Wednesday, June 1, 2011

E = m * c^2 and all that

I was thinking lately (a thing that some of my friends say I should not do too much) and it occurred to me that if God possesses infinite energy -- and I can't see any reason why not -- then creating a universe, even a very large one, out of nothing is no big deal.

Now since E = m * c^2, where c is the speed of light (about 186400), then m = E / c^2. This means that to create one kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of matter, God used up 9 * 10^16 joules of energy, or about 90,000,000,000,000,000 joules.

So what's a joule? One joule is the amount of work done when a mass of one kilogram is moved against a force of one newton. And one newton is that force which will give a mass of one kilogram an acceleration of 1 meter per second per second (or 1 m / s^2). In "English" units, 1 m / s^2 is about 1/10 the normal acceleration of gravity on Earth.

Matter and energy are interchangeable. Force, mass, work, acceleration -- all these terms, and the phenomena they name, are interrelated. (God is pretty smart.)

So some smart-aleck may ask: even if God possesses infinite energy, if God created an infinite universe, would that use up all His energy? The answer is no, because there are orders of infinities, some are bigger than others, and you can take away infinity from infinity and still have infinity. For instance, from the infinitely large set of ordinary counting numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.) you can take away the infinite large set of even numbers, and still have an infinitely large set of odd numbers. And since every number has a double, which is an even number, there are as many even numbers as there are numbers.

(Don't blame me, I didn't make this up!)

Anyway, God said "Let there be light!" And there was light. And I can't see why that wasn't the same as the Big Bang.

That was the first Big Bang.

When I was at Adoration the other night, a line from a French Christmas carol ("He is Born, the Holy Child") ran through my head: "Depuis plus de quatre mille ans, nous le promettait les proph├Ętes." -- "For more than four thousand years, the prophets promised us Him."

It doesn't make any difference to me if there were four thousand or unpteen bazillion years between creation and the birth of Christ. Let's just say it was a very long time. Dinosaurs came and went, continents shifted, seas rose and fell, glaciers advanced and retreated, and then at some imprecise time, God breathed life into the clay of the earth and made Man. (This does not seem to me to be necessarily inconsistent with the physical evolution of the human body.)

Then sometime about 1900 years before Christ, there was Abraham. After 1900 years, Christ was born and lived about 30 years, before He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. It was about four or five days between that and the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood at the Last Supper. It was about 12 hours after that, that Christ was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and put on trial. It was about three hours He hung in horrible torment on the Cross. It took maybe one minute for Him to utter His very last words -- and then time sort of stops.

And tradition tells us that forty hours after that was the second Big Bang -- Christ's resurrection!

And just as the universe expanded and formed itself after the first Big Bang, the Church has expanded and formed Herself after the second Big Bang.

The first was physical, the second spiritual; the second depended on the first (without a universe, no Earth, no people, no need for redemption). But the second is infinitely more important.

Take care and God bless!

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