Eleven dimensions, parallel universes, a world made of vibrating filaments -- it’s not science fiction: It’s string theory. And it is scientific speculation that helps spotlight the dance in which science and religion are entwined.
Image by trailfan via Flickr
If you remember your high school physics, the basic particles of the universe -- electrons, protons, neutrons, and for the younger generation, neutrinos, quarks, photons -- are the “letters” that make
up all matter. Remember your basic models of atoms that your teacher held up.
String theory says otherwise.
According to this cutting-edge theory, if we could examine these
particles with even greater precision -- a precision many orders of
magnitude beyond our present technological capacity -- we would find
that each is not point-like but instead consists of a tiny,
one-dimensional loop. Like an infinitely thin rubber band, each particle
contains a vibrating, oscillating, dancing filament that physicists
have named a string.
So we are all really particles with vibrations. When we touch something, we are just one vibration oscillating against another vibration. When we think, the microtubes that make up the neurons in our brains are ultimately particles with vibrations oscillating against each other.
Image via Wikipedia
For the first time in the history of physics we have a framework with
the capacity to explain every fundamental feature upon which the
universe is constructed -- gravity, electromagnetism, forces that hold
the atom together, light, etc. For this reason string theory is
sometimes described as possibly being the “theory of everything” or the
ultimate or final theory. These terms convey the concept of the deepest
possible theory of physics -- a theory that underlies all others, one
that does not require or even allow for a deeper explanatory base.
String Theory permits us to understand the great activities of the cosmos. How stars are born, live and die. How galaxies billions of miles away interact in a swarm of large vibrations.
Theologians from the beginning of time have grappled with the question of how to reconcile our understanding of the material world with our spirituality. Each time there has been a major shift in science, theology has shifted as well.
Vatican Observatory staff member Jesuit Fr. William Stoeger urges us to
theologically think bigger: “Many times the God that we image is
extremely small, and I think that both the science of the very small and
the science of the very large forces us to abandon images of a small
God and espouse an ever-expanding concept that God is beyond anything
that we can really define or characterize.”
Everything is interconnected at the sub atomic level, which our native
ancestors have always known. Do our thoughts bring about physical
changes around us? Yes indeed! Do material changes affect our thoughts
and feelings? Yes.
I believe God is in here somewhere as well and that his or her vibrational energies are resonating within us as well. I wonder if God himself is a string? :)
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