The Purpose of Creation

Science is not concerned with the purpose of creation. Religion is. Science focuses its attention on the “how” rather than on the more philosophical question of “why.” This is simply an extension and outcome of science’s interest in facts and religion’s interest in values.

Science does indeed recognize that people live by values, but values are subjective choices and do not have an objective existence outside of us (like the moon has). Therefore, values are not a proper subject for scientific investigation. In spite of this, I am going to propose in my next book, Proving God, that values DO have an objective existence outside of us – starting with the idea that Love is the ultimate substance of the universe (substantia prima).

Allow me to give you a small “taste” of where my labors are headed concerning the how and why of creation and evolution. To start, it will be profitable to share with you a very, very, simple overview of the various scientific and theological camps along with their contentious views.

Evolutionary Science (the neo-Darwinian synthesis) embraces natural selection. Simply put, mutational variation within evolutionary biology has physical causes rather than Divine causes. This theory’s greatest challenge is that the fossil evidence does not do an adequate job of demonstrating the principle of gradualism. Often the fossil record shows distinct “jumps” of accelerated speciation (punctuated equilibrium).

In Creationism, we are given a totally theological answer for evolution. The laws of the universe have emerged from God’s Holy Word. Humans are viewed as a distinctly unique creation from other creatures – with an important role to play in the drama of the cosmos. While Creationists do not have an answer for the mechanism by which God creates all the richness of the manifest universe, they point out that no one has ever witnessed one species transforming into another distinct species (macroevolution).

Intelligent Design allows for purposiveness (teleology) to be used as an explanatory tool for explaining the emergence of bio-complexity in nature. Unfortunately, it leads us to an intellectual dead end in not being able to enlighten us to the wisdom of God’s grand scheme. For instance, detractors will ask why evolution must be so wasteful in order just to bring forth the human species, a species whose actions are threatening the globe? While Intelligent Design sees itself as a scientific approach, most scientists feel it uses bad science.

Theistic Evolution believes in both natural selection (good science) and that God is the Creator and Maintainer of the universe (good theology). It has serious problems in trying to marry the concept of purposeful creation with the blind and non-intelligent mechanism of natural selection. Somehow, God is able to hide His activity within the scientific framework of randomness.

I would like to propose another concept which I believe straddles the “how” and “why” of creation. I call it CONJUNCTIVE DESIGN, which is based on the scientific and theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. Swedenborg put forth the idea that a God of love must create a world because Divine Love needs a subject to love (something other than itself). Evolution is also necessary to creation because for Love to find perfection and fullness, it must be reciprocal. In other words, a creature has to emerge with the appropriate higher-order complexity to recognize a Creator and love God back. Love cannot be one-sided.

God creates only by conjunction, and, can only have conjunction through self-representation. In other words, the Lord’s love and truth can only flow into, and have relationship with, forms that in some way mirror the Divine nature. Therefore, all created things are created for their usefulness and utility – which is an expression of love. Intelligent design misses this theological point. (I will address the theodicy issue and evil in the world in another post.)

The reason why science and theology can be unified is that evolution is spiritual. The engine of adaptation is not from the strategies of “selfish” genes to ensure survival from the ever-changing external pressures of a given physical environment. Humans have evolved to exploit a more rarefied niche – information. This includes becoming receptive to religious values – which have their objective existence in God’s eternal Being.

Evolution is the exaltation of love (through more complex and noble forms of usefulness). The Lord’s conjunction with the universe is perfected through His covenant with humankind, especially when humans adopt the tenet of loving the neighbor as the guiding principle for their industriousness.

Religion is God’s strategy to extend the evolution of the biosphere into a non-material realm (we call this realm heaven). The directionality of evolution has been towards the spiritual world, because as God’s principle of love descends more perfectly into matter and physical complexity, utility ascends and becomes more spiritual. The ultimate purpose of creation and evolution is to form a heaven from the human race – the only species whose utility can evolve to actions of conscious love. It is through conjunction with God that we can have a blessed and eternal life.

Do you believe we are more than our genes?

http://www.provinggod.com

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About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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4 Responses to The Purpose of Creation

  1. Interesting concept. I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to see you develop this more. How do you explain the problem of death as a function of evolution? Is it not a problem in your system?

    Thanks,

    OC

  2. thegodguy says:

    Death is not a problem. In fact, Scripture alludes to TWO deaths. In the process of spiritual evolution our “old self” dies and is replaced by a transformed personality. As we adopt spiritual principles into our lives, the Lord’s eternal life can flow into and unite itself to all our temporal acts of sincere love and service. Through this conjunction humans have eternal life and are therefore immune to the “second” death – which is the death of the physical body.

    Humans consist of both natural and spiritual substances. Human evolution involves an actual re-ordering of our spiritual substances by means of our life-choices. This is a big topic and it deserves to be addressed in a future blog, or two, or three. I will also provide an in-depth explanation of spiritual evolution in my next book, “Proving God.”

    Thanks for your interest.

  3. I believe you are making a mistake in assuming evolution has happened. I think you are using faulty reasoning in seeing a need for evolution period. I believe you may be making a second mistake by placing love at the center. Everything springs out of God’s holiness, not His love. You speak of the “directionality of evolution.” Evolution is not supposed to have direction or purpose. True evolution must be randomness and purposelessness. No lifeform will adapt to any changes unless they are programmed genetically to do so. I do not completely disagree with you on some things, especially the existence of a creator. Perhaps we could find some common ground and challenge each others’ thinking. If you would contact me, I would like to send you a PDF file of a book I have just written. I would be interested in what you think of it.
    In Search of the Truth,
    Dr. Arv Edgeworth
    Truth and Science Ministries

  4. thegodguy says:

    Dear Dr. Edgeworth,

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. I too am writing a book, entitled “Proving God.” It is six-year attempt to unify science and religion. In fact, I am working on its final draft and have sent a handful of chapters off to my editor.

    I would love to exchange ideas with you and read your manuscript. But I am currently up to my gills in projects. I have your email address so let me get back to you within the week.

    As a quick response to your comment that “Everything springs out of God’s holiness, not his love,” I will certainly challenge you. What do you mean by holiness?

    My definition of holiness is “completeness and perfection of goodness and righteousness.” These are aspects of God’s divine LOVE and Wisdom.

    Also, while current scientific thinking favors the idea that evolution has no direction, I believe this is what is faulty. My book will provide a teleological model of evolution that has real explanatory and predictive powers. As my post above mentions, I call this teleological model of evolution CONJUNCTIVE DESIGN.

    Unfortunately, when one writes a short blog for a huge topic many important details must be put aside.

    I am glad that you are writing a book about your search for truth. We need more serious books in the world by serious thinking people.

    Spiritually yours.
    TheGodGuy

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