EXCERPT: The Unity of Truth
EXCERPT: The Unity of Truth
Authors Allen A. Sweet, C. Frances Sweet and Fritz Jaensch offer a condensed version of the conclusions in their book. Published with permission of the authors.
THE UNITY OF TRUTH, SOLVING THE PARADOX OF SCIENCE AND RELIGION
Our book points the way toward the uniting of the truth of science and of religion. Their long standing divorce goes back to at least the time of Galileo and his near burning at the stake at the hands of the 17th century inquisition. The unity we are pointing to has generated a number of radical re-interpretations of both the scientific and the religious understanding of the truth. Since science - whose language is measured data, logic and mathematics - and religion, whose language is poetry, myth, art, and music, have no common language with which to communicate, a way needed to be found to form a basis for a unity that is beyond language. To achieve our goal, we have turned for direction to the field of physics.
Physics has a long and successful tradition of advancing the generality of its knowledge by using a technique called paradox resolution (by reconciling two equally valid, but contradicting “truths”). Examples of successful paradox resolution from the field of physics are Galileo and Newton’s development of mechanics thereby solving the paradox of earthbound matter vs. celestial matter, Boltzmann’s recognition of the arrow of time by solving the paradox of time reversibility which is allowed by Newton’s mechanics, and finally Einstein’s development of general relativity as a direct result of his solution to the paradox of two descriptions of mass (gravitational mass vs. inertial mass). Following these examples from physics, we seek to define a paradox that captures the essence of this science vs religion divorce, and search for its solution.
We show that the science of thermodynamics and the science of information theory join forces to prove a principle that every bit of information must contain a certain minimum amount of energy. A bit is the smallest indivisible amount of information (think of a bit as an “atom” of information) that can exist. Since all languages are composed of information, any general conclusions related purely to information will be equally true in all languages, including those of science and religion. This means the smallest amount of information relating to either science or religion must be associated with some minimum amount of energy.
Without messages from God, the theists would have no reason to believe that God even exists, let alone know that God is present in their lives. It is widely believed by nearly all religions that God exists apart from the space-time continuum of our material universe. This belief is necessary so that God cannot be thought of as being “trapped” within our finite material universe. This being the case, God’s communications to a theist must introduce a certain (non zero) amount of energy into our universe, in direct violation of the scientific law of conservation of energy. And here is the paradox: If God is to truly communicate with human beings, then God must violate God’s own law of conservation of energy, which holds that the total amount of energy within our universe may never change, even by the slightest amount. If God violates the law of conservation of energy then all of science will fall, but if God does not communicate with human beings, God’s very existence and God’s plan would be unknown to human beings, and consequently all religion would become impossible.
The solution we propose to this paradox is invoking quantum mechanical measurements (quantum mechanics is science’s most fundamental scientific understanding of the subatomic world) as God’s method for communicating with human beings and everything and everyone else in our material universe. Science regards quantum mechanical measurements as “statistically causal” (that is, if you were to repeat a quantum measurement a thousand times, and average the results, a predictable pattern would begin to emerge). But the measurement is non-causal as far as individual events are concerned (that is to say, you will get a different answer each time an identical quantum measurement is performed). Science regards these individual outcomes of a quantum mechanical measurement as random, unpredictable and meaningless. We propose solving the paradox of science and religion by requiring that both science and religion regard each individual quantum measurement as “divinely causal.” That is: God’s own hand reaches down into our material universe, and writes God’s messages into our material universe in ways that do not violate the laws of science in any way. By so doing, God’s messages are able to “fly under the radar” of science’s conservation laws, and remain undetectable from a scientific perspective. Each individual quantum measurement may not convey much information, but bundled together with billions, or perhaps trillions of simultaneous divinely causal measurements (in a process we call quantum synchronicity), they add up to God possessing a substantial messaging ability.
We have compared Trinitarian theology with quantum mechanics and found that each system’s framework is functionally identical, once proper correspondences have been made. Therefore we conclude that, like quantum mechanics, Trinitarian theology describes the method by which God communicates with us and with our material universe. We see the Trinity as being not so much a description of God’s nature as it is a description of the methods used by God to communicate with our material universe. The theologian Karl Barth once said that “God’s being is in God’s becoming.” Like quantum mechanics is to the truth of science, the Trinity is the religious truth’s description of how God communicates to us what (in Karl Barth’s words) God is becoming. God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, has already told us that “My thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways.” Therefore we propose radically re-interpreting the Christian Trinity as (like quantum mechanics is to science) a religious description of how God communicates with human beings and everything and everyone else in our material universe.
By recognizing, as we have, that God’s method of communicating originates in quantum measurements, we see how God’s communications abilities are uniquely positioned to have a profound effect on the very mutations which drive changes in living things. The religion vs. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution debate has long been the principle battleground between religion and science, and nowhere more fiercely fought than in America. However, we are proposing a radical re-interpretation how the life-changing mutation process (and therefore all of evolution) exists as an act of Godly communications to life. We see evolution as a partnership between God and all living things. God plants mutational “seeds” that “nudge” the evolutionary process along in directions that are consistent with God’s plan. Thereby all of the “scientific” aspects of evolution (as described by Darwin) remain in effect because God’s mutational “seeds” must go forth and survive in a new and changing environment, if their new (and successful) genetic codes are to become a permanent part of the species' gene pool. From this perspective, evolution is no longer purely a process of “hit or miss” chance, but is led, but not directed by, God’s mutational “seeds.” God, as the creator of life, is seen to be not so much an architect of life, as a fatherly inventor figure who is trying out new ideas to see what will work (and perhaps what will not work) in our world of free will and change.
Human beings have inherited their genetic background from their animal ancestors. Along with our physical traits, these genetic inheritances also include the many survival emotions that are needed for each of us to remain alive long enough to pass along our own genetic legacy in the competitive world of evolution. However, as human beings, our highest calling remains the search for God. We are uniquely qualified for this search given our incredible central nervous system that allows God to communicate his ways and plans directly to our bodies. One of the most important messages that we humans receive from God is what we are calling the spirit of virtue. In confronting life’s challenges, we all take our own genetic survival emotions too seriously from time to time. All too often, we humans fall into the excessive indulgences in such emotions as fear, anger, hate, greed, lust, and pride; to name a few. Something we are tempted into believing in the validity and profound importance of these more negative emotions, tempting us to act on them in ways that may get us into lots of trouble.
The key to the human understanding of this principle is to recognize that our survival emotions are simply a genetic legacy from our evolutionary past, whose exercise is always a choice we as individuals must make. God stands ready to help each of us with the transformation of what is emotionally “worldly,” into what is emotionally Godly. Perhaps it is the ultimate destiny of the human race to genetically embody (by way of this process of evolution by mutations) God's virtues within the emotional content of our shared genetic legacy. The time may be coming when the “fittest” among us may be those individuals who are gifted with overflowing compassion, caring and love.
All our lives are driven by, and derive meaning from, that which we practice. We recommend that all religious people open themselves to scientific knowledge of all kinds, including the latest developments across the full spectrum of scientific understanding. Likewise, we recommend that scientists adopt an attitude that their work is first and always focused on discovering and recognizing the awesomeness of God’s works. To this end, we think it is very important for both scientists and religious people to “make sacrifices at each other’s altars.” The best offerings we can bring to that altar are our own humility and love. Truth will not be captured or held by any one of her creatures. Try to arrest her, and she will escape your grasp as did the youth at Jesus’s arrest (Mark 14:51) who escaped the gang of temple guards.
But if you love her, she might surprise you with glimpses of her beauty. She surprised an old Rabbi, who loved her but sought her only in the Torah, the only truth he knew. She met him in the guise of an old donkey driver who questioned him with riddles and opened him to new vistas on the path to her heart (a story from the Kabbalah).
Concerning the truth and the paths in search after truth; consider this: The path of hypothesis, research, and proof of the scientist on one hand and the path of faith, trust, and enlightenment of the religious person on the other. Truth herself unites, as we have seen, both paths. Curiosity is the searcher’s and the researcher’s motivation. Intuition is the guiding light and inner voice for both.
The responsibility of both is to God for those people who follow their example and depend on their findings. It appears to be easiest to follow the findings and judgments of science. The scientist goes forward on the basis of facts, established and proven by his fellow researchers. The problem is this: facts change, sending the researcher “back to the drawing board,” to find out what happened. We who crave certainty tend to invest the scientist with the ultimate authority to demonstrate truth once and for all, until we see him in his laboratory, his mind a question mark: Truth, where are you hiding now? The medical scientist suffers more than others do under this unjust burden. The patient demands a cure. The doctor may be able to affect it or maybe not. All he has to work with are the facts before him and the precedence of similar situations he has seen before.
Faith follows the teacher of truth; the covenant as of old, confirmed by that teacher: Ask for what is wanting in your life and in your understanding of life. Know and believe that your request is granted. Stay alert to receive what you requested as it reaches your perception and fulfills the practical need, which motivated your request. For most people that is a tall order and a very difficult task. It is like walking a tight rope across the Grand Canyon. There is always that moment when you become aware of the enormity of the task – the moment of doubt. It threatens to dissipate your faith and plunge you into the darkness.
But the truth is absolute, however our perception of truth is tentative. Both science and faith are vexed with uncertainty and doubt. But no effort on the path of truth is ever wasted. Truth patiently waits to be discovered and re-discovered, to enlighten our efforts with her blessings.
Truth presents herself to us in principle, but also conditionally under varying circumstances. Two major pathways in the search for truth are science and religion. In comparing physics with theology, we found that both disciplines confirm the truth in principle as the evident and undivided truth.
Now as we enter the field of human conduct in our search for the unity of truth, we might find that field the most divisive of all. This because here we look at ourselves and find that each of us has arrived at the starting point of this search burdened with preconceived notions and fixed ideas. We can confirm as true the fact that we find ourselves on earth as one human species among many living creatures. But how and why we find ourselves here, and what is our role in relationship toward each other? - that question results , more often than not, in divided, rather than united truth.
The principle truth is from our human perspective, the objective truth: I say: "I am. I am here." "That is what you say," says my neighbor. "From where I am, I see you not here, but there. My problem is: From there, smiling at me, you make me feel safe -today. Tomorrow you might frown on me and thus cause me to fear you." Fear of conflict enters the principle truth of our self-awareness and introduces a modified truth from the subjective perspective. From this perspective, the truth that survives the potential struggle is superior to the truth that succumbs. Among scientists Charles Darwin clearly observed and described this ubiquitous phenomenon: Success in the struggle for a species' survival falls to the one best fit to live in its environment. The motor of success in this fitting of a species to its changing environment was first presumed and then confirmed to be the phenomenon of mutation.
The honest truth seeker on the religious path will empathize with the social scientist's dilemma, who tries to communicate an observation, only to see the truth of it succumb to falsification and greed. From the seat of truth the process of establishing its judgment is beyond the range of our thoughts. There is no equivocation at Truth's dwelling place: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord." (Isaiah 55:8)
The mandate for human conduct in nature and society differs significantly from that of every one of our fellow creatures: We must not kill our fellow human, not literally and not in thoughts of resentment. The Bible makes this clear from the outset in the drama of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:8ff). "Cain attacked his brother and killed him." Everywhere in nature fratricide is part of the quest for dominance over the herd or tribe. Jane Goodall observed a chimp getting hold of a metal canister. The racket he produced with it earned him the top spot.
The story of Abel and Cain illustrates the truth that we humans differ from our fellow animals precisely in this: The hard-wired survival function in the evolution of the creature species on earth must be overcome in us humans, if we are to fulfill our function on this beautiful blue planet. We are to nurture life and administer the dominion we have been given with responsibility (Genesis 1:28). The Lord asked Cain: "Where is your brother Abel?" He answered, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?" Yes! We humans are required to overcome the murderer within (who all too often poses as a harmless competitor). No one can claim that is easy. These very Bible pages are full of descriptions of war and death. It only proves that we humans have a long pilgrimage of pleading for the strength of peace ahead of us. And if we thought the lessons learned in the Hebrew scriptures are tough to follow, Christ, the master of our faith, is quoted in the New Testament with his even more difficult demand: "Love your enemy!" (Matthew 5:44), and with the warning: "Those who persecute you will think they do God's will."
Key to the fulfillment of the difficult task, overcoming the violent survival instinct, is responsibility. The question is: To whom or what am I responsible for my conduct? We have two laws we might choose from to answer that call: morality and ethics.
The adherent to the moral law adjusts his conduct to the norms of acceptable behavior. These laws are written in peoples' constitutions, codes, and traditions and operate within the tabus of a given community and culture. Fellow humans are elected or appointed to oversee the adherence to the laws. The problem is: Humans can be deceived and laws corrupted.
Ethics, by contrast, are the rules of responsibility to the ever-present spirit of truth - the spirit who calls our conscience from within and without: Where is your sister? Where is your brother? How well do you administer the assignment you have on Earth?