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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:05 am 
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The idea of "expanding space" is not meaningless if the particles of matter embedded in that space stay the same size. Then they can be seen to be getting measurably farther away from each other over time. We know this to be the case. So "expansion" is measurable and has meaning even if there is no edge moving "outward" (because there is no "outward").

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:48 am 
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If one accepts that God IS - that is, that God is an objective reality rather than just idea or some artifact of human superconsciousness, and if one accepts that God created the universe, then it follows that at some point the universe did not exist.

Under that hypothesis, in the beginning, God was all-there-was. There is a mystic belief that the Universe was created when God "withdrew" Godself, making room for time and space. I don't claim to understand this, but I do find it strangely compelling.

Mostly, I subscribe to Pratchett's version:

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...A'Tuin (the word-carrying turtle) was crawling from the Birthplace to the Time of Mating, as were all the stars in the sky which were, obviously, also carried by giant turtles. When the arrived they would briefly and passionately mate, for the first and only time, and from that fiery union new turtles would be born to carry a new pattern of worlds. This was known as the Big Bang hypothesis
-- The Color of Magic

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:39 pm 
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Primula Baggins wrote:
That's not to say nothing exists that is not part of our universe; but nothing we can perceive or measure scientifically exists that is not part of our universe.


Correct.

Note, however, that the defintions of space and time are not necessarily limited to the four-dimensional continuum we know and love. Look (if you have the stomach for it) at string theory, which relies on many more dimensions existing but not being readily apparent to us. We can infer their existence through their effect in the observable universe, such as the possible change in physical constants between now and the very early (and in cosmological terms, that means the first second) universe.

Maybe. :D

Given that, there is certainly the possibility that other, distinct and separate universes exist "outside" our space-time. We just can't ever know, because information is a function of a specific space-time. Thus, their existence is moot, aka meaningless in the strictest sense, as opposed to pointless.

edit to add last sentence

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Last edited by axordil on Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:48 pm 
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MithLuin wrote:
But if men are clever enough to think up the concept of God, the uncaused cause, then surely they are clever enough to think up a solution to that puzzle?


Not necessarily. :P The notion of an uncaused cause is actually, theologically, quite advanced, and one which we sort of backed oursevles into (not just in the Judeo-Christian schema, either).

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:54 pm 
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Thanks for all your thoughts, everyone. I am finding them very interesting. Sorry I don't have much to offer myself, but that is why I asked the question in the first place. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:03 pm 
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http://www.canongate.net/Lists/Words/33NamesOfThingsYouNeverKne

Would have copied them, but when I tried it wouldn't let me post! :shock:

I knew 1, 2, 7, 8, 15, 16, 22, 23, 26, 31 and 33. 33 especially is indispensible in Scrabble. :D

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:52 pm 
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What a kewl list. I knew many of them, but certainly not all. And they spell "aiglet" as "aglet", and that's queer. I've always seen it spelled "aiglet".

Hm.

Completely off topic: A woman from Lytton, BC, has won a category prize in the Bullwer-Lytton Bad Writing contest. I think it is wonderful and serendipitous that Lytton, BC, is in fact named for the family of Bulwer-Lytton. How kewl is that? I wonder if they know?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:54 pm 
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not something I would recommend
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"What's a tang?"

"A prong."

"What's a prong?"

"A tang."

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:17 pm 
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Voronwë wrote:
Conversely, if God created the universe, who created God?


If our space time consists of 4 dimensions but there are others out there, then a god -being "omnipotent"- would be able to use and perceive those other dimensions.

Perhaps there are levels of gods. The gods that create stuff in 4 dimensions and live in 7 or 8. And then there are gods that create in 7 or 8 dimensions and live in 12 or 16 dimensions.

And then there are the little gods- the ones that live in 4 dimensions and create in 2 or 3..... How many dimensions does an Idea or a Thought require? :)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:12 pm 
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Quote:
I've always seen it spelled "aiglet".


Where would you see that word? I just learned it today.

This idea of a beginning and end is, as I see it, entirely man-made. If man created god (which I think is most likely) it doesn't put the existence of the universe in jeopardy. I like the way yovargas put it.

Speaking of all this shape of the universe stuff, read this article on wikipedia. Link It discusses the different ideas of the shape of the universe and ultimately what will be the universe's fate dependent on its shape. Big Bang will result in a Big Crunch. There are also the Big Rip and the Big Freeze (but those are only if the universe is either flat or saddle shaped).


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 2:41 am 
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... then who created the universe?

Look at the table that may be in the room.

Who created the table? The carpenter? Or the trees that grew the wood?

What is often called creation is really a new association, a crossing of once unassociated things or phenomena. The creation of a universe is something else ... I don't know how to characterize it.



If God is simply a creation of mankind, a construct developed to help understand that which was not understood, then who created the universe?

God as we name Him is a construct developed to help understand that which is not understood, God as He is.

It had to come from somewhere, no?

What does this mean? Are you suggesting that it had to have a past?

If it was an accident, who created the accident?

Isn't an accident characterized as something having no creator? An accident is not created with intent.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 2:48 am 
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Faramond wrote:
If God is simply a creation of mankind, a construct developed to help understand that which was not understood, then who created the universe?

God as we name Him is a construct developed to help understand that which is not understood, God as He is.


Let me do what I usually do when I'm not sure I'm understanding something, which is to rephrase the thing as I think about it, instead of, say, grabbing my idea and running with it :D

Are you saying that there are ( at least? ) two concepts of God, namely, God as God is, which is a concept we don't understand ( or at least, which I believe we can't understand ) and also God as various religions have "created" Him, wrapping the inunderstandable in dogmas and theology to try and bring the kind of form a human mind can process to Him?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 3:34 am 
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<pokes stick in>

And . . . maybe a God we can't understand is "more true," but that kind of God isn't much use to us; we need something human (or human-created) to mediate, to form a basis for our understanding (to tell us why we should care!).

So maybe religion isn't some kind of desecration of the true nature of God; maybe it's the only way to translate God into words we can understand—words that will do us any good at all.

Maybe it's what God wants.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:11 am 
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Prim - your viewpoint isn't as much poking a stick in, as pretty much echoing my point of view. :) Though I also hold the viewpoint that when dogma, theology and churches become the focus and the end instead of the means to the end, as it were, those things does far more harm than an "incomprehensible" God ever could ... it even becomes "desecration".

Seeing as how God, or at least the Christian God who is my God, provided plenty of "wrapping" for Himself to us in the Bible, it is very probably that that adhering to a religion is "what God wants". The Bible certainly provides guidances for "religion", which is our way of communicating with God.

And if none of that made sense, I blame the lateness of the hour and the effort of digesting a lovely 11oz New York steak :P


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:57 am 
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Oooh! Eating massive slabs of beef, are we? You're on your way to becoming Amurrican, you are. :P

Yes, I agree that the value and meaning of formal religion is as a means of relating to God. God sometimes does seem to vanish from the mix, though; perhaps because God is the one part of it we can't shape to our own preferences if we wish.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:41 am 
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*tries to find comfortable position on couch*

Oof, that IS quite a hefty slab o' beef I've chomped on! I've had my share of steaks in South Africa when I could fork over the dough for them, but they're not half as nice as the steaks I can get over here :love: If turning Amurrican involves ingesting a plentitude of steakses, I'm glad I signed up :P

.
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.

Very good point on shaping God ... that probably hits it spot on. Very good point, indeed!

For myself, I recall being a younger Griffon sitting in church and positively chafing at what I considered ludicrous liturgy ( sp on both those words ... ? it IS late :P ) ... the rituals around the communion in my church, for instance.

Then, earlier this year, I returned to the church denomination I grew up in for the first time in six or seven years. ( I've attended non-denominational churces since )

And strangely enough, the familiarity of those rituals felt like a comfortable blanket welcoming me home. That was quite an eye-opener for me, because I used to really cringe at those rituals.

Ritual definitely has its place as a focal point, I've come to realize.

But yet, services in the non-denominational churches seemed to have more life. The traditional service was comforting, familiar, and provided focus for worship, focus for attention turned to God, as it were. The more charismatic services, however, provided life, provided a feeling of being close to God that I haven't felt all that much in traditional service, where it seemed the "touching points" for communicating with God was outlined clearly and adhered to strictly, at least in my church denomination. But in the nondenominational services, God was removed from the sterile pages of church dogma where He was stashed during the week and during Sunday school. Sometimes, perhaps, the preacher, worship leader, etc seemed to bring Him TOO close to everyday life, but at least He wasn't just words on paper and solemn tones by a somberly dressed man.

Either way, it's become obvious to me that in this, as in most other things in life, I'm still learning. And that's good. Griffons like to learn :)

*redirects blood supply from brain to digestive regions*


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:13 pm 
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Yes, your blood can only do so much at once - don't overdo it :P

I am comfortable with the idea that God is ultimately unknowable to us (in this life, anyway). But...I don't think he's okay with that ;). I think that God goes out of his way to make himself known to us, in whatever limited way we can understand.

That is why...well, I think revelation is a very important part of religion. It isn't just us trying to figure out who God is (that's theology) - it's also God opening our eyes and showing us himself. Jesus is, quite literally, God made flesh. I can't understand how that works...but I can see and touch him, and that means something! Sure, I probably misunderstand a lot...but I (hopefully) keep learning.

Yes, I agree that the charismatics have more life, definately! Sometimes I get nervous with how little depth they have, though. Not all of them, but some churches I've been in contact with teach the basics really well, and infuse Christian life with well...some excitement and joy! But...they don't seem to know what the next step is, and that makes me nervous. The traditional churches might be dry as dust, but if you keep digging, they have answers to questions (again, the ones I've been in contact with). So, for me, the charismatics are the place to get started, and the liturgy is the place to grow (grow old, even). But I realize others have very different experiences. Ideally, the two traditions would be merged (someone like St. John of the Cross is a charismatic and a reformer, but also a master of theology).

When we say the word "God," each of us means something different - maybe even very different! But, God isn't just an idea in our heads. (Whether you buy St. Anselm's ontological argument or not, God is real in himself, moreso than anything else in the world!)


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 10:01 pm 
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A little old, but interesting.

I think that we can look to a line by Whitman for this.

Quote:
Shedding forth universes, Thou center of them


Thou is God. God exists outside time and space and reality, in that other dimensional realm known as 'heaven'.

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