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Posted by Paul R. Martin on January 30, 2002 18:19:08 UTC

Hi Harv,

***So, God cannot extract the multitude of experiences and somehow synthesize these into one coherent consciousness? Why not?***

Of course my answer has to be based on guesswork, so here is my guess. I think there is something like complementarity going on. It is reminiscent of Dick's remark that knowledge and understanding are a conjugate pair. If God is down into the details of worldly experience, then he is not able to synthesize those experiences into one coherent consciousness. If God is at a high enough level to be able to synthesize them, then he is too far removed from the details to be involved in any of them.

Another thought just came to me: it may be like the relationship of a programmer to a program. While the program is in the static state of being displayed in source code, the programmer may come to grips with all of its details and change them at will. But, when the program is executing on a computer, the bewildering speed of execution of its instructions is far beyond the ability of the programmer to apprehend in real time. The programmer may interact with the running program at pre-planned sync points, but compared with the millions or billions of instructions that are executed, these sync points are relatively rare and isolated. Typically, the programmer is not involved with the program's execution, but only gets involved with the final results.

So it could be that in certain modes, God has access to, and an interst in, some of the minute details of our physical universe, but in the normal mode of operation of the universe, he may not. This may not be as crude as Newton's idea of God building a clockwork, winding it up, and then backing off as it runs by itself. It may, for example, involve multiple temporal dimensions (as you and I have discussed before) such that in the temporal dimension of our universe, he is not involved in the detailed operation, but in another temporal dimension, he has access to, and control over, specific quantum events. That would be like a programmer having some sort of real-time debugging tool, or monitor, running along with a running program allowing the programmer to interfere with the running program in a detailed way in some specific situations.

Anyway, those are the best guesses I can come up with at the moment.

***I'm guessing that we could decode these sense impressions and use the fly for espionage (i.e., 'fly spies'). Why can't God do that?***

I think he can. But, let's look a little deeper and ask, How might God do that? Well, if we consider the complementarity idea I described above, then at the high level, God either doesn't have access to the detailed information gathered by the flies, or he has no interest, or both.

But, down at the low level, here in our universe, he may be able to do it. How? Well, by using the structures down at this level that are available to him to use. Us organisms in particular.

Since he can "drive" our bodies to achieve his intentions, to the extent that our bodies and brains are capable, he may use that approach. That would mean something like inventing micro-electronic RF nerve transmitter devices that could be implanted in flies to gather and transmit information. We humans just might do that.

We see that kind of thing happening all the time. Humans are somehow inspired to probe into the workings of nature so that they can exploit certain features by inventing and building devices which magnify their power and hopefully offer some promise of improving things. If we acknowledge that our consciousnesses and our free wills are really those of God's, then all of our efforts are really God's efforts down here at the detail level. That is going on concurrently with whatever he is doing, or has done, up at some unimaginably higher level.

***I wonder why God can act so precisely when he needs to, but so imprecisely when it comes to communication with humans.***

I think my previous paragraphs answer this. He has different modes of involvement which are like conjugate pairs. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

***When considering the notion that God is 'becoming', we are definitely anthropomorphizing even more so than in science. First, we are dealing with an unobservable (God), we are considering a human characterization (becoming), and we are applying this human characterization to God.***

Yes, I would agree that we are anthropomorphizing more so than in science, but certainly not more than in any other context in which the notion of God is considered. In particular, in religious contexts, where God may have a beard, a right and a left hand, gets angry, loves, makes rules, etc., we impute attributes that are much more human than the attribute of 'becoming'.

***I think the key is to be cognizant of our anthropomorphizing.***

I agree.

***What is so appealing about process thought is that it solves a perplexing theological question. . . .I have some preference to process thought, but I am not entirely convinced of adopting it fully. . . .Process is occuring, but it is only half the story. The fuller story is that process is a consequence of a path integral creation approach which I consider fundamental. Am I anthropomorphizing? Yes. But, I think my assumptions and inferences are strictly limited to first principles. That's why I think I'm entitled to say so rather than if I was advocating demons, angels, etc.***

I am not able to follow your derivation from first principles via path integrals to an explanation of reality but you could be right. If you could fill in the sketch a little bit, maybe I could catch on to how you see it. Why don't you dish me up a small helping from your recipe using those herbs and spices. I'd like a sample. How did reality get started? What did it start with? And, how did it get to be what we see now? My integration skills have long since atrophied, so I hope you don't toss me a very involved path integral.

Warm regards,

Paul

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