Problems with the Bootstrapping Objections to Theistic Activism
by Christopher Menzel
According to traditional theism, God alone exists a se, independent of all other things, and all other
things exist ab alio, that is, God both creates them and sustains them in existence. On the face of it,
divine "aseity" is inconsistent with classical Platonism, that is, the view that there are objectively
existing, abstract objects. For according to the classical Platonist, at least some abstract entities are
wholly uncreated, necessary beings and, hence, as such, they also exist a se. The thesis of theistic
activism purports to reconcile divine aseity with a robust Platonism. Specifically, the activist holds that
God creates the abstract objects no less than the contingent concrete objects of the physical universe
and, hence that, like all created things, they exist ab alio after all, their necessity notwithstanding.
But many philosophers believe a severe roadblock for activism remains—a problem known as the
bootstrapping objection. Despite widespread faith in the deliverances of this argument, in this paper,
I show that the bootstrapping objection is open to significant objections on several fronts.