Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ecclesiastes 1:9 and Stephen Hawking

The quote I posted on FB yesterday ("an infinite number of imperishable atoms coalesced through blind chance or immanent mechanical laws to form countless worlds in a vacuum of immeasurable proportion")I read in Reiner Smolinski's introduction to Cotton Mather's Biblia Americana, a vast, multi-volume commentary on the Bible that was never published in his lifetime. Only now is it being brought to press for the first time, with its publication projected over the next decade.

But the quote is a summary of the origin views of seventeenth-century Cartesian philosophers and naturalists. What struck me about the quote was the similarity to some things said by Stephen Hawking in an excerpt from his book The Grand Design. The most striking paragraphs are the following: "The laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universe to appear spontaneously from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason their is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going. Our universe seems to be one of many, each with different laws. That multiverse idea is not a notion invented to account for the miracle of fine tuning. It is a consequence predicted by many theories in modern cosmology." (Originally published in the WSJ 9/3/2010, accessed online at

The mechanical laws, the countless worlds, and the immeasurable proportion of the known universe, so similar to Hawking's propositions, make it appear that he has advanced all the way to the seventeenth century and even to the Greeks Democritus and Epicurus. So much for the latest new thing.

1 comment:

Ron Krumpos said...

In "The Grand Design" Stephen Hawking postulates that M-theory may be the Holy Grail of physics...the Grand Unified Theory which Einstein had tried to formulate, but never completed. It expands on quantum mechanics and string theories.

In my e-book on comparative mysticism is a quote by Albert Einstein: “…most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty – which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive form – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of all religion.”

E=mc², Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, is probably the best known scientific equation. I revised it to help better understand the relationship between divine Essence (Spirit), matter (mass/energy: visible/dark) and consciousness (f(x) raised to its greatest power). Unlike the speed of light, which is a constant, there are no exact measurements for consciousness. In this hypothetical formula, basic consciousness may be of insects, to the second power of animals and to the third power the rational mind of humans. The fourth power is suprarational consciousness of mystics, when they intuit the divine essence in perceived matter. This was a convenient analogy, but there cannot be a divine formula.