The One & the Many
‘Too many Indians…’?

The idea of a single source of creation is perhaps the most widely held metaphysical belief.  The unity of that source is allegedly reflected in the unity of nature and of mind.  E Pluribus Unum remains a fervent, and seemingly futile, desire of many.  That we return to our source at death is a common assumption.  That we undergo a collective return in the Parousia is only somewhat less common.

The multiplicity of the world is often taken as a sign of its illusory nature.  The profligate multiplicity of creation has been compared to the endless reflections seen in a mirror.  The feeling of individual alienation is the other side of that coin.  If our source lies within, it is all too easily obscured.

If we are created in the image of God then we may suppose that God is also a social rather than a singular entity.  The concept of the Trinity is a nod in that direction.  Are we not part of God’s society?  Does assigning a social attribute in any way impugn the creator or the creation?  This should not be construed as a recommendation for polytheism.  All I am suggesting is a mitigated singularity, a step away from absolutism toward personalism.

Theogeny must also be considered here.  The evolutionary emergence of God out of lesser phenomena would seem to be a reasonable hypothesis.  Yet this does imply a preexisting temporal dimension.  I suggest that God is a self-realizing potentiality, and that creation is part of the self-realization.  There is still a quality of emergence.

It may also be true that there is strength in numbers.  If we compare God to a neuronal model of our own minds, a model of which I am justifiably skeptical, we might suppose that the more the creatures, then the greater the creator.  This manner of thought will distinguish theists from deists.  The more the merrier.  The smarter God gets, the smarter we get, if that is to be desired.  Obviously this is excruciatingly naïve, but it is not easily discounted.

The same line of reasoning would recommend a multilevel model of creation in which there is no end to the theogeny.  Such a model would fit more comfortably into a Hindu cosmology.  This seems to be a recommendation for absolute deism.  Most of us would rightfully insist on being able to go directly to the boss.  Cosmogony contains many pitfalls and slippery slopes.  We trust that we are not among the victims.

Cosmogony represents a very delicate balance between the finite and the infinite.  There is no sense in needless limitations.  There is no benefit in heedless promiscuity.  There is ample need for divine guidance.


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rev. 2/3/99