Two different meanings of God, what is faith,

and looking at possible contradictions in beliefs.

When people say they believe in God or Allah, there are two basic understandings about what this means. There are actually many possible meanings, but here we will consider two very major ones.

One meaning is that there is a belief in a Higher Power, Wisdom, and Love, which will guide us and help us, if we sincerely ask or pray for this. These are the major attributes of God. So we believe in God with Power, Love and Wisdom. We also believe that God will guide and help us, if we pray or ask. God might well guide and help us even if we do not ask, but the asking certainly increases the possibility.

So three important points stand out in this meaning:

a) God is real and has Power, Love, and Wisdom

b) God's Power, Love and Wisdom is available, or offered; God is here to help us.

c) asking or prayer for God's help is efficacious, or at least makes a relationship.

The other meaning [of I believe in God] that people often have is that God is responsible for all that is happening. First of all, this [2nd] belief fully accepts the [1st] belief above. What makes it distinct from the [1st] belief above is that it adds in a further point of belief about the world being 'caused by God'. Now this itself could be confusing, because every believer in God would believe that God caused the world -- since one of the essential meanings of God is the Creator. So if this just means that God causes the world, in a general sense, overall, or if it just means that God created nature in its very beginning, then there is no difference between the two kinds of belief.

The real difference between the two beliefs is when the latter one claims that everything happening at any time, every occurrence, every event, every incident in life, has been caused by God, directed by God, or one might even say, organized and arranged by God. Most of these kind of believers also hold a notion that everything which happens in the world around must be just perfect and just right. By their logical reasoning... since God is absolutely loving, wise, good, and powerful; therefore whatever is created or arranged by God must also be loving, wise, and good.

This reasoning also includes an assumption that God, the powerful, is always directing and arranging events in the world. Now the reason for this particular assumption is blurry, but there are two possible reasons people have. One is that God the powerful just cannot keep out of world affairs - God always has to be in control of everything, rather than spare us some freedom to make mistakes. The other possible reason is that God and the world are an inseparable unity; that is, the world and every event in it is believed to be a direct reflection of God's Will. This view has many confusions in it, which will be considered latter. Right now, we shall focus consideration on the notion that God is directing, organizing and arranging everything which happens in the world - which makes every incident in the world 'just perfect and just right'.

This belief is that the Higher Power, Love, and Wisdom is always and perfectly at work in the world. Everything that happens is believed to be from God. Yet this would also have to include much of what is happening in the human psyche, since much of what happens in the world is an effect of how people think, react, and decide. So one of the logical difficulties of this particular belief is that, in order for it to be true that everything happening in the world is from God [in the sense of being directed by God or intended by God], it would also have to be true that God must be directing the thoughts and decisions of those people who make outer effects in the world.

We could understand this by reflecting backwards from an incident. Let us say that an incident occurs in the world and so we attribute this incident to God or to God's purposeful loving wisdom. But let us say in this example that the incident involved a man, or that a man caused the incident. Then, in order for this incident to be caused by God, it must be that God caused the man to do it, or directed him to do it. So not only would God be responsible for the man's actions (which outwardly created the incident), but God would also be responsible for the man's thoughts and decisions to enact this incident. Thus, the simple belief that every particular incident in the world is caused or directed by God would then also have to mean that God causes a whole lot of people to think, decide and do these things. The simple belief, that God is responsible for what happens in the world, entails that God is also responsible for the thoughts and decisions of those who make things happen in the world.

The problem then, about this belief, is that it seems to contradict our sense of having free will. What usually happens is that the follower of this belief will faithfully affirm that God is directing or causing whatever happens to us or around us; but then also hold a belief that our thoughts and decisions are not directly caused by God and that we do have free will. Yet these two beliefs contradict. For example, if someone causes harm to a place, by their action, the follower will faithfully declare that this was God's Will, or was directed by God, or measured out by God, or that it really has a love-wisdom purpose.. even if seemingly harmful. But if this were true, then God must have been also directing the someone who caused the harm, because in order for this so-called God-directed incident to have occurred, the person doing it must have been 'in on the plan', so to speak, or have been God's instrument for the action. So in order for the it's all from God belief to be always true, this would have to include causality upon human psyches as well as causality upon the outer world.

A related problem is to do with guidance. In the it's all from God belief, God would have to be guiding people who make incidents in the world, since all incidents in the world are believed to be guided by God. Therefore, in the cases of when incidents feel to be morally bad or are harmful, one would have to believe that God guided the persons creating such an incident -- since the incident (that is regarded as divinely purposeful) could not have occurred without those persons as instruments for the incident. So these persons would have to be guided, directed or caused to do this, in order for it to have happened -- which the followers believe is a divinely inspired incident. But then, these persons are being guided toward harming or doing bad; unless one then begins to believe that this person's action was not bad at all, but really good -- since it was guided and intended by God.

In fact, this seems to be the logical entailment -- which goes like this: every incident in the world is from God, brought about by God, decided and directed by God. Therefore, every incident must actually be good, or have a good divine purpose; since God brought it about and since God is loving and wise. God is loving and wise, so God's decisions would be loving and wise. And since God is deciding what happens in the world, it must logically follow that whatever is divinely decided and divinely brought about would have to be also good, loving and wise. Yet in addition, this would also have to logically mean that the people who do things which make these incidents in the world would also have to be part of this divine loving and wise scheme of things. Because, in order for many incidents to occur, this would require the decisions and actions of certain people, and thus we would have to conclude that these people are in on the divine scheme -- meaning that God is bringing about their ideas and decisions to do whatever they do. In effect, God must be in control of people as well as nature, at every moment and in each minute action, both inwardly and outwardly. This would have to be, in order for it to be true that God is behind all world events and incidents of life, or that every incident has a good divine purpose, or that 'God brought this about for some good reason' - even if unknowable.

Another main logical problem with this belief is in regards to prayer. The believer of this will also usually believe in the importance of prayer. But the problem is that, in the it's all from God belief, prayer is redundant. For if everything that happens is already directly caused by God, then prayer is unnecessary. If God is deciding what is best at each moment, or if God has already predestined what is to be, or if everything that happens is really part of a grand divine plan; then the logical implication of any of these beliefs is that prayer and making a personal connection with God becomes redundant -- that is, prayer and spiritual attunement is simply unnecessary since what will be is what will be.

Let us consider an example. A community prays for rain for their crops. In the first meaning of God that we briefly discussed, this prayer would have some importance in outer world occurrences. Also in the first meaning/belief, an absence of the prayer, or a complete spiritual neglect, would also have outer world consequences. In the first meaning of God, prayer and spiritual connection is significantly efficacious, whereby the needed rain will significantly depend on how well the community prays or makes a divine connection. If there is simple spiritual neglect, then the divine powers will not help, or we might say that nature won't bother to respond to the human need. Yet if there is sincere prayer and true divine-nature connection, then the divine powers and natural powers will respond accordingly. This is also known as the divine principle of cause-effect, or prayer and response.

Let us review this example one more time. A community prays for rain, and with great humility and sincerity. So according to the belief that humble and sincere prayer is efficacious, one would assume that the prayers really help bring about rain. Then, if rain actually comes, the people give thanks to God for the rain. They believe that God brought them rain, but they also believe that their prayers helped. Perhaps the act of sincere and humble asking, plus the making of a spiritual contact and connection, are the necessary principles involved which make a difference between praying and not praying. Certainly, no one would believe in any need for prayer, if they believed that God will decide on the rain independently of their prayers, or if they believed that prayers just don't make any difference anyways.

But now, let us imagine that the rain does not come, and this drought kills off the crops and many people die. The believers in the power of prayer might then conclude that they did not pray enough, and perhaps not well enough. They would put the blame on themselves, seeing the problem as somehow connected to their own mental, emotional and physical actions. For they still believe that the loving goodness of God would not bring drought unless their prayers and actions were insufficient. We could also imagine that the community failed completely to make any prayers for rain, which could then be the cause of the rain not coming.

So then, for clarification sake, what would the believers of 'it's all just right and perfect', think? If the rain had come, then they would have attributed this to God's wise and compassionate goodness, or for some this would be another example of divine destiny or part of the great divine plan. But then, if the rain did not come, then they would (just as well) attribute this to God's wise and compassionate goodness, or for some this would be another example of divine destiny or part of the great divine plan. In other words, for these kind of believers, whatever happens, whether it be rain or drought, health or death, is always labeled as good, wise, perfect, as part of the great compassionate wisdom, or as another example of divine destiny or part of the great divine plan. Thus, it doesn't really matter at all what actually happens; because everything is already assumed to be just right and perfect from God. They don't seem to consider that, perhaps, the rain failed to come due to the community's lack of prayer and faith. For it could be that the presence or absence of sincere prayer is the deciding point, or what really makes the difference.

So the emotional response to drought and death would be different for these two kinds of believers. The power of prayer believers would attribute the drought to a lack of right prayer or a failure to pray enough. While the it's all just right and perfect' believers would attribute the drought and death to God's wise and compassionate goodness, with an assumption that there is a hidden good reason for it in the greater divine purpose.

One extra thing to note here, in this distinction, is that the latter kind of believers will have a tendency to not learn any lessons at all from world occurrences, since they attribute everything to God's mysterious will or the mysterious divine purpose. They don't usually have any clue what the wise and compassionate divine purpose is, in a dire event, but they nonetheless have a devout blind faith in everything being just right and perfect. So there is nothing to particularly learn in any dire event, since its reasons are assumed to be hidden.

In the second, latter meaning of God ('its all from God'), whatever happens, rain or not, it will be for the best, or what God intends, or what is most loving and wise. If the people simply neglect prayer and spiritual connection, then God still brings out what is best. But if the praying were actually important for the hope of rain, then it would make sense that praying and trust in God would be more helpful to life than mere neglect of God and not praying.

Now it must be admitted that the analysis just stated might not be completely fair to the belief in question, so let us work at this more. It could be that the prayer and spiritual connection does really matter in the outcome, such that rain is more likely to occur if the community prays for it, than if not. Or that God, the Divine, will respond in a better way when there is connection and prayer, than when there is not. For it could be that God responds to the prayer scenario by providing what is lovingly wise and best -- which is rain. Whereas in the not prayer scenario, God still provides what is lovingly wise and best - yet this time it is not rain -- which is God's lovingly wise way of teaching them a lesson - that the consequence of spiritual neglect is God's neglect of help. So this is a way that God would be providing what is most loving, wise and best at any moment; however, the divine power would be in consequential response to what we do and how we make spiritual connection. Yet, this is probably not the way that most people think is at work, when they say things like, 'its all from God'.

Let us consider another example, to see what can be gleaned from it. Imagine a spiritual healing. A person needs healing, so is it possible for them to be spiritually healed? Either from their own prayers or from someone else? We shall take the position here that spiritual healing is always a possibility. This means that it is possible for the person in need to healed by the power of spiritual connection and prayer, either by their own prayers or a spiritual healer helping them. In effect, it is possible to connect with the great spiritual power of God or Jesus or some other connection, in order to make a healing effect, because the divine has power in nature -- the spiritual has power in the physical. This means that what happens in the world and in our own lives is at least somewhat dependent on our spiritual connection, or dependent on our relationship with God.

Thus, what happens to us or what happens in the world is not necessarily 'always for the best', or always good, or always the perfect love/wisdom. Because everything also depends on us. If one is neglectful of God, in some way, then the rain might not fall; whereas if one were spiritually connected, the rain would fall. Therefore, the ultimate best scenario would not be happening, unless the participants (us) were in our best spiritual state and intending our best spiritual action.

Now, let us return to the topic of spiritual healing. This involves three main aspects, or three main principles, which are active, receptive, and allowing (as the middle principle). It involves an active prayer, which in this sense is an asking. Imagine you know someone who is the most loving person and most wise person and also has the capacity to do amazing things -- because this is the Universal Power in all life. This is God, who is the very Cause of nature, and so has power in nature. So, the active part is prayer or asking; it is something you must do on your own and within yourself. Prayer is something to do, though our spiritual connection or relationship is also part of this. Also important in spiritual healing is receptivity. This is an inner attitude of receiving divine help, divine love and goodness. Make the connection and receive what is needed. Receive whatever you need, realizing that the the Divine Wisdom, or God, is always ready to give from the Love that it is. Finally in all of this is allowing. This needs to be simultaneous with the other two principles. We have to allow the energies of healing to move into us and through us. And if we are in the role of healer, we need to allow our mind and heart to be an empty channel for the Divine power to move through us and through the person in need. This allowing is significant, because very often we are not really allowing at all, but instead resistant or for some reason blocking the flow. These are the principles of healing, but also of any kind of divine help.

So, in consideration of the topic started above, this Wisdom Teaching believes that what we do, as far as spiritual connection and prayer, and also in receptivity and allowing, is very significant and efficacious to the outcomes of life. This means that if one is well in spiritual attunement, in prayer, in receptivity and allowing, then God the Divine Power will come through and manifest in a much better way than if one is not in spiritual attunement, prayer, receptivity, and allowing. So it is not true that all that happens is all best and good; for what happens depends on the state of who is involved and making actions in the world.

If it were true that whatever happens in the world is 'just right' or 'just perfect', or is divinely willed; then does what we do, either in prayer or in action, make any difference? If everything is always perfect, or just right, then this would seem to drastically minimalize the difference we can make. Because what if our human connection with the Divine is neglectful or without any care, and what if our human decisions were completely neglectful of love and compassion; then would it still be true that everything happening in the world is 'just right' or 'just perfect'?? Certainly, there is something very odd and contradictory in this.

If we believe in the possibility of divine guidance, then it would seem logical that following divine guidance is better than not following it. But if everything is always 'just right' and 'just perfect' and full of compassionate wisdom, then what is going on when people are not listening to and not following divine guidance? Is everything just right and perfect anyways, in spite of so many people ignoring or denying divine guidance? Moreover, what about the actions and events in the world caused by these people who are ignoring or denying divine guidance? Are their actions and caused events just perfectly good and full of compassionate wisdom anyways?? If so, then this pretty much makes divine guidance rather redundant.

Or even worse, it makes divine guidance into a logical contradiction, because one would be saying that certain people are not following divine guidance yet their actions are, nonetheless, divinely guided -- since it is assumed that whatever happens in the world as a result of what people do is really divinely directed, divinely guided by the loving wisdom of God. So the actions of all people would have to be divinely guided, (in order for all world incidents to be divinely guided-directed), and this would have to also include the decisions and actions of those people who have ignored or denied the divine guidance. So perhaps one can see how mixed up people are in their beliefs, but they don't see their confusion because they keep their contradictory beliefs conveniently in separate little boxes, and they will usually get quite angry if anyone tries to open up the little boxes to show the contradictions.

Now there is one way in which we could make sense of the ideas of 'it's all good' or 'just right' or 'just perfect', without falling into an absurd contradiction as discussed above. It goes like this. What is meant by 'it's all good' is that it is as good as it can be at this moment, taking into consideration the mistakes and faults of people and their actions. Though, this would be a stretch on the usual meaning; a rather loose meaning of 'it's all good'. Or for example, the meaning of “it's just right' would be 'it is just right for us to learn something'. Then, with this rather loose meaning of just right, one could say that a terrible oil spill was 'just right' or 'just perfect', yet in the sense that it was perfect for us to learn a lesson -- a lesson about how terrible an oil spill is and also a lesson hopefully about how to not let this happen again. So this loose meaning of 'it's just right' and 'just perfect' is actually more like a karma belief, or a belief in natural consequences.

Take for example a car crash. The absurd believer in God might declare that this incident was divinely intended, divinely brought about, or was God's Will, or that it was really 'just right' or 'just perfect', even if appearing to all of our sensibilities that it is not good and not perfect. The natural and social scientist would instead say that the car crash was a consequence of the drivers being drunk and reckless; or in other words, that the incident was the driver's fault and was caused by the driver -- not God, not divine wisdom, and not according to any secret divine purpose.

But now, let us see how the loose sense of 'just right' or 'just perfect' might interpret the event. This person might say that this incident was 'just perfect' and 'full of divine wisdom'; yet what they mean is that the car crash was a 'perfect' and 'wise' and 'just' response from the divine wisdom power -- intended to be both righteous justice and a learning lesson. So, in this looser sense of all world incidences being 'just right' or 'just perfect' or 'divinely brought about', the speaker is seeing every event in the world as God's wise response to how we do things. So if we make good decisions and make good actions, then the divine responds accordingly with perfect justice. Yet if we make poor decisions and poor actions, the the divine responds accordingly, as well, with perfect justice and a wise learning lesson. Thus, in this looser sense, the absurd contradictions as previously discussed fall away.

However, this looser meaning of 'just right' or 'just perfect' is more of a karmic meaning or naturalist meaning, rather than being a traditionalist meaning of God. For the speaker could just as well say, simply, that whatever happens in the world is a natural karmic consequence of one's behavior. If I fail to ever check on the water and oil in my car, then eventually the engine will overheat and break down on the street. So when my car breaks down I could say that this incident was brought about by God's compassionate wisdom, and I could say that this incident is 'just right' and 'just perfect', or that it has a divine purpose, because I could see this as a wise and perfect lesson from God -- to help me realize in the future that I need to check on my water and oil.

Yet, this meaning of the words used is pragmatically similar to naturalistic and karmic beliefs. For I could just as well say that my car broke down because I failed to ever check the oil, and thus I blame myself and see the incident as naturally caused, rather than attribute the incident to God or try to explain how the divine brought this about in order that I might learn the lesson. Simply put, the scientific naturalist (and also the believer in karma) would argue that God really isn't needed in the explanation of how and why the event took place -- because it is easily explained as a natural consequence. One does not need to bring in supernatural divine powers nor divine wisdom in order to explain the event. A religious explanation of this event, and of many other events in the world, is really redundant. God does not need to bring about or give us lessons; because the natural world and the law of cause-effect does just fine in producing lessons for us.

One could believe that their car breaking down in the middle of nowhere is God's wise and compassionate punishment... for not paying attention to the car's needs, or it could be seen as a divine 'lesson', rather that as a 'punishment'. This may be emotionally important to the person and it might be part of their religious-theological world-view; but it is certainly not necessary to believe in this way, because the naturalistic world-view and the karmic world-view works just as well to explain such incidences of life.

Now finally, to make an important clarification. One can have a naturalistic and karmic world-view, rather than hold an absurdly contradicting theological explanation of world events; yet at the same time, still maintain a Faith in God, as defined in the opening paragraphs of this discourse. In this faith, trust is still significant. One is trusting that God is present and here for us, with divine love, wisdom, and power. Also, one is trusting that our prayers and spiritual connection is significant and makes a real difference in life and in what happens. In fact, the trust itself, as well as the faith itself, is profoundly significant. We can see how this is in the example of spiritual healing, and also in the possibility of being divinely guided or inspired. Because faith and trust in God really matters in these possibilities. Moreover, when we truly have trust in the Divine, then certain positive events will occur as a positive consequence of this trust, and these events would not have occurred without the trust being present. Thus, faith and trust are efficacious in what actually occurs in our lives and in the world.

Rationally then, if one is accepting of the belief that many events in the world and in our lives are 'learning lessons' [either from God, or as karmic lessons from natural laws], then rather than simply say about everything that it's all 'just right' or 'just perfect' or with perfect divine purpose, it would be more appropriate to say about events in the world that things could always be improved or made better. This would be a more clear view about things happening in the world or in our lives. For to call everything 'perfect' or 'divinely purposeful', is really a bit misleading due to its ambiguity.

Imagine the incident whereby my car breaks down in the desert because I failed to check the oil, water, or gas. One person says that this incident is just perfect and just right, just what God intends, and it really is a beautiful expression of divine compassion and wisdom at work. Of course, this person would say exactly the same thing if we were also robbed and I were shot dead. Because for this person, every event is divinely just right and just perfect the way it happens. Lovely. But my other friend describes the incident differently, saying that it is a learning lesson, and tough lesson at that, and that it did have to happen (like, it was not predestined in a divine plan) because it happened due to a human failure rather than due to God's arrangement of the world. And this friend would say that in the world everything could always be improved or made better.

So if it is true that everything could always be improved or made better, then it seems quite confusing to also say that everything is just right and perfect the way it is. Do you see the obvious confusion here? The exclamation that everything is just right and perfect the way it is, could be truly misleading, besides confusing. Whereas the notion that many events/incidences did not really have to occur, and that whatever we find in the world can usually be improved or made better, are much more clear and down to earth descriptions of how things actually are. We could even say that spiritual attunement and trust in God are part of the better solution -- being efficacious or helpful in making the events of this world better or improved. It could also be appropriately said that events in the world range in spiritual goodness -- range between very poor to very good -- and this range often depends on the spiritual maturity of those who make such events.

Finally to say is that trust in God is important, but equally important is taking responsibility for doing what is wise and good. Trust is not about merely being passively content with whatever happens. The world will never become a better place if we are merely content with how it is; just as we will become a better person if we are merely passively content with how we now are. So a religious world-view of everything that happens is always perfect, loving and wise, is not only absurdly stupid but is also pathetically passive in its attitude.

“Trust in Allah, but tether your camel first.”

Additional discussions about confusions in the meaning of God

Many people have a fundamental intuition of the Unity of Being; that there is only one God and that the power of this One Being is everywhere. Mystics have often declared that all is One. Yet monotheism and a philosophy of Spiritual Unity does not logically require a belief in a puppet-master God, nor that everything is always determined for the overall good. In other words, we can understand that there is just One God, or Unity of Being, but without God determining or deciding everything that happens in the world.1

In this argument, we deny that all events and people are directly influenced and guided by God. Yet, we are not denying divine influence all together. It is possible for someone to be guided or influenced by a higher love-wisdom, or by the highest Source God. This may happen within oneself or from God guiding others. But this higher influence or divine guidance does not happen necessarily or all of the time. For there is also possibility for lower influences, or lower ego forces, or plain old habits, to be the motivators of one’s decisions and actions. People may be guided from above, or they may be guided from below; they may be guided by God-Wisdom or by a force of ignorance, greed, or hatred, etc. Yet the {false} belief in divine determinism contradicts not only our individual freedom but also the distinct possibilities of higher vs. lower influences.

We reject the notion that God is all-controlling of life, or that everything is decidedly determined by God (or by a pre-determined spiritual plan). We reject any kind of belief in absolute determinism, whether by a decisive wise God or by natural cause-effects. We reject the notion that everything is predestined to happen, or that every event is part of a fixed plan, known from the very beginning of time. We reject the notion that everything and every event is always good. We reject the notion that every event always serves the greater good, or that everything is always part of an overall plan of good. Just because everything is under One God or within the Unity of Being, does not necessarily entail that every event is good or that it ultimately serves a greater overall good (or plan of good). We reject the notion that every event/action is really a manifestation of love, wisdom and goodness – even though we might not see it as such.

It is sometimes true that an apparently tragic or unfortunate event might actually serve a greater good, but certainly this is not always true.

If everything or every event were actually good, or actually served the overall greater good, then all egocentric actions and even all pathologically violent actions would ultimately be good. All lower ego actions and all apparently harmful actions would have to logically be good, if one is to maintain the presupposition that everything that ever happens is really for the greater good. And in order to consistently maintain the presupposition (or faith) that God is deciding or ‘willing’ everything that happens, along with the presupposition (faith) that God is essentially loving and wise; then it follows that everything that ever happens (including every action of every ego-person) must be ultimately good (assuming that a loving wise God would choose there to be good rather than bad). We reject such presuppositions and their logical entailments.

We reject the inconsistency and contradictions inherent in these beliefs. For example, people will say that such and such is not good, or that it is not good to do this or that; yet after a tragic event occurs, the religious determinist will then say that it must be for the overall good or it must be part of the divine Plan, or that it is really for the best, or that only God knows the good reason for this occurrence. But if the action or event was really for the greater good, then how could it be not good? If everything is really good, or really serving the overall good, or really part of a wonderful and wise divine plan; then there really is no thing or event that is not-good. But the two-faced religionist says one thing in the morning and its contradicting opposite in the afternoon. Each contracting face conveniently forgets what the other just said. And when someone puts together the contradictions for them to see, they retort back that God or the Divine is a great mystery that cannot always be logically explained, and with this excuse they keep on playing a two-faced theology.

Philosophical mistakes:

Just because there is something to be learned in any circumstance, and just because there may be an opportunity in any circumstance, does not necessarily entail that this system is the best of all possible worlds for the best that could happen. Just because there is a positive in something, does not mean it is best. So one really needs to weigh the good and bad of any event; and if we think about things rationally and impartially, it is clear that some events and choices are better than others in terms of how much good versus bad is in it. If we merely assumed that everything happening around us is the best of all possible worlds, or the best that God can come up with, or that every event has a special divine purpose or is the essential to our learning; then we are making this faulty philosophical conclusion, and also we are less likely to be motivated to change that which is not good and to struggle against forces of evil or ignorance.

We need a basic re-conception of what is meant by God’s Power.

An older view of power might be imaged from examples of a Dictator King or a Military General, who rules and manipulates others with an absolute style of control. Or we might use a business image of a supreme chief executive or owner-manager, who directs the business with a strict precision. Or we might use an image of a potter shaping clay; an artist’s absolute power over nature. So we tend to idealize power as restricting the freedom of others in order to direct and govern with firm precision. And in a contrasting relation with the one in power, there is the recipient, the manipulated, who has no power whatsoever, especially no power to resist the almighty power. Also notice that in human history the dictator style of leadership always involved some form of enforced suppression of the general people’s freedom of creativity, which then means that all creative activity is forced to follow monolateral and uniform directives.

A re-conception of divine power is different from a totalitarian or dictatorial view. For in this revised conception of God (which is not a conceptual innovation but rather a rediscovery of the truth), divine power is not simply an absolute enforcement that must involve suppression of individual freedoms. Instead, God’s power is the persuasive force of love, wisdom, and beauty. In other words, the children of God, including all living creatures, are influenced in their feelings and choices by the divine power of love, wisdom and beauty. Love persuades, wisdom persuades, and beauty persuades. These are the three great powers of persuasion; which influentially move us towards good. Anyone can verify this with experience. We are naturally moved and persuaded by the powers of love, wisdom, or beauty.2

Each of these has an attractive power which is influential, or persuasive. So in our revised notion of divine power, the creatures are persuaded by love, wisdom and beauty; rather than by coercive enforcement or absolute compulsion. And in this understanding of God’s power, we are enticed by the power of love, yet still have freedom to follow love or not. In a sense, this shows God’s confidence in love’s power to persuade, maybe not always immediately but certainly in the long run; instead of an insecure god who has to absolutely manipulate the creation in order to insure its compliance.


It can be noted here that instead of following higher influences or powers, such as love, wisdom, and beauty; it possible within the freedom of man to alternatively follow lower influences/powers, such as egotism, greed, hatred, etc., which also could be viewed as the false gods.


The Unity of Being does not have to be understood by a rigid, deterministic, top-down, dictatorial or micro-management model.

That is, we do not need to believe in a micro-managing God who is deciding and enforcing every event in every moment. This sort of belief is not logically necessary to the more fundamental intuition in the Unity of Being. We need not believe that God made this or that occur, just because it happened. We do not need to be continually asking, “Why did God do this?” Or “What is the lesson that God has given me by this occurrence.” Many who believe in the Unity of Being also believe in this manner, but it is not logical necessary that all of these beliefs be coherently accepted. There is no need to believe that God is doing everything in this world.

For we can understand the Unity of Being with a more flexible model. If we study ecology, we see that there can be unpredictable and undetermined freedom within a unified ecosystem. The parts do not have to follow a rigid determinism or be simply determined by a top-down authority. Within the system there can be freedom undetermined by a rigid Authority; yet the overall system can still function as a unity of cooperative relationships. If we study business management, we also can find examples of allowed freedom and non-deterministic behavior within a functional unity. There is no need for a rigid, dictatorial, micro-managerial kind of unity. And that rigid kind of unity is akin to the model of a fanatical controlling dictator. Do you think that God is this way?

So we can believe in God holding things together, at least loosely, and allowing a maximum freedom, while not rigidly dictating or making every decision for creation. Then, if we believe in this freedom-allowing model, it makes no sense to always think ‘why did God make this happen?’ Or ‘what was I supposed to learn from this given lesson?’ Because not all events or circumstances were created or decided by God. Not all events in the world, nor in our own individual lives, are caused by a higher Intelligence, or higher Love, nor would they all have a higher Purpose; because any events could be caused by the decisions and actions of free people, and these actions might be caused by simple stupidities, or by greed, or by hatred, or by any other spiritually devoid motivations.


We reject the notion that everything is strictly determined by physical causes or by spiritual causes. We also reject the notion of fixed repeating cycles, or closed cycles. Yet we can accept that there is a predetermined, spiritual purpose or goal to existence. This is not a singular fixed picture, or ideal, of where existence must end up. Rather, the purpose, goal and ideal is a combination of various ideal general-qualities or the manifestation of various divine ideals. Thus, there is a general Goal, inclusive of various ideal qualities, but no specific fixed picture or form of the Ideal Goal. The specifics of the Goal are open-ended, undetermined possibilities, which even God does not know. We need to free our minds from the medieval religious belief that God must be omniscient of the future; for in reality this very existence is God in process of exploring and creatively evolving, without micro-management of the process. The purpose and goal is to bring forth the finest qualities of love and harmony, intermixed with freedom and diversity; but there is no determined picture of how this will exactly evolve and turn out. In the mind of God there is no exact form of how things should or will be. It’s an open question.


There is uncertainty (or hazard) in this process, because there is undetermined freedom in the process. Yet although there is uncertainty and hazard in relation to the general divine purpose or goal, there is nonetheless an aspect of inevitability in attaining the larger goals. This is because within existence and within each being, there is an inherent divine impulse to seek love and harmony and to bring forth all of the finest qualities of Divine Being. One could also say that there is an inherent impulse to seek divine order, or that there is a divine ordering principle inherent within creation. But this is not a strict manipulation or micro-managing of things. Rather, it is a divine influential impulse within the deep structure of existence/life. Things can move away, astray, but the divine impulse eventually brings everything back on track. Thus, the Divine Power is continually working to re-balance, re-harmonize, and bring a greater degree of order to the undetermined process. This is the higher, hyper-movement towards divine order and purpose. It is a hyper-force of ordering, but not an omnipotent micro-management and so there are no exact details being ordered. It is simply the influential force of divine ordering. Each moment of freedom has hazard and uncertainty, in relation to greater divine purposes, yet the ordering force (the will-to-order) keeps on working – so that the divine purpose or end-goal is eventually attained, in spite of the forces of freedom and hazard.


Confusions about Substance and Causation:

The statement that everything and everyone is God is merely a statement about Substance. For if there is only one essential Substance, then everything must be this Substance. Of course, we are dealing with a general meaning. For example, we are made of energy, and thus one could say that each person is essentially energy, but one is not intending to mean that each person is identical to energy or that energy is nothing more than this or that person. We need to be aware of the possible logical confusions when speaking generally about things.

Causal determination is another issue, but many people muddle causation logic with substance logic.

Another common confusion is mixing up the meaning of power with intentional agency. If electricity comes from a power plant, and someone gets electrocuted, it is mistaken logic to say that the power plant killed the person, or that it determined the person’s fate. Yes, electricity killed the person; we might commonly say this. But what is meant is that electricity was the power-substance for the electrocution; the meaning is not that the electricity intentionally or intelligently killed the person.

All is God in the same sense that all things are essentially energy. This does affirm only One Being-Substance, of which all things participate and all things are formed from. But it does not imply any knowledge about causation in the world, except to say that God-Being is the First Cause, in the sense that all things causally derive from this Substance. So it is logically unsound to conclude from the premise of One Substance that God determines all things. Likewise, basic energy is not determining how events will take place or what one will do today. Energy is only determining the beingness of anything, but it is not directing every event. So if we want to speak about God directing things, we need to speak of God with attributes of power and intelligence.

Now one can speak about a divine intelligence in all things, and one might proclaim that the divine intelligence is everywhere and through everything; because there is only One Intelligence. Yet this intelligence does not, logically, have to be equal everywhere and in everything, Intelligence could be more manifest in one person and less in another. Common sense experience shows this to be true. But the extreme monist says that wisdom is equally everywhere, because everywhere we look we see the wisdom of God at work, and every event has an underlying wise purpose to it.


One way of understanding God’s relation to the world is by applying the concepts of primary and secondary causes. God’s actual Power is foremost at the primary level of causes, or we might simply say that God’s Power is a primary cause. These primary causes are efficacious in relation to secondary causes – which are the causes we see or infer in the world – yet the primary causes are not the immediate and direct cause of the events we see in the world. For example, a lion attacks and kills its prey. The immediate cause of the prey being killed is the lion. We might also conclude that the cause of the lion attacking the prey is the lion’s hunger and its natural instinct. These would all be secondary causes – in relation to the primary cause (or First Cause), which is God’s Causal Power to give the lion this instinct and this capacity. Thus, in theological terms, these concepts of primary and secondary causes are useful to understanding. For it does seem confusing or overly simplistic to say that God caused the lion to kill its prey, or that the prey was killed by God’s Power. For if we want to know the exact cause of this event, we should observe who did what to whom and the behavioral causes of that natural event. Science is the study of such causes, but science does not speculate on a prior theological causes (primary causes) which are transcendental to these secondary causes.

The very first primary cause to consider is the original cause of existence itself, or at least consider the primary cause of nature being causative in the way it is. Back to theological explanations, one could say that God caused animals and other things of the world to be the way they are. God gave them their essential unique nature, or their unique capacities. God gave us our human capacities, our potentials. Such would be a primary cause. But we need not simplistically think that God made the lion kill that prey at that moment. Rather, the lion was applying its capacities and instincts, and as such the lion was the causal agency of this killing event. Thus, we can say that God is the primary cause, while the lion is the secondary cause or immediate cause. Likewise, if a human kills another person we can rightly say that this human was the immediate cause. We might also say that the human made a decision to kill, and that he is responsible. God did not make the decision, god did not strike the blow, and so God is really not responsible. God merely gave this human the capacity to kill. So the primary cause would be God giving humans the capacity to kill, including the capacity to hate and make mistakes, but it doesn’t make logical sense to say that God did it or that God is responsible. And so we can use these concepts of primary and secondary causes to make a distinction between logical levels of cause. God is the cause of our capacities, but not the immediate cause of our decisions and actions. As a primary cause, God sets in motion the nature of things and the capacities to fulfill Divine Will or Purpose; yet God does not forcibly cause every action or event. The decisions and actions are left to the secondary causes. And we should note here the significant element of freedom existing between the primary and secondary causes. The primary cause gives capacity and potential to beings, and it sets in motion the general scheme of nature. But the primary cause does not fulfill the immediate action. It does not actually make things happen in the specific ways they occur. It does not directly make us do what we do. We do what we do by our unique learning process; that is, our decisions and actions are determined by where we are on the learning curve, or where we are in relation to understanding what is good to do, rather than our decisions and actions being determined by God. What we do is all about how we understand what is good and how we apply our God-given capacities.

These concepts of primary and secondary causes can also be applied to a comprehensive model of spiritual metaphysics. This has already been elaborated elsewhere, but to simplify it let us picture a number of causal levels. Qualities of our potential and capacity, and the essential principles embedded in life, come firstly from God. Essentially, God is the Primary or First Cause. Individual mind or intelligence (or even say heart) is the knower of these potentials and principles, though this knowing is a learning-discovery process over time. Thus, individual minds become secondary causes to actions or behaviors. Then, behavior or action becomes the further level of cause to eventual events in the world. So here in this model, we have five levels. The One God/Essence/Being [by emanation] is cause to Qualities, Capacities and Principles, which are cause to knowings of mind/heart, which are then cause behaviors and actions, which are finally cause to events and manifestations in the world. Except for the last level, there is causal responsibility at each of these levels (which make a logical downward progression). But even the last level of manifestation has its own causal effect on the levels of behavior and mind, for it should be understood that events and manifestations of the world do affect individual and group behavior/action as well as understanding and thinking; though the two higher levels remain independent. In conclusion, cause and responsibility can be placed at each of these levels, for each is a distinct logical level of cause.


The will to good and working with others

What is the Will of God? and how does this work to influence?

The Will of God is the will-to-good that we know in ourselves; so the Will of God works in the world through our own will-to-good. God influences the evolution of humanity and the evolution of good in this world through the medium of our human inner conscience. So instead of manipulating things in the external world, God influences our inner reality with persuasion and guidance; thus affecting and evolving the external world by way of our inner reality.

The will-to-good is an inner impulse to be good, do good, and bring about goodness in the world. Goodness is a general notion for that which helps fulfill the Divine Purpose of life or the very purpose of this whole existence. Action that is truly good, or objectively good (rather than merely relatively good), must be helpful or leading to the fulfillment of this Higher Purpose. So fulfillment of this Purpose stands as the ultimate premise for measuring objective good in the world. So now, let us consider what is the Divine Purpose. This Purpose can be sub-divided into three facets: love, truth, and harmony/beauty. These are the three main components of Divine Purpose. We could name some other purposes and divine qualities as well, but every other significant theme can be sub-classed under these three main purposes or aspects of the Divine Will.

So very generally speaking, the Will of God is the will-to-good. More specifically, it is the will-to-love, which is an inner impulse to love, be love, and bring about love in the world. It is also the will-to-truth, which is an inner impulse to discover truth, be truth, and bring about truth in the world. And it is also the will-to-harmony and beauty, which is an inner impulse to be harmonious, and bring about harmony and beauty in the world. This third aspect of Divine Purpose, or third aspect of Divine Will, is also related to synthesis and unity. Synthesis is a re-combination of multiple parts into unity, or it can also mean a unification of conflicting pieces into a unity. So the work of synthesis and unity is to bring together disparate and conflicting parts of the world into a harmonious unity. It is also to bring together the disparate and conflicting parts of oneself into harmonious unity. The work of synthesis and unification is always two-fold, involving both oneself and the world. This is also related to love, because love brings everyone together and builds a harmonious unity.

Love also adds respect and compassion to the work of synthesis and unity. Without love, caring and compassion, the work to unity could become dictatorial and oppressive. It could involve suppression and oppression of creative freedom and differences. This is not the kind of unity sought for in the Divine Will and Purpose. Rather, the Divine Will and Purpose seeks Unity-in-diversity, which requires compassion and acceptance of diversity, though ever seeking to build harmony and unity in this diversity. This in fact is the creative work of the Divine Will - to allow for diversity while also building harmony and unity. We should add then a fourth main facet of the Divine Purpose and Will, which is freedom to explore the possibilities of life and bring forth diversity of expression. Thus, we now have four great pillars of Divine Purpose and Divine Will. And remember that variety, reconciled with harmony and unity, is beauty.

God allowing is not the same as God willing.

God never compels one to make mistakes or to do harm; only urging us to the good and the better.

Every event is for one’s own good, or for learning (created by God or by my soul)

but not all comes from the higher,

for some comes from the lower

knowing the difference is discernment and wisdom.

Divine determinism would mean that Divine guidance is redundant

and freedom is illusionary

Premise: It is possible to Not follow divine guidance.

If one is Not following the presently given divine guidance, then what we do is probably not in line with divine purpose and good, since the divine guidance was showing us how to be truly in the good.

Thus, to declare that all things are divinely guided, while also believing that one can be divinely guided or not guided; well, this is a blatant contradiction.

Resistance to Higher Will cannot also be the work of Higher Will.

God would not be the Power compelling or influencing one to make mistakes nor do harm. Rather, God is the power urging us to be good and do good. If everyone were doing just what God wishes them to do, or what God powers them to do, then resistance would be impossible, and mistakes would be impossible, and everything would really be perfect. Yet if this were true, then we should be praising everything everyone does.

If one can possibly reject divine guidance or ignore it, and thus move into a different direction from that suggested by guidance; then it is a blatant contradiction to believe that this self direction (which ignored the divine guidance or even went opposite to it) is really the divine direction all along, that this self-direction is really part of the divine purpose and plan, and is really for the Greater Good, along with everything that happens.

To believe that everything which happens in this world is part of the divine purpose and plan and is really for the Greater Good… is to suggest that everything anyone does is really for the Greater Good, since much of what happens in our world is by human action, and also then it has to imply that everything I do is also part of the divine purpose and plan and is really for the Greater Good. Yet this belief would blatantly contradict another belief that the human ego is capable of not following divine guidance and acting in opposition to divine love and God’s Will.

How is it not contradictory that a man can reject divine guidance and love in their actions, yet still act in a way that is God’s Will or part of a greater good? The contradiction is most transparent in the following statement. A man rejected God’s guidance and instead spitefully acted in opposition to God’ guidance, yet this man’s actions were in perfect accord with God’s purpose and intended plan for the greater good. In other words, the man’s action only appeared to be bad, but were really good (since those actions perfectly lead to a greater good); yet this man’s actions were in opposition to God’s guidance.

The man rejected God’s guidance but this rejection is really for the greater good? The man acted in direct opposition to God’s guidance yet his action was really God’s Will all along? In one moment there is a possibility of right and wrong action, but in the next moment there is only good ever possible in this world. The ridiculousness of all this is apparent. And it is even more ridiculous to justify this as a divine paradox or divine mystery.

Some things are God’s Will, but not everything is

This View has been critical of certain kinds of theological thinking, such as that everything is God’s Will, or everything is part of divine plan, or that everything is really good. Our View is only against the absolutism of everything being as such. For we accept that some things are God’s Will, part of a divine Plan, or actually good; we just deny that everything is. We are saying that any event is possibly God’s Will, yet possibly not God’s Will. Both are possibilities. But the wrong View is that there is only the possibility that all is God’s Will, and they deny the possibility of something not being God’s Will. So we are only saying that either is possible. Now the next point to make is that no one can know for certain what events are God’s Will and what are not. This is simply an admission of limited human knowing. And yet, this fact of ultimate uncertainty is no excuse to not make discernments about what is Good or not. Because it is our human responsibility to make such discernments, and as well make decisions based on what we believe is right or wrong. If one were to always stay on the fence and never make discernments (or never make judgments about right and wrong), because of one’s ultimate uncertainty; then one would have no basis (or rationale) for making decisions and thus one would probably avoid decisions, just as one avoids judgments about right and wrong.

So, we need to recognize the possibility that an event could be God’s Will or not, and then realize that we don’t know for sure whether a particular event is or is not. This uncertainty is a humble recognition of our limited knowing. And yet we could not live practically if we always stopped at this uncertainty and just sat on the fence, without trying to discern what is true and what action to best take. We need to use our God-given discernment and make choices based on this, even if we are not absolutely certain about anything. So when something happens, it is true that no one can know for certain if this is ultimately bad or good, or if it is part of a divine plan or not. Yet, we have to decide on something.


God’s Will cannot be concluded (or known) on the basis of what actually happens in the world. There are those who believe that whatever DOES happen in our world must therefore be God’s Will. This is reasoned because of a faith-assumption that everything which happens in our world must be God’s Will – since there is only One Power.

Let us imagine a possible conference of world leaders. And let us imagine two possible outcomes from this conference: world war or world peace. Or maybe the possible alternatives are world fascism or world democracy, as planned by these leaders. In such cases, God DOES have a Will in such decisions. One way would be God’s Will, while the other way would not. We don’t have to necessarily view God as making decisions in a human manner; for we could view God as a Love-Wisdom, or the Great Will-to-Good, or the Principles of. Either way, there IS a God’s Will (or Divine Will) in direct relation to our world affairs. For, the Divine Will is in favor of peace and democracy, over the opposing alternatives.

Some events are God’s Will. What I mean by this is that some events are aligned with Divine Goals for our world, such as cooperation, love, service; Or that some events are aligned with Divine Love-Wisdom (God’s Love and Wisdom). This follows a well-used meaning of the word ‘will’; for example, one could say that peace in the world would be one’s will for the world. However, I do not mean that one particular election choice is “willed by God” in the sense of being made to happen by the Higher Power. (though I would grant that God’s Power may at times enter into the world – as in cases of special healings or sudden spiritual realizations). It would be quite doubtful that God “makes happen” one election choice over another; as though God either messed around with the ballots or compelled enough people to vote one way over another. In fact, an election is a great example of man’s freedom in this world, whereby man is not compelled by God; and yet, I see nothing theologically odd in believing that God can inspire or even suggest (through our inner conscience) certain choices over another.

God does have a “Will” in relation to our world and what happens in this world. Otherwise, God would be in apathetic relation to us. God’s Power and Will enters into this world, or at least influences this world; …. but without God determining every event in this world.


People say “from God” but there are two different meanings in this, which often get mixed and confused. A circumstance or event occurs and someone says it’s “from God” or ‘due to God’. Yet two very different meanings are possible. Not realizing these two meanings creates confusion. One meaning refers to fate. Whenever anything happens, we could consider this as fate. We cannot do anything about it. It is simple what has happened, so we attribute it to a power called fate. This idea is very common throughout many cultures, religions and times. So many people call this God. It is what the world gives us, and all we can do is accept it.

But this meaning of God is different from God as Good-Will. We know intuitively that God must be a Source for Good and a great Will-to-Good. Also we should know that God loves justice and truth, not fraudulence and debauchery. God wills the Good, not also the bad. Yet in our world we find good and bad. We find good and bad people, as well as good and bad circumstances. The good is what God Wills, yet the bad is merely fate.

This is where many are confused. They say that God must have willed both good and bad, since both happen. It is true that both happen, but not all is God’s Will. Some is just fate. We have to accept what is given, just as we accept God, but sometimes this is an acceptance of fate, rather than God’s Will. Or some people say that God makes no distinctions between good and bad, as if those distinctions were not even spiritually valid. They see what appears good and bad, but they deny their own senses and call this spiritual. Thy mistakenly think that it must all be good, since it all comes from God. Yet much is only from fate. Fate is just the way things happened to have turned out. It doesn’t mean that a great power decided it should be this way. God is not a strict dictator, nor a micro-manager. These are false models of God. Instead, there is flexibility and freedom within the scheme of things. There is always a Will-to-Good at every moment, coming from God, but not always a perfect fulfillment. Instead, there is often fate – the way things happen to turn out. Within the Mind of God, there is always a Higher Intention for greater good, a higher possibility for each moment, but this rarely gets fulfilled. Instead, lesser possibilities more often occur. These events are still within the spiritual manifestation of the One God, but they should be distinguished as fate rather than as God’s Will. Or we could say that most events are merely along the evolutionary-learning curve, but not necessarily perfect from God’s Will, nor spiritually intended.


In this philosophy we are not holding an extreme position that everything we encounter in the world is a necessary teaching or necessary learning; since this would imply that everything encountered was somehow set into place by a higher divine intelligence. This view is rejected as mistaken, because it is not allowing for the possibility of learning in some other way. For example, if a driver runs into another car because they were tailgating too closely, then the resulting crash is a kind of teaching for that person. But it was not exactly necessary, since the person could have thought about the problem of tailgating and resolved that stupidity before anything bad anything bad happened. So the crash was not necessary; it was not required in order to learn. It did, hopefully, help the person learn a lesson, or we can think of it as a learning opportunity, but it was not necessary. And neither was it a set-up by the divine intelligence; the divine intelligence is not setting up every little occurrence for our learning. In fact, we don’t need a higher intelligence to set up mistakes so we can learn from them, because our own stupidity and carelessness will do very fine in setting up mistakes for which to learn by. Thus, what is true is that everything we encounter, or that which happens, affords some degree of opportunity to learn.


There has to the possibility of moving away from God’s Will, or away from good, in order for there to any logical meaning in moving towards God’s Will, or towards good. So if all actions are necessarily God’s Will, or God doing the action; then there could not be any actions that are Not God’s Will, and no distinction could ever be made between moving towards and moving away from God. And if God is doing everything, then there isn’t any real meaning in personal responsibility.

So in this universe there is both possibility of moving towards God and moving away from God; or we could understand this as moving towards Love and Light, or moving away from Love and Light. Once we accept this possibility as real, there is a contradiction in saying that every action is God’s Will or God doing it; unless one proposes an absurd notion that God willfully pushes us away at some times rather than always persuading us to come closer to goodness and love.

The possibility of approaching nearness to God and Light, in contrast to moving away, gives rise to the dual reality of lighter and darker. This dual reality, though, exists within the overall Reality of Unity. The possibilities of lighter and darker, which can also be translated as good and bad, or better and worse, function within a Unified Purpose and also a Unified Process. The Cosmic Purpose for dualistic contrasts, such as lighter and darker, is for the sake of Knowledge and Experience. The Cosmic Process requires this dualistic contrast, because Process needs to move from one pole to another.

A logical contradiction between beliefs of predestination and divine intervention

It doesn’t make any sense if both are right. There are various narratives about predestination, but let us just consider a belief that God has already decided what events shall come to be, which would have to include a pre-decision about how people will choose and act, since these are also life-changing events in the world. This belief also includes, and presupposes, the more common belief that God is all-knowing of everything that will ever occur, since God perceives all time from beyond time. Some philosophers argue that an all-knowing God, of this sort, would necessarily entail predestination – that everything is already worked out. But some philosophers disagree; they see omniscience and predestination as different issues. Our discussion here, though, is only concerned with predestination.

Now, if predestination is true, and God has already decided what shall transpire and has already set this into an inevitable destiny, or divine providence; then it doesn’t make any sense to also believe that God intervenes in our world. Why would God have to intervene, or want to intervene, if God already decided what shall be or what shall best be? Is God changing his/her mind, but if so then the predestination would have to change. Predestination has to imply a fixed and set creation, so divine intervention doesn’t make any sense at all in the predestination view. God could still be viewed as active in the world, but this would be predestined activity rather than God intervening in his/her pre-determined creation. And so if predestination eliminates divine intervention, it also eliminates any significance of prayer; for if everything is already decided or planned out or predestined, from a kind of beginning of time, then what use is prayer if nothing could possibly be changed anyway? Of course, these are just a few of the logical and common-sense problems with predestination.

Scientific materialism also believes in causal determinism

In relation to predestination or predeterminism, scientific materialism tends to favor a metaphysical theory of causal determinism – that everything and all events of time must be already unalterably pre-determined because every event must have determining causes and those causes must produce inevitable results. In other words, distant events of billions of years ago must have caused subsequent events and so on, such that whatever is occurring at this moment in our world must be causally determined by a long chain of preceding events, and things can only happen as they do because of unalterable material laws or properties. So everything that happens, including even our own thoughts and choices, must be already predetermined at the beginning of its causal chain. Everything that happens could only have happened the way it has, since everything is governed by definite and unalterable material laws of causation. Just as a machine has a destined amount of functional efficiency, absolutely depending on how it was made and the material life-span of its working parts; so too with humans that what we do, or how we perform, is absolutely dependent on the functional conditions of our parts and also dependent on our unique capacities for responding to environmental circumstances. This, in this scientific materialist view of deterministic causality, everything and everyone is merely doing what it has been caused to do, and could not possibly do anything else at that moment. This view, then, is basically the same as a religious belief in predestination, except that in the scientific view the [first-cause] Creator-God is replaced by natural or material causal necessity and the first cause is viewed as a cosmic accident rather than as an intelligent intention.

Another problem with understanding God's will as based on what happens in the world, rather than on one's own moral intuition, is the difficulty if not impossibility of forming any consistent principles about what is God's will or what is good. Because if your strategy for learning is to study the facts or events of the world, in order to understand principles of what is God's will, then you will be in quite a muddle. You will have to accept the atrocities of Hitler as being God's will or significantly serving a higher purpose. You will have to accept as good (or good serving) all of the events that our common-sense morality feels is bad. So how is this going to help you make moral decisions?

1There are alternative understandings of how God or the Unity of Being works itself out in the world. The alternative understanding, as presented and argued here, can be called a process theology’. This term has already been coined in contemporary theological dialogue, but its various explanations have yet to become dogma. The explanations of this present discourse may or may not coincide with previous elaborations of process theology, but what is explained here can generally be classed as a version of process theology.

2These three powers of persuasion could be regarded as the three great gods or goddesses, in a polytheistic metaphysic; but of course they would all be unified by a common Greater Aim, or ultimate God/dess, which would be the Good in Itself, or the general attracting Power of Good – by way of either love, wisdom or beauty.