Note: In this essay, the words “thing” and “object” refer to anything that part of the observable universe but is NOT abstract. It might be easiest to assume some kind of tangible MATTER. Or “body”, as it is referred to in Newtonian mechanics.
NOTE II: Please understand that I do NOT deny God as Creator. What this post addresses is the particular determinist aspects of that particular doctrine which are IMPLICIT within the Christian church, and which I deny as false. I submit that God MUST create, yes; however, this creation cannot be a function of God’s “pre-known”, or “fore-known” will, but merely a function of His IS. That is, Creation is implied because of God’s innate Self. His WILL is not a separate component of Himself; thus, because God exists, Creation exists, period. More on that later.
It is my submission that all of determinism, both scientific and Christian (via the epidemically false interpretation of “predestination” and “election”, as well as the well-meaning concessional nod towards the “paradox” of free will and predestination; which isn’t a paradox at all but a rank contradiction)…my submission that all of determinism can be dismantled by acknowledging one simple truth; and that is that the object precedes its laws (either physical/natural, or “pre-ordained/predestined” purposes/events/actions/etc.). That the object which exists precedes any “law” that defines its existence by doing what scientists in particular LOVE to do: attribute its ability to exist to something ELSE that is wholly separate from the object, and, even more illogical, ABSTRACT. And this would be, again, some quantification (physical law) or qualification (physical law OR religious determinism).
This is not to say that physical laws are not real. Well, by “real”, we must acknowledge that they are not real in the tangible sense. They cannot be apprehended by the physical senses. Truly, an object can be observed, and its movement or some aspect of its movement, but we are not witnessing the physical law, which is merely a mathematical construct designed to catalog “movement”. We are not witnessing the law drive the object. We are witnessing the object BE, and DO what it does.
The natural law is, again, merely man’s quantification of doing. However, the law is in fact real in the sense that it can be organized according to a formula which can be tested and shown to have repeatable outcomes so that it can be accepted as a TRUTH in and of itself. That alone, the description of the object’s movement in this way IS actually a real LAW unto itself, and one that exists apart from the object, and which derives its power FROM the object, while giving context and meaning and purpose to the object as witnessed by a third party observer. And this useful in predicting outcomes of events and objects, and also in conscious beings organizing their environments for many obvious purposes. One, of course, being: survival, for instance. But we should never forget that outside of a conscious observer, the law is non-existent. To the object, the law is nothing. Indeed, you do not need a physics degree to know that if you hit your shin on the coffee table, it will hurt, and so you turn the light off BEFORE you exit the living room. But really, all physical law is, is a heady way to articulate the following: the object moves in space. And that is the sum total of what a thing needs to exist. Indeed, the LAW of existence, which merely says that something IS, is a law that derives FIRST from the object. Once a thing exist, laws inexorably follow. The horse does indeed go before the cart. The law cannot, as an abstract thing, possibly exist BEFORE the tangible object. For without the object, the law is utterly untrue…it cannot be; it is irrelevant because it IS NOT. But the converse is not true. Indeed, there is no converse. The thing exists first, period. All “aspects” of its existence follow it. In other words, the object creates its OWN existential realities as implicit in its very self. Even its existence is from itself. For logic demands that the existence of an object cannot precede the object. One may argue that there must first be a “setting” for existence, or an “ability” of a thing to exist before it can exist. I deny this because it is merely demanding that some kind of abstract “truth” or “law” is, in fact the CREATOR, of the tangible. And I would even include—now, Christian friends, get ready to recoil in outrage—the “will” or “purpose” of God. This is also nothing but an abstract “law” of existence; and as such, it is irrational to declare it truth; to declare that the abstract (that which can only be articulated by a conscious mind AFTER the object exists) generates the tangible. That is saying that what does not exist creates that which does. That is simply irrational.
To say that a LAW of existence must precede an object’s existence is untenable logic; nonsense. There IS no existence apart from the object. To say that an object comes into existence as the PRODUCT of a law is irrational. It comes into existence as a product of itself; the physical law is the product, not the object. The object IS its own existence; its own natural law. The QUANTIFICATION of this can only come after the thing is observed. A LAW of existence cannot CREATE a thing. I am not suggesting that things exist in a vacuum. I fully concede that objects can in fact beget other objects and affect other objects. But this is NOT the function of a law, but a function of objects BEING; which is merely two things: taking up space (or I would say “consuming” space) and moving. Do laws do these things, or do the objects do these things? It is obvious: the objects do these things. Not according to natural laws, but according to their own ABILITY to BE; which is wholly a function of themselves. Objects are the creative forces of themselves. A thing exists because IT is ABLE to exist, period. It exists because IT makes itself EXIST; its existence is an inexorable part of purely itself. No law, and no determined divine act. There is nothing outside itself that drives this ability. There can be no FUNCTIONAL separation (that is, a separation that is not purely illustrative or abstract) between the object and its actions/natural laws. And this is precisely why I argue that the FUTURE is NOT real. It is ALWAYS and ONLY a product of man’s ability to quantify and qualify Creation’s movement. Nothing more.
And if all this is true, and it is, then the only way determinism can be worked into the equation in any way is to say that a thing wholly determines itself. For if the object must precede ANY definition of itself (which is what scientific determinism and Christian determinism DENY), then the object is utterly in charge of generating its own reality. It is SELF-DETERMINING. And if a thing is self-determining, it, by definition, cannot be determined by anything else. Not God, and not Stephen Hawking. And yes, my physicist friends, there is a difference.