April 14, 2014

Cosmic Software

I was thinking about the question of how does God's omnipotence work? Often Atheists attempt to challenge the notion of His omnipotence which such things as, "Can God create a square circle" or "Can God create a rock so heavy He can't lift it", but both of these arguments, apart from being sophomoric, assume a 1st grade definition of omnipotence as "God can do anything". A more scholastic definition would be closer to an inexhaustible reservoir of power implementable on both macro and microscopic scale.

But thinking about this, I wondered if there was a way to explain why this inexhaustiveness is true. Note how I am not saying infinite, for that would assume that it is quantitative (and a quantitative infinite is impossible). Instead, omnipotence is usually understood as a quality and is therefore not measurable or watt not.* It is often explained as being the result of His nature and His relationship to the cosmos.

So I thought of this analogy. Consider a computer programmer. This programmer designs a game where the characters in it have AI. This world that they live in would also have certain well regulated physics that they would be bound to. However, the programmer would not be bound to such physics. He would probably develop some kind of standard medium of interaction, like some kind of interactive HUD. However, this medium will have its limitations, and if there is something that he wants to do which is part of the standard medium, then he would still be able to go to the code level and change things.

So how would this appear to the simulated persons? Well, certainly his power would seem infinite. After all, it would take the same amount of energy for him to move a pebble as it would for him to move a mountain. Second of all, the universe would appear regulated, since there is a standard physics in the world. Also, the programmer would seem less active than his power would imply. This is because the standard way he interacts with the world is the HUD, and only goes to the code level when he has good reason.

This description strikes me as being very similar to how we experience God. Now I am not saying that our world is mere illusion, and this is merely a simulation. The analogy has to do with a creator vs creature relationship. But it seems to me that it is reasonable that God has same standard means of interacting with this world that He goes outside of in rare circumstances. Additionally, the power is similar in its unquantifiable nature. So I think this is a good way of looking at the question, and understanding how God relates to our world.

*Get it? "Watt not" instead of "what not"? It's a pun! No, not funny? Fine. Wattever.

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