Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Monday, November 22, 2021

How a Process-Based Universe Works: Is It "Free to Create" or "Divinely Determined"?

How a Process-Based Universe Works:
Is It "Free to Create" or "Divinely Determined"?

by R.E. Slater

A Process-based Creation always strives for Life

A little while ago I had mentioned once again how a process-based creation always strives for life. Process thought makes this abundantly clear when speaking to the life-giving God as the First Order of Processes from whom all subtending cosmic processes proceed. A Creator-God who endowed His image into a static creation (creatio continua) - or, for those Platonists amongst us insisting on a creation which comes from nothing (creation ex nihilo) - a process-breathed event upon creation which propels life from life once it is so endowed.

Consequently when one comes to Darwinian evolution which states that life births life is simply retelling the Process Christian that evolution is following "the same rules of the game" as Whitehead proposed years later after Darwin in the early 20th century: Life from life to life again and again and again in innumerably marvelous ways.

We live in a Life-birthing Cosmos

Hence, I've provided yet another article "marveling" at how this "finely-tuned universe" can be so amazing.... That we live in a life-birthing cosmos which continually recreates itself to meet up to its divine image breathed into the very fabric of its process-becoming cosmic structure. Regardless the obstacle, regardless the difficulty, "life" by some quantum force, or energy, or biological response will find a way to regenerate itself.

Now to the mechanisms which are causing this physicists and biologists will someday learn more. But whenever I read of the universe "fine-tuning" itself I think of its internal cosmic structures which bring this into play. If the cosmos goes one direction, then another life-giving path will result. If it goes this way, then another way will result. And as amazing as it is to look at the fullness of the cosmos and wonder at its "finely-tuned" symmetry, it also tells to us the story that it is the way that it is because its is driven to be this way by the divine God's very Being having been placed into the depths of the cosmos' DNA.

Two things - God & Potential


One, we do not need classic theism's divine determinism dogmas of an all-controlling God who is giving moment-by-moment direction, whether large or small (a difference of degrees vs the action itself). The very fact that God placed His Image into creation (whether static or nothing) was enough to allow creation it's own freewill path.

This is the substance of process thought. That we live in a divine creation filled with the ability to birth life processes again and again which God neither needs to guide or direct but who, Himself, has given to the multiverse His very essence. Wherever life is becoming, God is there. Life's presence is where God's presence is found. In fact, it would be quite correct to say that God lies always in the leading edges of the future. Though God does not know the future, it is unnecessary for God to know it. God IS the future. Or better, God is the future's FUTURE!

Hence, creation is fully freewilled because it has been endowed by God's own freewill and thus moves and has it's being-ness in the very essence of God's Being-ness. And since God's Essence, or Being, is always in the PROCESS of Becoming, so will we see and experience the same in a processual-becoming of ourselves, the world, and the cosmos as a whole.

To say God inhabits His creation IMMANANTLY is to say that the Process God of all life-bestowing Essence "flows" with creation's energy flows striving towards a greater becoming than it held when originally set in motion by its God. And yet, this God is greater than the very substance and flow of His creation.

And so, a process theologian therefore teaches panentheism but not pantheism nor classic theism. A panentheistic world does not require a controlling, determining God dogma.  Nor does it need to identify God as the world but a God whose "flow" is captured within the world's very DNA. That this kind of God has released creation to be all that it can be against all the obstacles which it's own freewill can, and will, present to itself.


Secondly, I have always errored to the side of the weak anthropic principle over the strong. Over the years I have discussed WAP v SAP many times. Here are few references which may be followed up here and here and here and here. My apologies on this last link but somewhere in my earlier "indeterminancy" posts lies a more embedded discussion; if someone locates it please post in the comments below. Thx).

Two observations

Observation 1

Weak Anthropic Principle (WAP) - If the universe was not able to produce us, we wouldn't be here and we wouldn't know it existed.

Strong Anthropic Principle (SAP) - The universe exists the way it is for our benefit. Observers are the point of the universe. No us, no universe.

Summary - I prefer to think of them as the reasonable and the egotistical versions of the Anthropic principle. Basically the weak version is a common sense statement and the strong is baseless speculation. - Google Anon

Observation 2

...Those are the weak/strong versions of Tipler and company-- the more standard original distinction by Carter (I got most of this from Wiki) is simply that the Weak AP says that "given the fundamental parameters we observe, we have to live in a place and time that is conducive to life." Thus the WAP is only relevant to resolving "fine tuning" problems in regard to why we are here now, as opposed to somewhere else later. Given the cosmological principle that all places are more or less the same, the "fine tuning" that is resolved is purely temporal-- why we are here after 13.7 billion years and not 1 year or 1 decillion years.

The Strong AP goes on to look at the fundamental physical parameters themselves, and asserts that they also have to be fine tuned such that we (human being) could come along at some point in space and time. So it talks about why if you monkey even just a little with the dimensionless ratios of the universe, you seem to dramatically alter the resulting likelihood for generating life. [ <-- process theology does not take this line of thought; it states that regardless of how you tinker, the results will always produce cosmic "life" in other ways. So, not one way to life, but an infinite array or life-creating paths. - re slater]

The reason the SAP is more speculative is that it is not clear what you are comparing-- you can compare life as it might develop in different places and times, and might scientifically find evidence for such life, but life in other hypothetical universes would seem to be a nonscientific issue. So the SAP is not really considered testable science, it's more philosophy, whereas the WAP is on a more solid footing in regard to the general requirements of a scientific explanation.

Personally, I don't think the SAP gives us any understanding of why the parameters are what they are, beyond the obvious point that given the laws we have found, the parameters would have to be within certain ranges or we couldn't be here. That doesn't qualify as "understanding" in my book. The idea that this does not require "fine tuning" on the grounds that there can be many other universes with other parameters that are not fine tuned, but we had to show up here, seems a fruitless and untestable claim. For example, how would one attribute a "probability" to a "universe"? Should we allow the laws to be anything [more or less] in these hypothetical universes, or assert the laws have to be the same only with different parameters?

And with that let's go to today's scientific article and try to fit it's contents into our above Christian observations.


R.E. Slater
November 22, 2021

* * * * * * *

Our Universe Is Finely Tuned For Life, And There's an Explanation For Why That Is So


Physically speaking, our Universe seems uncannily perfect. It stands to reason that if it wasn't, life as we know it – and planets, atoms, everything else really – wouldn't exist.

Now, three physicists from the US, France, and Korea have put forward a new explanation for why life, the Universe, and everything in it has had such a prime opportunity to exist at all.

For some reason, the amount of energy – or more precisely, the mass it equates – and the Universe's accelerating expansion are so neatly balanced, there's been ample opportunity for a few interesting things to unfold over the past 13 billion years or so.

A few magnitudes either way, and the overwhelming gravity would have glued the expansion of spacetime together better than a mouthful of taffy... or been so weak, the rapidly expanding Universe would have left little of interest in its wake.   

Such an apparent near-perfect balance might be a consequence of something called fine-tuning, a process in physics where the features of a system necessarily match or cancel out with such precision. If it didn't, the system just wouldn't look the way it does.

For example, our Universe happens to be neutrally charged. For some reason,  there happens to be a near-identical number of protons to cancel out each electron's charge; add a few more electrons and it would be negative, forcing clumps of matter to push itself apart. 

On the other hand, it could be a consequence of what's referred to as 'naturalness'. The Moon's near-perfect occlusion of the Sun during a solar eclipse, for example, isn't ordained by hard laws of astronomy. The size of the Moon, the Sun, and our perspective of both don't need any further explanations to make sense.

Physicists generally don't like appealing to vague coincidences when they observe the Universe. If two features of a system seem incredibly well matched, there's a strong desire to dig through the rulebook for a deeper explanation.

For electrons and protons, the solution could come with explanations of why there's an imbalance of matter over antimatter.

In the case of the Universe's incredible reflection of energy and expansion, there's no shortage of clever and creative ideas to chew on. Most tend to fall into two categories, however.

One centers on something called the anthropic principle, which says only a universe capable of generating thinking brains like ours can ask philosophical questions such as 'why am I here?'

This might imply there are other universes, though. Maybe an infinite number, most either collapsing the moment they're born or exploding in puffs of endless boredom. Ours just happens to be one of the good ones! Although fun to think about, without any way of establishing the existence of multiverses it isn't a proposition that could bear scientific fruit.

As for the second category, there is the possibility that we're missing some crucial piece of the physics puzzle, such as new fields or symmetries that could fail under specific conditions.

The fact that the resting mass of the Higgs boson – the particle representing a field that gives many fundamental particles their mass – turned out to be unexpectedly light might suggest there's a gap in our understanding of forces and particles.

It itself is the result of another fine-tuning conundrum, being the result of strangely-exact cancellations of other physics. For example, there seems to be some sort of mysterious fine-tuning between the mass of a Higgs boson and the cosmological constant – the density of energy in the vacuum of space.

This latest suggestion mashes together the idea of unknown physics behind the Higgs boson's shockingly itty-bitty mass with a kind of quantum multiverse effect, one that this time could feasibly be tested.

Their model puts the Higgs particle at the center of the fine-tuning explanation. By coupling the boson with other particles in such a way that its low mass would effectively 'trigger' events in physics we observe, it provides a link between forces and mass.

From there, the authors show how weakly interacting variables in a field might affect different kinds of empty space, specifically patches of nothingness with varying degrees of expansion. This potentially demonstrates the link between Higgs bosons and the cosmological constant.

It's a multiverse in a way, given the triggers occurring in different patches of infinite expanding space could plausibly give rise to a seemingly well balanced Universe like ours.

Their math suggests these triggers would be limited to a few possibilities, and even has room for explanations of dark matter. Better still, it also predicts the existence of multiple Higgs particles of varying masses, all smaller than the one we've already observed. That gives the hypothesis something that can be tested, at least.

Until then, it'll remain one of many neat ideas that could one day explain the eerily well-matched tug-of-war that has permitted a complex cosmos to unfold. A place we've come to love as our Universe.

This research was published in Physical Review D.