Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Part 2 of Quantum Physics & Thomistic Metaphysics

However, my suggestion that the continuous nature of matter may be the very constituent physical-material of the Body of the Universe, is in the area of opinion, not of infallible, metaphysical truth. The metaphysical principle involved here is that of the necessary physical-material nature of the Body of the Universe which has no soul. As Thomists, we speak of the material soul of the plants and animals. Man alone is composed of a rational, immaterial or spiritual soul directly created by God for each individual human being. The fact that the inanimate Body of the Universe has not even a material soul, absolutely precludes for this Catholic position, any possibility for a gnostic, emanationist or Spinozean, pantheistic interpretation. As described in some detail elsewhere, the element, when entering into a living form, such as that of the plant, animal and man, participate in some mysterious way, in the life-giving principle, because it is obvious that they obey the directions of that life-form. For example, the elements of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, when entering into a green plant, - one that supplies the necessary chloroplasts, perform the process of photosynthesis. In this process, these same elements produce the sugar glucose and separate the water molecule (H20) so that oxygen is expelled into the atmosphere, to the necessary benefit of all other air-breathing forms! Now it is most significant that these same elements do not perform the process of photosynthesis in any other life-form. The implication is, and one borne out by research, that each substantial form contains in its central intelligence agency, very specific and precise directions, that are really laws for how the elements are to behave in each specific form and what laws they are to obey.

Any textbook in biochemistry will show you the different forms the atoms take in each situation. This is the Order of Creation operating in time as the Order of Generation, and since the Fall of Adam, we must add to the Order of Generation, that of corruption. But getting back to my suggestion that the Body of the Universe may be constituted of continuous matter that contains the principles governing all the operations of the discrete atomic particles, the article "Strange and Stringy” by Subir Sachdev (Sci.Amer., Jan. 2013), concerns the newly or recently discovered states of matter beyond those of solid, liquid and gas. The two new ones are of extreme heat, the plasma state, and of extreme cold, the condensed state. It was in this condensed state of matter that quantum entanglement apparently was observed. In entanglement, not just pairs of electrons, but vast numbers of electrons, as in superconductors, are coordinated“without mediation” but only by their “direct physical linkage.” The metaphysical necessity for material mediation or the existence of a universal medium (there is no such thing as a vacuum), seems to be supplied by String Theory. But this is an illusion. 
We must remember that the modern physicist only studies processes. He really rejects, on the basis of his overruling ideology of evolutionism, any idea of a permanent substance underlying all measurable and observable changes. Dr. David Tong came closest when he admitted that the atom, as a numerical entity, is here to stay. String theory comes closest to discovering a unifying principle when it observes that an immense number of electrons “act together as an individual whole”. (p.50, box.) Now if a large number of any kind of individual entities, whether of the soldiers in an army or all the parts of a living body, there must of necessity be a central intelligence agency. This is the central argument for St. Thomas’ 5th way of demonstrating God’s existence. (ST,I, q.2, a3.) It holds true for the entire universe and all of its inhabitants. Men and angels have free will. The angels once were tested. The nature of the test is not revealed in Holy Scripture, but it certainly had to do with the concept of humble service. It was pretty much the same with Eve and then Adam. But even for creatures with free will the over-ruling of God as the One Infinite, Omniscient and omnipotent Being must be admitted because He could have prevented the sin of both the angels and of Adam, but He chose not to do so – and continues to allow men the freedom to reject Him and His Will. He does this according to the consensus of the Fathers, because He loves us and wants us to love Him. But love is not love unless it is freely given. A forced love is not love at all but servility. God simply wants us to love Him with all that this entails – such as carrying our cross after Him.

The Little Flower put it in a nutshell when she said, “To live by love is not to set up our tent on Thabor, but to follow Jesus up the Mount of Calvary. (Poem) So much for creatures with free will. But what of all the rest? There are the irrational living creatures, the plants and the animals and the inanimate. It is specifically these non-rational beings that St. Thomas uses in his 5th way to demonstrate God’s existence. The apparently intelligent actions of living creatures, such as the spider’s weaving of its web, etc., indicate the existence of an intelligent cause above and beyond that of the non-intelligent creature. Likewise, the magnificent order and periodicity of the celestial bodies indicates an intelligent cause above and beyond themselves. Now here is the most significant fact of all: Every single creature in the universe can point to a parent in the Order of Generation. However, the universe itself, alone of all creatures, cannot point to any previous creature that might have given rise to itself. God alone, the Transcendent Creator of all things, visible and invisible, can account for the existence of the universe, of its Body that consists of the Heavens and the Earth, and of the Angels and all else that is made. Of all corporeal creatures, the universe is the first and only substantial form for which God is the only immediate Cause. Every other corporeal creature is and has a secondary cause. We see this described in Genesis One. Day One sees the creation of the universe, heaven and earth. Day Two sees the separation of the waters and the creation of the firmament. The work of Day Two is a work about which I must admit to being unclear and I submit to the judgment of Dr. Robert Sungenis on this point. The Fathers and Doctors of the Church referred to the work of Day Two as a Work of Distinction. Day Three is the first agency of a Secondary Cause, the Earth, with God as the Primary Cause and direct efficient cause of the substantial forms – or kinds of plants. From Day Three onwards, secondary causes operate in the Order of Generation under God’s Primary governing Cause or (concursus) – the maintaining in existence –which only God can do. But on Day Three, it is the earth, as Secondary Cause under God’s Concursus, that “brings forth” the plants.

And so, it continues to do so today, though in greatly compromised conditions due to the abusive treatment of human beings. Here is where the so-called new science of ecology properly belongs. Day Four sees the making of the celestial bodies, namely Sun, Moon and Stars, from the Light created on Day One. St. Thomas considers the making of all creatures and substantial forms – brought into existence for the first time – to be equivalent to creation, even though God used materials already in existence to cause the new forms of the Sun, Moon and Stars, then the plants, animals and man’s body. This will undoubtedly cause debate and disagreements amongst cosmologists. My own opinion, for what it is worth, is that God brought forth the universe, ex nihilo and in toto on Day One. This universe included in its one Substance – a Material Cause, the Prime Matter, which is the finite, but virtually infinite “pool” of possibilities (potencies), which can be realized or actualized in time. However, it is infallibly by Genesis, as Divine Revelation, that God created nothing new after the work of the Six Days, (Gen.2). All the forms generated after the first Six Days, the first Week of the World of time, are limited and defined by the substantial forms created during the Six Days. In other words, there are no new kinds of things after Day Six, - only variations. The only exception to this absolute rule is the individual soul which only God can create, because it is a spiritual form.

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