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Talk Back 7
The Ontological Reality

by Reverend Graham Steele

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The general argument for agnosticism seems to be that we cannot infer the existence or non-existence of God from observable effects. However, there seems to me to be no reason why we can't deduce the necessity of an infinite, transcendent ontological truth from existence per se and not from any particular observable effects.

Is there any way that the Universe can exist without being self-contingent? That is, can the Universe be contingent upon something external to it? Obviously not, because by "the Universe" I am referring to everything that is, and if there were something external to it, it would be part of the Universe as well. If we take the entirety of things, as a whole, it cannot be contingent upon any external principle simply because there is nothing external to it. It doesn't matter whether the Universe is finite or infinite - either way, it is not contingent upon anything else.

So, whatever the ontological reality underlying our world is, it is not contingent upon anything else. This is important, because things in our everyday experience have specific, finite properties precisely because they are contingent upon other things. If we eliminate the contingencies affecting the qualities and properties of a given thing, we are left with something that is completely unqualified and undefined. Thus ontological truth possesses no definite nature whatsoever, and cannot be limited by any confinement or hindrance. There can be no limiting principles governing the Universe because there is nothing that can limit it.

It is not really that much of a stretch from an unqualified ontological reality to the traditional notion of God per se. It would be a God that does not possess some of the more traditional aspects of the Mosaic God, such as human-like personality and the capacity for emotional thought. But it would still be a Supreme Being, infinitely capable and omnipresent, and many of the philosophical implications are the same.

God is the sole cause of all principles that give order and meaning to the Universe, and as such it cannot be considered to possess a specific place within any cosmological order. God, as the source of all quantity and substance, cannot be divorced from the Universe. The implication of this is that everything in the Universe is literally God, and every divisible constituent entity in the Universe is the entirety of God made manifest. That is, God cannot be substantially divided into its manifestations, because God itself is pre-substantial and possesses no constitutive substance of its own. A particular thing in the Universe does not constitute a certain portion of God, but must contain within it the entirety of God.



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