Friday, March 10, 2006

Why Will?

In discussing God before, as the final subtratum between limited being and complete nothingness, I wrote that only freedom--or something analagous to it--could possibly account for the fact of finite being. Why? Because if infinite being, the last substratum, is neither free nor internally differentiated in any understandable way, then its generation would have to be absolute. If "God" were unfree, it would have no choice but to continually double itself--with each double collapsing back into itself, and the rich finite world as we know it would be quite impossible.

But does this all necessarily imply Will? Before I wrote that it did, by process of elimination. This is how:
  • Did infinite being only create finite being because it lacked the energy to recreate itself fully? Impossible--it is infinite; it has no "resources" that could be "dried up" in the act of creation.
  • Was infinite bring somehow prevented from creating infinite being? Impossible--it is not passive in any way that it could be "prevented" from doing anything.
  • Is there some mysterious principle within infinite being such that it was "preprogrammed" to create finite being? This is either impossible, if it means that finite being is somehow prior to or determinative of infinite being (for then that finite being would need another infinite ultimate substratum to support it); or circular, if it presumes to say, "It just does."
So my thinking was simply: no other alternative exists. There is no possible explanation for how infinite being can yield finite being--how it can somehow allow for the existence of something which does not equal itself, though it bears the marks of goodness. There is only a void of explanation, to which the most proper response is awe and wonder, but even still, a further word seems begged for. What shall we say?

There are only two options, and on this side of eternity there is no third option nor middle ground. (1) We refuse to answer the question; we say, whatever man says is a lie, and the existence of finite being is an absolute mystery. Our lot is cognitive depravity. To even utter a guess is blasphemy. Or else, we dare to say, (2) Wait! This mystery, it presents itself to us as a mystery, certainly. But if we were utterly cognitively depraved, we would be presented no mysteries at all--we would not know a mystery when we saw one. Even knowing that it is a mystery and no deductions can be made, yet still, this mystery looks like something; it looks like something we already experience. The existence of finite being looks like a Choice has been made. We cannot be certain; logic does not prove this beyond all possible logical doubt. But to say that finite being is the result of a Choice - this, somehow fits.

But this presents us with a conundrum. Why? Because according to strict Aristotelean logic, one may still choose to believe that infinite Being is not free... and the existence of finite being is simply unaccounted for. There is no way to logically compel such a person to accept that Free Will is the correct answer to the puzzle of finite being; only that it is the only logically consistent guess available, and that it is fitting. The logic proving that God is free is not the logic of deduction but the logic of beauty, fittingness, piety--a different kind of necessity than Modus Ponens.

Should we mourn. Hardly! The fact that this last piece of my argument switches into an aesthetic logic actually saves the whole thing from creating an idol of deductive logic. No argument, no matter how good, can tear away the veil that God holds before himself; no argument can be absolutely compelling on the individual so as to destroy his freedom.

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