Tom Pittman's WebLog

2018 May 5 -- Writing What They Don't Know

Imagine, if you can, a universe where there is no (first) cause, everything just sort of happens by accident and random "quantum" fluctuations -- and yet in this mythical universe there actually are inviolate laws of nature, things that must or cannot just happen. There really are people who believe this nonsense, so just suppose you might be one of them. Furthermore, stretch your imagination to suppose that in this mythical universe, there are some foolish people who (against all reason -- is there such a thing?) believe that there really is a First Cause Who controls the universe. You are not one of them, but there are a lot of them.

Now if you are a novelist, and you make your living selling plausible (but fiction) stories about those inviolate laws of nature in a universe which just happened out of nothing for no reason, and in which your readers and even yourself "evolved" by random chance by no laws of nature that can be observed nor measured, but there you all are, and they buy your books so you can eat and pay your mortgage. So writing a story about the kind of world the majority of foolish people believe in, a story about a God Who can do anything He wants to with nature and its laws, because He created it, it sort of makes sense to explore what kind of world that would be. It's fiction, no sensible person believes that kind of thing could really happen, but there are a lot of foolish people who really do believe it, so let's see what kind of world that might be.

The people I just described are called "sci-fi novelists" and they really do imagine, against all sound logic, that they live in the universe you just imagined, a universe which the more honest of them readily admit makes no sense at all but there it is, and they did put out a book about what they imagined a world would be like if there really were a God Who could -- and did -- violate the laws of physics for one day, as a "Sign" in The Day the Sun Stood Still, three novellas by three different authors, all essentially the same, bound up in one volume. Because they cannot bring themselves to imagine there really existing a God Who can do those kinds of things, all three stories are somewhat incoherent, filled with crazy religious bigots going crazy and destroying civilization. The first story was plausible, but I gave up reading the other two, they were too incoherent. The authors were trying to write about something they neither know nor care about.

In a universe that does have inviolate laws of nature, of course such a universe cannot just happen, some kind of First Cause needs to overcome those laws to cause the universe to exist -- unless it had no beginning, but the scientific law of Entropy put an end to that silly idea -- Somebody needs to wind up the cosmic clock that is currently running down. And if God can do that, of course He can do anything else He wants to outside the laws of nature, including miracles (violations of those laws within the universe) if He wants to. Maybe He listens to us puny humans, and maybe not -- you must look at the evidence to determine that, just as you must look at the evidence (entropy) to determine that there must be a Creator God -- but if He does, and if one person requests a serious violation of nature like stopping the sun in the sky "for a whole day," and if God chose to do it... Well, He did, but it was not for a "Sign," but only so the battle could finish in one day. In other words, this God is quite reasonable. Duh.

God did give us a Sign, but you must want to believe it. If you don't want God telling you what to do, then He won't force Himself on you -- I mean He could, if He wanted to, you have to look at the evidence again -- but God doesn't seem to be much interested in robots with no free will, yet in Heaven (no evidence, some things you must choose to believe because God said so and the evidence shows that He does not lie) Heaven wouldn't be Heaven if people were being cruel to each other, so God necessarily must exclude the people who don't want to behave. That excludes a lot of people who think they are Christians, but who don't want to be Good. It also excludes a lot of other religions that do not teach people to be Good. God gets to decide, not you or me. The most we can do is look at the evidence.

The Sign is the Resurrection. If you want to be good enough for Heaven -- God decides who is, not you or I -- that's the way you let God know you want it. God said so: "If you confess Jesus as LORD (Creator of the universe with the right to say what happens in it) and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." [Rom.10:9] That's the only Sign you get. The evidence is there, but if you want to argue about it, you probably don't want God or Jesus telling you what to do anyway. You have that right, just not in Heaven. It's more complicated than that, but not a lot.


Complete Blog Index
Itty Bitty Computers home page