Whence Our 'Reality'?
Part Two of a Series:
Most of us take our physical world for granted. To many, our physical world is all that is truly "real." But the more we learn from modern science, the more illusive and intangible our "reality" becomes.
We understand that the nucleus of a hydrogen atom is on the order of 10-13 cm., and that the radius of its electron's orbit is on the order of 10-8 cm. - a difference of 100,000 times. (If we were to make a model of that, making the nucleus the size of a pinhead, the electron would be a football field away!) Looking at this volumetrically, for every part of "matter," there are 1015 parts of "non-matter"! (That's about the same ratio of one minute to a billion years!) The atoms which make up the molecules of all physical things are more empty than filled!
So if matter is made up of so much "empty space," it is any wonder that neutrinos routinely pass through our entire world unnoticed? And then it isn't so difficult for us to imagine how our Lord Jesus Christ, in His resurrection body, was able to pass through walls - even though He was manifestly tangible, not just a "spirit":
Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have . - Luke 24:39
Our Finite Universe
One of the most significant discoveries of 20th century science has been the fact that our universe is not infinite, but finite. It had a beginning. That's what has led to the many conjectures making up the "Big Bang" models. We are asked to accept the explanation that "first there was nothing, and then it exploded"
From thermodynamics we know that heat flows from warm bodies toward colder bodies. If the universe was infinitely old, it would be at a uniform temperature; it isn't. It is still cooling. It had a beginning. And it will have an end.
But it is in the microcosm that we find the most disturbing discoveries. You would think that if we take any length, we could cut it in half, and then take a remainder and cut it in half, etc. At least theoretically, we assume this process could go on forever. However, we now discover that when we get down to 10-33 cm., it loses its "locality." We now understand that all matter, energy, and even time are made up of "quanta": indivisible units. (That's why they call this arena of study "quantum physics.") The "Planck length" is 10-33 cm.; the "Planck time," 10-43 sec.
So the astonishing discovery is that we exist within a finite boundary between the macrocosm of astronomy and the microcosm of quantum physics. In fact, we are in a digital simulation!1 The eminent atheist Paul Davies has admitted that "it seems that the entire universe may be nothing more than a thought in the mind of God."
There are some scholars that suspect that the original Creation was fractured as a result of the curse in Genesis 3, and that the four dimensions presently available to us which we call the "physical world" (three physical dimensions, plus time) are only a subset of a more comprehensive reality: the "spiritual" world.
Furthermore, the Second Law of Thermodynamics - the Law of Entropy - may be what Paul refers to as the "Bondage of Decay" 2 that the whole creation groans to be delivered from, which was also a result of the curse in Genesis 3. (Everything we know about the Creation is, of course, limited from our post-curse point of view.)
The Architecture of Man
It is significant that the real personality of man - both Mr. and Mrs. Man - call it "soul," "spirit," or whatever - is "software," not "hardware." The "real" you and I are simply resident in temporary bodies and are, hopefully, destined for an upgrade!
Just as the architecture of the software inside a computer cannot be inferred from observing its external behavior, neither can the architecture of our own internal software be adequately inferred from observing our behavior. The only way to comprehend the internal architecture is by consulting the Designer's handbook.3
If I take a blank computer disk and weight it on a scale, it will weigh about 0.7 oz. If I spend hundreds of dollars and load it with over a million bytes of software, it will still weigh 0.7 oz. Software has no mass. Although it may be resident in a physical system, it has no mass of its own. It can even be transmitted through the airwaves.
(The mass of my current residence has a bit too much mass, but that's another problem altogether)
As we pointed out in our article last month, time is a physical property: it varies with mass, acceleration, and gravity. Therefore, since software has no mass, it has no time dimension of its own. The real "you" - call it soul, spirit, or whatever - is eternal whether you are saved or not. That's the problem. Where will you spend your eternity?
Will you be qualified to spend your eternity in the presence of God? Or denied the presence of a Holy God?
The Reality of Hell
We don't like to think about the dark side of the "afterlife." But Jesus spoke more about hell than He did about heaven. He was emphatic that we really understand that we each have a very unpleasant destiny unless we respond to His instruction. And there will be a Final Judgment that will include an accounting of every detail of our entire lives:
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. - Matthew 12:36
Preparing for the Ultimate Adventure
If we were anticipating being transferred to a foreign assignment, our desk would be littered with brochures, books, and all the reliable information that we could find out about our anticipated destination. Yet you and I have an appointment that is more certain than any other fact of our existence.4 Have you done your homework on this most important assignment of your life?
We will definitely need special credentials for our forthcoming trip to avoid certain disaster - and the visas we will need are only granted on this side of the border! Are you ready to pass through that inevitable portal? There is no other priority in your life more urgent than this one.
The first act of religion was man's attempt to cover himself, but God taught him that he would be covered by the shedding of innocent blood.5 So this isn't about "church" or "religion." It is about a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.6
Don't spend your eternity counting the "if only's." Don't gamble your eternal destiny on the premise that the Bible is wrong. These issues and many more are covered in our briefing, Heaven and Hell: What Happens When You Die?. The topics of creation, reality, and the nature of time are also explored in our verse-by-verse commentary of the Book of Genesis, beginning January 19th. Sign up for K-Rations or our Berean Online Fellowship subscription plans to receive the Genesis study.
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