Nature and Super-Nature: Part 3

Ex nihilo nihil fit. Out of nothing, nothing comes. One of the great questions of our existence is why there is something rather than nothing. Why does anything exist? As this Latin phrase suggests, if ever there was a point where absolutely nothing existed, then that state of nothingness would still be the case. Therefore, something must be eternally self-existent. That is the logical quandary we find ourselves in.

We exist today. That is unquestionable. We can trace that existence to its immediate causes and those causes to their preceding causes and so on all the way back to the creation of our universe. There empirical information stops and we are forced to think about the First Cause. The First Cause is the uncaused cause, the first link in the chain of causes that eventually leads to our own existence. Reason tells us that such a first cause must have the characteristic of eternal self-existence. It is uncreated. It exists because it exists. For almost two millennia Christians have argued that this First Cause is God.

 Here I have to disagree with my brethren and agree with nonbelievers that the First Cause argument for God is not compelling. The uncaused cause could be something unthinking and impersonal. Most nonbelievers would simply (and conveniently) describe that eternally existing entity as nature; or following the distinction I suggest from string theory, some element of super-nature. In fact, every scenario I have seen that hypothesizes about the ultimate source of our existence begins with something already existing: a field, a symmetry, etc. Thus I would point out that our disagreement lies not in the eternal nature of the first cause, but rather in whether or not that first cause has a personality.

This brings us to the question of consciousness. What is it that makes us a person? The typical assertion made by the nonbeliever is that consciousness is derived from nothing more than material transactions. All it takes is enough of the right kind of connections and the sentient mind emerges. Self-awareness, identity, ego, will, all these appear naturally from the arrangement and interaction of the physical components of our brain. If that is so, is there any reason to think that effect should be confined to our three-dimensional universe? Assuming the larger reality of the ten-dimensional multi-verse of string theory, why would we not expect the same potential there?  String theory, even in its currently primitive form, certainly formulates both structures and connections interacting on a scale far beyond the paltry 80 billion neurons of our own brains. It is hardly nonsensical to imagine an abundant potential for a super-consciousness to arise.

If the natural state is for something to exist rather than nothing, and if that something is in fact the state described by string theory with interconnected, multi-dimensional structures, why wouldn’t we expect a superior form of consciousness to emerge? Why wouldn’t a ten-dimensional mind be able to think, plan, create and control on a scale far beyond that conceivable to the confines of our own three-dimensional brains?  

Now, I want to be careful here not to overstate my case. I do not argue that this is how God exists. I merely point out that this possibility is sufficient to fit the Christian view of God into the framework generated by scientific inquiry. It is a sufficient explanation, but not necessarily the only explanation. If this one way exists, there may be other ways as well. The point is, you can take everything we have discovered through science and God still fits neatly into the midst of it. That is how you would expect it to be. That is how it has always been. That is how it will always be.         



2 thoughts on “Nature and Super-Nature: Part 3

  1. I appreciate the insight, balance and thoughtful tentativeness presented in this post. As believers we are neither slaves to reason alone, nor fideistic wishful thinking. IMO this is reflective of the healthy way forward through our unravelling culture… Or at least in the corner of apologetic discourse.

    • Thanks for your kind comments. We do have to find a way of challenging the assumption that religious belief is out of touch. It is just as relevant and as needed now as it has ever been.

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