Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Conventional Concept of God Necessitates Space and Time, Yet Both are Inconsistent and Arbitrary in Our Universe


Growing up the things that I was told about religion by adults led me to believe that God was a personal God and was very human-like. He may not be made up of the same stuff that I was, but God had wants and desires, plans and goals, emotions and intentions. Around the age of 10 I rejected this notion of an anthropomorphic God, but I still believed that I lived in a universe that was inhabited and supervised by some beneficent, humanoid entity. I began to reject even this kind of a God as agnosticism set in during my early teens. I began to feel that, without religion, something was missing in my life. I stopped reading the bible and sought meaning and solace through learning about science, especially theoretical physics.
Reading about physics and astronomy I learned that before the big bang there was no time or space. This also goes for black holes and other exotic concepts in theoretical physics as well. I was equally fascinated by the concepts of relativity which demonstrate that both space and time can be distorted and changed. For instance, relative velocity, mass, and gravity all distort space and time. These facts made space and time seem arbitrary and almost epiphenomenal to me. Then in early 2002, a simple thought hit me like an emotionally sobering ton of bricks. I realized that if a God that was free of both human constraints and universal inconsistencies, were to exist, it should not need either space or time to exist. A truly omnipotent and transcendent God would have to be fundamentally free of both space and time. This seemed unlikely, or at least so abstract that it rendered God into something fundamentally different from conventional notions. This reasoning made it seem absurd that a God could exist outside of space and time but still be interested in my goings-on in space and time. Anything outside of our medium becomes almost meaningless to us because we cannot experience it and have trouble imagining what it is like outside of it. As a faithful child I was a goldfish in an aquarium, thinking that if there was a God it would have to be aquatic and would have to start and stop within the same glass walls that I did.

This thinking changed my expectations and beliefs about God so fundamentally that I felt I could not believe in any God any longer. Virtually all conceptions of God tacitly assume that God experiences time and space the way that we do. What would it mean for an entity like the Biblical God to exist without space and time?  What would it mean for a person’s soul to do this? Don’t sentience and consciousness depend fundamentally on the matter and energy of the brain as well as the space and time that neural signals must pass through? Without space and time, what kind of existence is there for a God, or anything else? This realization pushed me from agnosticism to true atheism for several years.

2 comments:

  1. why is it more difficult to believe a god could exist outside of space and time than to believe a universe could be created out of a state lacking space and time?

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  2. I think that is a great quesiton, and I don't have a good answer for it.

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