Reinventing the Wheel of Karma
For example, the soul is the greatest impediment to the left's inhuman agenda, since it means that man was made to be free, and that the purpose of his existence isn't just anything the state forces it to be.
This is the dreadful situation that prevailed for most of history: the state had the freedom and the power to rule over human persons, without having to bother with the consent of the governed. The state has never been at peace with this situation, and has been fighting back ever since to regain its prerogatives. Indeed, this is the common thread that unites premodern tyranny and the postmodern left. Extremists meet.
Offhand, I can't think of anything that proves the existence of the Creator more than free will. Other things are equal to it -- e.g., truth, beauty, virtue, beer -- but one routinely reads of hapless Darwinians who come up with theories to explain these away, lame though they may be. Free will is trickier, because one cannot prove it doesn't exist without proving it does. In this regard, I suppose it's similar to affirming that "truth doesn't exist," whereby the statement refutes itself (or the belief that all beliefs are a result of insecurity: TW Van).
It also reminds me of a story about Lord Kelvin, who was touring a plant that manufactured electrical appliances. His guide, who didn't know who he was, was explaining various properties of electricity. Lord Kelvin asked to be informed as to what electricity actually is, but the young man was stumped. "No matter," said Lord Kelvin. "That is the only thing about electricity which you and I do not know."
Just because we don't know what electricity is, that hardly disproves its existence, nor does it prevent us from using or abusing it.
Likewise, just because free will escapes quantitative determination, this hardly disproves its existence. Free will is by definition irreducibly qualitative, which I suppose is what irritates materialists so much. For one property that can never be derived from physics or biology is freedom, baby. It demands a metaphysic in which it plays a central role. Any metaphysic that denies freedom is a non-starter, because freedom cannot be reduced to anything less than itself.
As Stanley Jaki writes, just the intimation of free will is sufficient to belie mere material existence, "for in the final analysis, the elemental registering of free will almost exhausts whatever can be said about its reality." "Everything else is embellishment," because "it is irrelevant unless achieved and articulated freely" (emphasis mine). In other words, if there is no freedom, there can be no meaning. As Emerson wrote, "Intellect annuls Fate. So far as a man thinks, he is free" (in Jaki).
Some nagging trolls seem to be confused by the fact that freedom requires constraints, and is impossible in their absence. In an analogy we have used a number of times, the twenty-six letters of the alphabet are fixed, but not completely. As a result, we are able to use them as boundary conditions for the emergence of words. Likewise, words are the boundary conditions for sentences, sentences for paragraphs, paragraphs for plot and theme, etc. One could say the same of DNA or of the laws of physics, both of which are languages that permit the emergence of higher -- which is to say, freer -- realities.
Humans are the cosmic tipping point at which freedom trumps determinism, which then permits the conscious ingression of divine energies, or (↓). In man, God now has a conscious co-creator at the other end of the line (or "ray of creation").
And this is where all the love, truth, and beauty get in. Again, they do not -- and could not have -- come from below (i.e., the horizontal), only from above (the upper vertical). Like other fundamental transcendentals, the reality of free will brings one "face to face with that realm of metaphysical reality which hangs suspended in mid-air unless suspended from the Ultimate Reality, best called God, the Creator" (Jaki).
Free will introduces conscious purpose into the cosmos: no freedom, no purpose. Prior to the emergence of man, there can be only "God's purpose" or the purposelessness of laws of physics. But the Raccoon believes that these laws are not purposeless at all, but that they are analogous to the letters we use to create sentences (alluded to above). They are the cosmic scaffolding on which man will climb.
So the Raccoon takes a moderate position between necessity and freedom, law and adventure, harmony and improvisation. He denies neither side of the complementarity. Unlike the materialist, he does not deny the great realm of spirit, and unlike the naive religionist, he does not deny the great realm of matter, of manifest existence. Clearly, it requires both to make a man. This is hardly a new idea, as it was central to Thomas' metaphysic, in which body and soul go together like body and soul, hence, the significance of the Incarnation.
"... Thomas sees natural reality as divine creation which in the event of the Incarnation has been reunited... with its Origin" (Pieper). You might say that this is where the ↑ doesn't just meet the ↓, but where the two are intermingled in an inseparable manner; distinct with no divisions, you might say -- most importantly, between God and man. Thanks to the Godman, there is the cosmic possibility of the mangod, i.e., theosis.
Which will probably be misinterpreted by non-Orthodox Christians, for it hardly means that man becomes "God," only that he may participate in the divine nature. Or not. It's up to you. But it's only up to you because of your God-given freedom. In any event, we're talking about personal communion with God, not displacing him.
Here is how Father Anthony (Coniaris) describes it: "Thus, if we allow the dust in us to be animated by the breath of the Holy Spirit, then by God's grace we can rise from dust to image of God; from dust to likeness of God; from dust to sons and daughters of God," gradually (and endlessly) becoming (but not being) through grace what Jesus is by nature.
Interestingly, Father Anthony points out that anthropos is linked to a word meaning "to look up," while humanus is linked to a word that means "earth." This again speaks to man's uniquely dual aspect, of matter and spirit, freedom and necessity, dirt and divinity. As Gregory of Nyssa wrote, "Man's life is a strenuous and endless ascent toward God, that is, theosis." One could cite countless similar statements by the early fathers (as does Fr. Anthony).
This is the great Circle of Toots, of which Thomas was obviously aware, in which "there cannot be completion unless the last joins with the first.... Now since God himself is the first, and man the last among created beings," it is fitting that the completion of the universe involves God becoming man, through which the way is cleared for man to become divinized. Mission accomplished.
To be continued....