While this law seems to be the most important law to mechanistic rationalism, it is actually the third and least important law, whose very existence itself depends on the action of the first two laws.
This is because without divine love (emotion) and divine intellect (mind, or intelligence) there can be no physical existence. Matter only begins to exist once love has emanated the force (energy, or quanta) necessary for its aggregation and mind has organized it through perceptive relationship (which distinguishes between wave and particle functions.) The existence of force and its organization into material give birth to the third law, which is physical existence itself.
Although he put it in somewhat different terms, Swedenborg argued extensively that physical existence is an inferior entity, and this is the reason why. It is a consequent, not originating, law of creation. The perception of it as the originating law, which is the norm in today’s world, is fundamentally incorrect because it leaves out the forces that both bring the law into existence and allow it to be perceived.
Metaphysical humanism perceives law of matter and physical existence as a subordinate law. Invoked alone and left to its own devices, this law creates a world much like the world of Plato’s prisoner, or the world of Maya (illusion) as perceived by Hindus and Buddhists. It is a world of appearances that has been stripped of the essential meaning imparted by love and wisdom. Although this world has the potential to manifest with nearly unbelievable power, it is completely stripped of meaning and becomes a mindless, purposeless creation.
Presuming this were actually the case leads us to some interesting speculation. Why does mindfulness and purpose exist, if the universe is mindless and purposeless? Can raw accident impart properties to matter by random strokes of luck, so as to produce the complexities of life, of cellular structures? Everything that we see and understand with our own perception and intelligence tells us that this is not so. Matter cannot even be a matter unless there is an agency and an intelligence to perceive it as matter. Without intelligence, nothing can be perceived, and no matter how solid and material the universe is, it ceases to exist.
Yet matter does exist. It exists because of the functions of the other two laws that act in conjunction with it to create a whole universe.
This whole universe which is created by the action of love, intellect, and physical matter gives birth to a fourth entity, existence, which is then subject to a further set of laws.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.