Is the Universe Emergent?

Pax Christi, Everyone!

Do you believe the universe to be emergent; if so, from what?

Off the top I’d say from whatever came before. What I wonder is what is “emergent” supposed to mean exactly in this context? Is there a synonym which comes closest to covering it? The sense I get is it implies whatever is emergent somehow appeared in a manner discontinuous with prior states. If that is what is meant, how are we to know what is or is not continuous with what preceded it? How complete is the record?

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No. I believe the universe was created by God.

But for those who do believe it to be emergent the sensible answer would be from natural law.

Certainly a great deal of the universe does emerge from the laws of nature. But I think the laws of nature were designed to accomplish this. So when I say I believe God created the universe I do not think He did so in the manner of a sculptor or ruler. The descriptions in the Bible are simply according to metaphors which people could understand and I don’t think that is what actually happened.

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I should probably be more specific: do you think that the universe emerged from a mind; I believe that a mind certainly created it, but I am asking a question about the Idealist perspective that I am currently wondering about.

I think “a mind” is too specific and seeks to impose what we know from our own frame of reference on something broader. Consciousness is definitely associated with our brain and that is where we think of our mind as residing. But every organism displays some degree of consciousness and most don’t have brains. Having consciousness ourselves provides us with insights into the phenomenon but also prejudices us towards the way it is for us.

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You might have seen before where I’ve mentioned that I like the suggestion that QM may be hinting that the fundamental reality of the universe might be information. The mind of God certainly fits that! I’m not sure I would label it as necessarily ‘emergent’ though, in what that usually connotes. The word ‘created’ definitely applies, and the words are distinctly different. There is artistry and engineering involved, and I don’t associate those terms with the impersonal ‘emergent’ implication.

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