What substance is god/gods made of?

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"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 see what you mean. But I suspect Les would argue that 'essence', or 'thing-in-itself' is immaterial and insubstantial (as in - not made of a substance).
 
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Canute I see what you mean. But I suspect Les would argue that 'essence' said:
Okay, I can accept that but how can we know? To answer this threads opening question then, you think God is not made of any material, matter or substance so that we cannot detect him by physical means.

At first glance, I would have to agree with you; however, going a bit deeper, if God exists and he is the creator of the physical universe and he created it out of himself, then everything we see, touch etc is of God. If everything and everyone is made of God then god is everything and everyone and everything and everyone is or is of God. This concurs with our agreement of the universe = reality = God identity. This belief is not rare. Is this what is called pantheism or a form of it? Or am I confusing this with some other term?
 
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...

First off there is nothing to suggest god exists, theists should focus on proving god exists before ponderring the meaning of it all.

Second of all if god exists it is omnipotent and can do whatever it wants. It can produce a rock too heavy for it to lift, it can create a universe it cannot control, it can defy logic if it wanted to and do things which are completely contradictory in this universe and do them anyway, because he created this universe and all it's laws and logic. God could create a universe where 1+1 = 8000 and the snetinet life there would be talking to each other in laws of physics we cannot possibly comprehend and communicate to each other "god could create a universe where 1 + 1= 2 and for them it would be equally unfallible as 1 + 1 = 800 is to us. He's omnipotent....

This discussion has no point, it's only purpose is to lead to this conclusion and perhaps to entertain. Or both in my instance.
 
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Royce said:
Okay, I can accept that but how can we know? To answer this threads opening question then, you think God is not made of any material, matter or substance so that we cannot detect him by physical means.
Not exactly. I agree with you that God is everything, so to detect the physical is to detect God, or rather an aspect of Him. But also, in this case, then He is me (and you) and I (and you) can in principle detect Him directly. Indeed, we can hardly avoid it.

At first glance, I would have to agree with you; however, going a bit deeper, if God exists and he is the creator of the physical universe and he created it out of himself, then everything we see, touch etc is of God. If everything and everyone is made of God then god is everything and everyone and everything and everyone is or is of God. This concurs with our agreement of the universe = reality = God identity. This belief is not rare. Is this what is called pantheism or a form of it? Or am I confusing this with some other term?
I think it could be called pantheism, panpsychism, relative phenomenalism, hylozoism and other terms. Each is, or can be, a variation on the universal claim of mystics that "I am God", and that we all are. But, and this is the crucial point, in this latter view God does not really exist. 'Godhead' is a better term. This is where the misunderstandings arise, since we seem to be saddled these days with a naive and over-anthropomorphised notion of God derived from institutional Christianity. Given this notion of God one is forced into the Truth's position, extreme scepticism, since God in this form is clearly an incoherent concept. (To be fair to Christians many of them also argue that this notion of God is incoherent).
 
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the_truth said:
...First off there is nothing to suggest god exists, theists should focus on proving god exists before ponderring the meaning of it all.
I'm not sure there are any theists here. I'm not anyway.

Second of all if god exists it is omnipotent and can do whatever it wants.
Only if one defines God as omnipotent.

This discussion has no point, it's only purpose is to lead to this conclusion and perhaps to entertain. Or both in my instance.
In a way I agree, except that discussion of God cannot reach conclusions. Facts about God, even His existence and/or non-existence, cannot be established by talking about Him. But such discussion still serve a purpose I think, in that they can show some concepts of God to be incoherent, as you've shown.
 
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Canute said:
'Godhead' is a better term. This is where the misunderstandings arise, since we seem to be saddled these days with a naive and over-anthropomorphised notion of God derived from institutional Christianity.
There is a Zen story that I came across long ago that pointed out that if everything is sacred, then nothing is sacred. I believe this and in light of our conclusion that everything, the universe, is the Godhead, I have come to the place where God is a natural God and not the "Great Outsider." The term "supernatural" is in itself a contradiction. Few, however, agree with or understand this position.
 
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selfAdjoint

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Royce said:
There is a Zen story that I came across long ago that pointed out that if everything is sacred, then nothing is sacred. I believe this and in light of our conclusion that everything, the universe, is the Godhead, I have come to the place where God is a natural God and not the "Great Outsider." The term "supernatural" is in itself a contradiction. Few, however, agree with or understand this position.
How does that compare to Spinoza's Natura creatans?
 
The substance of my opinion was deleted, evidently because it was of an actual philosophical character instead of neo-fascist physics-only pseudo- philosophy...see my webpage at www.lulu.com/garycgibson if your interested in the uncensored version (the only one remaining. I'm sure this will be censored too however. It's really unfortunate that the censoring goons on this webpage make posting so tedious. Initially I intended to write just one brief paragraph to get a couple of opinions, yet the twin towers of censoring terror make this little defense requisite.
 

hypnagogue

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GaryCGibson said:
The substance of my opinion was deleted, evidently because it was of an actual philosophical character instead of neo-fascist physics-only pseudo- philosophy...see my webpage at www.lulu.com/garycgibson if your interested in the uncensored version (the only one remaining. I'm sure this will be censored too however. It's really unfortunate that the censoring goons on this webpage make posting so tedious. Initially I intended to write just one brief paragraph to get a couple of opinions, yet the twin towers of censoring terror make this little defense requisite.
If you want to discuss ideas in this forum, you have to abide by the guidelines governing discussion of this forum. It's as simple as that. If you don't like our policies on religious discussion, perhaps this is not the right forum for you.

In the future, please refrain from discussing moderation issues in this forum. If you have issues with our guidelines or moderation, you should voice your concerns via PM or in the Feedback & Announcements forum. Thanks.
 
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Spinoza is certainly relevant here. I must admit to having some trouble pinning down exactly what he meant in some of his writings, but my impression is that he came about as close as it is possible to get to the Zen view (or more generically the 'mystical' view) by reason alone. But opinions seem to vary on the precise details of what it was he was suggesting, and on some of the details I'm not sure.

Royce - Yes, I also feel that the notion of 'supernatural' is rather incoherent. If some event or entity contradicts the laws of the natural sciences then those laws are not laws. To define what is natural and what is not by reference to man-made laws or opinions seems a touch parochial, to put it mildly.
 
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selfAdjoint said:
How does that compare to Spinoza's Natura creatans?
I have never read much of Spinoza's work and I'm not familiar with Natura Creatans at all. Can you give us a brief synopsis or are you going to make me read the whole thing.
 
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Canute said:
Royce - Yes, I also feel that the notion of 'supernatural' is rather incoherent. If some event or entity contradicts the laws of the natural sciences then those laws are not laws. To define what is natural and what is not by reference to man-made laws or opinions seems a touch parochial, to put it mildly.
Yes, 'parochial' is putting it mildly. I think words like arrogance and hubris may be more fitting. Its not just the apparent breaking of our "natural laws"; but, the idea that if there is only One then there is nothing outside of that One and nothing that is or could be "super" or anything but natural. Just because we don't understand it doesn't mean that it is beyond nature, After all who in this world understands Quantum Mechanics?
 
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Perhaps the idea arose because of the attempt to fully naturalise physics. Those who felt or feel that this cannot be done might easily use the term 'supernatural' to mean what is not explained by a fully naturalised physics, forgetting that the definition of 'natural' adopted by physics may be at odds with what is natural in fact. Then over time physicists forgot that their definition of 'natural' is just a formalism. As you say, it must be impossible in principle for something supernatural to exist or to happen.
 
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neurocomp2003 said:
is it a substance that know human can detect or define?
There are three major ways to search for God (god): Empirically-- Rationally--Emotionally.

The Empirical search produces only Matter/Energy and its various transitional arrangements. Spinoza's god--Nature.

The Rational search produces only words, ideas, or concepts whose meanings vary and have been the source of conflict and disagreement since recorded history.

The Emotional search uses prayer, mind altering drugs, music, and testimonies of others to find/experience God/god.

So, what is God/god/Gods/gods made of? Answer: Nature or thought or experiences or any combination of the three.

Did I leave anything out?
 

Les Sleeth

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sd01g said:
There are three major ways to search for God (god): Empirically-- Rationally--Emotionally. . . . Did I leave anything out?
Yes. One might develop one's consciousness in a new way and search for God consciously.
 

Les Sleeth

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neurocomp2003 said:
is it a substance that know human can detect or define?
I’m a little late commenting (busy on other projects), but this is one of my favorite subjects and currently what I am personally contemplating for something I am writing. My latest thread addressed this topic: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=76897

If you notice selfAdjoint’s answer to the call for an “absolute” substance, or as I like to call it, “ground state substance,” he seems to suggest we can explain everything with processes and don’t need no stinkin’ ground state substance (sA says, “I vote for No Substance, it's a process”). I don’t believe he is correct and have posted many individual comments and a couple of threads saying so (e.g. the infamous “The Logic that Suggests all Serious Physicists Believe in God” https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=76137, and “Energy's Absurdity “https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=46224).

Why would anyone think processes can eliminate the need for a base substance? My theory is, because scientists and science believers are primarily the ones who claim processes are the bottom line, they do so because processes are all science can observe and therefore study. It is not exactly an objective theory, not one derived from logic. My complaint about the absurdity of the energy concept, for instance, was that there is no explanation for what energy IS, only concepts about what energy DOES. It’s fine having process descriptions, and if that is what energy is, then to ask about the composition of energy is like asking what velocity is made out of. Velocity is a measurement of speed and direction, it isn’t a substance, just like energy is a measurement of movement/change or potential movement/change.

On the other hand, to say energy isn’t a substance doesn’t mean something substantial isn’t required for energy to operate, similar to the way something of substance has to exist that velocity measures the speed and direction of. In any other situation of life, we would admit it counters every known principle, and logic, that nothing (using energy as the example) can do work. It is more consistent with what we know that some unobservable something is making the universe change and move.

The references to Spinoza are apt because, in my opinion, he thought profoundly about the subject of what is sometimes called “substance monism” (Plotinus and Meister Eckhart are two other of my favorites). But besides not solving the infinite regress problem, his approach suffers the difficulty of all rationalistic proposals . . . we are not provided a way to test his theories.

Why not, after offering a theory, attempt to model some fundamental aspect of reality we do know about with the new theory? If God is made of something, and consciousness is made of the same thing, and atoms are too, then why not give us a model of each with the hypothetical substance? Show how the nature of the ground state substance accounts for what we can observe here in the universe. For example, why do atoms oscillate, and is the utter dependence of consciousness on oscillatory processes and information mean there is something vibratory about the ground state substance (and God)?

I think selfAdjoint is right to say no third party observation is possible for this. But that doesn’t mean we have to leave the discussion in the hands of blind faith or purely rationalistic conjecture. Somehow we have to try to link ideas about God or a ground state substance to that which we can experience or all we do is trade unsupported opinions.
 
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selfAdjoint

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Les Sleeth said:
My theory is, because scientists and science believers are primarily the ones who claim processes are the bottom line, they do so because processes are all science can observe and therefore study.
No it's because science, and especially physics, has an infamous history of hypostatizing substance from current empirical data. Phlogiston, caloric, and the luminiferous ether come to mind. Some quantum physicists of today (or the recent past) were eager to hypostatize the state function into a really existing wave, and you see in the debates between Patrick Vanesch and "ttn" how difficult it is for people learned in QM to give up on realism, although they have to embrace absurdities like Bohmian mechanics or literal many-worlds in order to hang onto it.

So I reiterate; process is all we know, and there is nothing to suggest we can know any substance. In particular the philosophers' attempt to generate substance either a priori or via premise handwaving is worthless.
 

Les Sleeth

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selfAdjoint said:
No it's because science, and especially physics, has an infamous history of hypostatizing substance from current empirical data. Phlogiston, caloric, and the luminiferous ether come to mind. Some quantum physicists of today (or the recent past) were eager to hypostatize the state function into a really existing wave, and you see in the debates between Patrick Vanesch and "ttn" how difficult it is for people learned in QM to give up on realism, although they have to embrace absurdities like Bohmian mechanics or literal many-worlds in order to hang onto it.
Yes, but I'd suggest that people expert at studying processes are least qualified to propose an absolute generality. If you are familiar with business, it's similar to why accountants normally don't make good CEOs . . . great with processes, crappy generalists. So citing all the process experts' attempts at generalizing a ground state substance as reason to avoid the theory is like saying we should do away with CEOs because accountants have failed so miserably at it.


selfAdjoint said:
So I reiterate; process is all we know, and there is nothing to suggest we can know any substance. In particular the philosophers' attempt to generate substance either a priori or via premise handwaving is worthless.
I TOTALLY agree that "philosophers' attempt to generate substance either a priori or via premise handwaving is worthless." But that has nothing to do with our potential for knowing. If you are content with all you can know using the consciousness skills we are born with, fine, but it doesn't mean that by developing new consciousness skills, we can't learn to know something new.

I say, we CAN know the ground state substance experientially, and so it doesn't have to be an a priori assumption, rationalization, or premise handwaving we are destined to rely on.
 
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nuts, if only i was so fond of reading some of the people you references...but i am not =[
 

Les Sleeth

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neurocomp2003 said:
nuts, if only i was so fond of reading some of the people you references...but i am not =[
It's not that hard to research quickly with all the great online sources availiable. Here's one of my favorites: http://plato.stanford.edu/contents.html
 
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Les Sleeth said:
Yes. One might develop one's consciousness in a new way and search for God consciously.
I did leave out one very important emotional tool one can use when searching for God/gods--meditation. However, developing one's consciousness in a new way is part of the mind altering drugs category.
 

selfAdjoint

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Les Sleeth said:
I TOTALLY agree that "philosophers' attempt to generate substance either a priori or via premise handwaving is worthless." But that has nothing to do with our potential for knowing. If you are content with all you can know using the consciousness skills we are born with, fine, but it doesn't mean that by developing new consciousness skills, we can't learn to know something new.

I say, we CAN know the ground state substance experientially, and so it doesn't have to be an a priori assumption, rationalization, or premise handwaving we are destined to rely on.
My probem with introspective "knowing" was laid out by Dennet in Consciousness Exlained and by many others: you can't trust your consciousness. Your brain generates lies and they are all you know internally.
 

Les Sleeth

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sd01g said:
I did leave out one very important emotional tool one can use when searching for God/gods--meditation. However, developing one's consciousness in a new way is part of the mind altering drugs category.
Meditation, at least as I practice it, is most definitely not an emotional tool, and certainly not rationalistic. The closest on your list would be empirical, which would work as a category if it weren't commonly accepted that the experiential aspect of empiricism is limited to sense experience. The deepest experience of meditation is not sense experience.

Regarding mind altering drugs, I did a lot in my youth, and certain drugs (e.g., mescaline) did seem to help. But that was also when I didn't have meditation to rely on, and I dropped all drug use once I discovered how much more effective meditation is.
 

Les Sleeth

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selfAdjoint said:
My problem with introspective "knowing" was laid out by Dennett in Consciousness Exlained and by many others: you can't trust your consciousness. Your brain generates lies and they are all you know internally.
Sometimes you make me laugh (sincerely, not from ridicule). I don't know why that cracked me up. Let's see if I can dig it out of my psyche.

First, I say Dennett is not an authority on consciousness potential. Let's say you assign a computer the task of figuring out what love is. The computer thinks for years and never gets it because love is a feeling, not a thought. Dennett is determined to reduce everything to a concept, but not everything fits into a conceptual framework, not fully anyway. IMO, he is just another intellectual who thinks he is so smart he can figure out anything, even that which can't be thought. And that which can't be thought . . . he "dismisses" as illusion.

Regarding not trusting one's consciousness, to me that seems a really strange thing to say since I am convinced I am consciousness and therefore trust it more than any other thing in the universe. What am I going to do, doubt my being?

But I don't think we are talking about the same thing. What you say we can't trust I believe is the conditioning of the mind we are all subjected too. That conditioning, along with selfishness, ignorance, emotional instability, fear, etc., all can bias our views and decisions. But I don't see that as consciousness; rather it stuff consciousness gets caught up in using the mind. The thing about the deepest experience of meditation is that it stops the mind, and that is exactly where all the deluded stuff is! So I don't know why you would think introspection doesn't lead to new consciousness skills.

You say you don't trust intropsective knowing but what isn't, in the end, internal when it comes to each individual consciousness? Besides, I doubt if you have given the type of intropection I talk about a serious try, so aren't you just guessing about that?
 
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Rade

The initial post asked this question:
What substance is god/gods made of? is it a substance that know (sic) human can detect or define?

The question asks if humans can know god/gods as a "substance", and if so, what this substance must be. First to definitions, god is defined as (Webster) 1. "any of the various beings conceived of as supernatural".... Thus, the substance of god (by definition) is "supernatural".

Now, "supernatural" is defined (Webster) 1. "existing or occuring outside the normal experience or knowledge of man; caused by other than the known forces of nature"....

So, to answer the first question, the "substance" of god/gods is not caused by known forces of nature (such as electromagnetism, gravity, strong and weak nuclear force). Thus, humans do have in general an understanding of what the "god substance" is not made of (it is not caused by forces of physics and chemistry such as quantum mechanics), and any attempt to try an understand the "god substance" using concepts of physics or chemistry must fail, because these two sciences operate within the known forces of nature.

Now, someone suggested that the god substance was the soft drink-Dr. Pepper. Clearly we can see that this is a false premise--Dr. Pepper is a chemical derived from forces of nature. Others have suggested that the god substance is within all that exists--but this also is a false premise because all that exists also operate via forces of nature. Now, the god substance may have "created" all that exists using forces of nature, but by definition god substance itself cannot "be" all that exists.

In summary, the god substance is a supernatural identity that is maintained by processes that operate outside the known forces of nature.
 

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