Stemming from the previous post, bondage is an inescapable perpetuity. We are grounded—literally and figuratively—by laws. The Laws of Physics dictate motion in the universe in the same way humans function under an innate moral code reinforced by society, family, and conscience. Maybe I have misspoken. Laws are not the source of deeper knowledge but are the interpretation/description of what is. This is why God said, “I am.” He cannot be compared to something, or someone, else. There is none other like him (Isa. 46:9). This is why Ravi Zacharias, on many occasions, has said,
“When you say there is evil, aren’t you admitting there is good? When you accept the existence of goodness, you must affirm a moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil. But when you admit to a moral law, you must posit a moral lawgiver.”
Moreover, since God is the progenitor of all things and, as Thomas Aquinas calls him, “the uncaused cause,” he is not a prisoner. Neil deGrasse Tyson states,
“You have the illusion of freewill, but in fact, that illusion comes about because you don’t know the future. Because you are a prisoner of the present, forever locked in transition, between the past and the future.”
For millennia, determinism has stumped philosophers and scientists alike. The mathematical implications behind pre-determinism are astounding. According to Michio Kaku, free will is an illusion. It is a figment of the imagination. Mathematically, all events are pre-determined and ordained. This, in his mind, proves the ultimate mathematician, God, as not an excuse but as an inevitable answer to the free will equation. Order precedes, dictates, and succeeds all.
(These are just a few verses supporting predestination and determinism: Jn. 17:24; Rom. 8:29-30, 11:2; Acts 2:23, 4:28; Eph. 1:4-5, 11; 1 Pet. 1:2, 20; Rev. 13:8.)
Philosophically, the idea of determinism doesn’t mean that we don’t make decisions. On the contrary, it is contingent upon making decisions! But it says we couldn’t have made any other decision due to the universal effects and the external factors and events surrounding us and raining on our libertarian parade. This is represented in both Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and the Butterfly Effect.
First, relativity, scientifically speaking, affects everything. For example, the way gravitational forces interact among planets, solar systems, galaxies, black holes, etc. affect our lives every day. During my first semester as a college freshman, in Astronomy class, we discussed the gravitational effects between the planet Neptune and our sitting position in the classroom. That’s amazing! We, however so minutely, have a gravitational force relative to the position of Neptune, Jupiter, and even the moon!
The Butterfly Effect magnifies this to another degree. Once thought to be the origination of storms and weather patterns, it is now used as a reference for initial causes and events. For example, in the 1970s, MIT Professor of Meteorology Edward Lorenz, in an attempt to reaffirm Newton’s “idea of a wholly predictable universe,” published a work entitled “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?” However, in his experiments, he discovered the world, from our vantage point, is unpredictable; not because it is but because the task is insurmountably tedious. Nevertheless, this doesn’t negate the fact that various factors can culminate into a particular event. In other words, our perspective and ability to calculate anything and everything is limited, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. And regardless of whether we solve the problem or not, the very idea of such possibility determined us to want to solve this mystery.
Likewise, distraction is an illusion of autonomy. In reality, distraction is the effect of an initial cause. It is our attempt to rebel. But actually, without that cause (i.e. work, studying, projects, etc.), there would be nothing to distract from. Therefore, by succumbing to work or our primal urges to “distract” ourselves, the initial cause wins.
Many theorize distractions are caused by technology. In his article “A New Theory of Distraction,” Joshua Rothman, believes this is impossible since
“[distraction] is even older…in 1874, Nietzsche wrote that ‘haste is universal because everyone is in flight from himself’; in the seventeenth century, Pascal said that ‘all men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.’”
As mentioned in a previous post, Michael Stevens with Vsauce conducted a social experiment with multiple persons pressing a button that would emit a mildly painful shock; after isolating each person from the group, to create some sort of mental stimulus—out of boredom—the person, knowing the button would cause pain, pushes the button. The innate sense of external stimuli and the desire to distract from reality, a present situation, or truth isn’t just evolutionary, it’s spiritual.
Many try to quell their inner pain by appealing to a higher deity or, as many intellectuals do today, appeal to themselves rather than, in the words of the late Christopher Hitchens, a totalitarian, thought-managing, North Korean celestial who impedes upon the free will of the people by begging like a petty child for prayers, obedience, sacrifice, and supplication. They acknowledge right and wrong in determining the alleged injustice from heaven while refusing to point the origins of justice, right, and wrong. Therein lies the problem of suffering.
In his book “Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message,” Ravi Zacharias writes that great secular thinkers, philosophers begin their list of woes against the fairy tale God by noting the atrocities and horrors saying, “These are immoral, therefore there is no God.” The naturalist–the amoralist–posits that evil doesn’t exist while denouncing immoral actions, some of which are committed in the name of religion. For example, the aforementioned Professor Dawkins writes,
“The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no other good. Nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.”
Dawkins follows this clever quip by stating he knows, he cares, and religion is…ironically, evil? This doesn’t make sense. He solves the moral riddle by postulating the problem is…(wait for it)…viruses. Ravi Zacharias then notes that, according to Dawkins, the Nazis were simply sick with viruses. Their ingenious medical advancements by experimenting on babies and gassing and cremating men, women, and children because of their heritage were simply the result of a glitch in the DNA program. But what if they just dance differently?
Could this mean philosophizing about morality is a symptom of a viral contagion? This means no one could ask questions. Questions are essential to education, science, reason, and basic living. His very profession would be rendered moot. By equating this line of reason to a computer, database, or networking algorithm of some sort, one is claiming neither good nor evil exist. Therefore, nihilism and hedonism would be the logical end. As it is said of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the man went insane thinking about eternity. He reached the logical end, noting that if there is no morality, no moral lawgiver, and no purpose for humanity, what is restraining us from ultimate depravity? Let us eat, drink, and be merry (Lk. 12:19). Therefore, in my opinion, Nietzsche’s insanity was the only rational response to the nihilistic perspective standing against to the mighty hand of God.
(Please be expecting another related post soon.)