Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Our Fuzzy Universe - Enjoy the Challenge


Here are a few challenging quantum notions to ponder the next time you encounter the fuzzy nature of this universe we call home. I have been wrestling with much of the material in the book MIRACLES by C.S. Lewis over the past weeks and can't quite seem to come to grips with all that he is saying. So much hovers on the tip of my brain, only to be lost as soon as I try to recall it in any meaningful manner. One moment I get a basic insight and the next moment it vanishes just like that. So I decided to copy this section in Rhino Rumblings so I can glance back at it and maybe absorb bits and pieces every now and then. Hope you enjoy the challenge also....cheers, O'

"...it is probable that Nature is not really in Time and almost certain that God is not. Time is probably (like perspective) the mode of our perception. There is therefore in reality no question of God's at one point in time (the moment of creation) adapting the material history of the universe in advance to free acts which you or I are to perform at a later point in Time. To Him all the physical events and all the human acts are present in an eternal Now. The liberation of finite wills and the creation of the whole material history of the universe (related to the acts of those wills in all the necessary complexity) is to Him a single operation. In this sense God did not create the universe long ago but creates it at this minute - at every minute."

"When we are praying about the result, say, of a battle or a medical consultation, the thought will often cross our minds that (if only we knew it) the event is already decided one way or the other. I believe this to be no good reason for ceasing our prayers. The event certainly has been decided - in a sense it was decided "before all worlds." But one of the things taken into account in deciding it, and therefore one of the things that really cause it to happen, may be this very prayer that we are now offering. Thus, shocking as it may sound, I conclude that we can at noon become part causes of an event occurring at ten a.m. (Some scientists would find this easier than popular thought does.)"

"The imagination will, no doubt, try to play all sorts of tricks on us at this point. It will ask, "Then if I stop praying can God go back and alter what has already happened?" No. The event has already happened and one of its causes has been the fact that you are asking such questions instead of praying. It will ask, "Then if I begin to pray can God go back and alter what has already happened?" No. The event has already happened and one of its causes is your present prayer. Thus something does really depend on my choice. My free act contributes to the cosmic shape. That contribution is made in eternity or "before all worlds"; but my consciousness of contributing reaches me at a particular point in the time-series."

"The following question may be asked: If we can reasonably pray for an event which must in fact have happened or failed to happen several hours ago, why can we not pray for an event which we know not to have happened? e.g. pray for the safety of someone who, as we know, was killed yesterday. What makes the difference is precisely our knowledge. The known event states God's will. It is psychologically impossible to pray for what we know to be unobtainable; and if it were possible the prayer would sin against the duty of submission to God's known will."
(AT THIS POINT SOME READERS MIGHT WANT TO LOOK AT SCHROEDINGER'S CAT WHICH IS A CLASSIC THOUGHT PROBLEM IN QUANTUM PHYSICS. If I am not mistaken this sheds some light on the role that 'knowledge' plays in determining reality. But I may be wrong.)

"One more consequence remains to be drawn. It is never possible to prove empirically that a given, non-miraculous event was or was not an answer to prayer. Since it was non-miraculous the sceptic can always point to its natural causes and say, "Because of these it would have happened anyway," and the believer can always reply, "But because these were only links in a chain of events, hanging on other links, and the whole chain hanging upon God's will, they may have occurred because someone prayed. The efficacy of prayer, therefore, cannot be either asserted or denied without an exercise of the will - the will choosing or rejecting faith in the light of a whole philosophy."

"This impossibility of empirical proof is a spiritual necessity. A man who knew empirically that an event had been caused by his prayer would feel like a magician. His head would turn and his heart would be corrupted. The Christian is not to ask whether this or that event happened because of a prayer. He is rather to believe that all events without exception are answers to prayer in the sense that whether they are grantings or refusals the prayers of all concerned and their needs have all been taken into account. All prayers are heard, though not all prayers are granted."

"We must not picture destiny as a film unrolling for the most part on its own, but in which our prayers are sometimes allowed to insert additional items. On the contrary, what the film displays to us as it unrolls already contains the results of our prayers and of all our other acts. There is no question whether an event has happened because of your prayer. When the event you prayed for occurs your prayer has always contributed to it. When the opposite event occurs your prayer has never been ignored; it has been considered and refused, for your ultimate good and the good of the whole universe."("For example, because it is better for you and for everyone else in the long run that other people, including wicked ones, should exercise free will than that you should be protected from cruelty or treachery by turning the human race into automata.)

"But this is, and must remain, a matter of faith. You will, I think, only deceive yourself by trying to find special evidence for it in some cases more than in others."

C.S. Lewis MIRACLES

3 comments:

  1. 愛惜生命的人,不可浪費時間,因為時間是組成生命的元素. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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  2. YO, from my perspective in Time, related to Lewis. I love this, I am not "up" on lewis as maybe I could be. But I may be of the opinion that Knowledge is reality, Reality is knowledge (or is that an elementary thought). Logos and all! But certainly the GloryisTo GodMostHigh, or we are magicians. I never pulled a rabbit outofa hat, to my knowledge.lol :)my two cents are worth a penny. sorry

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  3. Hey Mike - you might enjoy Leadership and the New Science by Wheatley if you haven't already read it.....great introduction (for me) to a layman's understanding of quantum mechanics. C.S. Lewis must have been reading about the 'new science' in the 40's when he published Miracles. Another Cambridge don that is helpful is John Polkinghorne (Faith of a Physicist). He is a scientist turned Anglican Priest and he takes complex ideas and lays them out clearly for all to ponder from a Judeo-Christian perspective. Wish I could get him to write about MIRACLES....cheers, O'

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