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SARAS -- Society for the Alignment of Religion and Science -- Scientifically aligned religious philosophy for modernity. Science understands that symmetry is the underlying theme that pervades the structure and behavior of physical reality. Religious philosophy for modern times must fundamentally account for this observed reality.



Panendeism divests itself from the idea of an explicitly thinking God. Panendeism holds that there is an aspect of reality that is different from physical reality, extending into a non-thinking (i.e., formless and changeless, implicit to reality) awareness realm—aware as a result of physical-reality dependent self-connecting self-apprehension, which defines reflexive self-awareness. Panendeism may be understood as panen-pantheism, which adds a trans-physical non-thought-hosting mathematical-fabric-sourcing awareness-realm component to a pantheistic reality.

Panendeism partitions the whole of reality into physical reality and a physically transcendent existent—e.g., a cosmic supra-consciousness. REP, a specialization of panendeism, regards reality as a monad God with purposed ‘internal structure’. The monad is conceptually partitioned into physical reality that acts as the ‘body’ of a will-to-exist, and a supra-intelligence that acts as the ‘mind’ of the same. The abode of the monad’s supra-intelligence is the non-physical awareness realm, whose manifestation is not monolithic. The awareness realm extends from the mathematical fabric underpinning physical reality, to the stirrings of explicit consciousness in the molecular and systems interworking of life, to the consciousness hosted by living beings, to the final changeless formless physically transcendent Godhead state. Directed by the existential purpose that is intrinsic to the monad’s supra-intelligence, the monad God polarizes into a ‘body’, which is the physical realm that evolves life under the insistence of the existential-force that is the impetus of the will-to-exist. The physical real evolves life that hosts consciousness, which raises the awareness realm into actuality. It is within the formless quintessence of the awareness realm that the mystical truth meets itself and radiates existence into the shadows of non-existence.

Physical reality, as recognized in pantheism, possesses an intrinsic resplendent order that firstly manifests in the wondrous mathematical structure of matter, mass-energy and spacetime. In REP, it is reality’s arcane transcendent supra-conscious awareness that sources the mathematical order. The idea that a physically transcendent aspect of reality originates a mathematical order with an intrinsic purpose that becomes the fabric of physical reality, yet is devoid of the kind of thinking that living beings host, seemed (and still seems) untenable to many. For this reason, panendeism has only recently (circa 2001 CE) joined the set of distinct religious-philosophical categories. But logic, observation, and entheogenic phytochemical consciousness expansion point to panendeism as the most viable model of the overall reality.

REP adds a crucial dimension to pantheism and unspecialized panendeism: a comprehensible reason for physical reality’s existence and evolution. Pantheism recognizes that nature is an embodiment of an extreme mathematical beauty, but only ventures to explain that its origin and purpose is shrouded in mystery. Neither pantheism nor generic panendeism makes an opinion as to whether the evolution of the physical realm and life and consciousness are purposeful in the sense of being goal directed by an aim embedded into the mathematical fabric of physical reality. Generic panendeism suggests that experiential resonance between an individual and a transcendent realm through contemplation, meditation or some other type of communion is possible. REP explains the nature and ultimate purpose of this resonance.

Panendeism versus Theism

The model of God and its relationship to physical reality according to Reflexive Emanation Panendeism is illustrated below:

The revealed religions assert a human-familiar deity.  God would be something with recognizable traits indicating advanced intelligence.

Alvin Carl Plantinga is an American analytic philosopher, known for his work in philosophy of religionepistemologymetaphysics and in Christian apologetics. He is considered a leading figure of the evangelical intelligentsia movement. 

REP's philosophical worldview is very different than Plantinga's, with the difference centering on the central idea that Christian Apologetics seek to validate: a anthropomorphic thought and emotion hosting divine cognizance.

Plantinga's Christian apologetics analysis begins with evolution, the article of science that discredits "creationism". Plantinga does not argue against evolution itself; instead, Plantinga draws a distinction between the notion of evolution and Darwinism. The former, Plantinga argues, is consistent with Christian belief, while the latter is not. Christianity regards Darwinism as in error, because central to Darwinism is the assertion that the process of evolution is unguided. This is the fundamental argument that Evangelical theists assume is valid and it underpins their objections to the scientific enterprise.

Here REP separates strongly from orthodox Christian belief. The idea that nature must be explicitly guided by a thinking divine cognizance to produce life and consciousness is is a bad turn into a false direction.

Intelligent Design versus Supra-Intelligent Design

The assumption that nature must be explicitly guided to produce advanced life forms declares that the world was not created with sufficient inbuilt directives to produce and evolve life on its own. Science has left no doubt that nature's fabric is mathematical so if God created it why would God have not added the mathematical sophistication to allow nature's activity to organize physical reality into life. Implying that nature does not and can not have the ultimate self-organizing ability is tantamount to declaring that God is not omnipotent nor omniscient, which contradicts the assertions of theism.

Some may argue that God intentionally created the world so that life could not arise without His explicit intervention. But why would God do this? To give Him something to do? To achieve omnibenevolence? Any affirmative answer to either of these questions can be quickly refuted by examining the declared characteristics of theism's God.

These several paragraphs draw battle lines between the ideas of unguided versus guided evolution of life on earth. If the mathematical fabric of the physical world is understood to have an aim embedded into it--and why would it not--then the whole argument that an external agent, God, must direct it, which is the position of intelligent design, vanishes. A supraintelligent God is not the the thinking God of theism. Its supraintelligence is the mathematical infrastructure of physical reality that has another dimension besides structure and immediate causal change--this is the dimension of overarching directed change that results from an architecturally embedded ultimate aim.

The big conceptual leap that theism must make is to come to the realization that it is possible for a cosmic cognizance to possess an aim outside of the realm of thought. This aim manifests itself in the mathematics-like architecture of physical reality. The evolution of physical reality is determined by this architecture--which includes randomicity as a feature. As a result of the supraIntelligent design human and higher magnitudes of consciousness necessarily arise from evolution. But human consciousness is enmeshed in the form of physical reality and the form of thought and therefore finds it very difficult to imagine a God without form and thought.

It is not clear why the idea of supraIntelligent design is difficult to entertain, even in those who fervently believe God is omniscient and omnipotent. For example, in the book "Why God Won't Go Away" by Alister McGrath (who is also a strong voice for the Christian Apologetic effort) the following paragraphs indicates the author's bias against the possibility that physical reality has an inbuilt aim:  

"We believe that all mystical experiences, from the mildest to the most intense, have their biological roots in the mind's machinery of transcendence. To say this in a slightly more provocative way, if the brain were not assembled as it is, we would not be able to experience a higher reality, even if it did exist. 

This forces us to address a difficult but fascinating question: Why would the human brain, which evolved for the very pragmatic purpose of helping us survive, possess such an apparently impractical talent? What evolutionary advantage would a mystically gifted mind provide?

We can only speculate of course, but the nature of the evolutionary process suggests that the mind's ability to enter unitary states did not evolve specifically for the purpose of spiritual transcendence. Evolution is pragmatically short-sighted; it favors adaptations that provide effective survival advantages in the practical here and now. Those adaptations that increase an organism's chances of survival are genetically passed along; those that don't are ruthlessly winnowed out.

It's difficult to imagine what survival advantages the neurology of transcendence would offer in its partially evolved, developmental stages, and hard to find a reason why natural selection would tolerate these neural developments, which wouldn't be operational for untold millions of years"

SupraIntelligent design speaks to this objection. The very fabric of the architecture of physical reality is aimed from every viewpoint, including its structure and dynamism, at producing advanced consciousness--whose purpose is to transcend physical reality. This is because consciousness is the vehicle by which the God is and remains self-aware, which is the phenomenon of existence. Trying to understand the minutia of evolution's methodology is likely impossible, as evolution itself is an emergent phenomena that utilizes competitive selection as one of its mechanisms. The difficulty of understanding why natural selection would "favor" the neurology of transcendence arises if one does not comprehend that the structure of reality including physical reality is aimed at on the emergence of advanced consciousness.

The idea that "Evolution is pragmatically short-sighted" misses the point. Nature prunes its evolutionary products relatively fast. The pruning simply optimizes (or ensures) the inevitable.