Chapter 3: Creation through Evolution

Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes
by Charles Hartshorne

Chapter 3: Creation through Evolution

Evolution and Belief in God

I was seventeen years old, Dr. Gardner, an Episcopal clergyman and my science teacher at Yeates boarding school (now only a memory in a few minds), introduced me to the theory of evolution. I remember no details; but since Gardner was in every way, as I had sufficient opportunity to know, a religioys man, he must have interpreted evolution positively and as compatible with his theological beliefs. Had he attacked it on that ground I would certainly have been keenly interested and concerned and would have remembered the conflict thus brought to my attention. The fact is that I do not recall knowing anything in my teens about the supposed incompatibility between evolutionary biology (what other biology is there?) and belief in God. I may or may not have known then that my father, probably before I was born, had accepted the basic idea of evolution. He, too, was an Episcopal minister; like Dr. Gardner, he was not a fundamentalist, that is, not a Christian who confuses worship of God with worship of a certain set of ancient documents written (and translated) by human beings. A year or two later, at Haberford College, a Quaker institution, a young instructor taught, in a class in which I took part, a fairly sophisticated version of neo-Darwinism. Again I saw nothing irreligious in the theory. I still see nothing irreligious in it, though I now have some understanding of the several reasons why many think otherwise.

In the Southwestern American city in which I now live, one can frequently read in the local newspaper letters insisting that there


are only two options: evolution without God, or God without evolution. In fact, of course, millions of believing Christians, and a still larger number of believers in God, also accept the basic tenets (not, of course, every detail of some current scientific formulation) of evolutionary biology. I suspect that most European Christians do so. In my long academic life I have known hundreds of scientists (especially ornithologists), numerous theologians, and numerous philosophers; yet an anti-evolutionary scientist, theologian, or philosopher has not come my way. I've heard one or two on radio or television, and I once met a fanatical Canadian college student who claimed to know just how false evolution was; but, on the whole, anti-evolutionary scientists, philosophers, and theologians are for me almost fictitious entities. I did come to know an Australian school teacher of biology, an excellent observer of birds in the field, who argued against evolutionbut not on what seemed very cogent grounds.

The history of nonevolutionary biology is not merely the story of fundamentalist Christian opponents of evolution. Aristotle was a prime example. Immanuel Kant was another; his (pre-Darwinian) opposition was emphatic. And I regard this aspect of Aristotle's and of Kant's thought as a weakness, and in Aristotle's case even an inconsistency, in their world-views. In recent philosophy, antievolutionism is hard indeed to find. It is in regions or circles where philosophy counts for little, as in some parts of this country, that evolution is supposed vulnerable to easy attack. In scientific and philosophically literate circles the argument seems about over. Must religion be a last retreat from knowledge?

There are any number of open questions as to specifics about evolution, but they are neutral to the issue between evolution as such and fundamentalist "creation science." Moreover, the "creation scientists" (supposing for the argument that the phrase makes sense) disagree, too, on specifics. Some say that there may be evolution of species but not of genera (or is it of genera but not of families, or families but not of orders, or orders but not of classesbirds, say, or mammals?). After all, the brief account or accounts (are there not two?) in Genesis are vague as to definite species (other than the human), or even as to genera or families. To call 'science' a view whose only definite evidences are what can


be read into a certain book has no reasonable connection with what practicing scientists mean by the word. This has, in a way, been admitted by some spokespersons for creation "science." They say that their view is a philosophy. But this usage too has little connection with what practicing philosophers understand by that word. I say it is bad philosophy, bad science, bad theology, and bad hermeneutics (textual interpretation), and no good thing at all.

Evolution, Chance, and Natural Law

First, the philosophical question. A philosopher may believe in God and many have done so and do. But philosophers do not now make statements about "the word of God," as though God uttered or wrote sounds or words of some human language for us to hear or read. There is, however, a genuine philosophical question about the religious meaning of evolution. According to the tyrant idea of God, there is no element of chance in reality. Everything is deliberately and precisely arranged by divine wisdom and power. According to the evolutionary theory, offspring vary from their parents and from one another partly by chance. If evolution proceeds in a fairly definite direction, it is because natural selection weeds out many nonadaptive chance variations, so that from very simple beginnings is woven a very complex "web of life," in which live many widely differing, but in their basic requirements mutually compatible, species. This web of life Darwin calls beautiful, and any good theory of beauty will justify this application of the word. I have argued this question elsewhere.

Presupposed in the foregoing is a basic set of physical laws setting limits to the reign of chance in nature, laws governing the behavior of the basic elements, especially hydrogen atoms. These laws are not explained by evolution. To suppose that Darwinism reduces the biological order to pure chance is thus a mistake. A basic physical order is assumed but not explained. Those of us who believe in God can suppose that this basic order is divinely decided. The numerous creatures could not get together and decide it. For


the game of life there must be rules not established by any player, unless God is taken to be the supreme player.

It is known that the chance variations are not only the results of combinations of genes (units of inheritance) from the male and female parents. There are also "mutations," larger (mostly harmful) variations altering the genes themselves, and resulting from chance encounters between particles (such as cosmic rays) and the genes. As environments change, what was harmful may become useful and be retained through generations.

Presupposed by the theory is that the basic physical laws make it possible for cells (consisting of complex molecules highly organized into enduring systems) to exist and to reproduce themselves in a manner largely controlled by the structures called genes. Darwin did not know about these "bits of information" as to how new cells are to be made up. This lack greatly weakened his theory. Neo-Darwinism is a much stronger system. Never have subsequent discoveries done more to confirm the basic rightness of a concept than those since Darwin have to confirm his idea of natural selection. Mendel's laws of gene combination are exactly what Darwin needed in order to make the theory work without the assumption of the inheritance of acquired characters, for which (except in a sense to be discussed) empirical evidence was and is lacking.

Darwin's Mistake

Darwin used the very word 'chance' for his variations among offspring, but explained that he did not take this to be the whole truth of the matter. However, he also made it clear that the power of his theory to explain the evolution of species did not depend on belief in the absence of real chance and the presence of determining causes in nature. The biological explanation was, Darwin saw, a statistical matter. Given a huge number of generations, a fairly stable environment in inanimate nature, small variations due to combination of the dual inheritance from parents (plys mutations now and then), natural selection could in the long run and on the whole produce what we find. Whether by chance or not, the


variations and mutations could, and according to the evidence did, do the required job.

What we have then is this. Darwin was a believer in causal determinism; but, as we know now, his theory works even better on a nondeterministic basis, such as those provided by quantum theory and the increasingly widespread general acceptance of statistical thought in science. Even before quantum theory the actually used laws of gases were already statistical, so that determinism did no real work even in that matter. The same was true of the entropy law in thermodynamics, and Willard Gibbs's phase rule in chemistry. Darwin in England, Gibbs in the United States, and others in Germany were participatingDarwin partly unknowinglyin a transformation of science away from determinism and toward a philosophy of chance limited by law. Neither pure chance nor the pure absence of chance can explain the world.

Chance, Freedom, and the Tyrant Idea of God

What is the theological significance of the foregoing? We have seen that chance is an inseparable aspect of freedom. Only those happy with the tyrant conception of deity can suppose that divine providence (creation or rule of the world) excludes chance. It merely limits the latter's scope. For example, a hydrogen atom may have certain degrees of freedom, but there are many things it cannot do. Again, for each type of unstable particle there are half-life laws. These never tell us precisely what an individual particle will do, but they tell us how long it will take (the length of time being specific to the type of particle) for half of a large group of particles of a certain type to change into some other type, or to disappear into energy. This mysterious-seeming order in disorder is, so far as we now know, the nature of the elementary constituents of the physical world.

If our previous analysis of the necessity for universal freedom of individual creatures is sound; if God is genuinely conceivable only as supreme freedom issuing in, dealing with, lesser forms of freedom; if the notion of creature as absolutely controlled, absolutely ordered puppet, is without positive meaning, except as the


limiting or zero concept of an imagined series of less and less free individual creatures (what a creature would amount to if it amounted to nothingif all this is true, then the present state of physics and biology is insofar theologically satisfactory. Everywhere, being a single creature can then mean making decisions among open possibilities, further determining the partially indeterminate tendencies constituting the future until it becomes present and then past.

Since genes too (or their dynamic constituents) are creatures, as are particles, they must be acting freely within limits, which means that the results are partly random, not predetermined by any intention or power. The only conception of providence which would exclude all chance would also exclude all decision-making creatures, which means, all creatures. Thus it would be ''providence" without any world to provide for.

What kind of teleology (things arranged for the best) did Darwinism displace and discredit? It was that of a world order in which every monstrosity, every suffering, every birth of an unviable, ill-adapted animal was divinely decreed. The "problem of evil" in its most unmanageable form was the price of the view the bishops defended against Darwin. Moreover, Darwin saw this more clearly than the bishops did; he made it clear that he did not doubt the divine existence merely because of his evolutionary theory. His letters show this plainly. He said that the theologians had not, to his satisfaction, shown how the all-arranging power of God was compatible with the freedom of the creatures, particularly of human beings. He was right; they had not made a reasonable case on this point. But the difficulty was not primarily biological, it was theological. On purely theological grounds Darwin thought more cogently than the bishops mostly did. He said what they, on their own grounds, should have said. Or rather, he half said what they did not even half say.

What kept Darwin from successfully solving his own personal religious problem as to what to think about God was not his empirical biological discoveries. It was his a priori faith in the deterministic philosophy of science, which had reigned nearly unquestioned (even by theologians) in the Newtonian period, then nearing its end. What was theologically requisite was soon to prove scientifically acceptable. This was the admission that chance is a real aspect of


nature in general. The theological relevance of this is simply that the denial of chance implies the denial of freedom, and the denial of freedom ruins theology.

God Takes Chances with Free Creatures

"God," said Einsteinwho, like Darwin, could not admit the reality of chance"does not throw dice." "On the contrary," said Arthur Young, an inventor important in the development of the helicopter,''God does play dice. To have creatures is to take a chance on what they may do." (This was in a conversation we once had.) This, I say, is good theology.

I ask the reader to recall that the evolutionary scheme presupposes an aspect of order in the world which it does not explain. To adapt to mere disorder is meaningless; and so the basic orderliness of the world cannot be explained by mutual adaptation among the creatures. That there are laws of nature is providential. Any cosmic order is infinitely better than none, for mere chaos is indistinguishable from nothing at all. But the only positive explanation of order is the existence of an orderer. Hence evolution is not, I hold, fully intelligible without God. And since God means supreme freedom dealing with lesser freedom, there must be a pervasive element of chance in nature. So the specifics of nature cannot be mere actualizations of a divine plan. The renunciation of strict determinism, which does no real work in science anyway, opens the door to a new form of theologizing, purified of the taint of divine tyranny which disfigured classical theology.

See James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man for a vivid picture of the dark side of classical theism. It has been shown that the sermon given in that book is no mere invention of Joyce's, but, almost word for word, an actual sermon written by a priest or monk of the Catholic church. There was a dark side of traditional religion, and Joyce very reasonably disliked it. The idea of God as supreme love enjoying (or, if you prefer suffering, or neutrally cognizing) the spectacle of sinners everlastingly punished for eternally predestined actions is not a pretty one; but there it is in


classical theology. Darwin did better than he knew in helping to discredit it.

The Religious Opposition to Evolution

To form a judgment concerning the force of the evolutionary argument, one needs to have in mind a great mass of observational facts drawn from many branches of science: the study of fossils, the anatomy of plants and animals, the distribution of species over the earth's surface, evidences of changes in the earth's geology and climate, continental drift, the behavior of animals, and still others. One needs also to have considerable mathematical competence, since the issues are complex statistical questions of probabilities. Sewall Wright, a great evolutionist of this century, a person I know well as a careful, honest thinker, with no particular wish to undermine belief in God but a great wish to think and observe accurately throughout a long lifetime, possesses the requisite abilities and competences. He, like everyone else I know much about who, with anything like the same equipment and care, has gone into the matter, has no doubt that evolution has occurred. It is a great satisfaction to me that he is also a convinced psychicalist. If he is agnostic about God this is not for biological reasons, but because he finds it impossible to reconcile belief in God with his understanding of relativity physics. I appreciate his difficulty, which has bothered me for many years, as it has some other philosophers. I believe the difficulty is not decisive (and I am not alone in this), and in any case it is irrelevant to the biological issues.

Confronted with the attempt of believers in the literal infallibility of the Bible to dismiss the evidences of evolution, some of us feel a disgust such as Emerson expressed long ago in the following outburst:

It is not in the power of God to make a communication of his will to a Calvinist [the kind of fundamentalist that Emerson knew]. For to every inward revelation he holds up his silly book, and quotes chapter and verse against the Book-maker and Man-Maker, against that which quotes not, but is and


cometh. There is a light older than intellect, by which the intellect lives and works, always new, and which degrades every past and particular shining of itself. This light, Calvinism denies, in its idolatry of a certain past shining. 1

Today most of us would put more stress on observation and on logic than on Emerson's inward revelation, but we would agree with the charge of idolatry. God utterly transcends any book. As one of our founding fathers thought, it is nature, God's handiwork, that is the real "word of God" concerning the general structure of the cosmos. My clergyman father believed exactly that. I once heard another Episcopal clergyman (in Savannah, Georgia) say that to him science was revelation as truly as the Bible.

Not only is it difficult to believe that God literally took a rib from Adam and made it turn into Eve, but, as Clare Boothe Luce has well said, the human male was thus given the honor of being the mother of mankind, stealing from woman what in all honesty belongs to her.

God "Makes Things Make Themselves"

In what sense, granted evolution, can God be called Creator? Charles Kingsley, an English clergyman, beautifully puts it thus, in formulating the divine procedure: "I make things make themselves." Only so does a good parent, a good God, proceed. For the parent, or God, to do simply all the making is to leave no genuine function for the children to perform. Language supports this. We say that we "make" decisions, resolutions, or attempts, implying that God is not the unilateral maker or decider of literally everything. So the Socinians thought without quite saying it; so Lequier and Fechner thought, and they virtually did say it. Finally, Whitehead said it. And I believed it before his saying it, as my 1923 dissertation shows.

It is no mere accident that the linguistic analysts, influenced by Wittgenstein, have not noted the testimony of common speech in this matter. For their consideration of the "ordinary language" test has been applied selectively, under prejudices not altogether


impossible to discern. We, finally, and not God, make decisions (mostly unconsciously) as to details of the lives of ourselves and our fellows. And so (according to the neoclassical view) do all creatures, though in still less conscious fashion in most of the natural kinds.

Does our making presuppose antecedently existing matter, while God's does not but is "from nothing"? I ask, in reply, "In making me did God use my parents or was I made simply from nothing?" I believe we can safely await an answer to this; for any answer will show the difficulty that classical theism faced. If my parents were not causally required for my existence, then we know nothing of the meaning of "cause." And if they were, then clearly I was not made from nothing. Our only knowledge of causation and of making is from the way what happens influences what happens next. True, we have an intuition of ourselves thinkingthat is, 'making'our thoughts or feeling our feelings, where the selves in question are simultaneous with the thinking or feeling. But if, analogically speaking, God's causing or making of the world is similar, then the world just is God's thinking, and surely that is not the intended meaning.

Recall once more the analogy with magic. God said, "Let there be light" and there was light. "Let there be . . .," and it was so. "Let there be . . .," and it was so. I have no quarrel with these verses from Genesis, but I deny that literalists understand their function. At the climax of the Book of Job (an inquiry into the ways of providence) we are told that a human being cannot understand God's creative power. Since we cannot understand it, neither science nor philosophy can make use of the idea to justify definite conclusions.

The origin of creation science is neither science nor philosophy. Nor is it intellectually responsible theology. Rather, it is poetry, and its function is to communicate feeling and express an attitude. God beheld what he had created and "saw that it was good." Somehow in response to divine decisions a good world order was coming into being. That it was coming into being preceded only by God, or by God and nothing, is not definitely asserted and, in view of the rebuke to Job, is not in order. We do not, in biblical terms, know how, or just with what, or without what, the creating


is done. This is all beside the religious point, which is the reality of God as somehow voluntarily producing the basic world order and the essential goodness of the result. Also significant is the way God observes that result and only then "sees that it is good." According to classical theism, God first, or eternally, knows exactly what is to result and how good it will be; and the actuality is merely the planned good over again with no additional determinations. I regard this as a bad interpretation of the biblical account.

Creation Neither Out of Nothing Nor Out of Matter

What divine creation of a particular world order presupposes is neither a preexistent matter nor nothing at all. It is not matter; for that is a label for what, in the psychicalist view, is really an extremely elementary form of creaturely mind in the form of feeling, in huge numbers of momentary flashes with no conscious knowledge of individual identity through change. It is feeling uncomplicated by what Shakespeare once called "the pale cast of thought." In this sense it is unconscious, but not insentient. Creation's presupposition is not nothing; for there are difficulties with the idea of an absolute beginning of the creative process. There is no religious need for such a beginning, which limits God's productivity to a merely finite stretch of past results. This is not the only way in which the tradition, while talking much of the divine infinity, unduly finitized deity. The Buddhists wrote about a past of billions of billions of years, or an even huger number, while Europe talked about a mere several thousand years of past creating by deity. How childish this must seem to Buddhists, as it does to scientists!

Classical theism attempted to harmonize Greek philosophical and Judaic religious views. It is still desirable to search for harmony between the two traditions, but we need to use our additional resources in science, philosophy, and historical scholarship, including our vastly increased knowledge of the history of religions.

Taking Genesis and the Book of Job together, we may say that the biblical view was that the divine creativity is a highly mysterious matter. One may think of it by analogy with primitive magic, a


notoriously superstitious affair. One may simply say that no humanly accessible analogy helps, that we just cannot have any rational theory at all here. This seems to be the message of Job. But that book had as author and (for all we know) intended readers only people whose culture was radically different from ours. It was prescientific and prephilosophicalas we, since the Greeks, have known philosophizing. So perhaps the veto on trying to theorize theologically need not without qualification apply to us. In fact, as some scientist has pointed out, part of the evidence by which the voice from the whirlwind convicts Job of inability to comprehend God's creating or ruling the world no longer applies. Science has thrown considerable light, for instance, on how animals manage to feed themselves or nourish their young. And we can lift leviathan out of the sea, even if not exactly with a fish hook. Above all, it is a thousand years too late to imply that, although God made human beings in the divine image, endowed with the ability to have definite (even though more or less abstract) thoughts about "all time and all existence" (as there is no ground for supposing even apes or porpoises can do), yet we are not to use our thinking capacity freely in seeking to learn about nature but must give absolute priority to the literal words of a book expressing thoughts that, it is only sensible to believe, were the thoughts of some remote human predecessors. And we are to have laws passed to impose this way (or at best to penalize a contrary way) of proceeding upon many who utterly reject the theory on which it is based. (The matter isas Milton Friedman points outgravely complicated by our primary reliance upon compulsion and governmental control in education. In so many ways we have feared to accept freedom as a guiding principle of life.)

Medieval thinkers went far beyond (or perhaps fell behind) biblical conceptions, using their understanding of Greek ideas. They thought they knew better than the naive writers of scripture what concepts do and what do not literally apply to deity. They were not fundamentalists in the current sense. However, if there is any consensus at all in scientific or philosophicalor even theologicalcircles in the matter, it is that the "medieval synthesis" was no permanent solution of the ultimate problems. It was pseudo- biblical and pseudo-Greek. If we make our own fresh try at the job, we


may well partly fail too. But we need not be, as the Schoolmen were, Platonic yet largely lacking in much of the best of Plato's insight; Aristotelian yet lacking some of that thinker's most carefully worked- out ideas; Christian yet contradicting any natural interpretation of the heavenly parent of the Gospels and the Old Testament idea of the merciful Holy One.

In the Bible, God is just not an unmoved "pure actuality," in purely eternal fashion planning the very details of worldly existence. According to Genesis, the initial creative action took timesix "days," was it? At each stage God received new impressions of the goodness of the result. And then, as human beings came on the scene, God soon saw something not entirely good in the result and acted accordingly. Thus the God-world relations were not pictured as merely instantaneous but as a progressive and in some sense time-like succession. And there was action and reaction between Creator and creatures. There was the Covenant between God and Israel. The whole thing was a social transaction. Even the relations of God to "inanimate nature" seemed to take this form. The sea obeyed the injunction "thus far and no farther." The sun, "rejoicing as a giant to run his course,'' was no mere lump of dead matter. Since we now have a philosophy in which the social structure, fully generalized, is the structure of reality, we have less need than the Church Fathers had to explain away the social cast of biblical language. And we also have a philosophy (and science) in which creative becoming is taken as at least much more pervasive and more nearly ultimate than was possible with the overestimation of fixity and mere being which characterized Greek and medieval thought. So in that way too we can come closer than the Scholastics to agreeing with those naive scriptural writers above spoken of. Doubtless they were in some ways naive; but also, doubtless the Schoolmen had their own somewhat different form of ignorance or prejudice. We might do better than either group of predecessors, we who also are images of deity.

Classical theology paid insufficient attention, in reading Plato, not only to the mind-body analogy for God and the world, but also to the doctrine that the soul (any soul) is self-moved and that soul in its various forms is the explanation of all motion or change. Human or animal souls move themselves and their bodies, God


moves God and all actualities, without fully determining any. Aristotle rejected the soul's self-motion and attributed change to matter in combination with mind. So his God, who (or which, for it is not a person) is wholly nonmaterial, is changeless and entirely uninfluenced by, as well asand this was a consistent consequence- unaware of, the changes and accidental details of the world.

Aristotle was perhaps the first to state the intuitively satisfying principles: what comes to be is contingent (becoming produces genuine novelty and is in principle not wholly predetermined or preprogrammed); but what is without ever becoming is noncontingent, could not possibly not have been. It follows that in sheer eternity there is no freedom, but in becoming there is some freedom. But, while making this splendid contribution, Aristotle, by dropping Plato's insights about the World Soul, the cosmos as divine body, and the partially temporal nature of the World Soul, was unable to anticipate, as Plato did anticipate, the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic view of God as aware of the individual creatures. Aquinas and the other Schoolmen combined Aristotle's neglect of a not-wholly-immutable World Soul with the Platonic contention of God's knowledge of the creatures, thus losing Plato's consistency in asserting, and Aristotle's partial consistency in denying, God's knowledge of concrete, contingent reality. It was mediocre Platonism and mediocre Aristotelianism. And it was a biblical heresy.

It is true that the mind-body analogy does not immediately and in any very simple way show God can be the highest (though not the sole) creative power, the highest (though not the sole) decision maker. For although, by the Sperry psycho-physiological principle, the infant soul (or the infant experiencing) does begin to influence the becoming of the nerve cellsand less directly that of the other bodily cellsthe early stages of the embryonic development must proceed without any infant psyche; for prior to the development of a nervous system there is no reason to attribute any such thing to the embryo. All that the facts indicate is cells multiplying and differentiating. The differentiations are in principle explained by the fact that different positions in the embryo expose cells to differing stimuli. The German biologist Driesch argued for a holistic entity directing cellular development, which he called an entelechy,


but this has not proved a fruitful idea scientifically. And, in ordinary plants, which never do develop a nervous system, it is the cells that, to a botanist, explain growth, not something corresponding to the plant as a whole. A tree is a cell colony, not a single individual with integration comparable to that of each of its cells; as Whitehead put it, "a tree is a democracy." Its cells may have souls as little monarchs of their molecules, but probably not the tree a soul as monarch of its cells. So much for Aristotle's vegetable soul. It is not enough to say that he did not know about cells. Knowing nothing of the fact of cells, he implicitly denied them, just as in his male-favoring genetic theory he denied eggs to female human beings. I think a philosopher should know when he does not know, and avoid, better than this powerful mind did, implicit denials of things of whose existence or nonexistence he knows nothing.

As Soul of the cosmic body, God does not, like the infant, come to be out of a previous world state not involving Him-Her. Any stage of the cosmic body grew out of a previous stage already divinely besouled. This is the uttermost application of the analogy, the all-inclusive one. If the infant is slightly creative of its bodily cells after a certain stage in its body's development, God has already been and must always be, not slightly but supremely creative of the cells in the divine body, including you and me as such cells. Whitehead calls his view a "cell theory of reality" but never took the Platonic step of conceiving the cosmos as supreme body. I hold that in this he fell a little below Plato. The divine analogy to the human fails unless the mind-body relation applies on both sides to God. The human soul as disembodied is hopelessly unclear or false. A merely disembodied God is an unfounded idea. There is this much truth in naturalistic materialism. What we should be simply without bodies is gibberish. The great letter writer Paul knew that, so he posited a "heavenly body."

It may appear that the phrase "supremely creative," not only of recent stages of the worldly process but of all its predecessors, is not enough to make God the "creator of all things, visible and invisible." My proposition is simply that it is enough, provided you admit that the singular, concrete entities created are to have freedom, to be to some extent self-decided"self-moved," as Plato


put it. For then, as Kingsley said, what God does is to make things partly make themselves. Adam sinned: this was his decision, not God's. Indeed, the serpent's tempting of Adam was the serpent's decision, not God's. Job's torturers' acts, and even Satan's instigating of them, were not executions of divine decisions. God told Satan what not to do, but gave no positive command, or even definite suggestion. The "sovereignty" of God is not, I suggest, a very biblical idea, especially if one has a low opinion of the respect of sovereigns for the freedom of their subjects.

Value and Sympathy as the Keys to Power: The Final Mystery

How does God make things make themselves? Here at last we come to the final mystery. It is natural that it should be mysterious, for we are not divine. But still, we have some clues, without which we should have no right to any theology at all. How does the human mind, or sequence of experiences, influence the development, health, illness, and action of the human body, as it seems to do every moment? This, too, is mysterious, and many scientists have thought that we shall never understand it. Yet here also we have clues.

The open secret of the mind-body relation is this: our cells respond to our feelings (and thoughts) because we respond to their feelings (and would respond to their thoughts if they had any). Hurt my cells and you hurt me. Give my cells a healthy life, and they give me a feeling of vitality and at least minimal happiness. My sense of welfare tends to sum up theirs, and their misfortunes tend to become negative feelings of mine. I feel what many cells feel, integrating these feelings into a higher unity. I am somewhat as their deity, their fond heavenly companion. They gain their direction and sense of the goodness of life partly from intuiting my sense of that goodness, which takes theirs intuitively into account.

It comes to this: power over others, influence upon others, is either indirect (the power of one holding a loaded and cocked pistol, or with a large income) or it is direct and immediate. In the latter case the only explanation, I suggest, is that if X has an intrinsic value, say a sense of pleasure, to appropriate which is


harmonizable with the life-style of Y and which therefore can enhance Y's feeling of value, then (if the spatiotemporal relations are favorable) X will tend to feel Y's value or feeling and will thus be influenced by Y. Somewhat indirectly, even brutal tyrants are partly influential by their intrinsic values, their charm, their feeling of confidence or exaltation, their flow of ideas, etc. Intrinsic value gives power.

Theologically applied, the principle explains the quality and scope of God's influence by the assumption that God appreciates and fully appropriates every feeling of value there is, sums up and integrates on the highest level possible what the creatures come to in value terms. As a result God charms every creature irresistibly to whatever extent is compatible with that creature's level of freedom. Plato and Aristotle hint at such an idea; but they did not realize that the highest intrinsic value must be the value of the most perfect and inclusive form of love. Because God loves each creature better than it or its fellows can love it, the creature, even though it is necessarily partly self-creative, cannot but make some response to the divine love. Thus Plato's analogy, in a form transcendent of Plato in certain respects, gives greater power to his theology than he himself could give it.

God's purpose is that there be happy creatures, that is, partly self-determined actualities. How can this purpose guarantee that some such actualities come into being? It is hardly an explanation to say that God's power is unlimited. However, consider what it would mean for there to be no response to the divine appeal. What would then make it true that God was in solitude, wholly without creatures to love or inspire? Would it be a mere nothing instead of a world, a mere emptiness? I hold, more explicitly and definitely than perhaps anyone before me has, that what makes a negative statement true is always something positive. "No food in the refrigerator" does not mean, and is not known to be true by observing, nothing in the refrigerator. We know it by observing the back wall of the interior or the shelves in a way that would not be possible were there solid or liquid foods on the shelves. Mere nothing plays no such role as that of making negative statements true. "Nothing" plays no role at all. Even a vacuum in the refrigerator would not be sheer nothing. So I hold that God would not know that there


were no creatures by there being nothing instead. Indeed I question what sense it makes to suppose a supreme knower knowing its own knowing of its own knowingof what?

The minimal idea seems to be of Creator-creature, not mere Creator or mere creature. However mysterious it seems, it must somehow be that the divine love and consequent divine charm is such that it can call into being creatures able to respond to this love (thus there is a "magical" aspect), even though the creatures come into being as partly self-active from the very start.

A version of the same mystery is, "What keeps the creative advance of the world going on, instead of petering out, so that, perhaps after the next moment, there would be nothing going on at all?" Well, no moment could make itself the last moment, for no such intrinsic character of a moment is conceivable. Would it be the nothing that followed the last moment? I do not find this intelligible. The divine-creaturely process can explain what needs explaining, which does not mean details causally deduced as necessary; for becoming is no deductive affair.

A merely creaturely or a merely divine process or reality explains nothing. The former has no principle of order, no directive to enable freedom to produce anything but meaningless chaos. The latter has no content; it is an empty powerto do what? Divinity is, for instance, infallible power to know whatever in particular could exist, and the certainty of knowing its existence be this existence a fact. But with only its own existence, what would the highest knower know? I see only a wholly verbal solution of this riddle. Without creatures, 'Father,' 'Son,' and 'Holy Ghost' are empty formulaepower-to-do without any doing. The love of the three for themselves and one another makes a verbal but empty answer to the question, "What is love when it has only three ideal forms, somehow equal yet genuinely differentiated, and there are no unideal forms at all?" God-with-creatures is the answer, not either side by itself. The Creator is eternally and necessarily creative, it is only the particular creatures whose very existence is contingent. Necessity and contingency are necessary to each other. But the necessity that there be some contingent things or other is entirely consistent with the genuine contingency of those things.


There is no logic requiring us to say, "That accidents happen some accidents or other, is itself only an accident."

Contingency is not in the idea of contingency's having some real instances, but only in what instances. Contingency must be somehow actualized, but just how or in just what it is actualized: that is the contingency. No further contingency is required. In contrast, not only must there be something eternally necessary but the something necessary is eternally definite and has no alternative. The purely eternal and necessary aspect of deity could not have been otherwise than it is; it is necessarily all that it could have been. Since it could not have been prevented from existing, it is meaningless to call it unfortunate, bad, or in any sense open to criticism. In its empty abstract way it is absolutely perfect. Only the time-like aspect of the divine life is contingentnot that there could have failed to be some such aspect, but that the particular contents in which it is actualized could all have been otherwise. And their richness has no upper limit.

The main contention of this chapter, somewhat like that of the preceding one, is that it is an eighth theological mistake to regard belief in God as incompatible with the general idea of an evolution of species. Indeed, this is an understatement. Not only is the evolutionary idea of things partly making themselves and (in reasonable consequence) influencing their offspring or successors harmonious with, but something like it is derivable from, belief in God. Creaturely self-making or freedom is that without which the idea of God is scarcely a reasonable or beneficial one. Evolution is at least one way in which freedom of creatures can be given a basic role in a world view.

Psychicalism and Evolution

If there is a weakness in current evolutionary theory, it may derive, not from the admission of chance as pervasive, but from the tendency of science generally to limit itself to the supposedly merely physical, rather than psychical, aspects of reality. The "evolutionary naturalism" to which many philosophers and scientists incline is really a temporalized dualism. First, mere matter, without


a trace of mind in any kind or degree, then (as "emergent" qualities of some physical wholes) the addition of primitive forms of mind, followed by more advanced forms.

With mind comes a distinctive kind of inheritance, additional to that carried by the genes, and it is this psychical inheritance which enables acquired characters to be passed on. For instance, most songbirds, to some extent at least, learn their songs partly by listening to their elders or contemporaries. Imitation of sounds comes in, and this involves psychological relations of stimulus-response and positive or negative reinforcement of modes of behavior. As new modes of behaving are discovered by individuals, some of these modes prove adaptive, and the individuals achieve thereby greater breeding success (say by nesting in barns rather than sites provided by nature before the coming of civilized human beings). Successive generations may learn this behavior from early experience, and thus the habits of an entire species may change considerably, especially with gregarious species like barn swallows.

One further step: physically inherited structures which happen to fit the new psychically inherited and adaptive modes will then also be adaptive and will be favored by natural selection. Thus indirectly even physical inheritance will eventually be altered by individual behavioral-psychical acquisitions. The farther down the evolutionary scale this factor can be supposed to go, the more power the theory can have to explain changes in species. Changes made by individuals in their behavior will not arise from mere random changes only but partly from the individuals' creative insightsin a word, intelligence, in however humble or primitive a form. But, as Dobzhansky says, the creativity here is that of individual creatures. They partly make, not only themselves, but their very species.

Creativity in creatures has both positive and negative aspects. It helps to produce new forms, and in the long run to enable animal life to fill the vast variety of niches in nature. If there are tree trunks, there will be animals seeking and finding food on tree trunks; if there is water, there will be animals living or (like penguins) at least feeding in water, etc. The result is what anyone who wants nature to be richly satisfying to contemplate must approve of: a vast variety of forms of life (and feeling), each internally


harmonious and all capable of coexisting for long periods. And all these creatures may be supposed to enjoy their lives, to receive positive and negative reinforcements. (And, as Skinner says, the positive are the most constructive.) Creatures survive partly because they want to succeed in the little tasks inheritance assigns them and are at least slightly inventive in pursuing their short-run purposes. A bird may not know what a nest is for, but yet feel that a certain shape is satisfying in the arrangement of materials, and may try to bring about that shape. The option: either long-range purposeslike those of human beings after infancy or early childhoodor no purpose at all, is childish; but I am not convinced that all deniers of pervasive purpose in nature are adequately aware of how childish it is.

The Perils of a High Level of Mind and Freedom

The negative side of the psychical factor is that the greater the power of thinking becomes, the less behavior can be preprogrammed by physical inheritance (that is, by instinct), and the greater the individual variety in behavior. There is also greater danger that the individual will not perform its proper role in the ongoing of the species but will rather seek its own gratification and safety at the cost of its fellows and offspring. It may also exterminate other species symbiotically valuable to its own species. Hence religion is actually a biological necessity for a species on a sufficiently high level of intelligence. Bergson's explanation of primitive religion in these terms seems convincing. In thinking animals, religious sanctions must partly take the place of instinct as a check on species-destructive forms of behavior. Religious satisfactions or encouragements are also needed to counterbalance the fear aroused by the knowledge of mortality and the discontent arising from the knowledge of how probable it is that one's desires will meet with very limited success at best.

As science and philosophy grow more sophisticated and penetrating, primitive religion no longer satisfies those sharing in or aware of these inquiries. Commerce, communication, and travel acquaint us with the variety of religious, even on higher levels.


We see that they all make great claims, which cannot all be wholly true. We in this century, far more than our forebears, even in the Victorian period, are deep in the conflicts resulting from these factors. They are the penalties of intellectual and technological progress and have some tragic aspects.

Goethe, with his remarkable profundity, held that science has two rather different effects on culture. For scientists, especially the most creative ones, science brings inspiration, the vision of nature as mysteriously fascinating and beautiful, almost worthy of worship, although seemingly indifferent to human life and its problems. But to merely humanistically educated persons, science is chiefly destructive culturally. It destroys belief in fairy tales or myths and gives most people no comparably enjoyable views of reality to take their place. Goethe's fears on this head seem still relevant.

On many levels religions are struggling with the problem, or bundle of problems, just sketched. We all do what we can with the rival religious claims and solutions.

That the crimes and aimless hooliganisms in our society are partly caused by the lack of universally efficacious religious inspiration and guidance seems clear. It is not just that youngsters have insufficient religious motivation; their parents have lacked it, too, in many cases, and perhaps their grandparents. And these youngsters have been confronted with devastating, frustrating dilemmas, such as those connected with the Vietnam undertaking, or the nuclear danger now looming so threateningly, and the baffling rivalry of the great powers, brandishing weapons they dare not use, short of what looks like insanity, but also cannot see how to do away with.

I still do not believe that we should give up the scientific vision, with its majesty and beauty, or the philosophictheological vision of cosmic mind as cosmic love.

An Ornithologist Who Opposed Evolution

About one aspect of the evolution controversy I happen to be something of an expert. This is the ornithological aspect. Wallace, who also discovered natural selection independently of Darwin


like him, observing similar phenomena in tropical parts of the world (mostly different parts from those Darwin visited)was, like Darwin, knowledgeable in ornithology. The agreement between these two superior Englishmen (superior in many notable respects) is impressive testimony to the strength of the case. It is stronger now. Unlike Darwin, Wallace maintained a religious faith to the end and did not admit that the origin of the human species was explicable in the same way as that of the other species. But in his time the fossil record of human and prehuman but human-like animals was far skimpier than it is now. When some rash religious critics of today say that we lack intermediate ''links," they can only be saying that the gaps are greater than the theory implies they should be. But this is an extremely complex issue. Bones usually decay fairly rapidly; long preservation requires very special conditions; it is certain that we have not uncovered anything like all the fossils that lie somewhere buried in the earth. The gaps can only get smaller, and they are already small enough to convince any number of competent persons that the theory of "descent," as Darwin called it, is sound.

Returning to the ornithological aspect. We have a fossil bird intermediate between the dinosaurs and presentday birds, the archaeopteryx, which had feathers, the most universally distinctive feature of birds, but was far more like reptiles than are modern birds. A feathered lizard, 140 millions of years old, is a recent discovery. Considering how fragile bird bones are, the fossil record of the transition, many millions of years ago, from reptile to flying birds, may not be surprisingly scanty, assuming evolution.

During the several decades between Darwin's announcement (1858) of his theory and 1900, there was, in Germany, first an enthusiastic reception of that theory, and then a fierce attack upon it. Bernard Altum (18241900), distinguished observer of birds and a Catholic priest, in his Der Vogel und sein Leben (The Bird and Its Life), argued vigorously and ingeniously against Darwinism. 2 If a strong case could have been made, this was the time and the man to make it. The negative case was more easily made then than now, for Lamarck's defence of inheritance of acquired characteristics had not been subjected to adequate tests, mutations were not known, no one had more than the vaguest idea of how the genetic


machinery worked or what its laws were, fossil records were skimpy, etc. etc. But the religious motivation to try to refute Darwin was available and Altum had at least that. The nonevolutionary point of view was not held in the disrepute it is now; it would easily get a full hearing, and it did. In addition Altum was a vigorous thinker and a brilliant observer of birds. He gave a splendid account of the territorial theory of bird song, which he accepted. This was nearly sixty years before Eliot Howard's Territory in Bird Life quickly convinced the learned world of the validity of the theory. So far as I know, Altum was the last ornithologist of any marked distinction to take up the anti-evolutionary cause. For a time he made an impression. An unfortunate effect of his advocacy was that it prevented his admirable thought on territory from getting the attention it deserved.

Altum combined nearly all the mistakes one could well make, so far as evolution is concerned. Like Darwin he rejected the idea of chance, or of any freedom of the creatures, apart at least from human beings. A providential order meant for him the absolute exclusion of randomness or inharmony in nature. In the cosmic whole there was a place for everything and everything was in its place. Animals had no intelligence, even (he seems to imply) no feelings, and no purposes. Their actions were determined by the cosmos as a whole, a single integrated organism. How this related to Altum's theology I do not know. But it fits what I have been calling the tryant idea of divine power. Animals are made by a higher power to do what they do.

Altum argues that the functions of song, for instance, are not in the least understood by the singing bird. Pure instinct completely determines the behavior. The nondivine purposive element is simply not there, in no matter how primitive a form. It follows that our species is essentially supernatural. Abruptly, with us, feeling, thought, and individual creativity come upon the scene. An unconscious, insentient, uninventive world suddenlyin our species alonebecomes conscious, emotional, and inventive. Or is it in all higher mammals? The evidence given for the lack of purpose in the other animals presupposes the view I have called childish, that what seems to do the work of purpose must be either the thoughtful, longrange, complex sort of thing that human language makes possible,


or no purpose at all. The possibility of extremely simple, shortrange purpose or desire, deficient in thought but not in mere feeling, is ignored. In this way the question of an evolution of feeling and the psychical generally is begged.

Altum is impressed, and rightly, by the aspects of symbiosis, living together, found in the relations of species. Insects and birds help plants to propagate, and plants help birds in various ways, and such things imply, he believes, a cosmic ordering to adjust species to one another. He does not distinguish, however, between, on the one hand, a basic ordering of partly free and self-ordering individuals, the cosmic aspect of the order being given by laws of nature that are not absolute in a more than statistical sense and, on the other hand, on ordering according to the classical idea of strictly sufficient reason leaving individuals no leeway for decision making. The latter is Altum's view. Only the cosmic power, expressed in instinct, effectively decides. "An animal does not act, but is acted upon." This as the reader knows is exactly the view I am combating in this book. It has, as one consequence, the nastiest form of the theological problem of evil, and, as another consequence, the problem of human freedom, and how, if we too have no freedom, we can form an idea of divine freedom, such as almost every theologian has claimed is part of the meaning of worship.

Has any present-day anti-evolutionist significant resources lacking to Altum? I fail to see it. On that side of the issue, Altum had everything of consequence that is available even now.

In my own book on birds, Born to Sing: An Interpretation and World Survey of Bird Song, 3 I take evolution for granted; but by stressing the psychical element, the creativity of the individual animal, and offering evidence for that in the case of singing birds, I do implicitly strengthen the evolutionary case. I give definite quantitative observational evidence for the territorial function, and consequent adaptive value, of song, and also and above all for the hypothesis that singing birds have a primitive form of what in us we call an aesthetic sense or musical feeling. Incidentally I confirm Altum's generalization: the gregariousness or sociality of a species is inversely correlated with its degree of song development. Singing is favored by an individualistic mode of existence, tending to sep-


arate widely in space the singer from its presumptive listener, whether mate or (sexual or territorial) rival. The principle is, the farther the song needs to be heard and distinguished from others audible at a given spot, the more distinctive it needs to be. Hence musical refinement and/or complexity are favored by nongregariousness. They are also favored by inconspicuousness in the normal habitat and with the normal behavior, on the principle that the more easily the bird can be identified visually the less it needs to be identified by sound.

Consider the geographical distribution of birds. In Madagascar many of the species are neither the same nor radically different from those some hundreds of miles away on the continent of Africa, and the explanation is at hand: the ancestors of the island birds came from the continent and in thousands or millions of years evolved into some new species. In the tropics this is easier by far to see than elsewhere, since in tropical regions, or those with mild winters, birds are mostly non-migratory and a moderate spatial separation tends to prevent interbreeding; hence new species may in time result. In the Galapagos Islands, which taught Darwin so much, the separation of one island from another enabled some finches, arriving no doubt at this or that island, to find their way in groups (finches tend to be gregarious), perhaps by a storm blowing birds out of their course, to other islands and so to develop many species to fit the various open niches on islands originally birdless. New Zealand has a similar relation to Australia as Madagascar has to Africa. Are we to look to the Book of Genesis for light on such situations? Without that document, we have a working method that really illuminates the facts (almost none of which are definitely referred to in that ancient writing).

Assume for a moment the nonevolutionary view: how then do we understand the fact that, on the hypothesis, what God has done is to make things such that observers of nature are bound, sooner or later, to be led to a conclusion which seems to wonderfully illuminate the phenomena; yet God has also made a certain Book, which, we are told, must be regarded as the infallible word of God, and which, we are also told, contradicts that conclusion. God's world and God's word seem remarkably incompatible. Why would


God so ingeniously deceive us? Is God "tempting" us, a suggestion that some actually propose?

We have navels. If Adam had one, then he came from a mother. At least this is the eminently reasonable conclusion. If not, then Adam was not fully human as we know our species. The point goes much farther. Each of us is unconsciously influenced (who doubts it?) by having spent months in a womb and by having been born more or less painfully into a very different environment. If Adam lacked these experiences, how different he would be from us as well as from any other mammal! One could go on and on. The human fetus goes through stages which to some extent mimic structures in what evolutionists view as our remote ancestors. Here again, the Creator seems determined to deceive us, to trick us into becoming evolutionists.

Perhaps, after all, creation science ought to be taught in school, it is so rich in farcical aspects from the evolutionary standpoint. Who could be bored if full justice were done to that aspect? And yet, alas, the thing we are asked to take seriously is more pathetic and sad than amusing. It shows how much some natures crave easy answers, definite slogans with which to encourage friends and intimidate enemiesor offspring. I received yesterday a circular from a woman in Canada who dares to speak of her "knowing as God knows" all sorts of definite truths which she can easily put into words, such as that the words of the Bible took fully into account everything that has happened since the words were written down (the view of omniscience that the Socinians rejected for carefully considered reasons). Ah, well . . .

We human beings, naked apes, featherless bipeds, who enjoy the privileges of conscious thought, must also bear its burdens. The other animals may in their way be closer to sublime wisdom than we sometimes are. They live their roles in the divinely-inspired, partly self-realized Scheme; we may, much of the time, be living in some little scheme of our own imagining.

The writers of The Book were, I dare say, hardly fundamentalists. Certainly they did not drive in cars and use electronic machinery, as some of their modern readers do, devoid of any inkling of the scientific spirit, the "natural piety," which made these inventions possible. None of them exhibited even a suspicion of the evolutionary


biology which, centuries later, convinced most relevantly educated people by its picture of the origin of our and all species, or of the physics and astronomy which penetrated to the ultramicroscopic atoms and explored the development of the solar system and star galaxies.

Has someone begun to tell us about "creation physics"? Would that be very different from just physics, plus an attempt to conceive a theological interpretation? Such an interpretation need not be an account of how our present cosmos sprang complete from the disembodied mind of deity; it might rather tell how the divine Mind incarnated itself in some initial stage of the development of that cosmos (the beginning of our "cosmic epoch," in Whitehead's phrase) governed by divinely decided laws which leave the details of happenings to decisions made by countless kinds of nondivine creatures. What came before that cosmic epoch may perhaps be beyond both physics and theology to discover. If divine awareness is in principle exalted above the human, there must be some truths which only the former can know.

The authors of the biblical writings show no realization of how science and technology, with their tendency toward increasingly rapid accumulation of skills, might someday so drastically alter the death and birth rates, especially of infants and women, and in addition so reduce the importance of brute physical strength, as to quite change the place of women in society and put into permanent question the overwhelming male dominance that had hitherto characterized human groups. Biblical literalists ask us to pretend that this is to make no difference in how we react, for instance, to Paul's instructions about how to treat women. Yet these same literalists are themselves ignoring some other biblical injunctions which also, obviously, no longer apply. They tell us that one cannot draw the line between texts to be taken seriously and texts not to be taken seriously. But in practice they do draw this line. Would they really like to put homosexuals to death (Leviticus) if only our laws allowed it?

How easily our built-in "thinking machines," our brains (which are also far more than thinking machines, but are at least that, or something like that) can make slips in deriving conclusions from assumptions, or err in adopting assumptions! Instincts, tested through


thousands of years, are much more reliable as far as they go. But highly inventive, thinking creatures produce new problems and must invent new solutions.

In speaking of the wisdom of the other animals, I have in mind that we cannot understand God as having simply our kind of thinking consciousness to the nth degree. God does not have some tiny field of direct and distinct (in creatures it is only relatively distinct) acquaintance with reality (perception) and know the rest by brilliant inferences from this small sample and recollections of other samples. God's field of distinct perception is the de facto whole itself. No thinking is thus needed to get to the whole from the part. God's intelligence is not, as ours is, "discursive," as the older thinkers expressed it. To form the conception of God we have to try to understand what function is left for thought when perception does the entire job of yielding the physical whole.

It is remarkable (but one can explain it) that, while classical theologians wrote about the "will" and "knowledge" of God, the word "perception" was usually avoided in this context. Whitehead is original here, too, for he attributes "physical prehensions,'' equivalent to perceptions, to deity. But then, what need is there for divine thinking? The answer seems to be that, because the future is only potential, a matter of more or less universal "might-be's, would-be's, and must-be's" (in Peirce's terms) rather than fully concrete or particularized actualities, God must have awareness of what we call universals, and the awareness of the universal is what concepts give us. In this way God can be supposed to distinguish our fragmented awareness of the physical whole of things from His-Her unfragmented awareness. We have to treat the distant and not-perceived through concepts of what might be out there beyond our field of vision, hearing, and smelling. We use universals or concepts in a way God would not have to. But God has to be aware of the truth involved in concepts, since that is the truth so far as the uncreated future is concerned. And so, too, God knows mathematical truths, which concern universals, abstract possibilities.

God is like the other animals, rather than like us, in the following way: for the other animals, the field of perception is almost the whole, so far as the animal has definite awareness of that whole. The animal's instincts take the real whole into account to some


extent; but of this the animal is largely unconscious. It does little thinking about what is not at the moment perceived, unless it has in the very near past been perceived. So, for the animal, the animal's body and its near environment almost are the whole. For God there is no external environment, the divine body just is the spatial whole; moreover, this body is vividly and distinctly perceived. For most animals, the near external environment is almost the entire relevant environment. In addition, the reliability of instinct has some analogy to that of divine wisdom. It is our kind of animal alone that would win the prizes in a contest for extremes of follyknights tilting at windmills, sinners trembling at visions of hell fire. So Plato's description of the world as patterned after "the ideal animal," or the ideal of animality, makes some sense.

I once spent perhaps half an hour with a German psychoanalyst who had studied under Freud. He surprised me by saying that he believed in God, and that we were related to God as our cells are to us. Naturally, I was pleased by this information.

For God, too, reality develops, and for God, as for us, the end is not yet. Indeed, though there may be an end to our cosmos, as well as our species, there can be no end of the divine-creaturely process, out of which even laws are born.

Theologians used to object to the idea that "the world" is "coeternal with God," making it seem that God's eternity has a rival. But this is to misunderstand the import of "the world." If it means the present system of natural laws, there is no need to take that as eternal. If other laws are conceivable, God is not to be forbidden by us to make use eventually of these other possibilities for patterning a universe. That God with no world is probably an absurd idea does not mean that there is a definite individual which is not God and is eternal. The world consists of individuals, but the totality of individuals as a physical or spatial whole is God's body, the Soul of which is God. So there is no eternal, worldly individual, rival to God. Simply, eternally God has some creaturely individuals or otherindeed, taking the divine past into account, an infinity of them, but a growing infinity, in the meaning that Bertrand Russell at least held is not a contradiction. So, in a sense, even God evolves, but in a decidedly transcendent or divine sense.



1. Emerson wrote these still pertinent words in his Journal in March, 1843. See The Heart of Emerson's Journals, ed. Bliss Perry (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1909, 1926), pp. 196f.

2. For Altum's importance, see Erwin Stresemann, Ornithology: From Aristotle to the Present (Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard University Press, 1975), pp. 32830, 215, 238, 273, 322, 341, 360, 361.

3. Born to Sing: An Interpretation and World Survey of Bird Song (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1973).