The unreality of the supernatural

In metaphysics we defined a substance as an element that is uncreated, unperishable and that only need itself to exist.  God could be a substance too, with other attributes like omniscience, omnipresence, etc.  But as we have seen in metaphysics, if there is a substance in the universe, this substance has to be unitary. There cannot be more than one substance in the universe.

So, if Space is a substance then God doesn’t exist. If Space is an ungenerated, imperishable and self-contained substance; then there is no other substance in the universe other than Space.

Any other substance, physical like Space or divine like God, wouldn’t interact with our universe, therefore it would be inexistent to us.

The problem with the belief in God, is that it is a belief in two worlds: a natural and a supernatural world. God doesn’t belong to this world, but it is a supernatural being belonging to a supernatural world. 

In a monist universe there is only one world: the natural world. And while Space and Nature are perfectly compatible with each other, the concepts of a supernatural world with a natural world are irreconcilable. The reason for their irreconcibility is their lack of interaction.

There are four ways in which the supernatural is conceived.
. One way of conceiving the supernatural world is as coexistent and interacting directly with the physical world, as in the case of Greek mythology, Hinduism or the Old Testament. So we have for example, Krishna leading Arjuna into battle; God appearing to Moses in Mount Sinai; or Zeus with the rest of the pantheon abiding in Mount Olympus, a mortal like Achilles being son to a goddess, and Apollo guiding the arrow that kills Achilles. These are examples of the supernatural intervening in human affairs and interacting directly with the physical world.
. Another way of conceiving the supernatural world is as a transcendent world governing the physical world but without manifesting itself like in all contemporary theistic religions.

. And another way of conceiving the supernatural world is as a force that created the universe and then let it follow its natural course without intervening any further, as in the case of Deism.

. And yet another way of conceiving God is through a pantheistic view where everything would be a manifestation of God. This is also a monist view of the universe where God is its unitary substance. Under this view there are not two, but one world. The natural and the supernatural worlds are one and the same world. Our original argument agains the existence of this God is equally valid. If Space is a substance then God doesn’t exist. In a monist universe there can only be one, and Space is a substance, therefore God doesn’t exist.

Except with pantheism, which we refuted, the difficulty with the idea of a supernatural world is how it interacts with the physical world. If there is a supernatural world its existence makes sense only if it can somehow intervenes with the physical world. If it doesn’t intervene with the physical world in any way, then it would be the same as if it wouldn‘t exist at all. And there are two ways in which the supernatural could affects the physical world: in its creation or by intervening with the natural course of things. Let us see the latter one first.

In the universe everything behaves according to the laws of Nature. If there is a supernatural world that intervenes with the physical world, it would mean breaking with the laws of Nature. Any supernatural force that influence the behaviour of the physical world would mean to alter or break the laws of Nature. This of course is not possible and it doesn’t happen. And in a monist universe there is a reason for which it doesn’t happen. In a universe constituted by a unitary substance the behaviour of things is self-contained and nothing external can influence it. In a monist universe nothing external can affect the natural behaviour of things.

Another way that the supernatural could intervene with the physical world would be at the moment of creation. One of the main arguments for believing in a supernatural world is that it can explain the creation of the universe. But there is a problem with this argument too. The concept of creation itself is a human construction. The ideas that the universe has a primal mover or an original cause comes from a causal and temporal construction of the world. And it is described in the unreality of causality and of time, causality, time and temporality are part of a subjective rational interpretation of physical variation. The concept of creation is subjective and unreal. In Nature nothing is created or destroyed, but eveything is transformed. There is no creation in Nature. But what about Nature itself? Couldn’t have Nature been created? No. Nature comes form the behaviour of a substance, and a substance is by definition something that exist by itself. If the universe is constituted by a unitary substance then it is self-contained. Space is a substance that is not affected by time, therefore it is ungenerated and imperishable. And if the universe is constituted by space then it is not created nor it can be destroyed.

In a monist universe there is only one world: the natural world. A monist universe is constituted by one substance. Whatever exist, it either belongs to this substance or doesn’t exist at all. Anything exiting out of this substance, from the point of view of anything within the substance, is non-existent. So things either exist in the physical world, or doesn’t exist at all.
So in a monist universe there is only one way that a supernatural world can exist: in the human mind. We are natural beings and religion in the universe exist in us, as part of a human construction adjusting our subjective world-views to our needs.

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One Response to “The unreality of the supernatural”

  1. Human natural subjectivity « Natural Philosophy Says:

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