Title: The Physics of Christianity
Author : Frank J Tipler
Publisher : Doubleday
Copyright : 2007
ISBN : 978-0-385-51424-8
This book uses a detailed exposition of how the laws of physics prove to Tipler himself that the claims of Christianity, particularly Roman Catholicism, are true. The physics using the multiverse model of quantum mechanics to prove that the claims of Christianity are not only possible, but inevitable, is original and innovative. [Editor]
Tipler is a physicist from New Orleans. I’ve never met a physicist who isn’t passionate about physics. Tipler is no exception in this book. Early on he provides an extensive overview of current physics touching on the five fundamental physical laws – quantum mechanics, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, general relativity, quantum cosmology and the Standard model. He appears proud of these theories because all experiments to date are consistent with these laws.
With my scientific bent and training, I actually found it quite refreshing for Tipler to outline elements of three fundamental theories : quantum mechanics, general relativity and the Standard Model of particle physics.
THE PHYSICS IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND TIPLER’S VIEW
Quantum mechanics basically asserts that every object in the universe is simulatneously a wave and a particle. Waves interefere constructively and destructively. But particles would interact with infinite quantities when wave equations are used to define what happens when they occupy the same point in space. Such infinite quantities are not allowable, are called Singularities, and must occur outside of space and time altogether. In 1926, the problem of these Singularities in quantum mechanics was solved by Schrodinger who redefined them as quantum potentials,gave them a mathematical description and incorporated them into the fundamental equation of quantum mechanics which allowed such situations to behave with the usual linearity of wave superposition. In other words, mathematics could now describe the quantum concept that such particles (which are waves) can pass through each other! A fundamental limitation of our human senses (and existence) is that we are unaware of this occuring. But that’s what happens to us. But what is it that is passing through us without our awareness? According to Tipler, it is analogues of ourselves in other universes.
This “many-worlds“ interpretation of quantum mechanics is not accepted by all theoretical physicists. Tipler finds non-acceptance of the ‘multiverse‘ to be inconsistent with his notion that “the physical laws apply to everything“. However, it seems to me that it is really the mathematical extrapolation of current quantum mechanical equations (with some empirical support) that are being used to justify the “many-worlds” interpretation. Tipler to argues that this is the only valid theoretical extrapolation of the mathematical solutions to measured or theorised physical laws. Tipler even cites “William Occam (1285-1349) famous Ockham’s razor principle “Plurality must not be postulated without necessity” to argue that the existence of the multiverse is a mathematical necessity.
Tipler then argues that probability in quantum mechanics is really only an expression of human ignorance because we can only see one universe. Probabilty itself is not a fact of nature. If we could see all the universes then there would be no probability, there would be certainty. Each probability is realised and observed by an alternate self in another universe! These alternate selves are actually us at a quantum level – and interchangeable between universes. But we, as our separate analogues, exist in different localities in the same multi-verse. Each analogue is an original – our analogues are not copies of each other. This is quantum mechanical identity theory. Unless this were true, then constructive intereference (remember we are all waves as well) unbalanced by destructive intereference would allow particles to build up into infinite quantities; and such singularities would destroy physical reality – therefore, the multiverse and our analogues must exist.
Another quantum implication is that since can only be aware of only a single universe of the multiverse, and since we can’t theoretically force a particle to belong entirely to our universe, there is a limitation to the precision with which we can measure the properties of any particle – Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. This trade-off between uncertainties means that, for example, if we measure momentum we cannot be certain of position or vice versa. But though we are uncertain in our observations, there is no uncertainty in nature. There would be a group of these particles across the mult-verse but we can only see one from within our universe. Another element in human ignorance.
Another manifestation of our ignorance of our analogues across the multi-verse is the observed ‘spooky‘ (Einstein) phenomenon of nonlocality. The linearity of quantum mechanics (permitting destructive and constructive intereference) means that analogues across the multiverse must behave (or differentiate) coherently. This respect for coherence is a property of the multi-verse. Nonlocality is the outcome of being limited to observations in just one universe but observing properties of particles that can only be explained if an analogue in another universe is somehow influencing those properties. Using the example of electron spin, Tipler argues that there is in fact no nonlocality – there is only human ignorance of the particle’s differentiation in other universes. Tipler argues this is a touchstone of scientific quantum mechanical orthodoxy – therefore, some physicists must disagree.
Since there are an infinitely variable number of energy states (eg kinetic energy) for the different particles across the multiverse, some might have high enough energy levels that the energy can surmount the ‘barrier’ between universes. This allows some of that energy to be available to other analogues in the multiverse – a phenomenon called quantum tunnelling.
Albert Einstein’s ‘theory of absolutes’, or ‘invariant theory’, also known as the ‘Theory of General Relativity’, argues that the invariance of the speed of light permits the dimension of time and the 3 dimensions of space to be united into one 4 dimensional entity called spacetime – it’s unit being the ‘light-year’. Any particle moving at the speed of light has zero mass eg a photon. These are fundamental particles. The reason there must be an ultimate speed limit in the universe is to limit the amount of energy that can be extracted from a particle. The problem of this infinite quantity is equivalent to the problem of Singularity in quantum mechanics. The soultion is that gravitational collapse into a black hole prevents further energy extraction from a particle. This then results in a causal structure to spacetime which preserves determinism (the ability to determine things will happen physically via cause and effect) within the universe. However, determinism is not simply about how things in the future and present are affected by things that have happened in the past. Physics has it’s equivalent of the theological/philosophical concept of teleology – it is called “unitarity“. Effectively, what is happening in the universe (and the multiverse) today is determined by the end point/goal of the universe far into the future.
One expression of this unitarity is the relativistic version of the quantum mechanical uncertainty principle called the Berkensein Bound which argues that there is an ultimate limit upon the complexity of any physical system (based upon it’s mass) which can be codified in the familiar computer terms of bits and bytes of information. This information limit is the effective constraint upon complexity in the universe. A human being could theoretically be codified down to the quanum level because a human mass contains a finite amount of information. The opposite concept of molecular disorder in the universe is called entropy – this is measured in Joules per degree celsius. Now a byte of say thought or feeling requires energy and this use increases entropy in the universe. The problem here is that the Second Law of Thermodynamics asserts that entropy in the universe cannot decrease (it must be conserved). It must evolve from less probable to more probable states.
Gravitation is just one force in the universe. A unified theory of gravity and spacetime was developed by Einstein when he postulaed that gravity is actually spacetime curvature. The problem was that if general relativity argued that the laws of physicas are observer dependent this resulted in mathematical predictions of singularities (which are not allowed in physics due to infinite quantities). According to Tipler this is dealt with by modification of general relativity so it conforms to the wave linear superposition principle of quantum mechanics. This is solved according to Tipler through the theory of quantum gravity postulated in the 1960’s by Feynman and Weinberg. Unfortunately, the equations require an infinite number of terms and so cannot be subject to mathematical equations – that is, human knowledge. Tipler argues that even though human beings can never understand this completely, they will understand with greater precision in the future.
The Standard Model of Particle Physics identifies two fundamental particles : fermions (the bulding blocks of matter) and bosons (carry the forces between particles).
Fermions include leptons (electrons, muons, and tauons in two flavours) and quarks (up quarks, charmed quarks, and top quarks in two flavvours ). Each lepton has another distinct state in which it exists called a neutrino. Quarks are the building blocks of nucleons (protons and neutrons) and each is associated with another distinct state where they are called down quark, strange quark, and bottom quark. Each of the fundamental leptons and quarks has a corresponding antiparticle eg the antiparticle for an electron is the positron. The quarks are quite heavy in contrast to the leptons are are therefore called baryons. Antiparticles together are called antimatter and if a particle and its antiparticle are brought together they annihilate one another with a release of energy. In the annihilation, the electron and the lepton number are conserved so that there is no change within the universe.
Bosons include the photon, graviton, gluon and Higgs boson. Three fundamental boson fields are the U(1), SU(2) and SU(3) or color force. This color force binds nucleons together and is carried by a particle called a gluon which also carries an electric charge. The photon is different to the eight or so different types of gluons because even though it carries electromagnetic force, in has no electric charge. A strong residual color force binds nucleons together. The U(1), SU(2) fields generate the electroweak force (electromagnetic and the weak force, neither of which are fundamental forces). They arise because these fields interact with the very powerful Higgs boson field which permeates all of space and fills the universe. The Higgs field is unbelievably dense and negatively charged, causing all particles carrying the weak force to have a mass.
Tipler argues that we exist because the net result of the early high radiation field generation of particle-antiparticle pairs is that the universe now contains more matter than antimatter. This excess resulted because the SU(2) force creates kinks in the ‘vacuum’ of space (which is really no vacuum since it is filled with the Higgs field) and that every time a kink occurs a lepton or a quark is created (and this requires a vast amount of energy to occur). Another way of understanding this is to consider these kinks as waves of energy with infinite valleys and troughs on which particles sit. Particles are created in our universe when they have enough energy to get to the top of the peaks in the wave and fall into another valley. In the valley they have no more than the Higgs field zero energy state. At the top of the peak they are “ready to fall” and are described as sphalerons. Matter (baryons and leptons) comes into ‘existence’ via this process of sphaleron baryogenesis.
Tipler argues that in the early universe the particles were of such a high energy that the height of the energy peaks were easily overcome and more matter than antimatter resulted. Today, Tipler argues, the energy can be borrowed from analogous universes via the process of quantum tunnelling. Furthermore, matter can be ‘uncreated’ (my term) to convert matter into vast amounts of energy.
The global Higgs field, has a an enormous negative mass density and exerts a gravitational effect throughout the universe. It is not at its true zero energy state because of the kinks in the vacuum when more matter was created than antimatter at the beginning of the universe. The Higgs field is slightly more than opposed by the cosmological constant which is positive. The cosmological constant was first detected in 1998, and it is dark because it can only be detected by its gravitational effect. It is known as dark energy and it exerts a repulsive gravitational force, causing the expansion of the universe which has been occurring since the ‘big bang’ to accelerate. It makes up 73% of the mass-energy of the universe and ordinary matter (visible because it generates light) makes up 4%. The remaining 23% is made up of dark matter which exerts no pressure. to resist compression in the current universal epoch. The density and pressure exerted by dark energy is constant whereas the opposing gravitational effect of matter gets less and less as the universe expands.
TIPLER’S APPLICATION OF THIS PHYSICS TO CHRISTIANITY
One consequence of universal expansion is that life will die out. The second consequence is that event horizons will develop. The limitation of the speed of light will result in a ‘boundary’ or horizon where events will occur and there will never be the opportunity to see the event due to universal expansion. A different sort of even horizon occurs when a star collapses to such a small volume that its gravitational field prevent light from escaping. Stephen Hawking discovered that black holes evaporate by radiating away their mass otherwise a Singularity would develop (and this is not allowed in physics). Event horizons cannot exist and this means that the universe cannot expand forever – it must collapse to an eventual single point which Tipler calls the Omega Point in spacetime. Something must reverse this acceleration and unitarity means something will reverse it prior to event horizons forming. According to Tipler, that something is life. Life must necessarily evolve and expand around stars several billion lightyears apart, survive and and extensively use up matter to reverse the acceleration of the universe, otherwise unitarity will be destroyed (and so will reality). Therefore, the physical laws of the universe mandate that it will not happen. Life must increase its possession of knowledge to infinity as the Omega Point is reached. Otherwise, the universe becomes less probable, entropy increases and the second law of thermodynamics is violated. Tipler argues there is no “chance” in reality. The time evolution of the universe it unitary. Nothing is outside unitary time evolution : Final Cause or Divine Providence.
LIFE WILL SURVIVE AND GUIDE THE UNIVERSE
For life to survive, it requires more energy to do so. As the universe collapses to the Omega point singularity gravitation will increase infinitely providing this energy. Tipler argues that life is the only process consistent with physical law which can eliminate event horizons. The positive cosmological constant will be weakened by the activity of life so that eventually the Higgs field (electroweak vacuum) will be greater, causing the universe to collapse to the Omega singuarity. Since the current acceleration is due to excess production of matter (baryons, or quarks) through early universal electroweak quantum tunneling, annihilation of these baryons will reverse this. Life will move out from the terrestrial biosphere into interstellar space and intergalactic space annihilating baryons as it goes because baryon/lepton-annihilation will propel rockets to light-speed. All atoms will be converted in this process to neutrinos and anti-neutrinos which have almost no mass and don’t significantly interact with the environment – but it will be enough to act as a propulsion mechanism. Baryon-annihilation will also provide energy through the conversion of matter to photons at this accelerating phase of the universe, after which gravitation will provide the energy.
Mastery of this process will result in terrible weapons which will destroy the human race sometime this century. But according to Tipler, a human soul is like a complex piece of software in the human brain and is immaterial. Therefore, a human can be simulated precisely in any computer with adequate processing capability. Such computers will be quantum computers which use coherence between the universes of the multiverse to share effectively the information in a program between universes. Humans will be codified and downloaded onto such computers and will continue to exist as people within these computers, probably in minituarised rocket payloads. The Apostle Pauls “spiritual body” in 1 Corinthians 15 is a computer program.
When the universe began 13.4 billion years ago there a singularity where the laws of physics don’t not apply since physics can only deal with finite quantities because the density of matter (mass / volume) was infinite. Apparently mathematical physicists Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking proved this mathematically. in the late 1960’s. Essentially singularities, where physical quantities are infinite are outside of space and time. Tipler argues a Singluarity exists at the end of the multiverse and at the edge of the multiverse. All three of these Singularities are ultimately one Singularity which stabilises the cosmos – he calls it the Cosmological Singularity – this is Tipler’s God, which he considers equivalent to the three hypostases of traditional Christian credal theology who are the one and only God. Tipler quotes the First Vatican Council (1870) “If anyone says that the one true God, our Creator and Lord, cannot be known with certainty by the natural light of human reason by means of things that are made, let him be anathema.” If this Council meant Tipler’s use of physics to determine that the three singularities which make up the Cosmological Constant are God then this goes well beyond what the Scriptures implicitly or explicitly teach.
A particular difficulty of the Tipler’s description of the Holy Spirit to me as the Initial Singularity and the multiverse’s guiding principle is that it almost strikes me as the ‘active spirit’ of the modern Jehovah’s Witnesses movement.
Before the Initial Singularity (which Tipler equates with God the Holy Spirit of traditional Christian theology from Genesis 1:2), there was no time or space. There was no before. The Bible argues however that before creation “there was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God”, John 1:1. The Initial Singularity is the ‘First cause’ of all things and remains immanent throughout the history of the universe through the physical laws which are an expression of its ‘guidance’.
Tipler argues that the effect of life on the universe to eliminate the event horizons will effectively be like guiding the universe. As this occurs, the complexity of the universe will increase eventually without limit as the Final singularity is approached. Life will become omnipresent, omniscient, and as gravitation becomes infinite towards Final singularity, life will become omnipotent. Life will then transcend time and space. The finite complexity of the universe defined by the Berkenstein Bound will increase without limit as the Final singularity is apporached. Quantum computers will exist forever with their human codes which means those humans will live forever. There will be enough computer space to ‘resurrect to life’ all humans who have previously lived. Then will exist within the created physical universe the life in paradise described in the Bible. “Heaven” outside the created universe is Gnostic heresy, according to Tipler.
Tipler identifies the Ultimate Future of reality with the Final singularlty who is God (the Father) and says in Exodus 3:14 to Moses “I am who I am and I will be what I shall be“. Tipler believes that the terrestrial laws of physics apply within singularities too until proven wrong by experiment. He quotes Bohr who says that “However far the phenomena transcend the scope of classical physical explanation, the account of all evidence must be expressed in classical terms.” the singularity that connects the Ultimate Past and the Ultimate Future is the Son. He equates the ancient credal formulations regarding God eg homoousion (same divine substance) with his physical understand of these singularities.
However, this distinction between the singularities seems to move far beyond the credal distinctions, and beyond distinctions (or limitations) drawn by Scripture (which at best argues there is only one God who is three – Faather, Son and Holy Spirit). Without a theological type adoptionism regarding Jesus, I still come away with an Arian flavour to Tipler’s physical description of the Cosmic Singularity regarding the Son.
THE GENETICS OF JESUS
He argues that the Roman Catholic doctrine of Original sin means that the “genes that code for sinful behaviour were not present in Jesus“. In working out the star sought by the wisemen and the timing of Jesus’ birth, he argues that the genetic patterns for sin may mean that a person “develops more rapidly in the womb“. He argues that Jesus is of Mary’s genome. He argues that Jesus was born from a virgin by vertebrate parthenogenesis, seen in turkeys and pythons, and that it is possible to induce an oocyte to divide with both haploid and diploid daughter cells, without sperm cell fertilization. Offspring would be XX or XO. Tipler argues that all the genes required to create a male are found on non-Y genes and all the Y chromosome does is switch them on. Jesus was an XX male, very rare, 1 : 20,000 and occurs when the SRY gene which switches on the male genes that are on other chromosomes. The Y chromosome has 28 other genes and all these have homologous genes on the X-chromosome. Up to 28 Y chromosome genes could have been inserted into one of Mary’s X chromosomes (even over the generations mentioned in Matthew and Luke), the homologous genes on the other X chromosome swithced off, and an XX male Jesus is formed; and the probability is 1/120 billion. Alternatively the SRY gene alone was inserted in each normal X chromosome and a haploid cell duplicated, or single SRY gene was inserted into a diploid. The SRY may not actually be necessary since another signal could have been used to trigger the genes for maleness inherently present in the female to form a male.
The “Virgin Birth” and the “Resurrection” had to occur if the universe were to evolve to the Omega Point. The Son became incarnate to provide us this information. Without this belief, no one would “investigate Jesus for clues of constructing a practical device for annihilating baryons” via electroweak tunneling to stop the acceleration of the universe and convert it to deceleration. Jesus thereby “saves the entire universe from destruction (violation of unitarity when black holes evaporate)”. When the Bible says “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through hime might be saved” John 3:17, it means the cosmos. The Virgin Birth was necessary so that Jesus could have a “unique body type that could, out of its own nature, generate electroweak quantum tunneling“. “Mary, who had the same genes as Jesus should have been able to accomplish this also but only with the male genes full activated”. Jesus is an example of a speciation event, the appearance of a new species in a single generation. Jesus and Mary were the new Adam and the new Eve (the Bible doesn’t mention a new Eve but contemporary Roman Catholic theology does) because they did not have the sin behaviour genes in their DNA. Jesus can perform miracles because of his genetic structure.
THE SHROUD OF TURIN and the OVIEDO CLOTH (THE SUDARIUM)
These exist so that we would have would have hints how to work the electroweak baryon-annihilation process and because we need a sample of Jesus’ blood and flesh to study to work out. the hint Tipler interprets the genetic signatures of the are an XX male with some contaminants. He considers the Turin Shroud the Holy Grail. Our descendants must know about this process in order to survive and uphold the laws of physics.
It is a fascinating argument reminiscent of contemprary popular mythology of secret keys to divine power hidden for us to find, such as hollywood movies like “Raiders of a Lost Ark” or the “Da Vinci Code”!
Tipler believes that dematerialization (vanishing from the appearance of His disciples) and rematerialization (suddenly appearing) can be achieved by electroweak quantum tunneling, which violates baryon number and lepton number conservation where a proton and an electron go to neutrino and antineutrino. This is necessary to use up matter for the universe to evolve to the Omega point. The dead body of Jesus dematerializes and the rematerialised Jesus in the Resurrection body “has all the essential properties of the computer emulation resurrection bodies that we all will have in the far future”. The Universal Resurrection of the dead will follow this process, and they will live eternally as a sort of software in a physical quantum computer.
The electroweak baryogenesis or sphaleron baryogenesis in the early universe is reversed to annihilate baryons and leptons as is the case with Jesus’ Resurrection. a neutrino beam directed downwards allows Jesus to walk on water (like future rocket propulsion), creation of loves and fishes, converting water into wine is materialization. The Transfiguration is accomplished by generation of photons rather than neutrinos (though it should have resulted in a big explosion) through the same baryon/lepton annihilation mechanism.
TIPLER’S VIEW OF MIRACLES
There is no violation of physical law. He argues that this is the orthodox Christian definition. He quotes Pope Benedict XIV (1675-1758), and C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) as supporters of this view. I’m unconvinced Tipler accurately represents their view and He particularly uses the views of Wolfhart Pannenberg to define what is orthodox and what is not. Tipler argues that just like God never sets aside his moral laws, he does not set aside his laws of physics. To Tipler a miracle is a very improbable event that has religious significance. But it can always be explained by physics. He argues that a view that the miraculous violates physical law is an expression of Gnostic heresy. He believes that the idea that a personal God has decreed the unchanging laws of nature to be unique to Judaism and Christianity. He equates the unchanging Word of God with natural law. He is scathing of the Islamic approach to natural law. He also berates theories of supersymmetric strings or branes because they exist on the basis of mathematical beauty rather than on material eperimentation and sees the proponent physicists as a secular version of the Gnostic heresy – yet it seems to me that the same applies to proponents of the multiverse! God never sets aside the fundamental laws of nature he always conforms to it.
Tipler then goes on to physically explain the miraculous. Raising the dead is because the dead aren’t really dead they are in deep suspended animation. Healing the sick is the placebo effect or extraordinary healing rate based on Gaussian (bell-shaped) distribution of healing rates. Casting out demons are analogous to computer viruses in software. Satan is like a computer virus but not in our brain (software) but in our DNA and in the DNA of most metazoans. Seeing visions are autosuggestion.
VIEW OF REVELATION
Tipler appears to view the realization of “important truths” in Christianity to be a matter of Roman Catholic Theology for which he can find a physical explanation. On multiple doctrines such as the Assumption of Mary (and I presume on his own theories) Tipler argues that “The Holy Spirit guides the Church to the realization of important truths, sometimes centuries after the events occurred“.
Tipler does follow a Biblical principle which is that Christianity is founded upon “truth“. However, truth in the Bible appears to refer to the realization of truths taught by Jesus and his contemporary apostles within the Bible itself. To be convincingly seeking to explain Christian truth, Tipler should have started with first seeking to explain Biblical ‘revelations’ prior to focusing on Roman Catholic doctrine which is not accepted by vast numbers of Christians within and without the Roman Church. For example, explain what it means for humankind to be made in God’s “image” Genesis 1:26, or how “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5,6) might work physically. Or explain “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10. Or explain the by Peter plea In Acts 2:38-39“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” There is something inherently disturbing about Tipler’s choice to reduce Biblical “truth” away.
VIEW OF THE INCARNATION OF JESUS
Jesus is God, one of the three Hypostases of the Cosmological Singularity who has analogues of Himself throughout all the universes of the multiverseinto the All-Presents Singularity which bridges the Initial Ultimate Past (HS) and Ultimate Future Singuarities (Father) and who is aware of these analogues. The analogues would actually be the All-Presents Singularity. Jesus is a unique human. Our lack of awareness separates us from our analogues. Integration of two distinct wills would be present, the ordinary human anchored to our universe, and the will of the Second Hypostasis.
COMMUNION OF SAINTS
There is no restriction to interaction due to spacetime limitation. Via Universal Resurrection through computer emulation of long dead saints, and Tipler’s Incarnation Theory, and the argument that all three Hypostases of the Cosmic Singularity are not restricted only to act from past to future causality but can act with future to past causality, any prayer at any time to any saint or the Virgin Mary can be answered by means of the Son Singularity acting throught the multiverse at any point in history, present or future. I’m unsure whether Tipler is saying this actually occurs, but he is saying it is possible according to physical law. How it is that prayer can alter anything in Tipler’s reductionist deterministic universe is also unclear. Again, Tipler’s concern appears to create a physical basis for Roman Catholic theology, whereas millions of Christians throughout the world accept that when the Bible says “There is only one mediator between God and Man, Christ Jesus“ 1 Timothy 2:5, it actually means only one mediator. It would have made His proposition less complex and consistent to his reductionist approach to Scripture (but not Roman Catholic doctrine).
Tipler argues a physical basis for this key Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox doctrine. Essentially, he develops an Incarnation theory which does not specify the coherent state the material of the host would be in. He argues the action of the Second Hypostases of the Singularity would act to “maintain coherence against the hosts exterior environment”. Tipler here redefines quantum coherence as a “relationship with other objects” rather that a relationship of “intrinsic” properties shared between coherent objects. That is, even though in theoretical and empiric physics an electron is an electron regardless of which coherent pair is examined, Tipler essentially ignores this science to argue there is the quantum coherent ‘Real Presence‘ of Jesus in what is intrinsically just bread and wine. It seems to me that in his eagerness to justify Roman Catholic doctrine Tipler has created an inherently unscientific argument inconsistent with the current understanding of physics. By this same reasoning anything at all can be represented by anything at all and justified in this way! There is a very Aristotelian flavour about Tipler’s approach here. The thing that is real is not actually that which we can see and touch and taste – the thing that is real exists elsewhere outside of our existence. And in this way, Tipler himself can be accused of heretical theology with Gnostic origins, an accusation Tipler freely makes throughout this book, for example, to ridicule the notion that God can act outside the physical laws and intervene within this universe to perform the miraculous (which I argue is the historical and more common Christian understanding).
I see a strong dualism in Tipler’s view here and it is very disappointing. Unfortunately, misanthropy has resulted in the history of Christian Churces as a consequence of ignoring the fact that Jesus simply accepted that the person we are interacting with is actually the real person and should be treated with dignity regardless of their failure to live up to the expectations of the ‘ideal’ the ‘real’ or the ‘perfect’. The objects of God’s love in the Bible are people who by mercy and grace through Jesus have changed status from objects of his wrath. What is bread and wine in the Eucharist is bread and wine physically and in reality. What Tipler does is to try and argue that the doctrine of the “Real Presence is the same sort of phenomenon as the Incarnation. Both connect physical entities in this universe with the Second Person Singularity via quantum coherence across the universes of the multiverse“. But Tipler’s attempt is clumsy and unconvincing as except as a matter of faith not of physics.
Since the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches argue that there are special words and actions involved in the conversion of the elements into the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, and since only accredited Priests have the power to make this happen, it would have been helpful if Tipler provided some physical explanation why this is the case. In terms of the ritual he would need to argue the physical mechanism of special words/actions somehow is embedded in the quantum reality of the multiverse to cause the incarnational quantum manipulation whenever the priest speaks/performs it. Since Tipler argues that Jesus can manipulate the universes on a quantum level because of his genetic make up (a new species or speciation event), Tipler would also need to find a credible physical mechanism for the restriction of the capability of Transubstantiation to a human priest, who is male, and who is authorized to do this by the Roman or Greek Church.
Tipler argues “anti-Semitism is anti-Christian, and anti-Science“.
THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS
Tipler expects that the “human-soul program” will herald the arrival of “human downloads” by 2042. By 2050 he predicts we’ll have machines more intelligent than humans, human downloads which are invulnerable and more capable than humans, AI superior to humans, most of humanity Christian, unlimited energy by learning from Jesus resurrection how to convert matter into eith electromagnetic energy or neutrinos, rockets capable of interstellar travel, and terribly more destructive weapons than exist today. This will definitely bring on a “Great Tribulation” and “no flesh” will be saved. Evil will be carried to the stars from our destroyed biosphere. He argues that the Tower of Babel Biblical account (Genesis 11:1-9) means that God will not permit us to inhabit the heavens except as “human downloads”. He argues this is all based on physics not on Biblical interpretation.
THE PROBLEM OF EVIL
The first thing to note is that Satan is viewed like a computer virus in our minds, whereas sin is a genetic malady. Tipler enters the discipline of theodicy (explaining why evil exists if God is real) by arguing that even an omnipotent God cannot do what is logically impossible. He cannot remove evil because the reality is a multiverse in which one universe should exist in which ni human evil has ever occurred; somewhere where exists the best of all possible worlds. Human evil is not required by natural law. Biblically, God created because he is love (agape or “selfless love”) and this requires an object, which to Tipler is the multiverse. Within the multiverse he didn’t only just put all creatures, he put all possible creatures. His love required that He continued to create until He created all possible creatures, including evil ones. All possibilities, good and evil, could then be realized. According to Tipler, “God the Father knew before time began that the Cross (and Resurrection) would be necessary in a multiverse of maximum potential” which necessarily means “allowing evil to exist”. Tipler believes that failure to understand that God’s love requires the multiverse to exist means” we underestimate God’s love“. He argues that “if we truly believe that Jesus loves the most abject sinner” then we would not have a problem with the existence of evil.
This is the most ingenious theodicy I have ever heard. I quite like it’s symmetry but it isn’t really consistent with the Bible’s explanation which argues that God is not the source of evil and that evil was present in the garden before the fall. If Satan tempting Eve was just a scrambled code in Eve’s brain then how did that code get there if God’s creation was “good” (Genesis 1:31). Logically it would need to have arisen outside the physical creation (though not outside the totality of God’s Creation – both physical and spiritual).
GOD’S FOREKNOWLEDGE & HUMAN FREE WILL
Tipler points out that though quantum unitarity is a strong from of determinism, it is possible for free will to co-exist. The muliverse is subject to the quantum identity theory. According to Tipler, God cannot know or do what it is logically impossible to know or do. Before an analogue of any individual makes a decision or does something he or she is that same as all other analogues in all universes of the multiverse down to a quantum level. Physics only permit knowledge of a certain likelihood of a particular thought or act (“a percentage“). This is despite the argument that though we are unaware of all our analogues, God is aware via the Second Hypostasis of the Singularity.
From a Biblical perspective Tipler’s view is difficult to accept. The God of the Bible knew what Cain would do, before Cain did it (Gen 4). Jesus knew Judas would betray him Matthew 26:20. They knew that this would occur in this universe, not just that it would happen in one of the universes. He does not appear to be constrained in His foreknowledge by a lack of certainty or knowledge. If this were true, there is at least one universe in which Jesus would not need to die and Judas would never have betrayed him!
Though Tipler soesn’t say it in so many words, a particular issue for me is that in Tipler’s construct God’s will is somehow limited by physics. Tipler’s notion of the transcendent God being bound by the physical laws, despite being outside them as a singlarity, is has a pantheistic flavour to it.
SUMMARY OF TIPLERS THEOLOGY
GOD is the Cosmic Singularity, whom is described three hypostases in traditional credal theology. The Cosmic Singularity is actually composed of 3 Singularities. God is not subject to the laws of physics but cannot act outside the physical laws of the universe. There are miracles but these are just improbable events with religious significance which can be understood with physics. Miracles do not violate the laws of physics, only human understanding. They are a manifestation of God’s action in the universe via quantum coherence between the event and the Cosmic Singularity. There is no real notion in Tipler’s physics of the key Biblical concern for righteousness which both describes God and is required of humankind, or humankind’s creation in God’s image and the need for repentance. It is hard to see the personal God revealed in the Bible.
THE UNIVERSE in which we exist, together with an infinite number of other universes in which we also exist as analogues, is actually a multiverse, beginning and ending in Singularity. Tipler doesn’t really deal with why the universe was created in the first place.
JESUS is not actually like us precisely, but without sin. He is a new species with an XX (no Y) genome that does not express itself in sinful behaviour and which permits the manipulation of matter and energy at a quantum level. Unlike us who have analogues (of which we are unaware) in a limited number of universes, Jesus’ analogues go all the way to the Second Hypostasis of the Cosmic Singularity. Tipler mentions the Incarnation, the Cross and the Resurrection. The Incarnation is a Virgin birth. His resurrection shows Universal Resurrection will occur and provides a demonstration of the process by which the universe will be saved; a salvation which is required by physical law – otherwise the quantum deterministic principle of unitarity is breached. There is no attempt by Tipler to deal scientifically with the key Biblical revelation : that Jesus died in our place to pay for our sin and to reconcile us to a God who hates sin, and that for Jesus to be substituted in our place he needs to be like us in every way but without sin. He does mention that Jesus paid for our sins in his last chapter but no explanation (theological or scientific) is provided. There is no physics explanation of his experience as a human in order to understand and be our eternal human high priest before God. The incarnation accoding to Tipler of Jesus is essentially to demonstrate a process which humans will learn so that the universe can be saved through the annihilation of matter, the correction of the imbalance between the Cosmological Constant and the electroweak universal vacuum which is currently accelerating the universe. I can’t really see any argument in Bible that represents human activity as contributing to salvation. Biblical salvation is all of God through Jesus – humans contribute nothing ; therefore it is not surprising that Tipler uses physics to justify the possibility for doctrines which are in the main, Roman Catholic.
SIN to Tipler is about domination over others. It is a profoundly reductionist view of sin which does not deal with the key Biblical notion that sin is actually an offense to a holy God. Though the ejection from the Garden of Eden resulted in changes that can include imperfect genetic codes, it seems excessive for Tipler to argue that the invariable presence of sin in all humankind is actually a consequence of the flawed genetics. Biblical revelation identifies the presence of human sin in the Garden of Eden before any possible corruption of the genome. Sin is a ‘spiritual’ flaw from a Biblical perspective. It is accompanied with physical ‘curse’ but it is not the physical curse that is sin. How the correction of this ‘spiritual’ flaw through repentance and faith in the person and work of Jesus works physically is unexplained – possibly because a simple physical explanation is inadequate.
ESCHATOLOGY : The end Singularity into which our universe contracts is the Omega point. Universal Resurrection with omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence as software codes within quantum computers, apparently ultimately joining with the Cosmic Singularity at the Omega point at the end of this multiverse (about 100 billion years from now) in paradise/heaven. The spiritual body is physical in the Bible and the Bible certainly describes that our earthly body is discarde without significance beyond our death. But Jesus resurrection reveals a recognisable continuity of our ‘spiritual‘ physical body with our earthly bodies. The Bible talks of a re-creation of the universe – “the heavens and the earth” which lasts for eternity. Tipler’s multiverse reverts to a Singularity as it began after at most 120 Billion years.
METHODOLOGY : It is refreshing to move away from the traditional theological approach of Christianity that ignores God’s revelation in Creation which we can look at with science. This is non-Biblical in my view and I applaud Tipler for this. What disturbs me is that Tipler has gone and made the same error but in the opposite direction so that most of the time he approaches Christianity purely as a matter of physical investigation of the universe ( or Creation) and making inferences about God and limiting his interpretation of the the Bible and Christian hsitory to those inferences. It seems to me that a Biblical approach is actually balanced – the Bible affirms that things about God can be known by both investigation of His is physical Creation AND his ‘special’ revelation in the Bible, and specifically, in Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit. There are things by implication that are important about living life to the full, salvation and the knowledge of God that can only be revealed by God and not by investigation of the physical laws of the universe. Hence, I believe Tipler’s construct is insufficient and sells us short as Christians. It seems to me that both ignorance of science and ignorance of ‘special’ revelation in Scripture are error. And that’s because an unbalanced approach is ultimately harmful to humankind which is not the will of God.
To Tipler, physics is the “only source of answers to any question“. Effectively, the physical laws are the ultimate revelation of God. Though I can’t say I understand all the equations (not many are actually provided), I think Tipler does a good job at explaining the relevent physics which at times are highly speculative.
Taking an indirect swipe at agnostic and atheist colleagues, Tipler argues that “When any scientist rejects the implications of physical law, for any reason other than experiment, then he ceases to be a scientist” (page 6). It seems to me that when any scientist rejects the implications that physical law is ‘inherently’ limited by it’s dependence on it’s Creator, that physicial law is separate from it’s Creator, and that physical law is inevitably limited in comparison to ‘Special Revelation’ (in the Scriptures) to explain and define the deepest wonders of existence and the future, such a scientisit is really in trouble from a Christian viewpoint. Tipler’s methodology appears to be to ignore what is revealed in the Bible unless it is Roman Catholic doctrine and explainable by his physics construct. I suspect that Tipler’s views would not be seen as Orthodox by the Roman or Greek Churches.
Tipler argues that the laws of physics require life to survive to the end of time. He proclaims : “If the laws of physics be for us, who can be against us?” Yet the assurance a Christian receives from the risen Lord is that He is with us and Tipler’s ‘laws of physics’ are a poor substitute for the Lord Himself. And that is the issue for me – Tipler’s physical God is very different to the God the Bible reveals. The God of the Bible is an overlord/creator/sustainer of the universal laws of physics who is not bound in action or defined by them, and who personally cares for me and reaches out to me and relates to me.
In the end, Tipler left me feeling a little sad and underwhelmed. It is obvious to me that Tipler has a very high view of the science of physics, and his ultimate hope appears that Christianity would become a “branch of physics“. Ultimately for me though, despite my high view of science and the scientific method, my ultimate hope is in a personal God who has revealed Himself as my Father through His Son Jesus in the Bible and in his creation; a God who listens to my every prayer, and who has the power to act ‘outside’ any physical restraints to save me and fulfil all He has freely promised me.
Maddoc, for thedebriefing.net , 2011