Seeking the original cause of all causations, or the original cause which brought us to our current situation leads to some fun debates, but it’s not a debate that can be intelligently, coherently, or properly defended.
Where did we come from? Who was the first Man? Were Adam and Eve the progenitors of the human race? Depending on how you think of where Man came from, this question can vary widely. If you would like an entertaining series of discourses on this matter, then feel free to consult your local Black Hebrew Israelite,British Israelite, Jewish Israelite, or reptilian humanoid enthusiast. You might even come across the Dual Seedline argument. I am not concerned with the validity or accuracy of these different camps, and I will not address that here.
I am more interested in whether or not a Kantian quest for knowledge will invariably lead us away from spiritual enlightenment and our own salvation.
The Traditionalist Youth Network believes that it is a good in itself to know where we’ve come from, and also to have a healthy respect of our cultural and civic identities. However, this is not the sole ends of knowledge. We educate ourselves so that we may find our unity with God, and to further God’s Kingdom on Earth.
Whether or not we are the Children of God, and regardless of which faith you follow, it is impossible to establish ourselves as the ends of God, nor is it possible for us to establish a sufficiently justified chain of causation to link us directly to God.
If you believe that someone has established an irrefutable chain of causations between God and ourselves, then I’ve got a bridge to sell you.
For argument’s sake, let’s assume that such an argument does exist. That argument would be in the form of a hypothetical syllogism.
A hypothetical syllogism sets up a chain of causations which presume that our current condition C was preceded necessarily by conditions A and B (A > B, B > C). Therefore, if A occurs, then C will necessarily occur (A > C). Let’s replace C with another variable, let’s say Z, and put an indeterminate number of variables in between A and Z. Assuming that we are proceeding through the letters of the alphabet in a sequential order to start from A and arrive at Z, then there would be 24 other variables in this hypothetical syllogism. If A, then B; If B, then C; if C, then D, and so forth until some final step is found.
When we observe a hypothetical syllogism in logic, we are allowed to assume the first variable as the antecedent and the final step as the consequent. As with the previous example, if we start with A and have a series of hypothetical syllogisms that lead us to Z, then we are allowed to logically assume if A, then Z (A > Z).
But, A does not necessarily equal Z:
~(A = Z).
If A did equal Z, then Z would have to be a sufficient cause for A:
(A > Z) & (Z > A)
The problem is that when we try to find the original cause of all causations, or the root of humanity and the source of God, is that we would be trying to find the previous step in the hypothetical syllogism which we have presumed ourselves to be the final step in. The other problem is that each previous step in this hypothetical syllogism would lead us to increasingly alienating conditions of aesthetic experience, and could only deliver us unto varying degrees of secular materialism.
To put it lightly, this would be like saying that an ingrown hair could discover the cause of itself. When we look to Man as the cause of Man, we can only find things belonging to the world of Man. We will only ever find differing degrees of secular materialism, and we would have to presume that Man is the means and the ends. We would make gods of ourselves.
Before getting too far ahead of myself, and in my extreme generosity and highest estimation of the human condition, let’s presume that it is possible to find the original cause of man.
In Christian theology we presume that God was the cause of man, and that God is the reason that we behave in certain ways. Let’s say that God is the antecedent cause of all that exists, and (in an incredibly closed minded view….) let’s say that Man is the consequent. Let’s also assume that there are an indeterminate number of steps between God and Man, and that these steps exist as a hypothetical syllogism. So,only if there is a God, can we have Man (M >> G).
For theological reasons, I must assume that it is not the case that God does not exist, and also that there was not a point in time when He did not exist. I will also assume that there was a time when Man did not exist. Therefore man had to have come into the world after God.
Returning to my previous example of the hypothetical syllogism, if we presume that Man can only exist because of God, does this mean that Man IS GOD? No, we already looked at this. I am logically allowed to assume any prior step in a hypothetical syllogism as an antecedent, and any step which comes afterwards as a consequent, but this does not mean the antecedent (cause) and the consequent are equivalent. Thus, Man is not God. ~(Man = God).
Here’s where the inconsistent comparison fallacy comes in.
We’ve already established that the first step in a hypothetical syllogism can logically justify any later step in the logical proof, but also that the antecedent cause is not equivalent to the consequent. Can we assume that we are here because of God? I think so. Can we assume that we are equivalent to God? No.
The Bible confirms this. We are commanded, “Thou shalt have none other gods before me.” In our high estimation of ourselves as Christians, we do recognize ourselves as being the Children of God, but let’s not get carried away and think of ourselves as being God.
Here’s why this is true:
If we assumed the antecedent cause to be equivalent to the consequent (assuming the cause and conclusion to be the same), then our hypothetical syllogism stops working. If we presume premise A to be equivalent to premise Z, then it would logically infer that premise Z could be it’s own cause and that premise A is no longer necessary to establish a series of intermediate causations. This would also make all intermediate premises between A and Z completely superfluous, redundant, and meaningless.
If we again presume that the only sufficient reason for the existence of Man is God (M >> G), and if we presume ourselves TO BE equivalent to God, then nothing else in the world has any meaning. In this scenario we would also presume ourselves to be the cause of those now-unnecessary intermediate premises.
Here’s where it gets to be more fun…
But, if we presume that only God is the equivalent to God, He becomes the first AND the last step in the chain of the hypothetical syllogism. Falling back onto a theological basis, does anyone recall an interesting piece of scripture that says, “I am the alpha and the omega, I am the First and the Last, I am the Beginning and the End.”?
We must then presume that Man (and the endless chain of human degeneracy which is our daily existence) is one of the intermediate steps in the hypothetical syllogism. Man cannot be the beginning or the end, nor can Man be equivalent to Him in any measure. Man is insignificant. We will not find salvation, enlightenment, or unity with God by looking to Man.
A Logical Look at Christian Mysticism by Thomas Buhls is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.