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Are gods also bound to the laws of physics like energy, gravitation and time?

They may have a different perception of these concepts. But are they actually bound by their laws?

Or do they break their laws if they don't like it? And start over again?

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – user2953
    Nov 10 '17 at 13:42
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With our present understanding of the universe, the answer is very probably. Any god that exists has only ever acted within the laws of physics.

More precisely, regardless of your definition of a god, there is no extant evidence that the laws of physics have ever been violated.

Now, there are a number of reasons why we may find that this isn't true:

  1. we have an incomplete understanding of the laws of physics (almost definitely true)
  2. we aren't aware of every event ever (definitely true)
  3. there have been violations that we haven't witnessed (not unreasonable)
  4. the gods exist but haven't bothered to do anything (both scientifically and theologically tricky)

What we can reasonably safely say though, is that any regular action that a god takes in our bit of spacetime e.g. answering prayers, either doesn't violate the laws of physics or the gods are being super sneaky about the violations.

Edit. As Arthur has correctly pointed out in the comments, this answer assumes the existence of a god or gods. This assumption was present in the question so I felt it reasonable to answer with that assumption intact.

For the record, I do not rule out the possibility that there are no god or gods. Though any clear determination in that regard would render Philosophy.SE much less fun.

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    Or they do not exist at all. That's also a possibility. Nov 10 '17 at 10:27
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    @Arthur That's unlikely to be a reason why we eventually find that the laws of physics have been violated. It has a high probability of being the reason why we've no evidence of a god violating them. But that wasn't the question.
    – Alex
    Nov 10 '17 at 10:33
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    Yes. Sorry. I was referring to the last part. - What we can reasonably safely say though, is that any regular action that a god takes in our bit of spacetime e.g. answering prayers, either doesn't violate the laws of physics or the gods are being super sneaky about the violations. I agree that if we start from the premise that God exist, then my comment is redundant. Nov 10 '17 at 12:38
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    Your comment is very good. But I felt the need to highlight that possibility also, even though the OP (perhaps) is not considering it. Other readers might. Nov 10 '17 at 12:46
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    @Arthur Fair point. I've addressed this (ish) with an edit.
    – Alex
    Nov 10 '17 at 13:02
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Finite gods might be. But on a standard idea, God (I use the singular for familiarity) can do anything that is not logically impossible. Since it is logically possible for the laws of physics to be other than they are, an omnipotent God could change them - hence is not bound by them. Descartes btw believed that God was not even bound by the laws of logic and could do the logically impossible : God created logic and could change it. But this is an add-on to the answer.

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Imagine you sit down to play a game of chess. If you've ever played chess, you know, for example, that the rook can only move in a straight direction parallel to one of the edges of the board. Nothing physically prevents you from moving the rook in ways that violate the rules, but if you do, you're not really playing chess any more.

From my point of view, that is the sense in which God is "bound" by the physical laws of the universe.

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Yes absolutely. You cannot have a universe or anything that is allowed to act outside of the laws of the universe. Or your universe wouldn't be. For instance, everything that you have is nothing. That can start the universe that is a God. Consciousness all the consciousness in your Universe even at the start the simplest thought that is your god. And he's acting within the rules of the universe. To be everything and to be the consciousness he would have to act within the rules and he couldn't do those things outside of the universe laws wouldn't be possible.

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John 1:1 God is Logos. Logos is God. "Are gods also bound to the laws of physics?" The question is a non-sequitur.
To understand, you must know the meanings of the Greek word, 'Logos' as understood in Greek philosophy at the time of Jesus.
Look it up: Logic, reason, law, word.... So.... God IS the law--including the laws of nature.
That is what St John is telling you at 1:1. You ask if God would be bound by the laws of physics (or any other natural laws)--but the laws ARE God. (Hence the non-sequitur.) That's what John 1:1 is telling you.

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God, means many things, to many people. The Buddhist approach is this:

""But sooner or later, bhikkhus, after the lapse of a long period, there comes a time when this world begins to expand once again. While the world is expanding, an empty palace of Brahmā appears. Then a certain being, due to the exhaustion of his life-span or the exhaustion of his merit, passes away from the Ābhassara plane and re-arises in the empty palace of Brahmā. There he dwells, mind made, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, moving through the air, abiding in glory. And he continues thus for a long, long period of time.

"Then, as a result of dwelling there all alone for so long a time, there arises in him dissatisfaction and agitation, (and he yearns): 'Oh, that other beings might come to this place!' Just at that moment, due to the exhaustion of their life-span or the exhaustion of their merit, certain other beings pass away from the Ābhassara plane and re-arise in the palace of Brahmā, in companionship with him. There they dwell, mind-made, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, moving through the air, abiding in glory. And they continue thus for a long, long period of time.

"Thereupon the being who re-arose there first thinks to himself: 'I am Brahmā, the Great Brahmā, the Vanquisher, the Unvanquished, the Universal Seer, the Wielder of Power, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, the Supreme Being, the Ordainer, the Almighty, the Father of all that are and are to be. And these beings have been created by me. What is the reason? Because first I made the wish: "Oh, that other beings might come to this place!" And after I made this resolution, now these beings have come.'

"And the beings who re-arose there after him also think: 'This must be Brahmā, the Great Brahmā, the Vanquisher, the Unvanquished, the Universal Seer, the Wielder of Power, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, the Supreme Being, the Ordainer, the Almighty, the Father of all that are and are to be. And we have been created by him. What is the reason? Because we see that he was here first, and we appeared here after him.' " - Brahmajala Sutta 40-42

So in Buddhist thought the Creator is one more being among beings, still bound by impermanence, and karmic consequences (Buddhist close equivalents to entropy and causality, but including psychology).

Consider the thought-experiment of us being in a simulation: except for attempts at deduction made from the nature of the simulation or any detected interference in it, we cannot know about the beings outside the simulation. If we can ground elements of physics or information theory in first principles, we can have a bit of confidence - for them to be wrong would require an 'outside the simulation' of an altogether different type than humans will create in the future, making understanding it potentially inaccessible to us (eg, we may not have enough computational resources to model it). We can understand the interrelation of laws, and the huge consistency of those we call 'fundamental', as required grounding for certain types of behaviour (eg dimensionality, and how it relates to possibilities of stable multibody dynamics).

The Abrahamic god has evolved over time, from supreme local god to the only god, for Jews. Most of the attributes of god, epithets and superlatives, are niether from Judaism or the bible, but from theological speculation, weaving prevailing ideas with occasional scriptural support - so principally with the great influence of the Greeks, especially Aristotle and Plato. In the Abrahamic world, god begins as a local personal entity, the 'father' of a people. Then moves closer and closer to 'the god of the philosophers' and deism. There is a lasting tension, between the proposed absoluteness and abstractness of god, and the ability to get help guidance or intervention from such a proposed being. But as the simulation thought experiment shows, it is possible a 'creator' (simulator) could act from 'outside' by rules which do not govern the simulation.

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Let's use an individual example, a god traveling faster than the speed of light. Of course, we might not know it was a god we were seeing traveling FTL. But let us suppose we at least knew this being claimed to be a god, and that being a god as such was well-defined, etc. Anyway, how would we determine that this being was traveling FTL? Idk but supposing we could tell, we would more likely revise our law of FTL or apply it differently, than suppose the law was "broken."

For example, we might think this god was taking advantage of quantum fluctuation, or that the speed of light can change (within parameters), or whatever along these lines. At the limit we would just conclude that light doesn't have a fixed speed as such at all; no law is "broken" where there is no law.

Think of it in terms of inductive evidence for laws, or falsification: the god traveling FTL means our induction must be adapted or that the proposed law has been falsified.

In short, the word "law" here is ambiguous, and the notion of divine violation of physical laws equivocates over the ambiguity.

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If we want to, we can imagine God as some external being. For God to be completely controlled by physical laws that we do not yet know, 'God's works' and 'physics' must be synonymous.

Even scientists do not have a strict and accurate understanding of energy, gravity, and time. Even any misunderstanding of time will change the fundamentals regarding energy and gravity. If time itself is absurd in the absolute sense, other things will also be absurd. So what about God or the gods?

If we can prove that consciousness, mind, morality, and aesthetics are purely physical, then we can say that there is some logic in saying so.

So, if what I guessed the meaning by the word 'gods' in your question is right, IMHO, you'd better say that the gods are associated with some unknown laws; but they are not just laws of physics.

If man is mortal and gods are immortal, an mortal being/thing cannot say anything about the laws regrading immortal beings/things.

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