by David M. Petersen
Amazingly, the answer to this question is a resounding yes. In order to proceed, however, there are a number of very complicated basic assumptions that this definition will need to be based on. The first is that our universe is a past-present-future simultaneous and eternal, four dimensional, interactive physical structure that is completely interconnected and is the only alternative to absolute nothing. The second is that consciousness (our internal mental landscape) is physical energy as well, just a more finely evolved form of energy then that of everyday material objects or forces like gravity, and is causally connected to, but not part of, the brain. This conscious physical energy (which, of course, includes free will) still completely exists inside the physical structure that we call the universe and is interconnected with it. The third and last assumption is that, when viewed in terms of three dimensions and time, our universe is evolving into God, and that this entire process/structure/space-time exists simultaneously in four dimensions as well as eternally. Therefore, God is the entity at the 'end' of our four dimensional energy structure where the entire energy of the universe has evolved, and has been guided to evolve, into pure conscious energy that is interconnected with all things. This level of consciousness would be necessary to start the system in the first place in the form of the big bang (a sort of 'punch through nothing' to reconnect with space-time) and help guide it through it's evolution. Precisely because consciousness is physical energy that exists inside an (admittedly very complex) physical structure, some scientific procedure can, in theory, be developed to empirically confirm the existence of God! In this essay I will attempt to show plausibly how these assumptions and conclusion are a good approximation of what is truly happening in our universe.
Our first assumption is that the universe is a four dimensional, past-present-future simultaneous and eternal physical structure that is the only alternative to absolute nothing and is completely interconnected. In his book Relativity, Albert Einstein discusses Hermann Minkowski's four-dimensional space-time continuum, which he says quite naturally results from his Theory of Relativity. This theory basically treats time the same way as space mathematically and essentially results in a simultaneous four-dimensional object. I am merely suggesting that this four-dimensional object describes the entire universe and exists eternally. This idea of the universe existing simultaneously and eternally is not too far away conceptually from that other ramification of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, the absolute relativity of time. In other words, if time truly is absolutely relative, then the universe really could be both simultaneous and eternal concurrently and still be as interactive as it is. As far as our space-time being the only alternative to absolute nothing, this follows somewhat from something I read in Steven Hawking's book, A Brief History of Time. It seems that it is almost certain that the universe is essentially elaborated nothing; or in other words, really just made up of opposing positive and negative forces that exactly balance each other. This means that if it were possible, the universe could be made to exactly cancel to nothing. As far as the idea that it is the only alternative to nothing, I will just have to ask the reader to accept this for philosophical reasons. And lastly, the idea of the universe being completely interconnected is based on Physicist John Bell's Interconnectedness theorem, which I read about in Nick Herbert's book, Quantum Reality. This theorem details the fact that all quantum mechanical systems (in short, the building blocks of everything) are 'phase entangled' with each other, and hence interconnected. In light of these theories it is more likely than not that our universe really is a completely interconnected, four dimensional, past-present-future simultaneous and eternal physical structure that is the only alternative to absolute nothing.
Our second basic assumption is that consciousness is physical energy, just a more finely evolved form of energy then other manifestations of energy within our universe, and is causally connected to, but does not reduce to, the brain. This conscious physical energy still completely exists inside the physical structure that we call the universe and is fully interconnected with it. Perhaps the best way to illuminate this point would be to truly consider the alternative. To my way of thinking, the idea that we have this beautiful physical system of energy that has generated consciousness and that this phenomenon exists somehow 'hanging outside' the system that it sprang from is absurd. It is quite obviously inside the system. For one, it interacts intimately with the system. For example, when you consciously move a book from one table to a different table, your conscious awareness has reconfigured the energy of the universe in a small way. And so, I ask you, how could consciousness be so causally connected to our system like this, but not ultimately physically connected to it? The answer is, it can't. It must physically exist and be connected to the brain in some way (but not reduce to mere patterns in the brain). It is clear to me that we just need to make our definition of the physical system big enough to accommodate consciousness. Many people, whom I suppose are heavily influenced by the mind/matter separation that has been so prevalent in philosophy down through the ages, believe that the idea of consciousness being physical energy somehow diminishes the beauty of this phenomenon by relegating it to too 'mechanical' of a definition. I see no reason for this view. Consciousness is a complex and beautiful organically evolved (and still evolving) energy phenomenon that results in a powerful internal landscape of self-awareness! Amazingly, self-awareness that possesses freewill, no less. Thus consciousness should be see for what it is, an interconnected, very important part of our physical universe.
The third and last assumption is that, when viewed in terms of three dimensions and time, our universe is evolving into God, and that this entire process/structure exists simultaneously in four dimensions as well as eternally. In other words, God exists inside our four-dimensional energy structure ahead of us in the three dimensional sequence where the entire energy of the universe has evolved, and has been guided to evolve, into pure conscious energy. The idea is that this level of consciousness would be necessary to start the system in the first place in the form of a 'big crunch' and corresponding big bang 'around' nothing (there is only our space-time and nothing). This level of consciousness would be also be necessary to help subtly guide it through its evolution. To many people, this idea of the universe evolving into God is a wild idea. However, to my way of thinking, it is no wilder than what has already happened so far in the evolution of our universe. Imagine our universal system evolving as it has from nothing but very simple elements right after the big bang into the amazingly complex structures of elements that we see today, not the least of these being life which can possess consciousness! In light of this amazing process my question must be: "what alternative does the reader see when he/she extrapolates far into the future?" I see life on other planets as well as this one becoming more and more complex, interconnected and conscious, culminating in a glorious union of pure consciousness that hangs in eternity.
And so, precisely because consciousness is physical energy that exists as part of a physical structure, I believe strongly that a scientific procedure can in theory be developed to empirically confirm the existence of God. At this point I must admit that I am no physicist and would not even begin to be presumptuous enough to propose an experiment of this nature. However, scientists do believe that the scientific method can be used for discovery on any aspect of our physical universe. Therefore, any scientist would have to conclude that bringing consciousness into the realm of physical energy, as well as incorporating the idea that the past, present and future of our universe physically exists simultaneously, as well as accepting the idea of the universe evolving into God in three dimensions clearly opens the way for empirical testing for God's existence.
It is my sincere hope that this essay has gone a long way towards convincing the reader that the answer to the question "Can "God" be defined in a way that allows for the possibility of empirical confirmation of God's existence?" is definitely yes. Incidentally, there already does exist a non-empirical confirmation of sorts. This non-empirical confirmation would be what is commonly referred to as the mystical experience. This experience is characterized by a huge 'being in the presence of God'-like feeling of unity with all things and a sense of being beyond time, and can be seen to be common to all religions. In other words, all major religious prophets such as Jesus and Buddha for example were all mystics, and the religions based on their teachings were just different interpretations (influenced by their individual cultures) of this same conscious phenomenon. Therefore, because our consciousness is physical energy and ahead of us the entire energy of the universe has evolved into pure consciousness that is interconnected with everything, what this mystic experience really is is one (gifted) individual's consciousness making an 'energy connection' with God. Again, the definition of God would be the ultimate consciousness ahead of us in the three dimensional sequence but still interconnected within the four dimensional physical energy structure that is our universe.
Einstein, Albert. Relativity: The Special and the General Theory. New York: Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1961.
Hawking, Stephen. A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. New York: Bantam, 1988.
Herbert, Nick. Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics. New York: Anchor Books, 1985.
The likely evolutionary path of the human race:
The future of Man
The 21st century needs its own philosophy; here it is:
My entire body of work is archived Here forever, (http://wayback.archive.org/web/*/
http://philosophy.dmpetersen.net) except for some documents in my storage space.
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