On March 14, 2018, Stephen Hawking , a world-renowned theoretical physicist , passed away . In the wake of this student of the Universe, I decided to share some ideas of the cosmology of the gospel.
Cosmology is a part of astronomy that studies the Universe on a large scale. Its influence on us is considerable, because it occupies the place of the Mare Nostrum of the ancient Romans, as a reference of our position in the world. It behaves well, cosmology, as a «belief» adopted by all whether or not believers. It is weaving in silence the canvas of our mentality. It is in that canvas where we project our questions and where we see ourselves.
Time and space in Christianity
Christianity endowed us with a beginning and an end. Genesis tells us the beginning of time and the creation of the world on the first day. The end of time, at the second coming of the Savior, would be the conclusion of human history. This limited line of time and space in the beginning and then in the apostasy, coexisted with a similar cosmology. It was thought that the earth was flat and its edges ended in an abyss where the navigators who defied its limits were precipitated.
The Savior sent some signals to the first disciples, but none saw them. When he told them, «I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear my voice … « ( John 10: 15-16 ). There was no one able to leave a Mediterranean mentality to ask, Where are those sheep?
El Salvador could not advance further in the geography of the gospel , because the available canvas did not admit traces beyond the frame of its time.
The immobile earth in the Universe was surrounded by a cut of the celestial bodies. That cosmology coincided with some social estates, immutable and sealed, orbiting around a king chosen by God. The cosmology of the gospel in the Middle Ages did not admit changes. Attempting against her was a heresy. No longer against the sacred scriptures but against the order of the world. The powerful knew that cosmology had more power in the mind than the bonfire.
Giordano Bruno was executed at the stake in 1600 for saying that the Sun was a common star and the earth a planet like others. To think that the earth was a fold more than those who listen to his voice, was too much for that time. In 1616, Galileo proved it but had to abjure at 70 years of age. But the change was already unstoppable.
In art, that hierarchical vision of the medieval world, brings a lack of depth in the painting. Flat colors and without mixing and lack of proportions in the sculpture. The dimensions and perspective of art are compressed as well as thought. In the Renaissance, from Copernicus, who proposes that it is the Earth that revolves around the Sun, is where the changes occur. The painting manages to represent three-dimensional volume and perspective. It attempts to reproduce the world and its objects realistically.
Time and space in the restoration
From that inertia of the past, it is generally considered that there is an antagonism between science and religion. But there is only a collision between ways of seeing the world and the power groups attached to them. All the scientists of that time, were deeply believers.
The seed of the dormant gospel grew in the hostile environment of apostasy. And so, the desert church came out in due time. The root of the cultivated olive tree remained alive until the restoration in 1820.
Between 1609 and 1618 Johanes Kepler formulates the three laws of the movement of the planets. In 1685 Newton gives birth to the law of Universal gravitation . In 1838 the first measurements of the distances of the stars were made. In this environment of expansion of our world map, reading «In my Father’s house there are many dwellings» ( John 14: 1-2 ) gives rise to a growth of the imagination, the precursor of discoveries.
However, the deeds of the Judah wood did not accompany the new wineskin in which the world was converted. And many say even today «A Bible! A Bible! We have a Bible, and there can not be any more Bible! « ( 2 Nephi 29: 3 ) It is not coincidental the coincidence of the awakening of science and restoration. The man who little by little emerged from the darkness, lost faith in the ancient world, which he associated with God.
Now, the colossal tasks assigned to this dispensation can only be carried out in an unfolding world, free of all ties in knowledge. In exchange, the saints face new dilemmas, questions without easy solution and the judgment of the nations. The saints need to harmonize the gospel cosmology of the new scriptures with the world where they live.
Moses and his cosmology
An example of the need for a correct cosmology to understand our life, we have it in Moses.
We read in the PGP how the Lord speaks face to face with him saying «And I have a work for you, Moses, my son …» ( Moses 1: 6 )
As we know that work was to free Israel from captivity and fulfill the agreement with Abraham. But before Moses needs something. «And now well, behold, I reveal to you only this, Moses, my son, because you are in the world, and now I show you. And it came to pass that Moses looked, and saw the world upon which he was created; and Moses saw the world and its borders, and all the children of men … «( Moses 1: 7-8 )
Without that knowledge, Moses would not have had the perspective, the depth, or the right proportions to found Israel as a nation. It was the same case with Abraham, Enoch.
And with Joseph Smith.
Expansion and society
The changes that cosmology generates are subtle to see but at the same time forceful.
In 1916 Einstein publishes the theory of general relativity where he shows that time is a variable dependent on movement and mass. Gravity is an illusion. This theory, thanks to which we use the GPS of our mobile to guide us, disorients us if we apply common sense to understand that same world.
Edwin Hubble discovered in 1924 that the Andromeda nebula was not part of our galaxy but was a different galaxy! Once again we lost the central position of childhood. Our galaxy is one more among billions. The question returns: who are we? What are we doing here?
In 1929 Hubble shows that the speed of galaxies in relation to ours has a redshift. They were all moving away. The Universe expands! That was a real revolution.
However Einstein was reluctant to accept the expanding Universe that his own theory suggested. He preferred a static one and that is why he introduces the cosmological constant in his equations. According to his words «The biggest mistake of my life». His mentality was exceeded by his own theory.
In parallel society experiences a similar expansion. Just as Hubble demonstrates that there is no center of expansion in the universe, society assumes that there is no center in the discernment of good and bad. It is based on the popular idea that «everything is relative» phrase that Einstein never said .
The great expansion
The moral reference of religion, moves and focuses on the personal criteria of each, like the one of the Universe, to no specific point.
The period, once solid and stationary, breaks the structures of a heavy modernity into a liquid one . A new heaven on their heads and a new earth under their feet appear before humanity.
The Cosmology of the Gospel
While the world was expanding towards knowledge, many felt the integrity of their beliefs in danger. Everything was moved by unknown movements and ideas. If religion does not have among its duties a detailed explanation of the world, it does have to place man on his feet before it.
Because of the need for symmetry, a renewal of the gospel cosmology was necessary before a world in knowledge inflation. And this is where restoration takes its place, beginning with the first vision. This vision of the young Joseph Smith is similar to Hubble’s discovery in cosmology, an authentic revolution.
A material heaven
Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ with physical bodies of flesh and blood. The world was not the same after this. Their environment is material and this is confirmed by reading «There is no such thing as immaterial matter. Every spirit is matter … when our bodies are purified, we will see that everything is matter. » ( D & C 131: 7-8 )
This idea places heaven within the Universe and the universe bordering on the celestial.
The restoration brings the divine nature closer to that of man and the celestial environment bordering on the human. They share form and substance, participate in common elements of the periodic table.
The first vision restores the sanctity of matter.
Therefore, for the saints of the last days, the great hadron collider in Geneva ( LHC ) is a way of scrutinizing the work of their hands.
A hidden sky
When young Joseph Smith receives Moroni’s visit, we read «… suddenly I saw something opening up like a conduit going straight to heaven, and he ascended until it disappeared completely» ( TJS ). Now we can take this description as something closer. Lisa Randall , particle physicist and cosmologist, studies the existence of a hidden universe. The dark matterrepresents 23% of the matter in the universe compared to 4% of the visible. The remaining 73% is dark energy. It is known as dark because it is not known what it is, it is not observable and it does not interact with light, but it interacts with gravity.
We believe that his kingdom is material. On March 20, 1839, Joseph Smith asks, «And where is the pavilion that covers your hidden abode?» This question of the prophet is not rhetorical or poetic. There is very little of that in the restoration, which is defined more in its deeds than in beliefs. A saint of the last days would have in the reading of Lisa Randall’s book » Hidden Universes » a field of enjoyment.
Do you think dear reader, that studies on dark matter, and cosmology would pose a threat to our doctrine?
No. The fear of knowledge is not compatible with restoration.
Eternity and the big bang
I will never understand why some believers are disturbed by the big bang.
Stephen Hawking, famous theoretical physicist of our time, said on CNN «God could exist, but science can explain the universe without the need of a creator»
Mormons are always eager to please. Saying «I think the same» is like a sedative. In this case I think the same as Hawking … and I explain.
The god of apostasy, whom Hawking mentions, created the world out of nothing, then predated it. It is a god external to the universe. However, in the restoration we learn that «The elements are eternal» ( D & C 93:33 ) have not been created. We know that » Intelligence, that is, the light of truth, was neither created nor made, nor can it be.» ( D & C 93:29 ) God did not create them.
We read in the Book of Abraham (in the temple in more detail) «We will descend, because there is space there, and we will take from these materials and we will make a land …» ( Abraham 3:24) In the restoration, God is an organizer, it is the new cosmology of our times.
Therefore, God inhabits and works in the Universe. And go further we all know that «Just as man is, God once was. As God is, man can become « ( Lorenzo Snow ) God is a part and actor in the Universe and with that we do not diminish but we approach his glory.
The near God
The new cosmology of the gospel does not deal directly with the principle of the universe but with this earth and its inhabitants. Placing God at the origin of the Big Bang is as unique as asking what was before the Big Bang? Hawking answers by saying that this question corresponds to our space-time and not to the beginning of the Universe, where time did not exist. It’s like asking what’s north of the North Pole?
Alma observes the following «… can mercy rob justice? I say no, not a whit. If that were so, God would cease to be God. » (Alma 42:25) We can not stop being human, but we can stop being just, unjust or poor. These are human states, but not substances. If God can stop being one, it is because he is a state and not a nature or different from ours. It is an accessible state.
Einstein changed his mentality, after Hubble verified the speed of expansion of the galaxies. He had to give up the static universe of the past.
We can not deal with restoration with a mind of apostasy.
The compartmentalized eternity
The language of the revelations is fascinating. » I Am , the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the same who contemplated the vast expansion of eternity …» ( D & C 38: 1 ) In English use expanse . That word comes from the Latin expansio, (extend out). The movement of expansion suggested by writing fits perfectly with modern cosmology and the tasks of our dispensation. They are similar movements.
» Expansion of eternity», brings within it two elements previously separated space and time. In writing they are unified, just as in relativity.
When you read «… there is a God in heaven, infinite and eternal, from eternity to eternity the same immutable God, the organizer of the heavens and the earth …» ( D & C 20:17 ) We see, that the order of the verse can be altered without its meaning changing. Because every element of your language is correct by itself. Therefore we can say that: «organizes heavens and lands from eternity to eternity.» When remembering that «its course is an eternal turn» ( D & C 3: 2 ) all this draws us the cycles of creation, each of them an eternity. The resemblance to Friedman’s positive curvature model is remarkable.
As I said at the beginning, the restoration does not have the task of explaining the world, but it does provide us with the consistency and balance to remain in it without being moved. Maintaining an upright posture so as not to lose perspective. Any fear or fear comes from the chains that bind us to the dark world of the past. Any question or doubt, make us be attentive and willing to learn.
The whisper from the veil
The scriptures are fractal , contain in any of its dimensions the structure of the gospel. At any distance we observe them, we see the whole. Like the isotropy of the Universe, at whatever scale we read them, they have a fullness.
In the scriptures, we should not overlook anything. Even if it seems to us that they walk «by crooked ways» because in the end they «are straight and their way is an eternal turn» ( D & C 3: 2 )
The saints must approach the restoration with faith, and the world without fear. In the environment provided by Einstein, Hubble and also by a priest Georges Lemaitre , first to propose the theory of the big bang. That environment provides our dispensation with the means to fulfill its mandates. Without this new cosmology, which has changed the world, there would be no expansion of knowledge, we would not have the means to achieve the impossible. The restoration so whispers.
Therefore, the saints of the last days, we can not close our ears and open our hands.