Thomas Aquinas argued a two-story model of the universe. This separation can be more fully expressed in the following example, taken from a work by F.A. Schaeffer.
|Grace, the higher||God the Creator; heaven and heavenly things; the unseen and its influence on the earth; unity, or universals or absolutes which give existence and morals meaning|
|Nature, the lower||The created; earth and earthly things; the visible and what happens normally in the cause-and-effect universe; what man as man does on the earth; diversity, or individual things, the particulars, or the individual acts of man|
It is no exaggeration to say that Aquinas’s model of the universe has
had a profound and overwhelming influence on Western thought, right
up to the present day. The result of this is to divorce God from His creation. It relegates all Western scientific thought to the lower story. It is possible that some academics will allow us the study of the spiritual, but these studies are confined to the upper story, and are seen to have no relevance to the world in which we live.
If modern scientific thinking allows for a god at all, it is a lower-story
god. C.S. Lewis describes this type of god — and you thought he only
wrote books about lions, witches, and wardrobes! Lewis describes the difference between Nature and Supernature in his book, Miracles, in which he describes a type of neo-Aquinianism.
Naturalism, without ceasing to be itself, could admit a certain kind of God. The great interlocking event called Nature might be such as to produce at some stage a great cosmic consciousness, an indwelling “God” arising from the whole process as human mind arises (according to the Naturalists) from human organisms. A Naturalist would not object to that sort of God. The reason is this. Such a God would not stand outside Nature or the total system, would not be existing “on his own.”
This type of god would be acceptable to physicists, like Frank Tipler. Tipler developed the so-called anthropic principle, in which he describes
how he believes the universe could only have evolved along a path, which leads to the way it is now. Any other outcome would have been impossible. Although this is not a philosophy that I can embrace, convinced as I am in the truth of God’s Word, it is interesting that this new cosmology puts man back at the center of the universe, from which he was so rudely removed. Tipler argues that there must be a convergence point for all space, time, and mass, which he calls the omega point. This omega point, once conceived in this way, then takes on the attributes of God. He says, “The logically necessary histories collectively comprising the whole of reality can be regarded as ‘emanating’ from the Omega Point in his/her transcendence.”
[quotations are referenced in the pdf version of this chapter]