laws of nature

Relevance of ancient Indian scriptures: The existence of God

Sri M observes, "This is itself a deep and extraordinary fact, that the laws of nature exist and they are the same everywhere."

Now, when you have found out the essence of your own being, all the energies of the universe are available to you for the purpose of good living and also to help others arrive at that pulsating, ever-fresh reservoir of energies.

Before we begin the teachings of the Upanishad, I would like to quote ancient Plutarch, the Greek philosopher, who said: “The truly pious must negotiate a difficult course between the precipice of godlessness and the marsh of superstition.”

Lest the modern mind thinks it’s a waste of time to look into matters regarding God and the universe and yourself and so on, I would also like to quote a question and answer session with Carl Sagan, the famous scientist and astronomer who wrote Broca’s Brain and The Varieties of Scientific Experience and of course, the Pulitzer Prize winner, Dragons of Eden, which is on evolutionary biology and anthropology.

These are books I very much recommend that one should read.

In one session, Sagan was asked: “Considering the accomplishments of scientists like Newton and Kepler, is it likely that science will one day come upon a demonstration of the existence of God?” Sagan answered: “The answer depends very much on what we mean by the word God.”

The word God is used to cover a vast multitude of mutually exclusive ideas and the distinctions are, I believe, in some cases, intentionally fuzzy so that no one will be offended because people are not talking about their God.

But, let me give you a sense of two poles that form the definition of God.

One is the view of, say, Spinoza or Einstein, which is more or less, “God is the sum total of the laws of physics.”

Now, it would be foolish to deny that there are laws of physics. If that’s what we mean by God, then surely God exists. All we have to do is watch the apples drop. Newtonian gravitation works throughout the entire universe.

We could have imagined a universe in which the laws of nature were restricted to only a small portion of space or time. That does not seem to be the case; and Newtonian gravitation is one example.

But quantum mechanics is another. We can look at the spectra of distant galaxies and see that the same laws of quantum mechanics apply there as is here.

So, this is itself a deep and extraordinary fact, that the laws of nature exist and they are the same everywhere. So, if that is what you mean by God, then I would say that we already have excellent evidence that God exists.

Now, take the opposite pole; the concept of God as an outsized male with a long white beard, sitting in a throne in the sky and tallying the fall of every sparrow.

Now, for that kind of God, I maintain there is no evidence and while I am open to suggestions of evidence for that kind of God also, I personally am dubious that there will be powerful evidence for such a God, not only in the near future but even in the distant future. And, the two examples I have given you are hardly the full range of ideas that people mean when they use the word God.




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