Thursday, May 13, 2010

If a Tree Falls In a Forest....

At work we have interesting philosophical discussions about faith, theology, stories, quantum physics, metaphysics, astrophysics, the theories of anything and everything and their confluence ends up giving me things to ponder about.  Recently finished reading Edwin Abbot’s book Flatland written in the 1800’s a treatise making fun of Victorian England, but it seems Abbot had much more to say that have significant impact on Physics, Metaphysics and even faith theology in general.  My pondering's or rants over this so bear with me:

‘Flatland’ basically describes a two dimensional world where shapes like squares, triangles, circles, polygons and lines live, almost in structure like ours but only in a two-dimensional plain. This two dimensional world has its own set of rules and regulations. The lines are normally females, and of course dangerous as they can severely damage you if you don’t see them coming, cutting you into half – so the apparent rule that they need to be walking in squiggly fashion to avoid accidents. Then there are things like houses are built in such a way where females have one entrance and the males have another entrance. The triangles belong to the soldier class, squares and rectangles belong to the gentleman class and the idea that the more sides you have, higher up you are in social class order. This means the circle which has so many sides that it’s almost impossible to count all of them is considered to be the perfect shape and hence on top of the social order and the one’s entitled to make the rules.   

One day in Flatland a sphere from the three-dimensional world comes into the two dimensional world. Now from all sides the sphere appears to the Flat-landers as a perfect being able to be in multiple places at the same time. The Sphere meets the Square and tries to explain him about the third dimension and the idea that there is much more to this world than two dimensions. The square has no perception of what the sphere is talking about.  Finally the sphere explains him with the concept saying “what if your world is one-dimensional?”-  Which means all you will be doing is walking in a straight line.  The square begins to understand but is unable to relate this concept to others. The idea of becoming aware of another dimension then opens up quite a few, or more possibilities.

Again, we all have heard about the age old philosophical riddle “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”. Quantum Physicists will say the event never occurred since there was no observer. The deeper philosophical question then becomes what is the difference between perception and reality? Or when do these lines blur? Does observation affect outcome? Does the observer have an impact or influence on the event? Does the even influence the observer. If the tree did fall and did make a sound it must have traveled as a wave in the observable universe and propagated to someone.  If I say Disney World existed to someone who has never been there but has only heard about it and believes it exists is relating himself or herself to the experiences of others.  Sound is the variation of pressure that propagates through matter as  a wave is what we study in Physics, which tells me the most important part of this riddle is the division between perception of an object and how the object really is. If something exists outside of our perception there is no way for us to know that the tree exists. The kind of dimensional problem the square felt when listening to the sphere.

Now what am I trying to say here..I really don’t know how to relate...but I will do my best to explain.  Math and Physics do prove that multiple dimensions exist but we are not aware of it by our mere senses. The spiritual realm is as real as the physical realm.  I tend to think the tales in Narnia or Lord of the Rings may be a reflections of something that is more real than we can really perceive. If I was looking at a physical object like for example a table, and was aware of all the dimensions, it wouldn’t be much of a problem for me to walk through that table or say walk through the wall. Didn’t Jesus do it?

I believe eternity and heaven will be interesting places because in the resurrected body we will become aware of multiple dimensions and will be in the pursuit of the infinite dimensions of His nature. Eternity doesn’t sound boring after all. A mind and heart that is aware of all these dimensions or at least the dimensions that God makes us aware of is truly liberated. This has enormous implications a event happening in distant planet 'X' in the farthest corner of the universe trillions of light years away will be known to you just like that or like Philip who talked to the Ethiopian official and disappeared in a whirwind, or like Elisha servant Gehazi’s eyes that were opened to see the heavenly armies that were with them opened up new possibilities of renewed hope.

I believe as we grow in our relationship with Yeshua we become aware of more dimensions, our faith and hope grow and stretch, walking in the supernatural is the natural. Teleportation across the universe is the natural thing to do. And If the tree falls in a forest, you will not only know it and hear the sound but you can say the words and even re-plant it. Moving mountains is even easier...:) 

 Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

1 comment:

John Conaway said...

This post left me thinking about what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:9: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." It's very easy to assume that this verse is talking about merely an increase in knowledge and depth of experience (more of the same), and I used to think that way. But if we look at it closely, we find that we can't even imagine the CATEGORIES of things we will know and experience. Heady stuff! But it does reinforce your insight that eternity will be far from boring. We'll probably feel as if we'd never really lived till then. In the meantime, we learn what we can and (by God's Spirit) strive to live up to what we know, knowing that we can never know completely.