Chapter 11. Phase 4: Spiritual Evolution and The Godly Algorithm
One of the major purposes of this writing is to perceive scientific and spiritual realities as two aspects of one and the same thing, comparable to the way magnetism and electricity are two aspects of a single thing called energy. My special interest lies in merging two considerable bodies of evidence into a unified perspective that science and spirituality can mutually bring to bear on fundamental questions of our human nature and purpose.
Where did the big bang come from? What is our reason for living these mortal lives? Who are we, really, we conscious beings who have this extraordinary ability to perform such profound thinkings in the quiet privacy of our immaterial minds? Can all this just be due to blind chance, with no meaning at all, as many scientists say—or are they wrong? Is all this the product of a controlling god who magically performs miracles and diddles daily with the world and the lives of his children in it, as many religious believers contend—or are they wrong? Are they both wrong? If so, what is right?
Remember this: If two [entities] disagree on what’s true about some immaterial unobservable thing or idea, they cannot both be right. They might both be partly right, but might always also means might not, and in any case it’s a cinch neither one has the whole truth about the matter. So if whole truth and understanding are what you’re after, you’d better take on responsibility for figuring it out yourself.
Dewey Larson: physicist, engineer
A third option
Consider now a way of perceiving everything you know, everything you have ever learned, in one unified context. Just like those Baptists and Church-of-Christers, science and religion mutually have some piece of the truth within their grasp, though both often force it into bizarre shapes: “Isn’t playing piano in church a sin?” “Isn’t it obvious that God cannot possibly exist?” Conversely, science and religions of every ilk are far from reconciling the truths that do happen to stand out in their respective arenas.
The integrative perspective that follows may be thought of as a third option. Too often, when people disagree on this point or that, they unthinkingly align themselves at two polar opposites—black or white—and all argument from that moment on is bipolar. “It’s this, no it’s that; black, no white”—and these become the only two options. Too often the parties thus self imprisoned in bipolar thinking fail to consider any but their two opposite and futile options—failing even to realize that they themselves have unwittingly closed their own minds to other options. Therefore, my friend, always look for the third option.
Let us scientifically hypothesize that if thousands of NDE/STE experiencers separately report, all in their own different but consistent ways, that they have personally met and experienced God, then the simplest possible Occam-approved explanation is that they’re all, to the best of their ability, telling the truth—i.e., either they did in fact meet God or all thousands of them firmly believe they did. These two possibilities arise from independently comparable descriptions by these thousands, who have never met each other, quietly telling what they experienced. They’re all saying the same things in their own individual words.
From this undeniable basis we may conclude that either 1) God is real and does exist, or 2) all those thousands of people are deluded. With such numbers, what are the odds? The second conclusion is the least likely to be true simply because thousands of people who cannot possibly know each other—or coordinate their stories in advance—are saying the same thing. Open minds that take the time to read widely among their reports will have no doubt they are not deluded. Anyone who hasn’t invested such reading time has no grounds for conjecturing doubt. That doesn’t sway the well hardened skeptics of course, but we know they’re blowing smoke. Delusion works both ways.
Since a strong majority of experiencers describe God as a being of dazzling bright light of inconceivable intensity that can nevertheless be “looked at” directly, and since science describes light as one of the many forms of energy, let us further hypothesize that God is energy—living energy. This really isn’t very farfetched because, as any neuroscientist will readily assure you, from our brains down through our nerve network’s tip-ends at every cell in our bodies, we too are energy. Our nervous system, which is in fact a complex electrical grid, constitutes the very alive-ness of our bodies. You may wish to know that 100 trillion cells is the latest estimate for the number of cells in an average human body, and each and every one lies at the end of a microscopic nerve ending that directly connects each cell with the brain—just like from your reading lamp back to the power plant. (Even this impressive count is outnumbered ten to one by the mega-trillions of microorganisms that live inside us and are vital to our health and wellbeing.)
Moreover, given so many NDE/STE experiencers reporting that God exhibits personality traits we are familiar with as human characteristics—such as love, understanding, empathy, gentleness, insightfulness, even a sense of humor—two more hypotheses follow. 1) In perspective of deity compared to mortal, we may conclude that insofar as we have human characteristics, our traits “are like” God’s, while the converse—that “God’s traits are like ours”—is logical absurdity that confuses maker with made.
This perspective conveys implication that we have the capacity to rise to the status of being God-like in our thoughts and deeds. And 2) Given the variety of Godly attributes actually observed by near-death experiencers, there is no reason to doubt that God possesses other characteristics we humans exhibit, such as growing interested, feeling enthusiastic, and purposeful. This means—extending from ourselves as reflections “in the image of God”—that God feels interests, enthusiasms, purposes, intentions and desires. A pretty nice personality, withal. Perhaps we could be a friend with God. And why not?
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Science presents considerable detail on its accepted (inferred) deduction that a big bang took place and initiated our universe. Having hypothesized and concluded the existence and reality of God, it is reasonable to further hypothesize that the big bang was God’s method for creating this universe. We may entertain a corollary hypothesis that the vast energy introduced by the big bang, sufficient to comprise everything in this universe, was—and remains—an extended, “seemingly separated” portion of God-Who-Is-All-Energy. And similarly, that the speed of light—an Einsteinian barrier in this universe—is a “veil” God intended to constitute a semi-permeable boundary between the extension of God-Self that is this finite universe, and the infinite realm where God is and ever was.
In our extension-of-God universe, constant endless evolutionary changing from this to that would create the intended illusion that would one day be called “time.” This in turn would enable the speed of light, temporally described as 186,000 miles “per second,” to be logically but erroneously perceived as an ultimate speed limit—but only in this lower realm, the only realm in which it would appear to apply. Both scientists and people who have experienced an NDE/STE assure us with great certainty that what we perceive as time is really an illusion. No doubt they are all quite right about this.
These and numerous other constants of nature, introduced as a unified package via the big bang, thus constituted God-sent parameters within which the new extension-universe would freely and independently evolve to its unplanned destiny over time—enabling its absolute freedom to unfold as it will, without deistic intervention, interference, tampering or twiddling with so-called miracles of any kind—ever—within its simple first-cause algorithmic mandate to evolve unceasingly by free chance, to continually default toward emergence that on average would rise, always becoming more. From these things we may conclude the errancy of accusatory reactions such as “How could a just God allow such terrible wars to happen?” when, in reality, we must take responsibility for the wars.
This chapter’s purpose is to attempt a comprehensible merger of spiritual and scientific evidence—insofar as I am able to understand it myself and convey it in words to the best of my ability—in a context most readers can consider reasoned, reasonable, and reasonably credible. Building on the several streams of first-person and scientific evidence observed and mentioned in this book so far, I shall hypothesize a scenario—and then examine that scenario through both telescopic and microscopic perspectives to see if it comprehensively accounts for all aspects of the evidence in a way clearly reasonable, logical and believable. In doing so I will try to imaginatively replicate the good thinking and hypothesizing that first imagined a big bang, an expanding universe, quarks, etcetc—but don’t expect too much for it’s just me, a small ordinary mortal, doing the imagining.
Now you have come out beyond your banks and borders and have seen the great sea… From now on it will be possible to talk to you about the Great Principle.