Could Christianity and Judaism accept an eternal universe?

Well one of the most obvious is the separate and distinct person of Jesus. But I think most theologians can come up with other things that exist by necessity like God. Only contingent things are created.

If you are conceiving of the eternal being who was incarnate in Christ as someone entirely distinct, separate, and existing entirely and completely independently of the being we call “God,” then you are describing tri-theism (multiple independent gods), not traditional Trinitarian Christianity.

If that is your belief, then that is fine, but it certainly is not the belief about a triune God as expressed in the historic creeds of the church.

This theologian cannot, nor can any that I am familiar with. All theologians of my familiarity would deny the necessity of anything apart from God alone.

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My belief is the original doctrine of the Trinity that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three separate and distinct persons, but only one God. This is clearly NOT any kind of tri-theism since theism refers to God and thus the only one God means monotheism not tri-theism. My claim that Jesus is not created is simply a rejection of Arianism and others who teach that Jesus is a created being.

I do not believe that “a triune God” is ever spoken of in the historic creeds of the church. This is an alteration by inadequate teachers who end up teaching modalism with their analogies demonstrating only their poor understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity.

You have a limited familiarity then – only read the teachings of your own sect do you? Here is a standard discussion of the topic. And before you jump to easy convenient strawmen to with your eagerness to condemn others, I am not in any way shape or form any kind of Platonist but a strong opponent anything even remotely similar to the ideas of Plato.

But if you are wondering where I fit into the spectrum described in that link. I probably don’t fit. I would agree that necessarily existing abstracta are grounded in God. I am a nominalist in the sense that I don’t think universals exist apart from particulars, but that doesn’t mean I am theistic nominalist as described in that article, because I would consider God to be the particular by which necessary abstracta exist. It also doesn’t mean I agree with your claim that God is the only thing which exists by necessity because I reject the teaching of divine simplicity as nonsense.

Very well, then, but then the person of the son is not a separate example, apart from God, of something that exists eternally or by necessity.

Hence, then, to clarify my original question: What, besides God’s own being, are those things we can name that God did not create?

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Are you objecting to the English word “triune”? It is merely the adjectival form of “trinity”, no? Or is it the language of “one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity” to which you object?

There are various entities which, if they exist, would be candidates for necessary beings: God, propositions, relations, properties, states of affairs, possible worlds, and numbers, among others. Note that the first entity in this list is a concrete entity, while the rest are abstract entities.

This article is discussing the question of necessary abstract ideas and concepts (God being the only candidate for a concrete necessary being). And an interesting rabbit trail, but one I’m not interested in discussing, and one not related to this thread. Certainly there are abstract concepts that many theologians consider to be necessary and thus eternal. But I don’t think that has anything to do with Reggie’s question, or my response, which was limited to the question of merely the universe itself or anything whatsoever within it.

Thus I maintain what I said before, if it seems I need to clarify it: All theologians of my familiarity would deny the necessity of any concrete thing apart from God alone.

No.

If Revelation claims that God is the Alpha and Omega, I’m not sure how that would work for something to predate God.

None of those are in the creeds or in the Bible either.

But now you are the one straying from the topic, which was about the fact that the universe is not something the Bible specifically mentions as something God created. It is conceivable that someone might consider the universe aside from everything in it as something which exists of necessity (something which has always existed). This is a natural part of the discussion topic about the possibility of an eternal universe since clearly we know that the things in the universe did not always exist.

But such are the intellectual knots we are likely to get ourselves into when we embark a discussion of counterfactual possibilities. It is of rather dubious value to sure. The point is however that Christianity as a whole IS NOT so rigid and brainless as some like flat earth society that it cannot handle the scientific facts, even if there are a few so willfully ignorant that they will ignore all the evidence to insist on unreasonable claims which do not agree with the objectively observable facts.

Forgive my confusion; should I assume you don’t consider the Athanasian Creed to be “one of the Creeds”?

Correct. It is not one of the creeds agreed to by an ecumenical council. But thank you for pointing that one out, so now I know where that distortion came from.

Unless the universe was a pre-existing “box”, then God created the box. If it was a pre-existing “box” then it came from a source besides God. The point of necessity for any imaginable item, tangible or abstract is besides the point.

God claims there is nothing in God’s existence beside God. If there are multiple universes, then they are still in the “box” of created items. Jesus did claim there were multiple created “boxes” or one “box” with many aspects.

Saying that God is a Spirit insinuating that spiritual beings are not created is misleading. Everything that is considered spiritual is still an active part of this universe, just unseen/unobservable to physical humans. God is still separate from all this created universe including both physical and spiritual aspects.

To say otherwise, including an eternal universe with out a beginning or end, meaning it may not at any point cease to exist, is placing an item beside God that is of necessity equal with God. Otherwise the universe is one “thought” in the mind of God that can come and go. It was not created, but exist as a thought contained within this eternal being we call God.

I think the western view has been God created a finite universe and is both outside and a sustaining force in maintaining the universe.

Yes and no. Theoretically I would say that science does not differ from theology because they both come from the same source, God. On the other hand we do have instances where there are differences and they need to be resolved which can be either way.

Take the example of the multiverse. I would say that there is a contradiction here between scientific theory and theological fact, but not really because the multiverse has not been verified. It is still speculation, so cannot be consider real or scientifically true.

How is the multiverse in contradiction with a theological fact? Which theological fact is this?

The multiverse, if it would happen to exist, is hidden. We have no way of experiencing it. While God is some sense is hidden, God is basically known in that God reveals Godself to us. We know Who God Is. God is not secretive as Multiverse would indicate. Multiverse conflicts with the character of God as God reveals Godself.

Multiverse weeks to explain how our universe has the large number of constants required to having the living universe that we have. What they came up with the idea that somehow the universes were produces in a random manner so that somehow all of the possible variables were combined in all possible ways so that at least one will work. Hit or miss, but almost entirely miss.

This is a very strange manner for the all knowing and wise God to act! Some people may thank that this is how evolution works, but that is untrue. Our world is not a series of failed worlds, but a series of complete worlds that lead to new and more interesting worlds.

God did not have to use evolution to create us and our world. Most people would probably use this long drawn out process, but God probably does not see it this way. The point is that while God does things God’s own way, evolution is in keeping with God’s character when we look at the big picture, and it is not out of God’s character, while Multiverse is.

We probably can’t experience it. Though perhaps we might have ways of measuring it. Thanks for aiming to clarify what you mean and you’re probably right that some people view the multiverse as a sort of god. But just because some people do that doesn’t mean that the multiverse is like god or has any godlike properties.

The multiverse in itself solves nothing but you specifically need to have a cosmological multiverse of sorts and then some theory like string theory that describes how fundamental constants are determined in the first place. Because the string theory landscape is so large, it is natural to hypothesize that our universe is one of the choices but that might not necessarily be true. And while you might not need any encouragement, there are some atheist physicists that think the multiverse is like a religion (at present at least).

However, it is at least theoretically possible that some of these bubbles collide as they expand. This would mean that what is now our observable universe had, when we look back in time, not one seed, but two or more that later came to join. From the article you cited

The article says that it might be possible that “some” bubbles, if they exist at all, might collide and join together and thus be observable and seems to assume that our universe would be one of them. Lottery anyone? What difference would it make if true?

Why do we “need to have a cosmological multiverse of sorts?” To explain from where the finely tuned constants come? Who says that they cannot come from nothing or from God?

It seems that the string theory does not determine how constants are determined, but points to the structure of our universe, which in turn points to the possible structures of other possible universes. Thus as before the anthropic principle points to the structure of our universe which support supports life, but does not mean that there must be other universes that do not support life.

The article you sited does not say that the multiverse is a religion, but simply that it is not science, which is exactly what I am saying. The only question is why do many scientists insist that the multiverse exists without verification, rather than a simple Big Bang which has scientific, philosophical, and theological verification?

I heard an analogy I found thoughtful, somewhat silly but still making a reasonable point… imagine playing cards with a group of friends, when we notice that one of them deals himself a royal flush every time he deals.

One is tempted to protest that he is cheating, but being well versed in theoretical physics as we are, we realize that, given the multiverse and the infinite possible worlds and parallel universes, then there are in fact an infinite number of possible worlds and universes where, just by sheer force of infinite probability, he deals himself a royal flush every time he deals, and perhaps we just happen to exist in one of those universes.

However, I think most of us in the real world would be content to conclude our friend is cheating.

That to me is the most cogent or persuasive argument [or not … as I guess I just answered it below] against parallel universes (or at least the conception of them that has every possible existing one actually existing.) The fact that we can actually be sure that something fishy is going on with our royal flush-dealing friend is a sign that we already intuitively know this.

[though the easy answer to the above is that in 99.999…% of all those universes where your dealer friend is dealing, he would not be dealing royal flushes - so I guess I’ve just dismissed my own objection since we should still be shocked to find ourselves in one of these rare royal flush-happy universes. Still our universe seems to stick with some amazingly stubborn consistencies, and there is something fishy about that. Be that as it may be, I still consider the whole concept a pretty silly one, not worth suffering any intellectual angst over.]

Also keep in mind though, that the comparison between your seemingly “lucky” friend and evolution is a flawed one. To make it something closer to right, we should have your friend institute a new way to deal his cards - yes, randomly at first, but then he insists on getting to keep certain ones perhaps for varying reasons as the process continues, and he throws most of them back in the deck and keeps dealing, selecting, and shuffling as he goes. Now it is not so surprising at all that a player or two “ends up” with things like a royal flush.

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Well, I was only discussing multiverse, I wasn’t talking evolution at all… but since you brought it up…

I’d humbly suggest there is the “teleological flaw” in your analogy there, and thus we have a great analogy which supports and demonstrates intelligent design and intelligent, teleological purpose…! :open_mouth:

… but blind evolution doesn’t select or reject mutations based on whether or not they will help arrive at a distant target. In fact, poker is probably a most excellent example.

Just off the top of my head (unless I’m missing something), I’m inclined to think that using analogous Natural selection and minute improvements and blind mutations/substitutions, while weighing their relative “fitness” in poker, will still rarely arrive at a royal flush.

If I set up a computer simulator, took a random poker hand, and set it up to repeatedly replace a random single card with another, but then revert to the previous hand if the “new hand” was less fit than its predecessor (but keep the new hand if it was as or more “fit” than the predecessor)… consider the outcomes…

Once you had a hand with any pair, my simulator would keep that pair (or evolve to a better/higher pair) in the vast, vast majority of cases (any case where you discarded one of those pair would almost certainly make the hand less fit unless it evolved to getting a card that created a higher pair… except in some very, very rare cases where that would lead to a flush or straight). It would “increase fitness” by replacing some of the other cards, eventually leading to a hand with two pair or perhaps 3ofakind… continue that process and you eventually get either a full house or 4ofakind… and even a full house could incrementally evolve to 4 of a kind in this process, discarding one of the full house’s pair for one that gives a 4 of a kind… but at that point you cease… any card you discard from 4ofakind will without exception make said hand less fit long, long before you adjust enough to find a path to a straight flush. In this process, for instance, even having 4 Jacks could never evolve into having 4 Kings, however more fit 4 Kings might be… since the path from 4 Jacks to 4 Kings (or a royal flush) requires multiple steps of said hand becoming significantly less fit before getting on the path to the higher fitness. Blind evolution doesn’t work against immediate fitness in order to achieve even more fit distant teleological targets.

Only if you started with a straight or flush (roughly 0.6% chance - or very fortuitously and randomly found that before finding a pair from nothing… a very rare occurrence) would you find yourself on the evolutionary “path” to a Royal Flush would your process work. Once you have a flush, this process would keep the flush (rejecting swaps that create a simple pair) and eventually you get a straight flush and then evolve to a royal flush. And similarly, once you have a straight, this evolutionary process would allow such beneficial substitutions as would allow eventual single step substitutions to a royal flush.

But essentially, I can only see this working in those far more rare cases where you randomly in your hand start with a flush or straight. Blind Evolution even aided by this artificial natural selection doesn’t even notice if you have “almost” a flush or straight. It only cares if the offspring is more fit, not if the parent had “most” of the genes/cards that would lead to a real advance.

So ballpark figures on the math, given an evolutionary algorithm of swapping out cards and keeping the fitter result or reverting to the immediate ancestor, And letting the process run, I’m still thinking that even this process could arrive at a royal flush in only < 1% of cases. In the other 99% of cases, the evolutionary pathway will dead end at 4 of a kind. Not bad of course, but no royal flush.

So even using a process of swapping out cards as you suggested… Dealing a Royal flush every time would still require intelligent agency and teleological purpose. A blind process of substitution however guided by stepwise natural selection could simply not accomplish that particular achievement.

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Perhaps a better game to look at for a metaphor to evolution is Yahtzee. In that you get to keep some dice and re roll the rest to make the best possible hand, but you have a lot of end points that might give you points, with the possibilities and best course changing with each roll of the dice.

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I share in the anticipatory excitement! Bring it on!

Yep. So far so good. Evolution can’t be “distant-goal-directed”

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Well - if “royal flush” means just good enough that something successfully reproduces and its offspring survive to reproduce more … and what does “rarely” mean? Over some “possibility spaces”, “rarely” might mean that something happens quite often. But I realize that this is just begging the question and that all these are ill defined terms. A poker (or any game) analogy can probably only be pressed so far.

Your point is well-taken that stepping up through successively more valuable poker hands is going to be problematic at some points. But that just shows the weakness of our chosen analogy and doesn’t reflect on real-life evolutionary drift.

The way we set this up - maybe so - I’ll even concede it without flushing it out any more (so-to-speak). But while we are still attached to our project here I would also note that evolution probably does not need “royal flushes” every time (and certainly not suddenly from scratch). That would sound more like a caricature from creationists who labor under the misconception that intricately functioning systems as we now see them had to “spring up” at once from an a-biotic muck, or fall together at once from a vastly more primitive system before it. That still ends up being more like the microscopic version of the “hopeful monster” caricature of evolution.

I know this is off topic for this thread. But if we want to persist in this and deem it worth it, we can certainly make it the start of a new one.