The new vision of humanity
In his book “Brief Answers to the Great Questions” Stephen Hawking shares his reflections on the questions we all ask ourselves. In this article we will see that The Universe, Hawking and restoration are not as far away as it seems.
“One of the great revelations of the space age has been the perspective it has given us on humanity. When we look at Earth from space, we see ourselves as a whole. We see our unity and not our divisions.” (pag 30 S.H.)
The theology of restoration coincides in the proportions of humanity in relation to the cosmos and its unity on Earth. Thanks to revelation, we have shared it since the middle of the last century.
“But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man;…” (Moses 1:35)
As saints of the latter days, we think that many of our beliefs are common to others. So we do not appreciate the great contrast between the cosmology of restoration and that of the religious environment in which we are.
“And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.” (33)
I note with surprise the defensive attitude of some of us when it comes to science. Understanding that science is a method of thinking, we should not think that its conclusions are hostile if they do not coincide 100% with what we believe. Rather, we should be grateful for and value the effort of those who seek the truth in ways other than faith. The task of reaping the good is part of our dispensation. Sometimes it is an exhausting activity but it is also a source of wealth.
The big questions
The contribution of religion to the fundamental questions has been lagging behind science for centuries (approximately three). Today, restoration has been paired with great discoveries, especially in physics and cosmology. However, many of the saints do not perceive it and follow in the footsteps of those who consider science discordant with revelation.
The doctrine we have is not always well understood. Its dimensions, as in nature, are curved and we do not see them in their totality. In addition, we drag a kind of loyalty to the old ideas of apostasy. In teancum we have no commitment to the past and we start almost from scratch with the new scriptures to understand the world. That is why fear is not so much to make mistakes but to ask the wrong questions.
According to Hawking:
“…religion was an early attempt to answer the questions we all ask ourselves. Why are we here? Where do we come from? — Today science provides better and more consistent answers, but people cling to religion because it provides comfort and they do not understand or trust science” (p. 53, S.H.).
As an example of this, Hawking mentions Aristarchus that in 300 B.C. he studied eclipses. He discovered that they were not actions of the gods, they were obedient to the relative position of the Sun, the Moon and the Earth. Eclipses were explained by the laws of nature, not by divine intervention. Stars were not holes in the floor of the heavens but distant suns like ours.
A mistaken strategy for those of us who are believers is to place behind each explanation or discovery, a new soil pierced by the heavens. That seems to me to be a game against something unjust. Paul’s advice: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5:1), encompasses for the saints the whole of our world. The people of Israel examined and retained the language of the Egyptians, that is, their way of expressing the world.
A tennis court
Our language encompasses more than our language.
Hawking uses an example with tennis. The laws of the ball on the court are the same as those governing planets in space. Then you realize that:
“…the laws of nature are fixed, we don’t take long to ask ourselves: what role remains for God?” (page 56 S.H)
This question is vital to understanding Hawking’s position, which is the same in most people. They start from a God external to the universe, creator of matter, prior to the elements and intelligence.
Scientists like Einstein, Friedmann, Hubble, a priest like Lemaître and many others, try to explain a Universe that is governed by laws in appearance, alien to divinity. As well as the eclipses that Aristarchus observed and explained. Each time they are (we are) closer to doing it, to unraveling that mechanism and then some, not all, conclude in something like “This works without the need of a God”. This conclusion can be read on page 57.
“Those laws (of science) may or may not have been decreed by God, but God cannot intervene to transgress them, or they would not be laws. That leaves God the freedom to choose the initial state of the universe, but even here, it seems that there may be laws. If it were so, God would have no freedom” (p. 57 S.H.).
Instead of saying “they would not be laws” Alma says “God would ceaseto be God.” (Alma 42;13). Alma knows that laws are not going to cease to be, because they are the foundation of divinity, not the other way around. Hawking attributes to Christianity the opposite idea: Laws exist because they are divine creations.
Returning to tennis, the ball behaves according to the laws of physics. It is not necessary the intervention of a player for the laws of movement to exist. But players are necessary for tennis to exist. The laws of tennis are those designed by their creators in the beginning, and yes, those can be changed. More clearly, tennis acts in the sphere of the laws of nature. It’s what Hawking didn’t know, a gospel that distinguishes between those two orders.
The Universe, Hawking and Restoration
In the book of Abraham in chapter 4, we can enjoy the paradigm of creation in the new scriptures. The reader can do the test, but I save him the work. I present a summary of the verbs of creative action.
“the Gods, organizedand formed”(1), “comprehended the light,” (4), “ordered the expanse,” (7) “saw that they were obeyed.” (10), “prepare the earth to bring forth” (11), “organized the earth to bring forth” (12), “watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed.”(18) — the preposition until it is incredible!—, “prepare the waters to bring forth abundantly the moving creatures” (20)
All are transitive verbs, of an action that is transmitted to the elements, not of contemplation. They displace their interest not to themselves but to the action of organizing pre-existing elements. There is no passive voice, there is a direct contact with the ball and its laws on the court. And this is something new, because the divine, even Joseph Smith, was a substance different from the human. Intransitive to our condition. In the language of restoration and in its morphology, we begin to glimpse a transmission from the divine verb, not only of its existence but of the invitation to form part of its predicate. Of his creative action through a new and everlasting covenant.
And now I ask you, dear reader, does this account of Abraham suggest the creation of the laws of motion or the use of them in the party?
It is more than evident that it speaks of a creation team that uses materials and knowledge to accomplish a task. They do not create a universe but act within it.
The creative model of the sea
At creation, they prepared a miniuniverse in the sea and propelled it so that it would produce life itself. If someone looks at the sea as the cosmos, he will also say, “This works without the need of a God. The sea, which is the origin of life, is a perfect image of creation on a larger scale.
We have all felt self-conscious in contemplating it for the first time. In my case, when I arrived with my family, I saw the sea from a promontory. It was in Huelva, the Atlantic Ocean. I could hear its waves breaking on the beach and also in my childish mind.
We all remember that impression, we feel an emotional shock as we face the first palpable infinity of our lives. We are shocked when our most intimate constitution is affected. It is a spiritual experience for anyone.
The sea is similar to light and truth on a smaller scale. The primordial ocean of our spirits, from where we were called out to the land of Elohim’s lineage. We all came out of that ocean of intelligence.
Seeing the sea for the first time, it suggests its archaic presence, the first substratum of our spirit. It brings out his voice in the depths of our constitution. The sea, impersonal, powerful and distantly familiar, puts us to the test. Representing light and truth, it mutes our inner voice and we sense an ancient childhood in its dark bed.
We perceive in that first glance, before the veil falls and covers it, that it is a flat space-time. Except for the reference to the sky, on the surface of that primeval world we find the two symmetries of empty and flat worlds. The one of translation, since, out to sea there are no references between one point and another. The rotation symmetry, because whichever way we look there is no difference.
In creation these symmetries are broken when the gods act “upon the face of the waters.” (Gen. 1:2), and in the unorganized elements. We belonged to that eternal world and plane devoid of objects, when we had no name or lineage.
Observing that fleeting moment in our soul, we learn about our origin and constitution, but we have to catch that message or it will go away like a bird that escapes.
What do we see?
We find the sea of scripture when we read in D&C “Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.” (D&C 93:29) What are we reading? and if we add to that when we read “The elements are eternal” (33), what do we understand? We have no answer but to admit that there are laws and elements prior to life and divinity. That there are things and forces that are not created and cannot be either (29).
When the Savior affirms the latter, it means that the creations of his hands use foreign means and elements. They do not act with their own material resources. If I say: the coal of the mine was neither created nor made, nor can it be. I am saying that if I want to use it, I have to extract it. There is no other way. I have to deal with reality without the possibility of changing what cannot be.
When Alma affirms three times in chapter 42 that in case of breaking the law “God would ceaseto be God.” (13, 22, 25) What do we conclude?
We find it difficult to abandon the concept of the God of apostasy. A singularity, where impossible questions disappear and answers without words, like information in a black hole. The cosmology of restoration requires new wineskins.
Everything changed when Joseph Smith saw two glorious, flesh-and-blood characters in a column of light. That changed everything. The whole vision, the whole building of divinity prior to restoration. The consequences of this are yet to be discovered, but first one must free oneself from the mental chains of apostasy. To enter the inner sea.
An unfathomable mystery
Still a majority have the vision of Galileo’s universe with Newton’s laws to explain it. Bodies orbiting in space. But as we know more, we find it very difficult to understand its dimensions and properties. We realize that like the divinity “…behold, the mystery [of the universe], how great it is!” (D&C 19:10) The Lord of the vineyard cultivates and expands it. But the land was already there.
This idea leads us to a God contained in the universe where he acts according to the laws. Even to me, at first, this idea seemed somewhat heated, unreverent and almost offensive. But isn’t it strange to say that he has a physical body and that such as man is God has been? I have meditated quite a bit before sharing this here, in teancum, where I am only one voice.
When I propose this idea, I seem to present a lesser God than we knew. But he is less in our eyes, in the same proportion that we do not know the universe, his vineyard. In the same way, we have no idea of the glory of a king until we see his kingdom. It is now that we know more and more in the new cosmology what is incredible about the universe, when this proposal is no less to worship Father Elohim as the greatest of all. Even if it is posterior to the elements and the light of truth. The two constitutive blocks of the universe in the scriptures.
The Saviour himself exclaims, “For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it!” (10) There he is not talking about creation but about himself, about his state. It is a genuine and spontaneous affirmation. The context in which he does it is by dealing with endless punishment. He mentions phrases like “I, God, am endless.” (4) “Endless is my name.” (10). This is where we come to the base of the clouds.
The base of the clouds
It’s been years since I stopped hang-gliding. It was an unforgettable experience (Liahona Oct./1995, p. 46), but also risky because of the dangerous flying area where I practiced. My companions and I used the thermal currents that rose from the ground towards the sky to a condensation height.
When you find a thermal, you first notice turbulence and the nose of the wing goes down. You are in the cold air descent zone. Then you turn left or right, it depends on the wing’s roll. When you make notes that you are rising, the variometer indicates it to you with its sound. This is the best time. You turn smoothly, like the birds and go up to… That’s the decision.
Some thermals are blue, they don’t end in a cloud. Others take you to the base of the cloud. The darker it gets, the higher it lifts you but it can also suck you up and take you to very dangerous heights and turbulences. How far do you want to go? How much do you want to risk? Do you interpret well what you see? Are you afraid?…the fear was always there.
To combine in my thinking the fact that “Endless is my name” and at the same time to consider that “The elements are eternal” and that “Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be” places me near the base of the cloud.
What’s before the cloud
Hawking concludes that the big bang is the beginning of time. Asking what’s before the Big Bang doesn’t make sense because there’s no time. Therefore for him there is no room for a creator, because there is no time to create. As time begins at that instant, Hawking considers conditions incompatible with life and intelligence.
However, I have the feeling that everything is much stranger than we imagine. We cannot close the question but open others. The first vision, and everything that follows it, is a drastic, revolutionary change in the relationship between God and the Universe. There is much to meditate and discover. Listening to what other voices are saying about this issue, voices that are getting closer and closer.
That beginning of the Big Bang is our veil, but also yours, that of physics. We are all at different heights beneath the cloud that hides our questions. We all experience the desire to climb higher while retaining our integrity.
In my wing
The God who organizes the elements and intelligence within the Universe is subject to the laws. Hawking never considered this in his reflections, it was inconceivable. In that wing in which I fly, I ascend to a dark veil as is the beginning of the Universe. And I ask myself:
Where was He, outside the Universe? Inside? Does this question make sense? How does the beginning of the expansion affect you? Did it exist then? When he says “From eternity to eternity he is the same, and his years never fail.? (D&C 76:4) Are you referring to successive pulsations or big bang of the universe? Do you maintain your kingdom during these eternities? With what laws are you able to transcend the first portentous singularity, where all known laws collapse?
When I address these questions I notice the turbulence at the end of the restoration thermal. But the cloud is there, I want to get to it but I can’t climb any higher. It is the veil of the tabernacle, the veil in our mind. The same veil for physics, where all theories collapse at that first frontier.
But what to think when the voice of the Lord says
“Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I Am, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the samewhich looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made;” (D&C 38:1)
He himself reveals his thought by saying expansion and eternity. It is his contemplation of the expansion of space-time, the fabric of the universe. He was in the beginning. He has contemplated the mystery of divinity, of its state, and has qualified it in its dimensions as how great it is! How much is that to a God? As much as the expansion of eternity? We are before someone who does know all the secrets, who inspires us and gives us the possibility of ascending from “[going up] in the imagination of [our] thoughts as if it were on eagle wings”. (D&C 124:99)