“Created was the matter which they have;
Created was the informing influence
Within these stars that round about them go.”
Now the idea of Eternal and Cyclical time once very popular in ancient Religious Cosmology, and modern Scientific Materialistic individuals seemed to share in common but for very different reasons.
A hundred years ago the universe was considered to have always existed and that it would always exist. Scientists believed the universe was a conglomeration (collection) of matter and that it had been around for ever. The universe had not come into being and had always been here. The Greeks originally brought the eternal existence philosophy to light. The Greeks believed that the only thing that existed was matter in the universe and the universe existed forever. This idea existed through the Roman periods in different forms. Materialism went in to decline because of the Catholic Church and Christian philosophy in the later parts of the middle ages. A man called Immanuel Kant though reasserted materialism and it became the main idea at the beginning of the 19Th century. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels carried these works through to the 20Th Century with their socialist views.
The reason why it was accepted so easily by Marx and Engels is that if the universe were ‘immortal’ so to speak then there would be no need for the views of a creator – God. Georges Politzer an established Marxist said in his book ‘Principle fondamentaux de philosophie’:
The universe was not a created object, if it were, then it would have to be created instantaneously by God and bought into existence from nothing. To admit creation, one has to admit, in the first place, the existence of a moment when the universe did not exist, and that something came out of nothingness. This is something to which science can not accede.
Unfortunately for this individuals Scientific discovery seem to point in a different direction!
In 1922 Russian physicist Alexandra Friendman came up with computations showing that the structure of the universe was not static as presumed. He said that even a tiny impulse might be sufficient to cause the whole structure to expand or contract. This is in relation to Einstein’s theory of relativity. The Belgian astronomer George Lemaitre realized what Friedman’s work meant. He declared that the universe had a beginning and it was expanding due to this beginning. He also said that the radiation rate should be able to be used to measure the aftermath of this event. No one really paid attention to this until 1929. Astronomer Edwin Hubble made a massive discovery in the field of astronomy. This discovery is what we know as red shift or more accurately the Doppler effect. The Doppler effect works with all wave based things, such as light and sound. An example of this is when a police car has its sirens on and is moving at high speed it has a different sound in pitch coming towards you, than when its going away from you. Because light is also wave based the same thing happens to it. When an object is moving at high speeds towards something the blue light waves get compressed and so makes the object seem to have a blue hue to it. When its moving away it has a red hue. Hubble observed many stars through a powerful telescope and noticed that light was shifted towards the red end of the spectrum and that this shift was directly related to the distance between the Earth and the stars being observed. According to the laws of physics if a spectra of light beams is moving away form the point of observation then light tends to go towards the red end of the spectrum. According to this law Hubble showed that the other constellations are moving away from our galaxy. Hubble later made another important discovery. The stars where not just heading away from the earth they were also going away from each other. This led to the only logical conclusion, which is that the Universe is expanding and is constantly doing it as well. This proved what Einstein proved in 1915 when he said that the universe could not be static because of calculations based on his theory of relativity.
Now if the universe is expanding this means going back in time the universe is getting smaller. So if you went back far enough then there would be a point when all the matter meets at a single point. The conclusion from this was that all matter in the universe was in a single mass that had zero mass because of the massive gravitational force if would have had.
This new Paradigm, or Cosmology named the Big Bang, unsettled the Materialist belief of a Steady State proposed by Fred Hoyle.
He proposed that the universe was infinite in time and dimension. His theory was that as the universe expanded new matter was continuously coming in to existence by its self in just the right amounts to keep the universe in a steady state. This theory was to match the materialistic philosophy, as they believed matter existed in infinite time. Since this no longer accepted some Materialist had throw the towel and decided to be more cautious about their statements, save for a few who are not afraid of facing “Creation Ex Nihilo”
The phrase ex nihilo (Latin) means “out of nothing”. It often appears in conjunction with the concept of creation, as in creatio ex nihilo, meaning “creation out of nothing” — chiefly in philosophical or Theological contexts, but also occurs in other fields.
In Theology the common phrase creatio ex nihilo (“creation out of nothing”), contrasts with creatio ex materia (creation out of some pre-existent, eternal matter) and with creatio ex deo (creation out of the Being of God)
The phrase ‘ex nihilo‘ also appears in the classical philosophical formulation ex nihilo nihil fit, which means “Out of nothing comes nothing”
Ex nihilo when used outside of religious or Metaphysical contexts, also refers to something coming from nothing. For example, in a conversation, one might raise a topic “ex nihilo“ if it bears no relation to the previous topic of discussion.
For the Materialist it is a pill hard to swallow that new Scientific discovery point out to an Event like the Big Bang, which seem to contradict Out of nothing comes nothing. Granted this of course doesn’t mean that the Universe was created by God, but it sure brings a Mystery that so far goes well beyond Human understanding, to my way of seeing things the acceptance of the old Paradigm of an Eternal Universe without Creation it is also problematic, since Theologically describes one of the Attributes of God; Without beginning and without an End. And this will confer the physical Universe a God’s attribute who will be the same as to say the Universe is God, a Pantheistic Cosmology which rather than a denial of a God, just place the Existence of God in a different way. Denying the concept of God becomes a mere linguistic, ideological statement without no scientific base whatsoever, equal to the affirmation of God Existence, in other words, a simple play of words or ideas with no demonstrable outcome, a thing which through History Western Philosophy has been plagued with, and that Postmodern Philosophers finally had understood that Language is at the base of the problem, and that trying to find immutable Truths it is beyond the power of intellectual capability, since in order to express this ideas we are forced to use Language an undefined, conditioned, and therefore limited instrument to express Truth…so after all it is all a matter of personal Faith, or personal Cosmology!
And that is a whole different Dimension, and the reason that the Buddha never denied nor affirmed the existence of soul and God, because he thought these were fruitless questions. People can always argue about beliefs, but they cannot argue about what they find in themselves.
It’s not just belief in gods that are irrelevant to Buddhism. Beliefs play a different role in Buddhism than in many other religions.
Buddhism is a path to “waking up,” or being enlightened, to a reality that is not consciously perceived by most of us. In most schools of Buddhism it is understood that Enlightenment and Nirvana cannot be conceptualized or explained with words. They must be intimately experienced to be understood. Merely “believing in” Enlightenment and Nirvana is pointless.
In Buddhism, all doctrines are provisional and are judged by their skillfulness. The Sanskrit word for this is Upaya, or “skillful means.” Any doctrine or practice that enables realization is a Upaya. Whether the doctrine is factual or not is not the point Realization of our individual True Nature is.
But please do not believe I am trying to make you a Buddhist!
CHRISTIANITY THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING
The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous work of Cristian monk written in Middle Englishin the latter half of the XIV Century The text is a Mystical spiritual guide on contemplative prayer and the esoteric techniques and meanings of late Medieval Monasticism.
” Our intense need to understand will always will be a powerful block to our attempts to reach God in simple Love, and must always be overcome. For if you do not overcome this need to understand, it will undermine your quest. It will replace the darkness you have pierced to reach God with clear images of something which, however good, however beautiful, however Godlike, it is not God.
And so I urge you, go after experience rather than knowledge. On account of pride, knowledge may often deceive you. Knowledge tends to breed conceit, but Love builds. Knowledge is full of labor. But Love full of rest.”
Muslims philosophers of Medieval times rescued and embraced Greek Philosophy, both; Aristotelian, and Platonism, and they went further in correlating Revelation to it.
Being and Nonexistence
The world is an illusion; it has no real existence. And this is what is meant by ‘imagination’ (khayal). For you just imagine that it (i.e., the world) is an autonomous reality quite different from and independent of the absolute Reality, while in truth it is nothing of the sort’. . . . Know that you yourself are an imagination. And everything that you perceive and say to yourself, ‘this is not me’, is also an imagination. So that the whole world of existence is imagination within imagination.’
So-called `reality’, the sensible world which surrounds us and which we are accustomed to regard as ‘reality’, is, for Ibn ‘Arabi, but a dream. We perceive by the senses a large number of things, distinguish them one from another, put them in order by our reason, and thus end up by establishing something solid around us. We call that construct ‘reality’ and do not doubt that it is real.
According to Ibn ‘Arabi, however, that kind of ‘reality’ is not reality in the true sense of the word. In other terms, such a thing is not Being (wujud) as it really is. Living as we do in this phenomenal world, Being in its metaphysical reality is no less imperceptible to us than phenomenal things are in their phenomenal reality to a man who is asleep and dreaming of them.
Quoting the famous Tradition, ‘All men are asleep (in this world); only when they die, do they wake up,’
Up to quite recently (2007) Materialist were devastated by the post-modern philosophers that pointed to the return of Metaphysics, rather than to call it quit, and take a long step back in History, to retake philosophy from the Middle Age, they launched a new philosophical speculation; Speculative Realism, fortunately in my view, (unfortunately for hard core Materialist) there is those between this new movement, like Graham Harman who is inspired by “Vicarious Causality” with roots in Medieval Islamic Philosophy.
And to Ian Hamilton Grant that with his Transcendental Materialism/Neo–Vitalism, points out to a return to Plato. Grant argues for a return to the Platonic Matter as not only the basic building blocks of reality, but the forces and powers that govern our reality. He traces this same argument to the post-Kantian German Idealists Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friediech Willhelm Joseph Schelling, claiming that the distinction between Matter as substantive versus useful fiction persists to this day and that we should end our attempts to overturn Plato and instead attempt to overturn Kant and return to “speculative physics” in the Platonic tradition, that is, not a physics of bodies, but a “physics of the All.”
Other thinkers have emerged within this group, united in their allegiance to what has been known as “process philosophy,” rallying around such thinkers as Giordano Bruno, Spinoza, Schelling, Bergson, Whitehead and Deluze, among others. Reality is fundamentally unfixed for such thinkers, who claim that objects are the products of a more primordial process of becoming, which is connected to historical variations of matter, will, or drive.
There is no doubt in my mind that as long we in the West attach ourselves to a speculation of reason, rather than to a Philosophy of Praxis, like the ones described before, controversy will continue in to a foreseeable future.