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The aether as a plenum

The problem with the various aether models is that the aether must at once be present and acting in nature to produce certain desired effects (such as providing a medium for light waves), while at the same time not letting its presence be felt in other situations (such as resisting the motion of physical bodies through it). This paradoxical nature of the aether can be approached in two ways. The first is that ill-fated approach of the previous century, which assumes that the aether is an extremely tenuous, rare medium. The second is the model of the ancient Greeks which is the infinitely dense aether called a plenum.

The original concept of a plenum apparently came to Greece from the Jews via Babylon. Although the Greeks dismissed the plenum model for the reason already stated, in the last century the field of mathematical logic has shown that motion is possible in a plenum if the plenum is infinite in extent, eternal, and uncreated. Under those conditions, motion can occur in any type of path which will allow the plenum to "fill" its wake. In other words, straight-line motion is not possible; but curved paths, such as rotations, revolutions, and waves are allowed.

Now a student of the Bible will note that the above plenum properties have certain God-like properties. After all, both plenum and God are infinite, eternal, and uncreated. So we conclude that in order that God be both omnipresent and omnipotent, he must be a plenum: which is to say nothing more than that God is infinite in extent, uncreated, eternal, present everywhere and anywhere to infinite degree, as well as being infinitely powerful. In particular, God's omnipresence means that one can never conceive of a volume so small that God is no longer present in that volume. God's omnipotence dictates that in that same ever-so-small volume, God's power therein is infinite. Likewise, God's omniscience dictates that God knows what is present in that infinitesimal volume. This latter property requires that there be not only communication throughout the volume but also intelligence (information) in it; all to infinite degree. Now, except for the intelligence aspect (omniscience), those are the very same properties which the ancient Greeks and modern logicians have applied to the plenum.

Care must be taken to stress that these plenum properties are not shared by the created universe. After all, the creation is not God. The universe has a definite beginning whereas God has no beginning and no end. The creation is finite in extent whereas God is infinite. Furthermore, the properties of omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence are not shared by the creation but are only characteristic of the God in whom "we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). In other words, to say that God is a plenum is equivalent to saying that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Acts 17:28 allows for such a medium.

The modern view, as first characterized by Harold Aspdennote 3 of Cambridge University, England, is based on the notion that one infinity is the same as many infinities. Knowledge of this mathematical property came about by attempts both to defend and to attack the Christian concept of the Trinity. Since the infinite personal God is strictly a Judeo-Christian notion, the true plenum concepts were unknown and, indeed, unknowable to the Greeks.

Since the plenum pervades our very being, there is an infinite amount contained within any volume of space. In particular, the amount of plenum contained in one cubic centimeter of space is infinite. The amount contained in 1082 cubic centimeters (roughly the volume of the universe) is infinite. The two volumes contain exactly the same amount of plenum, namely, an infinite amount.

However, in thinking about it, it becomes clear that such a plenum model, though fruitful in theology for understanding the concept of Trinity, is not at all helpful to physics because one can not derive "first principles" from it. In other words, God had no need to create the universe; and the universe, including its mathematics and physics, reflects that fact. Thus the universe is God's "nature" only in the sense that he created it and so is his possession or "his nature;" but the universe is not "God's nature" in the least if that phrase means that nature embodies God's essence. As a result, a different ther model is needed in the natural realm.

Notes and References

Note 3 H. Aspden, 1972. Modern AEther Science. (Southampton: Sabberton Publications).

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