Posted by: gcarkner | June 6, 2017

What Does Information Teach Us?

 Is Information a Sign of the Transcendent?

Here’s something to tease the cranium. We are all part of the Information Age and this amazing internationally wired world. We hear about massive amounts of metadata. But information is neither matter nor energy. It is something else entirely. The highest density of information is found in for example, DNA as a code, as well as more ubiquitously in nature. Embryonic development is a kaleidoscope of information activity. The laws of nature contain incredible amounts of information. A large variety of human reason is based on much information that we often take for granted. Information involves purpose or meaning, language or signs, semantics, syntax, statistics, mathematics and exists at many levels. It comes close to the notions of constraint, control, communication, knowledge, data, form, education, understanding, perception, representation, entropy. Information is also a multi-billion dollar industry. And information has large moral and political implications. Below we examine a key aspect/dimension of information as it relates to our worldview, social imaginary or interpretive grid on reality. It contains strong hints within itself and its very nature.

Essential Laws (Characteristics) of Information

  1. Matter cannot create something non-material.
  2. Information is a non-material entity.
  3. Information is absolutely vital to regulate the material medium or realm. We cannot function without it or imagine a world without information and lots of it. We study it, parse and analyze it incessantly; we count on it every day in every realm of life and work.
  4. Information cannot originate in space or thin air via itself, sui generis. It actually needs a source.
  5. No information exists without being coded in some fashion (binary code, words, mathematics, graphs, etc.). This is essential to make it usable, shareable and powerful. It can also be encrypted to protect who receives or has access to particular information like our bank account PIN.
  6. All codes result from intentional choice by a person with intelligence and rational capacity.
  7. Thus, codes require intelligent input or programming from outside the system, as per a computer. All computers are programmed by individual persons or groups of people.
  8. No new information emerges without an intelligent sender or creator/inventor/artist at its ultimate source.
  9. All chains of information can be traced back to an intelligent life source. This is a very significant fact.

Plausible Logical Conclusions

  1. There must be a transcendent (beyond time-space) source and sender of information, producing immense input into the world system (universe) from beyond the material realm, since matter itself cannot produce information.
  2. This sender must be supremely intelligent; the top sender/source must have command of huge amounts of information.
  3. Therefore, this sender must be essentially omniscient/supremely knowledgable regarding information needed in the world, needed to run the world and maintain its order–an essential part of its infrastructure.
  4. Also, this sender must be eternal, because information was needed in the whole history of the universe and beyond its origin. It could not have emerged by itself at the origin of our universe.
  5. This sender must be intensely purposeful and supremely powerful to manage and direct all this information creatively, fruitfully and productively. Otherwise there would be much more chaos and a lot less order to the universe. Meta-data is the tip of the iceberg of such mega-information.
  6. The sender must be a non-material component (aka spirit) of all reality. The sender must transcend physical reality, and cannot be reduced to it or its evolution over time.
  7. The Judeo-Christian Bible is a higher level of information than mere mathematics; all levels of information occur in the Bible. Hints of such a transcendent sender of information is attested to in Scripture: Psalm 14:1; John 16:30; Revelation 18; Psalm 90:2; John 4:24. John 1 speaks of the Word or Logos that was there at creation, the Word that appeared and communicated to humans throughout history, the Word that revealed itself in the person Jesus Christ. He claimed to be part of a Trinity of divine Persons
  8. Science has its appropriate boundaries (David Bentley Hart). For example, it can answer the What questions, but does not pretend to answer the ‘Who or Why questions’ (purpose) behind all that exists and this massive amount of highly organized and specialized information. Therefore, we can conclude that philosophical materialism is insufficient as an explanation (philosophers Thomas Nagel and Alvin Plantinga). We cannot accept the two common myths (wrong assumptions): a. the universe is composed solely of matter and energy (plus anti-matter); b. atheistic evolutionism’s view that information derives from the material sources alone, ie. that it emerges out of raw energy-matter. It does no such thing. See Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies.
  9. Therefore, we must be open to the idea of a transcendent personal Creator beyond the time-space-energy-matter realm, who sourced, purposed and authored the world and input all this immense store of information, without which we ourselves and the universe could not flourish or even exist. There is at the end of the day a poetry to the world of information that we enjoy.

For a more extensive philosophical dialogue of this sort, see The Great Escape from Nihilism by Gordon E. Carkner.

See also: David Bentley Hart, The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, and Bliss.

Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies.

Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos.

Nancey Murphy & Warren Brown, Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?

Charles Taylor, The Language Animal.

p.s. This is roughly along the lines of the Transcendent Argument for God which can be found in a slightly different format at

See also the blog post David Bentley hart’s Provocative Take on Naturalism

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