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A website for the book by Ian J Thompson:

"Rational Scientific Theories from Theism"


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30.2 Firsts and lasts

A big tension, between the reality of God (as firsts) and the reality of everyday nature (as lasts), was shown in Chapter 2 to have influenced many philosophers to go to one side or the other. Using theistic science as a basis for what kinds of connections between God and nature can be known, we see that most of the philosophers discussed in Chapter 2 do not describe those connections. Only Aquinas and Swedenborg appear to make consistent and more-than-abstract arguments that go from God to material nature, and from the material back again to God. Both of these systems place mind within that connection, as in our theory.

I do not include Plotinus in this short list because of his tendency towards non-dualism, wherein the natural world does not exist in the normal sense of containing material objects. Descartes did not even attempt to elucidate the connections between God and the world, in part because he wanted to keep science separate from religion. Kant claimed that we never know about those connections since they involve, he said, knowledge of things in themselves beyond human reach.

Any theory that gives a unified account of first things with God and of last things in nature will thereby be able to explain why creation is needed by God and what it is that can be done by means of a created world that God cannot do immediately. That particular explanation is missing from nearly all the metaphysical theories that have been examined, but is clearly needed. It would be good to know why God is so slow in creating planets, biological life, humans, and spirituality. Most accounts of divine omnipotence imply that God can and will create all these things immediately and moreover, if he is benevolent, heal them immediately if they are flawed. Yet, this does not happen! Can you explain why not? In the light of this book’s explanations of evolution and human development, only something like Swedenborg’s account remains capable of giving sufficient explanation.

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