Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Genesis Model _ Is Space = God?


The Genesis Model:
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
- the author of Genesis said that.
Gen.1:2-3, KJV (Thomas Nelson, Pub. 1972).

The Intuitive Transcendental Model:
When the mind opens, and reveals the laws which traverse the universe, and make things what they are, then shrinks the great world at once into a mere illustration and fable of this mind. What am I? and What is? Behold these infinite relations, so like, so unlike; many, yet one. I would study, I would know, I would admire forever.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson said that.
Divinity School Address, Harvard Divinity School (July 15, 1838).

I am not trying to answer the great question posed in the title, Is Space = God?  I am trying to raise it. Further, I am getting way ahead of my development plan, rough as it is, for this blog. But let's proceed anyway.

We remain at the carrefour of winter mysteries wrapped in spring enigmas, not yet in view, I think, of Emerson's famous refulgent summer, where the 'grass grows, the buds burst, the meadow is spotted with fire and gold in the tint of flowers.' Ibid. Emerson's address to the divinity school senior class, all seven or eight members of it, as quoted above, helped establish a transcendental view in favor of 'individual, intuitive thought and the role of nature in helping man to understand the divine,' and in opposition to the 'primacy' of authoritarian mechanisms.  Harvard gazette (Walsh, February 16, 2012). This elevation of individual intuition over the established framework of institutional tradition was considered so radical that Emerson was not invited to the Harvard campus again for 30 years.  Ibid.

Thank goodness for counterbalances all around, such as the next one.

The Scientifically-Generated Physical Model:
A story logically begins at the beginning. [And] In the very beginning there was a void - a curious form of vacuum - a nothingness containing no space, no time, no matter, no light, no sound ... But this story is about the universe, and unfortunately there are no data for the Very Beginning.  None, zero ... Now, where were we?  Oh, yes ... [then] it happened.  The nothingness exploded.  In this incandescence, space and time were created.
- Leon Lederman, with Dick Teresi, said that.
The God Particle. If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? (1993; p.1).

Don't you just love it? The drama and suspense of it all? Steven Spielberg, Ben Affleck and Stanley Kubrick, move over. God is coming through. Or maybe not.

Here is how this post came about (re-posting part of this from my other blog, Random Walk): In Robert Oerter's blog post, Collins vs. Stenger, the professor, a physicist, has continued his posts about possible scientific Fine Tuning of the universe. Robin Collins and Victor Stenger are both physicists. The idea is that certain physical parameters are both highly improbable and extremely critical for the emergence of life in this universe.

I supplied various comments on that subject on the professor's blog, and on a previous post on this blog, Is the Whole Word Just a Code?, because the subject relates to the possibility of God's existence, a subject I took up last October on Random Walk in a three part post I called The God is Possible Argument. (My previous post on this blog, incidentally, was prompted by some very interesting comments advanced by Alan on Edward Feser's blog post, Craig versus Rosenberg. Alexander Rosenberg is a philosopher at Duke. Wlliam Lane Craig is a theology professor at BIOLA. My grandfather studied at BIOLA back in the first part of the last century, but that's a story for another time.)

While doing all this commenting and blogging, the following thought occurred to me:  If space is something that can expand, then space is a "thing" with describable properties.  If so, then this changes the question about fine tuning of parameters to a question about what space itself is.  It also raises the interesting question of what space is "in"?  In Aristotelian terms, this would put space back into the category of having (or being) substance, and as such, space itself could be the ground of all being. To put this last step into a form that St. Thomas Aquinas might have said or used, this ground of all being we are accustomed to calling God.

In this form, this approaches a classical proof of the existence of God.  Yes?  No?  As TxLostWolf suggests (on my other blog), this argument may fit the Prime Mover form. If space is substance, it would also be essence. If the causal series per se terminates with space itself, then the argument would also fit the Uncaused Cause form.  Yes?  No?  Either way, would not Space = God under this, the Genesis model of the source of all matter and energy which emerged from space itself?

The reader may find this Universe Forum (produced for NASA by the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) a helpful resource in re-visualizing the Big Bang as something other than a point-in-space explosion. In particular, here is a page entitled Brief Answers to Cosmic Questions. I found these two Q & A's illuminating with respect to the possible physical explanation (understanding) of space itself, as I applied it above:

Q:  Do we know where, in space, the Big Bang took place?

A:  It's a common misconception that the Big Bang was an "explosion" that took place somewhere in space. But the Big Bang was an expansion of space itself. Every part of space participated in it. For example, the part of space occupied by the Earth, the Sun, and our Milky Way galaxy was once, during the Big Bang, incredibly hot and dense. The same holds true of every other part of the universe we can see ... Artists may find it more dramatic to draw a "fireball" expanding into space, but as far as we know, there would have been no such "ball."

Q:  Does the term "universe" refer to space, or to the matter in it, or both?

A:  Just a hundred years ago, scientists thought of the universe in terms of matter. Space was just the "emptiness" in which matter lived ... Today, the situation is reversed. During the twentieth century, scientists learned that space is not "nothingness." First, Einstein showed that space has structure: It is flexible and can be stretched ... Later, scientists found other properties of space. For example, matter and anti-matter are routinely created in the laboratory from space itself (and an energy source); the kinds of particles that can exist reflect the structure of space. In fact, there is now evidence that space itself MAY possess some slight amount of energy of its own, of a form previously unknown. If so, space may actually have weight!

If this is the way it is, then Space is some "thing" from which all physical things, as we know them, actually came, mediated by the initial operation of the Big Bang. Under such a scenario, can we not reasonably view Space, which has structure and properties, as the immediate ground of all known being?

 -- copyright 2012-2013 by c emerson --


gritsma said...

I'm a visual kind of gal... here are three images that satisfy the visuals that popped into my head.

3D Grid

Dog Shaking

Internal Brain

TxLostWolf said...

Let me comment on the three offered models in turn.

Genesis Model- Very popular with the religious crowd. Ultimately though I find most religions to have similarities in that they appear to me ( and I am NO expert) that they primarily provide a Father/Mother figure designed to make us feel special either with the carrot or the stick. More importantly whatever god chosen, by obedience to that god's proclamations via whatever clergy provides institutional continuity, all followers are absolved the responsibility of their own actions. Moral decisions are presolved, bad outcomes are god's omniscient wisdom. Not our fault!

Intuitive Transcendental Model

Sounds kind of cool and mystical. If I understand you (admittedly a big if) this is a kind of gestalt understanding in which the pattern as a whole appears to demand the existence of a higher being/god. I actually like this view in the sense that it is not dependent on the filter of a priesthood and therefore less sullied by ceremony. Still it is difficult to work with because of necessity each epiphony will be unique and separating the sane from the insane is problematic in a species known for seeing patterns where none exist.

Natural Model

In this corner we have the uncaused cause, empirical observation, and mathematics. The problem with these (as well as others) is simply (?) A lack of knowledge. Again as a species that seems to desperately need pattern this is a seductive area to prove/disprove God because we all believe in causality we are acutely deterministic in our approach to pattern recognition. Better mathematics, more perfect or new empirical observation is Randomness or at least Chaos denied. Yet there are still those pesky fractals and recurring outliers on the probability curve, culminating in the certainty that we are absolutely uncertain. BUT, to me, this is preferable because it contains within the optomistic belief; if we keep at it, we will eventually know/fine tune enough to know yeah or nay if god exists or not.

Anon said...

Don't know where you are going, but try this:
"Stop Calling It 'The God Particle' " --
-- post by Dr. Dave Goldberg - (Drexel University)

Goldberg does "Ask a physicist" like this:

Anon said...

Meant to include these:
(Higgs Boson, not God particle)

Globe and Mail (3/2013): (3/2013):

C/NET (2/2013):

Discovery (11/2012):

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am from Australia.
Please find a completely different Illuminared Understanding of Reality via these references.

c emerson said...

Thanks, all, for posting. I can see there is a difference between discussing a point of view and just posting links about issues. I encourage the discussion part.

That being said, Gritsma's links are to photos. There is no way to post images in blogger comments (that I am aware of.). Her selections apparently relate in some way to the three models of reality I described in the OP. The first photo is of a lattice work-cube with scattered pinpoint light sources. The second is a backlit dog shaking off water. The third is a human head in silhouette with a lit up brain. I enjoyed all three as visual representations and may one day post them in an Update or Addendum to this piece. They are worth examination.

Anon's reference to Dr. Goldberg refers to a current respected physicist at Drexel University, and an author, like Robert Oerter at George Mason University. The links (including the news links) are worth the read: Basically they will inform you of the progress being made to verify the Higgs Boson at the Large Haldron Collider (LHC). This is not likely to be the end of discoveries in physics. (Why is there always a group saying everything that can be found has been found?). The big question is whether the Higgs Boson is the last "particle' completing the 'standard model' of particle physics, and perhaps the most mysterious one at that (ergo, the controversial nick name 'God Particle'). A key question physicists are struggling with is whether the Higgs Boson, and attendant Higgs Field, accounts for gravity, or more particularly, whether the Higgs Boson imparts mass to the other fundamental particles. Mass is the key ingredient for the gravitational effect (the unexplained attraction of two bodies at a distance) without which: no solar systems, no Earth, no people. Gravity remains a big mystery, so there is obviously more dramatic science to come. Now, if somebody could only demonstrate how life chemically arose. Anyway, all of this obviously has consequences for philosophy and religion, so speak up!

The links of the second Anonymous refer to Adi Da. I quote here from Wikipedia: "Adi Da Samraj (November 3, 1939 – November 27, 2008), born Franklin Albert Jones in Queens, New York, ... a spiritual teacher, writer and artist, and the founder of a new religious movement known as Adidam." There is a well-written Wikipedia article on Adi Da at His philosophy and religion follows or tracks, according to Wikipedia, various Buddhist and Hindu thoughts and insights. Adi Da attended Columbia and Stanford. Even though I said above that I would rather see discussion of ideas in the comments (like TxLostWolf did) rather than just links, I will now violate that principle myself by providing you with a link to another well-written Wikipedia article. This article, entitled 'Non-Dualism', goes into to some (but obviously NOT all) of the underlying philosophical issues raised by both Buddhism and Hinduism with respect to how mind and body work. See 'Non-Dualism' at It is a topic we will be discussing as time goes by.

Ralph Waldo's philosophy and religion is a Western (Judeo-Christian, but non-trinatarian) take on 'seeing', finding and experiencing the divine through nature, or through the physical world. Arguably there are parallels there with some elements of Eastern thought. Today a key part of the science faith debate deals with the so-called 'manifest image' issue: real or an illusion, which arguably arises (in part) from these same parallels.

The ComBox remains always open. Peace.

Alan said...

Harking back to the ‘code’ and to ancient Hebrew philosophers, God is not space, but the responsible party behind the order (and hence all mater and energy) that comprise space.

c emerson said...

Assuming (?) , are you not, that there is some thing additional behind 'what it is' that comprises space? Thanks, A, for checking in. So why exactly would there have to be two things there ... the thing at the beginning of the Big Transformation and the thing outside of the thing, or before (oh, when does the pain ever stop) the thing?

[Feel free (one and all) to esspresss yourself. And keep checking in. Strange things may happen here. (Shameful plug).]

Vivek narain lucknow said...

Space is god,the matrix of all matter is mainly space.nothing can exist or manifest without space,space time continuum is only a theory time may not exist at is the most tangible factor of all,infact nothing can be tangible without space.

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