reference, might be required for worship, and whether, from a Christian perspective, salvation turns on this issue. (shrink)
Contribution to a book symposium on Steve Fuller's _Knowledge: The Philosophical Quest in History_ (Routledge, 2015). The title reproduces the title of an essay by Hannah Arendt. Fuller uses the idea of theodicy to promote a creationist philosophy of science, according to which one is justified in breaking eggs in order to produce a divine omelette of technologically orchestrated human transcendence. The review nods to Arendt's essay, and a short story by Ursula LeGuin, in challenging this proposal.
A god is a cosmic designer-creator. Atheism says the number of gods is 0. But it is hard to defeat the minimal thesis that some possible universe is actualized by some possible god. Monotheists say the number of gods is 1. Yet no degree of perfection can be coherently assigned to any unique god. Lewis says the number of gods is at least the second beth number. Yet polytheists cannot defend an arbitrary plural number of gods. An alternative is that, (...) for every ordinal, there is a god whose perfection is proportional to it. The n -th god actualizes the best universe(s) in the n -th level of an axiological hierarchy of possible universes. Despite its unorthodoxy, ordinal polytheism has many metaphysically attractive features and merits more serious study. (shrink)
Traditional approaches to the fact that there are different religions with different characterizations of what is divine---exclusivism, inclusivism, and pluralism---live in fear of religious diversity and the possibility that what is divine is not one, not many, but diverse, i.e., that there are different gods that are potentially incompatible and conflicting. In this paper, I argue that this alternative--–religious diversity and an acknowledgment of the diversity of the divine--–is a more “realistic” approach to our understanding of religion and our experience (...) of what is divine. (shrink)