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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Particle Physics, Matter, Reality, and God

Particle Physics, Matter, Reality, and God
By Jim J. McCrea

What can physics tell us about the nature of reality and of God? What is the relationship between physics and God? What are the limits of particle physics, which claims to be an ultimate explanation of things? How do we arrive at an authentic ultimate explanation of things? In this article, we will look at the structure of matter at its deepest known levels, according to the latest findings of particle physicists. It will be demonstrated that there is more to know about reality than what particle physicists are attempting to understand. Why this is so, is not because they have not discovered enough yet in their field. There is more to know because important attributes of reality completely exceed the methodology of particle physics. In their attempts to discover a complete explanation of matter on the deepest levels, particle physicists simply cannot derive a "theory of everything." There are other levels of reality than just matter. This is what this article will explain. We will investigate the supreme question of physics: what ultimately is matter? We will show how, as we go deeper and deeper into the design of matter, it must eventually lead to God.

We will begin with an exposition on particle physics and the nature of matter and energy in general. The material objects which we are familiar with - which can be perceived by our senses, such as trees, animals, rocks, cars, chairs etc. – are composed of atoms and molecules, with molecules being assemblages of atoms (i.e. water is H2O - that is, a water molecule consists of two hydrogen atoms bonded to one oxygen atom). We have all learned in school that atoms consist of a nucleus of protons and neutrons, surrounded by a cloud of electrons. The protons have a positive electric charge, the electrons have a negative electric charge, and the neutrons are neutral - that is, they have no electric charge. The number of protons in the nucleus must equal the number of surrounding electrons in the atom, so that the charges cancel out and the atom has no overall charge. It is the number of protons in the nucleus which determines the type of atom it is. For example, a hydrogen atom has one proton, a helium atom two, an oxygen atom eight, and a gold atom seventy nine.

However, the structure of matter goes deeper than that. This is what the majority are not familiar with. There is tremendous order and beauty on these deeper levels which points to a divine creator of it. As one looks up to the starry sky at night, the work of the divine artist can be seen. Similarly, when one peers deep into the recesses of matter, with the most modern scientific equipment, the imprint of God can be seen there as well.

Physicists know that the neutrons and protons, which form the nucleus of the atom, consist of quarks. The proton has two "up" quarks and one "down" quark, and the neutron consists of two down quarks and one up quark. ('Up' and 'down' do not refer to the orientation of these. They are simply names. They could have been called 'Fred' and 'Mary') In the field of subatomic particles four more types of quarks are known. The down and up quarks belong to the first generation of particles. Quarks given the quixotic names "strange" and "charm," are in the second generation. The "bottom" and "top" quarks belong to the third generation. (Again 'bottom' and 'top' are merely names. They are not indicative of position).

Various other types of composite subatomic particles, besides protons and neutrons, can be made from different combinations of quarks. Protons and neutrons belong to a class known as "baryons." Baryons are those which consist of three quarks. Two other baryons are the lambda particle, which consists of one down quark, one up quark, and one strange quark; and the omega-minus particle which is made of three strange quarks. Mesons, as opposed to baryons, consist of quark/anti-quark pairs. They are two quark combinations. The pi-meson consists of one up quark and one anti-down quark. The k-meson has an up quark and an anti-strange quark. Hundreds of other two quark composites and three quark composites exist, which are constructed from the quarks selected from the six types. Two and three quark composite particles, collectively, are known as "hadrons."

As far as we know, the only types of hadrons that go into making the kind of material objects that we are familiar with in the real world are protons and neutrons. All others have only been seen as individual particles in subatomic experiments. Only the proton and neutron are very close to being stable (along with the electron that we will discuss next), so that they comprise the enduring subsisting matter that we deal with every day. The rest are extremely unstable and most have a lifetime of far less than a micro-second (millionth of a second), before decaying into the stable particles of protons, neutrons, neutrinos, gamma rays, and electrons.

** footnote - the neutron, on its own, is not a stable particle. In about 13 minutes on average, it will decay into a proton, an electron, and an anti-neutrino. Only within the nucleus of an atom is a neutron properly stable.

If quarks form one class of particles, what is known as "leptons," constitute another class. Leptons also come in three generations, which correspond to the three generations of quarks. The electron is a lepton in the first generation. The muon (a sort of a fat electron) is in the second generation, and the tau (an even heavier sort of electron) is in the third generation. Each of the three leptons mentioned so far – the electron, the muon, and the tau - have a corresponding neutrino: the electron neutrino in the first generation, a muon neutrino in the second generation, and a tau neutrino in the third generation. All of the particles discussed above, belong to a general class known as "fermions." These are particles which consist of what we would call "matter." There exists an entirely different class of particles called "bosons." Bosons carry the fundamental forces of nature so that the fermions (or matter particles) can interact with each other (be attracted to or repelled from one another).

The first type of boson is the "photon." This is the boson that we are most familiar with in the real world. It carries the electromagnetic force. This is responsible for all electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic radiation is electric and magnetic fields that vibrate on perpendicular planes to each other (i.e the electric field may vibrate up and down while the magnetic field may vibrate from side to side), and which moves forward at the speed of light. The most familiar type of electromagnetic radiation is ordinary light. Red light has the lowest frequency of visible light, orange light has a slightly higher frequency, yellow light's frequency is higher still, green light's is higher still, blue light's is higher than that, and violet light has the highest frequency of visible light. It is the frequency of light that determines the color. With a rainbow or a prism, white light (which is a combination of all colors), is split into the individual colors we can see.

Visible light is only one small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. At a lower frequency than red light is invisible infra-red radiation. These are your "heat rays." They are the rays that come from a heat lamp, a fireplace, or the sun that warm you up. At a lower frequency than infra-red rays are micro-waves. This is what satellites use for communications purposes and what those towers in the country side use that have dishes on them (the dishes are parabolic antennae). At lower frequencies than this are radio waves. They carry your standard radio and television broadcasts. At a higher frequency than violet light is invisible ultra-violet light. At a higher frequency than that are x-rays. At a still higher frequency are gamma rays, which are the result of nuclear reactions. Gamma rays are deadly to life. Heavy shielding is needed around nuclear reactors for protection. It is the energy of the photon that determines the frequency of the electromagnetic radiation associated with it (It is a paradox of quantum mechanics that electromagnetic radiation is a wave and a stream of photon particles at the same time). The higher the energy of the photon, the higher the frequency of the wave associated with it. There is a strict mathematical relationship between the two. Photons also carry static (unchanging) electric and magnetic fields. The unchanging electric field keeps the atoms and molecules within material objects glued together so they stay together as one thing.

** footnote - to give some idea of the frequency of this electromagnetic radiation, 1000 on the AM dial has a frequency of one thousand kilohertz or a thousand thousand (one million) cycles per second. 88 on the FM dial has a frequency of eighty eight megahertz or eighty eight million cycles per second. Red light has a frequency of four hundred and twenty eight trillion cycles per second. Violet light has a frequency of seven hundred and fifty trillion cycles per second. Radio waves and light are essentially the same type of radiation. It is the frequency that makes the difference.

** footnote - the mathematical relationship between the frequency of electromagnetic radiation and the photon, is E=hf, where 'E' is the energy in joules - or watt seconds - 'f' is the frequency in hertz, and 'h' is Planck's constant. Planck's constant is a parameter in quantum mechanical calculations. Its value is 6.62X10-34 joule-second. Unchanging electric or magnetic fields are carried by ghostly 'virtual' photons which have zero real energy.

** footnote - gamma rays are so deadly to life because of the extremely high energy of the photon involved. Gamma ray photons, with their very high energy, destroys living tissue. Even x-ray photons, which are the next level of energy down, can damage living tissue. That is why x-ray technicians must take precautions, and one cannot have too many x-rays. The high energy of the x-ray photon allows it to pass through the body, imaging the inside of it.

The photon is the first type of boson we have discussed. There are more. Eight types of gluons carry the "strong nuclear force." The strong nuclear force holds protons and neutrons together in the nucleus, and hold quarks together within protons and neutrons. This is required, because if the nucleus of a given atom has several protons, they are all positively charged, so they would repel one another due to the electric field they generate. It is the strong nuclear force which holds them together, which overcomes the electric force attempting to split them apart.

W-plus, W-minus, and Z-zero particles carry the "weak nuclear force." This is responsible for some forms of radioactive processes. This force is essential if the sun is to undergo thermonuclear fusion and give off energy. The sun's fuel is simple hydrogen, which is converted to helium, thus releasing energy which powers the sun. But a number of steps of nucleosynthesis are required to do this. The extreme temperature of the core of the sun (twenty seven million degrees Fahrenheit), cause hydrogen nuclei to ram into each other (since heat is nothing must the random motions of atoms and molecules colliding with each other. The greater this atomic motion, the greater the heat).

The nucleus of a hydrogen atom is a single proton. Therefore, in the sun, protons are violently colliding with protons. Occasionally two protons will collide, one will be converted into a neutron on the spot, and they will stick together. What then results, is a deuterium nucleus, which consists of a proton bound to a neutron. In this reaction, a neutrino is generated which goes off into space, and a positron (anti-electron) is created which shortly meets up with an electron, annihilating each other, and producing a pair of gamma ray photons (which is energy). What happens next is that the deuterium nucleus fuses with another proton to form a helium 3 nucleus, while giving off a gamma ray photon. The helium 3 nucleus consists of two protons and one neutron. Two helium 3 nuclei fuse to form a helium 4 nucleus while ejecting two protons. This is how energy is released in the sun. It is only the weak nuclear force, acting in the first place, within the proton, which allows it to be converted into a neutron. Without this, no thermonuclear fusion could occur in the sun, which means that it would not give off energy, which would mean that life on earth would be impossible.

It is theorized that the undiscovered and hypothetical graviton carries the gravitational force. In all, there are four fundamental forces of nature - the electromagnetic (the magnetic field is an aspect of the electric field produced by the effects of Einstein's relativity acting upon electric charges), the weak nuclear, the strong nuclear, and gravity, all carried by their respective particles.

To create these exotic particles for study, giant machines called particle accelerators are used. The largest ones are so huge that their dimensions are measured in miles. The Tevatron in Batavia Ill is one example. At present [at the writing of this in 2002], it is the most powerful particle accelerator in the world. It consists of an underground ring four miles in circumference. Protons travel around in one direction and anti-protons travel around in the other. The beams of protons and anti-protons are guided in their circular paths by superconducting magnets cooled to minus 269 degrees Celsius by liquid helium. At certain points, the two beams are made to cross and collide. Because of the extreme kinetic energy (energy due to velocity) of the colliding protons and anti-protons, and the fact that the collisions involve matter annihilating anti-matter, enormous energy is released on a sub-atomic scale at the point of collision. New particles are materialized out of this energy, which are then detected and studied. This works because of Einstein's famous principle E = mc2 which applies because mass and energy are interchangeable. The top quark was only discovered in the Tevatron in 1995 because the top quark is so massive, and required a machine as large and powerful as the Tevatron to create it. The more massive the particle to be produced, the larger and more powerful the machine needed to produce it.

** footnote - antimatter is real. It does not just exist in Star Trek. Each type of fermion has an opposite, or corresponding anti-particle. An anti-particle is the same as its corresponding particle, except that charge and parity are reversed. The anti-quark was mentioned above, as a constituent of the meson. As discussed, the meson consists of one quark and one anti-quark. An anti-proton consists of three anti-quarks. An atom of anti-hydrogen is made up of an anti-proton surrounded by an anti-electron, or what is known as a positron. When matter and antimatter meet, they annihilate each other and are converted to pure energy. This is what helps to provide energy to the proton/anti-proton collisions in the Tevatron.

Theories of matter go even deeper than the experimental particle physics discussed above. Physicists seek for a unified theory of matter – an ultimate irreducible principle which explains the diverse particles discovered and their behaviors. They have derived what is known as "superstring" theory. This maintains that all particles are tiny strings which vibrate in ten dimensional space-time (nine dimensions of space and one of time). Their mode of vibration determines the type of particle they are. For example, if a string vibrates one way, it is a quark. If it vibrates another way, it is an electron. Another mode of vibration makes it a photon. These modes of vibration are analogous to the different overtones which are possible on a violin string. The strings move through space, joining, separating, and forming loops. Dimensions five through ten do not appear in our universe (only four dimensions of space-time appear), because they are curled up in subatomic lengths.

Physicists have derived five different (apparently competing) superstring theories. These are SO(32) Type I, Type IIA, Type IIB, SO(32) heterotic, and E8XE8 heterotic. Looking deeper, these five theories are not really in competition but are five aspects of the same thing. This deeper theory that ties them all together is called "M theory" in eleven dimensions of space-time. In M theory, there are what is known as p-branes. These are far more general objects than strings. "P" stands for the dimensionality of the object. A string would be a 1-brane because it is one dimensional (having only length and no height or width). A two dimensional membrane would be a 2-brane. There are zero-branes, which are simply points with no dimension. There exists 3-branes (three dimensional objects), 4-branes, 5 branes, etc. For the theoretical physicist, this is what all matter, forces, and energy consists of.

If M theory is indeed correct, with all matter being composed of these p-branes of different dimensionality, what ultimately are they? This brings us to the supreme question of physics: what ultimately is matter? P- branes have been defined as consisting of energy by physicists. This agrees with the basics of physics, because it maintains that matter is nothing but energy.

But what, ultimately, is energy? Energy is the ability do work. One joule of energy, or one watt running for one second, is defined mechanically as a force of one Newton applied in moving an object one meter. This is a basic unit of work. So energy has an enigmatic circular definition. Energy is defined as that which moves matter, which itself is fundamentally energy. As applied to p-branes in M theory, their physical essence as energy is simply the ability to affect other p-branes which are also energy.

** footnote - a force of one Newton is that which accelerates a one kilogram mass at a rate of one meter per second squared in free space with no other influences. On the surface of the earth, due to earth's gravity, a one kilogram mass weighs about 9.8 Newtons.

What is needed is an ultimate explanation for matter which is not defined in a circular way, but which is given in terms of something absolute and irreducible. P-branes have various mathematically defined physical parameters. For example, superstrings have tension, which determines how they vibrate. What these basic constituents of matter have, which is not directly addressed by physicists, is that they have being – they have an "is." They have an actuality in opposition to nothingness. In this, they have not only physical properties (as addressed by the physicist), but metaphysical properties (where metaphysics is the study of being precisely as being, which is the science addressed by the metaphysician). It is from the science of metaphysics that matter and material being is to be ultimately understood.

What can metaphysics tell us about material being? First of all, material beings not only have matter but form. Matter is "what they are made of." Form is the overall arrangement, distribution, and interconnectivity of the constituent parts in three dimensions that make a thing what it is. This is something deeper than mere shape. In M theory, the known ultimate matter of all material beings are p-branes. P-branes are the deepest known level of "what things are made of." In addition to matter, form is required as an objectively real constituent of something because things are not merely what they are made of. For example, all the parts of a car may be present, but if they are only gathered into a disassembled heap, there is no actual car. They have to be put together to constitute a real car. The parts are the car's matter (what they are made of), but in assembling them properly, form is added which makes it a real car.

The matter/form structure of a material thing has several levels in which parts with form on one level are matter for the next highest level. Take for example the car described above. If the matter of a car is its parts, this is merely the matter of the car one level down. If one considers each of these parts - i.e the engine, the alternator, the wheels etc. These are "things" with their own matter/form structure. The form of an alternator may be the overall "put-togetherness" of its parts, and its matter may be its parts such as coil, magnets, and diodes. This is the matter of the car, two levels down. One may go to a third level in considering the parts or the matter of the diode within the alternator, such as the epoxy casing, the n and p doped material that makes the diode function electronically, and the metallic connections. This would be the matter of the car three levels down. One then goes down to the level of the molecules, the level of atoms, that of protons, neutrons, and electrons, then that of quarks, which resolve into superstrings and p-branes.

Biologically, this hierarchy can also be seen. With a given animal, it has form or put-togetherness. What is put together is its matter which are its organs. Each of the organs has a substantial form or put- togetherness, and their matter is the cells which compose it. Cells are composed of proteins, which are in turn composed of amino acids, which are in turn composed of atoms ... and so on, down to superstrings and p-branes. In material things there are many levels in which the parts on a given level have substantial form, in which these parts is the matter for the next level up. If it is objected, appealing to a basic principle of scholastic philosophy, that a given thing cannot have more than one substantial form, it can be answered that there exists no more than one substantial form for a given thing for a given level.

In addition to matter and form, metaphysics also gives us the concept of essence. This is the "what things are." Essence is the intelligible nature of a thing. This proceeds from form. When the matter or the parts of a car are assembled so that they are given form, we grasp with our intellects: "this is a car!" With form, we get something that is intelligible - that is, we get something that makes sense to us as being a particular type of thing. What allows it to make sense is its essence. Essence is an emergent property of form. An emergent property is something that appears when something is put together in the right way, which is not at all present in its individual parts. Consciousness in the brain of an animal is an example of an emergent property. Essence is such an emergent property. When we view something such as a chair, a house, or a person we grasp them "all at once" - as "one thing." Their essence, or intelligible "what," is disclosed precisely in their unity as one thing. This transcends the understanding of them part by part. If one sets aside the analytical understanding of something and simply exercises what the eastern mystics call "bare attention," one can then see this disclosure of the intelligibility of a thing in its oneness. Because the modern mind has become so analytical - tearing things to pieces with the intellect - it has difficulty grasping a holistic concept such as essence.

The soul of an animal is its essence. It is the essence of a living and vital material being. It's life, which is proper to its essence, is not at all present in inert matter, even though the totality of this inert matter may be completely present in the living animal (such inert matter would exist in a corpse of an animal which was a moment ago living). The soul or essence of an animal, which includes its nature as living, is then an emergent property of its properly constituted form.

The soul of man is in one way the same as that of an animal, and in another way different from that of an animal. It is the same as the soul of an animal in that it is the essence of the living body. It is different from the soul of an animal in that it is not an emergent property of the form of the living body. Rather, Catholic doctrine tells us that the human soul is created directly by God at the moment of conception, and that at death it separates from the body to go to judgment before God, where it is assigned to heaven, hell, or purgatory. It is truly spiritual in nature. The soul works in a reverse manner in man to animals. Rather than form giving rise to essence or soul in man, essence or soul causes the form of man. With an animal, the process works from below and proceeds upwards, while with man the process works from above and proceeds downwards. In man, rather than the soul being an emergent it can be termed a "submergent." The soul submerges the matter of the body within it, giving it its form. The soul of a man is not a ghost in a machine as being one thing within another. Body and soul constitute only the one being which is man. The soul communicates its very act of being to the body, so that whatever is proper to the soul is proper to the body. In this, the material form of man's body can be identified with the soul (as scholastic philosophy maintains). Man is not body and soul put together, but ensouled body. Man is where the nature of spirit and matter meet.

In addition to matter, form, and essence, metaphysics has the concept of existence. While essence is the "what things are," existence is the "that things are." Existence is the fact that things have an actuality outside of nothingness. This brings us to the level of being above man - that of angels. Unlike man, which is a composite of matter and spirit, angels are pure spirit. Angels have neither matter nor form. They have essence and existence only. The essence, or "what" of an angel designates his individuality. Each angel, therefore, is his own species.

At the supreme point of being is God. His essence is His own existence, therefore, He is infinite. He has all possible positive attributes to an infinite degree: He is infinite intellect, goodness, beauty, power, love etc. If God's essence is His own existence, He is pure existence – or existence itself - therefore, He must have everything that existence can possibly imply. Both essence and existence are powerful tools in understanding God and the creation under Him. While essence and existence are identical in God, they are distinct in the finite beings that He has created. This is because with any existing finite thing, without contradiction, it can just as well lack existence. Such a finite thing may only be a concept and a possibility rather than a real thing. For example, we could describe a vase on a table, elucidating all of its attributes. But it could simply be an idea with no actual existence associated with it. The mere idea or possibility, is the vase's essence, or "what," without existence.

Although man can give existence to the vase by building it, God is the primary source of its existence if it is built. His power is required from moment to moment to "fill in" the essence with actual existence. Such a thing is required for all finite things. God maintains all things in existence from instant to instant with His power. If God were to suddenly withdraw such sustaining power from things, they would instantly vanish into nothingness. God's maintaining power is required for all entities because essence being actually distinct from existence means that it is not the nature of things to be, so that they require the source of their being from another which is God. This actuality of essence being distinct from existence is true from instant to instant, so existence must be supplied from instant to instant. God does not require a cause for His being because it is His essence to exist.

Now we will return to the question we left hanging a few paragraphs back. What are the ultimate constituents of material beings? What ultimately is matter? We can now answer the questions because we have established some of the essential foundations of metaphysics. We said that the way that physicists define matter - as essentially energy - is circular. This is because (referring to above) the definition of the concept of energy includes itself. Energy is the capacity to affect matter, which is essentially energy. This is not sufficient. We need something absolute and irreducible. This absolute and irreducible something is not found in physics. It is found in metaphysics.

As we keep going to deeper and deeper levels of matter within a thing - i.e to the car parts, to the parts of parts ... down to atoms, protons, quarks which resolve to superstrings and p-branes - and if we continue down into unknown depths which neither experiment nor theory has explored, what would we hit as absolute rock bottom? In other words, what is the lowest possible level of matter? Scholastic philosophy has designated this "prime matter." If on a given level of a thing (a car), its immediate matter is "what it is made of (the engine, the alternator, and the wheels)," and the constituents of that matter have their own "what they are made of," and we keep descending, we must reach an ultimate "what it is made of," which is prime matter. To be an ultimate level, this can in itself can have no substantial form or it would require a deeper "what it is made of."

** footnote - we cannot have an infinite regress. As we proceed down to deeper and deeper levels of matter, there cannot be an infinite number of levels. We must have a final or "bottom" level. This is because with an infinite series, each term in the series would be materially dependent. Since an infinite series has no first term, each of the terms being materially dependent would mean that the whole series would be materially dependent, with nothing supporting the whole. Nothing could support the whole, because it would be locked within itself, with each term in the whole essentially dependent on the next. If the series has a first term which is prime matter, its existence is directly supported by God who is the self-existent first cause.

Prime matter must constitute ultimate poverty for existence. This is because it lacks any form, hence it lacks any essence which is a thing's intelligibility or "what." Without intelligibility it has no richness of being, hence it must be absolutely poor. What would be so completely poor that it has no "what," yet must have existence to be the substratum of existing material things? This would be mere existence. It can be concluded that prime matter merely exists and has nothing more. As all created things reflect God in some manner, prime matter would only reflect God in the fact that He is, and absolutely lacks any richness of content.

Because of its absolute poverty of being, prime matter cannot exist on its own. It must be combined with some substantial form to give rise to something with some degree of richness, so that that something has real essence or "what." All things that God creates must participate in His infinite richness of being in some way (although in a finite way).

This richness of being is expressed in the fact that being as being has properties known as "transcendentals." The transcendentals are so much a part of being that they are literally other names for being. These are unity, truth, goodness, and beauty (and there are more). Unity means insofar as something has being, it is one thing. When form is added to the disassembled car parts by assembling them and thus making a real car, the car is rendered one thing (rather than many things which are the disassembled parts). Form is a unifying factor for a thing. Truth as a property of being means that insofar as something has being it is intelligible. It makes sense. This comes from its essence. The reason why we can make sense of the things around us in the world is because they have real being, hence they have inherent intelligibility. Goodness means that being as being is good. Evil is not a positive reality in its own right, but is the absence of due being. This explains how God is responsible for everything, yet evil still exists. Evil is a "nothing" where something ought to be. Being is beautiful. Any real ugliness within a thing means that it has some non-being mingled with it. God, who has the ultimate in being, has the transcendentals to an infinite and perfect degree. He is infinite and perfect unity, truth, goodness, and beauty. All created things participate in God's infinite transcendentals in a finite way.

** footnote - it can be explained that evil is a mere privation of due being through some examples. Blindness in a man is a real evil because it is a lack of what is due to him - his sight. A lack of wings would not be an evil in a man because wings are not due to a man according to his nature. Moral evil is a lack of due order in the will. Fornication (sex outside of marriage) is evil, not because sex itself is evil. Sex is good. It was created by God. Fornication is evil because it is sex conducted without the marital bond that should go with it, so the evil in that can be reduced to the lack of something. Cancer is simply the lack of order in the cellular growth of an organism. Cancer is simply body cells growing wild without the proper controls. So the evil of cancer can be reduced to a lack of something.

These transcendentals apply to material beings built up from prime matter, but not to prime matter itself. Prime matter is one (since the principle of existence is one), but it is not the oneness that comes from the richness of diverse elements integrated into a unity. As a result, the oneness of prime matter is not a real transcendental property. Prime matter is opaque to the intelligence because it is existence without content. As a result, it does not have the transcendental of truth. There is nothing about it to know. Similarly prime matter is only potentially good. It is not actually good. It is potentially good because in having form added to it, it acquires a positive content and richness, and hence it acquires goodness. By itself it has no real content so it has no real goodness. Prime matter lacks beauty, because in being mere existence, it is the ultimate in drabness.

The reality of prime matter or mere existence is approached as one closes in on the singular point in space. As one goes to more and more vanishingly small volumes of space within a material thing, the ultimate poverty of prime matter is more and more realized. As one extends more and more in space from this singular mathematical point, matter more and more acquires some sort of form, hence it picks up richness and content. The full richness and content of a material being is given when one considers its full extension in (three dimensional) space to the limits of the volume it actually occupies. Its full being consists of a suprageometric arrangement of its constituent matter which is its form. The specific suprageometric arrangement (or form) that its matter has, determines the type of material being that it is, and hence determines its essence or "what."

All finite things with an essence, or a "what," are some sort of a reflection of God. Each particular essence of a finite thing is a copy of one of God's innumerable attributes. Each essence is some reflection of God. Why a given suprageometrical arrangement of matter, extended through space, gives rise to a given reflection of the divine essence, is a mystery of reality. The arrangement of matter, or its form, is termed "suprageometrical" because it transcends that which can be reduced to formulae. It is ordered, as is something with a geometrical nature, but it is a higher level of order. Since the order in material things is suprageometrical, and hence irreducible, something less than itself, such as a formula, cannot capture it. It can then be said that the best description of a thing is the thing itself. Suprageometricity can be considered a transcendental property of being. Although the material sciences describes things with mathematical equations, these equations are only abstracted features of those things. There is a fullness of being in material things that the methodology of the material sciences does not touch. Despite the modern advances in science, material things express mystery. Mystery can be considered a transcendental property of being.

Many modern Hindu metaphysicians identify prime matter with the ultimate reality, which is Brahman, or "God." This is their way of justifying that all things are merely manifestations or expressions of Brahman. However, this is the result of the illicit Hindu propensity to reduce all things to the same thing (this reduction is called 'monism'), ignoring their valid differences or the fact that there are diverse levels of being. Prime matter and God are on extreme opposite ends of the spectrum of being. Prime matter is pure potentially of existence, which is utterly poor. God is pure actuality of existence, who is utterly rich. Prime matter is absolutely dependent. God is absolutely independent. Prime matter, because it is absolutely poor and without content, is completely helpless by itself. This is in total contrast to the omnipotence of God. God is required to give prime matter its existence from moment to moment, support its form from moment to moment so that it is able to constitute a real thing, and be prime mover for it from moment to moment so that material things which are based upon it can demonstrate life and activity.

** Endnote - what man makes is necessarily imperfect. This is because man himself is imperfect due to the fall. What comes from the hand of God, including man before his fall, is perfect. The perfection of God can only create what is perfect. Even though what God creates is finite it would still be perfect because it would have no flaw within the limitations of its nature. Man in making that which is imperfect (whether it is art or technology) would make that that would not have the transcendental properties of being in their fullness. The things that man would make would not have the fullness of unity, truth (intelligibility), goodness and beauty. There would always be some non-being mingled with it. It would always have some degree of multiplicity, unintelligibility, evil, and ugliness (although for what great artisans produce, this would be very slight). As a result, they would be imperfect reflections of the being of God. If the things that man makes are imperfect, and therefore contains non-being, it can be said that perfection also is a transcendental property of being.