Recent scientific discoveries have physicists and philosophers alike radically revising their ideas on the nature of the universe, and indeed the existence of God. Countless years and hours of calculations and mind-bending theories continue to reach the conclusion that the universe has a beginning, and did not occur by chance. In 2004 notorious atheist, Andrew Fleet, announced his retirement from the stringent rhetoric of atheism, based on these conclusions. He changed his mind.
Research into DNA has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved. – Andrew Fleet
Many Scientists now believe the existence of God is not only possible but probable. From their perspective, an intelligent force predating our universe initiated creation. And what’s more, scientific minds have drawn clear links between this force of intelligence and the spiritual realm.
Renowned Nuclear Physicist, Gerald Schroeder, discusses this at length in the book titled God According to God.
The study of nature, even with all its intellectual rigor, is filled with spiritual wonder….Every physical object in this vast universe, including our human bodies, is built of the light of creation.
But while these developments have generated a burst of discussion around the topic of spirituality, it would be a mistake to misinterpret them as religious events. The God at the heart of this debate is not the personal God found in organized religions. Rather, this God represents the laws of nature and is no stranger to the world of science.
Einstein believed in a God represented by order, harmony, beauty, simplicity and elegance, the God of Spinoza. – Michio Kaku
So What Exactly is Science Saying That it Hasn’t Said Before? How Are Things Different?
What is changing in this debate, is the capacity of the rational human mind to accept the possibility of alternative realities, even other universes. Many people have long felt that things which cannot be proven, cannot be said to exist. And yet, these views are evolving as our relationship with information advances. The breadth of the human knowledge base is increasing exponentially. Our minds, like the universe, are expanding.
From Nothing to Something
In 1927, Georges Lemaitre gave us the Big Bang theory. This is the theory that the universe was created out of an explosion, or more correctly an expansion of energy, and thus has a beginning.
Science has since been concerned with discovering what, if anything, existed before the Big Bang. Echoes of the Big Bang can be found and investigated. Vast realms of information about the size and age of our universe have been gleaned from the aftermath of this explosion. So, we can conclude that our known universe had a beginning. It didn’t exist and then it did.
But What Came Before It?
Scientific attempts to establish what came before have concluded that nothing came before. How can this be? In the human mind, ‘nothing’ does not register. This ‘nothing’ that does not register is the central character in many philosophical theses and the cause of much existential angst. But theoretical physicists argue that ‘nothing’ need not be the empty vacuum we imagine and that has haunted us thus far. Nothing is what gives confirmation that something created us. Something else other than that which we know. Something which predates our universe. And thus, we find we have just been placed gently back in the palm of something.
String Theory and Multiverse
String theory, developed by renowned Theoretical Physicist, Michio Kaku, suggests that this something is not a man in the sky but another universe; a parent universe, that has split in two, or perhaps two universes that have fused. These other universes are part of a multiverse, and this is string theory. Well, part of it at least. String theory leads theoretical physicists to ask the question: can we, one day, leave this universe and travel to another one? And while the answers, Kaku concurs, place us in the “realms of science fiction” at this point, they are being explored nonetheless.
In recognizing the limitations of the human mind to understand something as transcendent as a God-like force, modern science concedes that such force is actually a much more likely explanation for our beginnings than our minds would have us believe. And in doing so, echoes the sentiments of metaphysical inquiry across the ages.
So, What Does it All Mean for Us?
For many years, the debate has essentially been a tussle between believers and non-believers. Was this act of creation, this Big Bang intentional? Does divine energy exist as a metaphysical force in the world today?
These questions remain open. And for many, this is a problem. But as we evolve and relax our grip on the need to belong to either camp, the debate deepens. Taking place in a context of greater intellectual freedom, the conundrum of divine existence has morphed into an unsurprisingly less divisive, and more holistic one.
As theoretical physicists and philosophers further question the nature of thought, we can now understand that it makes perfect sense that this thing makes no sense to us. Our human mind can only grasp so much; our understanding is limited by our own three-dimensional capacity for thought. And this is quite enlightening.
Are There More Than 3 Dimensions?
Michio Kaku explains multi-dimensions using an analogy from his childhood. He describes his encounter with this philosophical quandary of perception at the age of eight. While observing a fish he noticed that the fish lives in 2-dimensional space. The fish can go backward and forwards, but that’s all. If a hand were to reach in and pluck the fish out of the water, none of the other fish would understand where it had gone, as fish have no concept of the third dimension. If the fish were returned, it would not be able to explain its experience, other than perhaps to say it was moved by ‘the hand of god’. This fish would be laughed at. Kaku uses this example to help us to understand that which we cannot understand.
That Which the Human Mind Cannot Understand
This is a dynamic that has been creating anxiety in the human mind for a very long time. It has driven some to the extremes of human behavior and is the force behind the spectacular application of human ability. But it is also that which drives us to our greatest place of darkness.
We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. – Albert Einstein
In the days before cars had in-house entertainment units, children dealt with long road trips by staring out the window. This was an ideal time to contemplate the concept of infinity and other big life questions. And to begin to struggle with them. Existential angst can begin early in life and be quite persistent. Perhaps it goes away for a few busy, self-focused adolescent years but then it returns. And we tackle it with our minds.
Many of us spend the first stages of our adult life trying on various philosophies and attachments to ideology, born from our choices of lifestyle, friends, and hair styles. And just when we think we have outrun the big nothing, it returns. Only this time it has us waking in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, concluding that there is indeed no meaning to life. We have backed ourselves into a dark corner through our way of thinking. And as we only ever have our mind to work with – and this very equipment is often hardwired for self-doubt – we may have reached a point where believing in love, in good, and in purpose seems childish and ungrounded. The universe has no point and we are just random specks of dust.
But this is just another thought. And things need not be this way. If we were to let go of our attachment to understanding definitively; to hold hard evidence, our minds would expand.
How Asking These Questions Can Help Us
Using Michio Kaku’s fish analogy, we can reflect on our thinking. If nothing else, this concept opens our eyes to the limitations of the human mind and the possibilities that may exist, if we could only perceive them. We might then contemplate the things in our own lives which continue to elude us. Things we don’t understand or have stopped questioning. Recognizing the limitations we place on our own minds can help us to see how these thoughts might be holding us back. And how our reality might change if our perception could change.
Not understanding something does not need to lead us to nihilism. Not proving divinity does not disprove divinity. But even if we can prove that a divine force created the universe, does this give our lives more meaning? This one still lies with you. For many who seek evidence, the universe is still one with spirit and immense beauty. And we must each create our own meaning. Live with purpose and with love. And yes, continue to strive to understand. By embracing the debates of our time, we can become part of them.
In string theory, all particles are vibrations on a tiny rubber band; physics is the harmonies on the string; chemistry is the melodies we play on vibrating strings; the universe is a symphony of strings, and the ‘Mind of God’ is cosmic music resonating in 11-dimensional hyperspace. – Michio Kaku
The questions we ask today are ones we have been asking for many hundreds of years. We ask them because we are human and in our need to understand, we strive for closure. But rather than providing us with a final resolution to end this discussion, the evidence that Scientists have challenges us to broaden our minds and keep thinking. So while we are waiting for eleven-dimensional hyperspace to come into focus, let’s enjoy asking the big questions, stretching our minds and celebrating the unique human quality that is deep inquiry. After all, isn’t trying to solve the puzzle the best part?