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What substance is god/gods made of?

  1. Jul 16, 2005 #1
    is it a substance that know human can detect or define?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2005 #2


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    dr. pepper

    Im sure many will agree with me
  4. Jul 17, 2005 #3


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    Dreams, I'd say.
  5. Jul 17, 2005 #4
    What substance is consciousness made of? Can humans detect it? To hard? How about thought or ideas, philosophy itself? Can we detect it?
  6. Jul 17, 2005 #5


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    If this is just a call for opinions, I vote for No Substance, it's a process. And I also vote that it can't be detected by a third party mechanism. (Some might dipute that, but I reject supernatural faith, Inspiration, inner light, and all that as sources of truth). I think the processes of our brain and body kid us along (delay between potentials and consciousness, bllindsight, etc. etc.), and it's a mistake to take first order appearences in your own awareness too seriously.
  7. Jul 17, 2005 #6
    I could imagine that we could make progress figuring out how conscious behaviour emerges. For example, looking at feedback loops in the brain to the senses, or the 'self' as a symbol, or things along those lines.

    But I don't see how science could ever distinguish between things that act in every respect like conscious things, when there is no subjective feeling to "be" something, and the existence we all experience. (Well, *I* experience it, you might all be zombies:) )

    This seems sort of equivalent to asking why I am "me", and why my subjective experience isn't you, or Napoleon, or some entity on the surface of a neutron star. I can't imagine that science could ever shed light on that, since the laws of physics are the same whether I exist as "me" or if I existed as someone else. Yet there most definitely *is* a difference for me, because I'm not you. Or something like that.

    I could postulate a law that says there is subjective experience associated with anything that behaves exactly as if it were conscious. Is this reasonable? Is it a law of physics, or something else?
  8. Jul 17, 2005 #7
    What substance is consciousness made of? Can humans detect it? To hard? How about thought or ideas, philosophy itself? Can we detect it?

    ...simple experiment can we remove your brain? or at least destroy all the synaptic knobs in your brain. Long thought out thoughts and ideas...lets destroy the concept of papers/ink and fingers.
  9. Jul 17, 2005 #8
    If god is omnipotent he can choose whether to exist in this universe as a substance or not and what substance he will exist as.

    However you cannot prove god's existence so it is best to assume he does not exist. Even if you cannot disprove god's existence as the lack of disproof is worthless if you cannot prove god in the first place.
  10. Jul 17, 2005 #9
    What will be your basis for accepting or rejecting the answers? One could say "Dr. Pepper" is the god-matter and, excepting some criteria, it will be as valid as any other answer. So, what criteria are you going to use to judge the answers?

    Are you going to use your own reasoning? -- where each answer stands before the court of your mind to be weighed? If so you are a final arbiter and the answer must pass the bar of your own understanding. You will decide what divinity is made of (note: you imply in the question that it is "made" -- i.e. creational). In which case, only answers that conform to a mental image of your creation will "work." You are thus forced to end with a god/gods made in conformity to you own image-idea. That's called idolatry in some religious circles (which is just my observation based on the study of religious texts).

    If, on the other hand, you are going to appeal to some source as judge of the answers, then you already have the answer in that source. In which case, our answers don't matter. That is, unless you are making this list that source. In which case, you will get the answer from people creating the image for you. But you will still make yourself judge of the source, either accepting or rejecting the consensus.
  11. Jul 18, 2005 #10


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    Here's a nice idea from Spinoza.

    God is existence itself. More rigorously...

    Definition I: By that which is ‘self-caused’ I mean that of which the essence
    involves existence, or that of which the nature is only conceivable as existent.

    Definition II: A thing is called ‘finite after its kind’ when it can be limited
    by another thing of the same nature; for instance, a body is
    called finite because we always conceive another greater body.
    So, also, a thought is limited by another thought, but a body is
    not limited by thought, nor a thought by body.

    Definition III: By ‘substance’ I mean that which is in itself, and is conceived
    through itself: in other words, that of which a conception can be formed independently of any other conception.

    Definition IV: By ‘attribute’ I mean that which the intellect perceives as constituting the essence of substance.

    Definition V: (irrelevent)

    Definition VI: By ‘God’ I mean a being absolutely infinite—that is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality.

    Explanation—I say absolutely infinite, not infinite after its kind: for, of a thing infinite only after its kind, infinite attributes may be denied; but that which is absolutely infinite, contains in its essence whatever expresses reality, and
    involves no negation.

    Definition VII: That thing is called ‘free,’ which exists solely by the necessity of its own nature, and of which the action is determined by itself alone. On the other hand, that thing is necessary, or rather constrained, which is determined by something external to itself to a fixed and definite method of existence or action.

    Starting from these definitions and a handful of axiom, Spinoza then proceeds to show the existence and uniqueness (LOL :rofl: ) of God.

    Later, follow two theorems that says more about the nature of God:

    Thm XX: The existence of God is its essence itself.

    Thm XXXIV: The power of God (i.e. that which he CAN DO*) is its essence itself.

    *I will quote one last theorem and its corollary just so this spinozian notion of what God can "do" is not ambiguous.

    Thm XVII: God acts solely by the laws of his own nature, [...].

    Corollary II—It follows that God is the sole free cause. For God alone exists by the sole necessity of his nature, and acts by the sole necessity of his own nature, wherefore God is (by Def. vii.) the solefree cause.

    In other words, that which he does, he does so by necessity, and the factor "choice" plays no role in God's doing. Everything that exists is a part of God (i.e. affirms a finite number of its infinitely many attributes), since God is existence itself. Everything that happens, must necessarily have hapened (quantum theory:1, Spinoza:0), and everything that will happen will have no choice but to happen. (Spinozism is a complete determinism)

    I find the way spizona describes God particularily charming because as you may have noticed, it is human-centric, i.e. it defines God through what is accesible to our mind/perception. He does not pretend to state the truth as it really is, but only as perceived by our mind.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2005
  12. Jul 18, 2005 #11
    SteveRives "if, on the other hand, you are going to appeal to some source as judge of the answers, then you already have the answer in that source. In which case, our answers don't matter. That is, unless you are making this list that source. In which case, you will get the answer from people creating the image for you. But you will still make yourself judge of the source, either accepting or rejecting the consensus."

    obviously i play final arbiter to my own beliefs...but religious people seem to just assume that god exist suffice and do not question what he is made out of ...and if in the event that he is made of dr.pepper..then we should look more into the substance that dr.pepper is made out of ...and ask whether such a substance existed in the days before the universe was created...if in the event that he is not made out of dr pepper than he made out of something else is he not? or does this question not matter in t he religious world? If it does matter, then he is made of something so is it detectable in our universe someday? if not ...then why not? and how does he change back and forth between forms of communication between his world and ours for there must be a way to jump back as he does.

    if not then do we live in a "matrix" world in that the mechanism to which we believe move in so called spacetime are artificial and run on a framebyframe basis like a computer game.
  13. Jul 18, 2005 #12
    Fascinating how the question about the substance of God turned immediately to a discussion of the substance of consciousness. The situation seems to me to be this, although I'm sure there will be objections.

    If consciousness is non-existent, in a true ontological sense, as has been argued, and if solipsim is unfalsifiable, as it seems to be, then it is logically impossible to know that anything exists, and Descartes' was clearly muddled in thinking that his mystical first-person 'cogito' axiom was trustworthy. In this case the substance of God is not the pressing issue. The substance of matter must be determined first, which will be tricky if in principle we cannot prove that it has any substance.

    On the other hand, if consciousness is more fundamental than mind and matter there is at least an in principle possibility that we can know what it is made out of, first-hand at least, and thus an in principle possibility that we can know something about the substance of God, should He/She/It exist, and as long as neither turn out to be immaterial.

    But sticking to just the question about God - it seems incoherent to say that God exists within spacetime. In this case if He is made out of substance it is one that is capable of existing outside spacetime. This is some very peculiar substance, since it has no extension in spacetime. From this it seems likely that if there is a God He must be insubstantial or immaterial.

    Does this seem reasonable so far?
  14. Jul 18, 2005 #13
    Physicalim has the implication that everything is fully detectable and comprehensible form a 3rd-person POV. So you can't have your complete
    rejection of the non-natural AND your fundamentally 1st-person consciousness.
  15. Jul 18, 2005 #14
    Your Mathematics Professor might see playing final arbiter as less-than-noble if you did it in the math classroom (esp. if you did it on a test). We don't make up our own math, physics, chemistry, English, etc., independent of the larger society. E.g., I am not the final arbiter on what a noun is. I was born into a community with nouns. So why should I treat this subject any differently and make myself judge of what is or is not god?

    Your question assumes the existence of god/gods! You even seem to assume the creation of the god/god when you asked what they are "made of".

    All kinds of religious people question what their gods are made out of -- you are part of the club. In fact, there is a famous (and large) religious group that lives mostly in one of the Western states, and they have a big doctrine about the god-substance (hint: they started in the 1800's).

    But that's the problem. We can look at Dr. Pepper all day long. But you have to have some criteria to say that that then is the god-substance. That's why I asked you how you would know how to work backwards from a known substance and say that divinity is composed of it. What will be your rule for knowing this?

    If you reason is the final arbiter, then what keeps you from making this stuff up as you go along?

    It must, because you are asking! You may be more cynical about your beliefs than the regular religious person, but your question is about some metaphysical construct -- it has religion written all over it.

    What communication?! Is this like space-alien communication you are talking about here? Seriously, what information flow do you have in view at this point?

    Let me get this right, the two options are 1) the one you are proposing, or 2) we live in a "matrix" world.

    Why only these two options?
  16. Jul 18, 2005 #15
    to know what god is made of we'd need to know if he/she truly exists... difficult i know... but i guess as of now i think god is made of belief (not really a substance, but what the heck!)
  17. Jul 18, 2005 #16
    Not really a call for opinions, more of a socratic method of discussion. However I have yet to see or make any statement or question that does not evoke numerous opinions including my own.

    I agree, no physical substance; but the insubstantial substance of pure thought and consciousness, spirit in other words.

    While a third party mechanism cannot detect thought or consciousness directly we can and do detect the results or effects of consciousness and thought in others. This forum and these posts are a prime example.

    This of course is your opinion and your welcome to it. I can't dispute or disprove it, just as you can't dispute or disprove my opinions.
  18. Jul 18, 2005 #17
    I reject the idea that consciousness is an emergent property of the physical brain. I believe that consciousness is a property of being alive and part of the Universal consciousness.

    This is true, unless one accepts that truth, information and knowledge exist that did not and does not originate from purely within yourself. If one acknowledges that there exist information not original to himself them one must conclude others exist in addition to himself. If others exist then something greater than himself may or must exist including the world, reality and the Universe. After this it is just a matter of observing and experiencing the universe, the world and life all about us.

    As you (and I) are an intragal part of the universe as it is, if you were someone else, it would be a different universe.

    I would say that it is an observation not yet a law. As I understand it one has to determine and show a one to one cause and effect relationship before it can become a law. I would also say that subjective experience is a property of consciousness.
  19. Jul 18, 2005 #18
    Can you prove that removing my brain will destroy all consciousness in the universe? What of unconscious brains and people still having experiences and experiencing what is happening around them.

    "papers/ink and fingers" give proof that thoughts exist and can be conveyed and saved. What substance do they consist of. Are thoughts energy? Is what gives that energy intelligent meaning force? Is there something more than force, energy, mass, matter and physics. I think so; but, I don't think that it can be quantized or detected by physical means. There must be some other state in which such things exist for it is obvious that they exist.
  20. Jul 18, 2005 #19
    If God is then he is part of, exists in or is the universe as the universe is all that is, all that exists. In that there is substance in the universe and in that God is the universe then is not God that substance plus all else that is?

    I cannot even prove to you or anyone else that I exist. Is it therefore best to assume that I do not exist. Who then is writing this, God?
    The lack of proof or disproof proves nothing so your last statement has no meaning.
  21. Jul 18, 2005 #20
    Royce: "unconscoius brain" is such a awkward word to use does your brain ever stop firing? if it was you'd be in a state of cryogenics...Thoughts are just a relay of your brain and your sense. Do you think a baby will live when their brain is removed?

    SteveRives: Why would you assume me to be religious? I'm actually atheist, my question was posed because there are many threads talking about science & religion...
    need I write full sentences and state "if god existed..."? what a wast of time of course i'd need to assume abstractly that gods exist in order to pose the question to others.

    and everytime i've asked someone what god(s) is...the simple answer we don't care OR it doesn't really matter...if people put such faith in god existing...should they not ask that question?
  22. Jul 18, 2005 #21
    What is the concept of God if not a concept of ultimate consciousness.
    I think that this is implied in the concepts of omnipotent and omni-sentient.
    If there is one God, if there is one universe and if there is one reality, does that not imply an identity.
    If God is outside of the physical space/time universe then there are two (at least) universes and two realities. The one with God within and the one with God without (outside) I humbly ask, is this not an absurdity.


    If God is made out of a substance that is capable of existing outside space/ time, why is is inconceivable that that substance could also exist within space/time? While I agree that God must be non-material (unless the pun was intended) I do not agree that he must be insubstantial (again, pun?)
    If he created the physical space/time universe it logically must have been created within the existing universe in which God exists or is. Thus space/time must be within God or God's non-spacetime universe of which our space/time universe is part or a subset of.
    That is, of course, assuming that God does exist. If He/She/It does not exist other than as a human idea then all of this is moot and as pointless as; "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?"
  23. Jul 19, 2005 #22
    Yes, I probably agree with all of that, especially the point about identity, except I'm not sure how you make a distinction between immaterial and insubstantial.
  24. Jul 19, 2005 #23
    Because of your question.


    Yes, it is interesting how scientific people believe in and discuss the Divine. For example, there was Newton, Einstein, Gauss, Pascal, H. Ross, Lord Rayleigh... When I worked at Oak Ridge National Labs, I remember visiting a religious service. Guess what I found: many scientists were members of the theistic faith community. Nuclear physicists, chemists, material researchers, biologists, all there, with each having a religion and a scientific brain.

    It may be hard for religious people to get worked-up over this since human inability to discover the answer is an inhibiter. I appeal to Flatland, and the analogy of a 2-D entity trying to understand a 3-D entity. The 2-D person can't know the third dimension -- not because of lack of caring or because the extra dimension does not matter, but because of inherent inability. Your question has not exposed a huge hole missed by all the scientific minds, but you are asking a question that is beside-the-point.

    I don't know. Besides, who are we to decide what kinds of questions religious people should be asking? I think we would agree, however, that because physicists and researchers don’t ask the questions someone else thinks they should ask, that does not mean that they have put their brains in their pockets.
  25. Jul 19, 2005 #24
    I took "immaterial" to mean non-material, not made of physical matter. I course agree totally with this.

    I took "insubstantial" to mean not made of substance. This I'm not so sure about. I had Les Sleeth's "esse" in mind.

    I was half serious when I first asked what is consciousness made of. Is it energy, force or what? There is no doubt that it exists, but what is it? Is thought energy? Is there a messenger particle for consciousness like the photon is the messenger particle for EM?

    There are four known physical forces in the physical universe. I think it obvious that there is a life force, the martial artist call it chi. Is the a consciousness force also? Could we call its messenger particle an infoton as in information carrier? Is it too limited to the speed of light?

    I did not think that the original question to this thread as just an idle question or remark making fun. I took in semi-seriously when I really thought about the implications.
  26. Jul 19, 2005 #25
    How about a brain or person who is unconcious or anesthetized. This is what I was referring to.

    This is a large unproven assumption on your part that I don't agree with. I believe that thoughts originate in the mind that is interlinked and interactive with the brain but not necessarily a property of the physical brain.

    No I don't think that the body of any higher animal will live if its brain is removed completely or severely enough damaged.

    An awful lot of religious people or believers in God ask these questions. They don't know any more than you do. I am one of those people and took your question seriously enough to ask similar questions myself, not all that Socratic. If I believe that one of Gods aspects is consciousness, the universal consciousness then what is God and consciousness made of? "Spirit" is not an answer for the next obvious question is; " Okay what is spirit made of?"

    By the way I had no intentionof hijacking your thread.
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