“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Spiritual Universe

There is a spiritual depth to physical reality, and by spiritual I do not mean “supernatural.” I mean something very real, “objective” if you will, something we perceive in a beautiful piece of music, for example, or in the physical laws of the world themselves: a beauty or depth that we cannot quite pin down. We cannot say for sure what it is or where it comes from, but I think we perceive something real.

The world is, so far as we know, quantum fields interacting with spacetime. When we hear music, these fields are singing to us. When we see the stars, the trees, the sea, we see the dance of these fields. The music arises naturally from them - in a sense it is hidden within them. The laws of nature are planted like a seed, and from them grows the tree of reality that we see.

The laws of nature, then, are also “spiritual” - as the seed, they contain within them the blueprint for the beautiful (and terrible) emergent world that we experience. The most basic laws, the unfolding of the early universe, the first elements, the first stars, our planet, life itself - all this is deeply spiritual. It means something.

If this sounds pantheistic, I don’t mean it that way. I simply mean that we should be in awe of reality, and that we are right to ask where it comes from, and what it means, because it does seem to mean something.

We should ask “what then is this universe? these fields from which everything unfolds?” or perhaps we may feel compelled to ask “who then is this, who speaks? who is this, of whom the laws of our world are but a seed falling from an outer branch?” There may be something deeper still, and greater, of which these fields, these laws of nature, and all that emerges from them, are but one part. Reality is likely much bigger than the universe we know.

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