Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Man's place in a pandeistic Universe
One of the complaints leveled against Pandeism by theists is that it does not provide for a sufficiently 'special place' for man. There is, after all, an idea in many faiths which intensely appeals to man's sense of self-importance that our Universe owes us a religious truth which makes us feel good about ourselves, even if it must in so doing counter science and render false the proof provided by our senses. Indeed, in many faith systems the presence of such a central place for man is a selling point, so much so that these religions can only bitterly and grudgingly release notions such as the Earth sitting at the center of our Universe, much less sitting at the center of our Solar System with the Sun and planets making perfect circles around it.
For those keen to make the error of confusing Pandeism with mere Pantheism, it is supposed as well that since our Creator has become our Universe, and exists within all things in our Universe, from the hearts of stars and interstellar clouds of gas to bacteria and fungi, that man is no more important in the pandeistic scheme than a tree or a rock of comparable size. This perceived circumstance is only magnified by the absence in Pandeism of a theological need to deny man's descent from more primitive life forms through evolution by natural selection, taken by many religions as another insult to the central importance of man in our Universe. But in fact, the very nature of our Universe reveals these concerns to be simply a misapprehension.
As has been noted before, our Universe has been set forth with a number of characteristics which would only make sense in the context of intelligent life coming to exist and being able to observe them, and to advance itself through them. The existence of temporal fortuity of our observable Universe, for example, is something which only makes sense in the context of observers capable of comprehending the age of our Universe and its implications for their existence within it. The habitability of planets conceptually within our technological reach similarly indicates not simply that life ought to arise within our Universe, but that such life will develop the capacity for interstellar travel resulting in interaction between inhabitants originating in different worlds (and, indeed, that such travel must be physically possible within the constraints of our governing dynamics).
And so it becomes apparent that our Universe may well be designed to suit the origination of intelligent life. Not 'man' necessarily, but certainly 'man' as an example, and so something more than incidentally. And in Pandeism this makes sense because our Creator has become our Universe for precisely the purpose of experiencing existence through it. It is doubly important to make this distinction clear, for it is the subject of frequent confusion and occasional obfuscation -- Pandeism does not propose, as some misunderstand, that our Creator set forth our Universe with the expectation that some other intelligent life would arise especially, with man being an unintended side effect of the Creation of that other form. Instead, Pandeism proposes that our Creator set forth a Universe with governing dynamics of matter and energy which were attuned to intelligent life arising somewhere, and possibly in many places. We simply happen to be one example of such life, and so while the nature of a pandeistic Universe is one where our Creator can not have known exactly what would come about where, man is precisely the sort of thing which is intended to come about through the correct operation of those governing dynamics.
And why is man more important than trees and rocks? Because the entire existence of our Universe would serve no better purpose than to inform our Creator of what it is to exist as something other than itself, and in that capacity, thinking, self-reflective beings such as ourselves are indeed generators of a far greater range of perspective than anything, living or dead, which does less in the realm of contemplation. But it not be imagined that we are, as the older religions would like to imagine, a finished product. We are not at the end of our evolutionary journey, but at the beginning, and what an ending such a beginning promises to bring to those able to grasp hold of it!!