Dual Universe: Science and Religion
           Spacetime and Void

Starfield
 

Energy, Space, and Time

      I am searching for a view of energy, space and time that relates religious and scientific descriptions of reality. One would expect this to be possible because these two areas of knowledge arise from the same feelings of awe and wonder. Energy is important to both. In science it is recognized as essential for doing work. When energy changes into different forms, as when mechanical work creates warmth, science can specify exactly the amount of energy in each form with a number,  but, as Richard Feynman pointed out, we do not know what that number represents.  Worse, there is also a dark energy that is totally mysterious and makes up 65 per cent of the universe, compared with the puny 5 percent contributed by familiar energy and matter.

    Energy is also important in the creation mysteries of religion. In Hinduism, the Lord Shiva creates the universe from a void with energy, supports continuation of the universe with energy, and destroys the universe by returning energy to the void, in readiness for the next cycle of creation. I think the reason science has difficulty in grasping the nature of energy is that it has not considered that a void may contain energy.

     I also think there would be a benefit in bringing religious concepts of space and time into science. Most religions view time as an ever-flowing river, arising from creation of the world. In science, a flowing, endless time may viewed as starting with a random fluctuation that initiates expansion of a universe. This view of time as never-ending provides an eternity called sempiternity.

    However, Christian theologians have recognized a paradox in sempiternity. If a deity exists in everlasting time, who created the deity and eternity? Augustine of Hippo and others concluded that their deity is self-creating, existing in an eternity outside of time. Anselm of Canterbury recognized that a deity outside of time must exist outside of space as well.  I think this concept of an eternity beyond space and time might resolve the scientific paradox of a fluctuation appearing before there is a space and time to fluctuate in.

    On two aspects of space and time, science and religion agree. Anselm’s recognition that space and time are tightly linked is matched by Albert Einstein’s recognition in the theory of relativity that space and time are an unbreakable unity, now called spacetime. What is strange is that science and religion also agree that spacetime is continuous and infinitely divisible. I find this is surprising, because matter and energy, prime contents of spacetime, are not infinitely divisible, and therefore not continuous.

    NEXT >