Defining the Unprovable

When did time begin?

Where does space end?

How did all the matter in the universe get there?

Time - Space - Matter. The pillars of physics. The genesis of religion.

Science: The systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

Religion: Belief in a divine power to be obeyed and worshipped as the creator and ruler of the universe.

When Did Time Begin? >>>

When Did Time Begin?

In science, time is the interval between events. It is measured by comparing the interval to be measured to the interval of some consistently repeatable occurrence, such as the rotation of the earth about its axis, or about the sun, or by the swinging of a pendulum or the vibration of an atom. Time has the unusual property of being measurable even though it can not be seen or heard or perceived by any of our senses.

In science, time has no meaning unless there is a repeatable occurrence by which it can be measured. When or how this repeatable occurrence began is of little importance to the usefulness of time as a measuring tool, just as the winding of a clock is unimportant insofar as its ability to measure time is concerned. Time is not started by the winding of a clock, but what happened before the clock was wound must be measured by some other means. In using time to understand the motion of stars in the universe, it is relatively unimportant whether time is assumed to have started with the Big Bang, or whether it is assumed that big bangs are just one part of a continuous expansion, contraction, expansion, contraction cycle that in itself defines a time period..

In most religions, how time began is more important than its ability to measure the interval between events. In order to rationalize that God is the creator of all, there must have been a period when there was nothing, followed by a period when there was everything (or at least something). The scientific and religious use of time only conflict when science attempts to determine when an event occurred in the past before the time interval between events were recorded. To measure time in this period, science must rely on an extrapolation of the decay time of certain atoms. The conflict between science and religion arises over the accuracy of this extrapolation, not in the concept of time itself.


Where Does Space End? >>>

Where Does Space End?

Was space created? If so, it must have been created before matter in order to have a place for the latter. Science avoids these issues by accepting the concept that space was not created, but has always existed. But where does it end? Or does it end? If you start at any point on Earth and travel in a straight line, you will eventually end up right where you started. Does the same concept hold for travel in the universe? And how does one know if one is traveling in a straight line in space? Gravity causes Earth travel to remain on the Earth; does gravity in space have a similar effect? And what is the shape of space? Spherical shapes are dominant in matter, from stars and planets at one extreme to atoms and electrons at the other. Is space also a sphere? It can be observed that the atoms in matter are widely spaced, as are the stars in the universe. Could the stars in the universe that we can see be a part of some larger structure? Whatever the answers to these questions are, there appears to be no conflict between the religious and scientific concepts of space.

<<< When Did Time Begin?

How Did All The Matter In The Universe Get There? >>>

How Did All The Matter In The Universe Get There?

The religious explanation starts with the assumption that God created all matter, and that God has always existed. Science has the option of assuming that matter was not created, but has always existed.

Science has the problem of explaining how life was created from inanimate matter, and how unintelligent life could create intelligent life. The science approach to resolving these problems begins with the observation that all matter (both inanimate and animate) can be broken down into 100 or so basic atoms. Depending on how these atoms are combined, they can produce a rock or a tree or a human. The rules governing the various combinations are dictated by the magnetic, electrical, gravitational and other inherent properties of the atoms. Once a life form is established, it can be mutated into new forms by non-matter fields that exist in the universe, such as gamma rays, X-rays, light, etc. New life forms can also be created through crossbreeding. Each new form tends to be similar to the original form; for example, dogs and wolves, cauliflower and broccoli, monkeys and humans. These new forms can exist only if their atomic arrangement is consistent with the inherent physical properties of the atoms involved. But science has yet to demonstrate how life was created from inanimate matter, and how intelligent life was created. The best answer is that the basic material and tools are there, but the method of construction has yet to be found.

The religious assumption that God is the ultimate creator of everything also raises many questions. If God created humans, why did God also create killers of humans (such as bacteria, volcanoes, etc.)? And why are some believers allowed to suffer more than some non-believers? And why did God create both "good" and "bad" humans?

If God represents all that is "good", why does allow God allow "good" things to happen to "bad" people, and "bad" things to happen to "good" people? If God does so because God chose to create people but not control the events in their lives thereafter, is there merit in asking favors of God either for ourselves or for others?

<<< Where Does Space End?

Salvation and Reincarnation >>>

Salvation and Reincarnation

Odd though it may seem, reincarnation is accepted by science since it is a natural part of the life cycle. All living species (including humans), when they die, decay into elemental forms that can be readily incorporated into the growth of other living species. In this way, all life is recycled in a continuing process.

Salvation, however, is unique to religion in that it involves the concept of the soul. The soul is something that exists within humans, but which cannot be observed or measured. These characteristics put it beyond the reach of science, which can analyze only that which it can detect. But the soul is a key element of religion because it offers the believer ultimate satisfaction after death. Only the brain can detect the soul, which is created at the instant of conception (even though the brain is undeveloped), and remains with a person even if all brain function is lost. One of the primary reasons for dedicating one's life to God is the resurrection of the soul after death.

Belief in God and the powers of God bring many physical and psychological benefits to the believer. These benefits do not depend on whether God or God's powers actually exist, but on whether the believer believes that they exist.

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