In Part 1, I began exploring my three-letter worldview. I discussed what Ayn Rand calls the “Axioms” . . . the indisputable, irreducible facts . . . of Existence and Identity. I discussed how I believe these concepts originated with the God of the Bible, and how they are reflected in His creation – in us – with the three letters, “I Am.”
But what do those three lettersÂ – those “axioms” really mean?
Existence exists, thereforeÂ something exists. ThatÂ “something” is divided into distinct, identifiable entities. But these entities are not only distinct, they are conscious.
This is the final of Rand’s three axioms: Existence, Identity, Consciousness. Again, it is an irreducible fact. “How do you know consciousness exists?” . . . I know it because without it the question of its existence cannot be asked, or even considered.
We are, therefore, distinct, identifiable entities with distinct consciousnesses operating independently of one another. Independent existences. Independent selves. You. Me. Everyone.
The existence of independent selves implies some sort of relationship between those independent selves. What, then, is a “relationship”? The word is used to mean different things – that which we call a “ball” is often said to have a relationship with that which we call the “earth,” in that they are both round. A “cat” is often said to have a relationship with a “tiger,” in that they are similar species with similar traits.
I would submit, though, that these are imagined relationships. They exist only as theoretical constructs in the minds of conscious individuals.
I would submit that a true relationship – one that exists in both the conceptual and material world – can only exist if both parties to it are conscious of it. Any two individual selves who are conscious of one another’s existince have SOME sort of “relationship.” That relationship can be characterized in many different ways: friendship, hostility, fear, apathy, love, worship. All of these are different characteristics of a relationship . . . different ways of relating.
I believe humans are specifically, and uniquely, designed for this kind of relationship . . . the kind which is conscious, deliberate and real. In Genesis, God specifically states that, “It is not good for man to be alone.” I believe what He said is true for all men and women.
Relationships, then, are the points at which two conscious, independent selves intersect.Â How those selves interact is by means of choices.
Choices are not unique to relationships . . . a conscious being has a choice about how he or she interacts with other, unconscious beings or objects, as well. We make choices every day – every minute. Which socks should I put on this morning? What should I eat for lunch? Should I read the news or watch TV? Usually we make these choices without a second’s thought . . . and sometimes without any at all.
I believe that, in addition to existing in relationships, humans were created to make choices as well. Genesis Chapter 2 records the very first pair of interactions between God and the first of His human creations. The first is when he commanded Adam not to eat of the tree in Eden. The second was when He brought the animals to Adam. In both cases, He placed Adam in a position where Adam had to choose.
It is the first of these choices that I’d like to focus on. It is the choice He offers here that I believe tells us more about God than perhaps any other in Scripture – not so much for the choices He gave Adam, as for the fact that He gave Adam a choice at all.
A different kind of god – one who did not create Adam for choice – would have simply created an automaton, told it what to do, and left.
Yet another different kind of god – one for whom choice was acceptable, but not of paramount importance – would have simply created Adam in the idyllic Eden and left the tree out.
This is how I know, with absolute certainty, that the God of Scripture finds value in the human ability to make our own choices.
In my next post, I’ll discuss how this leads to the concept of “rights.”