“A challenging and fascinating addition to the science/religion dialogue…”

a bold new exploration of age-old questions — one scientist’s odyssey in the laboratory brings illuminating insights into religion.

Eternity: God, Soul, New Physics

by Trevelyan

4.7 stars – 3 Reviews

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Here’s the set-up:

The creation of a zone of Eternity, a space without time, in the laboratory was regarded as so outrageous that almost the entire physics community is in a state of denial about the outcome. Eternity is a prediction of traditional theology, dating as far back as Plato and Saint Augustine. Having a laboratory model enables these philosophical ideas to be tested against experimental reality. The implications for the relationship of a creator God to the creation are profound.

A further shakeup to our understanding of reality was delivered recently, when quantum mechanics was derived from the mathematical principles of information theory. The ancient notion of a universe made from the stuff of ideas suddenly leapt into plausibility. Examining the concepts of the soul, and the puzzle of good and evil, from this perspective brings us to a coherent picture of reality in which science and religion sit as comfortable partners, the two sides of the same coin.

This book is written for a lay readership: despite the profound questions being addressed, no detailed knowledge is assumed beyond a broad familiarity with high-school science. There are however, some who should NOT read this work: they include religious fundamentalists and biblical literalists who deny science, and also those scientifically-minded people who consider religion only applicable to matters science is unable to explain {the “god-of-the-gaps” idea}. Science is now able to offer spectacular illumination of religious and philosophical concepts.

Praise from Amazon readers:

“I very much enjoyed the easy-to-read writing style, which is a little like listening to a good lecture…The science in the book is very well explained and…The book also explores …what the major religious traditions have to say about the big questions of our existence. This is then linked in nicely to the discussion of what science can say about those same questions…”

“…Extremely interesting read on how information theory lies at the basis of universal laws, existence, quantum mechanics and even philosophical concepts like the soul.”

an excerpt from


God, Soul, New Physics
by Trevelyan


Copyright © 2013 by Trevelyan and published here with his permission

Chapter 1: Overview

Consider the following propositions. Eternity, the theological construct of space without time, can now be produced in the laboratory. The soul, which has a quantifiable, physical nature, is compatible with Eternity. The physics of time proves that a creator God must be outside of time, bringing time into being with the universe, rather than initiating a universe at a particular point in pre-existing space and time.

Are these ideas speculation, fantasy, or science fiction? … No, this is hard-nosed, down-to-earth science: the results of experiments with machines made of metal, glass and electronics.

Ideas which have puzzled the greatest thinkers since the dawn of history are now amenable to analysis, thanks to advances in physical science which are so recent, so inflammatory – regarded by many as so outrageous – that hardly anyone has yet fully understood them. Instead of science demolishing religious philosophy, it suddenly shows that the philosophers were in so many ways on the right track all along, but simply didn’t have the language, let alone the technology, to progress their thinking.

These advances now make explicit three concepts which have traditionally resided in the far reaches of obscurity: Eternity, the soul, and the ultimate nature of reality – the structure lying beneath the waves and particles of subatomic physics. Religious philosophy is changed, focused, clarified by these insights. No longer do we merely speculate, or have to satisfy ourselves with the words of ancient prophets. We have answers.

The journey to this insight is demanding. This book is 78,000 words and spans theology and religion, relativity, quantum mechanics, the neuroscience of the mind and the theory of information. If it were presented like a detective novel – fact after fact, puzzle after puzzle, hoping it all comes together in the end – the challenge to the reader’s stamina would be daunting.

Instead therefore, we will lay out the conclusions up front, painting the picture with only the broadest of brushstrokes. This strategy is regularly employed by historians and philosophers, rendering their weighty tomes accessible to the reader. Such an introduction, with the arguments in skeletal form and no flesh on the bones, cannot be persuasive in any scholarly sense. Rather, it serves to indicate the paths that will be taken and the territory to be covered on the march towards our final goal.

Come with me on this journey. I promise we can explain the physical science without bogging down in algebra, just as we will avoid the impenetrable undergrowth of polysyllabic neologisms which clog the literature of philosophy and theology. Let’s get started…

God is outside of Time

Four centuries before Christ, the Greek philosopher Plato argued that time was created with the universe, rather than the universe being created at an arbitrary point in pre-existing time [Timaeus 37d]. For Plato, time was the moving image of Eternity, and Eternity – a timeless state – was the domain of God.

The Christian theologian of the 5th century, Augustine of Hippo (Saint Augustine), elaborated on this idea in his mighty work Confessions [Book XI]. In Eternity, God could not experience a flow of time. God must be outside of time.

This conclusion, actively debated but broadly accepted by philosophers and theologians down the centuries, was based on logic and reason alone.

Today, we have laboratory data. Any rational conception of a creator, or a process of creation, must be placed outside of time. The proposition does not depend upon any particular religious tradition or conception of deity. It is an experimental result.

When I mention this in conversation, many people become indignant, telling me I am completely insane because we cannot do experiments on God. I have to remind them there are two nouns in the proposition – God and time. We can experiment on time. Once we have the results, we see that any conception of God must place the creator outside the construct of time. Whether you have an anthropomorphic picture of deity, or a highly abstract concept akin to the summation of the mathematical laws running the universe, or anything in between – the conclusion is the same. Even the most committed atheist, looking at the evidence, would concede that the process of creation (even if there is no creator) lies outside of time.

This often takes a moment to digest. Then the response is on occasion quite angry, asserting that time is absolute, marching on unaffected by anything that could be done in a laboratory or by any contrivance of human ingenuity.

I point out that this view is incorrect, and that we have known it is wrong for more than a hundred years.

Time can in fact be speeded up or slowed down simply by climbing a mountain or going down a mine-shaft or taking a ride on a rocket to the International Space Station and back. Clocks precise enough to show these distortions are commonplace pieces of lab gear. The GPS which you use to navigate your car depends on accurate clocks in the satellites. If these were not corrected for the effects of height and speed, the GPS frame would accumulate errors at about 12 kilometers (7 miles) per day. Time is affected by gravity and by movement. This is not high-flown theory: these days, it is simply practical engineering.

Some people – mercifully – are stopped dead in their tracks by this revelation. Others, more secure in their superstitions, look at me pityingly and intone, “Time has NOTHING to do with clocks.”

This jaw-dropper is surprisingly common. But, of course, it couldn’t be more wrong. Everything we know about time, everything we can know, is about clocks. Time is physics; physics is measurement; and clocks are the instruments that measure time. Once we understand the physics of time, a topic we take up in Chapter 2, we come to realize there is nothing more to know about time than a complete understanding of clocks.

Eternity is Timeless

Practically everyone I talk with thinks Eternity means an infinity of time: time without end, time going on forever.

Even dictionaries include this definition. But it is a slip in the meaning of the word, a loss of precision in our language. The original sense was quite different.

Eternity is a concept first developed by philosophers and theologians, long, long ago. We are back with Plato, Aristotle and Augustine.

Visualize a void, without matter, without the created universe. To the theologian, this would be the domain of God, the Creator without His creation. Would it have time?

Philosophers said no. Eternity, they reasoned, must be a timeless state.

In Eternity, there is no change, no process, no cause and effect, no tick of a clock to mark the passing of the hours. Change, in Eternity, is impossible. A clock, therefore, would not tick: hands would not move; mechanisms would not work. In Eternity, time simply does not exist.

For over two thousand years, this concept was merely an abstraction. Now today, in laboratory experiments, we can make a tiny zone of Eternity: we can create a space without time, a space in which clocks freeze.

The story begins with an anomalous result in the laboratory of Professor Gunter Nimtz and colleagues at the University of Cologne back in the 1990s. The picture grew in solidity and detail over succeeding years as lab after lab picked up the idea. Waves crossing barriers which they do not seem to have enough energy to cross – the phenomenon of quantum tunneling – exist in a timeless state inside the barrier.

Bitter controversy grew as the data were seen to challenge one of the most respected deductions of Relativity Theory: the impossibility of signals exceeding the speed of light in a vacuum. This dispute came to dominate the discussion among the physics community.

Far more interesting from a philosophical viewpoint, however, is the laboratory model of Eternity provided by an appropriate configuration of this type of experiment. The model, of course, works only with electromagnetic waves: light, microwaves, radio, etc. But it provides striking results, a practical implementation of what had, for millennia, been seen purely as philosophical speculation.

Today, we can make Eternity in the lab. Study it. Measure it. Understand its physics.

The implications for theology are profound. Eternity is the domain of God. Eternity is the realm of souls. Eternity is the perspective from which God views the world. And now able to test samples of it in the lab, we can bring evidence – rather than mere conjecture – to our contemplation of Eternity. We dissect these ideas in Chapter 5.

The Soul is Physical

The notion of the soul having a physical reality seems an outrageous proposition. To many of us, the defining characteristic of the soul is that it is not physical, that it stands distinct from the mortal flesh of the body. From the dawn of history, a recurring concept in human cultures has been the notion of an abstract essence which encapsulates the individuality, the morality, the thoughts, deeds and worth of a human being.

To pick this idea apart, let us take a less emotive example: an abstraction, which does not at first sight appear physical, but which pairs with a physical object.

The physical object is a book. The hardback version is solid and substantial: drop it on your foot and it hurts. Yet we immediately know there is an immaterial essence to it. As well as the hardback, the same book is available as a paperback, an audio tape, a CD, and even as a Kindle edition, where it is downloaded to your reader as a computer file.

In all these different forms, however, we have the same book, the same story, the same narrative that we could relate verbally around a campfire or recite to the children at bedtime.

This abstract essence – which is preserved across the range of physical forms and is therefore in a sense independent of the physical implementation – is undeniably real. It is well understood in contemporary science and technology. It has a mathematical theory: a set of theorems and rules telling us how it can be transmitted, received, stored, retrieved and measured. This essence is called, of course, information.

In the contemporary world, information technology is ubiquitous. We forget that the underlying science is little more than half a century old, beginning with the work of the American engineer, Claude Shannon, at the Bell Laboratories in 1948. The senior generation alive today grew up in a world where there was no information technology, no mathematics of information, no relevant theory. The word information meant, in that era, simply knowledge, or perhaps data. There was no inkling of the sense we have today, where information is measured in bits and bytes, and everyone understands why it will take longer to download a movie than song. In the youth of our grandparents, the statement that a lengthy novel was about a megabyte would have evoked nothing more than blank stares.

For over two millennia, philosophers and theologians have debated the nature of the soul. Without a theory of information, they have accumulated a vast amount of intellectual baggage, while comprehensively missing the essential insight.

Today, science fiction writers discuss a form of immortality to be achieved by uploading the mind into a virtual reality, or perhaps into a computer-controlled robot. Imagine you were facing untimely death from an incurable disease. In this scenario, you might be saved through high-tech brain scanning, uploading your essence from your biological body into the technological hardware.

Philosophers have taken up this theme as a model for understanding the essence of sentient, conscious beings. In principle – though it lies far beyond our technological reach and would invoke a whole raft of ethical problems – the idea seems a rational possibility. The philosophical value of debating the concept is that it forces us to focus on exactly what it is that we would be preserving by such an intervention.

If the causal structure of your brain’s processing circuitry and memory were faithfully copied in the uploading, you would believe that you were still you. If your friends and family were similarly uploaded, you would react to them in precisely the same way as you did in your previous existence in the real world. Almost everyone who has thought about this idea agrees: you could in principle live on in a robot, or inside a virtual world, exactly as you do in a normal, mortal life.

And what is it that passes along the cable connecting the scanner analyzing your biological brain with the computer driving the robot or implementing the virtual world? It is information: bits and bytes.

Only the most dogged of religious fundamentalists deny the implications of this. The life continuing on in the robot or the virtual reality is not a soulless specter. It is you, just as you were: a moral agent exercising freewill, doing good or evil by choice according to your values and convictions. At the moment of transfer of your life from the real to the virtual, your soul will not depart for heaven or hell, plucked out from the dying body by a peevish God who would have nothing to do with virtual worlds. If God smiled upon us when we invented fire to cook food, metal to make tools and medicines to heal the sick, then surely He will approve when eventually we can free ourselves from the shackles of mortal flesh.

The implication is clear. The essence of your being is information. It is an abstraction, able to be preserved in a variety of different physical forms and therefore having a degree of independence from the material world. Its match to the traditional understanding of the soul is compelling.

Once you have grasped this idea, it seems fairly self-evident. Yet philosophers and theologians, weighted down by the ballast of their 2,400 years of baggage from debating the nature of the soul in an information-theoretic vacuum, have yet to embrace the conception. Information theory is studied by engineers and mathematicians. It is little known among philosophers, even less among theologians.

There is one more step which the physics enables us to take. We can show, in the laboratory, that information is compatible with Eternity. This is a surprising result, because Eternity, being without time, must be without energy. Nevertheless, we can transmit information (in the form of a stream of bits) into the zone of Eternity in our laboratory model – and recover that information intact, on the far side of the zone.

The theological implication is clear: the physics is telling us that information, the stuff of souls, is compatible with Eternity, the domain of God.

We take up these issues in detail in Chapter 6.

The Foundations of Reality

Our attempts to understand nature have for millennia been plagued by dualism: the notion that any complete description of reality must contain pairs of distinct and mutually-irreducible elements.

Plato contrasted forms (ideas, abstractions) with matter (the solid material of the visible world). Aristotle wrestled with several dualities: body and soul, matter and form, the material and the immaterial. The 17th century French philosopher, Rene Descartes, formulated a concept of a mind–body dualism which gave primacy to the mind [Cogito, ergo sum: I think, therefore I am].

Even in the contemporary world, where science ranges from subatomic particles to the far reaches of the cosmos, the dualism between information and matter seems stubbornly irreducible. To describe knowledge – which guides our actions and can be reproduced by students in examinations – merely as the state of trillions of synapses in the brain, seems to miss something essential.

If the material world of matter and energy is all that exists, we lack an adequate picture of the informational domain: the abstract forms of Plato, the mind in psychology, the soul of religion. Knowing the mathematics of information theory does not remove the ache… we remain stuck with the dualism.

The failure to explain the abstract in terms of conceptions rooted solely in the material world, prompts us to toy with the idea of reversing the paradigm. Could the abstract in fact be primary, and the material world be somehow derivative? Can the ancient philosophical position of idealism rescue us from our dilemma?

Common sense rejects such a notion out of hand. How can a solid object, like a table for example, be built from the stuff of ideas?

But quantum mechanics, the spectacularly successful theory which underlies most of the technological innovations of the 20th century, suggests the concept is far more credible than it first appears. The visionary American physicist, John Wheeler, coined the memorably arcane phrase it from bit as shorthand for this view. Instead of thinking of subatomic particles as bundles of waves and energy, we instead see them as packets of bits: information as we are familiar with it in contemporary technology.

Recent work on the theoretical foundations of quantum mechanics, inspired by progress in quantum computing, has taken a dramatic step towards validation of this idea. Quantum theory – which had always lacked a sound conceptual foundation, being essentially a rag-bag of math plucked out of the air to match experimental results – can now be derived from a compact set of logical postulates. The deeper foundation lying beneath quantum mechanics turns out to be information theory.

Dualism has been with us for more than 2000 years. Abstractions like ideas, knowledge and mathematics seem to exist in a different plane from the mundane reality of matter and energy, space and time. But now, suddenly, our picture turns around. It is not ideas and the soul which are chimeras, illusions we create in our endless search for meaning. Reality itself is the illusion. Atoms and molecules, tables and chairs, stars and galaxies are all a construct of the one deeper reality: information itself – the stuff of souls.

The Measure of Good and Evil

Armed with insight into the nature of the mind, the soul and even matter itself, we are ready to make a leap of inductive logic and clarify the previously intractable problem of good and evil.

No longer must we retreat to moral relativism or seek refuge in the dogmatism of revealed religion. With souls and the material world composed of the same physical essence, good and evil snap into focus as constructive or destructive influences, which can be measured by the change in the information content of minds, souls and entire cultures.

Such a measure is absolute. It is not subject to arbitrary reversal in the various moral frameworks of different ethnic and religious groups, but instead enables good and evil to be unambiguously identified.

Many readers will find the concept of justifying moral absolutism on the basis of mathematics even more challenging than the physicality of the soul, or the realization that we can learn about Eternity and God in the laboratory rather than from the pages of a Bible. Hang on for a bumpy ride!

The Task

Let me be explicit about what this book will do, and what it won’t do.

Being neither a shrill denunciation of the simplistic ideas of ancient prophets, nor a rearguard action defending religion against the encroachments of science, this work instead applies advances in modern physics to age-old questions about the ultimate nature of reality, the relationship of a creator to the creation, and the physical nature of the abstract essence of human life, traditionally called the soul.

The book is written for a general audience: readers with a curiosity about religion and science, but with no specialist training in either discipline. Like the popular magazines New Scientist and Scientific American, we will assume a broad familiarity with science at high-school level, without demanding recall of any specific detail. Because the book covers such a wide range of topics, from relativity and quantum mechanics to neuroscience and theology, readers with specialist knowledge in some areas may still gain useful insights in others if they are prepared to skim quickly over material they find too elementary.

We will take as a given the principle that religious thought has something to offer on our path to a comprehensive appreciation of reality, life, purpose, morality and meaning. Science is very good at answering the kinds of questions that science asks: matters arising from the empirical domain of observation, experiment and theoretical interpretation. It is not so good at addressing the subjectivist domain of meaning and moral value: matters for philosophy, ethics and religion.

Recognizing this dichotomy, however, does not mean that we reject the parallels between scientific and religious modes of thought, parallels which the British priest and physicist, John Polkinghorne (recipient of the 2002 Templeton Prize), has explored in his many books. Indeed, it is only by utilizing both modes of thought that we gain well-rounded insight.

Many of the popular books on the science-religion dialog are authored by physicists. Not surprisingly, their major concern is cosmology. They seek a mechanism by which the universe can be self-starting, at the same time as so incredibly bio-friendly that life was certain to evolve on wet rocky planets, without needing a creator God to fine-tune the environment by purposeful adjustment of physical constants. The latest fashion is to invoke speculative ideas from String Theory to postulate a multitude of “something from nothing” universes [Stephen Hawking: The Grand Design, 2010; Lawrence M Krauss: A Universe from Nothing, 2012].

But as Paul Davies [Templeton Prize winner, 1995, and best-selling author of over 20 books including The Mind of God, 1992] points out, this idea comes with a lot of baggage. It needs a pre-existing space to host a multitude of Big Bangs, and over-arching physical laws to trigger the bangs and populate the emerging universes with fields and forces to produce matter and make things happen. Where did all this elaborate machinery come from? Many would see this as no more than pushing an intelligent choice by a Creator a step or two further back.

We will need to take note of this debate if we are to provide a well-rounded picture of present-day science. But the major focus of the book you are reading is not so much on the origin of our universe, as on what it is ultimately made from. Matter and energy, particles and waves, simply don’t cut it as a complete description of reality. If we limit ourselves to such a materialist picture, we have to relegate abstractions like information (knowledge and ideas) to subordinate status as “emergent properties” of systems. The abstract realm of mathematical theorems and physical laws has to stand apart from the world of matter and energy. A better formulation comes from reversing the paradigm, from placing information at the foundation of the hierarchy.

The final thesis developed at the conclusion of this book is admittedly a leap: a leap of scientific induction. Threads from philosophy, neuroscience, information theory and quantum physics all converge on a conceptual formulation which unifies the physics of the material universe with the abstract world of ideas. Everything – from waves and particles, matter and energy, to the laws of physics and the intricacies of mathematical theorems – are of a single essence.

The validity of the thesis is not demonstrated by a single proof, a dramatic experiment, or progress in any one field of science. Rather, the strength of the idea comes from the convergence of plausible ideas and tentative advances from a number of widely separated fields.

Putting this range of material together into a coherent whole has been a daunting task. Your author’s qualification for this assignment is as a generalist, working from the perspective of fifty years teaching experience. While trapped on the treadmill of university life, my lecturing ranged over basic medical science, clinical skills and applied physics. Since retiring from full-time employment, my research activities have shifted from cellular biophysics to the foundations of Relativity.

The stimulus for tackling this book was my work on the highly technical topic of evanescent fields. It convinced me we had a laboratory model for the theological concept of Eternity, a space without time. The physics community has totally missed this implication, seeing the experimental data from several laboratories as a challenge to the sacred cow of Special Relativity. The results, in fact, do not invalidate relativity, though you need a fairly sophisticated understanding to see why that is so, and to appreciate what they really mean. The important message turns out to be more theological than physical. And since physics journals will not publish anything that smacks of religion, a book was my only option.

Chapter List:

2: Time, God and Relativity

3: The History of Religion

4: Religion in the Modern World

5: Eternity

6: Information, the Essence of the Soul

7: Reality and the Quantum

Chapter 8: Conclusions

The dialog between science and religion is by no means new and a steady stream of books continues to be published on the theme. For a brief review of the state of scholarship on many of the issues, the multi-author compendium, A Science and Religion Primer (2009) edited by HA Campbell and H Looy, is available in a Kindle edition and has much to recommend it. The curious fact, however, is that such works are universally an exposition of problems, with hardly ever a firm conclusion being delivered on any topic.

The book you have just labored through is unusual in that it reaches a significant number of conclusions. These follow from pursuing the logic of advances in physical science: advances which are too controversial for physicists to have absorbed their impact and too recent for philosophers and theologians, by and large, even to be aware of their existence.

The nature of the material dictates that these discussions are confined to plausibility arguments, rather than anything approaching proof. The strength of the conclusions stems from the convergence of several threads of evidence towards a common theme.

The recent insights into the foundations of quantum mechanics reveal information as the fundamental essence of reality, abolishing the dualism of mind and matter. Information is the substratum of space, time, matter and energy. We can make a convincing case for its being the essence of the soul, and the measure of good and evil. Consciousness, a longstanding mystery, can now be seen as an inevitable consequence of information processing within the brain, the hardware implementing the mind. Physics, at every level from the sub-atomic to the cosmological, can be seen as information processing: even suggesting that the cosmos as a whole is conscious.

Physical science began to have an impact upon religious thought early in the 20th century, when Special Relativity demolished our naturalistic conceptions of space and time. Simultaneity – a universal “now” – was invalidated. A creator God who remains involved with the ongoing evolution of His creation cannot have a human perspective on space and time, tied as such a perspective must be to a single inertial frame of reference.

The recent laboratory demonstration of space without time demands that a construct which originated in theology and philosophy – Eternity – be considered as a realistic option in physics. In particular, it must impact on our efforts to understand the origins of our universe. The quantum mechanical solution to the problem of the singularity at the origin of the Big Bang [Hartle-Hawking state] is harmonious with the emergence of our familiar 3+1 dimensional space-time from a timeless space. This places a traditional theological conception on a describable physical footing: a creator God, residing in Eternity and therefore without beginning or end, can initiate a universe of finite age, and in the process create time.

Recognizing information as the ultimate essence of reality not only abolishes dualism in the Platonic and Cartesian senses, but brings physical reasoning to the discussion of concepts which were traditionally viewed in terms far removed from fundamental physics: the soul, consciousness, and good versus evil.

Few authors have had the courage to debate the physicality of the soul. Many dodge the issue entirely by assuming that a defining characteristic of the soul is that it is non-physical, thereby immediately precluding the application of scientific thought-forms to the problem. In fact, the physical nature of the soul is fairly self-evident: it is information.

Information has no mass or energy, but is physically measurable. Experiment shows that information is compatible with Eternity: it can be transmitted into a timeless zone and recovered, intact. This provides another thread of physical plausibility for a religious concept: souls are compatible with Eternity, the timeless domain of God.

The notion of life recorded in a book is a powerful analogy to Eternity. A book does not change: in that sense it is eternal, and yet it records time sequences. The Holographic Principle, applied to the cosmological horizon, shows that the information in our universe maps onto a 2-dimensional surface – like a single page of a book. With a third spatial dimension mapping successive time slices in the evolution of our universe, we add pages. A Book of Eternity, itself timeless, could contain the entire history of our space-time.

The realization that information lies at the core of our being prompts the formulation of a hypothesis about the nature of good and evil. This gives a physical basis for a concept which had previously been seen only in terms of concordance with cultural norms or with the canons of revealed religion. The measure – the information content of individual minds and the culture as a whole – is absolute. Cultural relativism is thereby demolished. An evil practice – evil because it is destructive – can no longer be justified because it is “culturally appropriate.”

The moral absolutism introduced by this physical metric will be condemned in the most furious terms by vested interests, particularly the “intellectuals” who defend the indefensible. The metric is not a construct of Western ideological supremacy, or Christian parochialism, but simply mathematical physics. It happens to match the intuitive concepts of good and evil very well indeed.

Cultural relativists and social theorists will burn the midnight oil in an effort to demolish the dangerous notion of an absolute basis for right and wrong, good and evil. Do not be distracted by counter-examples which reveal only imperfections in the logic of language. Your visceral revulsion at the abuse of women and children, at the persecution of minorities and wholesale denial of civil rights by oppressive regimes, is not merely intolerance of differences or distrust of alien ways of life. Rather it is the biological manifestation of a principle lying at the very foundations of physical existence.

In our search for God, the most harmonious accommodation between scientific and religious views is the theological construct of pantheism (or panentheism). If God is in everything, surely we can search for Him in the foundations of physics, rather than confining our inquiry to scripture based on the ancient and manifestly inadequate worldview of long-dead prophets.

Our efforts to find a Cosmic Consciousness, the transcendent Mind represented in the belief systems of almost all human cultures, can be guided by analysis of our own human consciousness. The postulate that consciousness is an inevitable manifestation of information processing is elevated from plausible hypothesis to intellectually compelling concept by the insight that information lies at the foundations of reality. I think, therefore I am, becomes I process information, therefore I am conscious.

And since the elementary workings of the universe, quantum physics, can be viewed as information processing, it follows that all large networks of causally connected events are conscious – including the universe as a whole.

When we, as sentient beings, stand in awe of the wonder of nature, we have an overwhelming sense of a Presence, a conscious awareness on a cosmic scale. We now understand such a consciousness is implicit in the growing inventory of information and its processing at all levels from subatomic particles to the large-scale structure of the cosmos. This, surely, is the physical basis of the universal instinct upon which we build our religious beliefs.

Traditional religion insists that we cannot look to Nature for enlightenment, but must seek it exclusively within the revelations of scripture.

Yet science shows us a universe of subtlety, intricacy and beauty, rich in purpose. And if we have the courage to look beyond the simplistic views thundered from pulpits and the primitive conceptions of ancient prophets, to analyze reality with minds enlightened by knowledge and reason, we see God right before us. Not as a glorious king on a golden throne aloof from the travails of humanity. Not as a remote, abstract force, a ruler of mathematical laws from which Nature evolves, indifferent to our sufferings. But as a transcendent Mind, interwoven with all of reality. This is the God of science, the pantheistic God, the God who suffers with us.

Sir James Jeans was correct in his visionary concept that the universe is not a grand machine, but rather it is a majestic thought. The laws of physics are not separate from the matter they govern. At the end of the explanatory chain, laws and matter are of the same essence. Rather than being an emergent property, information is the ultimate substrate of reality, out of which emerge matter and energy, space and time.

Our universe is made from the stuff of souls.

We are but a thought in the mind of God.

… Continued…

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God, Soul, New Physics

by Trevelyan
4.7 stars – 3 reviews
Kindle Price: 99 cents

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