“Science makes God unnecessary,” or so states Stephen Hawking, in response to criticism of his book, The Grand Design. It seems that the apparent conflict or convergence between science and spirituality is in the air, and some of the best minds in both camps are weighing in.
Hawking, along with his co-author Leonard Mlodinow, argues that God has always been employed to explain the unexplainable, but as scientific understanding advanced, God was relegated to control and influence fewer aspects of nature, and eventually God’s role has been limited to explaining the creation of the universe. But a new scientific theory proposing the existence of multiple universes offers explanations of how these universes come into being from out of nothingness. If this theory is correct, then God, Hawking argues, is no longer necessary.
Leonard Mlodinow also co-authored a book with Deepak Chopra entitled War of the Worldviews: Where Science and Spirituality Meet – and Do Not. Deepak, a scientifically trained medical doctor and leading spokesperson for the world’s spiritual revival, has written extensively about merging eastern spiritual understanding into the life of the modern-day western world. In their debate, Mlodinow argues that science is the best means to understanding, whereas Chopra counters that there are areas of life for which science cannot provide answers, and only a spiritual approach can. At the end of the book, Chopra states that during their speaking tours a common refrain from the audience was, “Can your two views be reconciled?”
The Dalai Lama, the revered spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, also has a profound interest in the relationship between science and spirituality. In his book, The Universe in a Single Atom: the Convergence of Science and Spirituality, he describes past Tibetan Buddhist cosmologies which attempt to explain the cosmos, and he indicates their similarities and divergences from current scientific thought. His respect for science is so great that he even states that if science contradicts Buddhist philosophy, then it is necessary for Buddhism to adapt, to modify its philosophy in order to conform to facts of science. He also urges that science be taught to monks during their training, and that monks participate in neuroscience research, such as allowing MRIs to be performed while they meditate.
Lothar Schäfer, Professor of Physical Chemistry emeritus, works from a scientific perspective in order to create a spiritual philosophy. In Infinite Potential: What Quantum Physics Reveals about How We Should Live, Schafer develops a philosophy based upon quantum mechanics that reveals that particles exist only as potential, more thought-like than physical. Based upon this premise, he stresses that living a life harmonious with the quantum world would unleash each individual’s unique inner potential, and also lead to a more cooperative society.
As with all these authors, in my book, The Architecture of the Universe, I also discuss the relationship between science and spirituality. However, I seek to not only find a way for science and spirituality to co-exist; I seek a vision that unites science and spirituality. This approach does not reject science, nor does it find the need to create a new spirituality. It fully embraces both as they exist. But I also believe that the final word has not yet been written for either science or spirituality. I believe that there is a great need for a single vision uniting the two seemingly opposite approaches. If science is true and God is true, then a unifying theory must exist.
To develop such a vision it was necessary to extend physics—including Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics—and to extend spiritual cosmology until reaching a point of contact in which the two merge into a single theory. What has resulted is a new framework of physics, which includes the conceptual discovery of a most fundamental attribute of the universe. Validation of this new framework lies in the fact that it offers explanations regarding aspects of relativity and quantum mechanics which hitherto have remained mysterious.
This union of science and spirituality also reveals a deeper vision of God. Not a vision of God as presented by religions steeped in past traditions, but a new vision that does not require a leap of faith to accept, but is a natural result of viewing the broad panorama of the universe: spanning from before the beginning of time to its end, from prior to the existence of time and space to the vast expansion of the universe, from the depth of the most fundamental particles outward to vast clusters of galaxies, and most importantly, peering deeply into the consciousness of the human mind. Such a panoramic perspective reveals God as a most natural, fundamental aspect of the cosmos and that which lies beyond.
Developing this framework and vision required me to stand with my feet in both worlds but not cemented in either one. I don’t strictly follow the conventions of science; I work primarily from deduction. Nor am I a spiritual master promoting my own spiritual knowledge. But I am knowledgeable of physics and spirituality, having spent decades studying both approaches. I believe this vantage point offers me the advantage of being able to think outside of the box. Whether or not this framework proves to be correct, it is my hope that my book will inspire others to continue the search for a theory unifying science and spirituality.
The basic underlying principle of The Architecture of the Universe is quite simple: the universe is arranged in a hierarchical manner in which everything is made out of something else. This principle is not new, but what is new is extending this notion to its extreme. The architecture presents the radical viewpoint that anything and everything must be part of the hierarchical arrangement, and nothing can be excluded from it. Even time and space must be included. With this new viewpoint, time and space become discrete building blocks, existing as units that cannot be further divided into smaller units. Time and space serve not just as the containers of everything, but they are also the basic composition for everything in the universe. This means that all matter and all forces of energy are comprised of time and space.
Perhaps the architecture’s most profound proposition is that time and space are substances, and like all substances, they are comprised of something more fundamental. What could be more fundamental than time and space? Existence. The architecture proposes that pure and simple existence is the most fundamental attribute of the universe. And like all forces found in nature, there is a corresponding particle, an “existence particle.” According to the architecture, existence lies on the most fundamental level in the universe’s hierarchical arrangement, and it is the most primary building block of the entire universe. Higher levels of the hierarchy in order of increasing complexity include time, space, energy, and matter. Each layer is comprised of arrangements of elements belonging to the previous lower level. Therefore, with existence at the most primary level, the next level, though still primary, is time, which is formed of oscillating existence particles bound together. At the next level of the hierarchy is space, which is comprised of strings of time organized in three dimensions. Energy, the next level, is formed from fluctuations in space-time density. And finally at the highest physical level lies matter, which is comprised of encapsulated energy held together by compressed space-time. Thus, everything in the universe is ultimately comprised of only one thing, the existence particle, and everything else is simply an arrangement of existence. Furthermore, I propose that existence is the link between the transcendent reality and the physical universe. Existence particles emerge out of an infinite, divine state of singularity (God) and possess divine attributes.
The vision presented through the architecture is unifying, as it presents a single vision of reality by merging scientific knowledge with spiritual revelation. It begins by describing processes occurring in the transcendent state prior to the creation of the universe. It describes how the Infinite being transmutes into finite elements, and how this process leads to the Big Bang. It then describes how this creation process continues to replicate in the form of existence particles. The architecture details an evolutionary process through which existence evolves into time, time evolves into space, space evolves into energy, and finally energy evolves into matter.
What gives the architecture credence is the fact that by ascribing structure to time and space, it becomes possible to explain aspects of physics that have heretofore defied explanation. For example, the architecture is able to explain previously unexplainable dynamics of time and space as prescribed by Einstein’s theory of relativity, including why light always travels at a constant speed in a field of reference, why time slows down and length shortens in gravitational fields, and how and why mass distorts space-time in order to produce gravitational effects. Likewise, by ascribing structure to quantum particles such as photons, the mysteries of quantum mechanics are demystified. For example, if photons are comprised of a lower-level substrate, it is possible to explain why light has a dual nature, behaving as both a wave and as a particle. And space-time’s internal composition can explain the dynamics occurring during cosmological space-time inflation. Even dark energy and dark matter can be explained through properties of space-time.
The architecture is a new framework of physics. A framework is not a theory per se, rather it is the basic set of principles upon which specific scientific theories can be constructed. If the framework is correct, it represents a major paradigm shift in physics. And with all major shifts, a tremendous amount of new knowledge can be derived. Time will tell whether or not this is true. The propositions put forth in the architecture might be startling, and like all major shifts, it is likely to be met with resistance. But it was also startling when Einstein made his pronouncements that mass is equated with energy (E=MC2), and that time is part of a four-dimensional space-time continuum.
Strangely, Einstein’s E=MC2 formula implies total unification, but he never realized it. Almost all the focus of his equation has been on the unification of energy with matter. But time and space are also present as constant terms in the equation. Time and space are represented by the constant, C, the speed of light, and speed is nothing other than a measurement of how much distance (space) is travelled in a given amount of time. Therefore:
Speed = Distance ÷ Time
Distance is a measurement of Space.
Therefore Speed = Space ÷ Time
Substituting C with Space ÷ Time in Einstein’s equation:
Energy = Mass (Space/Time)2
Implicit in this equation is the unification of mass, energy, space, and time.
The architecture I’ve proposed can be viewed as the next logical step in Einstein’s series of unifications, as well as the possible fulfillment to his search for ultimate unification. Prior to Einstein’s work, matter, energy, space, and time were all considered separate entities. But in changing that assumption, he was able to construct many new successful theories. He formulated his theories by finding equivalencies between disparate entities. He unified energy with matter through E=MC2. In developing general relativity, he unified space with time through the four-dimensional space-time continuum. He spent the remainder of his life seeking a unified field theory, one which would unite the electromagnetic force with gravity, which is essentially uniting the combination of matter-energy with the combination of space-time. However, he did not succeed. Perhaps he failed because he did not take the final, simple step this framework proposes: embracing the principle that everything is made out of something else. If matter is comprised of energy, isn’t it possible, and even logical, that matter-energy is comprised of space-time? The proposed hierarchical framework implicitly unifies mass-energy with space-time, creating the equivalence of a unified field theory. Doing so is simply the natural progression of unification initiated by Einstein. And finally, the architecture proposes ultimate unification through the existence particle, which unites the entire physical universe with the transcendent infinite reality.
The architecture’s beauty lies in simplicity. Its validity stems from its ability to explain dynamics predicted by relativity theory and laws of quantum mechanics. Its power is achieved by connecting the physical universe with the majestic, infinite transcendent state experienced by humankind as the divine.
The framework was created as an attempt to answer the following big, fundamental questions:
- What existed prior to the Big Bang?
- What caused the Big Bang?
- What causes space-time, gravity, and light to exhibit properties predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity?
- How do energy and mass form?
- How does consciousness arise in the human mind?
- What is the link between the Infinite (God) and the finite (physical universe)?[i]
Unlike most frameworks of physics, The Architecture of the Universe does not have a mathematical basis; rather, like Einstein’s work, it is constructed from basic principles. Einstein worked intuitively by employing imagination and focusing his investigations on basic principles, and only after the discovery of new principles did he employ mathematics. In fact, he often did not perform the math himself, but relied upon mathematicians to devise the correct equations. Nor did he perform experiments. Instead, he built his theories upon a framework of already established basic principles of physics. Seeking simplicity, he endeavored to discover equivalences of seemingly opposite realms. For example, he equated Newton’s laws of motion with electrodynamics. He equated particles with waves, and energy with matter. He equated time with space. He equated gravity with acceleration. And, later in life, he sought a unified field theory attempting to unite gravity with electrodynamics.
Likewise, The Architecture of the Universe seeks simplification by unifying disparate concepts. Its core principles are derived from the apparently opposite realms of physics and spirituality. Rejecting neither science nor spirituality, but by fully embracing fundamental realities of both approaches to truth, the framework constructs a bridge between the two seemingly opposite paths to knowledge. Connecting the divine to the physical universe not only fills the deep, non-traversable chasm between these fundamentally opposite approaches, it also potentially enhances both scientific and spiritual understanding.
Spirituality offers science knowledge of that which transcends the physical realm. It explains what existed prior to the universe’s creation, what caused its creation, and it reveals the universe’s purpose. Knowledge of what existed prior to the universe offers insight into the probable nature of the first, most fundamental particles to emerge at the beginning of time. And knowing the purpose of the universe’s existence reveals the goal of the vast evolutionary process leading to the formation of life, which is synonymous with the goal of each and every human being—to obtain conscious realization of the original transcendent reality.
Science, on the other hand, reveals how transcendent divine laws continue to manifest in the physical realm after creation, and how these spiritual laws reverberate in the physical realm, driving the universe’s evolution. Science can also reveal processes occurring in the human mind that generate consciousness and the dynamics of spiritual experience. The divine, though hidden, is always present, always functioning, and its functioning can be observed and explained through scientific law.
Like any framework, The Architecture of the Universe will only be accepted as true when experiments and observations prove it to be true. This framework might prove true, part of it might prove true, or it might prove false. My hope is that what is presented here ignites others to test this framework or to create new theories along similar lines. I believe this theory represents the simplest, most intuitive, most logical approach to unification. But whether or not this theory proves true, what is important is that the search for unification continues. If science is true and God is true then a unifying theory must exist, and this theory will provide humanity a needed comprehensive vision of reality.
Adapted from The Architecture of the Universe: a New Framework of Existence, Time, and Space
Copyright © 2014 Richard Blum
[i] The Architecture of the Universe is the first of three frameworks which attempts to answer these fundamental questions. The other two frameworks will be presented in the following two books: The Architecture of the Mind and The Architecture of the Divine