On the Supernatural

Excerpt from an upcoming book, The Enchiridion.

Nothing is truly independent, that is, free from influence. In order to be free from any influence, the entity must exist outside any system. Allow me to explain.

The universe (that is, the system containing all of existence) is itself a closed system, meaning it does not “exchange matter with its surroundings” (that is, it does not gain nor lose matter or energy) and is not “subject to any force whose source is external to the system”. If the universe cannot gain energy or matter, then it cannot be influenced from the outside (as influence would be a transference of energy or matter). Which would require any entity exerting influence on any entity within the system to be within the system itself, bound within its matrix of influences. Therefore, nothing which has influence on an entity within a system can itself exist outside the system — and, if the system in question is the universe, that is, the entirety of existence, then nothing can exist outside the universe. To sum it up: nothing can exist which is not affected by influences of other entities. As such, any phenomenon described as being fully independent of all influence (e.g. God) is non-existent. Nothing can exist outside all systems. The supernatural, defined as “that which is not subject to the laws of physics”, could be described as those things which require independence from any system in order to meet their definition or specification. Given all supernatural entities are described as having influence over other entities without having those entities affect them (e.g. God is unaffected by gravity or electromagnetism, but can manipulate matter), this would require these entities to operate beyond the bounds of the physical laws of the universe. Since, according to the law of the conservation of energy, as energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only converted — and, according to the law of the conservation of matter, nor can matter be created or destroyed — then it follows the only things which can affect influences must also be able to be affected by influences. Therefore, the only things which exist are those engaged in the reciprocity of influence. To exist is to engage in the reciprocity of influence. To disengage from the reciprocity of influence is to no longer exist, that is, to no longer be subject to the laws of the universe. Which means (to bring it back to my original assertion in this section): nothing is truly independent.

As for the notion of a deity which does operate within the laws of the universe, which is engaged in the reciprocity of influence, the above-described model does not exclude this notion. However, the “deity” which operates within the system that is the universe cannot be described as omnipotent (as this would allow the deity to hold dominion over the physical laws of the universe) or omniscient (as this would require the deity to overcome the limitations of relativity and uncertainty). In this case, the described god would not match the overwhelming traditional definitions of God.

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