A Supreme Deity Versus Physics
Various theologians and other religious philosophers have over many, many centuries, given a list of what traits or properties a Supreme Deity or Maximally Greatest Being would have. Physicists refrain since the list in question makes little if any physical sense, AP Physics as we’re about to discover. Much of what follows stems from an on-line debate I had with my old ‘friend’ the “Accidental Meta-Physician”. While I admire his all gun’s blazing theological faith, his physics leaves a lot to be desired.
Author’s Note: Rather than name names and thus include and exclude certain gods from various theologies, I’ll just use an all-encompassing phrase “Supreme Deity” or “SD”. Persons of differing faiths can substitute their own specific deity as they wish.
According to one well known modern religious theologian, William Lane Craig, the entity (i.e. – Supreme Deity) behind the creation of the Universe had to have been itself uncaused, beginning-less, changeless, eternal, timeless, space-less, an immaterial all-powerful being who is a personal agent, endowed with freedom of the will. Hopefully, by the time you’ve reached the conclusion of this essays, these characteristics will be viewed as total nonsense.
PHYSICS: DEBATING THE EXISTENCE OF A SUPREME DEITY
“Things”, like a Supreme Deity (SD), would have certain properties. Things with certain properties have structure and substance. Things with structure and substance are physical things. Physical things can have an effect on other physical things. Non-physical things, like Wednesday, have no structure and substance. The concept of Wednesday cannot have any physical effect on say a billiard ball. A billiard ball cannot have any effect on the concept of Wednesday. So, non-physical things (concepts) cannot affect physical things, and vice-versa. Since a SD, being, according to some theologies, a non-physical entity (a concept with no structure and substance), cannot therefore have any effect on or create or destroy physical things. However, non-physical concepts can have an effect on other non-physical concepts. The concept of a SD might give some the concept to be a more moral person, but that is not imposed on anyone by a non-physical SD but rather that morality comes from within. A physical deity of course could tell you to be moral or else physical consequences will follow.
If the Universe was say composed of a total of 1000 atoms, then any Supreme Deity (SD) who created the Universe couldn’t be composed of any atoms otherwise the sum total of atoms in the Universe would add up to more than 1000. Thus any SD, any supernatural creator, must be non-physical according to some theists. Unlike theists, I say that the non-physical cannot create the physical. Not even a SD can create something from nothing, especially if that Supreme Deity was also non-physical.
Once upon a time there was this Supreme Deity, who was non-physical, who was eternal but not infinite. For some unknown and unexplained reason(s), He / She / It decided* somewhere on down the track, to create a physical universe, complete with life and just everything. How do you do that if you have nothing physical to work with? Even if this SD were physical in and of itself, it wouldn’t have any raw materials from which to work on or with. So, here’s a variation on some standard cosmology. The SD – a physical SD – literally went all to pieces, came apart at the seams, and scattered Himself / Herself / Itself into the void and became as one with the Universe. The SD is the Universe and goes by the name of Mother Nature!
*How you can decide anything if you are non-physical and lack any neurological infrastructure or system is quite beyond me.
So here we have this omnipotent entity, this Supreme Deity (SD), who is non-physical, who has existed for all eternity (but not infinitely so which seems a contradiction to me but apparently not to religious theologians), and in a timeless state to boot. Then for some totally unexplained reason this entity crossed over the Rubicon into time by creating a physical cosmos, but not an infinite cosmos; created it out of absolutely nothing for no apparently good reason other than “what the heck; why not; I’m bored” (my quotes). Do you, the reader, have any comprehension of how utterly ridiculous that sounds? If you came across that scenario or concept for the very first time in a novel, you’d be right to question the author’s sanity or their drug use.
Timelessness is a ridiculous impossibility since that would require an operating temperature of absolute zero (negating any possible change, therefore motion taking place, therefore making the concept of time meaningless). A state of absolute zero is not actually achievable. If you have even the smallest amount of change, therefore motion, you have time. I wish those advocating pockets of timelessness might, using their powers of philosophical deduction, point out a place(s) in the Cosmos that currently exist(s) in a state of timelessness.
The transition from a state of timelessness to a state of time by anyone is impossible since a change (a mental thought, electrons in motion at the minimum is required) would of had to have occurred while still in a timeless state which cannot be. You have to think of going from your timeless state into a state of time before you actually do it.
Further, it’s an impossibility to create an absolute something from an absolute nothing, especially if you are non-physical to begin with.
An actual non-physical thing is nonsense. A “thing” here is an actual something with substance and structure. Non-physical ‘things’ are just mental concepts without associated substance and structure. One can imagine a Santa Claus of course, but that Santa is non-physical. That non-physical Santa cannot make a transition from that mental state of non-physicality ‘reality’ into a physical reality. That equally applies to the mental concept of a non-physical Maximally Great Being. As in the case of Santa, just because you can imagine it doesn’t of necessity make it so in a physical reality.