Our Holographic Bible
System Design of the Scriptures?:
In previous articles, we noted how scientists have been attracted to the strange properties of a hologram to help explain the bizarre properties of quantum physics and even the organization of the human brain.1 It shouldn't come as such a surprise, then, to discover that the Ultimate Architect may have also employed some of these concepts in the design of the Scriptures themselves.
What is a Hologram?
A hologram is a form of lensless photography in which a laser simultaneously illuminates an object and a piece of film. The film records the interference between the light waves hitting it directly and the light waves reflected from the object. It is, in effect, a frequency record rather than a spatial image.
There are mathematical transforms that can alter the domain of a message or image into a form that has unusual and attractive properties. We take advantage of a Lorentz Transform when we calculate the time dilation of hypothetical astronauts in interplanetary travel. Engineers frequently exploit Fourier Transforms to change a time series into a frequency series. The use of frequency response curves in the evaluation of audio equipment is a common example. Fourier had developed a mathematical way of converting any pattern, no matter how complex, into a language of simple waves. He also showed that these wave forms could be converted back into the original pattern, just as a television set converts those frequencies back into the original images. The equations he developed are known as Fourier Transforms.
One of the most remarkable examples of a Fourier Transform is the hologram. The principles were first formulated in 1947 by Dennis Gabor (who later won a Nobel Prize for his efforts) as he was trying to improve the electron microscope, then a primitive and imperfect device. His approach was a mathematical one, leaning on a type of calculus invented by an 18th century Frenchman, Jean B. J. Fourier. Modern holographic images are derived from the work of Emmet Leath at the University of Michigan. (I had the pleasure of exploring computer-generated holograms with him in his laboratory in the early '60s.)
The hologram exhibits some very profound properties beyond the three-dimensional image. In fact, it is one of the most profound means to distribute information throughout a given media. All of the information it contains is distributed over the entire image surface. One can remove a portion of the hologram without losing the image! Drill a hole in the hologram, and one can still view the entire object by simply moving one's eye to a more convenient angle (some resolution, or sharpness, will be lost however). Cut the film into pieces, and each piece contains the complete image.2
An engineer who is designing a communication system in anticipation of hostile jamming, or other countermeasures, needs to employ several critical techniques to be effective. In addition to taking advantage of available error detection and correction techniques, he will also attempt to spread his message throughout the available bandwidth. He will avoid clustering his message into areas which would increase his vulnerability to jamming or interference.
It is provocative to notice that the Biblical text evidences these same techniques. Where is the chapter on baptism? Or salvation? Or any specific critical doctrine? Every major theme is spread throughout the 66 books making up the total message. There is no concentration of any critical element in any single location. One can tear out a surprising number of pages and still not lose visibility of the essential message. (Some resolution or clarity would be lost, however.) This design intent of distributing the vital elements throughout the entire message system is even highlighted by Isaiah:
Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
A Biblical Analogy
When one examines a hologram in natural (uncollimated, noncoherent) light, it has no apparent form nor attractiveness. However, when one examines it with the laser with which it was formulated, a three-dimensional image appears. When one examines the Bible in unaided, natural light, it "has no form nor comeliness that we should desire it."3 But when we examine it illuminated by the Light that created it, the Spirit of God that put it all together in the first place, we see an image: the image of the One that every detail in it illuminates, the promised Messiah Himself.
From Genesis to Revelation, God's program for the redemption of mankind is carefully distributed throughout 66 books,4 penned by more than 40 different individuals spanning several thousand years! And, indeed, this abused collection has survived the jamming and interference of its enemies over many centuries without material damage!
(However, if we illuminate the hologram with a laser of a different frequency, it will yield a false or distorted image. So, too, the Scripture!)
And there are knowledgeable, resourceful adversaries that are very committed to preventing it from achieving its objective. And you are the target of their malicious designs. Lies and deceit are their primary weapons.5 And, surprisingly, religion has been the deceptive packaging to prevent mankind from perceiving the truth of God's grace and mercy.
(Jesus Christ was the most anti-religious person who has ever walked the earth. The only hostility He ever evidenced-and He almost invariably did so-was toward the professional religionists of that day.) Religion is man's attempt to reconcile himself to God. It began when Adam and Eve attempted to clothe themselves to hide their nakedness.6
God's response was to replace their efforts with coats of skins,7 teaching them that they would ultimately be covered by the shedding of innocent blood. The concept of a substitutional sacrifice, which would later be codified in the Levitical system, and climaxed at Golgatha, was introduced before they left the Garden of Eden. You and I are also the beneficiaries of that love letter, written in blood on a wooden cross that was erected in Judea about 2,000 years ago.
The holographic paradigm thus seems to give us a glimpse into the interconnected relationships of the human mind (reviewed last month), and even the very nature of physical reality itself (see Personal UPDATE 8/98) also appears to leave its imprint within the Word of God itself. This would appear to be a subtle, but significant, fingerprint of the Author of it all.