THE GODS (9)
by: Robert G. Ingersoll
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Admitting that a god did create the universe, the question then arises, of what did he create it? It certainly was not made of nothing. Nothing, considered in the light of a raw material, is a most decided failure. It follows, then, that the god must have made the universe out of himself, he being the only existence. The universe is material, and if it was made of god, the god must have been material. With this very thought in his mind, Anaximander of Miletus said: “ Creation is the decomposition of the infinite.”
It has been demonstrated that the earth would fall to the sun, only for the fact, that it is attracted by other worlds, and those worlds must be attracted by other worlds still beyond them, and so on, without end.* This proves the material universe to be infinite. If an infinite universe has been made out of an infinite god, how much of the god is left?
The idea of a creative deity is gradually being abandoned, and nearly all truIy scientific minds admit that matter must have existed from eternity. It is indestructible, and the indestructible cannot be created. It is the crowning glory of our century to have demonstrated the indestructibility and the eternal persistence of force, Neither matter nor force can be increased nor diminished.
Force cannot exist apart from matter. Matter exists only in connection with force, and consequently, a force apart from matter, and superior to nature, is a demonstrated impossibility. Force, then, must have also existed from eternity, and could not have been created. Matter in its countless forms, from dead earth to the eyes of those we love, and force, in all its manifestations, from simple motion to the grandest thought, deny creation and defy control.
Thought is a form of force. We walk with the same force with which we think. Man is an organism, that changes several forms of force into thought-force. Man is a machine into which we put what we call food, and produce what we call thought, Think of that wonderful chemistry by which bread was changed into the divine tragedy of Hamlet !
A god must not only be material, but he must be an organism, capable of changing other forms of force into thought-force. This is what we call eating. Therefore, if the god thinks, he must eat, that is to say, he must of necessity have some means of supplying the force with which to think. It is impossible to conceive of a being who can eternally impart force to matter, and yet have no means of supplying the force thus imparted.
If neither matter nor force were created, what evidence have we, then, of the existence of a power superior to nature ? The theologian will probably reply, “ We have law and order, cause and effect, and beside all this, matter could not have put itself in motion.”
* Please remember, this is based on Ingersol's knowledge of science late in the 19th century. Given the benefit of current knowledge, he would have written much of this section differently. Notwithstanding, the points he is making remain valid.