90.02 Fault-Line: Gap in Western Philosophical and Scientific Formulations (pps.57-58)
the ultimate atomic explosive. But where did this point come from? Wherelwhy did the smallest subatomic building block originate? Where/why did the first pulse of energy originate?199
Why should quantum physics exist at all? As the contemporary physicist Stephen Hawking asks: What “breathed fire” into the equations?
Mainstream religious doctrine posits the universe as having its origin from an infinite God.200 Gersonides maintains that God created the world out of “body which does not preserve its shape.”201 But where did this “body” come from? Many religious philosophers, including the early Kalam,202 John Philopnus,203 Maimonides,204 and the mainstream view of the sages of the Torah205 maintain creatio ex nihilo-creation by God out of nothingness. However, wherefore the Divine?
Thus, when stripped to their essentials, both science and religion face the same formidable hurdle. What actualized that which you posit as having always existed? What/where was the essence of the initial actualization?206 How can any “entity” be posited as having always existed?
Classic philosophy is caught in a similar trap. Some philosophers maintain that the world has been generated and has passed away an infinite number of times.207 But where did the first world originate from? How was the first world actualized? The Neoplatonists maintain that the world was generated by God from something.208 This “something” is often referred to as primal matter. But where did this primal matter originate? What are the origins of the God who fashioned this primal matter? Some philosophers, most prominently Aristotle,209 maintain that the universe existed eternally. But wherefore the universe? Whyfor this universe? Whyfor any universe? Indeed. whyfor anything at all?210
The “eternal origins” question is in our view the twin intractable problem in religious philosophy to the theodicy question. In our view it is inextricably linked to the theodicy question: the correct solution to either question should yield the solution to the other.
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199 And indeed, whyfwherefore does spacehime exist at all? While quan- tum physics attempts to address and answer these points, the infrastructure of the “quantum” dovetails neatly with a philosophical formulation predi- cated on the centrality of “(holy) potential” in the cosmic order-the crux of our philosophical construct to follow. See Davies, God and the New Physics, chap. 3 (pp. 25-43).
200 See Wolfson, Religious Philosophy, p. 252. “In opposition to Philonism, emanationism denies that God, either after the manner of a potter created the world from a pre-existent matter, or after the manner of a stage-magician created it out of nothing. Emanationism maintains instead that, after the manner of a spider which spins its web out of itself, God caused the world to emanate out of His own essence.”
201 See Staub, The Creation of the World According to Gersonides, p. 51.
202 Maimonides presents the view of the Kalam in Guide 1:73-74.
203 See De Aeiemitate Mundi, ed. H. Rabe (Leipzig, 1899). pp. 7 ff., as cited in Staub, The Creation of the World According to Gersonides, p. 129, fn. 11.
204 Guide 2: 13-30.
205 See Staub’s discussion in The Creation of the World According to Gersonides, p. 130, n. 13.
206 See Stephen Toulmin, Foresight and Understanding (New York: Harper & Row, 1961), p. 42. “There must always be some point in a scientist’s explanation where he comes to a stop: beyond this point, if he is pressed to explain further the fundamental basis of his explanation, he can say only that he has reached rock bottom.”
207 Aristotle attributes this view to Empedocles and Heraclitus. Maimon- ides (Guide 2:13) treats this as a view of some of the rabbis. For fuller treatment, see Staub, The Creation of the World According to Gersonides, p. 129, fn. 8.
208 Timaeus 48-53c. For fuller discussion, see ibid., p. 129, n. 9.
209 Physica 8.1-10; De Caelo 1.10-12; Metaphysica 12.6-1 0. Cf. Guide 2: 13. As cited by Staub, The Creation of the World According to Gersonides, p. 130, n. 14.
210 See Davies, God and the New Physics, p. 46.
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