At the beginning of God’s creating of the heavens and the earth, When the earth was wild and waste, Darkness over the face of Ocean, Rushing-spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters- God said: Let there be light! And there was light. — Genesis translated by Everett Fox
The universe is mostly light. Electrons and positrons are created from light (pair production) and destroyed at about equal rates. Protons and neutrons being changed back and forth so about equal numbers. Only about one neutron or proton for each (10/9 photons).— Steven Weinberg (The First Three minutes)
What we observe is not nature itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning.— Warner Heisenberg
Stephen Hawking is losing his religion. In his latest book, The Grand Design, Hawking suggests that God is an unnecessary component in the creation of the universe: “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper [fuse] and set the universe going.” Hawking likes to court controversy and predictably, his remarks drew fire. Religious leaders such as the The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Conner and one of Britain’s senior Imams made pointed rebuttals defending their respective religions.
Earlier in the year in an interview with Diane Sawyer, Hawking compared religion and science saying: “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.” In the same interview, Hawking goes on to define what he means by God: “One could define God as the embodiment of the loss of nature. However this is not what most people would think of as that God. They mean a human-like being, with whom one can have a personal relationship.”
This is one way of conceptualizing a creator, but there are other ideations of God as a universal spirit or presence, a living consciousness that permeates all of existence much like a Quantum Field. Professor Hawking is a heroic figure and an iconoclast. He has stimulated debate and discovery throughout the scientific community. But is it really necessary to pit science against religion? Scientists and mystics are exploring the same mystery, just using a different language. Dogma is the enemy of all thought, both scientific and religious. Although science deals in fact and religion in faith, both require an open mind and heart.
Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and…. Quantum Physics
“Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing…Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists.” —Stephen Hawking
The world is a mere spontaneous creation of Brahman. It is created out of bliss, by bliss and for Bliss. Lila indicates a spontaneous sportive activity of Brahman as distinguished from a self-conscious volitional effort. The concept of Lila signifies freedom as distinguished from necessity. — Ram Shanker Misra
In Hinduism, the world is a spontaneous creation of Brahman, the eternal, unchanging transcendent reality and divine ground of all matter, energy, space, time and existence. Brahman initiates creation for its own sake, for the sheer joy of creating. And strangely, Stephen Hawking is in agreement with Hinduism and the concept of Brahman; what Stephen Hawking calls the Universe participating in “spontaneous creation,” Hindus call Brahman participating in” spontaneous creation.” The Universe and Brahman; different names for one reality.
Despite Hawkings assertion that science has somehow cornered the market on “observation and reason,” Buddhists have a long tradition of intellectual discipline, creating thought experiments in the same way that theoretical physicists do today. For example, Buddhist concepts of emptiness, dependent origination, interconnectivity of all phenomena and the nature of reality, preceded quantum physics theories by several thousand years. These Buddhist beliefs are based on observation of reality and deductive reasoning. In fact, Buddhist monks spend much of their education in debate honing their minds. While the West was exploring outer space, the East was charting inner space.
Just as the Buddhists use deductive reasoning, scientists have been known to proceed on faith. The Large Hadron Collider at Cern is currently searching for a theoretical particle called the Higgs Boson. Scientists have faith that the Higgs Boson exists although they have never seen it. Quantum physicists cannot explain gravity, but it hasn’t stopped them from theorizing about it. Ancient religions explored creation and existence, much the same way theoretical physicists do today, by discussing, writing, applying logic and deduction, observing phenomena and sometimes even dreaming the answers to their deepest questions. And scientists are not immune, they have solved equations through mystic visions. For example, scientists Otto Loewi, Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz, Srinivasa Ramanujan all made discoveries through dreams.
The Eastern mystics see the universe as an inseparable web, whose interconnections are dynamic and not static. The cosmic web is alive; it moves and grows and changes continually. Modern physics, too, has come to conceive of the universe as such a web of relations and, like Eastern mysticism, has recognized that this web is intrinsically dynamic. The dynamic aspect of matter arises in quantum theory as a consequence of the wave-nature of subatomic particles, and is even more essential in relativity theory, where the unification of space and time implies that the being of matter cannot be separated from its activity. The properties of subatomic particles can therefore only be understood in a dynamic context; in terms of movement, interaction and transformation. (Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics)
War & Peace
Science and religion must respect one another. Scientists use strict methodology in order to explore the Cosmos, and the scientific method cannot be compromised. Scientists must never again face the censorship and persecution Galileo endured. Scientists must be respected by governments and church leaders, their voices heard on important matters such as global warming and their recommendations acted upon.
Religions and mystics should not be dismissed simply because their beliefs cannot be proven. Visionaries have explored the universe through revelation and visions, using human potentials that are still mysterious. Religions have struggled to encode human ethics into guidelines for people to live saner lives. Time and again we find that ancient doctrines hold truth and even allow scientists a way to frame their thoughts and discoveries.
Standing outside of Cern, which houses the large Hadron collider in Geneva is a statue of the Hindu God Shiva. Shiva is the destroyer or transformer of the world, following Brahma the creator and Vishnu the preserver. Shiva’s dance is the cosmic cycle of creation and destruction, and even describes the way that particles arise and transform; a perfect analogy for what Cern is trying to accomplish— to unlock the secrets of the Universe or as a person of faith might put it, to know the mind of God, the Universe or Brahman.
The metaphors of religion and the facts of science, are not mutually exclusive. Although these systems must operate within their own environment in order to be effective, they can play off one another in a dance of transformation and enlightenment.