Creation is the nexus between eternity and history. --Dávila
Now that we're flipping through the The One and the Many, might as well flip through to the end. Thus far we have touched on the questions of God's existence and immutability. Toward the end of the book is a chapter on The Metaphysics of Evolution, which ties these first two together nicely.
Evolution itself is an undeniable and empirical fact: for example, at one point in cosmic history there existed no rational beings, but here we are. By virtue of what principle is our existence even possible?
Put another way, in what kind of cosmos is it possible for free, self-aware, and truth-bearing primates to evolve into being? For just like anything else in this cosmos of ours, our existence isn't self-explanatory; rather, it obviously has a cause, but a purely material cause cannot have a spiritual effect:
Since such an immaterial nature has no material parts, but is a simple, inextended center of spiritual energy, it cannot be made out of different material parts provided by different material causes, e.g., the father cannot provide half a spiritual soul and the mother the other half... (Clarke).
Any metaphysician who actually is one recognizes that only God can create; or, if you prefer, if there is such a thing as real creation -- which is to say, of something from nothing -- then what we call "God" is its sufficient reason.
Now, creation and creativity are everywhere, at least their echoes. For which reason, in my view, the first words of Genesis are In the beginning God creates. No, not in the temporal beginning, rather, the ontological or principial beginning, which is always here and now (and cannot not be here & now).
The point is, the metaphysical categories of creator, creation, and beginning are thoroughly entangled. Frankly, I don't see how it is possible to have one without the others: as Father and Son necessarily coarise, so too do creator and creation.
And the most startling creation of all is of the unique individual person. We can generally understand the existence of ants, bees, and progressive atheists, but how to explain the unique individual subject?
[T]he appearance in our world of a new human being is something very special, as the Genesis story expresses imaginatively: the collaboration of heaven and earth, the earth rising up as far as it can [↑], and heaven reaching down to light a new spiritual fire in it from above [↓] -- the production of an embodied spirit that we call a human person, with a corresponding destiny extending through but beyond this whole material world.
Again, how is this even possible?
Nothing less than the creative initiative of a transcendent cause can render adequate sufficient reason for the emergence at the end of the cosmic story of this amazing microcosm, the human person that integrates within itself all the levels of creation from the lowest material to union with the highest spiritual, the Author of the whole story himself.
The evolution of our immaterial being is obviously a vertical and relational collaboration, otherwise it is stripped of its sufficient reason.
Some people think there can be a sufficient material explanation for such an intrinsically immaterial process, but these folks tend to be the same superstitious and conspiratorial types who troll this blog. In reality, reductive materialism
gives no adequate explanation, or even recognition, of the basic fact presented by evolutionary history, namely, that out of simpler unities new more complex ones emerge, with properties that are neither merely the sum of already existing properties of the simpler unities, nor deducible directly from them, but are distinctly on a new level.
Putting on my visionary cap, I see a vast metacosmic circle encompassing creativity-infinitude-kenosis-projection-involution on one end, and creation-exile-evolution-metanoia-return on the other. But I'm not the only one: first (ontologically, not temporally) there is
The Journey from the Many (all finite beings), projected outward from the One, their Infinite Source, by creation....
This is "followed" (again, ontologically) by
The Journey of the Many back towards reunion with the One, their Source, drawn by this same Source [the Great Attractor, O] through the pull of the Good built in to the very nature of every being through the mediation of final causality, which draws each being toward the fulfillment of its own nature... (ibid).
Speaking for myself, in comparison to participation in this absolutely riveting Great Circle, pretty much everything else is frankly boring, or a kind of tedious and distracting chore. We'll close with this:
the intelligibility of being -- all being -- is inseparable from the context of persons: it is rooted in personal being, flows out from it, to other persons, who complete the circle by returning it back again to its personal source. In a word, the ultimate meaning of being is: Person-to-Person Gift.
So, if creation is a gift, the mystic journey is just a regift.