Nothing Exists That Is Greater Than God

    No effect is greater than its cause. Here I use "greater" in the sense of "more remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness." To see that no effect is greater than its cause, consider some examples. If you put blue dye in water, the water will not get more blue than the dye. If you put water in the freezer, the water will not get colder than the air in the freezer. Parents must have life in order to give life to children. An entirely physical process cannot give a person a soul. That is, an object cannot give what it does not have (in either magnitude or nature).

    Everything in the universe (or universes) has GoB as its original cause, existence source, and change inducer. Because no effect can be greater than its cause, the universe cannot be greater than GoB, nor can anything that is within the universe be greater than GoB.

    That no effect is greater than its cause is a statement of great power, as the next section demonstrates. I will discuss first some common objections.

Objection 1:

    GoB is greater than GoB's cause, so the effect can be greater than the cause.


    The rule describes a relationship between cause and effect. GoB is not an effect and has no cause, so the rule does not apply.

Objection 2:

    Imagine an avalanche. Dropping of a tiny pebble can cause boulders to go careening down a hillside. Therefore, an effect can be greater than the cause.


    You assume that the dropping of the tiny pebble is the only cause. It is not. The other cause is the position of the rocks on the hillside: their large number, their distribution of weights, and their precarious position. Without all of these causes the avalanche would not have occurred. In many ways this is a physics problem, so we can discuss it with physics language. Before the avalanche, the rocks had potential energy, by reason of their position on the hillside. During the avalanche, the rocks have kinetic energy, by reason of their motion. After the avalanche, the energy has become heat energy and dissipated into the air and earth. At no point was any energy created or destroyed. That the effect was not greater than the cause is a way of saying that no energy was created, just changed.

Objection 3:

    Imagine an atom bomb. A relatively small device has the power to flatten a city. Surely, the effect is greater than the cause.


    As it turns out, this is really the same objection as objection 1. What an atom bomb does is convert energy from mass into kinetic, light, and heat energy, using Einstein's relation E = mc2, where E is the energy that gets released, m is the mass that gets transformed, and c is the speed of light. No energy gets created or destroyed, only changed.

Objection 4:

    Humans evolved from single-celled organisms. Humans are greater than single-celled organisms, so the effect is greater than the cause.


    There are two possibilities here. First, let us assume that materialism is true. That is, that humans are merely the product of the laws of physics and the initial conditions of the universe. In this case, the objection is identical to objections 1 and 2. No energy was created or destroyed in the process of making a human; so in this way, a human is not greater than an equivalent quantity of single-celled organisms. You may say that what matters is not the energy, but the ordered complexity. Therefore, we must also discuss entropy. In any process in physics, it has been found to be true that the universe is never more ordered after a process than before. If you attempt to fight this process, you will create more disorder elsewhere. The classical simple example is to imagine two gasses, nitrogen and oxygen, divided by a partition. If you remove the partition, no energy has been lost; but the nitrogen and oxygen are thoroughly mixed, and therefore more disordered. If you replace the partition, the gasses do not sort themselves. Any process to sort the gasses is difficult, and will produce more disorder than it corrects. Similarly, as humans evolved more and more ordered complexity, other parts of the universe became less ordered. That is, if materialism is true, humans merely change energy from one form to another and reduce order. Note that the avalanche and the atom bomb also increase entropy, even though I did not discuss it as explicitly.

    The other possibility is that humans have some non-physical component, that is, a soul. This soul cannot arise from evolution, because from physical causes only physical effects can come. The soul has a spiritual cause, which is GoB. The soul is the added value that allows humans to add value to the universe rather than remove it. I argue later that humans do indeed have a soul, but for now it is not assumed.

Objection 5:

    There are strawberries in the universe. Therefore GoB is an ideal, very tasty strawberry.


    We have not shown that GoB is a strawberry. We have shown that GoB is greater than a strawberry. A strawberry gives nutrition, but GoB is the source of all life. A strawberry can give pleasurable sensations when it is eaten, but GoB is the source of that pleasure. GoB is not a strawberry, but GoB is the source of the essence of what makes a strawberry a strawberry.

Objection 6:

    There is bat guano in the universe. This means that GoB is in some ways like the most perfect pile of dung that you have ever seen (very large, very stinky, and all disgusting).


    In some ways bat guano is like a strawberry. The bats used it to remove unnecessary material from their bodies; and it can be used to nourish crops, so it is a source of life. The reply to the previous objection applies. It other ways bat guano is not a good thing. Be exposed to too much of it, and you will get sick. For that matter, if you eat too many strawberries, you will get sick as well. Both strawberries and bat guano have good and bad aspects. This is leading us directly to the next objection.

Objection 7:

    There is good and evil in the universe. This means that GoB contains a perfect evil aspect as well as a perfect good aspect.


    This is a form of dualism. To a large degree, it is too early to discuss this, because I have not yet explained where good and evil come from. However, this is where the current chain of objections leads. What we must realize is that existence is good, while non-existence is evil. Therefore, a "perfect" evil cannot exist. What then do we mean when we say "evil"? The key insight required here is that evil is the corruption of good. Evil is defined by what it is not (good) rather than by what it is. Asking where evil comes from is like asking where dark comes from. There is no source of dark. There are only sources of light, which do not necessary reach into every corner and room.

This page was last changed on 2011/08/28