Master of Time

Masters Of TimeNOTE: This posting is based on previous postings exploring insights from quantum physics. If you want more information or citations related to the discoveries described here, I urge you to read my book The Ethics of Chaos: Finding Happiness in a World Gone Crazy or The Physics of Genesis both available at Amazon for Kindle and kindle enabled devices.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible involves a man named Joshua. He was the commander of the army of Israel. His army was closing in on a victory but the sun would soon be setting. Since night fighting was impossible, Joshua issued a command, not to his troops but to the sun: “Let the sun stand still over Gibeon and the moon over the valley of Ajalon.”

That is exactly what happened. The Message translation sums up Israel’s reaction to what they had witnessed. The people shouted. “God took orders from a human voice!”  In other words, they didn’t celebrate this event as a miracle but rather as an expression of human potential.

But it’s all fake news, right? It has to be! We know that the apparent motion of the sun through the sky is the result of the earth’s rotation and that stopping that would be a bad idea. But that’s not what this story is about. This story isn’t about astrophysics, it’s about the physics of time.

Joshua didn’t stop the rotation of the earth, he changed the flow of time in relation to the rotation of the earth. Pretty impressive on the face of it… except it isn’t. Responding to a thought experiment proposed by physicist John Wheeler, researchers Alain Aspect, Jean Dalibard and Gerard Roger devised an experiment in 1982 which showed that human beings could by the simple act of making an observation cause a photon (light particle) to spin. They could then split that particle in which case each half-photon would spin in opposite directions. If, next. they reversed the spin of one of the half-photons the other half-photon would simultaneously reverse it’s spin as well even though the two slices were moving away from each other at the speed of light. Eight years later another group of scientists accomplished the same thing only the light they tested was curving around an object million of light years distant. In other words, simply by making an observation they were able to send photons spinning and control their spin even though the light in question existed millions of years in the past.

What did these experiments reveal? Einstein dismissed these results as “spooky action at a distance”. The experiments should never have produced the results they did if the two sides of the split particles were really separated by either space or time. They were moving apart at the speed of light which means that they shouldn’t have been able to stay in relation to each other since there can be no faster-than-light message particle that could have connected them. And how in the world could contemporary scientists dictate the operation of photons that existed eons ago?

Einstein had also observed that “for physicists like us time and space are just persistent illusions”. It turns out that sentence provides the answer. What those experiments demonstrated was that time and space aren’t real. The particles in the first experiment reacted as they did because they were never separated by any kind of physical distance. The ancient photons responded as they did because there is no such thing as time. They were all part of something but the only thing that connected them was the minds of the scientists conducting the experiments.

Physicist James Jeans observed back in the middle of the twentieth century that as science moves forward the universe looks less and less like a big machine and more like a great thought (see Genesis One for more about that!). Joshua understood his point. He was confident that his thoughts were able to control the flow of time, so he did exactly that to his benefit as a military commander.

The universe really seems to be a great thought which means we can change our pasts and futures and even the spaces of our lives simply by changing our thinking. That’s the meaning of the word “repent” in the Bible and is the message of the Gospel. A new creation isn’t hammered together with physical tools and labor. It arises within each individual when someone releases imagination and lets it soar over guilt feelings and debilitating fears. Sadly, history shows that almost everyone chooses to remain bound to old thoughts and the tired world that goes with them. But Joshua (and physics) have shown that it doesn’t have to be that way for you.

Moving Mountains

river and pine trees

NOTE: I invite you to read my two previous postings, Faith and Physics: Parts One and Two for the background behind this posting.

My interest in quantum physics was kindled by Jesus. Speaking to his disciples he told them that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed they could order a mountain to move from one place to another and it would jump to it. Most Bible readers dismiss that sort of talk as a lot of hyperbole. But is it, really? What if Jesus meant what he said? I wondered.

If Jesus (the designer of the universe) has a clue about how creation works (and I’m guessing he does) we likely have to revise how we understand our world because that’s what’s at issue here. Jesus’ challenge is about physics, not faith. You almost need a microscope to see a mustard seed which tells us that Jesus wasn’t talking about the importance of faith. The issue he poses is, do you think you could even theoretically move a mountain by your command or are you trapped in the muddy ruts of a world where possibilities are few, opportunities limited and mountains pretty much just sit there not caring what you think?

The Bible challenges our expectations about limits from start to finish. That, incidentally, is a good reason to study it daily. Let me give one more example. In all his letters Paul insists that Jesus physically rose from the dead. But he always does it in an odd way. He argues that ‘if there is no such thing as resurrection then Jesus has not been raised and we who believe are to be pitied.’. Now, look carefully at that sentence, most people read it backward. Paul is not arguing that dead people live again because Jesus lived again. He’s saying that Jesus is alive because we live in a world where dead people always rise, a world where the resurrection of the body is a normal part of living.

Do you believe that? I’m not trying to drag you into any churchy talk here. I’m asking if your day to day vision of the world embraces extraordinary expectations like the resurrection of your body (yes, your BODY) or are you mired in what some call the consensual trance? Faith is more than a belief in God. It’s a God-driven belief that the body, mind, and spirit God gave me and the universe in which he placed me are rich with potential far beyond my usual imagining. How much richer? Stay tuned to see more of what the Bible says about our world, including extraordinary possibilities that quantum physics has scientifically confirmed as daily realities and prepare to have your mind totally blown.