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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Does God play dice?


At the Christian Mystics site I regularly participate in, I recently began a discussion called, “Does God play dice?”  I began it as follows:

It was Einstein who famously said God doesn’t play dice.  But Neils Bohr reported once replied to him, “Don’t tell God what to do.”

Einstein spent most of his physics career studying the Macrocosm, the Great, the Universe, which follows fairly organized and predictable patterns, even if, as Einstein himself proved, the patterns are found to be entirely mind-boggling and astonishing. 

In the years following Einstein’s famous discoveries, the next group of physicists spent their careers studying the tiny, the invisible — that mysterious world of the quantum, where rationality appears to have been thrown out, where God seemingly plays dice. 
 


Some said “no,” and noted God’s control, to which I responded:  
 
But the question of God’s control is actually different than whether God “plays dice,” as Bohr hinted in his reply to Einstein. He could be in control and play dice too! We think of the Trickster god in Native American legends as an example.
 
                Some brought forth some scriptures, such as Isaiah 55:9 that God’s ways and thoughts are “higher” than ours;  Proverbs 16:33 “The dice are thrown but the Lord determines every outcome”; Job 38:19 “Where is the way where light dwells? And as for darkness, where is its abode?” among others.

                I also noted the following:

“In the beginning, God created . . .” How do we often refer to God? “The Creator.” I’ve known of Einstein’s comment for quite a while, but have been pondering this question along with Physicist Amit Goswami, while reading his book, “The Self Aware Universe: How Consciousness creates the material world.” It’s a question that has compelled Goswami himself, both in his career in Physics, but also in his own, clearly, mystical quest. Now that I’ve almost finished his book, I’ll share the answer he provides, which resonates with my own sense:
“The universe is creative; you and I in our creativity are the living proof of it. In determinism the world machine allows us to evolve only in its image, as mind machines. But there really is no world machine. In our desire for harmony and for prediction and control of our environment, we created the idea of the world machine and projected that deterministic image onto nature. A statistically harmonious, lawful universe would be, however, a dead universe; the universe is not dead because we are not dead” (230).


We discussed God’s control, His free will, our free will, our free will as “chaos principle,” and, in response to the following, whether God as Creator may be “First Cause”:


“In the beginning, God created . . .”  How do we often refer to God?  “The Creator.”  I’ve known of Einstein’s comment for quite a while, but have been pondering this question along with Physicist Amit Goswami, while reading his book, “The Self Aware Universe: How Consciousness creates the material world.”   It's a question that has compelled Goswami himself, both in his career in Physics, but also in his own clearly, mystical quest.  Now that I've almost finished his book, I'll share the answer he provides, which resonates with my own sense:
 
"The universe is creative; you and I in our creativity are the living proof of it.  In determinism the world machine allows us to evolve only in its image, as mind machines.  But there really is no world machine.  In our desire for harmony and for prediction and control of our environment, we created the idea of the world machine and projected that deterministic image onto nature.  A statistically harmonious, lawful universe would be, however, a dead universe; the universe is not dead because we are not dead" (230).

Our discussion was fruitful and engaging, and we teased ourselves that we are likely "the dice," but as one participant noted at the end, we ended fairly well where began, in a “rabbit hole.”

 
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