Tuesday, November 6, 2018

On Being Jesus and Beyond

This morning I was thinking about what it would have been like to be Jesus. If he was fully God, as many assert, then from a young age he would have known every single thing he would do and say for the rest of his earthly life. Can you imagine knowing when you are two years old that when you turn 33 you are going to experience a brutal death on the cross? And can you imagine going through life having no choice but to do those things you foresee lest you prove yourself unworthy of Godhood by not having perfect foresight of the future?

On the other hand, having perfect foreknowledge could be fun. Just imagine never having to study for an exam and still getting a C% on every exam and straight Alpha’s on every report card. Think how you could handle those bullies who always want to pick a fight. You could dodge every punch and kick and win the fight through attrition without ever mustering a blow. You could be the greatest mentalist of all. Of course, you could only do those things if your foreknowledge allowed them. If your foreknowledge said you had to miss some questions on an exam, get Beta’s or Gamma’s on your report card, or take a few blows from the bullies, then you’d have to make sure those things happened.

On the other hand, perhaps God relinquished some of his powers when taking on a human form. Perhaps Jesus did not have perfect foreknowledge. After all, he was different from God when it came to other things such as pain. He bled like a human which God supposedly doesn’t do as a spiritual being. But if Jesus had fewer powers than God, then isn’t it true he was not God, but rather a human? You might ask, “But what about the miracles he performed?” Well, the apostles performed miracles. So did a number of people in the Old Testament. If performing miracles is proof one is God, then all these other miracle workers were God also. But I don’t know anyone who believes that.

You might be thinking, “Jesus was God because he was God before taking on human form. He just chose to take on a human form and give up his Godly powers for the benefit of humankind.” Perhaps so, but if God can choose to relinquish his powers when taking on a human form, cannot he choose to do so while in spiritual form? I have heard a number of people say that if the being we call God is not omnipotent (having all powers), omnipresent (being everywhere at once throughout all time), and omniscient (knowing all things and knowing everything that happens everywhere throughout all time), then that being is not really God. To me, this seems to be rather presumptuous. Who are we to tell God what attributes he must possess? Rather, shouldn’t God himself be allowed to choose who he will be and what attributes he will claim for himself?

Here’s a thought. Perhaps the primary attribute of God is his ability to choose. Choose how he will create. Choose what he will know. Choose where to be at any given time. Choose how he will interact with his creation. Quantum theory has shown us that at its base level, the Universe is probabilistic rather than deterministic. For example, electrons aren’t fixed particles with fixed positions and momentums, but rather a probability field. You might call this limited determinism or restrained chaos. If this view of the Universe is correct, it implies that God created a Universe whose future cannot be known with certainty. Perhaps he did this on purpose, not wanting to be bored for billions of years by knowing everything that was going to happen. If you want to get a sense of how utterly boring living in a totally predictable Universe can be, watch the old episode of The Twilight Zone entitled “A Nice Place to Visit”.

The current understanding of our Universe is that it consists of a multitude of invisible fields. No, sports fans, not football fields or baseball fields or soccer fields, but rather quark fields, lepton fields, and boson fields. These fields interact with each other to produce what we perceive to be matter and energy. And thanks to Albert Einstein, we know that these two things are interchangeable via the formula E=mc2. But what we perceive as particles are actually bundles of probability, thus unpredictable in a deterministic way. Given that everything in the Universe is made up of these fields, that means our brains are made up of these fields as well. Yet, it seems that somehow we are able to make choices. But how? Could it be that the interactions of the fields as embodied by a brain have some sort of feedback that allows us to “nudge” the probabilities in such a way as to make them fall on the choice we want? Whatever is going on, we perceive we can take in information and make freewill choices that are non-deterministic. We also perceive we are conscious beings. Could it be that being made in the image of God means being given the ability to make choices. Choices that are limited by our physical nature, but choices nonetheless.

Here’s another thought. If the invisible fields that make up our Universe can interact in such a way as to make brains capable of knowledge, emotions, and choices, could it be that all the interactions throughout the entirety of these fields in the whole Universe makes one humongous super-brain that is much more capable than any one brain. And perhaps it is this super-brain that sustains everything. Perhaps that super-brain is what we call God.

Romans 1:20
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Acts 17:27-28
God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

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