Fathers, Mothers and friends
How would you respond to an atheist who asks: If God is
immaterial, how did He create a material universe?
My first response would be: I don’t
know -- but that doesn't seem like quite enough.
On second thought I might refer to the
mind/body problem that has stumped philosophers for millennia.
We all know, without having to be told, that mind and
matter interact. If you want to move a thought from your mind to the internet,
you have to get your fingers to the keyboard: you have to move your body. And
we do this effortlessly (assuming our minds and bodies are in working order -- see my PS).
My third thought (startling though it
may be) would be to point out that we don’t really know that there is such a thing as a material universe. We
have no way of experiencing it other than as part of the content of
consciousness. It's perfectly possible (and seems to me even likely) that
reality is spiritual at it's very core.
The problem for me here is that as far as I know
Orthodox theologians have always simply assumed that the physical nature of the
world is real. As far as I know, no one has ever questioned this.
So in terms of Orthodox theology, would I be going too
far out on a limb in suggesting that perhaps the distinction between mental and
physical is more apparent than real?
What theological consequences, if any, would arise as a
result of such a move? My intellectual ineptitude doesn’t see any practical
difference between an actually physical reality and a reality that we must
simply treat as if it were physical.
Is there a philosopher in the house?
PS – please pray for my friend Susan Valencia, who is
dying of ALS (Gehrig’s disease). She’s reached the point where she’s on a
respirator. Unfortunately, no nearby hospital is able to care for a patient who
needs a respirator 24 hours a day. So she’s in Phoenix, which is at least a
five-hour drive from here. Her husband and sons are willing to take on the
labor of caring for her at home.