Why Can't We See God - A scientific explanation
By Frank Lee http://www.web-books.com/GoodPost/Articles/SeeGod.htm
Physicists have discovered the mechanism that prevents us from seeing the Kingdom of God by electromagnetic waves.
When I was a graduate student majoring in physics, I was an atheist. To me, God was a product of ignorance, due to lack of scientific knowledge. If people understood natural laws as well as physicists, they would not believe the existence of God. At that time, I did not know that most great physicists are God's believers, such as Newton, Kepler, Planck, Heisenberg and Einstein.
Ten years after I received my Ph.D. in physics, I became a Christian - not because I found any hard scientific evidence about God. Like most believers, I felt that there must be a God who had been guiding me, otherwise some events that had happened to me would not be so coincidental.
The existence of God was so real that I had been wondering: where could God be? why can't we see Him? how come modern technology cannot detect God? Since I was trained in physics, I believed that all natural phenomena should have a physical explanation. If God really existed, these questions could be answered in terms of physical law. However, I did not know where or how to find the scientific answer. It might be impossible to know the answer at all.
In 2000, almost ten years after I became a Christian, I happened to read an article about string theory. My specialty was in biophysics, not in theoretical physics, but I had great interest in our universe - especially new concepts. The string theory just offered a completely new concept about our universe. After I read that article, I was thrilled. This must be it! God must be there! He could be only a centimeter away from us without being detected. Physicists have discovered the mechanism that prevents us from seeing the Kingdom of God!
The string theory has been developed for several decades, with a goal to become "the theory of everything", that is, to unify all four fundamental forces - gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear forces. A revolutionary discovery of the theory is that the whole universe should have nine or ten dimensions of space, instead of three dimensions (length, width and height). Then, why do we see only three dimensions? In the earlier version of the string theory, it was assumed that those extra dimensions were too small to be observed. Thus, the whole universe is essentially the same as the 3D world. If this were true, there would be no place for God. Fortunately, a few years before 2000, researchers began to realize that those extra dimensions could be as large as the ordinary three dimensions. The reason why we cannot see extra dimensions is because all matter and electromagnetic waves (photons) are confined in a three dimensional sub-universe called "braneworld".
At present, the major messenger we use to see or detect things is the electromagnetic waves which include radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, and x-ray. Since the electromagnetic waves are confined in our braneworld, this immediately explains why we cannot detect God if He lives outside our braneworld. The relationship between our braneworld (three dimensional) and the whole universe (ten dimensional) is like a TV screen (two dimensional) in our house (three dimensional). Suppose there is a creature confined on the TV screen, he cannot see us even if we are only a centimeter away from him. Similarly, if God lives in the ten dimensional space but outside our braneworld, we cannot see Him even if He is only a centimeter away from us.
What is the mechanism that confines matter and photons in our braneworld?
We know that all matter in our world is composed of atoms. An atom consists of a nucleus surrounded by electrons. A nucleus contains protons and neutrons, which are made up of quarks. The electron and quarks are elementary particles which cannot be divided further. In addition to the elementary particles that constitute matter, there is another type of elementary particles that mediate the fundamental force between matter particles. For example, the electromagnetic force is mediated by photon, the gravity is mediated by graviton. You may have learned that the magnetic force is mediated by the magnetic field. Similarly, you can say that the electromagnetic force is mediated by the electromagnetic field. In quantum physics, a "field" can also be viewed ("quantized") as a particle. The photon is the particle name of the electromagnetic field. The graviton is the particle name of the gravitational field. A field may also be static (like a magnetic field) or dynamic (such as the electromagnetic waves).
According to the string theory, an elementary particle can be considered as a "string" with extremely short length. All properties (mass, energy, etc.) of an elementary particle are inherent in the string's vibrational patterns. The particle string is analogous to a violin string whose vibrations produce various music notes. Similarly, different vibrational patterns of a particle string give rise to different properties. The vibrational patterns depend on the endpoints of the string. The particle string can be either "open" (with two endpoints, like a violin string) or "closed" (no endpoints, like a ring). In contrast to a violin string whose endpoints are fixed on a wooden board, the endpoints of a particle string are fixed in a "brane" (as in membrane), which is a space with two, three, or more dimensions. Since its endpoints are fixed, the open-string particle cannot escape from the brane. However, the closed-string particle can go anywhere because it has no endpoints to be fixed. Mathematically, different endpoints have different boundary conditions that are used in solving the equations for the vibrational patterns.
The properties of elementary particles in our world are known from experiments. The vibrational patterns of a particle string can be obtained by solving the fundamental equation in the string theory with appropriate boundary conditions (corresponding to endpoints). It has been found that, in order to match particle properties with vibrational patterns, the graviton must be a closed string, while all other particles must be an open string with endpoints fixed in a three-dimensional brane. This predicts that all matter and photons must be trapped in a three-dimensional braneworld. The only thing that can escape from the braneworld is the graviton.
What about the Kingdom of God in the higher dimensional space (the "bulk universe")? Their matter is likely to be made of the elementary particles with closed string, thereby free to go anywhere. Their particles must not have any charge that interacts with photons, because the photon is an open string which is unique for our braneworld. The electromagnetic waves (photons) will pass through their matter without being reflected at all. Therefore, even if their matter (including life) enters into our braneworld, it still cannot be detected by electromagnetic waves.
All our matter particles can interact with the graviton, which is a closed string. It is very likely that the matter in the Kingdom of God can also interact with the graviton. Hence, in principle, God could be detected by gravitational waves (gravitons). However, the gravitational waves are extremely weak. Physicists have not been able to generate detectable gravitational waves yet. In the future, when we have better scientific knowledge and technology, we may be able to prove the existence of God by using gravitational waves to detect Him directly.
The gravitational waves may provide a wealth of information about the Kingdom of God.
Our eyes use visible light to see things. At night, when there is no visible light, soldiers may use infrared to see enemy's activities. In hospitals, x-ray is commonly used to see possible symptoms inside our body. The visible light, infrared and x-ray are electromagnetic waves with different wavelengths. As explained in a previous article, electromagnetic waves (photons) are confined in our braneworld, which is a three-dimensional sub-universe embedded in a ten-dimensional bulk universe. If God is some intelligent life who lives outside our braneworld, it is impossible for us to see Him by electromagnetic waves. Furthermore, the matter that constitutes the Kingdom of God does not interact with photons. Therefore, even if God enters into our braneworld, He still cannot be detected by electromagnetic waves.
The only possible way to see the Kingdom of God is by gravitational waves (gravitons), which also travel at the speed of light. Among all elementary particles that are known to us, only the graviton may leave our braneworld and enter the bulk universe. Moreover, the matter in the Kingdom of God is very likely to interact with gravitons. Therefore, it is possible to use gravitational waves to obtain information about the Kingdom of God. However, the gravitational waves are extremely weak compared to electromagnetic waves. This is because the gravitational waves are related to the gravitational force and the electromagnetic waves are related to the electromagnetic force. For the interaction between two electrons (which have both charge and mass), the electromagnetic force is 1043 times stronger than the gravitational force.
The gravitational waves are emitted when the motion of a mass is accelerating (including vibration and rotation), similar to the emission of electromagnetic waves from accelerating charges. Hence, it is very easy to generate a gravitational wave - just shake your head. However, to generate a detectable gravitational wave is a very challenging task. Although the gravitational wave was predicted by Einstein's general relativity in early 20th century, it has not been directly detected yet. The strongest gravitational wave may come from the rotation of stars. Currently, there are several gravitational wave observatories (e.g., LIGO and GEO 600) designed to detect gravitational waves from the space.
Physicists have found the reason why the gravitational force is extremely weak: because the force may "leak" to the extra dimensions that are invisible to us. For the observer (e.g., God) in the bulk universe, the gravitational force should be many orders of magnitude stronger. Thus, in the Kingdom of God, the gravitational waves could be the major messenger for communication and for obtaining information, just like the electromagnetic waves in our world. Since all our matter particles can interact with gravitons, God is very likely to use gravitational waves to "see" our world. He may also use gravitons to influence our world, ranging from stellar motion, to biological evolution, and to our brain function. The existence of God will be confirmed if the gravitational waves from God are detected.
The most direct proof of God's existence is to "see" God directly by gravitational waves. The classical method of vibration or rotation of a mass in our laboratory is unlikely to generate detectable gravitational waves. Recently, it has been suggested that the gravitational waves could be generated by quantum methods, similar to a laser that generates photon beams. The gravitational laser is called gaser (more info).
After a powerful gaser is developed, it is quite possible to see God when He is in our braneworld. However, to see anything outside our braneworld will face another difficulty: which direction should the gaser point to? All directions that we can see with our eyes are in the braneworld, but God may be in the direction that is invisible to us. We do not have the answer at this time. However, since the gravitational waves may spread to the extra dimensions that cannot be seen by electromagnetic waves, the graviton beams may reveal the extra dimensions no matter which direction they are pointed to. After we gain more experience, we will be able to know how to probe the extra dimensions by gravitational waves. In the not-too-distant future, the gravitational waves may provide a wealth of information about the Kingdom of God.
"Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him?"
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According to the string theory, the whole universe (called the "bulk universe") has 11 dimensions - 10 dimensions of space and one dimension of time. The reason why we experience only 3D space is because we are confined in a sub-universe called the "braneworld". In physics, a dimension can be considered as a "degree of freedom". Living in a world with more dimensions should have more degrees of freedom, and thus more powerful. This can be illustrated by the following figure.
Suppose there is a creature confined on this web page (a two dimensional world), then he cannot enter the red square from outside without crossing the red lines. However, for us living in the three dimensional world, we can reach inside of the square from the direction perpendicular to the web page. Similarly, for a creature living in the higher dimensional world than our 3D world, he can enter into our house without the need to open the door. He can even reach our internal organs without cutting the skin. This is hard to visualize with our brain, but it can be shown from the geometry developed by Bernhard Riemann in 1854.
Our braneworld is embedded in the higher dimensional bulk universe, similar to a computer screen in our house. If God is some intelligent life living in the bulk universe, He should be far more powerful than us, because He has more degrees of freedom. He can access our internal organs from other directions that are invisible to us. Therefore, He has the power to remove lung tumors without cutting the skin. He could influence our decision making by altering the neurotransmitter release at the junction (synapse) between neurons.
Although God could perform all kinds of miracles, it seems that He does not intend to do things that obviously break the physical laws for our braneworld. We never saw a chair fly by itself or a sofa suddenly disappear. If this happens, our scientific foundation would be in trouble. Then, what kind of miracles would God do?
Our physical law does not fix all future courses. Many phenomena are probabilistic, rather than deterministic. For example, meteorologists can predict weather only with certain probability. The genes of a child cannot be completely determined from the genes of his or her parents. "To be or not to be" is determined by the neurotransmitter release which is also probabilistic.
God may perform miracles by manipulating the probability allowed by physical law.
I found that many people became a believer through the experience of some events that look like "coincidence". This is exactly what God has been doing. Unfortunately, a lot of scientists fail to recognize that "coincidence" is the way God manifests His power. In spite of millions of "coincidences" that are required, and have happened, for the creation of life in our braneworld, many scientists are reluctant to attribute those coincidences to God. Perhaps, if assuming God's existence, they will face a more difficult question: where did God come from?
One may think that it is impossible to know how God originated -- we don't even know how our braneworld originated, let alone how God came to exist. In fact, based on current scientific evidence, spontaneous creation of intelligent life in the bulk universe is much more likely than spontaneous creation of our braneworld. In other words, God could come to exist spontaneously, but our braneworld must be created by a higher being.
God does not play dice with the universe - Albert Einstein
It has been well known that our universe is fine-tuned for the existence of life on Earth. For example, the Earth has the just-right distance with the Sun so that its surface temperature is not too hot, not too cold. Its atmospheric gases also have the just-right combination so that they can block most harmful radiation from the Sun while allowing visible light to pass through. The location of our solar system in the Milky Way Galaxy is also just right. If it were close to the galactic center, it would expose to significant amount of harmful radiation from other stars. If too far away, the Sun would not have enough "metals" (defined by astronomers as the elements heavier than helium) for the creation of planets. These fine-tunings may suggest intelligent design by a higher being, but they also have an alternative explanation: our universe contains billions of stars and planets, each having different characteristics; our Sun and Earth just happen to possess all of the right characteristics.
Now, consider the fine-tuning of physical constants. If the electromagnetic force were 4 percent weaker, there would be no hydrogen atom. If protons were 0.2 percent heavier, they could decay into neutrons and the atom would fall apart. The strong nuclear force must be tuned to within 1%, otherwise carbon cannot be formed. The weak nuclear force must also be tuned to a narrow range in order to produce heavy elements. To explain these fine-tunings, atheistic scientists assume that the whole universe (bulk universe) may contain almost infinite number of sub-universes (braneworlds), each having a different set of physical constants. Our braneworld just happens to have the right physical constants.
What a great coincidence!
Instead of assuming the existence of infinite number of braneworlds, is it simpler to assume the existence of God who created our braneworld? Of course, atheistic scientists will ask: how did God come to exist? The "scientific" answer to this question is actually quite simple, if "God" is defined as the highly intelligent life in the bulk universe (but outside of any braneworld).
The "life" in the bulk universe should also be composed of matter. According to the string theory, the elementary particles that constitute the matter in the bulk universe must be entirely different from those in our braneworld. The only thing they have in common is the "graviton" or gravitational field. In physics- the particle form of the gravitational field that mediates gravitational interaction between two objects. Therefore, the "Kingdom of God" must not have electron, photon (light) and quarks (the constituents of protons and neutrons that form the nucleus of an atom). At present, the properties of its matter are beyond our imagination. In the future, when the string theory is fully developed, it could provide information about the elementary particles and matter in the Kingdom of God. The theory has been able to predict the exact properties of graviton.
In the past several decades, cosmologists have been trying to explain the origin of our universe from vacuum. How could matter arise from vacuum? Since matter possesses energy, would it violate the energy conservation law? In fact, matter could be created from vacuum without violating any physical law. The key is the graviton which possesses negative energy. Although our universe contains billions of stars with huge amount of positive matter energy, the total energy is much smaller (or even zero) because the negative gravitational energy may cancel the positive matter energy.
Even if the total energy is not zero, matter could still be created spontaneously - but only for a very short time. According to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, we cannot determine energy and time precisely. Therefore, it is possible for a group of particles with non-zero total energy appear spontaneously and then disappear within a short time. The more the total energy is created, the shorter the lifetime. This process is known as the quantum fluctuation, which has been well confirmed by experiments.
In 1973, Edward Tryon suggested that our universe might originate from the quantum fluctuation. This requires extremely accurate cancellation between matter energy and gravitational energy. If the matter energy is just slightly (within 1 part in 1050) greater than the gravitational energy, the uncertainty principle would dictate the matter to disappear in a time period that is too short to have any physical meaning. For such gigantic fluctuation to occur spontaneously is almost impossible.
How about spontaneous creation of the Kingdom of God? It is much more likely if the bulk universe did not start with a Big Bang. Suppose in the beginning it had only vacuum governed by physical laws. Then, quantum fluctuation would certainly produce light elementary particles. Although the lifetime of these light particles is short, they may interact with each other to form stable particles during their lifetime. The energy of the stable particles may come from gravitons which we know the bulk universe must have. As time proceeded, some structures similar to our atoms could be formed. Eventually, a habitable environment and life could be developed. Since the bulk universe is eternal, there was plenty of time for an intelligent life to develop from elementary particles.
Einstein did not like the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics. When he said "God does not play dice with the universe", he assumed that the physical law was created by God. However, if God is the intelligent life in the bulk universe, He cannot create physical law. Instead, God is an inevitable consequence of the physical law. Before the Big Bang of our braneworld, God must have discovered everything about the physical law and found that it was possible to create a braneworld with three dimensional space. By carefully choosing appropriate physical constants, intelligent life could emerge from this braneworld. If this is the case, Einstein was right. God won't do things randomly. He had a purpose: to create human in His own image.
Dark energy could be designed to counteract the attractive gravitational force so that our universe may expand stably.
The most amazing fine-tuning of our universe is its average density of matter, which is related to the curvature of space. If the density is close to a critical density, the space is flat; otherwise, it is curved. In a curved space, the Euclidean geometry that we are familiar with would not work. The shortest distance between two points would not be a straight line. Cosmological observations have confirmed that our space is indeed flat. Therefore, its density must be close to the critical density.
Based on Einstein's cosmological equation, if at any moment our universe's density is slightly greater than the critical density, it will become increasingly greater than the critical density. Eventually, the gravitational attraction will reverse the universe's expansion, leading to a big crunch. On the other hand, if the density is slightly less than the critical density, it will become increasingly less than the critical density. Eventually, our universe will fly apart and become essentially an empty space. Thus, our universe appears to be an unstable system, like a pencil balanced on its point. Because the universe's density cannot afford for a slight deviation from the critical density, cosmologists believe that it must be "exactly" (to the accuracy of 1 part in 1060) equal to the critical density when our universe was created. Otherwise, we would not be here today.
My undergraduate major was in control and system engineering. At that time, my real interest was in philosophy. I did not spend much time learning the engineering stuff. However, after more than 30 years, I still remember the most basic principle: you cannot design an unstable system! Well, that is common sense. You do not need to go to an engineering school to learn this basic principle.
Since the Big Bang, our universe has been expanding for 13.7 billion years without a problem. It must be a stable system. God would not design an unstable system. There must be something missing in our understanding of the universe. The missing stuff could be the "dark energy" which was discovered in 1998.
To design a stable system, you must have a counteracting force. If somehow the system is pushed away from its stable state, the counteracting force may pull the system back to its stable state. The major force that governs the universe's expansion is the gravitational force. For ordinary matter, the gravitational force is always attractive. Then, where could the counteracting force come from? Is there any matter that has the property of anti-gravity?
In 1998, two independent teams of astronomers discovered that our universe's expansion was accelerating. This was a total surprise. The gravitational attraction of ordinary matter can only slow down the expansion. There must exist some invisible stuff that can counteract the gravitational attraction. This mysterious stuff is called "dark energy". The nature of dark energy is not known, but it holds the key to tell whether our universe was created by God, or spontaneously popped out from the vacuum.
From the cosmological equation, it can be shown that the universe's density will approach to the critical density when the expansion is accelerating (reference). With the help of dark energy, the universe's density can be maintained at the critical density. In fact, this feature is the foundation of the inflation theory for the origin of Big Bang. In 1981, Alan Guth proposed that our universe could begin with exponential expansion to drive the density to precisely the critical density in a tiny fraction of a second.
What is the force that drives the exponential expansion? When the inflation theory was first proposed, there was no evidence for the existence of any particles that interact with each other by repulsive gravitational force. The only alternative is the "vacuum energy" - the virtual particles generated spontaneously from the vacuum by quantum fluctuation. The virtual particles are ordinary matter that interact with each other by attractive gravitational force. However, because they are popped out from the vacuum, they create a "negative pressure" that may also cause the expansion to accelerate. The inflation theory assumes that the Big Bang originated from the vacuum energy with extremely high density.
Currently, there are two leading candidates for the dark energy: vacuum energy and quintessence. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, quintessence is "the fifth and highest element in ancient and medieval philosophy that permeates all nature and is the substance composing the celestial bodies". In the quintessence model, the dark energy is assumed to be made up of "exotic" particles that interact with each other by repulsive gravitational force. The mass of a quintessence particle is expected to be much less than an electron. They should permeate through our universe.
There is a major difference between the vacuum energy
model and the quintessence model. The vacuum energy density is a constant. It
does not vary with time as the universe expands. All other matter density should
decrease with expanding volume of the universe. At present, the dark energy
makes up about 70% of all matter. If the dark energy is the vacuum energy, its
composition in the early universe must be negligible. By contrast, if the dark
energy is the quintessence particles, it may still dominate the early
universe. The exponential expansion of the Big Bang might be caused by the
gravitationally repulsive particles.
In 1998, Science's Breakthrough of the Year was awarded to the discovery of the universe's accelerating expansion. In 2003, it was awarded to the confirmation of dark energy. When the nature of the dark energy is identified, it will not only be Breakthrough of the Year, but also this century's breakthrough. Scientists are actively investigating the dark energy. Within five years, a project called the Dark Energy Survey will be launched to collect data on 300 million galaxies spanning two-thirds of the universe's history. This will tell us the matter composition in the earlier universe and distinguish whether the dark energy is vacuum energy or some gravitationally repulsive particles.
Suppose the dark energy turns out to be the vacuum energy, then the currently popular inflation model for the origin of Big Bang is still alive. If the vacuum energy model is proved wrong, the dark energy must be the gravitationally repulsive "exotic" particles which may originate from the bulk universe - the Kingdom of God.
Cold dark matter could be designed as the seeds for the growth of galaxies.
In our universe, about 95 percent of matter are invisible. They cannot be seen by all kinds of telescopes - radio, infrared, optical, ultraviolet, X-ray, or gamma-ray. Their existence was inferred from the gravitational effects. These invisible matter can be divided into two categories: dark energy (~ 70%) and cold dark matter (~25%). The dark energy causes the universe's expansion to accelerate. The cold dark matter affects stellar motion in a galaxy. Identification of the physical nature of these invisible matter will have profound implication on the origin of our universe.
Suppose our universe was popped out spontaneously from the vacuum, it should not contain any "exotic" matter that belongs to the higher dimensional bulk universe. If our universe was created by God, He may use exotic matter to facilitate the creation and to assist the evolution of our universe. In the latter case, our universe my contain some exotic matter.
As explained in a previous article, the matter that belongs to the bulk universe cannot be detected by electromagnetic waves. Therefore, the invisible matter could be the exotic matter. If this is proved true, our universe was unlikely to be popped out from the vacuum. We have shown that the dark energy could be designed to counteract the attractive gravitational force so that our universe may expand stably (more info). Whether the dark energy is exotic matter or vacuum energy can be concluded in the near future.
There are three types of dark matter: baryonic dark matter, hot dark matter and cold dark matter. The baryonic dark matter is made up of protons and neutrons such as non-luminous gas and stars. The hot dark matter consists of particles with negligible mass such as neutrinos. Both of them are ordinary matter. The majority of dark matter, however, is the cold dark matter which might be exotic matter.
The cold dark matter cannot be detected by electromagnetic waves. From their influence on stellar motion, astronomers have been able to determine their distribution in our space (picture). They are concentrated around galaxies. Their average mass is estimated to be 100-1000 times of a hydrogen atom. The particles that make up the cold dark matter are named "weakly interacting massive particles" (WIMP). Computer simulation suggests that they may form structures in the early universe, serving as seeds for the growth of galaxies.
Scientists are actively investigating the nature of WIMP. The supersymmetry theory predicts a particle called neutralino which has properties similar to WIMP. The neutralino can experience the weak nuclear force but all matter in the Kingdom of God should not experience weak nuclear force. Suppose WIMP is demonstrated to be the neutralino, then it is not exotic matter. Of course, this does not rule out the intelligent design by God. However, if WIMP is shown to be an exotic matter, it will provide further support for the creation by God.
There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. -- Acts 24:15
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"Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." -- John 3: 3-9
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Among all biblical teachings, resurrection from the dead is probably the most difficult to accept. Everyone knows that, after death, the body will decompose into molecules and NEVER recombine to form the original body. Then, how could there be "life after death"? How could anyone be "born from above"? What does the resurrected body look like? Will it include anything that represents the person before he dies?
According to the string theory, we are confined in a three dimensional braneworld that is embedded in a ten dimensional world. We have assumed that the higher dimensional world could be the "Kingdom of God". There is a natural mechanism that prevents us from seeing anything outside the braneworld. This agrees with Jesus' teaching that we cannot see the Kingdom of God while we still live in the terrestrial world. However, Jesus went a big step further to tell us that we may enter and see the Kingdom of God after we are dead and "born from above".
In 1 Corinthians chapter 15, Paul spent quite a few words to explain "how are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?". He said "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." Thus, the natural (physical) body does not go to heaven. When a person is raised to heaven, it will be in the form of a spiritual body.
Which part of the person will be included in the spiritual body? According to the string theory, all matter that constitute our body cannot leave our braneworld. Therefore, your legs, your heart and your brain cannot go to "heaven" (the higher dimensional world). Some people may say "the soul can go to heaven". However, what is the soul? what is the physical definition of the soul? where is it located?
Physically, the only thing that can identify a person and also possibly go to heaven is memory. Although memory is stored in the brain, it is not matter. It is a kind of "information" that is not confined in the braneworld. As an analogy, the information you receive from a website is stored on a server (a special kind of computer). The server may be confined in a room, but the stored information can be transferred to other places.
We do not know what the spiritual body look like. It may contain some "organs" that fit the higher dimensional world. Our original organs cannot, and does not need to, go to heaven because they are designed to fit the terrestrial world. These organs cannot represent a person anyway. To construct a spiritual body that represents a person, God may simply retrieve a person's memory and integrate it with some kind of "spiritual organs". Interestingly, one of near death experiences is "life review" - a playback of memories. The life review could be the memory transfer process from a physical body to a spiritual body. Further details are given in the next article.
Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1 Corinthians 15: 51-52 Click your back browser button to return to this site
With modern medical techniques, many patients can be rescued from "near death" when the heart has stopped beating and in most cases the brain also ceased to function as indicated by a flat electroencephalogram (EEG). Reports of near death experiences (NDE) by those surviving patients are quite similar worldwide, regardless of cultures and religions. They can be summarized as follows:
- Feeling of peace and contentment
- Out of body experience
- Moving through a tunnel toward light
- Communication with light
- Life review (playback of memory)
These experiences seem to prove that there is life after death. "Out of body" and "moving through a tunnel toward light" look like the person is going to heaven. However, some scientists suggest that these experiences are merely the hallucination of a dying brain. Dr. Karl Jansen pointed out that an anesthetic drug, ketamine, can reproduce several features of NDE (more info).
In 2001, Dr. Pim van Lommel and his colleagues published a paper entitled "Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest" (Lancet 2001; 358: 2039-45). Lancet is a well-respected scientific journal. Typically, a scientific journal would accept only papers with traditional scientific point of view. Dr. Lommel's paper is a rare exception. They found that induced experiences (such as by ketamine or electric stimulation) are not identical to NDE. Although some electric stimulation may induce flashes of recollection from the past, "these recollections, however, consist of fragmented and random memories unlike the panoramic life-review that can occur in NDE".
In the Discussion section, they also posed a very challenging question:
"How could a clear consciousness outside one's body be experienced at the moment that the brain no longer functions during a period of clinical death with flat EEG?.... Furthermore, blind people have described veridical perception during out-of-body experiences at the time of this experience. NDE pushes at the limits of medical ideas about the range of human consciousness and the mind-brain relation."
To reconcile these phenomena, they questioned the concept that consciousness and memory are localized in the brain. As mentioned in a previous article, memory is a kind of information that can be transmitted to other places. When a person is still alive, memory is probably located in the brain. As soon as he dies, God may transfer memory from the physical body to the spiritual body. The panoramic life review may reflect this transferring process.
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