The Individuation of God: Book Review By Leonard Cruz

The Individuation of God: Integrating Science and Religion Peter B Todd

A book review

By Leonard Cruz, M.D. , M.E.

Erit in omnibus in Omnia Deus (God may become all in and through all)

The Phenomenon of Man

Pierre Telihard de Chardin

Click Here for Peter Todd’s interview with Dr. Rachael Kohn

Quantum mechanics, depth psychology, and mysticism are blended in Peter Todd’s scholarship as he searches for a Third-Millennium Theology.  Todd effectively strikes a blow to the The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins’s enormously popular 2006 book by highlighting that the God Dawkins seeks to dismantle, a God infused with classical Newtonian and neo-Darwinian ideas, has already been silenced and annihilated.  Todd correctly points out that Dawkins completely ignores revolutionary ideas emerging from quantum mechanics high priests such as David Bohm (The Undivided Universe), Erwin Schrödinger (What is Life?), and evolutionary biologists like McFadden, Al-Khalilili (A Quantum Mechanical Model of Adaptive Mutation) who propose a quantum mechanical model of evolution.  One consequence of Todd’s frequent reference to Dawkins is that it may unintentionally promote The God Delusion.

During the twentieth century, under the banner of process theology, various explorations of God’s attribute of being mutable were undertaken.  The Individuation of God is at once a psychologically well-informed work and another contribution to process theology.  Readers who are familiar with certain bedrock ideas from quantum mechanics will undoubtedly appreciate Todd’s grasp more than those for whom ideas like quantum entanglement, or emergent phenomenon are entirely new concepts.  It may be helpful to explain some concepts and Wikipedia provides some succinct explanations with suitable references (retrieved 2/3/2013 )

Quantum entanglement is a form of quantum superposition. When a measurement is made and it causes one member of such a pair to take on a definite value (e.g., clockwise spin), the other member of this entangled pair will at any subsequent time[6] be found to have taken the appropriately correlated value (e.g., counterclockwise spin). Thus, there is a correlation between the results of measurements performed on entangled pairs, and this correlation is observed even though the entangled pair may have been separated by arbitrarily large distances.[7]In Quantum entanglement, part of the transfer happens instantaneously. [8]

Emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems.

The negentropy, also negative entropy,[1] of a living system is the entropy that it exports to keep its own entropy low; it lies at the intersection of entropy and life.  (It is a measure of a systems tendency to move toward or sustain complexity and order.)

Todd suggests that God and man are in an entangled state such that both God’s and man’s individuation are inextricably bound and reliant on one another for completion.  This will strike many Christians as antithetical and heretical, but it may provide process theologians a solid scientific basis for their claims.

The book’s first chapter, “The Case against God” summarizes the case Dawkins prosecutes against God in which he contends that belief in a personal god constitutes a delusion.  In “Religious Fundamentalism as a Shadow”, Todd notes that fundamentalism and the literalism it espouses is “One major challenge to the survival of humanity…” . (p 21) The third chapter, “Mind and Directed Evolution” introduces the most revolutionary claims.  Insofar as the quality of mind is revealed even at the quantum level, Todd explains that biosystems may be viewed as quantum computers. As such,  they are capable of evaluating infinite probability states, and through natural selection, efficiently choosing evolutionary changes that are  useful for survival.  If for example, the mutation of the HIV retrovirus involves something other than random events, then humankind’s collective conscious response may be understood as a “metaphorical quantum entanglement between the developed and developing worlds…that transcends the confines of nationalism and economic self-interest…” (p48).

In the chapter titled “Consciousness as an Organizing Principle” the author decries spiritual materialism, secularism, and the religion of the state for their ability to support a “God of insects” (p82), wherein spirit and numinosity is repressed and no individuality exists like with beehives or ant colonies.  This conception of God has menacing effects upon the planet and its resources.  In the totalitarian states especially, “…no individuality exists … the individuation process is repressed so that personal self-identity is subsumed to a mindless devotion to the state …”.  Depth psychology, theology, and the numinous qualities of archetypal symbols illuminate how man’s conception of God can evolve beyond a transitional object.

The last two chapters, “Myth, Symbol, and Transformation” and “A Third-Millennium Theology” challenge conventional understanding of time’s arrow and reintroduce the numinous in an effort to propose a theology for our current millennium.  Todd is not suggesting a third-millennium theology as some completed endpoint.   However, he seems to be mindful of the simultaneous threats of thermonuclear warfare, chemical  & biological weapons, natural resource depletion, and global warming.  These are more dangerous if humanity remains fixed in the mindset of religious fundamentalism, classical Newtonian mechanics, or neo-Darwinian orthodoxy.

            The Individuation of God inquires about time and the illusion of time’s arrow.  Todd invokes Schrödinger’s reference to the “tyranny of Chronos” in considering the indestructibility of the mind.  The Greek New Testament uses two words for time, Chronos (Χρόνος) and Kairos (καιρός).  Kairos is the indeterminate time, often discovered in the liminal realm, when something special happens.  It can be thought of as the emergent moment, the eternal now, or the realm where the illusion of time’s arrow is transcended.

In the end, The Individuation of God  is a valiant and well-informed effort to integrate modern science, psychology, and theology.  The Individuation of God successfully interweaves an expansive list of sources.  In the last chapter His Holiness the Dalai Lama is quoted, “If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change.” (p141).  And from Einstein’s essay, “The World as I See It” he quotes, “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.”  We arrive at some intriguing conclusions that “Without psyche there would be no theory to explain the outlines and patterns discovered by science.” (p150)  In the course of God becoming fully human through the incarnation, arises a corollary and possibility, that humanity is becoming divine.  This is in perfect alliance with Jung’s notion of Christ as a symbol of the coniunctio, for Christ reconciles opposites.

The evolution of God and the evolution of man cannot be separated.  There is a trajectory of humanity’s conception of God that began with a mythopoetic, animistic experience of the divine. This trajectory later traverses the epochs in which omnipotent, often patriarchal Olympian or Old Testament deities reigned with ferocity and aloofness.  And this arrives at a “…three-hundred-year-old schism between science and religion” (p160) that yielded a demythologized, annihilated god.  Peter Todd’s third millennium theology, may provide a path of return to the Garden of Eden.  This third millennium theology is characterized by a deep appreciation for the entangled state of our inner and outer life, of I and Thou, and of the physical and the numinous.  This theology brings man’s evolving notion of God full circle where it is once more infused with myths and symbols.  In this regard, depth psychology and Jung’s seemingly unfathomable explorations continue to enrich us.

At times it may appear at times that Todd too often refers to ideas previously mentioned, but this is necessary since many topics are likely to be unfamiliar.  The frequent invocation of Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion, makes The Individuation of God, appear to be a disputation of Dawkins.  This is a small shortcoming, of this book but The Individuation of God deserves to stand alone with Dawkins relegated to a footnote and bibliographic reference.

– Len Cruz, MD


14 Responses to The Individuation of God: Book Review By Leonard Cruz
  1. Carol Williams
    February 14, 2013 | 4:46 pm

    I’m going to get the book and read it! Thank you, Len, for this review!

  2. Nomi Kluger-Nash
    February 14, 2013 | 4:51 pm

    A tremendous thank you for bringing this book to my attention. I will be ordering it.

    • LenCruz
      August 2, 2013 | 10:53 am

      You are welcome.

  3. Marguerite Kirsch
    February 14, 2013 | 8:05 pm

    Thank you, Len, for this excellent review.

    • LenCruz
      August 2, 2013 | 10:55 am

      There is a recent blog by the author of this book that also explores Teilhard de Chardin. It is titled “The Entangled State of God and Humanity”.

  4. Greg Nixon
    February 15, 2013 | 9:35 pm

    Most intriguing. Combining Whitehead and Jung has proved fruitful for many who wish to see “God” as the dynamic principle of creativity. However, the emphatic, positive use of the term “God” and the inclusion of the Christ tale as more than a myth of a specific religion erode my interest to a degree. Both these terms have accumulated so much cultural baggage that, for me, they obscure rather than illuminate the Great Mystery.

  5. William John Meegan
    February 22, 2013 | 5:22 pm

    The trouble with any book with this kind of a premise at its forefront is that the author failed from the beginning to know that Science and Religious are already fully integrated in the ancient literature (secular and religious) of the world.

    Jungians especially should have already fathom this great mystery that is the illusion of the world and man’s endeavor to express himself on it. CG Jung had no problem in telling us of the illusory nature of the world: so why should we, in the 21st century mince words to circumvent the direct manner in which we express ourselves. It always amazes me, and it shouldn’t, that man will not hold fast to those things he knows to be true. The first principle in all reasoning about the world is that the world is an illusion of the senses and from that all else can be reasoned out to its ultimate conclusion. But we want to complicate things and talk about Quantum Physics as if that is a more intelligent way of expressing the essentials of life: that which is within us.

    Do you truly believe that we are more intelligent than our forefathers? If you say, yes, to that than you are more lost than you realize. Do you think that you can divine the laws of the soul/psyche with greater efficiency than the ancients? Than you should stop sending your patients to asylums and prepare a bed for yourself. The ancients have already integrated the knowledge of the soul/psyche in esoteric texts of all the cultural literature around the world; however, how many of the Jungian school is willing to venture into that milieu to retrieve that knowledge?

    Peter Todd was not willing to go that route: he would rather concoct his own unsubstantiated theories. It is surprising that CG Jung was able to give us what he did not knowing anything of the Esoteric Sciences codified to ancient literature. Can you imagine what our educational system will be like when that knowledge is eventually retrieved from the…

    • Greg Liddelow
      July 18, 2013 | 2:48 am

      Reply to William John Meegan
      It may be one thing to value ancient literature including that produced in the earliest stages of cultural evolution with the animistic projection of the human psyche into the cosmos, prior to the emergence of the Greek pantheon and the Abrahamic faith traditions and the birth of empirical science.

      The history of ideas and religion may be of scholarly interest. However this should not mean conflating science and religion. Science emerged from the figurative womb of philosophy during the Renaissance leading to a schism between science and religion and to the metaphysical materialism of Western culture.

      Jung collaborated with a quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli who was concerned that the repression of psyche would return in such phenomena as thermonuclear explosions.

      The ancients with their animistic beliefs had no idea of the dangers created by the splitting between psyche (mind) and matter, science and religion. Jung, on the other hand, had grave concerns about the future of humankind and in particular about the religion of materialism whose potential effects would not be simply “illusory”!

      I have actually read this very moving and valiant book, The Individuation of God and found it to be a compelling account of the current science and religion controversy. A compelling rebuttal of Dawkins and his neo-atheist disciples!

  6. Priscilla Sherotsky
    February 25, 2013 | 6:55 pm

    Dr William John Meegan
    Thank you for circumspect knowledge and your presence with it, it speaks to me deeply. Titillating as Jungian studies are, they can project cerebral abstractions as though surface embellishments. There fascinated while stimulated, one may also be lost. So the real value is consciousness raising at best. While I do tire of intellectuals debunking God, Christ and myths with self interest as their personal irritant, I would like to hear more from you who really has something to say about battles and illusions. Thank you.

  7. Sharon Summers
    June 24, 2013 | 9:02 am

    Thank you for the erudite replies above. Because the world as such is maya/illusion does not somehow suggest that the science of endeavouring to penetrate the realm of the imaginal within maya is, or can be reductionalistically indexed to dualistic conceptualizing of Time. It is folly to imply that. I find it hard to be convinced that the Vedas for example recognized as much as William John Meegan might believe they did. This is a dangerous romanticising of historical ‘knowing’. Moving beyond dualism is precisely that, not overvaluing the previous in opposition.

  8. LenCruz
    August 2, 2013 | 10:47 am

    I am grateful that there were some who appreciated having the book brought to their attention. I also appreciated William John Meegan’s sharp critique. I agree that there may be riches in excavating ancient material wherein the integration of science and religion have also left traces, though I do not see that Peter Todd’s failure to also include that sort of inquiry detracts from his exploration.

    Wherever convergences from many traditions are revealed, it seems that there may be fertile regions for deploying the transcendent function. This can foster a “conjunctio” and diminish the tendency to dichotomize the world into an either/or.

    So, I wonder what the integration of Peter Todd’s and William John Meegan’s approaches might yield? Perhaps, a modern, process approach that also integrates the vast, and deep tradition of mysticism that sometimes is called the “via negative”, and that enormously rich domain we call alchemy. No wonder Peter Todd elected to narrow his field of inquiry. Don’t miss the new blog Peter wrote wherein he explres Tielard de Chardin, Jung, Pauli…

  9. William John Meegan
    August 18, 2013 | 9:18 pm

    My research into the Judeao Christian Scriptures has shown me that the bible is probably the most scientific instrument on the face of the earth. We have our computers and cellphone and a host of other gadgets that make us think we are so intelligent but mass production has nothing to do with intelligence. How many that use these gadgets can reproduce them?

    I say the bible is the most scientific instrument on the face of the earth because each and every Hebrew letter has an alphanumeric designate and a symbolic meaning. That means that each word made up of several letters is crammed pack with meaning that cannot be convey by ‘a one word definition”. Yet, we read the texts like a drunken fundamentalist: literally. How primitive, pagan and animistic can you get?

    I am not conflating science and religion; rather RELIGION, is the union of science and the literal texts. Any storyline can be put to this mathematical science that comes directly from the transcendent: MONAD. Dante Alighieri wrote La Divina Commedia using the same mathematical science that was used to write the Judeao Christian Scriptures: breaking Dante mathematics was my first work.

    As you can see above Greg Liddelow belittles the bible and what ‘he believes’ is the Abrahamic faith tradition. The entire surface of the Old and New Testaments are mythological and allegorical: they are not true historically otherwise how could they have known of the sophisticated mathematical sciences codified to the texts. The only use that the surface texts has is when it is coupled with the mathematical structured codified to each and every letter of the texts and the patterns that words are use to graphically illustrate.

    This has everything to do with CG Jung’s works because his ideas are codified albeit on a more sophisticated level than Jung outlined in his collective works; however, without Jung’s works I would not have recognized what most of those mathematical and graphic images represented.

    My advice to any Jungian, that would like to see those patterns and graphic images codified to the texts, is to get a good book on the Hebrew Alphabet and a bilingual text of of the Old and New Testament and then do a study on the Gematria of every letter in just the first chapter of Genesis: 99% is redundancy. Here you will see the Birth of Consciousness: TRANSCENDENT FUNCTION in all its glory. Or if you are too busy and unwilling to go that route then read my works.

    Finally, let me say that I believe Peter Todd’s idea that the human mind is going to evolve is absolutely ridiculous. The world and the collective unconscious is one and the same. No matter what incarnation the soul is waft into after physical death it has to be in a world governed by the collective unconscious. It is all the human psyche will ever know outside of experiencing the Transcendent Function. None of this has anything to do with the evolutionary process. It has to do with individual study and contemplating on the soul and the world: that individuation not evolution. The sophisticated knowledge of the ancients is already codified to the sacred scriptures ready for anyone that wants to earn it: no psyche can go beyond that sophisticated knowledge. We as human beings cannot go beyond the precipice of knowledge. The last frontier is how the individual learns to live in this world in a numinous state of existence. This is what Dante Alighieri’s La Divina Commedia was all about.

    • Peter B. Todd
      October 4, 2013 | 3:11 am

      Does mind evolve? In my posting, “The Entangled State of God and Humanity” (August 1,2013) and in my paper “Teilhard and Other Modern Thinkers on Evolution, Mind and Matter” published in Teilhard Studies, Number 66, Spring 2013 , link

      I present an extensive argument for the evolution of mind. However more briefly I would make the following points. First, the eminent evolutionary biologist and secular humanist Sir Julian Huxley in his introduction to Teilhard’s magnum opus “The Phenomenon of Man” wrote, “evolutionary fact and logic demand that minds should have evolved gradually as well as bodies and that accordingly mind-like properties must be present throughout the universe. Thus, in any case, we must infer the presence of potential mind by backward extrapolation from the human phase to the inorganic….1959: 16-17″.

      Huxley proposed that “Teilhard wanted to deal with the entire human phenomenon as a transcendence of biological by psychosocial evolution (1959; 24)”.

      These ideas resonate with both the Jung/Pauli notion of the U-field whereby the unconscious is the psychological analogy of the field concept in quantum physics as well as the archetypal symbols of the collective unconscious which indicate an objective order in the cosmos of which humanity is part but which also transcends humankind (von Meyenn, Mind and Matter 2011, 11) and Bohm’s notion of the “implicate order”.

      Bohm proposed that mind-like qualities, though devoid of consciousness, exist as active quantum information and argued for a notion of mind extending indefinitely beyond humanity as a whole, remarkably similar to the Jungian collective unconscious.

      Finally Teilhard de Chardin asked, “How can we imagine a cosmogenesis reaching right up to mind without being confronted with a noogenesis?…. Man discovers that he is nothing else than evolution become conscious of itself 1959: 221″. As stated in my paper, Teilhard posits that because humankind possesses reflective consciousness, we are responsible for the future direction of an evolving culture, science and religion of embodied spirituality. For Teilhard, his Omega point is the time-space in which psychospiritual and cultural evolution are consummated in a divine focus of mind.

      Only the conflation of extended mind with reflective consciousness could result in denial of the evolution of mind when consciousness is the mirror which the universe has evolved to reflect upon itself and in which its very existence is revealed!

  10. […] at the Asheville Jung Center has just posted a new review about Peter Todd’s exciting new Book “The Individuation of God.” During the twentieth century, under the banner of process theology, various explorations of […]

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