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Re: [thomism] Creation ex nihlo

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  • Victor McAllister
    ... Does essence exist? Does time exist? Does mass exist? Does energy exist? Does gravity exist? Does matter exist? In the above list, the only thing we can be
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 13, 2013
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      On Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 7:00 AM, James Given <jagiven1370@...> wrote:


      Dear James,
        I believe I agree with all you write. But just to clarify a point:

        If we allow with Augustine that time and the world are created together, then we need not as Catholics believe in any creation event as physical event. In particular, there need not be a time period that tells us how long ago the world was created. There need not be a first moment of time, or a time at which the physical act of Creation occurred. God created the world in time, in a way similar to the way he created fish in water. Time is finite in its very nature; because all its parts cannot be collected or present together. Its duration is immaterial to Faith.

      In particular, Steady-State theories of physical cosmology (e.g. those of Fred Hoyle and collaborators) maintain that time extends backward indefinitely far, with physical creation of new matter proceeding constantly. Perhaps new matter is created in between the stars and matter ceases to exist at the periphery, so that the universal expansion does not change the size of the universe. Perhaps the Big Bang did not occur at all. Perhaps arbitrarily long time spans exist between the present and previous physical events. Perhaps one views time as a process slowing down more and more – without ever stopping – as one looks at earlier and earlier events in the life of the universe. (In this last case, the total time span of the events constituting the physical universe might be finite, even though there be no original or first moment of time, i.e., no physical creation-event.
      The above are possibilities offered by current and viable Steady-State theories of the Universe. I am of course not defending any of them here. I merely note that none of the theoretical possibilities mentioned in the preceding paragraph would be heretical beliefs if maintained by a Catholic.

      Creation is ontological; it is not a physical event, not even the "first" physical event. Conflating God's Creation of the Universe with a Big-Bang like physical event is an invitation to scientistic materialism.


              Jim Given

      What is existence? How can we know that something actually exists? 

      Does essence exist? Does time exist? Does mass exist? Does energy exist? Does gravity exist? Does matter exist?

      In the above list, the only thing we can be sure actually exists is matter.

      No one has ever seen any essence. It exists in the world of metaphysics only.

      No one has actually detected or isolated any time. It exists in our minds, as Solomon stated in Ecclesiastes 3:11.

      Mass is undetectable apart from elementary assumptions. We do detect that somethings are more massive than others, but again mass is only metaphysical.

      Experiments only detect energetic events. No one has ever detected or isolated any energy.

      Gravity is an idea. We detect things changing their motions when sufficiently close to other large objects. However, no one has ever isolated or observed any gravity. The physicist Eric Verlinde claims that "for me, gravity does not exist". He thinks it is an emergent phenomena tied to thermodynamic changes at the atomic level. He thinks gravity has no actuality in the world of reality.

      How can we be sure matter exists? We see it. We touch it; sometimes even smell it etc. The existence of matter is confirmed with the senses. It is ontologically real. It The existence of those other "things" depends on philosophical assumptions.

      What distinguishes metaphysical, symbolical versions of reality from real things?

      A first principle! What first principle is essential to invent symbolical, mathematical, empirical  versions of reality? Most scientific empirical reality was founded on an assumption, the one the Apostle Peter predicted for the last days - that all things remain the same.

      The Apostle Paul said light reveals the truth and exposes error because everything that is visible is light (Ephesians 5:13).  All physical things are related to light Light dithers around within all substances giving them their various properties.  How did matter come to have existence?

      God completed creating the heavens and the earth first. However, what he created was without form. Evidently matter was not extended in space until Elohim's wind fluttered over the dark, primordial tehom (abys) and continued to command light to continue to be.

      Those who believe in symbolical versions of reality got their notions primarily from the idea Peter predicted - that all things remain the same. The notion that matter is not continually changing itself, changing relationally, is usually the basis for symbolical versions of reality.

      Victor

    • James
      Dear James, I wrote my earlier post on Creatio ex Nihilo to make several closely related points: 1. The Bible is not a science book or physics book, it is
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 16, 2013
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        Dear James,
        I wrote my earlier post on "Creatio ex Nihilo" to make several closely related points:
        1. The Bible is not a science book or physics book, it is the revealed word of God, telling us what we should know about science, history, etc. for our salvation.
        2. Physical sciences deal systematically with Aristotelian change, with natural transformation, with motion from one physical state to another in general. Creation, precisely because it is `ex nihilo', is not a physical event. Confusing the Creation with the Big Bang of physics, threatens to lose this point; it also threatens a pantheist inclusion of God as part of the Universe, with his creation being the first physical event. These are materialist errors.
        3. The Catholic Church, in its teaching authority tells us very little, even indirectly, about physical creation. The Church endorses no particular model of natural cosmology, be it some form of Big Bang, some form of Steady State, or something else. These are all in accordance with the Catholic Catechism. Here I refer to article 290 ff. , article 327 ff. and the corresponding supporting materials.
        4. God exists in Eternity, a state free from all constraints of time. God's actions are experienced by us as they affect us in time, in the span of time they affect. God does not perform these actions of creation in time per se, because God is beyond time' i.e., He is not subject to time. Big Bang cosmology takes no stand in regards to the length of time during which the Universe has been existing, changing, and evolving, in particular, whether that length of time is finite or infinite.
        I will now elaborate these points briefly. But there is much learned Christian reflection on this subject; too much to restate here. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, in the first half of its essay, "Cosmology and Theology" provides a detailed discussion of these points. It is:
        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cosmology-theology/
        God created in the world in time, because time is the inherent medium of physical existence. Time is not a container that pre-exists the world; time comes into being as the world does and time passes as the world changes. Augustine explains this in En in Ps 103, 1, 15:PL 37, 1348, as cited in the Catholic Catechism.
        From the Catholic Catechism:
        327 The profession of faith of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) affirms that God "from the beginning of time made at once (simul) out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal, that is, the angelic and the earthly, and then (deinde) the human creature, who as it were shares in both orders, being composed of spirit and body."187
        "In the beginning God made heaven and earth."
        Yes, but the beginning of what? Of Time? Yes, as in the previous paragraph, because the world and time were created together. Of Salvation History? Yes, that is why the Bible begins here also.
        You say:
        The Steady-State universe theory has problems, scientifically and in terms of theology. Theologically it would require that God continually create hydrogen atoms, which is problematic in terms of "in the beginning" and in terms of the natural causality of the material cosmos as secondary causality. The primary causality God would disrupt the material causality.
        What could you be claiming? That all existing entities were created at the beginning of time? All entities were present as seeds in the form of Divine Ideas. Of course, objects such as e.g. hydrogen atoms can come to exist physically without contradiction to this. God had a Divine Idea of me at Creation, but I did not exist physically for most of the known lifetime of the Universe.
        The standard theories of cosmology in physics fully recognize that neither energy, nor matter, nor any combination of them is conserved during the evolution in time of the physical Universe. The four vector energy-momentum has conserved Lorentz norm only in a local approximation in which space-time is flat. That is, in events described by Special Relativity, the energy-momentum vector has conserved norm. But not in the bigger scenario described in General Relativity. This is a grad student fact; there is not dispute on this among scientists.
        The Big Bang cosmology is, in some form, upheld by most, but not all senior astronomers and cosmologists. Halton Arp, Fred Hoyle, Margaret Burbridge, and Jay Narlikar are well-established senior astronomers and physicists. The fact that the Mainstream of cosmological discussion disagrees with them has no philosophical or theological significance. The scientists named are senior professors. Their technical knowledge of this field greatly exceeds yours or mine. So their viewpoints and theories are perfectly reasonable for a well-educated person to support.
        In vain, I emphasize: I am not here to debate physical cosmology, though I do above cite a few facts beyond scientific dispute. My sole concern here is in establishing that the Universe, according to Catholic Church teaching, need not have finite lifetime, i.e., there may be physical events occurring an arbitrarily large length of time in the past. Since God's creation is eternal i.e., God is beyond time, this has no theological significance. The essay cited above from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy establishes this last point in much greater detail.
        To answer your last question, Big Bang cosmology certainly does not lead to scientific materialism, nor could a theory from physics lead to a position in philosophy. If the (possible) Big-Bang singularity in space-time, and in the physical world is conflated with the Creation by God of all Being, material and spiritual, then there is real danger of materialist philosophical positions being promoted.
        No created entity exists independently of God's creation. No physical entity is beyond time, i.e., eternal. That is what Catholic Faith tells us-

        Jim Given 2/16/2013






        --- In thomism@yahoogroups.com, "James" <jamesmiguez@...> wrote:
        >
        > Dear Jim,
        >
        > We are talking about the creation of the material cosmos! This is what
        > Genesis 1 refers to, however, not in terms of physical science. But it
        > plainly states that "In the beginning" God created the world. This
        > pertains to the faith. God created the world (material) in the
        > beginning which refers to time. Creation specifically contains matter
        > coming to be. This is the act of creation. It is both ontological
        > (metaphysical) and material (though in Scripture not scientific). So a
        > distinction between metaphysics and physics is a scientific distinction
        > (pertaining to specific scientific disciplines) but not ontological one,
        > for matter is being. And this is revealed to us in Genesis 1 as created
        > "in the beginning."
        >
        > Aquinas held that only Scripture reveals that the cosmos was created ex
        > nihilo and is thus not eternal. Reason cannot conclude this, he thought
        > some stars had incorruptible matter. But Scripture reveals that the
        > cosmos in not eternal.
        >
        > The New Catechism of the Catholic Church simply repeats Genesis 1, 1
        > verbatim "In the beginning..." and states that creation is "the
        > beginning of salvation history" that culminates in Christ. The Church
        > is concerned with "the origin and the end" in terms of salvation. It
        > states: "It is not only a question of when and how the universe arose
        > physically, or when man appeared, but rather discovering the meaning of
        > such an origin..."
        >
        > So this implies certainly that the world is not eternal, but had a
        > origin, a beginning. Ludwig Ott, the theologian, explicitly teaches in
        > Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma that the teaching
        > "the world had a beginning in time' is De Fide or necessary to the
        > faith. The Steady-State universe theory has problems,
        > scientifically and in terms of theology. Theologically it would require
        > that God continually create hydrogen atoms, which is problematic in
        > terms of "in the beginning" and in terms of the natural causality of the
        > material cosmos as secondary causality. The primary causality God would
        > disrupt the material causality.
        >
        > Scientifically, it is full of holes. Like any good scientific model,
        > the Steady State made many quantitative testable predictions, and these
        > predictions inspired many observational campaigns. As a result of these
        > observations it became clear that the Steady State model predictions
        > were not correct. The Big Bang theory is accepted for a reason.
        >
        > See for instance Errors in Steady State and Quasi SS models
        > <http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/stdystat.htm> .
        >
        > I do not see how the Big Bang necessarily leads to scientific
        > materialism, at least one that excludes God as author and intelligent
        > final cause.
        >
        > Best wishes,
        >
        > James
        >
        >
        >
        > --- In thomism@yahoogroups.com, James Given wrote:
        > >
        > > Dear James,
        > > Â I believe I agree with all you write. But just to clarify a
        > point:
        > >
        > > Â If we allow with Augustine that time and the world are created
        > together, then we need not as Catholics believe in any creation event as
        > physical event. In particular, there need not be a time period that
        > tells us how long ago the world was created. There need not be a first
        > moment of time, or a time at which the physical act of Creation
        > occurred. God created the world in time, in a way similar to the way he
        > created fish in water. Time is finite in its very nature; because all
        > its parts cannot be collected or present together. Its duration is
        > immaterial to Faith.
        > >
        > > In particular, Steady-State theories of physical cosmology (e.g. those
        > of Fred Hoyle and collaborators) maintain that time extends backward
        > indefinitely far, with physical creation of new matter proceeding
        > constantly. Perhaps new matter is created in between the stars and
        > matter ceases to exist at the periphery, so that the universal expansion
        > does not change the size of the universe. Perhaps the Big Bang did not
        > occur at all. Perhaps arbitrarily long time spans exist between the
        > present and previous physical events. Perhaps one views time as a
        > process slowing down more and more â€" without ever stopping
        > â€" as one looks at earlier and earlier events in the life of the
        > universe. (In this last case, the total time span of the events
        > constituting the physical universe might be finite, even though there be
        > no original or first moment of time, i.e., no physical creation-event.
        > > The above are possibilities offered by current and viable Steady-State
        > theories of the Universe. I am of course not defending any of them here.
        > I merely note that none of the theoretical possibilities mentioned in
        > the preceding paragraph would be heretical beliefs if maintained by a
        > Catholic.
        > >
        > > Creation is ontological; it is not a physical event, not even the
        > "first" physical event. Conflating God's Creation of the Universe with a
        > Big-Bang like physical event is an invitation to scientistic
        > materialism.
        > >
        > >
        > > Â Â Â Â Jim Given
        > >
        >
      • James
        Scholastic philosophy eg that of Aquinas does a good job in answering these questions. You write: What distinguishes metaphysical, symbolical versions of
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 16, 2013
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          Scholastic philosophy eg that of Aquinas does a good job in answering these questions. You write:

          What distinguishes metaphysical, symbolical versions of reality from real things? .

          The short answer is our constant reliable interaction with specific things. Michael Polanyi will describe this in his book, "Personal Knowledge". This basis of creaturely sensation of, and interaction with, specific objects underlies all our symbolic experience.

          But also, it is a great mistake to create a dichotomy consisting of symbols and of real things. God as Holy Trinity is the ultimate symbol, in the sense of the word developed in continuous Western tradition, from St. Augustine to John of St. Thomas to C.S. Peirce. But also, He is the ultimate reality, the foundation of all that is real in Creation.

          Jim Given






          --- In thomism@yahoogroups.com, Victor McAllister <godsriddle@...> wrote:
          >
          > On Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 7:00 AM, James Given <jagiven1370@...> wrote:
          >
          > >
          > >
          > > Dear James,
          > > I believe I agree with all you write. But just to clarify a point:
          > >
          > > If we allow with Augustine that time and the world are created together,
          > > then we need not as Catholics believe in any creation event as physical
          > > event. In particular, there need not be a time period that tells us how
          > > long ago the world was created. There need not be a first moment of time,
          > > or a time at which the physical act of Creation occurred. God created the
          > > world in time, in a way similar to the way he created fish in water. Time
          > > is finite in its very nature; because all its parts cannot be collected or
          > > present together. Its duration is immaterial to Faith.
          > >
          > > In particular, Steady-State theories of physical cosmology (e.g. those of
          > > Fred Hoyle and collaborators) maintain that time extends backward
          > > indefinitely far, with physical creation of new matter proceeding
          > > constantly. Perhaps new matter is created in between the stars and matter
          > > ceases to exist at the periphery, so that the universal expansion does not
          > > change the size of the universe. Perhaps the Big Bang did not occur at all.
          > > Perhaps arbitrarily long time spans exist between the present and previous
          > > physical events. Perhaps one views time as a process slowing down more and
          > > more – without ever stopping – as one looks at earlier and earlier events
          > > in the life of the universe. (In this last case, the total time span of the
          > > events constituting the physical universe might be finite, even though
          > > there be no original or first moment of time, i.e., no physical
          > > creation-event.
          > > The above are possibilities offered by current and viable Steady-State
          > > theories of the Universe. I am of course not defending any of them here. I
          > > merely note that none of the theoretical possibilities mentioned in the
          > > preceding paragraph would be heretical beliefs if maintained by a Catholic.
          > >
          > > Creation is ontological; it is not a physical event, not even the "first"
          > > physical event. Conflating God's Creation of the Universe with a Big-Bang
          > > like physical event is an invitation to scientistic materialism.
          > >
          > >
          > > Jim Given
          > >
          > > What is existence? How can we know that something actually exists?
          >
          > Does essence exist? Does time exist? Does mass exist? Does energy exist?
          > Does gravity exist? Does matter exist?
          >
          > In the above list, the only thing we can be sure actually exists is matter.
          >
          > No one has ever seen any essence. It exists in the world of metaphysics
          > only.
          >
          > No one has actually detected or isolated any time. It exists in our minds,
          > as Solomon stated in Ecclesiastes 3:11.
          >
          > Mass is undetectable apart from elementary assumptions. We do detect that
          > somethings are more massive than others, but again mass is only
          > metaphysical.
          >
          > Experiments only detect energetic events. No one has ever detected or
          > isolated any energy.
          >
          > Gravity is an idea. We detect things changing their motions when
          > sufficiently close to other large objects. However, no one has ever
          > isolated or observed any gravity. The physicist Eric Verlinde claims that
          > "for me, gravity does not exist". He thinks it is an emergent phenomena
          > tied to thermodynamic changes at the atomic level. He thinks gravity has no
          > actuality in the world of reality.
          >
          > How can we be sure matter exists? We see it. We touch it; sometimes even
          > smell it etc. The existence of matter is confirmed with the senses. It is
          > ontologically real. It The existence of those other "things" depends on
          > philosophical assumptions.
          >
          > What distinguishes metaphysical, symbolical versions of reality from real
          > things?
          >
          > A first principle! What first principle is essential to invent symbolical,
          > mathematical, empirical versions of reality? Most scientific empirical
          > reality was founded on an assumption, the one the Apostle Peter predicted
          > for the last days - that all things remain the same.
          >
          > The Apostle Paul said light reveals the truth and exposes error because
          > everything that is visible is light (Ephesians 5:13). All physical things
          > are related to light Light dithers around within all substances giving them
          > their various properties. How did matter come to have existence?
          >
          > God completed creating the heavens and the earth first. However, what he
          > created was without form. Evidently matter was not extended in space until
          > Elohim's wind fluttered over the dark, primordial tehom (abys) and
          > continued to command light to continue to be.
          >
          > Those who believe in symbolical versions of reality got their notions
          > primarily from the idea Peter predicted - that all things remain the same.
          > The notion that matter is not continually changing itself, changing
          > relationally, is usually the basis for symbolical versions of reality.
          >
          > Victor
          >
        • James
          Jim, Thank you for your post. No one said that creation deals with physical change or events in so far as they are physical. The Big Bang and Creation are
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 20, 2013
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            Jim,

            Thank you for your post.  No one said that creation deals with physical change or events in so far as they are physical.  The Big Bang and Creation are two different things.  There are no mathematical models that can account for the earliest fraction of a second at the start of the Big Bang, but the later fraction of a second and beyond the models account for the "physical event," as you put it.  The cooking of protons, neutrons, electrons, etc and then into the first elements (i.e, some form of hydrogen).  But this is not creation.  The matter was already present, it was apparently compressed on a fantastic scale but not elements.  What I was stressing was that creation involves the immediate existence of matter (which is physical) out of nothing.  Creation brought into existence the compressed matter (apparently) which mathemateical models are able to posit in the earliest fraction of a second after creation.

            That's what I am saying.  All of the matter is accounted for immediately after creation, and this is irrespective of any further physical events which bring about specific sub atomic particles and elements.

            The steady-state versions -- apart from other problems pertaining to theoretical physics and observational verification, such as the 2.7 K background radiation -- I will not say anything more, apparently springs from the wrong motivation.  Jaki puts it this way: it's "a counter-theological inspiration.  The rank materialism of most champions of the steady-state theory dictated that the Universe was the ultimate entity, and as such it had to be without a beginning" (61).  Jaki knows what he is talking about and it is no coincidence that the author of the Big Bang theory was a Catholic priest.

            Regardless however of their motivations, if you suggest that the universe is eternal, what you are saying is tantamount to saying that the universe is without a beginning. This flatly contradicts Scripture and this position is incompatible with Catholic doctrine.

            Every created thing is finite.  Only God is infinite.  Humans may immortal, but we are finite (limited).  So too the universe, except that it is not immortal.

            James
             

            e


            <br>--- In thomism@yahoogroups.com, "James" <jagiven1370@...> wrote:<br>><br>> <br>> Dear James,<br>> I wrote my earlier post on "Creatio ex Nihilo" to make several closely related points:<br>> 1. The Bible is not a science book or physics book, it is the revealed word of God, telling us what we should know about science, history, etc. for our salvation. <br>> 2. Physical sciences deal systematically with Aristotelian change, with natural transformation, with motion from one physical state to another in general. Creation, precisely because it is `ex nihilo', is not a physical event. Confusing the Creation with the Big Bang of physics, threatens to lose this point; it also threatens a pantheist inclusion of God as part of the Universe, with his creation being the first physical event. These are materialist errors.<br>> 3. The Catholic Church, in its teaching authority tells us very little, even indirectly, about physical creation. The Church endorses no particular model of natural cosmology, be it some form of Big Bang, some form of Steady State, or something else. These are all in accordance with the Catholic Catechism. Here I refer to article 290 ff. , article 327 ff. and the corresponding supporting materials. <br>> 4. God exists in Eternity, a state free from all constraints of time. God's actions are experienced by us as they affect us in time, in the span of time they affect. God does not perform these actions of creation in time per se, because God is beyond time' i.e., He is not subject to time. Big Bang cosmology takes no stand in regards to the length of time during which the Universe has been existing, changing, and evolving, in particular, whether that length of time is finite or infinite.<br>> I will now elaborate these points briefly. But there is much learned Christian reflection on this subject; too much to restate here. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, in the first half of its essay, "Cosmology and Theology" provides a detailed discussion of these points. It is:<br>> http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cosmology-theology/<br>> God created in the world in time, because time is the inherent medium of physical existence. Time is not a container that pre-exists the world; time comes into being as the world does and time passes as the world changes. Augustine explains this in En in Ps 103, 1, 15:PL 37, 1348, as cited in the Catholic Catechism. <br>> From the Catholic Catechism:<br>> 327 The profession of faith of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) affirms that God "from the beginning of time made at once (simul) out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal, that is, the angelic and the earthly, and then (deinde) the human creature, who as it were shares in both orders, being composed of spirit and body."187 <br>> "In the beginning God made heaven and earth."<br>> Yes, but the beginning of what? Of Time? Yes, as in the previous paragraph, because the world and time were created together. Of Salvation History? Yes, that is why the Bible begins here also. <br>> You say:<br>> The Steady-State universe theory has problems, scientifically and in terms of theology. Theologically it would require that God continually create hydrogen atoms, which is problematic in terms of "in the beginning" and in terms of the natural causality of the material cosmos as secondary causality. The primary causality God would disrupt the material causality.<br>> What could you be claiming? That all existing entities were created at the beginning of time? All entities were present as seeds in the form of Divine Ideas. Of course, objects such as e.g. hydrogen atoms can come to exist physically without contradiction to this. God had a Divine Idea of me at Creation, but I did not exist physically for most of the known lifetime of the Universe. <br>> The standard theories of cosmology in physics fully recognize that neither energy, nor matter, nor any combination of them is conserved during the evolution in time of the physical Universe. The four vector energy-momentum has conserved Lorentz norm only in a local approximation in which space-time is flat. That is, in events described by Special Relativity, the energy-momentum vector has conserved norm. But not in the bigger scenario described in General Relativity. This is a grad student fact; there is not dispute on this among scientists. <br>> The Big Bang cosmology is, in some form, upheld by most, but not all senior astronomers and cosmologists. Halton Arp, Fred Hoyle, Margaret Burbridge, and Jay Narlikar are well-established senior astronomers and physicists. The fact that the Mainstream of cosmological discussion disagrees with them has no philosophical or theological significance. The scientists named are senior professors. Their technical knowledge of this field greatly exceeds yours or mine. So their viewpoints and theories are perfectly reasonable for a well-educated person to support. <br>> In vain, I emphasize: I am not here to debate physical cosmology, though I do above cite a few facts beyond scientific dispute. My sole concern here is in establishing that the Universe, according to Catholic Church teaching, need not have finite lifetime, i.e., there may be physical events occurring an arbitrarily large length of time in the past. Since God's creation is eternal i.e., God is beyond time, this has no theological significance. The essay cited above from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy establishes this last point in much greater detail. <br>> To answer your last question, Big Bang cosmology certainly does not lead to scientific materialism, nor could a theory from physics lead to a position in philosophy. If the (possible) Big-Bang singularity in space-time, and in the physical world is conflated with the Creation by God of all Being, material and spiritual, then there is real danger of materialist philosophical positions being promoted.<br>> No created entity exists independently of God's creation. No physical entity is beyond time, i.e., eternal. That is what Catholic Faith tells us-<br>> <br>> Jim Given 2/16/2013<br>> <br>> <br>> <br>> <br>> <br>> <br>> --- In thomism@yahoogroups.com, "James" jamesmiguez@ wrote:<br>> ><br>> > Dear Jim,<br>> > <br>> > We are talking about the creation of the material cosmos! This is what<br>> > Genesis 1 refers to, however, not in terms of physical science. But it<br>> > plainly states that "In the beginning" God created the world. This<br>> > pertains to the faith. God created the world (material) in the<br>> > beginning which refers to time. Creation specifically contains matter<br>> > coming to be. This is the act of creation. It is both ontological<br>> > (metaphysical) and material (though in Scripture not scientific). So a<br>> > distinction between metaphysics and physics is a scientific distinction<br>> > (pertaining to specific scientific disciplines) but not ontological one,<br>> > for matter is being. And this is revealed to us in Genesis 1 as created<br>> > "in the beginning."<br>> > <br>> > Aquinas held that only Scripture reveals that the cosmos was created ex<br>> > nihilo and is thus not eternal. Reason cannot conclude this, he thought<br>> > some stars had incorruptible matter. But Scripture reveals that the<br>> > cosmos in not eternal.<br>> > <br>> > The New Catechism of the Catholic Church simply repeats Genesis 1, 1<br>> > verbatim "In the beginning..." and states that creation is "the<br>> > beginning of salvation history" that culminates in Christ. The Church<br>> > is concerned with "the origin and the end" in terms of salvation. It<br>> > states: "It is not only a question of when and how the universe arose<br>> > physically, or when man appeared, but rather discovering the meaning of<br>> > such an origin..."<br>> > <br>> > So this implies certainly that the world is not eternal, but had a<br>> > origin, a beginning. Ludwig Ott, the theologian, explicitly teaches in<br>> > Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma that the teaching<br>> > "the world had a beginning in time' is De Fide or necessary to the<br>> > faith. The Steady-State universe theory has problems,<br>> > scientifically and in terms of theology. Theologically it would require<br>> > that God continually create hydrogen atoms, which is problematic in<br>> > terms of "in the beginning" and in terms of the natural causality of the<br>> > material cosmos as secondary causality. The primary causality God would<br>> > disrupt the material causality.<br>> > <br>> > Scientifically, it is full of holes. Like any good scientific model,<br>> > the Steady State made many quantitative testable predictions, and these<br>> > predictions inspired many observational campaigns. As a result of these<br>> > observations it became clear that the Steady State model predictions<br>> > were not correct. The Big Bang theory is accepted for a reason.<br>> > <br>> > See for instance Errors in Steady State and Quasi SS models<br>> > <http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/stdystat.htm> .<br>> > <br>> > I do not see how the Big Bang necessarily leads to scientific<br>> > materialism, at least one that excludes God as author and intelligent<br>> > final cause.<br>> > <br>> > Best wishes,<br>> > <br>> > James<br>> > <br>> > <br>> > <br>> > --- In thomism@yahoogroups.com, James Given wrote:<br>> > ><br>> > > Dear James,<br>> > >  I believe I agree with all you write. But just to clarify a<br>> > point:<br>> > ><br>> > >  If we allow with Augustine that time and the world are created<br>> > together, then we need not as Catholics believe in any creation event as<br>> > physical event. In particular, there need not be a time period that<br>> > tells us how long ago the world was created. There need not be a first<br>> > moment of time, or a time at which the physical act of Creation<br>> > occurred. God created the world in time, in a way similar to the way he<br>> > created fish in water. Time is finite in its very nature; because all<br>> > its parts cannot be collected or present together. Its duration is<br>> > immaterial to Faith.<br>> > ><br>> > > In particular, Steady-State theories of physical cosmology (e.g. those<br>> > of Fred Hoyle and collaborators) maintain that time extends backward<br>> > indefinitely far, with physical creation of new matter proceeding<br>> > constantly. Perhaps new matter is created in between the stars and<br>> > matter ceases to exist at the periphery, so that the universal expansion<br>> > does not change the size of the universe. Perhaps the Big Bang did not<br>> > occur at all. Perhaps arbitrarily long time spans exist between the<br>> > present and previous physical events. Perhaps one views time as a<br>> > process slowing down more and more â€" without ever stopping<br>> > â€" as one looks at earlier and earlier events in the life of the<br>> > universe. (In this last case, the total time span of the events<br>> > constituting the physical universe might be finite, even though there be<br>> > no original or first moment of time, i.e., no physical creation-event.<br>> > > The above are possibilities offered by current and viable Steady-State<br>> > theories of the Universe. I am of course not defending any of them here.<br>> > I merely note that none of the theoretical possibilities mentioned in<br>> > the preceding paragraph would be heretical beliefs if maintained by a<br>> > Catholic.<br>> > ><br>> > > Creation is ontological; it is not a physical event, not even the<br>> > "first" physical event. Conflating God's Creation of the Universe with a<br>> > Big-Bang like physical event is an invitation to scientistic<br>> > materialism.<br>> > ><br>> > ><br>> > >     Jim Given<br>> > ><br>> ><br>><br>
          • James
            James, Thank you for reiterating and clarifying your claims. All I could do here would be to repeat my last post, the claims of which (I maintain) are as yet
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 21, 2013
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              James,
              Thank you for reiterating and clarifying your claims. All I could do here would be to repeat my last post, the claims of which (I maintain) are as yet unanswered. If anyone else can contribute anything here, I would be grateful.

              All My Best,
              Jim Given





              --- In thomism@yahoogroups.com, "James" <jamesmiguez@...> wrote:
              >
              > Jim,
              >
              > Thank you for your post. No one said that creation deals with physical
              > change or events in so far as they are physical. The Big Bang and
              > Creation are two different things. There are no mathematical models
              > that can account for the earliest fraction of a second at the start of
              > the Big Bang, but the later fraction of a second and beyond the models
              > account for the "physical event," as you put it. The cooking of
              > protons, neutrons, electrons, etc and then into the first elements (i.e,
              > some form of hydrogen). But this is not creation. The matter was
              > already present, it was apparently compressed on a fantastic scale but
              > not elements. What I was stressing was that creation involves the
              > immediate existence of matter (which is physical) out of nothing.
              > Creation brought into existence the compressed matter (apparently) which
              > mathemateical models are able to posit in the earliest fraction of a
              > second after creation.
              >
              > That's what I am saying. All of the matter is accounted for immediately
              > after creation, and this is irrespective of any further physical events
              > which bring about specific sub atomic particles and elements.
              >
              > The steady-state versions -- apart from other problems pertaining to
              > theoretical physics and observational verification, such as the 2.7 K
              > background radiation -- I will not say anything more, apparently springs
              > from the wrong motivation. Jaki puts it this way: it's "a
              > counter-theological inspiration. The rank materialism of most champions
              > of the steady-state theory dictated that the Universe was the ultimate
              > entity, and as such it had to be without a beginning" (61). Jaki knows
              > what he is talking about and it is no coincidence that the author of the
              > Big Bang theory was a Catholic priest.
              >
              > Regardless however of their motivations, if you suggest that the
              > universe is eternal, what you are saying is tantamount to saying that
              > the universe is without a beginning. This flatly contradicts Scripture
              > and this position is incompatible with Catholic doctrine.
              >
              > Every created thing is finite. Only God is infinite. Humans may
              > immortal, but we are finite (limited). So too the universe, except that
              > it is not immortal.
              >
              > James
              >
              >
              > e
              >
              > <br>--- In thomism@yahoogroups.com, "James" <jagiven1370@>
              > wrote:<br>><br>> <br>> Dear James,<br>> I wrote my earlier post on
              > "Creatio ex Nihilo" to make several closely related points:<br>> 1. The
              > Bible is not a science book or physics book, it is the revealed word of
              > God, telling us what we should know about science, history, etc. for our
              > salvation. <br>> 2. Physical sciences deal systematically with
              > Aristotelian change, with natural transformation, with motion from one
              > physical state to another in general. Creation, precisely because it is
              > `ex nihilo', is not a physical event. Confusing the Creation with the
              > Big Bang of physics, threatens to lose this point; it also threatens a
              > pantheist inclusion of God as part of the Universe, with his creation
              > being the first physical event. These are materialist errors.<br>> 3.
              > The Catholic Church, in its teaching authority tells us very little,
              > even indirectly, about physical creation. The Church endorses no
              > particular model of natural cosmology, be it some form of Big Bang, some
              > form of Steady State, or something else. These are all in accordance
              > with the Catholic Catechism. Here I refer to article 290 ff. , article
              > 327 ff. and the corresponding supporting materials. <br>> 4. God exists
              > in Eternity, a state free from all constraints of time. God's actions
              > are experienced by us as they affect us in time, in the span of time
              > they affect. God does not perform these actions of creation in time per
              > se, because God is beyond time' i.e., He is not subject to time. Big
              > Bang cosmology takes no stand in regards to the length of time during
              > which the Universe has been existing, changing, and evolving, in
              > particular, whether that length of time is finite or infinite.<br>> I
              > will now elaborate these points briefly. But there is much learned
              > Christian reflection on this subject; too much to restate here. The
              > Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, in the first half of its essay,
              > "Cosmology and Theology" provides a detailed discussion of these points.
              > It is:<br>> http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cosmology-theology/<br>>
              > God created in the world in time, because time is the inherent medium of
              > physical existence. Time is not a container that pre-exists the world;
              > time comes into being as the world does and time passes as the world
              > changes. Augustine explains this in En in Ps 103, 1, 15:PL 37, 1348, as
              > cited in the Catholic Catechism. <br>> From the Catholic Catechism:<br>>
              > 327 The profession of faith of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) affirms
              > that God "from the beginning of time made at once (simul) out of nothing
              > both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal, that is, the
              > angelic and the earthly, and then (deinde) the human creature, who as it
              > were shares in both orders, being composed of spirit and body."187 <br>>
              > "In the beginning God made heaven and earth."<br>> Yes, but the
              > beginning of what? Of Time? Yes, as in the previous paragraph, because
              > the world and time were created together. Of Salvation History? Yes,
              > that is why the Bible begins here also. <br>> You say:<br>> The
              > Steady-State universe theory has problems, scientifically and in terms
              > of theology. Theologically it would require that God continually create
              > hydrogen atoms, which is problematic in terms of "in the beginning" and
              > in terms of the natural causality of the material cosmos as secondary
              > causality. The primary causality God would disrupt the material
              > causality.<br>> What could you be claiming? That all existing entities
              > were created at the beginning of time? All entities were present as
              > seeds in the form of Divine Ideas. Of course, objects such as e.g.
              > hydrogen atoms can come to exist physically without contradiction to
              > this. God had a Divine Idea of me at Creation, but I did not exist
              > physically for most of the known lifetime of the Universe. <br>> The
              > standard theories of cosmology in physics fully recognize that neither
              > energy, nor matter, nor any combination of them is conserved during the
              > evolution in time of the physical Universe. The four vector
              > energy-momentum has conserved Lorentz norm only in a local approximation
              > in which space-time is flat. That is, in events described by Special
              > Relativity, the energy-momentum vector has conserved norm. But not in
              > the bigger scenario described in General Relativity. This is a grad
              > student fact; there is not dispute on this among scientists. <br>> The
              > Big Bang cosmology is, in some form, upheld by most, but not all senior
              > astronomers and cosmologists. Halton Arp, Fred Hoyle, Margaret
              > Burbridge, and Jay Narlikar are well-established senior astronomers and
              > physicists. The fact that the Mainstream of cosmological discussion
              > disagrees with them has no philosophical or theological significance.
              > The scientists named are senior professors. Their technical knowledge of
              > this field greatly exceeds yours or mine. So their viewpoints and
              > theories are perfectly reasonable for a well-educated person to support.
              > <br>> In vain, I emphasize: I am not here to debate physical cosmology,
              > though I do above cite a few facts beyond scientific dispute. My sole
              > concern here is in establishing that the Universe, according to Catholic
              > Church teaching, need not have finite lifetime, i.e., there may be
              > physical events occurring an arbitrarily large length of time in the
              > past. Since God's creation is eternal i.e., God is beyond time, this has
              > no theological significance. The essay cited above from the Stanford
              > Encyclopedia of Philosophy establishes this last point in much greater
              > detail. <br>> To answer your last question, Big Bang cosmology certainly
              > does not lead to scientific materialism, nor could a theory from physics
              > lead to a position in philosophy. If the (possible) Big-Bang singularity
              > in space-time, and in the physical world is conflated with the Creation
              > by God of all Being, material and spiritual, then there is real danger
              > of materialist philosophical positions being promoted.<br>> No created
              > entity exists independently of God's creation. No physical entity is
              > beyond time, i.e., eternal. That is what Catholic Faith tells us-<br>>
              > <br>> Jim Given 2/16/2013<br>> <br>>
              > <br>> <br>> <br>> <br>> <br>> --- In thomism@yahoogroups.com, "James"
              > jamesmiguez@ wrote:<br>> ><br>> > Dear Jim,<br>> > <br>> > We are
              > talking about the creation of the material cosmos! This is what<br>> >
              > Genesis 1 refers to, however, not in terms of physical science. But
              > it<br>> > plainly states that "In the beginning" God created the world.
              > This<br>> > pertains to the faith. God created the world (material) in
              > the<br>> > beginning which refers to time. Creation specifically
              > contains matter<br>> > coming to be. This is the act of creation. It
              > is both ontological<br>> > (metaphysical) and material (though in
              > Scripture not scientific). So a<br>> > distinction between metaphysics
              > and physics is a scientific distinction<br>> > (pertaining to specific
              > scientific disciplines) but not ontological one,<br>> > for matter is
              > being. And this is revealed to us in Genesis 1 as created<br>> > "in
              > the beginning."<br>> > <br>> > Aquinas held that only Scripture reveals
              > that the cosmos was created ex<br>> > nihilo and is thus not eternal.
              > Reason cannot conclude this, he thought<br>> > some stars had
              > incorruptible matter. But Scripture reveals that the<br>> > cosmos in
              > not eternal.<br>> > <br>> > The New Catechism of the Catholic Church
              > simply repeats Genesis 1, 1<br>> > verbatim "In the beginning..." and
              > states that creation is "the<br>> > beginning of salvation history" that
              > culminates in Christ. The Church<br>> > is concerned with "the origin
              > and the end" in terms of salvation. It<br>> > states: "It is not only a
              > question of when and how the universe arose<br>> > physically, or when
              > man appeared, but rather discovering the meaning of<br>> > such an
              > origin..."<br>> > <br>> > So this implies certainly that the world is
              > not eternal, but had a<br>> > origin, a beginning. Ludwig Ott, the
              > theologian, explicitly teaches in<br>> > Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma
              > that the teaching<br>> > "the world had a beginning in time' is De Fide
              > or necessary to the<br>> > faith. The Steady-State universe
              > theory has problems,<br>> > scientifically and in terms of theology.
              > Theologically it would require<br>> > that God continually create
              > hydrogen atoms, which is problematic in<br>> > terms of "in the
              > beginning" and in terms of the natural causality of the<br>> > material
              > cosmos as secondary causality. The primary causality God would<br>> >
              > disrupt the material causality.<br>> > <br>> > Scientifically, it is
              > full of holes. Like any good scientific model,<br>> > the Steady State
              > made many quantitative testable predictions, and these<br>> >
              > predictions inspired many observational campaigns. As a result of
              > these<br>> > observations it became clear that the Steady State model
              > predictions<br>> > were not correct. The Big Bang theory is accepted
              > for a reason.<br>> > <br>> > See for instance Errors in Steady State and
              > Quasi SS models<br>> > <http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/stdystat.htm>
              > .<br>> > <br>> > I do not see how the Big Bang necessarily leads to
              > scientific<br>> > materialism, at least one that excludes God as author
              > and intelligent<br>> > final cause.<br>> > <br>> > Best wishes,<br>> >
              > <br>> > James<br>> > <br>> > <br>> > <br>> > --- In
              > thomism@yahoogroups.com, James Given wrote:<br>> > ><br>> > > Dear
              > James,<br>> > > Â I believe I agree with all you write. But just to
              > clarify a<br>> > point:<br>> > ><br>> > > Â If we allow with
              > Augustine that time and the world are created<br>> > together, then we
              > need not as Catholics believe in any creation event as<br>> > physical
              > event. In particular, there need not be a time period that<br>> > tells
              > us how long ago the world was created. There need not be a first<br>> >
              > moment of time, or a time at which the physical act of Creation<br>> >
              > occurred. God created the world in time, in a way similar to the way
              > he<br>> > created fish in water. Time is finite in its very nature;
              > because all<br>> > its parts cannot be collected or present together.
              > Its duration is<br>> > immaterial to Faith.<br>> > ><br>> > > In
              > particular, Steady-State theories of physical cosmology (e.g. those<br>>
              > > of Fred Hoyle and collaborators) maintain that time extends
              > backward<br>> > indefinitely far, with physical creation of new matter
              > proceeding<br>> > constantly. Perhaps new matter is created in between
              > the stars and<br>> > matter ceases to exist at the periphery, so that
              > the universal expansion<br>> > does not change the size of the universe.
              > Perhaps the Big Bang did not<br>> > occur at all. Perhaps arbitrarily
              > long time spans exist between the<br>> > present and previous physical
              > events. Perhaps one views time as a<br>> > process slowing down more and
              > more â€" without ever stopping<br>> > â€" as one looks at
              > earlier and earlier events in the life of the<br>> > universe. (In this
              > last case, the total time span of the events<br>> > constituting the
              > physical universe might be finite, even though there be<br>> > no
              > original or first moment of time, i.e., no physical creation-event.<br>>
              > > > The above are possibilities offered by current and viable
              > Steady-State<br>> > theories of the Universe. I am of course not
              > defending any of them here.<br>> > I merely note that none of the
              > theoretical possibilities mentioned in<br>> > the preceding paragraph
              > would be heretical beliefs if maintained by a<br>> > Catholic.<br>> >
              > ><br>> > > Creation is ontological; it is not a physical event, not even
              > the<br>> > "first" physical event. Conflating God's Creation of the
              > Universe with a<br>> > Big-Bang like physical event is an invitation to
              > scientistic<br>> > materialism.<br>> > ><br>> > ><br>> > > Â Â
              > Â Â Jim Given<br>> > ><br>> ><br>><br>
              >
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