God, Nature, and Creation
God can be proved to be one and the same as Mother Nature.
Hence pantheism is the best foundation for a belief system, though the beliefs described herein are not necessarily consistent with any particular existing pantheist ideology, of which there are many. Specifically, this work attests to the existence of God, and is not atheist, agnostic, or pagan. As concerns the gender of God, Mother Nature is, of course, feminine, while most of the religious literature refers to a masculine God. In this system, God can assume whatever form is most appropriate for the circumstances, being all things through all times, but we use the masculine personal pronouns and possessive adjectives, just because that's the convention. Just remember that becoming male or female is a lossy reduction for God, who is both and more.
Note that in pantheism, God did not create the Universe, but rather, God is the Universe. At the very least, the Universe is the only aspect of God that is accessible to us. So we should like to start by studying His natural works, and this we do with the scientific method. Some believe that God created this world just to test our abilities to see past it to His true nature. But it's just odd to think that we could know Him by ignoring all of what He has given us, and vain to think that we are so clever. Rather, Genesis 1:22-27 tells us that God created humans in His own image, and He told us to be fertile, increase in number, to fill the sea, and to let there be many birds on the Earth. He is telling us that He is here with us, and in all things. So just as we would start a study of Picasso by looking at some of his paintings, we shall seek to know God by coming to understand the Universe in which we have been given life.
Once thinking scientifically, we find that we cannot comprehend how the Universe was created (and might ultimately be destroyed). For there to have been a beginning of time, there would have to be effects that had no causes, and at the end of time, there would be causes with no effects. We can understand causality, as it is directly accessible to us in everyday life — when one thing happens, another is soon to follow. But we cannot understand processes that are not causal, because there is nothing to understand. Hence if we are to say that the Universe began with the Big Bang, we are not satisfied, and now we want to know what caused the Big Bang. If we say that God created the Universe, it wasn't creation ex nihilo (i.e., entirely from nothing) — it was the emergence of matter out of the pre-existing will of God. Creation from nothing would have occurred only if God had been born from nothingness, and yet God is that which always was, and always will be, and we still have no answer concerning the actual beginning of time. In fact, all of the answers beg the question, and that's by definition. Therefore, thoughts on such matters are fruitless. Within the limits of human comprehension, matter can neither be created nor destroyed — it can only be converted from one form to another, and time is infinite.
Similarly, the spatial extents of the Universe are infinite. Yet we cannot conceive infinity, so we try to find the boundaries. Current thinking is that the extents of the Universe are defined by the farthest distance anything has traveled since the Big Bang, beyond which there is merely empty space. Yet empty space is still space, so we still have no absolute boundary. Ironically, every bit as much as we cannot conceive that the Universe is infinite, neither can we conceive that it is finite. The definition of a boundary is that it divides two spaces. Therefore, for there to be a limit to the size of the Universe, there would have to be something outside of that limit, which is self-defeating reasoning. Hence attempting to define the boundary around everything is meaningless. The Universe is infinite, but our capacity to understand is not.
So why do we seek a concept of the temporal and/or spatial extents of the Universe?
In everyday life, we begin a study of a thing by first finding its boundaries. If we know the precise date on which the Roman Empire fell, or when the New World was discovered, we can proceed with the study, not worrying that we are neglecting something that we should have considered. In other words, we set aside a certain amount of space in our minds for new information on a topic, and it's better if we allocate the right amount of space before we begin, because changing the allocation later will force us to rethink the whole thing. So we become obsessed with boundaries, just for the mental cleanliness of it all.
But when we attempt to set boundaries on the Universe, we have committed a logical error, and that's by definition, as the Universe is defined as everything, and for all time. We'd like to say that the Universe is this high, this wide, this deep, and has been around for this long. Then maybe we'd understand it. But that's just not how it works.
The reality is that our finite minds cannot possibly contain an infinite amount of information, and boundaries at that scale are meaningless. But that's not a problem — it's a lesson.
There are people in this world who have "photographic memories," and seemingly can remember an infinite number of facts. But they can't make sense of any of it, and they're not very good at taking care of themselves, much less the people around them. How could people know everything, and not be able to do anything? The reason is that knowledge has to be prioritized in order to be meaningful.
A visual analogy will help illustrate the point. If we stand in the middle of an infinite road, and look off into the distance, we see that the road appears to narrow with distance from us, and all of the stripes appear to meet infinitely far away (known as the "vanishing point"), even if they are perfectly parallel, and therefore don't actually meet. So why does the road appear to narrow with distance? This is Mother Nature's way of helping to prioritize the information for us. Things closer to us have a greater chance of affecting us, so we need to pay closer attention to them, which is made easier by the natural magnification. Of course, this makes the apparent geometry a distortion of the true geometry, and it obscures things in the distance, both of which can cause problems sometimes. When an object is viewed from further away, there is less distortion. From infinitely far away, we would be able to see all things, and entirely in proper proportions. But then they would be infinitesimal, and we really wouldn't be able to see anything (i.e., everything would be at their "vanishing points"). And trying to stay between the stripes on a road that we can't even see wouldn't be so easy. So Mother Nature magnifies the things closest to us. And such is the problem with people who can remember everything, but can't make sense of any of it. To them, the world is just an infinity of tiny facts, but they don't see the importance of any of it, and this makes them dysfunctional.
The part of the Universe that matters the most to us appears to be bigger, and that's useful. Anything that is infinitely far away, in time or space, is infinitely small, and that's OK, because it has an infinitesimal chance of ever affecting us. The lesson is to worry first about what is closest to us, and last (or never) about things that never mattered anyway.
Yet we also instinctively know that the self-centered enlargement of dimensions with proximity to us is a distortion. Something that is closer to us, literally or figuratively, seems bigger and more important, but that does not mean that the rest of the world understands that significance. If we expect the world to obey our senses of importance, we are forever disappointed. Therefore, it is useful to step outside ourselves from time to time, to see things from a distance, without the distortion of our personal perspectives. The trick is to see things from far enough away that we see the world more accurately, but not so far away that we cannot distinguish anything of relevance to us. In other words, a useful road-map is not a picture from outer space, with minimal distortion but where all of the interchanges are too small to see — it is a map that overcomes the limitations of our physical position, but with sufficient detail that we can still see where to go next. With that information, we can get to where we want to be.
So we shall attempt to gain a more useful perspective over ourselves, while striving to remember the importance of what is closest to us, that we can become more effective. And we will not bother with creationism, of the religious or of the pseudo-scientific kind (i.e., "Big Bang Creationism"). We will not find eternal truths by looking long ago and far away. Surely eternity includes the here and now, where we have a lot more information. So we will find truths inside ourselves, and in our immediate surroundings, if we can find any at all. And we will only step outside of ourselves to gain perspective, so that we can find the right road — we will not try to get lost in the infinite or in the infinitesimal — knowable truths are finite, and so are we. Only in understanding that can we push back the boundaries of our positions and dispositions.
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