“Science without Religion is lame. Religion without Science is blind” – Einstein
Today we are going to discuss existence and what that means. In programming terms, an object is created and lives for a certain amount of time, performing a function, then dies or is disposed of. An object can be something as simple as a list of values, or array, or a complex object such as a database record. Each object has a variety of attributes which comprise the object, such as a date, a name or a type. As the programmer, I am the one who decides when the object will be created and when it will die, but I do this through a set of rules, or logical controls. I do not monitor every instance of my program that is running and decide when objects will be created a users utilize my program. So this can now be applied to the universe and the role of God as the programmer.
Many religions believe that God is watching all of us and deciding when we will live and when we will die, individually. It is said that he achieves this through omnipresence and omnipotence. So let us define these two terms before we continue:
- Omnipresence: continuously and simultaneously present throughout the whole of creation
- Omnipotence: possessing complete, unlimited, or universal power and authority
First of all, it is not at all impossible that God is omnipresent, existing at all corners of the universe. It is a fundamental fact that all matter and energy in the universe are interconnected, through weird processes we do not quite understand. Therefore, it is not all that hard to stretch that a fundamental intelligence permeates the whole of the universe. From programmer’s terms, I would define this as the underlying Operating System in which the program runs, and the framework that defines the structure of the program. So the universe is the operating system, [Probably Windows :)] and programs could be individual solar systems, planets, or societies. Objects would therefore be the lifeforms and processes that inhabit the system. According to the God analogy, he would decide when everything lives or dies, reviewing each life form or process individually and continually. Now, from my perspective, this would be more like a chess game, rather than a society of sentient, conscious beings. Which would suggest to me that free will is a myth. But when you throw Omnipotence in there, if he already knows the outcome of the chess game, what would be the point in playing. And who is he playing against?
This, in my mind, leads me to believe that the more logical assertion is that God defined the program, according to a set of rules, or design, and merely observes the outcome of individual objects, working according to their functions and programming. Even if I as the programmer could possibly monitor every aspect of every instance of my program running, I cannot for the life of me see any point to that. Objects exist for their own sake, and interact with other objects to make the universe interesting.
And these leads us to the discussion on existence. What exactly does it mean to exist? The definition deceivingly simple – “the state of being real”. What does it mean to be real? I would assume we say that it exists or interacts with the common reality, or a version there of. In our programming example, the object exists for the life of its usefulness, then is gone. Or as Shakespeare put it:
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. – MacBeth V.v
But then we get into the most contested aspect of life and existence: the soul or consciousness. And here I will leave you, because the 5th and final installment in the series will deal with the complex concept of consciousness.