I have learned a whole lot this year on different touch points of reality. Two of the most exciting ones which I hope to really learn more are theodicies and abstract objects. I’m especially grateful to my professors, friends and classmates who I pestered with tons of questions. It’s interesting to survey how people think and learn from their insights and how through them, I improve my own formulation of my own ideas.

I am reminded of a lightbulb moment I had with my Professor, Scott Smith, whom I was having a discussion with about the nature of abstract objects. Many take abstract objects to be Platonic in nature. That is, they exist as a brute fact. It dawned on me that Leibniz’ Principle of Sufficient Reason poses a remarkable challenge to this idea. The Principle of Sufficient Reason states that anything that exists, exists by the necessity of its own nature, or by an external cause. It seems that abstract objects possess no property that makes them exist necessarily. If this is true, then it means nominalists have a major problem up their sleeves.

In any case, I thought I’d like to keep track of what I wanted to study more. The list keeps growing and in all reality, I can only study a very small subset of it without divine intervention. These three are what I am really excited about but have yet to make any significant progress. I hope to keep learning as I move forward, adding pieces to the puzzle as I move along.

1. Theodicy of World Making

I have first run into the Irenaean Theodicy around mid last year as I began to explore the writings of the church fathers. His approach is different from the Augustinian variant, which is generally the most accepted theory in churches today. Irenaeus believes that evil is the means by which God allows for soul-making. That is, the presence of evil in the actual world makes it possible to grow a soul into full maturity thereby making it worthy of eternal life.

The Augustinian theodicy on the other hand, simply says that God did not ordain evil but rather evil came about due to the sin of man.

Here’s the problem: The Augustinian variant banks on creaturely free will, which God could have withheld. There is no good philosophical argument against this objection. The best is simply to say that love is no longer possible, which on its own is deficient. Why love in the first place? It seems that in such a view, God’s aseity is compromised.

I have written elsewhere at length on why I think the Theodicy of World Making (which I used to call a Modified Irenaean Theodicy) as a potential solution to all the problems of evil. However, the current progress of my study on this is hampered by other things which takes priority, at this time. The more I reflected on the world-making theodicy, the more life and reality makes sense. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 and Romans 8:20-21 becomes more real.

I hope to do a thesis on this. As it is, if my theory is correct, this is a major breakthrough in theological and philosophical reflections. But if significant challenges are posed that makes my theory unsustainable, this has to be abandoned.

2. The Biogenesis Argument for the existence of God

Biogenesis is the scientific law which states that life cannot come from non-life. I have written about this briefly some two years ago and even bought myself a copy of Noam Lahav’s book with the same name to explore the nature of Biogenesis further. But until then, I have not yet made any progress. The basic argument for Biogenesis rests on three facts:

  1. Life cannot come from non-life
  2. The initial condition of the universe is life prohibiting
  3. Life began some finite time ago

The obvious implication for this is that life must have been caused by something non-physical. As already mentioned, the laws of nature and the course of history makes it impossible to produce life. Because Biogenesis is a scientific law, as opposed to a theory, it stands on a very solid ground. An atheist has to show why such a law is false.

This goes to show further that evolution poses no challenge at all to theists. Evolution assumes life and life assumes biogenesis. A theist can remain a theist in embracing evolution. An atheist however, has to account for Biogenesis to sustain his worldview. One which, I think, is scientifically impossible.

3. The Semantic Argument for the existence of God

As I recently reflected on the value of abstract objects in conversations, I am drawn into the idea that every meaningful conversation requires a point of reference for words to be meaningful. Thus, semantics is incredibly vital in our everyday lives even as we take it for granted most of the time. The semantic argument is a variant of the ontological argument in that it aims to go one level down, foundationally, and show that for meaningful conversations to exist, God has to exist. It aims to show that any essence that exhibits intentionality assumes appropriate semantics and appropriate semantics assumes abstract objects. Any coherent semantics therefore, either express intentionality about another abstract object or a concrete object. By virtue of maximal greatness, existing as a concrete entity makes a being greater than simply being an abstract object. Thus, the maximally great being has to exist.

This is in its infancy. I have not thought this through and that I may be wrong. But if semantics does lend to the notion that God exists, it serves to show that even the very fabric by which sentient beings communicate, God is assumed.

 

Of these three, I am most interested in the first one because of the impact it may bring. The latter two are useful additions to the already solid set of arguments to show that God exists whereas the first area aims to show, not just philosophically and theologically, but also pragmatically, how life is to be seen and lived and cherished.

 

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