Matter can neither be created nor destroyed. Well, if true that pretty much puts the kibosh on Creationism. But doesn’t it also rule out the Doctrine of Bodily Ascension? That is, at the moment of Mary’s ascension, the mass of the world would have been reduced by 51.8 kilos. If this be denied, then Christ could not have claimed, as clearly he did, that “[his] kingdom is not of this world.”
So the Christian must believe that matter can be both created and destroyed. That something can come from nothing, and return to it again. Which immediately invites the question, How does God bring being into and out of being?
But to be fair, the atheist is saddled with the same question. Martin Heidegger wondered, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” But the more pressing question is, “How is there something rather than nothing?”
Unless, of course, whatever there is has always been. In fact isn’t that the simplest explanation? And isn’t the simplest explanation the one most likely to be true?
Okay, let’s run with that. Whatever is has always been. From time to time the constituents of being simply rearrange themselves, and that’s what gives us the mere illusion of creation and destruction. So, for example, when I die I will cease to be qua me, but my constituents will live on, perhaps in other me’s. I find this consoling, don’t you?
Thoughts like these are what I call our ‘kumbaya’ moments. They make me want to gag. Same reflex I had when I had to change my son’s diapers. I guess this is why I’ve never understood what people call ‘spirituality’. I guess my kingdom, if I were to have one, would only be of this world.
The law of preservation of Matter is an old and maybe obsolete concept in the age of quantum mechanics. Remember Schrödinger’s famous cat? Matter both exists and doesn’t exist at the same time, until it is observed.
According to Schrödinger, the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that the cat remains simultaneously both alive and dead until the state has been observed.
Thus the observation determines the existence, not the matter itself. So if I observe that you have risen from the dead you have indeed done so. In that case, there will be a new religion with millions of adherents: Paulianity?
Esse est Percipi — to be is to be perceived. I think it likely that the old and obsolete Bishop Berkeley would be delighted by quantum mechanics — as I suspect a few contemporary idealists are.
I suspecr that the answer to questions relating to the nature of what we take to be reality, is neither particularly a matter of religion, nor philosophy, nor even physics per se. It is the consciousness modeling software of approximations that we have accumulated through countless real time data memory feedback loops since the moment we first saw light, heard sound, felt tactility, smelt odors.
The ‘I’ that is ‘me’ sits at the center of this modeling system & is the system. And while the occupants can refine, elaborate & change the arcitecture, furniture & decoration inside it endlessly, they can never escape its confines until they die.
There is a point beyond which the modeling imagination ceases, in the same way that light does at the edge of the universe.
Reality is a constant interplay between the data stream of what is observed & the imaginative/concrete tools of observation/analysis both inside & outside of our heads.
And while our senses appear to tell us that we are outsiders looking in on reality, we are notwithstanding that, hopelessly stuck inside our modeling system, no matter how often or much we chsnge it.
What reality ‘really’ is, is always opaque, contingent, and in the end, at best, self consistently arbitrary in ways that are existentially profoundly humbling.