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Last Updated: 16 December 2009


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Did God create matter?

Did God create matter?

A dialogue between 2 Brahmos

QUESTION:

Let me first quote from the creed of Brahmo Dharma as written by Debendranath Tagore : "In the beginning was one God, none else, and naught but He, the Creator of all things." . We see similar ideas in chapter II : "Nothing of this(universe) existed at the beginning. The Real alone, Oh beloved! existed before creation as the one without a second" [verse 10] , or, " He mediated and having mediated created all this that exists. Before creation no other object besides the Supreme God existed." [verse 11]. The verses have been taken from various Upanishads e.g. Brihadaranyaka I.ii.1 , Taittriya II-vi etc.

Now, let us look at what Rammohun commented in "The Brahmunical Magazine" in 1821. "The world as Vedanta says, is but matter, the effect of Maya, and God is spirit". .... "It is obvious that the material cause of the world is its most minute particles whose destruction is evidently impossible: these are called anus or atoms. The immaterial God cannot be supposed the material cause of those particles, nor can Nothing be supposed to be the cause of them: therefore these particles must be eternal, and are only brought into different forms, at different times and places, by the will of God. We see all that originate in volition or voluntary causes, producing effects by means of materials; and as God is acknowledged by all parties to be voluntary cause of the world, he therefore is believed to have created the world by means of matter, space and time."

What Rammohun suggested is that both matter and God are eternal. He clarified that God is spirit; and spirit cannot create particles. God is like energy, and energy can generate force only to rearrange the particles to create this world. But energy can not create matter. Are not these two theories contradicting? Did the matter exist forever or did energy (God) create the matter?

REPLY:

Matter can neither be created nor destroyed" ie, The Law of conservation of energy as applicable for closed / isolated systems. We understand a bit more of cosmology nowadays compared to the 19th century. Of course there are some who say that Hindus are very advanced in astronomical / cosmological sciences because we are descended from aliens / gods from other planets / universes / dimensions etc. who left some of their knowledge behind .

There is no contradiction between Debendranath and Rammohun.

Using the "Big Bang" of cosmology theory, All "matter" in the universe is indestructible - and contracts and expands regularly. This is the "sound" of God "breathing". At some points in this breath cycle, all matter condenses into a single point "Singularity" at which brief moment in time there is a "Big Bang" symbolised as "AUM" - the primordial sound and Creation starts anew. At this moment in time, God is AUM, and as Debendranath wrote "Before creation no other object besides the Supreme God existed."

ergo: The Supreme God at that moment is also an "object" ie. material and comprises all the matter in the universe.

FOLLOW-UP: 1) Conservation: "Matter can neither be created nor destroyed" = Conservation of Mass, which was propounded by Lavoisier in 1789. But later on, with the advent of special theory of relativity, it was proved to be false by Einstein in 1905. Mass can be converted into energy. Atomic bomb, nuclear fission (which was discovered later on) experimentally proved loss of matter can result into energy. Similarly, “conservation of energy” is replaced by “mass-energy-equivalence”. Question: Whether energy can be converted into mass?

2) Big Bang: Big Bang has many proofs; thus many proponents of Big Bang have won Nobel Prize too. But on the other hand it has several versions, because scientists have many unanswered questions, which they try to answer by several different theories. These theories are yet to be experimentally proved.

3) Counter logic of Upanishad(and belief of Debendranath): Assuming that God created the matter; and He is the first cause of such creation, and then assuming that, God existed forever, we can conclude that there must be a definite time when the matter was first created. Then “What did God do before he created the first matter?” We can frame the question in a different way: Since God existed forever, this means from the time of creation of first matter, we can go back infinitely back along the timeline, where there existed no matter. Then how comes God, after being inactive for infinitely long time, suddenly decided to create first matter? This question was actually mentioned by St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in North Africa in the 5th Century.

REPLY:

1) Law of Conservation of Mass is still valid for closed / isolated systems. The Special theory of Relativity sets a limit E=mc2 on the amount of energy which can be released by the extinction of matter by anti-matter (this is a gross simplification).

2) Special relativity is not of interest to us since as Brahmos we speak of One God and One Universe (ie. a single closed system).

3) I only used the Big Bang theory as a parable. In essence, at some moment in time all mass (matter) in a Universe is "God" which explodes outwards. Each mass particle of God has an associated energy (inertia) which propels it to its limit in space. When the inertia (energy) is exhausted, the particles will start moving backwards (acquiring energy) and eventually condense back into all mass and explode again (ad infinitum). To maintain balance, the "matter + anti-matter" cycles are mirrored in multiverses.

4) God did not "create" matter, God is matter just as God is equally nergy. God created the universe and all the worlds within. Which came first the chicken or the egg? Before God there was nothing except Chaos which is still all-pervasive. God sprang from Chaos.