1.1 Theistic postulates
In this book, I will formulate a theistic manifesto that makes explicit
the foundational postulates of a scientific theism. On this basis, I will then show
how deductions from these postulates give rise to the regularities of the physical
world and how they generate psychological and physical structures and processes
that can be confirmed from what science already has discovered. The essential theistic
- God is love which is unselfish and cannot love only itself.
- God is wisdom as well as love and thereby also power and action.
- God is life itself: the source of all dispositions to will, think and act.
- Everything in the world is a kind of image of God: minds and also natural
- The dispositions of an object are those derivatives of divine power that
accord with what is actual about that object.
On the basis of such postulates, I claim that we can understand how the world
appears to function with considerable regularity in its underlying principles. It
is from these principles that everything has its nature. There are laws which describe
how these natures operate.
In a 2011 article at Salon.com, MIT physicist Alan Lightman1.1
recognizes what he calls “the Central Doctrine of science”, that “All properties
and events in the physical universe are governed by laws, and those laws are true
at every time and place in the universe.” Theists do agree with that. However, in
theism, the laws themselves are not physical. Lightman later refers to “physical
laws”, but he had not mentioned that qualification to start with. He only inserted
it without argument. This question, of the physical nature of laws, illuminates
the difference between the existing sciences and what I show is possible for science
Our discussion will focus on the features of God that are dynamic and therefore
have an effect on the world. The relevant dynamic features may have higher priority
in practical religious life than in traditional philosophy since they will often
be outside the ‘essential divine attributes’ traditionally considered. That traditional
list of divine attributes includes infinity, eternity, omnipotence, omniscience,
immutability, impassivity, simplicity, necessity, etc., but not many of these have
consequences for the way the world functions. In this book, therefore, I do not
want to talk about merely the God of philosophy, but the ‘God of the living’. We
will discuss for example how God is Love, how God is one into whose image we are
growing, and how God is one who is delighted when we are happy for the longest period.
These facts may appear to be less a part of philosophical than of vernacular religion,
but they are no less important or true for that and they should be an essential
part of any successful theism. I will lead up to a ‘living theism’, the view that
God is that Person who is a necessary being, who is unselfish Love itself, Wisdom
itself, and (in fact) Life itself.1.2