What would be the implications for Christianity if the cyclic universe were proven true?
Even if it could be proven we are living in a black hole, and given how probable it is that the universe can recombine via a random quantum event in the heat death of the universe, there is still the problem of an infinite number of events in time or objects in space.
Now the universe may begin in the present, and proceed to a past infinity, such that it can appear cyclic. Christianity aside, what if you could look so far out into space that you see yourself looking back at you?
Panentheists would be fine. Just an expression of God’s eternal nature.
That’s an enormous hypothetical and likely only a thought experiment with a lot of conjectural aspects to it. I would however of course expect it to be a preferred conjecture for the other-than-theists among us. We’re still safe in knowing that there is a Beginner and a beginning (especially since time collapses to nothing retrospectively in spacetime), and I do not believe this or any other cosmos or even make-believe chain of them possesses aseity as does God.
It depends on whether you are a Christian with
- a tiny Christianity, earth, and mankind centered God, or…
- an infinite God quite capable of creating and interacting with an infinite number of worlds with beings of an infinite variety in an infinite number of universes with an infinite number of religions.
I am definitely in the latter category.
It doesn’t mean I don’t think it is impossible that we are the only ones. It is possible though perhaps unlikely. And for all those other beings on other worlds or universes, I don’t see why Christianity would have anything whatsoever to do with them.
- I had to refresh my ancient and limiter memory of what a cyclical universe is:
- A cyclic model (or oscillating model)
- What would this cyclic model of the universe mean for the Big Bang?
- Having refreshed my memory, I am reminded why I am so grateful to God: that I survived the late 1960s and early 1970s and Alice’s pills.
It must be hard for those raised and taught equating the Bible with the whole of reality, thinking that they are the center of this heavenly dome under which there is only the earth. Why they must think they are the focus of God’s attention and God is ready to obey their every command. What will they do with their ego when they learn they are not the center of the universe but only a small speck next to a vast galaxy filled with such a great number of stars and planets like their own, and this only one galaxy out of an even greater number of galaxies in the universe? I suppose they have to switch from looking down their nose at non-Christians to being a atheists looking down their nose at all the Christians in the world.
Are you maybe dumping on hypothetical people? Those who have studied (including non-Christians) how unique the location of the earth is and all of its goldilocks attributes could readily disagree with what seems to be a rant. Michael Strauss for one, an elementary particle physicist:
For years I’ve maintained my notion that there should be an intelligent race in each galaxy, but Strauss’ article makes me think I may be optimistic.
You may be overly optimistic about this galaxy.
Although plenty of people, many not on Biblical grounds, like to think that the universe is centered on them, the idea that such sentiment caused resistance to heliocentrism is a myth. Considering whether, in a geocentric model, “down there” or “up there” is a better place to be (e.g., in the Divine Comedy) shows that being away from the center would have been a promotion into the heavens. Ptolemy’s geocentric astronomy treatise, the standard medieval reference, points out that the earth is just a speck compared with the distance to the stars. There was resistance to heliocentrism on other grounds, such as the fact that Bruno made it a part of his obnoxious, egotistical, mystical, heretical ranting, but not because of egotistical desire to be in the center.
On the main topic, as others have already noted, it seems very difficult to prove (or disprove) a cyclic universe or any other multiverse-type idea. However, our universe seems to be on a one-way trip towards heat death rather than having any prospect of cycling. Earth certainly shows a linear, contingent pattern of history with a beginning and an end, fitting well with the biblical picture and contradicting Enlightenment fashion for cyclic ideas.
I don’t know why you think such models have anything to do with what I said. The question is why do people think things like aliens or a cyclical universe is a problem for Christianity? And nothing you have said changes my opinion that it comes from thinking everything revolves around the earth, mankind, and Christianity. After all, the same attitude is frequently shown in dealings with other religions – the conceit that God must belong to their religion alone.
And this also has absolutely NOTHING to do with whether there are any aliens or a cyclical universe. I think our solar system is pretty unique and I don’t think 13.8 billion years is so long considering all that has to happen before life is possible. And likewise, I think all the evidence is against the cyclical universe hypothesis. But the point was I see absolutely no reason why either of these possibilities should be a threat to Christianity – and the considerable small mindedness I see routinely demonstrated to me by many Christians seems a likely reason for this notion.
Unless there’s something to the “loss of metric” business.
I agree that such things should not be considered a problem for Christianity. There’s also the ill-considered kneejerk reaction to “This shows that Christianity is wrong!” “Then it must not be true!” rather than “Why do you think that’s a problem for Christianity?” I’m not sure that the average bad anti-Christian arguer is less locally centered in their thinking than the average bad Christian arguer.
Bruno endorsed heliocentrism and the idea of aliens, but it was part of a weird Hermetic mysticism. He was no martyr for science; he was a martyr for the right to obnoxiously insist that everyone acknowledge him as a genius and accept all his claims. Perhaps he could be the patron saint of certain social media. He kept getting turned out of university cities and going on to another. Thus, the response of the Papal authorities did include some excessive rejection of legitimate ideas that Bruno had rolled into his system.
Heliocentrism was not on the official Inquisition naughty list until after Bruno’s trial. We don’t have a full record of the charges, so we don’t know precisely what all was objected to, but certainly being non-Trinitarian would not go over well.
I take it you are speaking of Giordano Bruno. I had never heard of him before. Was he perhaps a stepping stone to the modern view which is neither geocentric or heliocentric? Maybe. On the other hand, he had numerous peculiar notions, like attributing intelligence to celestial bodies as if he was trying to resurrect the polytheism of the Romans and Greeks. As for being Trinitarian? He was so far out of the ballpark of Christian theism, like with the Mormons, theological categorizations are difficult.
This topic was automatically closed 6 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.