Revising Genesis

Either our universe is infinite or it is finite in an infinite void. Or there are an infinite number of infinite universes, each within an infinite void. Human cognition is unable to contemplate the universe without taking recourse to the infinite. Infinite is just a label. Invoking the infinite is merely acknowledging that human comprehension is finite and that some things are incomprehensible. So, all creation stories, whether based on physics or on theology, are stories by finite minds pretending to comprehend what is incomprehensible. They are all intrinsically self-contradictory in that they are all reduced to first acknowledging incomprehensibility and then explaining the incomprehensible. A scientific “infinite” is identical in incomprehensibility to a theological “divine”.

Either there was a purposeful creation event or there was purposeless happenstance. The truly random is not just without any discernible cause, it is without any possibility of there being any cause. The brute reality of our finite minds is that while our minds can rationalise and accept things without discernible cause, we cannot conceive of anything without any cause whatsoever. Invoking such an incomprehensible random, just as invoking the infinite, is an attempt to squeeze incomprehensibility into the finite box of the comprehensible. I observe that even hard determinism or quantum wave theory have their rules. Even purposeless happenstance apparently needs some rules to follow. And where there are rules there is purpose. Random, of course, is without cause or purpose and incomprehensible. Random lies in the laps of the Gods. A cosmologist relying on random events to explain the origins of the universe is no different to a priest invoking God the creator.

One might think it all begins with existence. There is a view that time and causality emerge from a randomly appearing existence. And that the capability of existing, in itself, is either the collapsing of the Great Quantum Wave Function that rules them all, or a creation of an already existing God. A self-creating God or a self-generating Quantum Wave Function are just labels for incomprehensibilities. I find both alternatives self-contradictory and unconvincing. They both assert incomprehensibilities which they then try to confine within the box of comprehensibility. I note that human comprehension, whether in attempting a scientific explanation or in describing a Divine creation, always resorts to a sequence of events. To have a sequence requires time, whatever time may be, to be flowing.

And so I make a stab at revising the Genesis sequence.

First comes the Flow of Time.

What time is remains a mystery but the first act of creation is to set it flowing. Note that the flow of time does not need existence. To be, however, requires that time be flowing. Time itself, whatever it is, is a prerequisite for the flow of time and the flow of time is prerequisite for existence.  The velocity of time flow clearly is variable, goes from zero to something, and can not be a constant. An event, of any kind, needs time to be flowing. (There is a level of unavoidable circularity here. Setting time to flow is itself an event). Things, of any kind, need the flow of time as a backdrop against which to exist.

Second comes the Capability for Existence.

For even the concept of existence to be imaginable, it needs that the flow of time be ongoing. It needs to be present as a permanent moving backdrop. The potential for some particular kind of existence then appears, or is created, only when some particular rules of existence are defined and implemented. These rules of existence must therefore also be in place before the concept of things, whether abstract or material or otherwise, can be conjured up.

Third comes the Implementation of the Rules of Existence.

It is easiest to conceive of rules governing existence in our universe as requiring a Guiding Intelligence, but it is not at all inconceivable that they emerge as a consequence of time having been set flowing. It is in these rules that causality manifests to link – and constrain – all events and things against the backdrop of flowing time. Whereas an event is defined by the flowing of time, it is the rules of existence which define the type of things (space, energy, matter, dark things, thoughts and concepts) that can exist. Invoking a Creator God or the Great Quantum Wave Function come as labels for this third step where the Rules of Existence are implemented. They are both merely labels for the incomprehensible.

Once time is flowing, rules of existence have been defined and these rules have been implemented, existence emerges. Causality rules. Things (matter, energy, fields, universes) emerge. But all these emergent characteristics do not lead inevitably to the emergence of Life. Mere Existence does not explain how Life comes to be.

Fourth comes Life.

From Life emerges finite brains and bodies and consciousness and thoughts and cognition and comprehension. And then come the self-contradictory stories about the comprehensible beginnings of the incomprehensible. 

And the rest is history.


 


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