July 24, 2009

On the Existence and Nature of God

Recently, a column by Pat Buchanan, occasioned a mini-storm in that elite sector of the blogosphere where the best thinking is done. In his piece, "Making a Monkey out of Darwin," Buchanan presented a case for declaring "Darwinism" obsolete. Noted evolutionary psychologist, Kevin MacDonald, offered a retort, showing the reasoning buttressing Buchanan's claim to be defective. Others, like the team over at SpiritWaterBlood.com also weighed in on the matter. Great minds all, they never-the-less fall into the dual trap of conflating theology (the study or theory of God) with religion (the practice founded on a given theology) and acquiescing to the false idea that evolution and biblical creation are mutually exclusive.

Let's extricate the various components of this long-running argument. The first question we must ask is, "Does God exist?" If we accept the notion, drawn from the biblical quote that ". . . God created man in his own image" (Genesis 1:27) of an anthropomorphic God in the sky, who created us and deeply cares for us, then we are going to have a hard time proving his existence. But if instead, we define God as something that is known to exist, then we have just proved the existence of God.

Anselm of Canterbury once defined God as "that than which nothing greater can be conceived." Had he left out the word, "conceived," he would have been correct. The true definition of God is: "That which nothing greater can be." In other words, God is the greatest thing. Surpassing the need to define the word "great" one can simply show that, because no one part of a thing can be greater than the whole, God must be "Everything," or God must be the cosmos. This concept of God can also be found in the bible when it is revealed to John that God is, ". . . the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (NIV Revelation 22:13).

We can conclude that God must be the cosmos from the properties of God as well. It is generally accepted that God has three inter-related and essential properties - He (if God is the Cosmos, "He" is the wrong pronoun - "It" would be more accurate, but force of habit and tradition preclude me from using the latter) is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present. Each of these follows from the next. For God to be any of these, He would have to be All-things, or the Cosmos. Because knowledge is power, to be all-powerful He would need to have all-knowledge, thus He would be omniscient. To have all-knowledge He would have to be everywhere all at once, thus He would need be omni-present, in order to be omnipresent He would have to be all things. He couldn't permeate anything to a sufficient level to be omni-present unless He was that thing en toto.

What else can we infer from a God that is the Cosmos? Cosmologist believe that the cosmos is comprised of two elements - space and time. It's further understood that these two things are so closely related and that the correct term for them isn't "space and time" but rather, "space-time."

There are two essential forces in the cosmos the "resolute" force that creates and the "dissolute" force that destroys. In combination these are God. Space is the domain of the resolute force. It is within the realm of space that the Cosmos/God using the trinity of fundamental ingredients - matter (the Father), energy (the Holy Spirit), and consciousness (the Word or the Son) combine to create all that is. Time is, of course, the dissolute force or the destroyer. In colloquial speech, we often say, "an idle mind is the devil's workshop." And, of course, in time all things are leveled or destroyed. The Greek word for time is Chronos. The Romans used Saturn, a corruption of this term, Satan, would eventually come to represent the destructive force for Christians.

Evolution, of which Darwinism or Biological Evolution is a sub-segment, is the process through which the Cosmos/God creates or put more accurately is created, because the creation of God - or that which God creates - is literally the creation of God - or God creating or becoming God. Nihilists believe in the non-teleological or never-ending process of becoming and if the resolute and dissolute forces are equal then they are correct, however, if the resolute force is stronger, then the Cosmos will ultimately resolve perfectly. This perfection would by definition exist outside of time and would account for the understanding of god that allows for such a thing as "free will." Evolution is simply God creating or becoming God.

The biblical account of a six day creative process oddly parallels the creation sequence anticipated by cosmologists. Genesis reports that God created the universe through divine logos or He literally "spoke" it into being. Cosmology believes the universe was initiated by a Big Bang. Curiously, they equate the moment of creation to a sound. If God were to speak everything into being, what would those words sound like? I assume they'd sound very much like a BIG BANG. The first thing He creates, according to the biblical account, is light. Cosmologists also believe that the Big Bang resulted in the instantaneous flooding of the universe with luminescent gaseous particles. In other words the universe was entirely lighted, or restated, the big bang created light.

The next thing to occur, in the Genesis account, is a separation of light from darkness. Science believes the formation of the stars and planets occurred due to gravity forcing the gaseous light particles to clump together, or from the separation of lighted matter from the dark vacuum of space. If you are standing on one of these "clumps," say earth, the rest of them, combined with space, constitute the firmament.

On the third day of the biblical story, the earth is shaped. From the point of view of a cosmologist this is consistent with what they think occurred. Earth was not the first of the objects that came to be from the "clumping" process of gravity, it developed later.

Then The Bible tells us that plant life was created followed by a setting of the lights (the sun and moon) in the heavens on the fourth day. Plant life certainly did come before the rest of life according to evolutionists but the "setting of the lights" is partially inconsistent with the scientific account. Although the moon did come later, as a result of a collision with with earth and another body, the sun came before the earth.

The Genesis version has God creating animal life on the fifth day and Man on the sixth. Both of which are consistent with evolutionary theory. Animals developed after the formation of earth and the flowering of plant life and homo-sapiens, as the most evolved of the animals comes into existence very late in the process.

The biblical creation story is an advanced theoretical but allegorical account of how the universe was created. As allegory it is an almost identical match for how science believes the universe evolved. The disagreement between the two camps - creationist and evolutionist - is both arbitrary and fabricated, and exists solely to enable each group to maintain or garner power, respectively.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

You say over and over again that both Biblical and Cosmology is consistent. But you say it is inconsistent as well. You should pick one thing if you are a scientist. Otherwise keep your elastic band of a story off the internet. It is nice to talk of fairy tales and such. But allegory is not science my friend. I am sure that you know this while you are flying in a plane over and ancient city of Mesopotamia. Which is 12,000yrs old. 7,000 years created before the bible says the earth was created. If you say the Bible is right, then you should say it is wrong as well. The earth is not 5,000 yrs old, and Cosmology doesn't match with the Bible at all. But I am sure you are intelligent enough to understand this. Come on Philosophy Forum on Craigslist. My user is Stoic_Nietzsche.

Russell A. James said...

Anon,

"You say over and over again that both Biblical and Cosmology is consistent. But you say it is inconsistent as well."

Nope. I never do that.

My point is that the Biblical story and the scientific one are remarkably consistent.

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