Monday, 10 July 2017

What Is Possible?

(Reflecting on Poul Anderson's "Requiem For A Universe" and SM Stirling's Emberverse.)

(i) God creating universes.

(ii) An uncreated universe with a Mind evolving in and surviving the end of that universe, then influencing the evolution of subsequent universes.

(iii) The Mind of (ii) time travelling and thus becoming the "God" of (i)?

Two Problems
(iii) does not conform to theistic belief.
I still argue that the creator before the creation would be a self without an other which is like a square without sides, therefore that (i) is impossible.

13 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Welcome back from your trip to London! I hope you had a good time there.

    I agree with your point (i).

    I cannot agree with point (ii), however. It makes no sense for an uncreated universe with some kind of "Mind" evolving and then surviving the end of that universe. I simply don't believe any kind of "matter" or "energy" can be eternal or uncreated.

    And your time traveling "Mind" of point (iii) somehow becoming "God" also does not make sense to me. I still argue that for God to BE God He would need to be eternal, uncreatd, and existing before any kind of matter or energy was created.

    I still don't understand why a Creator existing before the creation should give you problems, be like a square without sides and is thus impossible. I still argue that God logically has to be thought of as existing before anything else was created.

    A better question might be WHY God bothered to create anything at all. After all, as God, He was already infinitely and eternally happy and self sufficient, and needed nothing. I like the answer Dante proposed in his DIVINE COMEDY, that God created the universe, and other beings in that universe because He wanted others to exist and share His happiness.

    To quote Dorothy L. Sayers' translation of Dante's PARADISE XXIX, 13-18: "Not to increase His good, which cannot be,/But that His splendour, shining back, might say:/BEHOLD, I AM, in His eternity,/Beyond the measurement of night and day,/Beyond all boundary, as He did please,/New loves
    Eternal Love shed from His ray."

    Sean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sean,
      Self is recognized as such only by contrast with other. When there is visual perception, there is the thought, "I see that," whereas, when there is no perception, there is no thought, "I." Self and other are interdependent like in and out, up and down, left and right.
      "For God to be God, He must be eternal etc" means that God is defined as eternal etc but does not tell us whether that definition is coherent. "For X to be X, it must be a sideless square" would mean that there could be no X.
      Paul.

      Delete
    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Because of my ignorance and deficiencies in philosophic knowledge, I am sure I am commenting badly on such serious questions, but I still don't understand why you object to the usual definition of God. I find it very implausible to imagine a God who POST existed the Creation, as in your point (iii) above.

      If God is self sufficient, as I believe He is, then He certainly knows what a square is, that it has fours sides of equal length. And He knew from all eternity all that is, or might exist, in our timeline or in alternate timelines. Isn't that the same as God "perceiving" OTHER things?

      Sean

      Delete
    3. Sean,
      But it is believed that God could have existed as a conscious being without creating or perceiving anything.
      Paul.

      Delete
    4. Kaor, Paul!

      I certainly believe God existed from all eternity, before anything was created by Him. But I still argue that He perceived from all eternity what He would create.

      Sean

      Delete
    5. Sean,
      God's knowledge is not "perception" in the sense of via sense organs. But is He dependent for his exitence on His knowledge of things other than Himself? I think that all conscious beings are dependent on the consciousness of objects other than themselves.
      Paul.

      Delete
    6. Kaor, Paul!

      I see I was guilty of using an important term too loosely. What I meant by God's "perception" was that He perceived by an act of His mind from all eternity what would eventually exist.

      Btw, in case you don't know, I left some new comments in the combox to my "Uncollected Works Of Poul Anderson" in the "PA: Contributor Articles" blog. I think they will interest you.

      Sean

      Delete
    7. Kaor, Paul!

      This conscious being is surely dependent on the consciousness of objects other than himself, and I would expect that to hold true for other human beings as well, but needit old true for God, Who presumably does not have our limitations?

      Best Regards,
      Nicholas D. Rosen

      Delete
    8. Kaor, Nicholas!

      And I agree! I am incompetently trying to say that God is not bound by our limitations. Else He would not BE God.

      Regards! Sean

      Delete
    9. Both,
      But a logical necessity is not a limitation. An omnipotent being cannot make 1+1=3 because that is a contradiction. I think that self without other is a contradiction like up without down.
      Paul.

      Delete
    10. Kaor, Paul!

      As great a philosopher and theologian as St. Thomas Aquinas would agree with your first point! In fact, I think PA mentioned that in some of his works. But I still have to disagree with your last point, because I don't think it is contradictory for God to have existed from all eternity without "others."

      Sean

      Delete
    11. Sean,
      I know you don't think that is contradictory but I have argued why I think it is contradictory. When there is perception, then there is the thought, "I perceive that," but, when there is no perception, there is no though, "I," just as, when there is no up, there is no down.
      Paul.

      Delete
    12. Kaor, Paul!

      Then, regrettably, we have reached another impasse. I think we have both explained our POVs reasonably clearly.

      Sean

      Delete