Philipp Mainländer (1841 – 1876) was a German poet and philosopher, born in Offenbach am Main. He was a disciple of Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophy and one of the patron saints of 19th century German pessimism (other notable figures belonging to this curious philosophical trend include Eduard von Hartmann and Julius Bahnsen). Unlike these other pessimists, though, he had quite a unique theory about why the universe came into existence. It is a theory that can be classed as a kind of pessimistic pandeism.
Pandeism refers to the idea that the creator of the universe became the universe through the act of creation, ceasing to exist as a conscious and separate entity. This theological doctrine combines elements of deism (God created the universe and its natural laws and then ‘stepped back’, letting things run their course, without interfering) and pantheism (God is everything, i.e. nature or the universe in its totality). Pandeism seeks to explain how the universe began and why God appears absent in it. Like deism, pandeism lacks a belief in a personal God that should be worshipped, and in line with pantheism, pandeism holds that God is immanent, all-encompassing, and impersonal but not transcendent, which is the theistic notion that God exists above and independent from the universe.
In this piece, I want to specifically focus on an intriguing myth of creation that Mainländer formulated in The Philosophy of Redemption (1876), which is pandeistic in nature.
Philipp Mainländer: A Patron Saint of German Pessimism
While Schopenhauer’s posthumous public recognition in the 1860s helped to popularise philosophical pessimism in Germany and gain followers, his pessimism was still passionately contested and critiqued, by philosophers like Eugen Dühring. The philosophical pessimism of Schopenhauer and his followers entailed the essential belief that life is not worth living, which Mainländer certainly ascribed to, but Dühring counteracted this general belief with an optimism that we can increase the happiness of the greatest number through science and redistribution. Mainländer, like Dühring, was a socialist, but he did not think that socialism could ever do away with the problem of human suffering.
Mainländer’s central work, The Philosophy of Redemption, stands out as one of the defining texts of philosophical pessimism in Germany in the second half of the 19th century. The philosopher Theodor Lessing has said it is “perhaps the most radical system of pessimism known to philosophical literature”. Yet in spite of this, the work has still never been translated into English, although Christian Romuss, a graduate from the University of Queensland, has supposedly been working on an official translation since 2016. There does exist an incomplete and unofficial translation, which provides Anglophone readers with some of the core ideas of Mainländer’s philosophy.
We can also understand his philosophy from secondary sources, including Frederick C. Beiser’s Weltschmerz: Pessimism in German Philosophy, 1860-1900, which explores the flourishing of – and opposition to – pessimism in 19th century Germany. Weltschmerz is an interesting German term that translates to “world weariness” or “world pain” – it stands for this feeling of weariness, melancholy, and despair about the world as it is or the human condition. It is a depression related to the comparison of an ideal state with the actual state of the world; in the words of Oliver Burkeman, weltschmerz springs “from seeing that things could and should be better”.
We can clearly see the sentiment of weltschmerz expressed in The Philosophy of Redemption, as well as in the defining works of the other influential German pessimists. The horror fiction writer Thomas Ligotti also expounds the ideas of Mainländer in The Conspiracy Against the Human Race, a work of non-fiction that conveys Ligotti’s highly pessimistic worldview and his antinatalism (the philosophical position that assigns a negative value to birth and which calls on us to refrain from procreating). Philosophers such as Emil Cioran and Peter Wessel Zapffe have also inspired Ligotti’s bleak and hopeless picture of the human condition.
In The Conspiracy Against the Human Race, Ligotti describes Mainländer’s myth of creation as follows:
Mainländer was confident that the Will-to-die he believed would well up in humanity had been spiritually grafted into us by a God who, in the beginning, masterminded His own quietus. It seems that existence was a horror to God. Unfortunately, God was impervious to the depredations of time. This being so, His only means to get free of Himself was by a divine form of suicide.
God’s plan to suicide himself could not work, though, as long as He existed as a unified entity outside of space-time and matter. Seeking to nullify His oneness so that He could be delivered into nothingness, he shattered Himself—Big Bang-like—into the time-bound fragments of the universe, that is, all those objects and organisms that have been accumulating here and there for billions of years. In Mainländer’s philosophy, “God knew that he could change from a state of super-reality into non-being only through the development of a real world of multiformity.” Employing this strategy, He excluded Himself from being. “God is dead,” wrote Mainländer, “and His death was the life of the world.” Once the great individuation had been initiated, the momentum of its creator’s self-annihilation would continue until everything became exhausted by its own existence, which for human beings meant that the faster they learned that happiness was not as good as they thought it would be, the happier they would be to die out.
Rather than resist our end, as Mainländer concludes, we will come to see that “the knowledge that life is worthless is the flower of all human wisdom.” Elsewhere the philosopher states, “Life is hell, and the sweet still night of absolute death is the annihilation of hell.”
Here we see just how pessimistic Mainländer’s version of pandeism is. The will-to-die that Ligotti refers to is Mainländer’s idea that ingrained in humans is the wish for annihilation – we inherit desire wish from the pre-cosmic God, the infinite unity that had the primordial wish to stop existing. God apparently couldn’t bear its existence anymore, perhaps bored with omniscience or tortured by eternity. For Mainländer, God was propelled towards suicide by the knowledge that non-being is better than being. In this gloomy creation myth, God had one single deed and that was its suicide (or deicide: the killing of a god). Everything in the universe is the remnant of this deific self-sacrifice, but rather than see the universe and human existence as precious, beautiful, and sacred vestiges of God, Mainländer thought that everything we see around us is simply part of God’s decaying corpse, and driven towards a desired state of extinction.
Interestingly, this myth of divine suicide seems to correspond somewhat with the scientific concept of cosmic entropy (with entropy referring to how disordered a system is). Based on the second law of thermodynamics, cosmic entropy will always increase over time, and many physicists believe this implies the universe will eventually end in a ‘heat death’, in which everything is at the same temperature, a state that physicists refer to as maximum entropy. All matter decays in a heat death scenario, yet particles and radiation would still remain, so it is not clear if this would count as the complete self-annihilation that Mainländer had in mind.
We can see how Mainländer diverges from Schopenhauer since his idea of the will-to-die is the opposite of Schopenhauer’s will-to-life (which posits that all living beings have this intrinsic and unstoppable desire to preserve their life and further propagate life through the act of procreation). Schopenhauer’s pessimism arises from the fact that we endlessly pursue desires and goals with the will-to-life in mind but this striving never brings us lasting happiness. While Mainländer shares Schopenhauer’s pessimism about human well-being, he differs in that the intrinsic force he believes driving humans – the will-to-die – is our salvation. In The Philosophy of Redemption, Mainländer describes the will-to-die – implied by his pessimistic pandeism – as follows:
In the heart of things, the immanent Philosopher sees in the entire cosmos only the deepest longing for complete extinction; it is as if he heard clearly the call that pierces all the celestial spheres: Redemption! Redemption! Death to our Life! and the cheering reply: you all will find extinction and will be redeemed!
But for Mainländer the implications of his pessimistic pandeism did not mean we should patiently wait for extinction in the form of the slow and gradual decay of the universe; he genuinely believed that liberation could be found in the act of suicide. He therefore subscribed to pro-mortalism: the belief that it is always better to die and cease existing than to continue living. And so, staying true to his beliefs, he took his life at the age of 34, using a pile of his newly published magnum opus to hang himself. However, it would be simplistic to see this as being a purely ‘philosophical suicide’, a natural extension of his philosophical pessimism or a sober and rational decision. As a matter of fact, he had a mental breakdown soon after he had finished writing The Philosophy of Redemption, and prior to hanging himself, he complained to his sister about being “exhausted” and “ineffably tired”. Based on his philosophical outlook and life struggles, the influence of a mood disorder like depression on his suicide is a possible and obvious explanation.
Alternative Forms of Pandeism
Mainländer’s creation myth is like the Book of Genesis revamped as a cosmic horror story. But this philosopher’s pandeism is unique. Other pandeists do not see God’s transformation (and disappearance) into the universe in such a pessimistic way as Mainländer, who believed that God became the universe because this supreme being was aiming for non-existence. However, many alternative accounts do suppose that God became the universe due to boredom with its existence, or out of curiosity. One interesting version of pandeism can be found in the 2001 novella God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment, written by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, the well-known satirical comic strip.
In this novella and thought experiment, Adams lays out his theory of pandeism, stating that God annihilated himself in the Big Bang. Adams argues that an omnipotent and omniscient God would already have and know everything and:
For that reason he would be unmotivated to do anything or create anything. There would be no purpose to act in any way whatsoever. But a God who had one nagging question – what happens if I cease to exist? – might be motivated to find the answer in order to complete his knowledge…The fact that we exist is proof that God is motivated to act in some way. And since only the challenge of self-destruction could interest an omnipotent God, it stands to reason that we…are God’s debris.
A pre-cosmic and omniscient God would know everything, except its non-existence, and so God wanted to find out what that would be like, but of course, once the act was completed, there could be no knowledge of the change. When God became nature, nature inevitably forgot it was God. All that was left was God’s amnesiac debris, which Adams defines as primordial matter and the law of probability (of course, he refers to us as God’s debris because primordial matter and probability eventually led to our existence).
Alan Watts also discussed the idea of God becoming bored and – in seeking out new and interesting experiences – decided to play the game of forgetting it was God. Nonetheless, Watts was not necessarily promoting a pandeistic theory of the universe since he believed in pantheism, the idea that God was still present everywhere, and that we’re all God pretending not to be God. But we can imagine how God’s desire for novel experiences could equally take the form of divine suicide, perhaps because God would have the foreknowledge of eventually becoming human or some other kind of intelligence, which would offer a range of limited experiences that it was unable to experience in its previous state of absolute unity, infinitude, eternity, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, and omnibenevolence. Perhaps God was interested in what it would be like to live as different incarnations.
While the concept of pandeism is not as widely known as deism and pantheism, it does, nonetheless, have a rich history. The notion of God becoming the universe, of the One being divided into the Many, and the world being formed from the substance of a dead deity is an ancient idea. Pandeism can be found in Babylonian, Norse, Chinese, and Polynesian mythologies. Many other thinkers throughout history have also adopted a pandeistic worldview, including the cosmological theorist Giordano Bruno. Furthermore, some theologians have defended the idea of pandeism, although Christian thinkers generally (and understandably) think of it as being incompatible with the core principles of Christianity. Yet perhaps no version of pandeism would be more incompatible with Christianity than Mainländer’s. In fact, his pessimistic pandeism is probably antithetical to most worldviews, beliefs, and values – you would be hard-pressed to find many agreeing with Mainländer’s extreme brand of pessimism.
While I don’t think of Mainländer’s pessimistic pandeism as a believable theory about the origin and nature of the universe, I can still appreciate it in an allegorical or metaphorical sense, as a way of describing the birth of the universe and its natural unfolding. This grim and morbidly fascinating creation myth illustrates how pessimism can go beyond the extreme, and take on cosmic proportions.
Blessings, Sam!! In the event you’re not seeing Twitter DMs these days, I’m putting together a new volume of the Pandeism Anthology series and would love to include this essay in it.
Hey, I just saw your DM on Twitter and responded. I would love to have this essay included!
“While I don’t think of Mainländer’s pessimistic pandeism as a believable theory about the origin and nature of the universe, I can still appreciate it in an allegorical or metaphorical sense, as a way of describing the birth of the universe and its natural unfolding.”
I have put together something here that tries to make Mainländer’s “theology” a little more believable. Maybe it will become more plausible for you after reading it.
Mainländer famously makes a bold notorious claim:
“God is dead and his death was the life of the world.”
Mainländer’s specific reasoning for this statement is as follows:
“(1) God willed (his own) non-being.
(2) God’s immediate passage into non-being was impeded by own being. [Had God’s will directly achieved its end, then worldless non-being would presently prevail; and since nothing outside God can act on him, only God’s own being could have impeded his will.]
(3) It was consequently necessary for God’s being to disintegrate into multeity, a world in which each individual being strives to achieve non-being. [Only the finitization of God’s being will allow the end of non-being to be achieved.]
(4) Individual worldly beings hinder one another’s striving and, in so doing, weaken their degree of force.
(5) God’s entire being underwent transformation into a determinate sum total of forces.
(6) The world as a whole or universe has one end, non-being, which it will achieve through the continual diminution of the sum of forces which compose it.
(7) Each individual being will be brought in the course of its development, by virtue of the dissipation of its force, to a point where its striving to non-being is fulfilled.” (Sebastian Gardner in “The Oxford Handbook of Schopenhauer”)
This reasoning can be demonstrated in deductions, which Mainländer himself does not make, but they can be reconstructed from his philosophy.
All of the following premises could, in my opinion, be supported with very good and, above all, reasonable arguments, even if one would not necessarily agree with them.
Also important to keep in mind: The deductions depend on each other.
The first deduction:
A 1. The universe had an absolute beginning a finite time ago.
A 2. Only through an act originating from God could the beginning of the universe have been set.
B 1. God can produce something only out of his own substance (contra creatio ex nihilo et non se Deo, that is, creation from nothing and not from God).
B 2. In the case of the coming into being of our universe this would have to be understood as transformation of something divinely transcendent into something worldly immanent.
C 1. God’s wisdom strictly forbids coexisting with or alongside a creation in which everything that happens happens necessarily and without real alternatives.
C 2. God can never create anything else than that whose activity from the outset will always lead only to a very specific and certain outcome, necessarily and inevitably so, due to Efficient Causes (determinism) and/or Final Causes (teleologism), thus according to The Principle of Sufficient Reason.
D Therefore, God has completely transformed himself into the universe.
The second deduction:
1. God turned into either (x) a temporally limited universe or (y) a temporally infinite and everlasting one.
1.1 If the latter (y) is the case, God has transformed into something that is inferior to his original state in terms of mode of existence. Even if God should turn into a timeless eternal universe, this universe would be ontologically less perfect compared to his primordial oneness.
i) However, God’s most perfect wisdom forbids irrevocably entering (irreversibly) an inferior existence.
1.2 If the former (x) is given, then at some point the temporally limited universe either returns into the exact original state of God, which has gained nothing and lost nothing by the process, or it ends in absolute nothingness.
ii) However, God does not do anything superfluous or pointless.
2. Therefore, the following applies: “God’s entire being underwent transformation into a determinate sum total of forces (a Kraftsumme).” And: “The world as a whole or universe has one end, non-being, which it will achieve through the continual diminution of the sum of forces which compose it.” (Mainländer, translated by Sebastian Gardner)
The third deduction:
I. God could not immediately erase himself from existence.
II. The immediate erasure of his own existence, an existence which is in a certain way identical with his omnipotence, presupposed this omnipotence. In other words, his omnipotence could theoretically wipe out everything created without delay, except itself, because its immediate annihilation would require or necessitate its complete existence at the same time (concurrently).
III. Therefore, God had no choice but to become a slowly but steadily disintegrating and waning world that, once gone, leaves absolutely nothing behind, in the truest sense of the word.
The fourth deduction:
I. God enjoys being the most perfect and blissful being.
II. Thus, the following is true: “If the Eternal be conceived as in complete and perfect bliss, happily static and statically happy, there is no reason in logic or in life why he should ever be moved to engage in creation.” (Brasnett, Bertrand R. – The Suffering of the Impassible God)
III. God enjoys absolute freedom to remain in existence or not to be at all.
IV. If he should ever be moved to engage in creation, it would be for the reason of ceasing to be.
V. There is creation, that is, a world as the sum of a multitude of individuals.
VI. In addition, the following applies: The difference between monotheism and pantheism is “only an apparent one, a difference on the surface.” (Mainländer)
“They have one common root: absolute realism and both have exactly the same crown: the dead individual which lies in the hands of an almighty God.” (Mainländer)
“A basic unity in the world is incompatible with the always and at every movement obtruding fact of inner and outer experience, the real individuality.” (Mainländer)
VII. I experience myself not only as an individual, but also as a very alive one.
VIII. God “cannot have chosen to remain in being or to merely alter his manner of being, else no world would have come into existence.” (Sebastian Gardner commenting on Mainländer’s sentence: God willed (his own) non-being.)
IX. Instead of dead individuals and a living God, there are living individuals and a dead God.
Mainländer identifies the monotheistic God with a cat that has created a mouse, i.e. a determinate living being, in order to play sadistically with it. A truly wise God would possibly not want to take over the role of a cat, whose mouse-creation has no real freedom and reacts only necessarily to the actions of the cat. In fact, the Bible really seems to uphold a feline image of God, with some mice being spared, even rewarded:
Jeremia 10,23: I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
Proverbs 21,1: The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Exodus 4,21: The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.
Romans 8,28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8,29: For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Romans 8,30: And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Romans 9, 15: For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.
Romans 9, 16: So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
Romans 9, 18: So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
The idea that God cannot possibly create free beings goes back to Schopenhauer:
“Everything that is also is something, has an essence, a constitution, a character; it must be active, must act (which means to be active according to motives) when the external occasions arise that call forth its individual manifestations. The source of its existence is also the source of its What, its constitution, its essence, since both differ conceptually, but in reality cannot be separated. However, what has an essence, that is, a nature, a character, a constitution, can only be active in accordance with it and not in any other way; merely the point in time and the particular form and constitution of the individual actions are each time determined by the occurring motives. That the creator created human beings free implies an impossibility, namely that he endowed them with an existence without essence, thus had given them existence merely in the abstract by leaving it up to them what they wanted to exist as.” (§13. Some further elucidations on the Kantian philosophy Parerga and Paralipomena Short Philosophical Essays Volume 1 Arthur Schopenhauer)
“The truth, however, is that being free and being created are two qualities that cancel and thus contradict one another. So the claim that God has created beings and at the same time given them freedom of the will really means that he created them and at the same time did not create them. For acting follows from being,a that is, the effects, or actions, of any possible thing can never be anything else but the consequence of its constitution,b which itself is known only through the effects. Therefore, in order to be free in the sense here demanded, a being would have to have no constitution at all, in other words, be nothing at all, thus be and at the same time not be. For what is must be something; an existence without essence cannot even be thought. If a being is created, then it is created in the way it is constituted; thus it is created badly if it is constituted badly, and constituted badly if it acts badly, meaning, having bad effects.” (§9. Scotus Erigena Parerga and Paralipomena Short Philosophical Essays Volume 1 Arthur Schopenhauer)
There is also a certain similarity of Mainländer to the mystic Jakob Böhme:
“The Supreme does not create out of nothing. Ex nihilo nihil fit—out of nothing nothing comes. He produces from His Own eternal nature and eternal wisdom, wherein all things dwell in a latent condition, all contrasts exist in a hidden or non-manifest state. When the Verbum Fiat, or Spoken Word, goes forth, these hidden principles — the qualities, forms, colours, powers, etc. — arise in a manifestation of glorious celestial orders in a universe of angelic beings whose life is light, joy, and peace.” (W. P. SWAINSON – JACOB BOEHME. THE TEUTONIC PHILOSOPHER)
Western philosophy has made the mistake of thinking that whatever exists perfectly necessarily wants to exist or to remain in existence. But it is not a logical contradiction, because it concerns only a question of value, that the perfect being can choose non-being in spite of its perfection. God may very well come to the conclusion that non-being is better than any form of being, even the divine one.
Buddhism, now culturally very influential, is definitely in line with Mainländer’s thinking, unlike Hinduism:
“There was a definite shift of values when Buddhism emerged from Hinduism. Even though both groups retained the concept of Nirvana, the definition of Nirvana shifted from being merged with ultimate reality to extinction.” (Yancey, George; Quosigk, Ashlee – One Faith No Longer)
Even Christianity, in certain respects and in a limited way, namely with regard to the voluntary death on the cross of the Son of God, does not seem to be as far away from Mainländer as some might think:
“[John] Donne […] wrote Biathanatos, a defense of outright suicide in which Jesus himself is chief among the exemplary suicides of the past. Biathanatos—so daring in its day that it could be published only after Donne’s death—is a tour de force of authentic intellectual passion. A fiercely brilliant scholar who once confessed a “sickely inclination” to become a biathanatos (that is, a suicide: the Greek word means “one dead by violence, especially self-inflicted”), Donne was paradoxically strengthened by his pathology to trace Christian martyrdom to its source in the suicide of God Incarnate. The ambiguity of the question resides in the fact that Christ is a suicide by metaphysical definition, whether or not he is a suicide in some more ordinary sense of the word. That is, if Jesus is God Incarnate, then no one can have taken his life away from him against his wishes. His suicide is, in this regard, as deeply built into the Christian story as the doctrine of the Incarnation. Thus, for Thomas Aquinas, Jesus was the cause of his own death as truly as a man who declines to close a window during a rainstorm is the cause of his own drenching. Thomas strongly implies, moreover, that those who actually killed Jesus, or conspired to kill him, were less than fully responsible agents, that they were tools in the hand of God, a species of human rainstorm drenching God because God wished to be drenched. There is support for the latter view in the New Testament itself. From the cross, Jesus says of his executioners, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Peter, preaching in the Temple after Jesus’ death, says, “Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; but this was the way God carried out what he had foretold when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer” (Acts 3:17–18). But granting that Jesus is a suicide at least in this unique sense, is he a suicide in any more ordinary sense? Can his death be linked with the despair that precedes “private” suicide? Or was the ignominious suicide of Judas, Jesus’ betrayer, added to the Gospel story precisely as a reminder that a chasm separates ordinary human suicide from the suicide of the God-man? Dauzat, building on the contemporary philosophical debate over suicide, wants to see an overlap such that what is said theologically about Christ’s suicide can bear philosophically on the discussion of suicide in general. Voluntary, self-inflicted death, he says, typically represents the rejection of a marred or strangled life in the name of “une vie dont on ne meurt pas,” “a life you don’t die of.”” (Jack Miles – Christ: a crisis in the life of God)
Cosmological proofs of God do not necessarily lead to a God who still exists:
“Even if valid, the first-cause argument is capable only of demonstrating the existence of a mysterious first cause in the distant past. It does not establish the present existence of the first cause. On the basis of this argument, there is no reason to assume that the first cause still exists — which cuts the ground from any attempt to demonstrate the truth of theism by this approach.” (George H. Smith – Atheism. The Case Against God)
“Indeed, why should God not be the originator and now no longer exist? After all, a mother causes a child but then dies.” (Peter Cole – Philosophy of Religion)
“This world […] is the production of old age and dotage in some superannuated deity; and ever since his death has run on at adventures, from the first impulse and active force which it received from him….” (David Hume – Dialogues concerning Natural Religion Part V)
Also a postulated necessity of the existence of God probably does not exclude the possibility of his self-annihilation:
“What about the necessary existence of God? I have already suggested that what is metaphysically necessary is God’s initial existence. I see no reason to hold that God necessarily continues to exist. That is, I hold God had the power to bring a universe into being and then cease to exist, while the universe went on. I do not believe that God has exercised that power, and if you hold that God never had it, so be it.” (Peter Forrest – Developmental Theism: From Pure Will to Unbounded Love)
“[T]he reasons given for believing that there is a necessary and simple being are only reasons for holding that, necessarily, at some time, there exists such a being. There is nothing incoherent in the idea that there was a first moment of Time, and that everything that was the case then was necessarily the case, including the existence of a simple being. That leaves open the possibility that this being might change or even cease to exist, contrary to classical theism.” (Peter Forrest – Developmental Theism: From Pure Will to Unbounded Love)
This depends on a certain conception of time:
“For Time, I take it, is characterized by the before/after relation between its parts. As it is, there is a succession of other moments. Brian Leftow has pointed out that if you are the only person at the counter, you are not a queue, and that Time is like a queue in that respect. But as soon as someone else comes along, there is a queue, and you are at the head of it (Leftow 2002). Likewise, if there are no other moments because God chooses to do nothing, then that moment is timeless. Yet if God acts, there is then at least one other moment, and so there is Time. If God chooses to create this universe, then the creative act is before now, and so God is not eternal.” (Peter Forrest – Developmental Theism: From Pure Will to Unbounded Love)
That the universe had a beginning is something that all the evidence now overwhelmingly supports:
“The discovery that the universe is not static, but rather expanding, has profound philosophical and religious significance, because it suggested that our universe had a beginning. A beginning implies creation, and creation stirs emotions.” (Lawrence M. Krauss – A universe from nothing : why there is something rather than nothing)
And that one can say God for the cause of the universe is supported by the following argument:
“[W]e have in this case the origin of a temporal effect from a timeless cause. If the cause of the origin of the universe were an impersonal set of necessary and sufficient conditions, it would be impossible for the cause to exist without its effect. For if the necessary and sufficient conditions of the effect are timelessly given, then their effect must be given as well. The only way for the cause to be timeless and changeless but for its effect to originate anew a finite time ago is for the cause to be a personal agent who freely chooses to bring about an effect without antecedent determining conditions.” (Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by J.P. Moreland William Lane Craig )
Mainländer’s God or Simple (Basic, Primal) Unity (The One) is a Pure Contingency. That is, it might no longer be, or it might be different. This must not be misunderstood. It is a contingency of whither or where to and not one of whence or where from. That is, across all possible worlds, Mainländer’s One would always be the absolute basic and starting condition. It is contingent in the sense that it can be “willfully and deliberately” different or not at all. Yet it itself has not been caused to exist and cannot disappear at random, because it is the logically simplest, but at the same time also the “mystically” richest thing one can think of. It is Pure, Simple, Undifferentiated, All-Powerful, Intellectual, Wise, Self-Aware, Creative Freedom to remain as it is or not to be, completely without existential pressure to act, and therefore totally at ease, in peace, serenity and tranquility.
For those who still believe in the impossibility of God’s irretrievable disappearance, should consider the following:
“God is whatever God is. I don’t think It is constrained by human interpretations of what it can or should be, can or should do.” (An opinion from a discussion forum)
Thank you for clarifying Mainländer’s reasoning here and for sharing your thoughts on his theory. Lots to think about!