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athgarvan

Is the Universe Infinite and at the same time Created?

cosmosSo asks one of my LJ friends on seeing Hubble's last photo on its Advent Calendar for 2013. As a Christian and a Catholic I, of course, answer "Yes".

This brings us back to Paley's (1802) old 'Watchmaker analogy' or 'Proof from Design'. Paley's watchmaker argument basically says that if you find a watch lying on the ground in nature, you would know it had been designed in contrast to all of the natural things around it. He argues that this is because the watch is so "complex", and that because the universe is also complex, that means it too must have been designed.


But José Luis Cordeiro claims all manner of futuristic stuff including a prediction that 2045 will be the year when "we will reach hardware and software immortality". He says: "Remember, our brains are the product of random evolution and we are creating things by design". Notice the complete reversal of the 'watchmaker analogy'.

It's a bit too soon after Christmas however to venture down that road!

Comments

Wow, this is deep, so much so I'm not sure I quite get your point here, so sorry if my comment is off-base.

My thoughts on this are... complicated. I essentially see God as being part of nature, so while the earth was created by natural forces, God was still part of that.

As far as the universe being infinite, sometimes I believe it must go in cycles, just as life itself does. Everything has a beginning and an end, but something else comes along to be where that thing was. Does that make sense? I don't think it negates the possibility of God at all.

Olbers' paradox

The Universe is either finite in size, finite in age, or not homogenous.

If it were all three, we would be surrounded by a series of concentric sphere, each one which contribute an equal amount of starlight to reach us -- the farther away ones would have exactly enough more stars to counteract their distance -- and since the series is infinite, the sky would be ablaze with an infinite amount of light.

For those who like to think about it, it's fun. Challenging even.
But does it really matter?
So many immediate things matter so greatly
When did we see you hungry. naked, oppressed?
The prophets cried steadily for justice.
There is so much work to be done.
The argument leaves out the influence of processes - entropy, evolution by natural selection, accident, erosion, decay, quantum theory, relativity, string theory, and chaos theory.

The universe is a thing of wonder, but the more we learn and the more complex it becomes, the more the need for a creator diminishes. And there has always been the question of what created the creator... If a creator can spring into existence, why can't the universe?
Recommended reading: Michio Kaku, Hyperspace: a scientific odyssey through parallel universes, time warps, and the 10th dimension. Oxford University Press, 1994.
Speaking as a biologist, a watch, in fact any technology, is far less complex than the natural stuff around it. Just the natural stuff looks simpler because all that complexity is where we can't see it at the microscopic level.

To extend that analogy... the universe is so much more wonderful and complex and amazing than religion paints it. I mean, which is more amazing.. some Great Sky Fairy waved a magic wand and everything *poof*ed into existence... or a process of incremental change over billions of years, influenced by events both tiny and vast...

The Creator exists...and the universe is It.
We're just a part of that, trying to understand itself.
I like this comment, and at the mystical level, i feel that it is right on. If we make no distinctions at all, the problem of creation and creator disappears.

Still though, i slip into dualistic thinking since i imagine that justice and common sense require making distinctions. When this happens theological issues reemerge.

Certainly, the God who "created heaven and earth," can not satisfy my doubts, my wonder, or my need to understand. My need to understand will never be met but the urge to understand carries me way beyond "monotheism." "polytheism" or "atheism."
Dualistic thinking is the product of man's mind.. it's a useful tool at times, but it is nonetheless just a product of our minds. But then, so is reality. Still, best not to confuse the map with the landscape.

My personal point of view is that the profoundest act of worship is to try to understand.

In this effort, whatever tool works best is the one you use. Religion was originally an attempt to understand the universe, which has been superseded by science [in some respects] but which does not address other matters.