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May 06, 2016


What a great quote.

Matt Papa does a wonderful job of turning our eyes toward the Unexplorable Abyss Who is God.

Our Non-Theist friends appeal to their paradigm's ontology of non-designed-design (yeah....) to make demands upon the ontology of the irreducibly designed streaming from the psychology of God.

Our Non-Theist friends live in a universe void of inherent, irreducible intentionality, and therefore in a universe void of any inherent, irreducible design, from top to bottom. Their word “design” describes, in *all* uses, a fiction.

Reality, however, testifies of an entire universe soaked through and through (literally) with inherent, irreducible Good and Good-Minus-Some-Thing (Evil), of a universe constituted of and soaked through with Inherent Intentionality, with Irreducible Final Causes.

The Glory of God breaks through all our syntax.

Modern cosmological models that attempt to explain away a creator like a chance fluctuation in a state of thermodynamic equalibrium fail on this very point that the universe is so incredibly large.

Not only does God reveal his grandeur, he does it in ways that are accessible to people whether they lived 3,000 years ago or today.

I believe when it calls Jesus the savior of the world, the universe is part of the world (Kosmos) he saves. In the New Heavens and Earth there will not be any sin or death. I believe this suggest there will not be any gradual decline.

Another interesting study presently on this board is Ezekiel's Temple. And having looked into Ezekiel, I noticed where the second law of thermodynamics seems to be reversed to the extent that the effect becomes greater than the cause.

That would be where Ezekiel mentions the water that flows from the Temple and eventually grows into a huge impassable river. Just the opposite of how things work.

I believe his Temple symbolizes God since it parallels John's New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation where he calls God the Temple.

So I believe we haven't seen anything yet that compares to what God has in store for us in the saved world (universe).

Critics of Christianity often attempt arguments like this. They all follow the same form of, "If God X, then God would Y." In this case, "If God designed the universe, then God would not have made one so large."

The problem with these arguments, is that if it is even POSSIBLE that God would still Y even though he X, then the argument fails. Amy suggests that God created the great big universe to demonstrate his great big glory to us. Amy doesn't even have to be right, if it is POSSIBLE that Amy is right, then she has defeated the objection.

The burden of proof here is on the critic to show that it is not even possible that God would Y and still be X. In this case, he'd have to show that it is not even possible that God would create such a vast universe and still be the designer of the universe.

Not it matters, but I think I see a typo;

It would take 9.3 billion (9,300,000,000,000) suns to fill Canis Majoris.
9.3 billion is 9,300,000,000

Good stuff and worthy of continued consideration.
Only one "typo" -- One cannot legitimately say "largest in the universe" but only "largest in the known universe". As far as we know it extends far beyond what we can see even through the most powerful telescope.

The Non-Theist's assertion here which attempts to limit adjectives is incredibly uninformed.

Dave's notion (earlier) of "Possible Worlds" which he rightly alludes to is the only scientific option.

Large, small, medium, massive and incomprehensible -- and even more adjectives such as we find in Christian theology relative to New Worlds (and etc.) can be added.

As in:


"....the laws of physics and hence the very character of the universe were completely changed....

....The values of the physical constants, the strengths of the fundamental forces, and the masses of the elementary particles were all different.....

.....New physical laws ruled....."

End quote.

How does that work? Hawking's God Particle helps inform us, though it takes a little work:

[1] The Christian’s explanatory terminus for any Created Order is this: Possible Worlds.

It's a longstanding question, but, whatever the "nature" of Eden turns out to be, we find the "Adamic" standing in Eden between two realities, two natures, one of Eternal Life (on the one hand) and one of a reality saturated with Good and Good-Minus-Some-Thing (Evil) on the other hand.

Without unpacking that, we can rationally and perhaps necessarily say that the "Adamic" and the "Edenic" nature was neither of those possible natures, given that the becoming of such stood further downstream wrapped up within the singular reality of God's created "Imago Dei" which we find in and through all possibilities whatever "world" or "nature" or "universe" is chosen by the "Adamic". Love's necessary constitution of volitional motion within the Adamic cannot -- in any possible world -- outdistance the designs of God within the Imago Dei.

[2] The Christian’s explanatory terminus for Metaphysical Actuality / Being *Period* is, simply, The Necessary Being.

[3] Non-Theism’s singular ocean of elementary footing beneath all of reality carries us to, say, the quantum vacuum which is a “sea of energy that underlies all of physical reality” or into, say, what constitutes the irreducibility of the “singular and seamless continuum of particle (or whatever) in motion” (Debilis), or into (as some incoherently demand), say, a full and complete illusion in an ocean of “Ontological Stasis” wherein temporal becoming is, in fact, fiction.

Side note: The latter is difficult (if not interesting) given that “….even to work through the steps of an argument for the non-existence of change is itself an instance of change. Sensory experience – and thus the observation and experiment on which empirical science rests – presupposes real change. Hence it is incoherent to suggest, as is sometimes done, that relativity shows that change is illusory, since the evidence for relativity presupposes sensory experience and thus change…..” (Feser)

So then we come to possible worlds and Hawking's God Particle:

Whatever the case may be, whatever ocean one wishes to claim as one’s metaphysical ultimate explanatory terminus, whether the quantum vacuum, or the elementary particle, or what must be that pesky seamless continuum of particle (or whatever) in motion, or Hawking’s God Particle and Possible Worlds, or the whole affair of that ocean of illusion and unintelligibility, or whatever, we find in *no* “ocean” anywhere, at all, in no particles of “water” anywhere, at all, in no sodium pump anywhere, at all, the peculiar terminus of irreducible / intrinsic intentionality and the Non-Theist is there again, in all possible worlds, forced to appeal to the absurdity of his own paradigm's non-designed-design / un-designed-designers (...yeah...) as he makes (unjustifiable) demands on the word "design" upon the Christian paradigm's irreducible "Final Causes" in this or that "possible world". In fact whenever the Non-Theist points to this or that X in this or any possible world (etc.) and asserts, "This X here is designed and that X there is not designed" he is asserting what can only break down to, unpack to, a fiction.

To borrow from another: "The concept of "The conservation of X" in the universe is captured, totally, in Physics." Explanatory termini cannot, even in principle, "change".... decrease/increase…. And so on. As such, the very intriguing, evidence based, and reality-tested truth predicate of "The conservation of non-design...from bottom to top..." is, at the end of it all, the only scientific option -- and so also with all the (metaphysical / rational) affairs of irreducible will given what "intentionality" actually *is*.

That corresponds not only to Physics but to the predictions and expectations of Christianity’s metaphysical truth claims.

Should (actual) intrinsic intentionality – and therein intrinsic design / final causes – appear anywhere inside of a universe such as ours, we shall have stumbled upon the contents of that which a universe such as ours cannot contain.

As per Hawking, the God Particle, and Physics, the door into Possible Worlds is wide open and we, at every step, allow Reason as Truth-Finder the freedom to satisfy her relentless demands for logical lucidity "through and through" -- or from, as they say, A to Z.

"I saw this titled “Stephen Hawking: God Particle Could Wipe Out the Universe.” In it, quoting Hawking, it says,

'This could mean that the universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay, with a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light. This could happen at any time and we wouldn’t see it coming.'

What he is talking about is a scenario in what is called physical eschatology that I recently lectured on in our Defenders class on Doctrine of the Last Things. Eschatology is no longer simply a field of theology. Eschatology is now a field of astrophysics, specifically it is part of cosmology. Cosmology is the study of the large-scale structure of the universe. It comprises two sub-disciplines: cosmogony (which is about the origin of the universe) and eschatology (they actually use that word, which is about the future and the end of the universe).

What Hawking is talking about here is a particular eschatological scenario about what might lie ahead in the future of the universe. The hypothesis is: suppose that the universe is not in its lowest energy vacuum state – the quantum vacuum is this sea of energy that underlies all of physical reality. He is imagining that the universe is hung up in a false vacuum state – it is not at the lowest vacuum energy it could be at. It is at a higher energy state called a false vacuum. Such a state is inherently unstable. Therefore, the universe could suddenly transition down to the true vacuum state. If the universe were to undergo such a transition, everything would change.

It would result in a change in the law of nature.

Everything would be destroyed. There would be a new universe that would emerge on the other side of such a transition.

Hawking is not original in speculating about such a physical eschatological scenario. In their book, The Five Ages of the Universe, two cosmologists (Fred Adams and Gregory Laughlin) describe this possibly future apocalypse. This is what they say:

“The shock wave began at a particular but rather undistinguished point of space-time and then traveled outward at blinding speed, rapidly approaching the speed of light. The expanding bubble then enveloped an ever larger portion of the universe. Because of its phenomenal velocity, the shock wave impinged upon regions of space with no advance warning. No light signals, radio waves, or causal communication of any kind could outrun the advancing front and forewarn of the impending doom. Preparation was as impossible as it was futile.

Inside the bubble, the laws of physics and hence the very character of the universe were completely changed.

The values of the physical constants, the strengths of the fundamental forces, and the masses of the elementary particles were all different.

New physical laws ruled in this Alice-in-Wonderland setting.

The old universe, with its old version of the laws of physics, simply ceased to exist.

One could view this death and destruction of the old universe as a cause for concern. Alternatively . . . as a reason for celebration.

Inside the bubble, with its new physical laws and the accompanying new possibilities for complexity and structure, the universe has achieved a new beginning.”

This reminded me so much of 2 Peter 3:8-10 where Peter talks about how the heavens and the Earth will be burned up like fire and God will usher in a new heavens and a new Earth in their place. It is incredibly analogous to the scenario that physical eschatology possibly says could happen.

I find this to be a very intriguing parallel between theological eschatology and physical eschatology. This is what Hawking is talking about in this article." (W.L. Craig)

The possibilities in play in all of this inform us as to just why it is the case that whenever the Non-Theist appeals to "the evil of tooth and claw, the red of tooth and claw, the messiness and ugliness of natural selection" he is affirming ontological Evil. Ontological Good-Minus-Some-Thing. If tooth and claw -- natural selection -- houses Good and Good-Minus-Some-Thing as life strains towards cooperation amid self/other -- towards love's reciprocity vis-à-vis the interior milieu of the triune God, towards DBH's "more original self-outpouring" vis-à-vis the Imago Dei, distressingly straining towards a final "unicity" of the proverbial us/we -- and all soaked through with and buried within the pains of evil, lack, want (ultimately untenable syntax in the Non-Theist's paradigm) -- such evil soaking through the whole show literally from the ground up in this or that world, or universe, or nature -- then we have simply found yet one more vector which affirms the ontology of possible worlds described within the opening pages of Genesis. The EAAE, or evil's argument against evolution (the naturalistic sort void of final causes), merges seamlessly with Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism (EAAN).

The metanarrative of "The Adamic" traverses many oceans -- and successfully at that.

The Christian genre trains its lens far and wide such that it rationally and coherently discovers reality's singular symmetry in and through all logical possibility. It in fact demands it. That is why such a genre stands up to, embraces, and affirms reason.

Thanks for sharing this. Reflecting on the size of the universe has always been something that strengthens my belief in God, not weaken it.

Stephen Bedard,

I always enjoy your website -- very useful resources there. Keep up the great work!

Just surprised it took one day.

Jim, you're right! Good catch! I copied and pasted it directly from the Kindle book, so the publisher didn't even catch that.

The current largest star in the known universe isn't VY Canis Majoris, it's UY Scuti. And that's only the ones we know about...could be even larger ones we haven't discovered yet. Would be interesting to find more.

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