At various times in our lives many of us ponder far-ranging questions: Where did this material world / universe come from? Are we alone or are there advanced life forms on other worlds? Will the universe expand forever or eventually collapse into nothingness? In other words, where are we, in relation to everything else?
These often spawn existential where am I queries such as: Who am I? Why am I here? What will happen to me? Collectively, both sets of questions make fodder for thinkers and writers in science fiction and fantasy.
They also generate theories and teachings in cosmology — a field of study that thrives in the interface between science and religion.
Wikipedia posits at least three different aspects of cosmology: physical / scientific, esoteric / religious, and philosophical/secular. Optimally, all three would be mutually supportive rather than contentious, as outlined in the previous post titled, Time4Time About-Reboot. But achieving such complementarity requires those investigating cosmological avenues be clear about how they gain insight and understanding and draw conclusions about what they know and don’t know. The search for this clarity blends the more tenseless and abstract “where are we” with the present and personal “where am I” to generate another set of questions that challenges us to place our existence in an all-encompassing “omniverse” however one chooses to define it:
- Where am I if the basis of the universe may not be energy or matter but information? 1
- Where am I if the “design” behind the creation and expansion of the universe is a simulation?
- Where am I if dark energy is the immutable, inextinguishable, omnipresent force that converts information design into observable states?
- Where am I if the Big Bang at the inception of our universe was the only occurrence?
- Where am I if our universe started its expansion on the heels of the collapse of another one in a Big Bounce?
- Where am I if multiple universes exist concurrently?
Despite the promotion of innumerable thought experiments, these questions carry no certainty of being quickly answered, if ever. This, then, creates the intellectual space to entertain spiritual perspectives that can explain or offer proofs for the seemingly inexplicable or unprovable. For instance, in the 1880s Bahá’u’lláh, Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, stated:
As to thy question concerning the worlds of God. Know thou of a truth that the worlds of God are countless in their number, and infinite in their range. None can reckon or comprehend them except God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. 2
Verily I say, the creation of God embraceth worlds besides this world, and creatures apart from these creatures. In each of these worlds He hath ordained things which none can search except Himself, the All-Searching, the All-Wise. 3
These statements are quite prescient considering the field of quantum mechanics out of which the theories of multiverses, Big Bang, Big Bounce, etc. emerged was not named and formalized until the 1920s. Furthermore, they illustrate how intertwined spiritual and material perspectives can point to new places where we are and where I am. It’s an adventure that lies ahead for all of us!
More to follow…
- Perry, Philip, “The basis of the universe may not be energy or matter but information,” BigThink (blog), August 27, 2017, https://bigthink.com/philip-perry/the-basis-of-the-universe-may-not-be-energy-or-matter-but-information. ↩
- Bahá’u’lláh (1978) 1879-91. “Súriy-i-Vafá”(www.bahai.org/r/861851575). Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh. Chatham, UK: W&J Mackay Ltd. pg. 187. ISBN 0-85398-077-2. ↩
- Ibid. pg. 188. ↩