your teenagers reached the stage where they whine, “Oh
Mom, why do I have to keep going to Church? Nobody really believes that
stuff anymore. This is the twenty-first century, Science explains everything.”
The New York Times recently carried a feature where a group of scientists – astrophysicists,
chemistry professors, physicists, computer scientists, biochemists and
cosmologists were asked, "Does the Universe have a Purpose." Answers
were, 'Unlikely, No, Indeed, Not Sure, Perhaps, I Hope So, Very Likely,
Yes and Certainly'.
Even among churchgoers, many thinking adults have made an uncomfortable
accommodation to two worlds. They realize Religion has an important role
for them and their families. Religion instructs in morality and social
codes, and is a good emotional support to deal with uncomfortable issues,
such as death and other fears. And it’s important to be a good person
and help others in the community and the world. But, in the end, "We
live, we die, and that's that." When it comes to the "supernatural",
a belief in a real God or Creator, many are uncomfortable with this.
They feel deep in their hearts there is a scientific explanation for
all things, and there is conflict between the scientific view and religion.
The goal of this little talk is to show, first, that Science does not
yet have all the answers. Recent discoveries in Science have raised disturbing
questions and doubt. Questions about the underlying causes of
the facts we observe. Scientific determinism is being challenged by extraordinary
new scientific data.
I am personally
convinced that the more we understand science, the deeper will grow
our faith in God and his Christ. We’ve had an artificial
split between the world of Religion and the deterministic view of
Science going on since the seventeenth century. Maybe longer. In
medieval days, religious dogmatism was the rule, and you departed
from it under threat of excommunication or worse. But when Empirical
Science took center stage late in the nineteenth century, it began,
for many, to weaken the claims of Religion. In the twentieth century,
after Darwin, Freud, Mach and Einstein rolled out surprise after surprise,
the tide gathered strength. Logical Positivism, the philosophy of science
that strictly limited all scientific proof to positive observation by
the senses was firmly established. It seemed that Science had – or
was about to have – all the
answers about ourselves and our world. No God needed.
But starting in the twentieth century Science has had troubling findings. Think
about gravity. Isaac Newton, perhaps our greatest scientist,
figured it out, right? And
we all learn about it in grade school – or earlier when we fall
Einstein spent his life looking for the Grand Unified Theory that would
explain gravity. He failed. Gravity is still a mystery. We
have laws about the effects of gravity, we hypothesize that it’s
an attractive force, but there’s no proven or consistent explanation.
Worse, recent astronomical discoveries with the Hubble space telescope
are beginning to stretch the theory of gravity to the breaking point.
Large-scale observations now show the Universe is still getting bigger
and at an ever accelerating rate, driven by a yet unknown force. A current
quote from NASA: The discovery in 1998 that the Universe is actually speeding up
its expansion was a total shock to astronomers. It just seems so counter-intuitive,
so against common sense. But the evidence has become convincing.
Cosmologists are now "patching" the gravity theory by imagining
the existence of something unseen and perhaps not seeable by any senses
or apparatus. They call this unseen phenomenon, "Dark Matter." In
order for the theory of gravity to survive, scientists now find it necessary
to make one of two choices, one as yet untestable, and the other unpalatable.
The choices are:
(1) Assume the existence of an as yet unseen and undetected "dark
matter" and "dark energy" in the Universe to explain contradictions
otherwise inexplicable by the current theory of gravitational attraction,
(2) Assume Newton's Laws of Motion are wrong and need some fine-tuning
Neither of these alternatives is scientifically "beautiful." The
Dark Matter and Energy hypothesis requires we accept dark matter as the
largest component of all the "stuff" in the Universe – maybe
95% of the matter in the Universe. Moreover, further violence is done to
Newton's Laws of Motion and Thermodynamics by the requirement that "Dark
Matter" somehow replenishes itself as the Universe expands. This in
turn requires a further stretch of the current attractive gravitational
theory, since Newton's Laws hold that neither matter nor energy can be
created; either can only be converted from one state into the other. As
implausible as it sounds, a conversion of energy from an unknown source
into new "Dark Matter" is required in order to keep the theory
of attractive gravity whole, and not abandoned for some other explanation.
This is not good science. Philosophy of Science teaches that when a theory
becomes "stretched" by new findings, it is important to come
up with alternative theories that could better explain the observations.
Let’s try another one. Have you heard of "String Theory"?
String Theorists are physicists and mathematicians who believe the underlying
make-up of all matter and sub-atomic particles are tiny vibrating strings
of energy. String Theorists surprised the world a few years ago by claiming
there were Ten Dimensions, maybe Eleven. This was a big surprise because
for centuries everyone believed there were only three; length, width
and height. Beginning of last century, Einstein demonstrated there was
a fourth dimension. Einstein added space/time as a companion to our friendly,
familiar three dimensions of length, area and volume. Most of us, me
included, still don't fully understand this mysterious fourth dimension,
and now there are six or seven more?
What exactly is a dimension? In Physics a dimension is, "A physical
property, such as mass, length, time, or a combination thereof, regarded
as a fundamental measure or as one of a set of fundamental measures of
a physical quantity." By the way, what exactly is a “physical” property? Doesn’t
Physics’ definition of “dimension” start from an
assumption that there are only our three or four familiar dimensions?
Science is a bit buffaloed by the idea of Ten Dimensions. It's hard enough
being a scientist in four dimensions. After all, Science, by its own
rules, has to operate in realms measurable by our physical senses. The
rules of science require Science deal only with items and objects whose
existence can be viewed or tracked by our physical senses. Science requires
an object or it's influence to be seen, whether by giant telescopes searching
the stars or powerful microscopes looking for quarks. Physical measurability
or the ability to be perceived by our limited human senses is the iron
rule - and shackle - of Science. Three dimensions are tough enough. Four
has challenges. But the next six haven't even been named yet! Science
has no measurement tools. What's a rational person to do?
Fortunately, religion has been dealing in all ten dimensions for over
two thousand years. Religion deals with the entirety of human experience,
not just those experiences measurable by our physical senses. The mathematicians
have not asked Religion for help yet, but when they do, there are answers
to what the next six or seven dimensions might be. I'll outline my version
briefly, just to provoke your thinking. This dimension discussion
is where Religion and Science meet. Or, where today's Science begins to
point toward Religion. Maybe Science and Religion aren’t at war;
maybe they can help each other.
Let's look at the familiar three dimensions. The first dimension is length,
or lines. A line is the simplest of dimensions. All the points between
two points. The distance between your front steps and the sidewalk, say.
You can think of a line as containing an infinite number of points.
The second dimension is width, or area. Area is made up of both length
and width. Think of your lawn. You can think of area as containing an
infinite number of lines all stacked across.
The third dimension is height, which together with length and width,
make volume. Think of your living room. You can think of volume as containing
an infinite number of areas all stacked up.
The fourth dimension is time, or duration. Think of your house yesterday,
today and tomorrow morning. Time is made up of an infinite number of
volumes. This fourth dimension we now call Space/Time, ever since Einstein.
Most of us have difficulty understanding this fourth dimension, Time.
We are often confused by the idea of Time as a dimension since it has
no clearly understandable physical boundaries, as do Length, Breadth
and Height. But even those who are comfortable they understand the concepts
of time and event horizons usually see Time as the final dimension.
But String Theorists think there are a total of Ten or Eleven Dimensions,
with the Eleventh a Master Dimension containing all others.
Let's do a brief introduction to the other six or seven dimensions.
INFINITY After the fourth dimension of space/time, comes the
fifth – No
End, or Infinity. Infinity means, "No end." Not just "very
big, or very long", but no end to time, no end to space, no end to
acceleration, no end to expansion. No ruler or spectroscope or nuclear
microscope can show our eyes where "no end" is. No end
is No end. Once we can really imagine that there are no limits or
bounds to infinite space, we can conceive of other unusual ideas,
such as infinite expansion and infinite acceleration.
Thinking through this dimension allows me to suggest that the phenomenon
of gravity may just be the result of infinitely accelerating expansion.
Everything may still be expanding at an accelerating rate. Not just
at the edges. All the atoms and the spaces between them. The big bang
is still going strong. Always has been. You may not need a grand unified
theory to explain gravity; maybe it’s not an attraction, maybe
the “push” of infinite expansion. Like the g force when
you hit the accelerator in your Ferrari.
The concept of infinity. It’s something Religion has been talking
about for millennia. Faith asks us, challenges us to wake up and
step into eternity, to imagine the reality of Infinity. We can think
of Infinity as Time and Space with No End. No end to motion, no end
to space, no end to time. Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am". And
as we sing in the Gloria, "World without end." Amen?
That's a mind-stretcher, this 5th dimension of Infinity. But what
comes next? What's after "No end"? Well, it's not after,
because dimensions intersect. All the dimensions, all ten, all are
present and operating at the same time. Right now. We just don't
see them very clearly. Although we do see and feel their impact on
us and the world around us.
OPPOSITION The next, the Sixth dimension is Opposition. We
know, scientifically, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
Newton described this as inertial resistance. Yes, but this resistance,
or opposition extends to all forces, all energy, thoughts and motives
as well. Every thought and intention has an equal and opposite counterpart.
In religion, opposition is called The Opposer, The Devil, or Satan.
He, or it, is always with us. In the scientific arena, the impact
of the Sixth dimension of Opposition is visible in Black Holes, and
in the existence of anti-matter and anti-particles. You can think
of Opposition as limiting or defining Infinity. You can also
think of Opposition as infinite inertial resistances. Resistance
with No End. Not a bad description of Satan.
EQUITY The Seventh dimension is Equity. Equity is the natural
balance point of action and reaction. Science understands that Nature
seeks a balance of opposing forces. Scientists call this entropy. The
breakdown of complex into simple. Gases try to level out and fill all
available space equally, for example. You can think of Equity as a balanced
result of an infinite number of actions and opposing reactions.
Humans, too, are capable of equity in human interactions, but our
animal nature opposes it. We instinctively want to maximize our own
pleasure, our own safety and our personal control, no matter what. This maximizing
of our personal safety, our personal pleasure and personal control is often
called sin. One of the great roles of religion is to teach
us to overcome these instinctive original animal drives by an act
of human Will, to overcome these drives and achieve equity.
Religious teaching has a lot
to say about equity. Equity is also called Justification or Righteousness. You
know the Justification tab on your word processor, the margins are equal,
the words are balanced left and right? That's also the principle of Equity.
Balance. Equity is a movement to balance opposition. At a human level,
we sense when injustice is being done, and we resent it – particularly
when we are the sufferers of the injustice or distortion. Our moral
sense wants "Justification, Equity, Fairness." We sense
when things are wrong and want matters corrected. When the energy
of the field in which we live is distorted by inequity there is tension
straining to be unwound and released.
You can chuckle at
my dimensions, but it does help me think about the multi-dimensionality
of Jesus' message. Parables are analogies, which teach by example.
Parables are practical examples of isomorphism, analogy. We all notice
similarities of relationship between huge planetary systems and tiny
atoms. Parables teach us that as it is in one matter or system, so
it is in another matter or system. Parable has no regard for the size
of the system. Only the relationship of elements within the system.
The tiny and the huge are the same. So, when we do even small things
like preserving the life of an annoying insect in the room, or picking
up someone else's trash, or even aligning the window blinds, we are "in
a small way" attuning ourselves to be instruments
of balance, or Equity. As the song says, "Little things mean a
lot." Even the little acts we do affect the cosmos. Equity also
sets the stage for the entry to the next dimension.
LOVE The Eighth dimension is a state not achievable by anything
in nature except human beings. Which may be why God created us. The
eighth dimension is Love. Love is conscious awareness of our connection
to others and all things. This is a state of compassionate, active,
empathetic identification. Nature, as well as humans, demonstrate and
play out the first seven dimensions, even Equity. But Love is the first
of the dimensions that can only be reached by human beings. Nothing
else in nature is capable of expressing and experiencing this unnatural,
empathetic identity with God's creations. Dogs, dolphins, horses and
elephants may be intelligent, intuitive and even attached. But they
cannot willfully decide to love. Love, is what makes humans human.
Here is an important point about Love; you cannot advance to a higher
dimension without manifesting the prior dimension. You cannot
have area without lines, you cannot have volume without area, and we
cannot fully Love until we reach a state of Equity. You cannot Love
without being in equitable balance. You can think of Love as infinite
The teachings on Love represent the change, the clarification of
message from what we call Old Testament, the Law and the Prophets,
to the New Testament, the Gospels and the Letters. The Law and the
Prophets were given to Mankind before the Gospels. We were not ready
for the Gospel until we achieved Equity, some level of knowing right
from wrong, and how to go about righting our own wrongs. Pagan, feral
mankind had no sense of equity. Think of a two-year old. It's hard
to explain sharing or self-denial to a two-year old. In God's time,
he first revealed the concepts of Equity to us. The concepts of Equity
are Justice, Righteousness, Mercy, Repentance and Forgiveness. Only
after absorbing the dimension of Equity is mankind – and Man – ready
for the higher dimension of Love. As you cannot proceed from one
dimension to a higher dimension without fulfilling the earlier dimension,
so we cannot proceed directly from Opposition to Love. First we must
learn and practice Equity.
Look at the Christian Bible. The first 900 pages are Law, Prophets, and
the Writings - the Old Testament. Only then come the 300 pages of Gospel
and Letters. The Old Testament focuses on Equity; the New Testament explores
Love. All translations use the same order. Line must go before area;
Equity must go before Love.
SACRIFICE Once having achieved the dimension of Love, we are
poised to reach the ninth. The ninth dimension is Sacrifice, the willing
death of self. We can think of self-sacrifice as infinite Love. Jesus
demonstrated this for us all. The process of killing our egos, diminishing
our sense of a separated self is difficult. The road is arduous and
narrow. The ego does not want to die. It must learn to give itself
up willingly. The Old Testament taught us to sacrifice our possessions.
It also taught us that sacrifice of blood was critical. Abraham's binding
of Isaac foreshadowed the sacrificial death Jesus would accept in the
New Testament. This was preparation and training – for us. The
Gospel teaches us to sacrifice our selves. This is the dimension of
PEACE The Tenth dimension, the dimension beyond willing sacrifice
of ego, letting go of Self, is Peace. The mystics call this Unity and
Union with God. This Tenth dimension is also called the Kingdom of Heaven.
We can think of Peace as sacrifice of self with no end, Infinite sacrifice.
That's Ten. The Eleventh? Mathematicians believe the Eleventh dimension,
called the M dimension, is a Master dimension which contains the other
ten. This is a reasonable description of the infinitely loving, infinitely
self-sacrificing, infinitely patient, infinitely merciful Creator.
So, here are the ten dimensions:
The Eleventh is outside of and contains the Ten. God contains all and
Here is the point of this "10 Dimension" discussion. What
have Science and Religion got to do with each other? Everything!
Science is a wonderful tool, also a gift. Science is a process of
making sense of the particulars that our physical senses can see, measure
and explain to others. We use induction to hypothesize, to create and formulate
propositions. We use deduction to test these propositions, to corroborate
or disconfirm the propositions. We organize the surviving hypotheses into
laws, and use our imaginations to derive theories from the laws. Scientific
method demands that all theories are temporary and subject to continuous
testing. We test through making more precise observations and deriving
hypotheses from the new observations. We test and retest. When the current
theory no longer comfortably holds the new tested observations and derived
hypotheses, yet researchers persist in stretching the current theory to
fit the data, philosophers of science call this "holding the theory
together with chewing gum." At some point, we are obliged to
try on new theoretical structures to explain phenomena. If we do
not, we are as blindly stuck in rigid scientific dogma as was religion
in the fifteenth century.
10 Dimensional Science Science is unearthing mysterious signs that
there may be ten or eleven dimensions, well beyond our scientific capacity
to measure and test. Religion
has been studying human experience in ten or eleven dimensions. Call
me silly, but maybe they should work together? I would like
to see Scientific Method open a new front, a front that understands
the limits and boundaries of sense perception and is willing to explore
and create new ways to test and corroborate, new ways to open science
to explore the totality of human experience. Think of it as 10 Dimensional
Science, a use of structured tools and controlled exploration of
the Ancient Revealed Wisdom.
So what does all this this say about the intersection and integration
of religion and science? Paul teaches in First Corinthians; "For
we know in part ... but when that which is perfect is come, then that which
is in part shall be done away... Now I know in part; but then I shall know…" Science
today knows in part. It has barely entered the fourth dimension. It will
advance over time. Jesus teaches in all ten dimensions. Science' knowledge
is partial. God is complete. Jesus teaches us to believe in and act
on that we cannot yet see. Our faith is confidence that what we cannot
yet see, IS. Faith gives understanding where current scientific
theories of reality fall short.
Sir Isaac Newton, himself a devout Christian all his life, wrote, “I
do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to
have been only like a boy, playing on the seashore and diverting myself
in now and then finding a smoother pebble or prettier seashell than
ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before