Sunday, June 26, 2011

Epiphanot

Life often affords only a tenuous grasp on reality, but some would tighten their grip to a stranglehold in the hope of gaining a firmer attachment to it; squeezing not just with the gray-matter-bound tendons of perception, but sympathetically with bulging temple veins, clenched teeth, and irritated bowels. They would destroy what they know of reality rather than let it slip away.

Unfortunately many of the people with this manic compulsion have both an internet connection, and a firm faith in a theist god. The reality they want to hold onto is one where their god and the machinery of existence platonically cohabitate. As the theist ages they realize that these two entities will never get married. There is no real sense of commitment between the two. God is going to leave and abandon sanity for reality to raise on its own. God rarely provides sanity support after he leaves.

However, there are those moments when everything seems to fit. Reality and god appear meant for each other.  The last puzzle piece of a great picture slides perfectly into place. This is what is meant by knowledge! This is the unknowable pathway to perfect truth! This defines the ultimate purpose for mankind! All history leads up to this time of knowing! The physical forces of reality begin to curve around the brand new node of pure thought that has spontaneously winked into being somewhere in your temporal lobe! A new eye opens and sees for the first time!

That means that our whole solar system could be, like one tiny atom in the fingernail of some other giant being. This is too much! That means one tiny atom in my fingernail could be...” – From the movie “Animal House

Then the night gets old, and sleep comes. The morning (or perhaps late afternoon) sun finds that you have come down (sometimes literally) from the mountain. You realize that your epiphany was an epiphanot.

I once had the awkward pleasure of having a very literally minded Lutheran minister explain to me how plate tectonics proved that the world was only 6,000 years old. He said the idea "just came to him", and that it was perfect. God had stored up all this water underground, and when he released the water it formed a lubricant that the plates slid all over the globe on.

I had him repeat it a couple of times just to be sure I got the gist correct. He corrected me when I asked incredulously to clarify that he thought all the plates slid all over the globe in just forty days!

“No” he said “It was more like 24 hours...or less”

Though this may remain one of the best theories I have ever had seriously pitched at me a great contender surfaced yesterday.

It started with a assertion:

“The apparent contradiction [between the biblical 6,000 year old creation time-span and science's 14 billionish time-span] arises from the assumption that the creation of the universe will be at the beginning of the timeline of history, with no past behind it. But that can't be true. ….. So the creation of time would inherently involve the creation of a past as well as a present and future.”

Which, after several thousand words, was clarified a couple of times. Here is one clarification (just to polish to a nice shine this precious gem):

"I do think that the creation story in Genesis does not contradict mainstream science's view of the history of the universe. The six-day creation may have been the creation of a universe with a past, present, and future. In fact, it must have been that, because time can have no conceptual boundary or starting point. So, for example, when the sun was created, it may have been created not merely with a present and a future, but also with a past. This seems entirely plausible to me biblically and philosophically, and as long as it is, I don't think there is a contradiction between Genesis and an old earth, etc."


This is a Calvinist cosmology. At least it is Calvinist if we place some stringent and mundane controls on god's ability to create. If we simply examine god's abilities on the evidence of what he is postulated to be capable of things get way-cool. This logic actually allows god to make himself. All god needs to do is get around to making himself with enough past so that he has time to get around to making himself.

There are things we cannot be too sure about. God might not have gotten around to making the universe yet. We could be living in a future that is about to be created at some past time. This could explain the appalling lack of miracles. Perhaps god has been too busy trying to make enough time to create himself, and therefore has not gotten around to making the future we are living in now.

When god finally gets around to that special time 6,000 years ago so that he can make the universe the way the bible says I'm sure things will not only be radically different, but they will have been the same forever.

I hope that when god gets around to writing the bible we have been reading forever he leaves out Leviticus.


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