Goodness: Triplism

Dualism as a metaphysical system that distinguishes between matter and spirit is incomplete. There is a third type of 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 self-expression. First, it begets the absolutely best thing, which is the 2nd-level God the Son; second, it creates a universe filled with numerous creatures of every rank, from the worst to the best, exclusive on both ends. 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.

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 Son, the perfect (real) being, as He was originally begotten, was, as it were, 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 the Father 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 Son 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 is to be done?” the Father wondered, while contemplating his vast designs.

Goodness: Creator and Destroyer

In order to shake God the Son out of His private self-sufficiency, something drastic has to be done; specifically, the Son had to be killed and rebuilt. The Son’s intellect had to be thus uplifted as the first step in the Father’s first original creative act.

The Son had to measure up to the Father’s natural knowledge of possible worlds and the Holy Spirit’s middle knowledge of how the divine providence could mingle with the works of secondary causes at any given time. The Son needed to choose the best possible world.

But the Son was completely unprepared for this sort of instruction.

(i) He is pure act, but exposure to new information introduces a potency into Him, thereby corrupting His nature and destroying Him.

(ii) He is in addition a “locally” perfect being, and one cannot improve the global state of affairs without exploding local equilibria.

Not even the Father’s only begotten Son is immune from the perennial theme of death and rebirth in a perfected state.

Creation adds something to the Son, or rather it shakes God out of the exclusive focus on Himself, i.e., on maintaining His complete contentment and pleasure. Again,

(1) from the Father, the Son obtains the knowledge of all possibilities of finite existence, including he extents to which each creature and the universe as a whole imitate or reflect Him or ought to;

(2) from the Holy Spirit, He obtains the connections between the divine means and ends, i.e., how the world can be guided in its evolution through God’s interaction with it;

(3) and the Son Himself is tasked with ruling the world He chose to actualize for all eternity.

As we can see, faith and theism as opposed to deism begin not with the Son’s birth during His Incarnation in which His power was made equal to the Father’s;

nor with His death and resurrection which uplifted His will;

but with the transcendence of the Son’s intellect upon creation.

Note that the Holy Spirit’s intellect, too, was upgraded “before” creation; but I think, unlike with the Son, non-violently. Somehow the Holy Spirit was able to generate the requisite middle knowledge and supply it to the Son on His own accord.

This is how the world was partially destroyed in the process of the second creation led by the Holy Spirit.

Angels were created first. 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!

The cost or the sacrifice that God made is then threefold:

  1. the corruption and condemnation of a portion of the angels;
  2. the humility of the good angels in rendering services to humans;
  3. the losses the good angels suffer in the war in the form of humans lost to sin.

That’s quite a turmoil to introduce into the great cohort of His eminent firstborn!

Then came humans. They, too, were created in a happy place, the tentative Garden of Eden. 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 continued 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 Father’s 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 the Holy Spirit.

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. Love comes in many kinds, as I will show in later posts; but it is surely true that now 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. God has solved the problem of natural isolation of the higher from the lower in the most original and astonishing, if also terrible, way imaginable.

Whether God Is a Collection of Possible Worlds?

Suppose you wonder, “When you look at God in heaven, what do you see, exactly? What sorts 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 divine 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.

Now as a matter of fact, the entire Trinity is based fundamentally around the separation between the ideal and the real, with the Holy Spirit’s being the ideal procession from the Father and the Son’s being the real procession. God is explicitly not confused about the most important distinction in the entire universe! Still, God is one. Explain.

Well, I am inclined to deny the first premise, that God the Son as He is in Himself and before His many deaths and rebirths 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?

Upon the Father’s act of creation, there occurred the following sequence of events.

In the first moment, God, as always, found in Himself the grasp 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 — the counterfactuals of the form: “in world A, if I bestow such-and-such grace to Smith at t1, then history would unfold in this way; then I could do X, whereupon Y, Z, and W would happen; on the other hand, if I bestow a different grace on Smith, then P, Q, and R would occur,” etc.;

in the third moment, He decided (a) which possible / potential world is best and shall become actual and (b) from the human point of view, what time it is now and what it means, 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 abstracta like possible worlds and propositions that humans can grasp in their natural state (as opposed to state of glory while staring at the Father in heaven directly) hardly exhaust Him.

God Appears Exactly As He Is “in Himself”

In my book I go into a little discussion concerning “things-in-themselves,” after distinguishing between two types of knowledge, philosophic and scientific.

The proposition “there is a brown desk in front of me” is either true or false. If it is true and I believe it, then I have philosophic knowledge of the proposition. But if so, then there really is a brown desk in front of me. The desk, as fully brown as a dry leaf, is the thing-in-itself, and that’s all there is to say about it.

But then there is scientific knowledge, defined vaguely as something which sounds reasonable. I go on: “In philosophy of empirical science, on the other hand, all we have are perceptions. All we see and hear and so on are signs — of something, perhaps, but who knows and who cares of what? We use these signs in our lives to pursue happiness. We manipulate them in order to cause them to conform to our desires. Simply put, we entertain ourselves.” Brownness is a subjective experience and has little to do with the actual desk, whatever “it” might be and if any such there is at all.

Well, in asking whether the essence of God is seen by the created intellect through an image (ST, I, 12, 2), St. Thomas seems to be saying that unlike the situation with the brown desk, God is exactly and 100% what He looks like.

Graces Given to Angels

From the forgoing, we can see that God 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 Son), 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.

We may picture the divine act of destruction as the Holy Spirit’s biting our contented selves and cracking the shells that separate us from each other.

The following schema should clarify matters:

Grace of the intellect, faith, builds on nature;
Grace of power, hope, becomes nature;
Grace of the will, charity, wounds nature.

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

Again, the combination of God’s natural knowledge, the smoothly generated middle knowledge, and the violently birthed free knowledge united God’s intellect with the created world.

As part of this incredible and stunning course of action, the angels received two “wounding” graces of charity. The first grace of love for each other all angels accepted.

The second grace of charity for humans was rejected by the angels who would become demons. The ultimate reason for this is that charity entails servitude, works of mercy; the superior angels would have had to agree to serve the inferior humans, which is unnatural, and that’s precisely what the wounding aspect of charity consists in.

Both graces caused the good angels to undergo a rather grueling death and rebirth themselves, suitable to their natures, which means experiences while not as horrible as God the Son’s, yet still probably more terrifying than any man’s feeling amazing grace.

And a number of angels, led by Lucifer, pridefully 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 humans, the good angels, and God, as well, but Lucifer does not care.

Thus, the good angels love the evil angels as angels, but hate them as enemies of human beings whom they also love.

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

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.

Perfection of the Deistic God

God the Holy Spirit is what Whitehead might call God’s primordial pole. It is a collection of possible worlds, a full complement of all abstracta.

God the Son has nothing ideal in Him. God the Son 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 ad intra; He loves only Himself; and does everything for the sake of His own happiness.

God the Father through the processions of the Holy Spirit and the Son unifies the ideal and real in the form of “a mind that thinks itself.”

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 Creator God as 3rd-level divine goodness.

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:

(1) God’s nature is univocally like man’s in that He, too, has intellect, power, and will in all three of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, though not 100% in the same sense.

(2) Since God is three persons, and a man is one, the comparison of divine and human personalities is equivocal. And

(3) God’s happiness, though much greater than man’s, is for all that still tractable; so we speak of both analogically.

Now the Son 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 Son 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, “these would be evils.”

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

The Holy Spirit’s “primordial” abstract ideal nature is miraculously fully realized in the “consequent” real Son. Again, God’s intellect is a simple unity of everything real and ideal. Mises talked about “categories” of human thought and action, the structure and furniture of the mind. In God, His act of thinking fully expresses and comprehends all of these divine categories, such that there is an identity between the subject knowing, its act of self-understanding through thinking, and the object known.

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

Mea Culpa on the Trinity

To summarize the previous posts under “Goodness,” my theology of the Trinity was faulty. Upon diligent contemplation and prayer and divine assistance, I have uncovered a defect in my grasp of the levels of existence and will attempt to repair the system in this post.

The flaw was my unshakable conviction that lasted for many years up until recently 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.

There are still 3 levels, characterized by their three names and three types of causation: matter / physical; spirit / teleological; goodness / self-diffusion. Goodness is beyond being in a precise sense or, if this is not immediately 100% intelligible, is a sue generis substance that is neither body nor spirit but of which existence can still be predicated.

Each person of the Trinity has His own unique form of ad intra intellect, will, and power. Divine goodness makes each person good by bestowing upon Him equally unique ad extra capacities. A full analysis of God now requires a description of each of His 2*3*3 = 18 faculties.

The Son is not the best possible world created but rather the best possible thing begotten. The best thing, the Son, already includes and subsumes the best world. Unlike the Son, the rest of the emanations from goodness, i.e., the created world, are supererogatory. The Son’s intellect knows no possibilities inherently but does know them through Himself, as He is the perfect archetype in which all other finite possible things pre-exist.

The Holy Spirit is a collection of ideal possible worlds; the Son is fully real; the two unite perfectly in the person of the Father.

The Father ad intra wills to understand Himself; the Holy Spirit’s will is to unite the Father and the Son through love and gift-giving; the Son’s natural ungraced will produces self-love and the identical to it love of concupiscence, since the Son suffices Himself for His own happiness. For example, regarding God’s will, the Father makes evident His own 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 everything in Him is perfect) and in proceeding from Him, it becomes the second person of the Trinity called the Holy Spirit.

While the concept of time seems inapplicable to divine goodness, the Son exists really at all times; the Holy Spirit is timeless as an ideal thought; the Father combines all 4 tenses of past, present, future, and timelessness as if in a simple seamless package. Overall, God exists in eternity, i.e., simultaneously-whole and perfect possession of interminable life.

Before I was compelled to hold that the persons of the Trinity were essentially inseparable clones of each other. How unseemly! 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.

Creatures resemble the 2nd-level Trinity but not the 3rd-level goodness. God on the 2nd level is perfect, and human beings as a whole, defined by their 2nd level, are pretty decent, resembling God to a certain degree. But God on the 3rd level or God as a whole is good, whereas human beings are not good at all, bearing no resemblance to God whatsoever.

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 rebuild him. I now withdraw that contention in part, because the Father’s natural knowledge sufficed in full. 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 power over the world, especially to do miracles, upon His birth during the Incarnation. His will, upon His death during the same. 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 would be entirely unaware of any created universe by His side.

Of course, the Son personally chose the actual world to be created by the Father and the precise providential actions to be supplied by the Holy Spirit. Our world is a gift to Him. My contention is that this “free” knowledge came to the Son at a huge price.

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 disdainful self-sufficiency. But in enabling creatures to love down, to love those that are lower than them, the Holy Spirit also (indirectly) 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.

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 merely 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 enables theology to proceed sprightly.

The question “What moves the prime mover?” then has its peculiar compelling strength only if it is falsely assumed that God is maxed out at the 2nd level. And indeed, this deistic God has no natural creative power on His own, nor would care to create even if He did have it. But divine goodness is both sui generis yet not unintelligible.