Must Gods be Supernatural?

NPR floats a thought provoking question: “would non-supernatural creators still be gods?”

Extrapolating the current pace of technological advance to the future, some futurists are convinced that within a few decades we will get to such a deep stage of hybridization with machines that we will not be able to pull apart from them anymore. (Try being without your cell phone or computer for a week, for example.)

If these predictions come through, and it seems to me that they already are, soon we will be a new species, beyond human.

Imagine, then, that in some corner of the galaxy, other intelligent creatures also discovered some version of science. But they did so, say, a million years before us, which, in cosmic time, is not much. These creatures would now be machine-hybrids, completely different from what they once were. As Arthur C. Clarke once wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” a theme myself and co-blogger Adam have been focusing on these past few weeks.

Perhaps “they” are only information, free-floating in coded energy fields spread across space. Perhaps they have, much beyond anything we can presently contemplate, the power to create life, choosing its properties at will. They could, for example, have created us, or some of our ancestors, as part of an experiment in their version of evolutionary genetics, or as a test bed in a study of the relation between intelligence and morality. They could, perhaps, be observing us, as we observe animals in a zoo or a laboratory. These entities, immaterial but living as self-sustaining bundles of information, could have been our creators. Would they be gods, even if not supernatural?

My first instinct is to say no. How can space aliens be god? However, that’s the rub with god(s): there is really no agreed upon definition. The concept of god is just so nebulous that each individual is capable of creating their own. Believers all pretend they are speaking about the same entity, but that’s not really true now, is it?

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3 Responses to Must Gods be Supernatural?

  1. Brilliant blog. My instinct is to say no as well. I suspect the probability of fairly advanced life forms, even nearby our section of the Milky Way, to be rather high. I do not know that they exist, I just suspect. But because I only have a predictive evidence set of big S = 1, sadly that is not enough to place a confidence interval on such predictive sampling. All I know is, advanced life forms exist. Therefore, it is extraordinary to claim that only one exists, even if I am defaulting to that idea.

    But, I think about the subject of a god like this. Were we to assume for just a moment that the Christian-style God is a reality and there was a Creator for everything we know, then the Creator of the Universe is dramatically more talented than the creator of our DNA. Our DNA is not that well architected, developed, regulated, indexed and conserved. All tenets and features of disciplined intellect in a risky data environment. So, God can create black holes, gravity in two parallel universe realms along with transition elements to beat the band, but can’t program three bit quadrinary worth shit. That DNA creator god has some ‘splainin’ to do Lucy. The discipline and enormous talent placed into creation of the Virgo Wall was beyond comprehension, but God must have been on a 4 day bender and only had 3 hours to whoop up our DNA before the big exam, when it came time for creating that.

    So if we maintain the creator concept, the logical predictive argument would be that a non-god crafted our DNA, and had no need for our style of data maintenance because it did not support the goals at hand.

    Which might have been conquest of the universe, by nucleotide life.

    ….and that would make him not a god, by definition. A god need not conquer, as it is already his. The creator of our DNA was just surfin’ the wave like everyone else and doing the best he could.

    Now dropping the momentary fiction and back to my preferred, classic evolution.

  2. john zande says:

    Insert picture of “Ancient Astronaut Theorist” here 🙂

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