Beyond Good and Evil

Part I                            

There is a general misconception about God that he is good, but actually he is not. God is neither good nor evil; he is beyond good and evil. If believers say that God is the ultimate being, then that God cannot be good. When we say that God is good, we are passing some judgment about God, we are saying that he is good. But by what standard of goodness we are judging him good? From where has it originated? As believers say that their God was the only being that was there, therefore this standard of goodness could have originated from God only, and not from any other source, because except that God there was no other source from which it could have originated. So we are judging God good by his own standard of goodness. But this is a dangerous principle. This is because if this principle is being followed in other cases also, then there will be complete chaos. Then everybody will start claiming that he should be judged for his action by his own standard only, and not by the standard of other people, society, or state. And he can legitimately claim this, because he will say that God has made man in his own image. So the principle that is followed in the case of God should also be followed in case of each and every single human being. Why should there be any deviation from that principle in the case of man? Is he not created in God’s own image? So, after killing six million Jews Hitler will claim that he is innocent, because he thought it absolutely necessary to efface their race from the surface of the earth, in order to save mankind from future disasters. Therefore by his own standard of goodness and badness he has done nothing wrong.

Therefore the above principle will have to be abandoned and we will have to seek some other principle. In that case if we say that God is good, then we will have to admit that the standard by means of which we judge God good has not originated from him, but from some other source. Here there are two possibilities:

1) This standard is prior to God,

2) It is co-eternal with, but not originated from, God.

In none of the two cases above, God is the ultimate being that can be there. So believers cannot claim that their God is the ultimate being that is there, and at the same time claim that he is good.

Bertrand Russell, although an atheist, has already shown that God cannot be good, for the simple reason that if God is good, then there is a standard of goodness which is independent of God’s will. Here Russell is also admitting that if God is to be judged good at all, then he will have to be so judged by a standard that should not, and must not, have originated from God. In Hinduism, Brahman (The Supreme Being) is said to be beyond good and evil. He is neither good, nor evil. But both good as well as evil has originated from him, who is neither good nor evil.

Part II 

Many Christian theists and apologists have time and again argued that evil is there because God wanted us to have free will. Free choice means one will have the freedom to choose between good and evil. So, if there is no evil, there is no freedom.

I think so far nobody has been able to properly tackle the problem of evil. If God is good, then why is there so much evil? The answer mostly given by the theists is just the one we read here. God wanted us to have free will. But having free will means having the freedom to choose between good and evil. But if there is no evil, then there is no more freedom of choice for us. Thus we are not actually free. Therefore evil must have to be there in order that we may have free will.

But the real story is something else. Evil is there not because God has given man free will, but because God is fully free. God is fully free means God has got full freedom to create. Similarly he has got full freedom not to create. But a good God can never have the freedom not to create, because in order to do justice to his own good nature a good God is always bound to create, and thus he is not fully free. How can a good God be called good if he cannot do any good to anybody? So, in order to do good to others a good God will always be bound to create others. So he can never have the freedom not to create.

Similarly it can be shown that neither can an evil God have the freedom not to create. An evil God cannot be properly called evil if he fails to do any evil to others. But if God wants to do evil to others, then first of all there will have to be others. So here also he is always bound to create others for doing justice to his evil nature. But for a God who is neither good nor evil there is no such binding that he will always have to create. Here he can freely decide whether he will create or not. Thus a really free God is neither good nor evil. Like Hindu’s Brahman he is beyond good and evil.

Now, if we accept that God is fully free, then we will have to admit that he is neither good nor evil. In a universe that has originated from a God who is neither good nor evil there will always be good as well as evil, as there will always be positive energy as well as negative energy in a universe that has originated from zero energy. Theists always say that their God is all-powerful. But actually they pretend as if they are more powerful than their all-powerful God. That is why by labeling their God as all-good they dare to curtail God’s own freedom, his freedom not to create.

Part III 

This is for those who are very much hurt by the idea that God is neither good nor evil, that he is beyond good and evil. Traditional God is described in this way: before creation there was only one God, and there was nothing else; no space, no time and no matter. Let us suppose that in this situation God asked himself this question: am I good? If in this situation it was possible for God to know with certainty that he is good, then of course he is good. But if this was not at all possible, then God cannot be called good. Those who will opt for the affirmative here should also explain by what process God could have come to the realization that he is good, because we all agree that at that time there was no one else, nothing else, other than God.

If I claim about myself that I am good, then I am also claiming that I am the negation of that which is not good. That, which is not good, is the other, and I am not the other. I am the negation of the other, and the other is my negation.

But if we claim about God that he is good, then where is the other of whom God is the negation? This is because before creation God was one, and there was no one else other than God. So for God to be good, he will have to be his own negation. For God to be good he will have to contain within himself his own other. This can be expressed in the following way: God is the principle that represents all that is good and at the same time he is the principle that represents all that is not good. God is the affirmation as well as the negation at the same time. So either we will have to say that God is both good and not good. Or we will have to say that God is neither good nor not good. But to say that God is good will be philosophically naive and immature.

Part IV

Many theists believe that God is good. If there is any evil on earth, then that is solely due to man’s disobedience to God, and not due to any shortcomings of him. He is perfectly good. In the statement “God is good” atheists have found a ready weapon with which they can easily defeat their opponents. Actually what procedure have they followed here? It is this: first they have seen what predictions can be made about the universe from the above statement without violating any rule of logic. Then they have checked whether these predictions are supported by evidence or not. As they have found that these are not so supported, so they have concluded that there is no God. In a universe created by a perfectly good God there cannot be so much evil and suffering that we find on this earth. So they cannot be fully blamed if they come to such a conclusion that God does not exist.

But in Part II of this article I have already shown that a good God is not fully free, because he is always bound to create others in order to do good to them. A God who cannot do any good to others cannot be called really good. Similarly it has been shown that neither is an evil God fully free. A God who is fully free is neither good nor evil; he is beyond good and evil. I think there will be found not a single theist on earth who will claim that his God is not fully free. Therefore one day he will also have to admit that a fully free God is neither good nor evil. A universe created by a God who is neither good nor evil will also bear the traits of its creator; it will also be neither good nor evil. I think this will solve the problem of evil on earth once and for all. From this we can make one more point: by simply showing that there is so much evil on earth, non-existence of God cannot be so easily established.

Here I have shown that God’s goodness conflicts with his freedom. If God is good, then he is not fully free. Again, if God is fully free, then he cannot be good. Similarly it can be shown that various other attributes assigned to him by theists do not go well with his oneness. One example may be cited here. Let us say that God is love. But if he is one, then before creation whom did he love? So if God is love, then that will imply that there is at least one being co-eternal with God, and in that case God’s oneness will be gone forever. God is one means there was no one else other than God at the beginning. Some Christian theologians claim that there will be no such problem in their case, because their God is one but Trinitarian in nature. So before creation there will be the reciprocal love of the Persons of the Trinity. So Father loved Son, Son in turn loved Holy Ghost and Holy Ghost in turn loved Father. But this does not solve all the problems, because God is not only love, he is merciful, just, etc. If God is merciful, then before creation to who was he merciful? Perhaps the reply will be that Father was merciful to Son, Son in turn was merciful to Holy Ghost, and Holy Ghost in turn was merciful to Father. But the question is: why will Father have to be merciful to Son? Was there any possibility for Son to commit any sin, and so, Father would have a provision for mercy also for his only begotten Son? Similarly it can be asked: why will Holy Ghost have to be merciful to Father? In this case, was there any possibility for Father to commit any sin? Thus we see that even the idea of a Trinitarian God cannot solve all the problems.

So, a God who is one and fully free cannot have any attributes. Like Hindu’s Brahman he will have no qualifier.

Who Created God?

Earlier it was impossible for us to give any satisfactory answer to this question. But modern science, rather we should say that Einstein has made it an easy task for us. And Stephen Hawking has provided us with the clue necessary for solving this riddle. Actually scientists in their infinite wisdom have already kept the ground well-prepared for us believers so that one day we can give the most plausible and logically sound answer to this age-old question. Let us first see what Hawking has written in his book “A Brief History of Time”. In page 136 of that book he has written that the idea of inflation could explain why there is so much matter in the universe.  Then he has given the total number of particles that are there in the region of the universe that one can observe, this number being 1 with eighty zeroes after it. If one asks here as to where all these particles did come from, then his answer will be that, in quantum theory, particles can be created out of energy in the form of particle/antiparticle pairs. But this answer is not a stopper, because it further raises another question of where the energy came from. And his answer is that the total energy of the universe is exactly zero. (Chapter 8: The Origin and Fate of the Universe)

Here we see that questions are raised one after another. But when it is said that the total energy of the universe is exactly zero, no further question is asked. So the clue is this: if we can somehow arrive at zero, then no further question will be raised, and there will be no infinite regress. What I intend to do here is something similar to that. I want to show that our God is a bunch of several zeroes, and that therefore no further question need be raised about his origin. And here comes Einstein with his special theory of relativity for giving us the necessary empirical support to our project

God is a Being. Therefore God will have an existence as well as an essence. So I will have to show that both from the point of view of existence as well as from the point of view of essence God is zero. It is almost a common saying about God that he is spaceless, timeless, changeless, immortal and all-pervading. Here we are getting three zeroes; space is zero, time is zero and change is zero. But how are we to show that if there is a God, then that God will be spaceless, timeless and changeless? From the special theory of relativity we come to know that for light both distance and time become unreal. For light even an infinite distance is infinitely contracted to zero. The volume of an infinite universe full of light only will be simply zero due to this property of light. A universe with zero volume is a spaceless universe. Again at the speed of light time totally stops. So a universe full of light only will be a spaceless and timeless universe. But these are the properties of light only! How do we come to know that God is also having the same properties of light so that God can also be spaceless and timeless? Scientists have shown that if there is a God, then that God can only be light, and nothing else, and that therefore he will have all the properties of light. Here is the evidence.

Scientists have shown that the total energy of the universe is always zero. If the total energy is zero, then the total mass will also be zero due to energy-mass equivalence. Now if there is a God, then scientists have calculated the total energy and mass of the universe by taking that God into consideration. In other words, if there is a God, then this total energy-mass calculation by the scientists is God-inclusive, not God-exclusive. This is due to two reasons. First of all, even if there is a God, they are not aware of the fact that there is a God. Secondly, they do not believe that there is a God. So, if there is a God, then they have not been able to keep that God aside before making this calculation, because neither do they know nor do they believe that there is a God. They cannot say that they have kept him aside and then made this calculation, because by saying so they will admit that there is a God. They cannot say that the behind-the-picture God has always remained behind the picture, and that he has in no way come into the picture when they have made this calculation, because by saying so they will again admit that there is a God. At most they can say that there is no God. But we are not going to accept that statement as the final verdict on the God-issue, because we are disputing that statement. So the fact of the matter is this: if God is really there, then the total mass and the total energy of the universe including that God are both zero. Therefore mass and energy of God will also be zero. God has no mass, no energy. And Einstein has already shown that anything having zero rest-mass will have the speed of light. In other words, it will be some sort of light. So, if God is really there, then God will also be “light”, and therefore he will be spaceless and timeless. So from the point of view of existence God is zero, because he is spaceless, timeless, having no mass and no energy. Zero space, zero time, zero mass and zero energy.                      

Now we will have to show that from the point of view of essence also God is zero. If there is only one being in the universe, and if there is no second being other than that being, then that being cannot have any such property as love, hate, cruelty, compassion, benevolence, etc. Let us say that God is cruel. Now to whom can he be cruel if there is no second being other than God himself? So, if God is cruel, then is he cruel to himself? Therefore if we say that God is all-loving, merciful, benevolent, etc., then we are also admitting that God is not alone, that there is another being co-eternal with God to whom he can show his love, benevolence, goodness, mercy, compassion, etc. If we say that God is all-loving, then we are also saying that this “all” is co-eternal with God. Thus we are admitting that God has not created the universe at all, and that therefore we need not have to revere him, for the simple reason that he is not our creator!

It is usually said that God is good. But Bertrand Russell has shown that God cannot be good for the simple reason that if God is good, then there is a standard of goodness which is independent of God’s will. Therefore, if God is the ultimate being, then that God cannot be good. But neither can he be evil. God is beyond good and evil. Like Hindu’s Brahman, a real God can only be nirguna, nirupadhik; having no name and no quality. From the point of view of essence also, a real God is a zero. Mystics usually say that their God is a no-thing. This is the real God, not the God of the scriptures.

So, why should there be any need of creation here, if God is existentially, as well as essentially, zero?

But if there is someone who is intelligent enough, then he will not stop asking questions here. He will point out to another infinite regress. If God is light, then he will no doubt be spaceless, timeless, etc. Therefore one infinite regress is thus stopped. But what about the second regress? How, and from what, does light get its own peculiar properties by means of which we have successfully stopped the first regress? So, here is another infinite regress. But we need not have to worry much about this regress, because this problem can easily be solved with the concept of The Whole.

THE WHOLE

The Whole (TW) is defined in this way: it is that which contains within itself everything that is there. So by its very definition there cannot be anything outside of TW, because we have already defined it as that which contains within itself everything that is there. So whatever will be there will be within TW only and thus there cannot be anything outside it. So if we say that there is something outside of TW, then it will no longer remain TW, because in that case there will be something outside of it. Thus it will be contradictory to claim that there can be anything at all outside of TW.

Before proceeding further I should say that the above is just a definition and nothing else. No claim is being made that TW actually exists, or that it has the slightest possibility to exist.

As there cannot be anything at all outside of TW, so there will be no space, no time, no matter, simply nothing outside of it. Thus we can say that TW is neither in any space nor in any time. This simply follows from its definition itself. TW being neither in space nor in time will thus be spaceless and timeless. Being spaceless and timeless it will also be changeless, immortal, all-pervading, one, unborn, uncreated, without any beginning, without an end, everlasting and non-composite.

TW being placed neither in space nor in time cannot change at all. Change can occur either in space or in time. So TW cannot change, because it is placed neither in space nor in time. Being not in space we cannot say about this TW that it was ‘there’ before, and that it is ‘here’ now. Being not in time we cannot say about this TW that it was ‘this’ earlier, and that it has become ‘that’ later on. So there can never be any question of change for TW.

TW will also be deathless, immortal. This is because death is also some sort of change. I am very much alive at this moment, but at the very next moment I may die. For TW this very next moment will never come, because TW is not in time. Therefore TW can never cease to be.

Now it can be shown that TW which cannot change at all will also be unborn and uncreated. An entity that is created comes into existence from non-existence, and so for it once there was a change, and thus it is not changeless. So TW, for which no change can ever occur, can never be created. It will be uncreated.

Similarly it can be shown that TW, for which no change can ever occur, was never born, because being born means coming into being from non-being. This is also a change. So TW, for which no change can ever occur, will also be unborn.

It can also be shown that an entity for which no change can ever occur is without any beginning and without an end. It is everlasting. Something beginning to exist means change, and existence of something coming to an end also means change. So for an entity, for which no change can ever occur, there will be no beginning and no end; for it there will be neither any coming into existence nor any going into nonexistence.

It can also be shown that TW will always be one. TW being The Whole will encompass everything, and thus there will be nothing else left outside of it that can be another TW. So as a result there can always be only one TW.

It can also be shown that TW will be all-pervading. If there are two TWs, then none of them can be all-pervading. Because if one TW is all-pervading thus occupying all the space, then where will be the space left for the other TW? So in case there are two TWs, then none of them will be all-pervading. But as we have already seen that there can be only one TW, so it will be all-pervading.

It can also be shown that TW is non-composite. The main reason as to why TW cannot be composite is that there is no space at all outside of TW where the mutilated portions of TW can be thrown away or dumped, because there is no space outside of TW. So TW cannot be mutilated at all, and not even an infinitesimal part of this TW can be separated from the main body of TW. This is because after separating that infinitesimal part of TW from its main body we will find that we will have to keep that separated portion at the very same place from where it has been separated, because there can never be any extra space available at all to dump even this infinitesimal part of TW, and thus all our attempts to mutilate this TW in every possible way is always bound to become a failure.

Thus it can be shown that The Whole, by virtue of it being The Whole, or simply by default, will always be spaceless, timeless, changeless, immortal, all-pervading, one, unborn, uncreated, without a beginning, without an end, everlasting and non-composite. It need not have to depend on any other external source for getting these properties. Thus no further infinite regress will be there.

Here it should be mentioned that actually God is The Whole, because we usually say about God that initially there was only God, and that there was no one else, nothing else other than God.

A Fundamental Flaw in the Thesis: A Universe from Nothing

PART I

Most of the modern physicists maintain that the universe has actually originated from nothing, thus requiring no supernatural agency for its creation. Here their logic is something like this: as they have found that the total energy of the universe is zero, so they have argued that no outside agent was at all necessary to provide the initial input energy for starting the universe; therefore, it can simply originate from nothing. If the total energy of the universe were having some very big non-zero value, then it would not have been possible for them to maintain the same thing that the universe had actually originated from nothing. Because in that case they would have to explain as to where all the energies of this universe had come from, because all those energies cannot simply come from nothing. However, the total energy being zero, this problem no longer bothers them. Although the total energy of the universe is always zero, still there are lots of energy in this universe, all originating from nothing in the form of positive and negative energy, thus keeping the total energy of the universe always zero. The same thing can be said about matter also. As the total matter of the universe is zero, so they say that all the matter of the universe can simply come from nothing, because zero does not have to come from anything. But what shall we have to say about space and time? Can nothing generate so much of space and time that we find in this universe? Or, was there some supernatural agent that had actually provided space and time to our universe? Or, would they say the same thing about space and time also that as the total space as well as the total time of the universe is indeed zero, so space and time can simply come from nothing? Was it then that space had actually originated from nothing in the form of positive space and negative space, thus keeping the total space of the universe always zero? Was it the same case for time also? Can it also be said about time that it has actually originated from nothing in the form of positive time and negative time, thus keeping the total time of the universe always zero? If there are negative space and negative time, then where are they? Are they in this universe? If they are not, then how come so much of space and so much of time have simply come from nothing? Scientists believe that from nothing, nothing comes. The universe started with zero energy and zero matter, and its total energy and total matter always remain zero. Neither any extra energy nor any extra matter added to, or subtracted from, the initial zero value of them. So, from nothing, nothing has actually come. But if there is neither any negative space nor any negative time in our universe to counterbalance the positive space and the positive time respectively, then there is a real problem here. This is because here nothing has given rise to something really positive.

To remove this imbalance in the quantity of space and time, scientist Victor J Stenger has proposed in an article (The Other Side of Time, 2000) that there is another side of time, opposite to our time axis. As our universe goes on expanding from zero time to positive infinity, so in the other side of time there is another universe that goes on expanding from zero time to negative infinity. If in our universe space and time are considered to be positive space and positive time, then in the universe located in the other side of time space and time can be considered to be negative space and negative time, thus keeping the total space and the total time always zero. Two objections can be raised against this proposed solution. First of all, this can never be verified, and Stenger himself admitted that: “…this scenario cannot be proven, just presented as a possibility that provides a non-supernatural alternative to the theistic creation.” This is tantamount to saying something like this: we suffer lots of injustice in our earthly life. All this will be properly compensated for in our heavenly after-life. Even if it is true, it can never be verified, and therefore it will purely be an act of faith if we accept it as true and live accordingly. So, we cannot accept Stenger’s proposal as a viable solution here, because it will also be an act of faith. The second objection is that initially both energy and matter were zero when the universe originated from nothing and that the total energy and the total matter of the universe always remain zero in this very universe. We have not gone to the other side of time for seeking a solution to any possible imbalance that could have arisen in the totality of these two entities. So, why should we have to go to the other side of time for setting right the imbalance that is definitely there in case of space and time? Why cannot the total space and the total time of this universe always remain zero in this very universe itself? Perhaps there is some substance in this universe that helps keep the total space and the total time of the universe always zero. At least Einstein’s general theory of relativity suggests something like that. At one place Einstein has written about GR: “When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter.” If time and space and gravitation cannot have any separate existence from matter, then the total matter of the universe being always zero, the total time, the total space and the total gravitation of the universe should also always remain zero. Therefore we can say that there is definitely some substance in this universe due to the presence of which the total space and the total time of the universe always remain zero. And so, we need not have to go to the other side of time at all for setting right any imbalance or asymmetry that can be there either in case of space or in case of time. Due to the presence of this substance we can say that the universe starting from nothing with zero space, zero time, zero matter and zero energy will always contain zero total space, zero total time, zero total matter and zero total energy, thus not showing any asymmetry or imbalance anywhere.

But what is this substance? Whence has it originated? What are its properties? These are the questions that are to be answered by the scientists only. As a layperson, I can say this much only: so long as scientists will fail to provide a suitable answer to this question, science will remain incomplete.

PART II

I.

When scientists say that the universe can simply come out of nothing without any divine intervention, they think of the universe in terms of its energy content only. In the book ‘The Grand Design’, page 281, scientist Stephen Hawking has written that bodies like stars or black holes cannot just appear out of nothing, but a whole universe can.1 The message is very clear from this: The total energy of a whole universe is zero and that is why it can come out of nothing; but stars or black holes will fail to do so, because their total energy is not zero. But universe means not only its energy; universe means its space-time as well. So if we now apply the same logic to space-time as well, then we can say that the total space-time of a whole universe must also always have to be zero, because in that case only a whole universe can appear out of nothing. Here my question is: How does the total space-time of an ever-expanding universe always remain zero?

As the universe appeared out of nothing, so initially there was no space, no time, no matter and no energy. Scientists have successfully shown how the total matter-energy content of the universe has always remained zero. But we are not satisfied with that explanation, we want something more. We also want to know how the total space-time content of the universe has always remained zero. And it should always remain zero if the universe has actually appeared out of nothing. Otherwise scientists will have to explain as to whence appeared the extra residual space-time that was not already there at the beginning.

If stars or black holes cannot appear out of nothing simply because their total energy is not zero, then can a whole universe appear out of nothing if its total space-time is not zero?

The last question above will further boil down to this one: Do the physicists think that energy cannot just appear out of nothing, but space-time can, supposing that the total space-time of the present universe is not zero?

Or, do they think that like life, mind and consciousness, space and time are also emergent entities only, and therefore, not directly coming from big bang nothing?

II.

Something can appear out of nothing provided that the totality of that something always remains zero. Actually anything can come out of nothing if this condition is fulfilled. This is the principle which some scientists have relied upon when they have proposed that our universe could have arisen out of nothing due to a quantum energy fluctuation in a void. They have found that the total energy of the universe is exactly zero. The total energy being zero, the total matter will also be zero due to matter-energy equivalence. If the total matter as well as the total energy of the universe is zero, then why should they have to come from anything at all? They could have come from nothing as well. So these scientists have proposed that our universe has simply appeared out of nothing. But when they have proposed this theory, they remained totally oblivious of the fact that universe means not only its matter and energy, universe means its space-time as well. So, if the universe has actually appeared out of nothing, then just like matter and energy, space-time also has appeared out of that primordial nothing. So like matter and energy, the total space-time also should always remain zero.

However, if it is the case that space-time has not directly appeared out of nothing, then the total space-time need not have to be zero. No sane person on this earth will ever say that the total number of human beings in this universe must always have to be zero, because no sane person believes that human beings have directly appeared out of nothing. However if ‘x’ has directly appeared out of nothing, then logic and common sense dictates that the totality of that ‘x’ must always have to be zero.

Here it may be objected that there is a law of conservation of matter and energy in science, but that there is no such conservation law for space-time. So there is no violation of conservation law if nothing generates so much of space-time. Even if it is conceded that this is a valid objection – here I must say that I do not think so – it can still be pointed out that there is one more reason that can be given as to why the total space-time of the universe should always remain zero. This reason we find in Einstein’s general theory of relativity. As per GR space, time and matter are so interlinked that there cannot be any space-time without matter. Similarly there cannot be any matter without space-time. If there cannot be any space and time without matter, then the total matter of the universe being zero, the total space-time of the universe should also always be zero. So we can say that GR alone gives us sufficient reason to conclude that if the total matter of the universe always remains zero, then the total space-time of the universe should also always remain zero. Here the question becomes quite irrelevant as to whether the universe has originated from something, or from nothing.

So from GR we come to know that the total space-time of an ever-expanding universe should always remain zero, but we do not know yet how it does actually remain zero.

If science cannot give any satisfactory answer to this question, then the naturalistic world-view of modern science will prove to be inadequate for explaining the real world.

Reference:

  1. The Grand Design by Hawking and Mlodinow, Page 281.

 

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