The Spiritual Universe
The universe that we can perceive is in fact part of a much greater reality. God can see the whole, but we are constrained to 3 dimensions, which we can only partially and inaccurately comprehend. As the Bible puts it, ‘For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known’ (1Corinthians 13:12). One day, with our new spiritual bodies and enhanced senses we will be able to perceive and know so much more than we can in these mortal bodies. There is a lot to look forward to in the next life.
We perceive our world and our universe as solid 3 dimensional material, and yet when it is examined at the atomic level, there is nothing there. For example, a diamond, that we would regard as pretty solid, if it could be viewed with a powerful enough microscope would appear to be something like single golf balls in the middle of billions of football pitches, each with 14 pinhead sized bundles of energy flying around the edges of the fields and nothing in between. Hydrogen gas would be an even smaller ball with one bundle of energy flying around. So our perceived physical reality is literally empty space. Everything in our universe is so empty that we have to wonder if it’s really there, and yet it appears to be. What we consider to be so real is in fact a virtual reality created for our benefit by a Higher Being. It is a place for us to develop and grow into who we really are after which we will leave this virtual reality to enter the real reality, the Eternal Kingdom.
There is so much more in this universe than we can perceive with our senses and yet some people think we know about all of it. The dimensions inhabited by the One who could create this universe are so far beyond our comprehension, that we have no way of being able to understand it. This is why we walk by faith. He knows the end from the beginning. Outside of our 3-dimensional universe the future is as clear to Him as to us looking at a map.
What we think of as reality is only contained within 3 dimensions, but there is a much greater reality outside of our physical perception.
We see our universe as it is at a point in time. We actually can only perceive the present within immediate proximity. Sound travels at about 330 metres per second. So if I hear a sound from 100 meters away, I am actually hearing what happened 0.3 of a second ago. If I look at the sun, I am seeing what happened about 8 minutes ago, which is the time it takes for light to travel the 93 million miles to the Earth. When I look at the stars, I am seeing what happened at the very least 4 years ago and in most cases hundreds or thousands of years ago.
So, as we start to examine the universe, we have to recognise we are perceiving it in a very inaccurate and fragmented way by making the best use of the information available to our senses to build up a picture that we call reality. Hundreds of years ago, people thought the earth was flat and the sun and moon went across the sky, which is what is actually perceived. By means of instrumentation and mathematics, we now have a different understanding of the solar system, although it belies what our senses tell us. We still talk of the sun rising and setting even though that is not what actually happens.
So let us now take a closer look at the universe, not as we perceive it, but rather what we have come to understand from careful instrumentation, observation and calculation.