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I'm new to philosophy and I know very little. While watching lectures on philosophy of 17-18 centuries I realized that the understanding of God was a very important issue (and it probably still is at present days). I got an idea which is opposite to the idea of God creating our Universe. What if our Universe will eventually produce God? It is similar to how simple organisms with very limited intelligence can form a system which is more intelligent that a total intellignce of all individuals forming this system (ants, bees and probably people too). Are there any philosophical theories which assume this scenario?

UPDATE

As suggested by Michael Dorfman I will try to describe in more details what I have in mind. All theories I've heard of assume that God has created our universe. To me it means that the God has designed the laws of physics, created all the "stuff" of our Universe and "ignited the engine". To me this God's world is unreachable and incognizable from our Universe. Then when I was thinking about the development of our Universe I found a lot of similarities to other processes in biology, evolution, even software development. Similarities to how simple and "dumb" things form more complicated and more intelligent things. So given the infinite time and infinite resources our Universe should produce something or someone who is infinitely intelligent, infinitely potent and (hopefully) infinitely good. And my question was about pointers to theories which develop similar ideas that might exist.

  • How do you define God? God is usually defined as the creator of the universe, but that definition wouldn't make sense here. – Josh1billion Feb 22 '12 at 8:42
  • I think of God as an omnipotent and "good" being. – Max Feb 22 '12 at 8:45
  • Could you edit the question to develop the question along those lines? Is the question now, "Will our universe eventually produce a being that is omnipotent and omnibenevolent?" – Michael Dorfman Feb 22 '12 at 10:21
  • My question was more about pointers to theories that develop similar ideas. – Max Feb 22 '12 at 11:35
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    +1 to counter the downvote; this could definitely be clearer/better specified, but seems okay to me – Joseph Weissman Feb 22 '12 at 21:27
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Your general idea is a normal, rational notion. That is, everyone who understands evolution believes that things will keep advancing; typically (but not always) things will get more complex, and more powerful (especially once a species has reached technological singularity). At some point there will be likely be a species or group of organisms which reaches (what we currently refer to as) "God-like" status. This is not a bold claim, in fact it is common knowledge among anyone even remotely studied in biology.

Will they eventually become infinitely powerful (omnipotent)? It's not clear what the upper bounds are there, and to even speculate would be a pointless toying with concepts well beyond our own understanding.

Unfortunately though, I don't think "goodness" will have anything to do with these super-intelligent, super-powerful entities. I wager their behavior will all probably come down to what is most rational (sometimes the two coincide, but not always). This notion, at least, is very likely correct regarding how the first super-intelligent computers will behave. Positing the next stage of intelligence beyond the hyper rationality of these super computers is just pure speculation, but I find it unlikely that such a rational machine would move away from rationality towards chaos/pseudo-randomness/disorder as a logical step in its (self) evolution....

  • You think that those physical laws that we know of are on that shaky of a footing that we can't even use them to set bounds? – Rex Kerr Feb 23 '12 at 5:58
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    I was referring less to bounds of what we know about the physical universe and more to the bounds of our understanding; i.e., what do it mean to be infinitely powerful? By definition, that which is infinite is immeasurable and therefore we would never be able to reach that point (let alone ascertain whether we reached that point). In basic philosophy terms, these problems of infinite arise with the equivalent notion of "omnipotence"; i.e. "God creating a stone so heavy he can't lift it", unstoppable force + immovable object, time paradoxes, etc. – stoicfury Feb 23 '12 at 6:50
  • A popular idea of a malevolent (or at least judgemental) AI singularity is rationalwiki.org/wiki/Roko's_basilisk – CriglCragl May 29 '18 at 23:36
  • What do you mean by "God-like status"? For many people, such as Christians, "God-like" includes being an uncreated creator of the universe, so it's hard to see how anything could ever evolve into that. – curiousdannii Jun 1 '18 at 16:14
  • We started as cosmic dust, coalesced into a floating ball in space with an ocean of chemical soup, which eventually became the basis for more complex particles like RNA and DNA and formed the vast array of increasingly complex organism until you reach mankind today, who is on a quest to create bigger things still. It's been a few billion years, and we have trillions more still until the heat death of the universe. Do you not think we'll be pretty damn powerful somewhere along the line? Do you think we'll reach some point and say, "Hey let's just stop here, technology is good enough."? – stoicfury Jun 3 '18 at 20:39
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A similar theory would be the opinion of Aristotle. I will try to confirm the details and find proper sources, but as I understand it from secondary literature Aristotle felt that God was a necessary consequence of the Universe. Aristotle's opinion was that the Universe was eternal and uncreated, but unchanging, God did not develop from the universe but is also Eternal in his opinion.

I think that the difficulty with such a suggestion as yours is on what basis do we posit such a being. While one can argue the merits or demerits of the Argument from Design, there is at very least a perceived issue that a creator would account for.

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There are not-entirely-credible non-philosophical writings along these lines (see Tipler's Omega Point for perhaps the best-known example).

I am not aware of any philosophical writings along these lines; if they existed, I would have expected them to appear in the late 1800s when it seemed that the universe would admit an entirely deterministic explanation and had few obvious physical limits. Since the discovery of quantum mechanics and relativity, however, Godhood of the sort you describe has seemed not to be physically possible, and so contemporary philosophers should not be expected to waste much time considering it.

  • The Singularitarian perspective might be relevant here as well; Kurzweil is probably the best known advocate of a similar position (technology will enable deity-like powers, etc.) – Joseph Weissman Feb 22 '12 at 22:15
  • Yeah, I had that in an earlier draft but deleted it because it seemed even less physically plausible than Tipler's ideas. Maybe I'll just leave your comment as the reference :) – Rex Kerr Feb 22 '12 at 22:37
  • David Deutsch explores Tipler's Omega Point in The Fabric Of Reality. He points out that infinite vibrations of the final big crunch in finite time, could be harnessed computationally to generate an infinite simulation, including of open universes like our own – CriglCragl May 29 '18 at 23:34

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