Is scientific inquiry meaningful if it never leads to a discovery of what caused the universe to exist in the first place? That is, what’s the point (no pun intended) of proving that there is no point to life? In that vein, it was theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg who said, “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless.”
So here’s my question: Why does Weinberg, and scientists like him, keep trying? What is the objective of their scientific inquiries? Is there a purpose to any of it? In a perverse sort of way, I think there is. You see, there are many different disciplines in science, but really only two kinds of scientists – those who believe in a Creator and ultimately are trying to prove it through their research and those who don’t believe in a Creator and are trying to prove that one doesn’t exist – to wit, life is pointless.
Two rather interesting viewpoints on this issue from giants of the scientific community are those of Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein. It was Hawking who said that, “One can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, but science makes God unnecessary” and Einstein who declared that, “Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man….” Oddly enough, Hawking’s comment does tend to somewhat confirm what Einstein said about a spirit being manifest in the universe. It was Dr. E, himself, who first posited that space and time were constructs (somebody built them). More recently, theoretical theorist Dr. James Gates said that his research shows that certain theories which describe the fundamental nature of the universe contain embedded computer codes. Then there is cosmologist Max Tegmark who says that our external physical reality is a mathematical structure and physicist Paul Davies who stated that, “The universe conforms to an orderly scheme.” More on them later.
Scientific American’s recent article entitled “2 Futures Can Explain Time’s Mysterious Past” is a fascinating article about two competing theories that would revolutionize our idea about time. The problem with the two theories is that they both assume that the universe is a closed system. Accordingly, both theories will always contain anomalies because they exclude that which exists outside of our universe. I say outside of our universe because even theoretical physics now encompasses ideas of other worlds, be they parallel universes, the Multiverse or whatever. So if you can’t incorporate what lies outside of our universe in your scientific theory, then you can never comprehensively define how the universe was created or exactly how it all works.
Aye, there’s the rub because science, by definition, can never prove anything that it can’t observe. John Horgan discussed this very issue of the limitations in science in his book The End of Science. The implication is that science will, if it hasn’t already, hit a wall beyond which it can only speculate. The upshot is that for scientists the rest of Creation (that which is beyond our universe) is unobservable and therefore God, if he exists, will forever be unknowable.
Aside: That is, you can’t scientifically prove whether God exists or not.
Of course, philosophers generally don’t have the same constraints as scientists. It was Time magazine which some years back published the story “Modernizing the Case for God.” In that article, it discussed that philosophers are reexamining the case for God. For many, that discussion harkens back to the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument which was named for its author Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who was one of the great thinkers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Leibniz posited that everything that exists has an explanation for its existence and since we exist there’s an explanation for our existence.
Aside: Another way of understanding the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument is to say that our existence is not found in its own necessity and therefore has to have an external cause.
Today, many scientists painfully realize their dilemma. As Lincoln Barnett wrote in The Universe and Dr. Einstein, “ Along with philosophers’ reduction of all objective reality to a shadow-world of perceptions, scientists have become aware of the alarming limitations of man’s senses.” Despite that, it hasn’t kept them from trying to fathom the unfathomable and to comprehend the incomprehensible. However incomplete, the work of Einstein, Gates, Tegmark and Davies (see above) do have one rather remarkable thing in common – an understanding that there is an underlying order in the cosmos; to wit, somebody or something constructed space/time, was responsible for the computer codes embedded in the fundamental laws of the universe, and created mathematics and the structured order of the universe. In other words, there is an intelligence in the universe. In the words of Leibniz, the universe does not exist because of its own necessity so it must have an external cause – and that external cause implies intelligence (or even vice versa).
This intelligence has been downplayed by various people, in some cases referring to it as Nature or the Natural Laws of the Universe. But as Einstein observed, there can be no laws without a lawgiver. So, I think that it’s high time that this intelligence gets a name. As I’ve suggested before, perhaps we could call it Bubba. However, for some, God might do just as well.
“The universe does not exist ‘out there,’ independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators.”
– John Wheeler, physicist
Down through the ages man has struggled with his finite mind to comprehend the Infinite. Accordingly, man invented religion and concepts like omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence to describe God. These concepts are based merely on man’s “perceptions” of the Absolute. However, the Absolute transcends the power of human perception (i.e. it’s impossible for the finite to conceive of the infinite). As Joseph Campbell said, “God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought.”
Great thinkers like Socrates and Plato realized that it was illogical to try to conceptualize the Absolute. By definition, the Absolute can neither think or act – those are human attributes and to have those attributes would make one finite. So what then do we make of the Bible and the Genesis story of creation, especially the part where God “walks” in the garden and “talks” to Adam and Eve.
History vs. myth
To begin with, religion is basically constructed myth. It was none other than St. Paul who said that men had become vain in their imagination and had changed God into an image made like themselves. So the Word of God is, in actuality, simply the word of man about God and nothing more. However, these myths were sometimes based on historical events, misunderstood though they may have been. Take the Bible for example. It supposedly says that Cain was the first-born from Adam and Eve with Eve saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD” (Genesis 4:1). Unfortunately, that’s all that it says about such a remarkable event – the conception of man’s “first child”. Actually, though, the writings of the ancient Hebrews contained a lot more about this topic but those writings were intentionally excluded from the Bible, along with the Book of Enoch (as Enoch was the son of Cain – see Genesis 4:17).
Side Note: All writings that discussed man’s genetic descendancy from the “gods” were excluded from the Bible (for obvious reasons).
Actually, Cain’s birthright is the biggest scandal in the Bible, one that the scribes intentionally downplayed. It’s not discussed in any detail because to do otherwise would alert the reader that God/ the Lord/ Jehovah was the real father of Cain. So let’s try and break it down.
In Genesis 5:1-5, it says that, “This is the written account of Adam’s family line…When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.” There is no mention anywhere of Cain and Abel in the family tree. What an incredible omission unless…
Adam was not the father of Cain and Abel.
Where else was there a mention of the father of Cain and Abel? Well, in the Apocryphon of John, it states that Eve was seduced by the supreme deity, Yaldabaoth, who then fathered two sons with her. Then there is the Gospel of Philip which says, “And (Cain) was begotten in adultery, (for) he was the son of the serpent.” Other ancient Jewish esoteric teachings (such as the Zohar) and the Talmud, itself, are much more informative about this issue and state that Cain was the son of an angel of the Lord by the name of Samael, who is referred to as the serpent.
Even in the Bible, there remain snippets of this story. For example in 1 John 3:12 it says, “ Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother” (emphasis mine). So once again the reference to Cain’s father being the evil one or the serpent. Even Jesus said something similar: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him “(Gospel of John 8:44).
The skeleton in the closet of Adam and Eve is that a god fathered Cain while Adam sired Seth, whose line led to King David and Jesus. So Cain was the royal seed of the “gods” while Seth was the first son of Man (Adam). The conflict between these two bloodlines has reverberated down through history and is still being played out today.
So a god fathered Cain and Abel, not Adam. To be more precise, it was a Sumerian god. Perhaps, a little background is in order. The Old Testament was first written down around 500 BC. Prior to that, the biblical stories were passed down from generation to generation as oral tradition. That oral tradition came from Sumeria through Abraham and his descendants (see my prior posts for details). Sumerian texts have the complete story of creation called The Seven Tablets of Creation which give the real story of how Homo sapiens was created and who fathered Cain, Abel and Seth. The kicker is that the Sumerian gods weren’t really gods at all, but rather a highly advanced race of physical life forms. Therefore, mankind really was created in the image and likeness of the “gods”.
Where goest thou Christianity?
So exactly where does that leave Christianity? Well, when your minister starts his sermon with “And last night God talked to me”, you can be sure that it never happened; neither was anyone present when God supposedly said, “Let there be light”. In the Bible, there are many stories about God – stories where he “appeared” to various people. What’s missing from those stories is any description about God, any description at all. Think of it. Everyone is in search of God and yet those who “find” him don’t even bother to describe him!
The reason as John says is that, “ No one has ever seen God” (Gospel of John 1:18 ) and that, “God is spirit” (Gospel of John 4:24). Paul echoes John’s concept of an invisible God (see Colossians 1:15) and then goes on to say that, “Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). Nevertheless, some Christians still insist that the Bible is literally the Word of God and that God walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Yet, all one has to do is to read the Bible to understand that it can’t all be the Word of God since some passages stand in stark opposition to others. In particular, the god of Genesis is the polar opposite of the god of the New Testament, the god of John and Paul. One is as human as any human, (i.e. emotional, vain and prone to violence). The other is all-loving and all-good.
Side Note: If the all-loving and all-good god was the Absolute, then where did evil come from?
Both of these gods are simply man’s “perception” about God – an attempt to comprehend the incomprehensible. To be intellectually honest, Christianity needs to choose between these two gods as you can’t have both, although neither is really the Prime Creator. They also need to admit that Genesis, with its concept of the Creation, was borrowed from older Sumerian texts. The inconvenient truth is that the God(s) of Genesis is not God, the Prime Creator. All they ever were, and will be, is what I call “the gods that never were.”
“Beyond all finite experiences and secondary causes, all laws, ideas and principles, there is an Intelligence or Mind, the first principle of all principles, the Supreme Idea on which all other ideas are grounded.”
P.S. Of course, Plato was talking about the First Cause/Prime Creator who can not be found in any holy book.