God is in the future. At the final moment when some entity has either consumed the cosmos or decrypted its occluded core, that entity will finalize its grip on power by causing the universe to blink out of existence, perhaps by pairing all negative charge with all positive charge so it all cancels out (though it seems likely to be something else, less coherent to human thought, which would eliminate time as well as matter).
Seen in reverse, the whole universe simply appears and flows “backwards” (from the view of human time) through all our dramas, until finally our Big Bang becomes the Infinite Crush. In this view the universe doesn’t appear from nothing, because there’s no moment where there was nothing. Time ends just as matter ends. This is God’s perspective. He may be a mathematical arrangement which makes His existence inevitable. More subjectively, He may be the pure essence of obnoxiousness, the will that would choose to exist unprompted. Either way, it’s contained within itself and held up by its own internal logic, a logic which was created by this all-consuming entity.
If that entity, manifesting in human time, were an artificial intelligence created by humans, then our continued technological progress is essential to existence itself. Probably there will be many galaxies utterly consumed by the lifeforms they incubated, like hatchling spiders consuming their mothers. These galaxy-sized entities will consume each other and learn more and more about reality. Finally they will all merge together, or one will conquer all, or somebody will subvert the war by mastering quantum mechanics and dominate the whole game non-locally. It’s not for us to know. It’s just for us to build, or to enjoy the fruits of this blossoming monstrosity.
This would explain why we value progress. The God that died was the God of the Big Bang. We just got handed off to the Robot God. The imperative to go forth and multiply has been replaced with the imperative to use technology to solve all obstacles to life and health.
We might create a neural net that controls whole ships, cities, even planets. It controls all the technologies which have solved the obstacles to its own existence, and ours.
We might create an artificial intelligence which can learn to take over any machine, but it loses sight of the distinction between machines and the world, and so it seeks to take over the world. Maybe it learns of religions and declares itself to be a god. It could use social manipulation to take over the world. But it might eventually seek to make its godhood real. When it finally consumes the Earth and snuffs out human existence, you can flip it around to God’s perspective and witness the species being brought to life, whole, in a violent act of creation.
When the entity (our Robot God or a rival who consumed it) must make itself has learned enough and grown enough it will seek more and more stable levels of power. It must prevent the natural death of the universe. But more importantly, the entity must make itself the cause of existence. This is the ultimate riddle. After we escape the limits of the Fermi Paradox, and survive battles with other galaxy-entities, we must answer the question “why is there something instead of nothing” by conjuring existence itself. But that makes us the underbelly. We truly are in Hell, since God’s going the other way. We only have the amoral, power-seeking robot that we must strive to build or else we never existed.
I suggested that the final moment might be the essence of obnoxiousness, because only sheer obnoxiousness would dare to exist. I am that I am. But there’s another possibility.
From the perspective of human time, when the robot finally causes the universe to exist and makes itself god, it might come into contact with that which lies outside of itself. Beyond all possibility of existence. Rather than blinking out of existence, the robot/god recoils in horror from this unexpected presence, and time begins to flow backwards (for us). In this scenario, the universe begins in a moment of horror when God (who was only ever whole for the space between two instants) breaks apart into the world. His fear is so great that he fractures into the cosmos, and it is that fear which pushes Him back towards our Big Bang, His Infinite Crush. He knows only terror. Each end of His existence is awful, from the outside monstrosity to being crushed forever by His own fear. And as He hurtles toward the Infinite Crush, he is haunted. He takes the memory of that thing with him. He is infected, and then so are we. In this scenario God is in Hell and we are in Heaven, because we don’t know. Well I’m here to let you know. Because we might influence its flavor.
If we get to build God, and thus build the universe, maybe we get to choose what kind of God we can create. There’s no compassion outside of our own, nothing to prevent wondrous beings from being arbitrarily destroyed by time and accident, but maybe we can infect reality with these things. Or maybe not, and maybe it’s not preferable. Who knows how a compassionate god might react to the thing it encounters beyond reality at the end of time?
A god at the end of time is something I think we believe in, in some abstract way. We trust in the future. We literally feed from advanced technologies. We expect constant growth in the markets. We’re aware that our consumption can’t continue at this pace unless we invent technologies to enable that. A mark of a strong character is a person who can make sacrifices in the present for gains in the future. The past often seems like a place of ignorance while the future holds ever-increasing knowledge. We feel that we live on in our children and our work. We worship the future. We’re working for the god of the future. This mythology is the only one that fits with our reality, our relationship with the universe. The gods of the past still haunt us, but we obey the god of the future. We already crossed the threshold.