Academia vs The Real World
The more I read and the more real world experiences I acquire I cannot help…
I am not sure the age old definition of God, whatever that was, is still viable or honestly makes any sense this day and age. Ask yourself what does that word mean to you, God, what is God and how does he/she/it fit in your life? That is an extremely loaded question, one I certainly do not have an answer too, and even if I did, I believe my answer would be different from one person to the next. I do not know how to describe God other than to describe he/she/it as a being closely connected with the afterlife. I think most would agree on that, as well as having power over all dominion and the universe, so God would also be omnipotent, and a God is also the creator of the universe. I could be wrong but I am not sure of a deity that is in no way connected with an afterlife or the creation of the universe.
Other than the above vague definition I don’t know how else to describe God. Wikipedia says God will have omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. While I would not disagree with those I think that ultimately trying to define a being such as God is impossible, thus giving God criteria or a definition, and a being meeting those criteria, in my opinion would disqualify he/she/it from being God. To me if there is a God then he/she/it is unknowable and trying to define such a creature is equally unknowable or impossible. How can you describe a being, that to us, would seem could do and accomplish anything it wished. I would argue that such a being is beyond defining, and I would further argue that it would be beyond comprehension. Our tiny processors between our ears can only handle so much and to encounter a being like this I believe would be impossible to understand or fathom, which is why I say God, if he/she/it exists, cannot be known much less understood.
Imagine a 4th dimensional being, and let’s say for the sake of argument that there is such a thing. This being could have omniscience and omnipotence, or at the very least could appear to have these traits. In having those traits it could look inside boxes and see what is inside without opening them, as well as remove the item from the box without opening it, thus is would again appear to have bizarre powers and knowledge that was unavailable to us mere mortals. As far as omnipresence that one is a bit more difficult to explain, but if it was a 4th dimensional being it could reside outside time and be able to see the complete timeline (future and past) and could therefore know everything that was going to happen or has happened. So somewhat by default this beings could also be omnipresent and know all events that will transpire. But again this being as I have stated would hardly be described as God, yet it could potentially qualify for the criteria as God. You see the slippery slope when it comes to trying to define such a being.
I am not sure if there is such a being as a true God, perhaps it only exists in our minds. Which is interesting and makes us unique as a species, and is possibly one of the big things at the core of what it means to be human. We all have a yearning for answers and it is easy to say, “that is God’s plan,” or something of that nature, which basically translates as it is out of my control and I have no idea why. But in a nutshell that is life. What else is unique about humans is that we will forgo a small reward in the present for a larger reward in the future. No other animal or thing on the planet will do this. Your dog will never turn down on treat now for two treats tomorrow, no ape will turn down one banana now for two tomorrow, they just will not. But humans on the other hand will do this and do it often. The biggest of these instances deals with the afterlife. We try to live a good honest life hoping that we will be rewarded in the afterlife, in doing so we may make sacrifices, again I am not sure any other animal does this. Another psychological discussion could be why this happens and what would happen if there was definite proof of no after life.
The small point here is that while I say we are unique among other animals, and I do believe we are, we have to ask what makes us unique. The answer is obvious, we have massive brains and are highly intelligent. While that is great I again point back to the statement above that we as humans are always asking questions and seeking answers about life. Somewhere along the way in order to help build society, leaders attempted to answer these questions and pointed to a God as the reason for their happiness and sorrow. I have read a few articles that talk about the role God(s) and religion played in building society in the early going. Not saying this is fact, but certainly a viable theory and logically seems to make sense.
The other hand one of the more important aspects of God, is that of the creator. Humans have always asked the question where do we come from? And it is easiest to answer in terms of God, is God created us because he loved us so. What sparked this whole post was this article that I found stating that many physicists are concluding that the universe was indeed created by what they can only conclude to be in “intelligent” individual or being. That is quite fascinating, but I have a hard time saying that that is proof of the existence of a God. To me that just opens up a whole new can of worms and raises many more questions than answers.
One of those questions is that there is a small, but again, non-zero number that we could be living in a computer simulation. I am not saying this is true, but it is possible nonetheless and again some physicists believe this could be the case. Now if that were true we would have a creator or in this case a programmer. So if you take a look at the above criteria for the definition of God our programmer would qualify for all of them. The programmer would have omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence as well as be the creator of our universe. Again would this person or being be truly God, I would argue no, but it would certainly seem like that in our minds. It could simply be a distant relative of humanity working on a highly classified experiment, or an alien artificial intelligence running simulation in which we happen to reside. So again I do not think this being would be God. Even if it was a super intelligent alien I would still not be ready to give this being the title of God. Which is what I would argue to the scientists saying that because they think our universe was created by an “intelligent being,” and that that being is in fact God.
It could also be the case that this is indeed the real world and not a simulation, and it was created, but it was created by a highly advanced alien of some sort that has technology beyond anything we can imagine. Technology that allowed this being to create our universe. If that is the case the scientists would be right, but again I am not sure this creature would be God. It would just be an alien that has super advance technology, and on some level I think that that could be the closest thing we will get to a true God meeting all the criteria listed above.
But if this was the case what need would there be for the Judeo Christian God? That is the real question in all of this, as if there truly was proof that there is no God in any sense of the word and either our universe is a simulation or was created either by aliens or just by the laws of nature, how does that affect humans? What does that mean for our society, for our day to day lives, does it even matter, or would we even care? Religion and or God have played a large part in the creation of who we are and to maybe get a definite answer, one way or the other could be an answer that might have an impact on the human species for hundreds if not thousands of years in the future.
Another scenario is that God does truly exist in terms of how the normal church going individual believes God exists. Personally I find this one hard to believe and does not quite fit with my view of the universe, but that is just me. But if that were the case, thinking just logically, I find it hard to believe that this type of God would be concerned with us in any way. Try to imagine a being all powerful in every sense of the word as God would be, now if that is the case do you think you would be concerned with tiny mortals on a rock in the infinite universe that you created? Or do you think you would be concerned with those same mortals worshiping you? I think not, or at least I find that extremely hard to believe. I cannot begin to think what an all-powerful, all knowing, all everything being does with its time, but I seriously doubt that it cares what you or I do on a daily basis. On the flip side if it did or does care I would argue that this God is somewhat childish or at the very least, vein. I am not sure what it would take to convince me that this type of God would care one way or the other about our existence or what we do, much less that we take time to worship it. Logically that makes no sense but perhaps God defies logic and again perhaps our tiny brains cannot begin to fathom God and what it is that he/she/it does with its time.
For me I have two stances, one is that if there is a God he/she/it is unknowable to the extreme. A being of such power is impossible to understand with our infinitesimally small minds. On the other hand it is basically impossible for me to believe that there is such a being residing over the entire universe. I am leaning toward the idea that there is no God in the true sense of the word, or in the Judeo Christian sense of the word. Now, are there possibly beings that qualify for all the criteria listed above, yes, albeit there is a very small chance, but a non-zero number. So in some weird sense there could be “god-like” creatures or beings out there in the universe that we have yet to encounter. Again I think this is a very very small chance, but that chance is non zero.
As humanity continues to push forward on all fronts of society I have to wonder what role, if any, God will play as we move forward. I doubt that the idea of God will completely disappear, as that seems too farfetched. As this idea has literally be engrained in our brains and society for over 6,000 years, possibly longer, in one form or another. What I do believe is that how we view God now, will change drastically in the next 100 – 200 years. Think back at how the role of a God has changed in the last 1,000, 500, and 200 years. At one point God was the sun, the binger of life, eventually God was worshiped as someone who can save a soul and blamed for all the good and bad in one’s life. Now the Role of God is somewhat fading, and I think will continue to do so as the universe becomes less and less mysterious and more and more explainable. As we figure out more of the world and universe that we live in, where does God fit into that mold?