Note: This is not a proof for/against the existence God. I hope believers and non-believers will find reasons to enjoy my ramblings here.
Christians believe that God is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omnipresent (everywhere).
First, we should find a common definition of the universe (via Merriam-Webster):
1 : the whole body of things and phenomena observed or postulated : cosmos: such as a : a systematic whole held to arise by and persist through the direct intervention of divine power b : the world of human experience c (1) : the entire celestial cosmos (2) : milky way galaxy (3) : an aggregate of stars comparable to the Milky Way galaxy 2 : a distinct field or province of thought or reality that forms a closed system or self-inclusive and independent organization 3 : population sense 4 4 : a set that contains all elements relevant to a particular discussion or problem 5 : a great number or quantity
Many people, including myself, believe “universe” means everything and everywhere and always.
But our universe is finite, so everything, everywhere, and always are all finite too. As far as we know, matter began, energy began, space began, and time began. According to our brightest minds, long ago, nothing existed and everywhere was nowhere.
I mean, maybe the physicists are wrong. Maybe our universe has always existed, or some other universe existed before it. Maybe an infinite number of universes existed before ours and continue to exist. Maybe the universe is so big that its edges touch. Maybe the universe just has planets and planets and planets forever and there’s literally no end to it, or maybe when you reach the end of our universe you enter the next of infinite universes. Maybe there’s another “spiritual” dimension of spacetime that we can’t access with our feeble human minds.
If any of that extra stuff exists, I’m going to call all that extra stuff “the universe” too.
The physics really don’t matter here. What’s important is that “universe” in this essay means everything, everywhere, and everywhen.
(I’ll sometimes use the word “everywhen” instead of “always”, because it’s poetic 💁)
“Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the Lord. — Jeremiah 23:24
According to Christians, God is definitely not spatially or temporally smaller than the universe. Christians maintain that God was always everywhere in the entire spacetime of our universe. In set theory, we could express this as
God ⊄ universe or conversely
universe ⊆ God.
Now, I’d like to contend that there is no “outside” of everywhere, because then it wouldn’t be “everywhere” anymore. If we found a rock outside of the universe, well, that would be the universe too. If we found heaven outside of the universe, that would be the universe too. If we found a “spiritual dimension” outside of the universe, that would be the universe too. In the same way, God can’t be outside of the universe, because that would be the universe too. It follows that
universe ⊄ God and
God ⊆ universe.
Definition: The sets A and B are said to be equal if A⊆B and B⊆A denoted by A=B.
Two sets that contain each other, by definition, are equal.
So in terms of space and time, it seems pretty clear that God must be the exact same size as the universe.
If God is everywhere, then “everywhere” is also God.
He is wise in heart and mighty in strength, who has defied Him without harm? It is God who removes the mountains, they know not how, when He overturns them in His anger; who shakes the earth out of its place, And its pillars tremble; who commands the sun not to shine, and sets a seal upon the stars; who alone stretches out the heavens and tramples down the waves of the sea; who makes the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades, and the chambers of the south; who does great things, unfathomable, and wondrous works without number. Job 9:4-10
There is nothing an omnipotent being can’t do.
But first let’s talk about can’t vs. won’t. In one sense, a tennis-player can’t stop playing tennis, because then they wouldn’t be a tennis-player anymore. In another sense, a tennis-player can obviously stop playing tennis any time, but won’t because they enjoy tennis. In the same way, according to Christians, God can’t/won’t lie, sin, forget, or disappear.
Logicians are more interested in questions like “Can God create a boulder too large to lift by himself?” God is either incapable of making immovable boulders not strong enough to lift every boulder. These propositions cannot logically both be true. Many Christians contend that God is capable of logically impossible actions!
Neuroscientists are interested in questions like “Can you sneeze?” Of course you’ve sneezed before, but was it really you who sneezed? If you’re capable of sneezing, then why can’t you sneeze on command?
Computer scientists are interested in whether machines can be intelligent. If a computer can think, does that mean a submarine can swim?
As stated above, there is nothing an omnipotent being can’t do.
Now let me ask you this: what is there that the universe can’t do? God can’t/won’t disobey his laws. The universe can’t/won’t disobey its own laws. If God is omnipotent, so is the universe.
But what about “miracles”? Aren’t miracles “impossible”? Well, if it happened in our universe, then the universe did it. Therefore it wasn’t impossible! If the universe can’t perform miracles, then neither can God.
Okay, now you’re probably thinking, “The universe is not even conscious! You’re saying it can do everything, but it can’t do anything! It’s just a bunch of junk!”
If the universe can’t do anything, then does that mean that a computer can’t add
1 + 1? Just because it’s a bunch of junk doesn’t mean that it doesn’t cause things to occur. It just happens to choose things in a predictable manner. And if the universe is incapable of decisions, does that mean that you’re incapable of sneezing? Just because sneezing doesn’t happen right now doesn’t mean it’s impossible!
Some Christians may say, “No, the universe would cease to exist if God disappeared! God is the reason the universe is running.” I completely agree! And that’s because God is the universe.
The universe can do and is doing everything everywhere, all at once.
So according to Christians, the laws of physics are precisely God’s laws.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite. Psalm 147:5
You can probably anticipate where I’m going with this.
To be omniscient is to know everything.
The universe knows everything.
Alright, alright, not so fast. The universe isn’t alive so how can it know things‽
A library doesn’t know things. It just holds information. It’s just a reference. You can look up the speed-of-light in an encyclopedia. But in some sense, the universe knows the speed-of-light, because it does the speed of light. It just does it on autopilot! It’s not the same as a library. It’s not a reference — it’s the real deal!
Do you know your own name? When you try to remember your own name, doesn’t it just magically pop out of nowhere into your mind? Do you know exactly what the inside of your head looks like? Do you know how your brain knows your name? When the universe tries to remember how particles move, it just happens. It’s like you remembering your own name.
What is there that the universe doesn’t know? It knows every one of your thoughts, because you are the universe too. In fact, you are just one tiny spec of the universe observing itself!
The universe knows everything there is to know.
But if God knows everything too, then do God and the universe share the same mind?
So according to Christians, the universe is God!