Category Archives: Goodness

The Names of God

St. Thomas proposes the following caveat:

Although it may be admitted that creatures are in some sort like God, it must nowise be admitted that God is like creatures; because...

"A mutual likeness may be found between things of the same order, but not between a cause and that which is caused."

For, we say that a statue is like a man, but not conversely; so also a creature can be spoken of as in some sort like God; but not that God is like a creature. (ST, I, 4, 3, reply 4)

The likeness of a creature and God simply means that a proposition that is true of a creature is also true, though not necessarily univocally, of God. The reason for the rider and to deny that God is like any creature is that God transcends creatures.

For example, God the Son has an essence, and a man has an essence; God exists, and so does the man. But only for God is His essence identical to His existence.

God the Father knows possible worlds, and so do humans; God can create a world, and humans can shape matter into art. But God knows all possibilities, and for Him what is possible is conceivable, and vice versa; and only God can create ex nihilo.

We can see that the purpose of naming God "analogically" as "a mean between pure equivocation and simple univocation" is to describe both how God is like creatures, and how He differs from them by some spectacular excellence in degree or in kind.

Levels and Time

I have written:

Experience teaches that our lives are fragmented into four parts: the past, the present, the future, and timelessness, such as enjoyed by abstracta like "2 + 2 = 4." Our past is gone, our future is not yet, timelessness is accessed only when we do math or philosophy (with propositions apparently outlasting our own lives), and our present is fleeting and evanescent.

Far be it from God to suffer from so many imperfections. But He neither abolishes time nor keeps it unchanged but rather transcends and perfects it. For God those 4 time periods are folded up, unified as if in a package and present themselves as single eternal Moment of boiling divine life.

It cannot be doubted that such a life is superior in intensity, poignancy, and happiness it can generate to our human experience.

Now that we have sorted out our levels, we must distinguish between the timelessness of the Father and the eternity of the Son. The latter does not include timelessness but is a roll-up of just 3 out of 4 aspects of time: past, present, and future.

The Father is entirely outside of time; the Son is in time perfected.

Goodness and St. Thomas

I have maintained that God on His 3rd level is goodness who communicates being. But St. Thomas seems to object to that characterization as follows: "For He is assuredly the cause of bodies in the same way as He is the cause of good things; therefore if the words 'God is good,' signified no more than, 'God is the cause of good things,' it might in like manner be said that God is a body, inasmuch as He is the cause of bodies." (ST, I, 13, 2)

Well, God (the Father) is not the "cause of good things"; He is the Knower of essences and Infuser of being. In combining essence and existence, He is Begetter of the Son (in whom essence and existence are one) and Creator of all other things.

The things God creates are good only insofar as they enjoy existing and agree to stay in existence. Things are metaphysically good as secondary causes; God is goodness as first cause.

St. Thomas' third objection is that "this is against the intention of those who speak of God. For in saying that God lives, they assuredly mean more than to say the He is the cause of our life, or that He differs from inanimate bodies."

We call God Goodness to differentiate it from Being which He creates in order to express Himself. No being including the Son, but only the Father, has the power to create ex nihilo. The Father's goodness diffuses itself into Others; once brought into being, those Others, again including the Son, pursue only their own personal projects. It is the most fundamental way in which God is different from creatures.

To say that God lives, on the contrary, is to liken Him to creatures.

Both ways of describing God, namely what the study of creatures reveals about Him, and how He transcends creatures, are valid and indispensable.

The Divine Levels Again

The main property of the 1st level, "matter," is pure actuality, and especially simplicity and freedom.

The main property of the 2nd level, "spirit" is perfect and unlimited happiness.

But that includes virtually pure actuality. For if God the Son is perfect, then included in the meaning of perfection is complete safety from losing any perfections or the happiness stemming from them. The Son is pure act, because there is no potency in Him toward either greater or lesser happiness, knowledge, or anything else predicated of Him.

But not vice versa: perfection is a value judgment; pure actuality is entirely descriptive. So, a thing may have no potential for change yet still be imperfect.

The main property of the 3rd level, "goodness," is unconstrained creative power.

That again includes virtually both complete happiness and pure actuality. Suppose that God was not completely happy and created because, for example, He wanted company. Then it would no longer be true that God "wills nothing except by reason of its goodness." (ST, I, 19, 2, reply 3) He would have created because of the utility to Him of the creation which would be good as a means to the satisfaction of God's "selfish" ends. In other words, there would be an evil in God which the creation would help remedy; and therefore, the creation would spring from something evil rather than from something good.

But again, not vice versa: thus, God the Son is maximally happy in Himself but has no creative powers and so is not good like the Father.

The One God

It's important to grasp that the Father as Creator and Goodness on the 3rd level + the Son as the perfect and maximally happy Spirit on the second + what we call God's pure actuality, simplicity of Matter, and efficient freedom on the first is one God.

Just as a human being is a machine-like spirit who features both level 2 and level 1 united into a single creature, so God by His nature consists of all 3 levels.

While distinguishing the persons of the Trinity, we must not overlook God's complete unity.

Therefore, any assertion like "the Father on the 3rd level is not related to time at all" must be coupled with the understanding that the 2nd-level Son -- and hence God as a "whole" -- lives in eternity. Pure actuality might not be predicted of the 2nd-level Son; but God is exactly that, because He still comes complete with a spectacular 1st level.

Again, the Son's integrity and fusion of the intellect, will, and power is a separate unity that the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is precisely my previous conflation of the two that introduced a defect into my system which has now been fixed.

The Equality of God the Father and the Son

Regarding knowledge, the Father knows all possible things / worlds directly as abstracta; the Son knows them through His real self.

Regarding power, the Father has the ad extra power to beget the Son; the Son has the ad intra power to persevere in His perfect nature.

Regarding love, this is easy: the Father loves the Son as His most complete self-expression; the Son loves Himself by willing happiness to Himself.

Garden of Eden Revisited

As per the understanding below, how was the human nature injured by the Holy Spirit in the Garden of Eden, and how did that injury conduce to charity?

Adam and Even essentially traded innocence for wisdom. Without wisdom, the natural happiness afforded to them in the Garden was sufficient and fitting for them. But it was small happiness. I restate my opinion that in the Garden, Adam and Eve were "little more than zombies."

Upon obtaining wisdom, humans became insatiable in their desires. We no longer want just the amenities of the Garden. We want everything -- let's borrow a clue from St. Thomas and call it the "sole contemplation of God seen in His essence," such that "the blessed... see Him, and in seeing Him, possess Him as present, having the power to see Him always; and possessing Him, they enjoy Him as the ultimate fulfillment of desire."

Upon the concomitant loss of innocence and withdrawal of divine favor, we also came to suffer a great deal. We feel sorrow and pain that demand to be alleviated.

Thus, we now both suffer positively and are deprived of pleasure negatively. These provide the materials for interpersonal charity which is our willing good to each other: Smith could succor Jones either by relieving his suffering or by providing pleasure.

Mises’ Own Scientism

Mises inveighed against scientism or the use of the methods of natural sciences such as physics in human sciences such as economics.

Such a conflation, when men are treated as machines, is vicious and produces no fruit of knowledge of human beings.

Yet Mises himself was guilty of another kind of scientism, in his case thinking that the methods of praxeology suffice in theology:

There are for man only two principles available for a mental grasp of reality, namely, those of teleology and causality. What cannot be brought under either of these categories is absolutely hidden to the human mind. ...

Causality leads to a regressus in infinitum which reason can never exhaust. Teleology is found wanting as soon as the question is raised of what moves the prime mover. Either method stops short at an ultimate given which cannot be analyzed and interpreted. (HA, 25)

Acknowledging goodness and its self-diffusion as a third kind of substance belonging exclusively to God the Father enables theology to proceed sprightly.

The question "What moves the prime mover?" then is valid only for God the Son who is fully on the 2nd-level. And indeed, the Son has no creative power on His own, nor would care to create even if He did have it. But the Father is both sui generis yet not unintelligible.

Mea Culpa

My theology of the Trinity was faulty. Upon diligent contemplation and prayer and divine assistance, I have uncovered a few defects of my grasp of the levels of existence and will attempt to repair the system in this post. The original opinion is laid out in my "Understanding the Blessed Trinity" and below under "Goodness."

The flaw was my unshakable conviction that lasted for many years up until now that the "trinity within" human beings, consisting of the intellect, will, and power manifested in control over the body, imitated the divine Trinity in the 2nd-level God, with the Father standing for principle, the Son proceeding as word of the intellect and constituting God's self-knowledge, and the Holy Spirit proceeding as love of the will.

I also argued in favor of "Goodness" or the creative principle that generates all being. Here then are my present notions.

  1. There are still 3 levels, characterized by their three names and three types of causation: matter / physical; spirit / teleological; goodness / self-diffusion.

  2. However, my Goodness is exactly the 3rd-level Father. The Father is a purely ad extra force. His intellect knows all possible worlds and can compare then and find out the best possible world; through His power he can actualize this world; and through His love care for it according to His providence.

    Goodness is still beyond being, and that's what the Father is; as a result, He is not "happy" or anything else that can be predicated of the 2nd-level Son, nor "pure act" which is a 1st-level property; He can come to know which possible world the actual world is, what time it is now, and His own actions in regard to Being.

    I can't see how the Father can have anything to do with time.

  3. The Son is not the best possible world created but rather the best possible thing begotten. The begetting is still by the nature of the Father not by His will, because it is the nature of Goodness to express itself fully and perfectly.

    The best thing, the Son, already includes and subsumes the best world. Unlike the Son, the rest of the emanations from the Father, i.e., the created world, are supererogatory.

    The Father is a collection of ideal possible worlds as Goodness; the Son is fully real as Being, pure act, and indeed "being itself subsisting."

    In His natural deistic state the Son is also made of a unity of intellect, will, and power; but they differ considerably from those of the Father.

    The Son's intellect knows no possibilities inherently but does know them through Himself, as He is the perfect archetype in which all other possible things pre-exist.

    The Father's will creates and infuses being and essence in external things; the Son's natural ungraced will produces only self-love and the identical to it love of concupiscence, since the Son suffices Himself for His own happiness.

    And while the Father's power is 100% ad extra consisting in the ability to create anything possible, the Son's power is 100% ad intra, consisting in perfect pursuit and possession of His own happiness within His own unlimited spirit.

    While the very concept of time seems inapplicable to the Father, the Son does exist in eternity, i.e., simultaneously-whole and perfect possession of interminable life.

    The Son as the 2nd-level God is a perfect unity, not a Trinity.

  4. The Holy Spirit is love between the Father and the Son that proceeds from the Father as (ad extra) Love and from the Son as Gift. The Father begets, issuing a command "be," in so doing loving the Son; the perfect Son comes into existence and by His own decision stays perfect giving to the Father the gift of reflection and obedience.

    The Holy Spirit mediates between the 3rd and 2nd levels and makes evident the Father's valuations. And generally one is what he values. So, the Father's love is a revelation to whom it may concern of the Father's best and in proceeding from Him, it becomes a third person of the Trinity called the Holy Spirit.

Notice that before I held that the persons of the Trinity were essentially inseparable clones of each other. Now we can see how, though there is a certain parity and equality between them, they are completely different.

It was hard to avoid patripassianism before, because Jesus had all three of the divine intellect, will, and power, and would be hard put to incarnate without dragging the Father and Holy Spirit along with Him; now we face no such problem.

In my book, I wrote, carelessly, that creatures resemble the Trinity (now the Son) but not Goodness (now the Father). But that is clearly false. We, too, know possible worlds, can create things and introduce creative advance into the universe if not ex nihilo then still out of matter; can have our own children; and love others as friends.

Let's continue. Fortunately, my solutions to the problems of grace, charity, and evil are almost untouched. I proposed before than the Father (as part of the 2nd-level God) died for the universe as a whole. Why? Because the 2nd-level God is perfectly self-sufficient and happy, does not know what goes on around him, and cannot advance in knowledge, since one cannot improve upon perfection easily. God is then part of the problem (and in the Incarnation, part of the solution)! The only way to get God to pay attention to us is to kill him through destructive grace and rebuilt him. I now withdraw that contention in part, because the Father is identified with goodness. The Father already has the ability to create and guide the world in its evolution and to know what He is creating and the measure of His providence. I no longer have to push a rather un-Christian doctrine that all 3 persons of the Trinity died for various reasons. I can still hold, however, that the Son's faculties were uplifted in sequence. His intellect, just "before" the creation of the world, so that the Son was never, in fact, blissfully unaware in His own happy reverie that things other than Himself existed. His will, upon the unleashing of both destructive and creative grace upon the created world. His power, upon the Incarnation.

And perhaps all three of these transcendences involved a kind of death and rebirth.

I make no changes to my idea of the Holy Spirit as both creator and destroyer, because the original created world faced a unique and difficult problem. The higher you go in the hierarchy of essences, from ants to the Son, the more self-sufficient each higher thing is and the less interest it has in all lower things. As mentioned, at the extreme, the deistic Son was entirely unaware that the Father created a universe by the Son's side.

Loving up is easy; thus even the Son loved the Father. Loving down is much harder, and the deistic Son did not love the world at all. Therefore, destructive grace was send from Goodness upon Being, to crack and devastate each thing's haughty self-sufficiency. But in enabling creatures to love down, to love those that are lower than them, the Holy Spirit also wounded their natures. It is thus that evil came into the world.

Angels were savaged first. The good angels who accepted the grace now face permanent servitude to us humans until the end of our universe. The evil angels refused the grace and now seek to destroy us so that there is nothing below them to love. Then humans, as they were expelled from the Garden; finally, the Son in the Incarnation. Yet our reward in glory is great, and there, all rational creatures who accept the grace shall be united through charity into a vine-and-branches, a being whose splendor far outshines even the deistic Son alone.

The Perfection of the Deistic God

The 3rd-level Goodness, what I sometimes call the Gardener, is what Whitehead would call God's primordial pole. It is a collection of possible worlds, a full complement of all abstracta.

Now in my book, I identify a dual distinction between the ideal and the real.

First, the ideal is by itself causally inefficacious. A number or proposition or property has no power to make anything happen. Real things, on the other hand, do have causal power.

Second, the ideal is infinite, and its cardinalities themselves multiply without end. But there can be only a finite number of real things.

I use these facts to prove the existence of the Gardener.

The 2nd-level Trinity has nothing ideal in it. God the Father in His natural state does not know any unactualized possibilities. He is Reality and knows only what is real which is Himself. This God knows nothing of what, if anything, exists out there alongside Him; is ultimately, unlike Goodness, a creature not a Creator; and loves only Himself.

(So, Goodness has "ad extra" power to create being out of nothing; the 2nd-level God's "ad intra" power manifests itself rather in irresistible attainment of His own happiness.)

The perfection of God on the 2nd level consists in two things.

First is His total self-sufficiency. He needs nothing apart from Himself to be happy.

Second is the completeness of His nature.

Aristotle and St. Thomas held that human happiness consists in the act of the highest human faculty, reason. But God's nature is univocally like man's in that He, too, has intellect, power, and will. (These make up the three persons of the Trinity, so the comparison of divine and human personalities is equivocal. And God's happiness, though much greater than man's, is for all that still tractable; so we speak of both analogically.)

Now the 2nd-level God comprehends in Himself the fullness of reality, not in the sense that He instantiates all possible worlds -- that would be nonsense -- but that He is the full-featured archetype of all possible lower things in whom those things pre-exist and in whose partial image they can be made. As a result, though the 2nd-level natural deistic God is aware of no possibilities, He still grasps them through Himself. For example, since evil is a privation of good, God can learn of evil by entertaining ideas of Himself as limited and lacking certain perfections. "If I were to shrink my essence into the essence of a horse and then cut off my leg," He might think, "that would be an evil."

(Again, God does not actually know or care whether there are any crippled horses out there.)

The 3rd-level Goodness / Gardener's "primordial" abstract ideal nature is miraculously fully realized in the "consequent" 2nd-level real Father-Son-Holy Spirit.

The latter's intellect then is all-powerful, as no aspect of being is beyond Him, again despite the fact that God is one and real, and Goodness is infinite and ideal. It follows that the natural God's happiness must be perfect and unsurpassable.

The Double “Negation” of Christianity

The first is the negation of nature into grace, wherein a man who is naturally powerful and well-endowed with natural gifts and favorable circumstances and fortune must abase himself and devote his life to loving service to fellow men, especially those who are lower than him. He feeds the hungry; he visits the sick and the prisoners; he instructs the ignorant; etc. He forsakes his natural self-sufficiency and learns to love and do good to those whom he does not need, whom he in his natural state would not heed or treat with haughty contempt. In the "kingdom of nature" he was great; in the kingdom of grace he is least; his lowliness in the latter is directly proportional to his greatness in the former.

Nietzsche is then right that Christianity is "the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity" as the "religion of pity" that apparently elevates the weak over the strong. It is healthy human nature not to hate; it is not human nature at all to love. To acquire charity, one dies and is "born again." This is painful. It's terrifying. But how much more painful and terrifying was it for God! No being is spared the great command of Goodness to be broken and rebuilt by uniting with all lower rational things.

Loving God and angels is easy, because they are one's benefactors; it's loving "up." But as Jesus says, "If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?" (Mt 5:46) It's loving "down," loving those who are naturally unlovable that is hard. And loving one's enemies is still harder. But grace demands both unequivocally.

But of course, far be it for Christianity to transvaluate all values so outrageously. Nietzsche saw only half the picture. For there is a second negation, from grace to glory. The weakness of the weak is not after all valued for its own sake. The lowliness and humility of the strong by their own choice and grace of God are valued instrumentally as a teaching tool of charity. In the end, a naturally powerful man who "perfectly submits to God his science or any other perfection" (ST, II-II, 82, 3, reply 3) and uses it lovingly for the benefit of his neighbor or humanity, is glorified in the hereafter. His eminence is fully restored and multiplied a million-fold. This I think is the proper interpretation of the Jesus' "Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them." (Mt 13:12, etc.)

The path to exalted power and status in glory is through humble service in grace. But unlike a naturally self-sufficient great man, a glorified great man is united though love, knowledge, and power with the entire rational universe, which is the purpose of the whole exercise.

Christ’s Life

God the Son was given Goodness' grace in the form of first-person experiential knowledge of being human and charity-love toward mankind upon His conception.

But He decided whether to accept or reject this grace upon His death.

He chose to accept. Whew!

Goodness: Angels

The unquickened with charity universe that was created first had many angels in it, ungraced but certainly great and powerful in their natural state.

After the death of God the Father that united Him through knowledge and love with everything below Him in perfection, it was the angels' turn to receive the divine grace. This grace would cause them to undergo a rather grueling death and rebirth themselves, suitable to their natures, which means experiences while not as horrible as God's, yet still probably more terrifying than any man's feeling amazing grace. And a number of angels, led by Lucifer, objected and refused to have their nature altered in this manner for the sake of coming to love the lower from their point of view things.

Lucifer and his host then did the only logical thing: they sought to destroy humanity by driving each person into hell. He'd try to get us to murder each other so that our physical destruction would bring about spiritual damnation. Then, when we're all dead in both senses, the material universe will come to serve no purpose, as angels have no use for it. At that point there will be nothing below Lucifer to love, and he would thereby be vindicated.

This would devastate the good angels and God, as well, but Lucifer does not care.

So, this is where we are now, fighting the demons to attain heroic sainthood and prove Goodness right in Its act of tearing the original creation apart in order to unify it.

Goodness: The Ultimatum

From the forgoing, we can see that Goodness is both the Creator of the original world marked by increasing self-sufficiency or aseity of creatures when arranged in the order of ascending nobility (which culminates in the 2nd-level deistic God), the Destroyer of this world as metaphysically inadequate, and Creator of the new world where each higher thing knows and loves for various reasons all the lower things.

All evil of every sort that befalls us humans is ultimately due to the aspect of Goodness as destroyer for the sake of the new interconnected world.

There are many ways to teach love, but as the ultimate incentive it is hell that Goodness the Destroyer wields. Learn, love, and do good, it says, or you will burn. It may sound unappealing at first, as the world of Orwell's 1984, but that's how things work. I for one can see no better solution than what Goodness had come up with.

Whether God Is a Collection of Possible Worlds?

Suppose you wonder, "When you look at God in heaven, what do you see, exactly? What sort of things do you learn that you couldn't find out in any other way?" I asked God this very question and was pointedly refused an answer. So, we'll have to think for ourselves here.

One seemingly plausible answer is: When you see God, you see all possibilities of existence. In other words, you gain knowledge of all possible worlds.

Immediately, we notice a difficulty. I don't need God in order to contemplate possible worlds. Here, I'm closing my eyes and picturing a world almost exactly like the actual world with just two differences: the leaves are blue and the sky is green. It may be there are possibilities I have trouble imagining due to weakness of my intellect, and God would improve my mind's eye. But that envisions a merely ancillary role for God, as someone who clears away my mental fog. For example, there is a difference between conceivable things and possible things. Perhaps God lets me conceive of those possibilities (say, a chiliagon or complex math theorems) that my imagination cannot reproduce. Again, however, does the vision of God consist in mere sharpening of one's natural faculties?

There is another far more serious problem. Let's say God is indeed a collection of possible worlds in some sort of unity.

There is no separation in God between "mind" and "thinking," God being pure act, or between contemplation and action, or between the ideal and the real.

But then all possible worlds exist in God's mind as fully real.

Yet this world is merely an actualized possible world. Moreover, the Church teaches that we are not (part of) God but are separate beings from Him.

It follows that there are at least two copies of this world: one in God's mind made real by His stupendous perfection, natural and internal to Him; the second this one, the world that Goodness explicitly creates, external to God.

In a twist, these worlds are not 100% identical: in world 1, the Church affirms panentheism; in 2, theism.

These are very disturbing and strange conclusions.

To avoid them, I am inclined to deny the first premise, that God as He is in Himself and before His death and rebirth is a collection of possible worlds. This is admittedly unsatisfactory. St. Thomas writes that God is "supremely knowable." So, what sorts of things shall we know in the hereafter? Give me a clue, anything! But none are forthcoming.

A follow-up question arises naturally: Does God know, among all the far-out and inaccessible to mere mortals things He knows, possible worlds?

I think that before the Father's death through which the universe was created, God did not as a matter of fact know possible worlds. After God's rebirth, there occurred the following sequence of events. In the first moment, God learned of the possible worlds and this is His "natural" knowledge; in the second moment, He acquired the "middle" knowledge of all the ways in which any such world could be served by His providence; in the third moment, He decided which possible / potential world is best and shall become actual and what time it is now, thus obtaining "free" knowledge, i.e., His entire providential guidance of this particular universe at every moment in it -- what I call the "Path."

I conclude that God's essence is utterly mysterious, and the knowledge of possible worlds is not even part of the natural deistic God at all.

Goodness: The Creator and Destroyer

In order to shake God out of His private self-sufficiency, something drastic has to be done; specifically, God had to be killed and rebuilt. As I write in my book, creation is associated with the Father, the first person of the Trinity, in His capacity as principle from which all things emanate. The Father dies in His creative explosion and is reborn along with the endless world. This is because God has to choose which possible (and later potential) world to actualize. But God is completely unprepared for choosing. He is pure act, but choice introduces a potency into God, thereby corrupting His nature and destroying Him. Thankfully, Goodness remains to bring its 2nd level back to life. Not even the 2nd-level God is immune from the perennial theme of death and rebirth in a perfected state.

Creation adds something to the 2nd-level God, or rather it shakes God out of the exclusive focus on Himself, i.e., on the relationships of the members of the Trinity with each other. From Goodness, the Father obtains knowledge of (1) which possible world the actual world instantiates; (2) the extents to which each creature and the universe as a whole imitate or reflect Him or ought to; and (3) His providence, i.e., how the world is to be guided in its evolution or God’s interaction with it.

As we can see, faith and theism as opposed to deism begin not with the Son or Christ but with God the Father, who we by faith believe died for the entire universe, just as the Son later died for humanity, and the Holy Spirit dies for each individual in his heart.

Angels were created next. They, too, are great and powerful creatures. For their union with the lower universe, they all paid if not an ultimate (like God) then still terrible price: the angelic unified nature was violently torn asunder and partially defiled. The angelic host was split into good and evil and forced to fight an irreconcilable war with each other that must end with unconditional surrender and eternal imprisonment of one faction and complete triumph and ascendance of the other. Their fight is for us humans who live in the middle earth, as it were, in the middle of the cosmic hierarchy, and smack-dab in the middle of the angelic battleground. The angels fight for our souls and because of that, are forced to learn all there is to know about the lower universe. Do angels know about cars or radars? They didn't used to, before Lucifer's rebellion. They do now. That the lower universe would be so honored by the awful humiliation of the angels!

Then came humans. They, too, were created in a happy place, the tentative Garden of Eden. As I write in an article, just think of what kind of creatures Adam and Eve were. Did they perhaps engage in scientific study of the things in the Garden? Unlikely, and without technology they would not get far anyway. Did they make beautiful music or create art for the glory of God? No. Did they do works of mercy? Certainly not; there was no one to do good to. They were, it would seem, little more than zombies. Exactly. In order to come to know lower nature -- animals, plants, matter and their laws of operation, Adam and Eve were unceremoniously and seemingly though not really tragically expelled from the Garden into a cruel, brutal, and dark world. This merely continues the story begun with God, to unite the higher, otherwise blissfully unaware of the lower, with the lower, to produce a single uni-verse, a one creation, where each is aware of and relates to all.

Thankfully, we humans don't have to fight each other like angels do; our price for life that Goodness has demanded from us is less steep, but only because we are less inherently perfect than angels. We just need to learn us some economics and that wars are unnecessary and are meant to be fully abolished. It is proper for us to enjoy peace on earth and good will toward men. And all things considered, we have done remarkably well. Despite all our mistakes throughout the centuries of struggle, our sciences -- including economics! -- are extremely well developed. We have accomplished wonders in controlling nature. On the whole, God the Goodness' human project is a success.

Even animals continue this pattern. There are certain animals that qualify for the exalted status of pets, of beloved companions to humans. It so happens that the most suitable pets are carnivorous predators, in particular cats and dogs. They are on top of the food chain. The lion is king of the beasts, etc. (No one has bred big cats for pet-hood, artificially selecting for meekness, docility, peacefulness, playfulness, trust toward humans, etc. But it can probably be done.) Did the lion imagine his royal status was going to be a freebie? Their price is the curse of gnawing and constantly returning hunger, to satisfy which they are forced to learn the ways of their prey and how to hunt and capture it. An antelope just eats grass; a herbivore has no problem feeding itself; but it is not sufficiently developed to be a friend to man. So, predators are higher in perfection than prey, and for that they, too, are put through a gauntlet by Goodness.

I have so far talked about knowledge. But attendant on it is love. For example, human happiness is found in graceful refined play involving their bodies and super-sophisticated machines they create to assist them. There is no pleasure without man-made "stuff" to cause pleasure. As a result, humans end up loving their own creations, i.e., their technology. The best kind of human being is an artist, a virtuoso of skill and proficiency with some technique. Thus similarly angels love men, and God, angels and men.

In short, the story of creation is the story of coercing the higher in perfection to forsake its natural self-sufficiency and contempt for the lower and to acknowledge and come to love the lower and help it prosper. Goodness has solved the problem of natural isolation of the higher from the lower in the most original and astonishing, if also terrible, way imaginable.

Goodness: In the Beginning

Is a billiard ball "aware" of other balls on the table? No, of course not, you reply. That is a mistake.

In fact, the material universe is suffused with self-knowledge. It knows where to go next. Each object at all times knows precisely how to relate and interact with every other object through a variety of forces. The entire material universe most sublimely "works" with practically no glitches whatsoever. The quantum world is a little weird, but it, too, is orderly.

A material object experiences its being in motion. For example, one object cannot suck out the energy from another; it can only transfer energy to it, increase its motion at the expense of losing motion itself. It can only give, not plunder on its own accord. So, a hot object heats the cold one; but it would be incorrect to say "a cold object cools the hot one," as if the cold object maliciously stole energy from an unwilling bystander.

Looking at the low end of the hierarchy of being, i.e., merely material objects, we realize that they are exceedingly unselfish and have deep awareness of each other.

At the same time, God, the perfect being, when it first came into existence, as it were, was 100% "autistic." He was fully self-sufficient, perfectly and maximally happy, and had neither knowledge nor any interest to learn of anything outside Himself.

And this was a peculiar and unique problem throughout the creation that Goodness faced. The higher up you go in the hierarchy of essences, from prime matter to God, the less need each higher thing has for lower things. Higher things are more self-sufficient, more powerful and capable of finding their happiness within themselves, and to that extent are less interested in interacting with lower beings. Yet what kind of perfect being is it that fails even so much as grasp that there are other things besides it? The same applies to a lesser extent to lesser beings, such as angels and humans. Clearly, this is a fundamental defect in the original design of life, universe, and everything.

That is not an attractive deistic universe where God the Trinity is perfectly aloof and inaccessible to anything below Him. There had to be a way of breaking each thing's self-sufficiency and making it aware of the wonderful world outside itself.

What to do, Goodness wondered?

Goodness: Triplism

Dualism as a metaphysical system that distinguishes between matter and spirit is incomplete. There is a third substance that belongs to God only and is called goodness. Its mode of causation is neither physical nor teleological but is expressed as "self-diffusion" of goodness. The proper metaphysics is then triplist.

As I write in my book, God as "3rd-grade" Goodness engages in two distinct acts of creation. First, it creates the absolutely best thing, which is the 2nd-level God as the Trinity; second, it creates a universe filled with numerous creatures of every rank, from the worst to the best, exclusive. Goodness then is the primal creative force that is beyond being.

The Goodness' exploration of being is lila, a divine game. Yet it is played exceedingly seriously and competently. Perhaps as the mind recognizes itself only as a thought or interpretation in progress, so Goodness is realized only as the ground for being, i.e., for good things.

Principia Ethica, 3

All of a sudden on p. 99 Moore starts talking about "absolute" and "Universal" goods without ever defining either term.

His argument is as follows. Hedonists argue that pleasure is the sole good. But whose pleasure? Well, Egoists say that Smith's pleasure is the sole good for Smith. But, Moore objects, then Jones' pleasure is the sole good for Jones. The "fundamental contradiction of Egoism is that immense number of different things are, each of them, the sole good."

If Smith's happiness is good, then "everyone has an equal reason to pursue it, so far as they are able and so far as it does not exclude their attainment of other more valuable parts of Universal Good. In short it is plain that the addition of 'for him' 'for me' to such words as 'ultimate rational end, 'good,' 'important' can introduce nothing but confusions."

But wait a minute. There is no such thing as an absolute human good. The only good that may contend for this quality is "true happiness" as an abstract type of good that all humans pursue. Smith pursues true happiness, and so is Jones, etc.

Of course, each person pursues his own version of true happiness. Eating vanilla ice cream makes Smith happy but not Jones who likes chocolate ice cream. So, all good is relativized to individuals. Now consider Smith's actions. He seeks his own true happiness. Which is good. But is not Jones' object of his own search a good even from Smith's point of view? Yes, but only to the extent that Smith loves Jones and wills good to him. In which case, Jones' happiness overflows into Smith and becomes Smith's. So, from Smith's point of view, there is no good other than his own true happiness, which, since it involves perfected nature, entails also charity for neighbor and rejoicing in their true happiness, as well. If Smith instead hated Jones, then Jones' happiness would in no way be Smith's good; if Smith was, say, an avenger of blood, then he would suffer upon seeing Jones happy.

Who Smith will love, how intensely, etc., is Smith's free choice, but generally speaking, people who love their fellow men are much happier than those who do not.

The universal good is also relativized, except this time to an "impartial observer" or to the Ruler of the universe, such as God, whose pleasure consists in maximizing the total true happiness over all people.

The human good then is relativized, but within each compartment, "for" Smith, "for" Jones, etc., there is only one supreme sole good: true happiness. Each person is a "microcosm" containing a unique ultimate good for its own self.

The absolute good, as I point out, belongs to the 3rd-grade God as Goodness only and consists not in true happiness (though the 2nd-level God possesses it in an infinite amount) but in that principle whose self-diffusion creates things-that-seek-and-enjoy-true-happiness.

If there is no Smith in the first place, then there is no happiness for Smith. It is a straightforward deduction from this to set apart the Creator of Smith as something sui generis.

Is Everything That Exists Good?, 2

The previous post deals with the first objection and proposes that Goodness creates beautiful things. To the extent that beauty is goodness, every rational creature that exists is good and good in proportion to its beauty and true happiness.

What about the second objection? First, we need to determine how God loves people.

I believe that God loves us by rooting for us, cheering for us, egging us on, saying: "Come on, do something interesting! Accomplish something! Have fun! Go!" He takes our search for happiness to heart and even assists whenever necessary.

I analyze humans into component parts, such as essence (nature), accidents (virtue), and acts (happiness), where by acts I mean the answer to the question "What fun and exciting thing are you doing right now?" But God, if He loves, loves the whole of man. The question then becomes: What is the essence of human identity?

Moreover, it's not that I have a nature, as though a separate object or property from me; I am in part my nature. It's not that I have character traits; I am my character. And it's not that I am enjoying something; I am in act.

The essence of identity is to build it up self-consciously on the virtue tier and then forget all about it on the happiness tier. Identity is its rejection or perhaps transcendence, when rightly understood, as one focuses no longer on perfecting oneself but on mastering and enjoying what he is doing, being so caught up in the moment that he forgets about himself.

The more in act or truly happy we are, the more enthusiastic God becomes at supporting us. God has no patience for mere states (more permanent like nature or even more changeable like virtue); He wants and loves action.

Thus, the more in act one is, the more God delights in him.

Then I do not so much enjoy true happiness as I am my own true happiness. But since true happiness is a definite good, then God does not so much will good to me as wills me to be -- overall -- good. It is true that man acts for an end; but the end is he himself!

As I become in part true happiness (only God is wholly pure act), I become good, and this is the sense in which I and all human beings are good by virtue of their mere existence.

The syllogism is as follows:

(1) Happiness is good.
(2) I (= what I am + who I am + what I am doing) am somewhat my own happiness.
Therefore,
(3) I am good.

By what has been said the third objection may be easily solved.