Why a Divine Idealism?

On this website, I’ve advocated for a divine idealism ontology (also an aspect monism). I’ve talked about this ontology throughout the website but here, in this short post, I’ll discuss one reason why I think it is a crucial step in choosing an ontology that addresses the perennial issues in religious metaphysics.

Human beings have an intuitive sense that there is a profound meaning to the universe, there is free-will, and there are objective values (morality).  Why should we accept these intuitions? Basically, because in the ontology employed here, everything has a divine depth that informs us.  Here are a couple of short posts addressing this, here and here.

So, how can it be that those issues (meaning, free-will, objective values) are real? Essentially, it comes down to how reality is constituted.  The prevalent view among science-minded individuals and even most religious thinkers is that reality is constituted via laws and chance (quantum indeterminism). Accordingly, every event in the universe is determined by necessity and chance. This is a disastrous choice. It means that reality is autonomic, just doing what it does without intent. Since humans are part of the universe and because of the causal chain of events, humans are just automatons. Autonomic systems don’t have meaning, free-will, or values because they just do what they inevitably do.

If we are to affirm the intuition that we are not mere automatons, what ontology can be chosen? I think a divine idealism offers a solution (the only viable one as I see it). In a divine idealism every event in the universe is intentional in the mind of God. This includes the regularities we see (and science tries to characterize) as well as the novelty that indeterminism affords. There are no laws or chance. Everything occurs according to divine purpose. What purpose? That’s a complicated question that I’ve address in many essays but essential it is that the universe is constituted such that, among many other things, those features I’ve mentioned (meaning, free-will, objective value) are possible. The other element of the ontology I employ is an aspect monism. That means that everything (God-as-living) is an aspect of God-as-transcendent and participates in the divine ultimate meaning, freedom, and value. We are not automatons. Instead, we are parts of the Divine Life where we participate in profound meaning, have some freedom, and must make moral choices. A divine idealism and aspect monism ontology offers a way to think about metaphysics where our deep-seated intuitions can be affirmed.

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