## 3 Eternity in Science

To find out whether a science in an advanced civilization might reconcile religion and science, I examine if physics might accommodate an atemporal, aspatial eternity. To approach this question, I need to extend science’s view of dimensions to give meaning to a domain where space and time dimensions are absent. In addition, I will assume that there is a lower limit to the divisibility of space and time, or rather spacetime, because space and time can no longer be considered separately. It follows that I am assuming existence of a smallest interval of spacetime, which amounts to a spacetime quantum. This provides the basis for a quantized spacetime that may be the bridge between relativity and quantum mechanics. Their unification is a current goal in physics.

I hope this alternative scientific approach may also lead to a better understanding of the role of eternity in transcendental phenomena.

Science has been generous to those seeking to increase the number of dimensions of our universe. String theory has been granted seven new dimensions to aid its pursuit of a reality woven from elementary strings. Vibrating in the added dimensions, the music of the strings might initiate advances in physics. So far, little in the way of verifiable results has been achieved.

However, if dimensions can be added, subtracting dimensions may also be allowable. In fact subtracting or ignoring dimensions is not uncommon, and has proved productive. Studies of surfaces that lead to materials with impressive properties require only two dimensions in space and one in time. Calculations of information flow in physical and biological channels have been restricted to one dimension in space and one in time, and have yielded valuable results.

I think it will therefore be productive to examine eternity as a domain where the familiar dimensions of space and time are absent. This is not a new approach. It appears in descriptions of creation of the universe by an expansivee event referred to as the Big Bang. If one asks what existed before the Big Bang, the answer is nothing existed before the big bang, there was neither space nor time.

Alternatively, the Big Bang is described as initiated by a fluctuation in a vacuum, an empty region of spacetime that may nevertheless contain energy. This implies the prior existence of space and time, because a fluctuation is described in terms of those dimensions. It is not unusual in science for the origin of spacetime to be ignored. But if one were to ask what existed before spacetime, the same answer would be given. Nothing existed before spacetime.

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