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.
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.
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).
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.