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"Rational Scientific Theories from Theism"


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32.2 Philosophy

32.2.1 Your view, that everything comes by means of minds that are not God, must be a kind of idealism: that only mental things are real, and that we make our own realities! Do we not refute that, as Samuel Johnson did, by the simple fact of kicking a stone?
I agree that everything does come into existence via minds. What is made explicit, however, is that this is not idealism. Actual physical things can be derived from what is spiritual and mental. We are talking here of real (kickable) material things and not just the appearance of them!

I agree that it appears that we are creating our own reality in a ‘new age’ sense, but I must insist that that would be only an inadequate and partial description of the whole story. It would be to forget that actual physical events are the ultimate products of all actions and are necessary for the continued existence of permanent mental and spiritual forms. That is, we are severely constrained in how we create our reality.

In any case, the process of creation is not purely personal or individual, but communal, in fact common throughout the physical universe, and in fact managed by the One God.

32.2.2 Your view, that everything is causal and exists in some space, must be a kind of physicalism. Especially since I believe that everything which has a physical effect must be physical.
I agree that, if you wanted to follow this rule to define causality, then everything would be physical.32.1But the physicalities thereby introduced would be unrecognizable to today’s naturalistic scientists and philosophers, since these physicalities include love, wisdom, will and understanding, in fact all of spiritual and mental life in an entirely non-reductive manner. Those scientists would be very unwilling and unhappy to hear their beloved ‘natural laws’ extended to include such things. I, therefore, choose a different meaning of physical: as that which is not living and not conscious.

32.2.3 You claim that God knows the future, even if that future does not yet exist. If so, what is the truth-maker for that knowledge? There must be one, if the knowledge is true! And if there is one, does that not imply that there are already facts which imply the character of future events, so (in particular character if not in actualities) they already exist, in contradiction to your claim?
It indeed appears that if God did know truly what was going to happen in the future, then, as Johnson (2009) argues, there must be true facts existing now which are the truth-maker for that true belief. Hence, even if the future does not yet exist, it must already be definite what that future will be. My preferred response to this objection is to insist that it is not true that God knows what will necessarily happen in the future, but only that he knows what would happen if there were no divine intervention to change it. And then I insist that God is ontologically free, in the sense that not all future divine events are the subject of divine foreknowledge. Admittedly, that is difficult for outsiders to determine (without asking).

32.2.4 How can you be so sure that there are no spatial relations between distinct sub-degrees? Admittedly there is discreteness between God and the world, but why within the world?
Perhaps we could consider the theoretical proposals of Smythies (1956) and Carr (2004). John Smythies insists (as do I) that there are mental spaces in order to contain the distinct and concurrent existences of our mental content. But he goes on to insist that such mental spaces are subspaces of a higher-dimensional reality that also includes our familiar three-dimensional space and one-dimensional time.

This is not my view. Mental spaces should have a completely different topological and metric structure, based for example on similarities of meaning, and so should be associative spaces rather than physical spaces. I also do not follow Smythies’ theory, because I hold that mentality and physicality are two distinct and discrete degrees without any possibility of continuous transformations between them.

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