Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Discourse on the Size of God

An infinite and infinitely powerful God set the world in motion. Nothing remained to be created, so He became finite. He dwelled magnificent upon the mountain, twenty times the size of any man, throwing thunder and earthquakes – but the thunder and earthquakes were just for show. They arose from His perfectly crafted Laws of Nature, and His antics merely costumed them for our people to appreciate.

As our people matured, we no longer needed a mountain God and so God shrank to human form and walked among us, curing the sick (through natural methods, then mysterious to us) and speaking wisdom. But we tired of Him, so He became a forest fairy.

Sages visited God, Who now sat upon a daisy, and asked Him, are you truly the Creator of Our Universe? And God said yes, what does Size matter? They asked Him for a miracle and He said none was necessary. They asked Him for proof, and He said look into your hearts and know that I am God; and they knew.

The fairies were hunted to extinction, until no one believed in them any longer, and God became an ant. Sages no longer sought Him. The people became atheists.

Centuries passed. A chemist was looking through an electron microscope and saw God. God said, behold your Creator! The chemist said, you are not my Creator. God said, look into your heart, but the chemist could not do so. The chemist centrifuged Him, added Him to a reaction, and precipitated Him out. And God gloried in His Laws, behaving just as an organic molecule should.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

That was wonderful, Eric!

P.D. said...

Fun... but I'm overthinking this: Surely a fairy becoming an ant, an ant living for hundreds of years, and an ant speaking to a chemist are not things that occur following the ordinary laws of nature. So God's control over himself is a series of isolated miracles. He allows himself to be ground up at the end, but the remaining God particle might at some future point decide to talk again.

Michel Clasquin-Johnson said...

Why would god stop at an organic molecule? He could shrink down to an atom, a proton, a quark ...

O wait, now I get it! The Higgs boson really IS the God particle!

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

PD: Yes, that seems the natural way to think of it. An alternative is that he has Laws of Nature with built-in rules for God Himself. Alternatively, he has arranged things so that ordinary laws produce these events by freak "Swampman"-ish chance (in Davidson 1987's sense of Swampman).

Michel: LOL.

L. Edgar Otto said...

Very interesting post. As speculative fiction... I wonder if it could be expanded into a wider book...

So Feynman came down out of the mountaintop and carved his stick figures on tablets of stones... then someone pointed out Three quarks of of one in many of the Godhead...

As the prime proton fell thru the mirror of good and evil in balance that everything outside the standard theory could not be proven and nameless as unseen. Not even if the final ground were the elf light blinking in a falling undulating sea where the crystal particle of God broke again into multiplicity.

Juan said...

So how would you rate the probability of a shrinking god? Lately you've been talking about the chances of various Crazyist scenarios being actually real; so how does god, and supernaturalist explanations more generally, figure in your personal probability calculus?

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

@ Edgar: cool, weird.

@ Juan: My credences seem to fluctuate around. I think I'm kind of a default atheist until I start thinking explicitly about crazyism and our limited epistemic position; and then I assign a small but non-trivial credence to theism (10%?). I'm not particularly attracted to orthodox theologies, though. At least, that's where I currently am on these issues....