I have really loved Mathis’ work! Really!
I think he is one of the most talented thinkers available today, a multifaceted talent, who gives his best in painting.
However, he confines himself in the cage of agnosticism and this prevents him to bring his brilliant arguments to the last logical consequences. In this way, for example, he misses the last mile in his social, political and historical analysis and falls short to take the logical conclusion in the science of nature when it would force him to go out from that cage, as you can see in his recent paper on the theory of evolution.
This last essay is in fact a brilliant and total confutation of that theory, as propagated by the mainstream, and yet rather incomprehensibly he presents it just as a mere amelioration of the theory. Destroying nonsense is surely an amelioration, but not an amelioration of the nonsense. The fact is that agnosticism is a very ambiguous term and in fact it means a little nothing in the concrete dialectical discourse. It’s not a third way between or beyond theism and atheism, because it cannot possibly exist a third possibility in this matter. It is just a confession of ignorance, “I do not know”. Now, that is fully legitimate, but only when you really do not know, when you really are ignorant, when you really have not the means to investigate and analyze the issue, but this is not the case with Miles Mathis. Agnosticism is legitimate when you start investigating something, but it can’t possibly be a conclusion. If your conclusion is still “I don’t know”, you are depriving of any value all your arguments and analysis. Agnosticism is the correct scientific approach to a question, but it has no substantive meaning after the investigation, unless the investigation itself and all of the investigator skills and tools have miserably failed!
In this concrete matter, you must choose between a creator or nothing as the origin of the universe we live in, tertium non datur! The creator in this context has no religious meaning, as we are trying to prove merely his existence, and that is a legitimate scientific task. We are not trying to define him, to answer the question about WHO is he and WHY has he created. Those last answers lie outside any scientific investigation, because we have no analytic ability nor appropriate experimental tools to carry on the task. Everything you will ever know about God is just what God will reveal to you and the Revelation is not scientific knowledge, but much higher wisdom.
But the question about the creator’s existence as causal and functional origin of the universe, in opposition to nothing, i.e. a creation originating by chance, is a legitimate scientific issue and has nothing to do with the religion. The hysterical darwiniacs’ reaction to every suggestion about the existence of a creator is just one more evidence to their madness, when it’s not a show of total and shameless dishonesty. Their claim that if you affirm the existence of a creator you are not talking science but religious superstitions is a little revelation in itself: a revelation about their lacking of even rude analytic skills and about the vacuity of their mind! It’s a blatant attempt to disrupt the discussion, knowing that all they can offer to it are just fairy-tales for retarded adults; so they create a straw-man, in order to deviate from the road leading to their exposition as clueless and conceal the very poor basis on which their dogma rests. Please, do not fall for this petty ruse!
Provided that, even common sense alone would suffice to answer that question. After all, when you pass by the last Mercedes model you do not think that it has assembled by itself; therefore, how can you conclude that something several trillions times more complicated and odd as a single living cell has assembled by itself? Apart from that, logic alone would dictate that every system can base his logical existence only on conventions laid outside the system itself, and the system in which we live is logical, rational. Keeping on, even our mere experiences tell us that nothing comes out from nothing and that order does not come out from disorder, unless an intelligence intervenes and gives command (information) to that purpose. Every task needs information to be carried out. Now, I wish to remember a few certain things about information:
It is impossible to set up, store, or transmit information without using a code.
It is impossible to have a code apart from a free and deliberate convention.
It is impossible to have information without a sender.
It is impossible that information can exist without having had a mental source.
It is impossible for information to exist without having been established voluntarily by a free will.
It is impossible for information to exist without all five hierarchical levels: statistics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and apobetics [the purpose for which the information is intended].
It is impossible that information can originate in statistical processes
In short, information presupposes a language, and a language is nothing else than a logical convention, whose meanings and origin reside necessarily outside the language itself but are devoid of any necessity in order to their existence. They are established freely, to a purpose.
Nowadays it should be absolutely clear to anyone with a minimum of discernment that (the source of) life is a language, it originates and develops on information, as much as every natural law governing inorganic matter expresses information (it is ordered) and (by consequence) can be expressed by language.
Provided that, the darwiniacs, with their usual disregard of the ridiculous, want us to believe that this language sparked off by itself, nobody invented it, it just happened by chance. That is, they support a LOGICAL IMPOSSIBILITY.
In his analysis of the astonishing behavior of the enzyme, Mathis rightly dismisses as baseless any pretension that it could be the result of statistical processes, he seems to grasp the problem of information in relation to its logical consequences, yet his conclusions disappointingly fail to draw those inevitable consequences.
Not only he retreat in his cage of agnosticism, whose legitimacy must be contested in this case, as ruling out chance (i.e. nothing) you must necessarily conclude for its opposite (i.e. something) as the source of everything, he even suggests that the origin of the information, this language, could be matter itself. That is, matter is eternal, with an embedded creator inside, which is this language and what this language creates at the same time.
This is nothing new, it’s “the permanent natural bent of the human mind” if left to itself, a belief which originates at the dawn of our centuries, assuming tens of nuances, and has come to be called in the modern era Pantheism. It’s the greatest hit in term of cultural trend, very fashionable, “the perennial and profoundly juvenile desire to enjoy eternity on one’s own terms”: “…ye shall be as gods.”
It’s just a variation on the theme, or better, Darwinism is just a variation on the theme of Pantheism. Whereas Darwinism ultimately gives the creator the name “nothing”, Pantheism gives the creator the name “creature”. In a contest for the assignment of the prize for the most gigantic nonsense ever born from human mind, a judge would have a hard choice between these two contenders. The creator cannot be the creature, as much as Mathis is not the paper he has just produced. Inside his creation there is not him, the creator, but his footprint, the information he has given through a logical language to convey his spirit (in the image of the Highest Wisdom) to the matter which has reacted and transformed accordingly.
Of course, we are just images, personal images, of that Highest Wisdom. The Word of God, conveying His Spirit, expresses perfectly the meaning of everything He wills, so perfectly that He calls the thing in existence just pronouncing it. We, dim images, are not able to create anything, not a single atom, yet our word is indispensable anyway to innovate what has been created, conveying our spirit and guessing the meanings of the things created. Not only that: while the union of the Holy Spirit and the Word with God is perfect, so that the Word expresses always exactly His Spirit when He wills, a Will always perfectly understood, that union in men, never perfect, has been shattered with the Fall and can be restored only in Christ, in the Communion with His Body.
Before the Incarnation of the Word and today, when the apostasy is almost complete, the will of men is undocked, erratic and manipulated at will by the prince of this world, playing masterfully with our pride and lusts and fears, so that a darkened and faded spirit has just a meaningless cacophony of passions to express, so that their words are for the most part idle babbling, scornful blasphemies and filthy, shameless lies.
Now, to claim that a language is born by itself is a logical inconsistency, just as the claim which pretend it born by chance. Both are logical non sequitur, provided that you understand what a language is and what are its inviolable features. A language must be created and the logical conventions which constitute it are external to it, so it cannot be the creator nor can it be eternal. Moreover, the language must have the same creator of all the things which react and execute the information it convenes. Language is the word of the creator, and just in this sense it is eternal.
Therefore, a logical and scientific investigation of life and the universe must conclude that they have a creator. Mathis does not want to do it, but he should!
Not to boast, but Christians have claimed that Life is a language since the end of the first century A.D. (John 1, 1). Alas, superstitious people have always preferred myths, legends and fairy tales.
Actually, we can do even better than that. When Mathis in his paper talks about a “volition” of the enzyme, he is correct, but only in the narrow sense that a software has a “volition”. That volition is not of the software but belongs to its programmer, it carries on the volition of its creator, just as the enzyme does. Its will is not free but reflexive, not conscious but constrained in the boundaries given to it. What makes us different from any other form of life is just our free will and the language, through which we can in turn program and command autonomously to the creation. We are in His image and likeness, indeed, but I don’t want to shock you with the higher wisdom given by the Revelation, so let’s stay at the lower scientific level. It’s a logical impossibility for a creature to have features that his creator does not have, a creator cannot pass to his creation something he does not posses. Therefore, inasmuch as we are creatures, our creator must possess free will too.
Thus, the only logical conclusion is that there is a creator, and He is a Person.
Now, Who is this Person? Only a Christian can give the answer to this question, because the knowledge of God is given only as a revelation to a heart who loves Him. This loving heart belong to a person who has accepted the permanent divine invitation to partecipate in His mode of being, His energies Who substantiate everything, through His Son, the Incarnated Word Who gave Himself as divine nourishment and the only material conduit of His Spirit.
Therefore, the answer is: this Person is the only true God, the Living Triune God of Christianity.
The simplest analogy for the unity and at the same time threeness of the Most Holy Trinity is ourselves, men, the images of God.
Man is one, yet he generates his word, through which proceeds his spirit. His word and his spirit are not something different than him, his essence and substance.
And the word is the only spiritual relation with the creation, again in the image of God.
Of course, our word and our spirit do not exist hypostatically, we are just images of the Most High. The Word of God creates and by His Word His Spirit gives Life to matter. We cannot create nor give, but we can innovate and transmit.
This simultaneous unity and otherness, this distinction which is not separation nor dissimilarity, is impossible to grasp without the understanding of the Orthodox basic theological teaching about the essence and the energies of God, a teaching which contrary to the Western myth is not a novation of St. Gregory Palamas but date back to the beginning of the self-consciousness of the Church.
Therefore, only in the Church a correct understanding of that distinction is granted. The knowledge of God is partecipation, partecipation in His Body. The distinction between the essence and the energies of God is only operational, not substantial. As much as nothing pertaining to God can be other than God and entirely God, just like the fire lighting countless torches is not different from Fire and entirely fire, partaking of the Divine Nature still does not allow us to appropriate that Nature, but only to enjoy His eternal bliss, just like living does not allow us to have life in ourselves nor to know its misteries.
This problematic of essence (as understood in Western theology) in itself implies a definite status of man over and against the truth about God: The first foundation of the truth of God is not achieved through the experience of the Church, which is an experience of personal relationship with the person of the Incarnate Logos, a relationship which is realized in the Holy Spirit and which reveals the Logos as witnessing to the Father. Rather, this first foundation is entirely anthropocentric, with an intellectual leap seeking to understand the divine essence in itself, its attributes and its objective relationships. And this rationalistic conception of essence not only obliges one to an ontic understanding of essence which overlooks the mode of being of the essence, but also leads by logical necessity either to the identification of essence and energy or to the essential separation of nature from the energies. The problematic of energy is reduced to a procedure of logical proof which refers the mystery of divine existence to the syllogistically necessary idea of a creating and moving cause of creation or a causal grace (causalité de Grâce) which contributes to the moralimprovementof man.
In Orthodox theology, on the other hand, the problem of the energies is put exclusively in terms of existential experience. The experience of the Church is the knowledge of God as an event of personal relationship, and the question raised is one of witness to and defense of that event, the question ofhow we come to know God, who is neither intelligible nor sensible, nor at all a being among the other beings.1 The knowledge of God as an event of personal relationship reveals the priority of the truth of the person in the realm of theological knowledge. There is no room for bypassing the reality of the person by means of an intellectual leap directly to the essence:Truth for us is in realities, not in names.2 The person recapitulates the mode of existence of nature; we know the essence or nature only as the content of the person. This unique possibility of knowing nature presupposes its ecstatic recapitulation in terms of a personal reference, i.e. the possibility for natureto stand outside of itself, to become accessible and communicable not as an idea, but as personal uniqueness and dissimilarity. The ecstasis of nature, however, cannot be identified with nature itself, since the experience of relation is itself an experience of non-identification: the ecstasy is the mode, the manner by which nature becomes accessible and known in terms of personal otherness; it is the energy of nature which is identified neither with its bearer nor with its result:The energy is neither the active cause nor the resultant effect.3
It is not possible, of course, to know the energy except through the one who acts; and, again, only through the natural energy can one know the one who acts as personal otherness as well as nature and essence. The will, for example, is an energy of nature. However it is accessible to us only through its personal bearer; we refer to the what of the will only because we know the how of its personal expression.4 The what of the will reveals to us the nature which has the possibility to will, while the how of the will reveals the personal otherness of its bearer.5 The will itself, however, is not identified either with the nature which has the possibility to will or with the person who wills, always in a unique, dissimilar and unrepeatable manner. For this reason we recognize in the will an energy of nature, ontologically (but not ontically) distinguishable from the nature as well as from the person.
Even though we distinguish the energy from the nature and the nature from the persons, we do not attribute any synthetic character to nature itself; we do not divide and we do not fragment the nature into persons and energies: the persons and the energies are neitherpartsnorcomponentsnorpassionsnoraccidentsof nature, but the mode of being of nature. The personal expression of each energy recapitulatesimpartiallyandwholelythe entire nature; it is the existence of nature. The how of the energy of will (or the energy of creativity or of love or whatever other energy) recapitulates the what of the natural energy of will; the possibility of nature to will exists and is expressed only through the otherness of the personal will. Painting, music, sculpture are creative energies of the human nature, but they do not exist except as expressions of personal otherness: as music of Mozart, as painting of Van Gogh, as sculpture of Rodin. Nor is there any other manner of expressing and defining essence or nature outside its active ecstasis in terms of personal otherness. The only way we can name nature is in the personally expressed energy of nature; energysignifiesnature:Essence and energy can both receive the same name (λόγος).6
The energies, however, are not the exclusive and only manner ofnamingnature, for indicating theactorthrough hisactivities. The natural energy which is expressed personally represents that possibility of empirical knowledge which comes from a personalparticipationandcommunionin the essence or nature — without this communion becoming an identification with nature or with apartof nature. According to the Fathers of the Orthodox East, personal communion makes possible a fulness of knowledge and has no relationship whatsoever with Fr. Garrigues’ rational categories of participation entitative, participation intentionnelle, participation dans la causalité de l’acte d’être.
St. Maximus the Confessor uses as an image and an example of such communion the human voice, whichbeing one is participated in by many, and is not swallowed up by the multitude.7 If by taking this example we can arbitrarily consider human reason as essence, then we can say that the voice represents the energy of the essence of reason, the possibility for us to participate in the essence of reason as the voice reveals and communicates it, to participate, all of us who hear the same voice, in the same essence of the one reason — without this communion becoming our identification with the essence of reason, and without the fragmentation of the essence in as many parts as there are participants in the reason through the voice. Reason, expressed personally, remains unified and indivisible, while at the same time,it is singularly participated by all.
If we should insist on this example of the voice and reason we could clarify one more observation relative to the possibilities of participating in the essence through the energies. The voice certainly represents a revelation of the energy of reasonhomogenousto the essence of reason and makes possible a direct participation in reason, but a revelation of the energy of reason can also take place from within essencesheterogenousto reason: it is possible to formulate into reason otheressencessuch as writing, color, music and marble.
This example indicates that we can speak (together with St. Maximus) about two forms of energy of the same essence or nature: one form which is, as we called it,homogenousto the nature of the one who causes the energy (an ecstatic self-offering of nature in terms of personal otherness); and the other form which reveals itself out of essencesheterogenousto the nature of the one who causes the energy,an energy that is effective on things external, according to which the actor acts on objects outside of himself and heterogenous, and obtains a result, which is made up of preexisting matter and is foreign to his own substance.8
Accordingly, God’shomogenousenergy (to use St. Maximus’ distinction) is revealed in the Church’s experience of divine grace, which is uncreated (heterogenousto creatures andhomogenousto God) and through which God iswholly participated in9 andparticipated singularly by all,10 remaining simple and indivisible, offering to the communicant that which He (God) possessesby natureexceptessential identity11 and elevating man to the rank ofcommunicant of the divine nature, according to the word of Scripture (II Peter 1:4). On the other hand, the revelation of God’s energy in essencesheterogenousto God is seen in the character of beings ascreatures, created by divine energy. The personal logos of thesecreatures(a logos of power, wisdom and art),12 even though it ischaracteristicto each one of these creatures, in terms of the infinite variety of essences, reveals thesingular wholenessof the one divine energy and witnesses to the one, simple and indivisible God.13
As for man, we can probably say that the concept ofhomogenousenergy is applicable to the power of love and to the erotic ecstasy of self-giving in terms of which the existential truth about man is madeknown. This is the mystery of the human nature and of the human person as singular otherness — when mantotally belongs to the loved one and is willingly embraced by him entirely.14 Thishomogenousenergy, however, interprets also the reality of the human body in terms of the singular otherness of each person: the body is par excellence the personal differentiation of the physical energies,15 the possibility of a meeting and a communion between the created energy of the human essence and the uncreated energy of the Grace of God.16 As for the revelation of the energy of man through theheterogenousessences of man, it concerns the variety of humancreations, in the works of human art, wisdom, and power.17
The fundamental fact observed and verified in the distinction of St. Maximus between thehomogenousenergy of an essence or nature and itsheterogenousappearance is that both of these forms of expressing the energy reveal the nature or essence as thesingularandunifiedcontent of the person. The personal differentiation of the physical energies (the uniqueness and dissimilarity of each human body, as well as the absolute otherness of each erotic event and the differentiation ofcreativeexpressions, for example, the music of Bach from the music of Mozart or the painting of Van Gogh from that of Goya) distinguishes the nature without dividing it, it reveals the manner by which nature is — and this manner is its personal singularity and otherness. The energies or distinctions disclose and reveal the catholicity of nature, as content of the person.
In the distinction of nature and energies Orthodox theology sees the very presupposition for a knowledge of God, as well as of man and of the world. If we reject this distinction and if we accept, with the Roman Catholics, the intellectual leap to the essence itself — an active divine essence — then the only possible relation of the world to God is the rational connection between cause and effect, a connection that leaves unexplained the ontological reality of the world, the formation of matter and its essential character.
For Orthodox theology matter is not a reality that simply has its cause in God. Matter is the substantiation of the will of God, the result of the personal energy of God; and it remainsactiveas the revelatory reason of divine energy. St. Gregory of Nyssa says thatall things were not reshaped from some subsisting matter into phenomena, but the divine will became the matter and the essence of creation.18 The will of God is an act, and the act of God is His word,for in God the act is word.19 The word of God which expresses His willis substantiated directly as a substance and a formulation of creation.20
Matter, therefore, constitutes the substantiation of the divine will. The logoi of matter, that is to say, itstypesorforms, reflect the creative logoi of the divine conceptions and volitions.21 In its own organic content, matter is the result of the union ofrationalqualities whose convergence and union defines the substance of sensory things.22 Therationalformulation of matter refutes from the start the ontic autonomous character ofthings; matter is not the what of physical reality, the material which receivesshapeandformto reveal the essence, but the convergence of therationalqualities, their coordination into the how of a unique harmony which constitutes thetypeor theformof things. The whole cosmic reality, the innumerable variety of kinds of essences are not the what of objective observation and rational conception; they are not the abstract effect of a rationally conceived active cause, but the how of thepersonalharmony ofrationalqualities,a musical harmony constituting a controlled and sublime hymn to the power which controls the universe.23
This continuously activepersonalharmony of the world reveals the direct and energetic presence of God in the world as personal will and energy (and not as essence). It is an endlessly active invitation to a personal relationship with the personal God-Logos through the logoi of things. This active invitation is not essentially identified with the one who invites nor with the energy of the caller; the reason and the will of God is not identified with the created things themselves, just as the will of the artist is not identified with the product of his art, with the result of his personal creative energy. But the work of art is the substantiation and incarnation of the personal reason and will of the artist; it is the active call and possibility of a personal relationship with the creator through the logos of his creations. The work of art is in essence and in energy different from the artist (the art in the artisticis one thing, and quite another isthe art in the person who undertakes it, as St. Basil points out).24 Therefore, the work of art represents and reveals the unique, the dissimilar and unrepeatable personal logos of the artist. Without personal relation, without a personal acceptance of the logos embodied in the work of art, the latter remains a neutral and uninterpreted object: the logos of the artist remains inaccessible, the truth of thethinguninterpreted, the experience of the personal presence, the personal uniqueness and dissimilarity of the artist unattainable.
It is clear that the inference from the personal harmony and beauty of creation to the personal presence of the creator God-Logos is neither self-evident nor automatic nor simply rational; it is a moral-dynamic movement of participation in thebenevolentpersonal divine energy, an acceptance of the invitation which substantiates the beauty of nature — a moral movement of catharsis, a gradual and dynamic illumination of the mind,to be surprised and to understand … to be lifted up from knowledge to knowledge, and from vision to vision, and from understanding to understanding.25 The end (always endless) of this dynamic vision of the world is a revelation, through beauty, of the triune character of divine energy,beautifying creation triunely.26 The beauty of creation is not the single-dimensional logos of a creative cause, but the revelation of the unified and at the same time triune mode of the divine energy which reflects the mystery of the singular and triune mode of existence of the divine life.27
The problem of the knowledge of God, but also of man and the world — of knowledge as direct personal relationship and existential experience or knowledge as abstract intellectual approximation — depends on the acceptance or the rejection of the distinction between essence and energies. The acceptance and rejection of this distinction represents two fundamentally different visions of truth, two noncoincidingontologies. This does not mean simply two different theoretical views or interpretations, but two diametrically opposite ways of life, with concrete spiritual, historical and cultural consequences.
The acceptance of this distinction between essence and energies means an understanding of truth as personal relationship, i.e. as an experience of life, and of knowledge as participation in the truth and not as an understanding of meanings that result from intellectual abstraction. It involves the priority of the reality of the person to every rational definition. In the infinite terms of this priority, God is known and communicable through His incomprehensible uncreated energies, remaining in essence unknown and incommunicable. That is to say, God is known only as a personal revelation (and not as an idea ofactiveessence), only as a triune communion of persons, as an ecstatic self-offering of loving goodness. The world also is the result of the personal energies of God, acreationrevealing the person of the Logos, witnessing to the Father through the grace of the Spirit, the substantiated invitation of God to relation and communion, an invitation which is personal and therefore substantiatedheteroessentially.
On the contrary, the rejection of the distinction between essence and energy means exclusion of catholic-personal experience and priority of the intellect as the way of knowledge, reducing truth to a coincidence of thought with the object of thought (adaequatio rei et intellectus),28 an understanding of nature and person as definitions resulting from rational abstraction: the persons have the character of relations within the essence, relations which do not characterize the persons but are identified with the persons in order to serve the logical necessity of the simplicity of the essence. Thus, finally, God is accessible only as essence, i.e. only as an object of rational search, as the necessaryfirst moverwho isunmoved, that ispure energy, and whose existence must be identified with the self-realization of the essence. The world is the result of thefirst mover, even as the grace of God is the result of divine essence. The only relation of the world with God is the connection of cause and effect, aconnectionthat organically disengages God from the world: the world is made autonomous and subjected to intellectual objectification and to (useful) expediency.
The problem of the distinction between essence and energies determined definitely and finally the differentiation of the Latin West from the Orthodox East. The West rejected the distinction, desiring to protect the idea of simplicity in the divine essence, since rational thought cannot accept the antinomy of a simultaneous existential identity and otherness, a distinction that does not mean division and fragmentation. For the western mind (expressed either with the directness of Thomistic rationalism or with the subordination of the patristic texts to a priori interpretations, as in the case of Fr. Garrigues) God is defined only in terms of His essence; whatever is not essence does not belong to God; it is a creature of God, the result of divine essence. Consequently, the energies of God are either identified with the essence, which is active (actus purus), or else any external manifestation of theirs is regarded as necessarilyheteroessential, i.e. a created result of the divine cause.