Friday, January 6, 2012

The Origin of the Supraphysical - Why Antony Flew Became a Deist.

After reading the five points of Varghese that natural question that will arise is: So how did life, consciousness, thought, and the self come to be? 

The history of the world shows the sudden emergence of these phenomena—life appearing soon after the cooling of planet earth, consciousness mysteriously manifesting itself in the Cambrian explosion, language emerging in the “symbolic species” without any evolutionary forerunner. 

The phenomena in question range from code and symbol processing systems and goal-seeking, intention-manifesting agents at one end to subjective awareness, conceptual thought, and the human self at the other. The only coherent way to describe these phenomena is to say that they are different dimensions of being that are supraphysical in one way or another. They are totally integrated with the physical and yet radically “new.” We are not talking here of ghosts in machines, but of agents of different kinds, some that are conscious, others that are both conscious and thinking. In every case there is no vitalism or dualism, but an integration that is total, a holism that incorporates physical and mental. 

Although the new atheists have failed to come to grips with either the nature or the source of life, consciousness, thought, and the self, the answer to the question of the origin of the supraphysical seems obvious: the Supraphysical can only originate in a supraphysical source. Life, consciousness, mind, and the self can only come from a Source that is living, conscious, and thinking. If we are centers of consciousness and thought who are able to know and love and intend and execute, I cannot see how such centers could come to be from something that is itself incapable of all these activities. Although simple physical processes could create complex physical phenomena, we are not concerned here with the relation of simple and complex, but with the origin of “centers.” 

It’s simply inconceivable that any material matrix or field can generate agents who think and act. Matter cannot produce conceptions and perceptions. A force field does not plan or think. So at the level of reason and everyday experience, we become immediately aware that the world of living, conscious, thinking beings has to originate in a living Source, a Mind.

There is a God - Appendix A


  1. "The Supraphysical can only originate in a supraphysical source".

    Okay, so where did that original supraphysical source originate? Did it always exist? They why couldn't the supraphysical always exist? Did it magically appear without a supraphysical source? Then why couldn't the supraphysical we see now exist without a supraphysical source?

    While I don't have an answer as to how this came into existence, it seems as though this answer only adds an unnecessary layer. You can say "love can only come from something that is loving", or "thought can only come from something that is thinking" or "life can only come from something that is living", but then the deist is fully willing to accept that something that is "loving, thinking, and living" came from nothing. If we submit that this is acceptable, then it is equally if not more acceptable that they came to be without a supranatural source.

  2. I see you're point but I disagree that it is an unnecessary layer. To me it's like saying a mother and father are required to make a child but the mother carries it for 9 months and the mother is the one who births that child so why not say only a mother is required. I know it's not a perfect analogy (non usually are) but I think it makes the point.

    To me it seems like people are still thinking that everything has to come from something, i.e. "then where did God from" etc. but that is what leads us into the infinite regress you and I always read about.

    We could say why not save a step and say the universe always existed, as opposed to inserting "God" whatever he may be. And in my opinion that's fine, we can say the universe always existed, or that matter always existed, but that's just not a sufficient answer for consciousness, thought, love, life etc. (at this point in time anyway). Maybe there is some natural phenomenon behind it all but I don't think we're anywhere close to being able to say that with any certainy beyond pure wishful thinking or speculating.

    For me an intelligence that has always existed still seems like the most reasonable answer. Call it God or whatever you like I don't have the ultimate answer, it's just my best guess so far.

    Thanks for the thought Chad.