I have been reading a few books/articles the past week about world views, universe, God etc. In many of these, a repeating meme is Laws of Nature as an absolute, external phenomenon.
For e.g., two of them talk about Einstein’s statement about God being the laws of universe. In another one the author uses the fact that if the initial conditions of the universe just after big bang was just a bit off, we would be in a radically different world.
One thing, I think, we tend to forget is that, all these laws, mathematical equations and a priory assumptions about universe is our way of coping with reality. These are artifacts that we use to understand nature around us. Reality does not need to “obey” any of these rules. It just that, our observations tend to show that, interpretations according to our laws – the artifacts we use to describe nature – seem to be consistent.
At any point in time of human history, these laws are limited by our observations, and our logical and intellectual capacity to understand them. A good example is the presence of singularities and their usual side effect, black holes. Our current laws are incapable of describing this phenomenon, so we do not have a law for it. It doesn’t mean singularities do not “obey” the laws of universe, rather, it shows WE do not have a law to describe and understand it.
Nature – universe – on the other hand just exists, irrespective of what we think and what laws we formulate about it. There is no requirement for the universe to have uniform behavior and/or existence throughout its history and expanse. It is just convenient for us to assume that it is so.
So, when someone says that their god is synonymous with the laws of nature, it just means that their god is a manufactured artifact they use to feel comfortable.
For me, I am quite comfortable not knowing everything about the universe!