Pascal's Fire: Scientific Faith and Religious Understanding by Keith Ward
By Keith Ward
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Extra resources for Pascal's Fire: Scientific Faith and Religious Understanding
If there is such a set, one obvious place to put it is precisely in the mind of a cosmic creator who envisages all possibilities and has the power to actualise them. In that case, however, they will almost certainly not all be actualised, since a creator will be able to choose which ones to actualise. If the creator has any decency, the possibly enormous set of extremely bad universes, in which there is endless and totally pointless suffering, will not be actualised. Some selection between possible universes will be needed.
Yet it seems agreed by cosmologists that conditions in the far future universe will be quite different from how they are now. The present view (in June 2006) is that the universe will continue expanding, and perhaps accelerating (see Martin Rees, Our Cosmic Habitat, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2001, chapter 8). Eventually, all stars and planets will die, groups of galaxies will merge and we will be left with ‘a single amorphous system of aging stars and dark matter’ (p. 118). As Paul Davies puts it, ‘In a standard picture the very far future of the universe would be characterised by a dilute and ever-diminishing soup of extremely low-energy photons, neutrinos, and gravitons moving virtually freely through a slowly expanding space.
Newton believed that, for those who have eyes to see, that hidden reality even makes itself known in the mysterious operation of gravity and the movements and disposition of the planets. The laws of physics do not show nature as it really is; they show how nature operates, when treated in abstraction from spiritual reality. The laws of nature are the laws of God, a God of supreme rationality, intellectual beauty and intelligence. Newtonian science may have led to the belief that the universe is a machine without a mind, but that was not this science’s origin or its motivating force.