An Affinity for Divinity. A Trilogy in Three Parts. A Work-in-Progress.
Coming Clean with Godliness
I like the notion that many demons and other spirits may really have been -- and actually still are -- extraterrestrial beings in one form or another. If one really thinks about it, the universe portends to be a very crowded place. If we include all the poltergeists, goblins, ghosts, apparitions, specters, phantoms and phantasms, let alone gods, demigods, fiends, monsters, ogres and angels and devils, then add in outer space aliens as well, things should tend to get pretty shoulder-to-shoulder, I would think.
But here's a real group of questions for both readers and explorers alike:
I'm fascinated by the idea that there appear to be two kinds of science. Two kinds of scientists, if you like. Twin ways to approach the subjects of religion and science. Most people, it seems to me, tend to concentrate their attention on only one -- or the other -- of these two separate disciplines.
Interestingly my focus has always been on the other (second) of the two approaches to science. And rarely on the side where others couple religion and science together as an incontrovertible "force-of-one". This is why I like to say that my universe doesn't have a God in it, whereas I realize and appreciate that others' view of the cosmos is that of an indivisible wholeness of God and space-time together.
The first kind of science, for lack of a better description, is this mix between religion and science. Nothing in the universe, verily the universe itself, can exist without God, Who created all there is. Since this belief (this universe) requires the presence of God in order to exist, it is only logical that everything in the universe validates and proves the existence of that God. If we say that only God can create a galaxy, then the existence of a galaxy is proof that God exists. This self-reflexive system is very clever in how it works.
The same is true for mathematics, astrophysics, quantum mechanics, and extraterrestrial life forms. All of these were created by God, therefore all of these things are a reflection of God. The more amazing and miraculous something is, the more amazing and miraculous is God Himself. The one thing reinforces the other, indeed proves the other. This kind of science satisfies and answers questions like how did everything get here without God? How did we ever get something from nothing?
If all things are manifestations of God, then God is the manifestation of all things. It's all very neat and tidy -- and scientific. The questions of who made God, and where did God come from originally, remain unanswered, and continue as the primary source of "blind" faith -- meaning God has to exist because the universe cannot be otherwise. Such a rationale declares, even demands, that nothing would make sense without the guiding influence of God, who gives meaning to our lives, and the reason for why everything is the way it is.
There is, however, an alternative view:
A second kind of science, if you will, attempts to play a game of sorts. It pretends that we don't know anything about anything. Instead of trying to prove what we think exists, it tries to discover what does exist, using the tools at our disposal. It asks questions only. And when a solution appears, it moves on to the next thing, and the next question.
One such query is whether or not a universe, like the one we live in, could have come into existence without a God. It doesn't try to disprove God, one way or the other. It pretends that God is not important to the process. If we can create a universe independent of God, then the next step is to question what role God plays in a universe that doesn't need Him. Why would God exist in a universe that can get along and evolve quite well on its own?
This second form of scientific inquiry doesn't, however, try to answer those kinds of questions. That's for theologians to deal with. Nope, we just want to know if everything we know, see, and understand, can work exactly the same as it does, in a universe without a God.
In such a universe, we would expect to see and find evil everywhere we look, but it has nothing to do with religion. It is just the natural result of conditions where people and things can behave in an endless number of ways. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. So is such a universe possible? A Godless cosmos that looks, acts, and behaves exactly the same as one in which God exists? A lot of scientists say the answer is yes.
These scientists sometimes ask the following kind of questions:
Q: Is God all powerful?
Q: God can do anything?
Q: Is there anything God cannot do?
A: No. Nothing.
Q: So if God wanted to un-create Himself, he could?
A: I don't understand.
Q: I mean, if God decided that He wished never to have existed, but everything else would remain the same, He could do that, right?
A: Uh, yeah, I guess so.
Q: So how would you know the difference, then? One way or the other?
A: We wouldn't, but God answers our prayers, so we know He exists.
Q: Can you prove that your prayers are answered? Scientifically? Under laboratory conditions?
A: Well, not exactly scientifically. God doesn't subject Himself to trivial tests.
Q: Well, if science can prove that God exists, then shouldn't science demonstrate that prayers are answered?
A: I don't think it works that way.
Q: So, the only way we can prove that God really exists is through the answering of prayers, but we're not allowed to test this hypothesis using scientific methods? Because God doesn't make himself available for testing purposes.
A: Yes, I guess that's right. But I think you're tricking me.
Q: Or maybe I'm showing you how you've already been tricked.
A: I don't think I like you.
With each passing decade, secular science inches its way closer to showing us how our entire universe could well be autonomous. That it is capable of spontaneous self-creation, and that the role that God may or may not play, while morally important, is scientifically moot. It is inconsequential because a universe, one of many, likely, happen all by themselves. Given the right conditions which take place all on their own, it's pretty much a matter of "poof" -- you've got a new universe.
One last example is additionally helpful. Many religious scientists now believe that evolution, once thought to be very anti-religious, is simply one of the tools that God uses to create and manipulate life here and elsewhere. It is common among Catholics, for instance, to accept evolution as God's own personal invention. Of course, humans are still special and separate from animals.
Evolutionary scientists look at their scholarly, theological brethren and smile. They grin because it is understood that secular, evolutionary scientists need never believe in a God. Or put another way, they might believe in a higher power and all that, but realize also that, like the universe, evolution is quite capable of operating independently -- free of any and all Supreme Beings.
In other words, if evolution can work without the intervention of God -- indeed, if evolution can spawn humans from tadpoles or worms, let alone monkeys and apes -- then we must again ask the same question: What purpose does God serve if He is unnecessary to the process? If evolution does not require God in order to function, then why have God at all?
The whole purpose behind solving how evolution works, is precisely to see if it can operate without a God. It is this important premise that religious scientists and secular evolutionists ignore when they propose that the twin ideas, one of autonomous evolution and one of God, are compatible. Which, of course, they are not and never will be. No more so than Jews and Christians will ever agree on the divinity of Jesus Christ. In order for evolution to operate, God must, of necessity, be left out of the equation. Otherwise it's no big deal. Otherwise the process known as Intelligent Design is just one more amazing miracle that relies on Divine intervention.
But what if it works just as well without a Design? On its own. Self-creates along with the rest of a spontaneous universe? Theological science says it can prove that the universe cannot self-create. In my world view, that same science strongly suggests that such thinking may be very wrong. The realm of secular science may ultimately prove that both sides were wrong. Which if true, is the sole purpose of its design. Most scientific secularists don't really care who is right or who is wrong. The truth is what it is. We just want to know the truth. And if God is indeed the answer, then so be it. But thus far, all indications are to the contrary.
In the end, it's not so much that God wasn't the answer. More likely is that He was never the right question. Asking whether it's possible to to make a universe without a God -- now that's a challenge. If we can do it mathematically and theoretically -- and we almost have -- then even that's an accomplishment of note. But it doesn't make us God. It just makes us talented apes. Which if true, means it's just as likely that we might very well destroy our universe while trying to understand it.
So which is it? Who's on the rational road to true enlightenment? If I'm right, we'd be confronted with living in a Godless world that to many, would seem so horrific a concept -- one so totally beyond belief -- that it simply isn't possible to imagine such a form of senseless human existence. One where morality and reason are no more significant than the dirt from which a plant grows.
It is no wonder that such a postulation is dismissed by theologians as untenable. That such ideas are considered preposterous on their face, as if I had suggested that the criminally insane were the rightful rulers of Earth.
For me, however, nothing changes. I already imagine the universe to be Godless. Or, is it a universe where God once existed but no longer does? Or, is the cosmos a place where God is a resident -- a participant even -- but lacks the omnipotence we humans endow Him with. Or, strangest of all, is He a powerful alien entity who lords over us?
Or last but not least, are things exactly as the billions of faithful believe them to be? Depends on who among the faithful, I suppose, you're asking.
I put my money on the Hindi; they like everybody.