Saturday, June 13, 2009
A few days ago, a member of our extended family sent us these links to an interesting short film on YouTube:
part 1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkxieS-6WuA
part 2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySBaYMESb8o
It’s called “Imagining the tenth dimension,” and it’s a simple explanation for non-scientists of the various physical dimensions of the universe, starting with a single one-dimensional point. I find this is one of those places where science and Christianity intersect. It’s also one of those opportunities to talk to a non-religious person about why you happen to be religious. So I sent him this mail:
Jim shared with me the YouTube link you sent about imagining the tenth dimension. Thanks so much. This kind of thing has always been fascinating to me, and you may be surprised to hear that it's one of the reasons why Christianity is so fascinating to me. Setting aside everything negative or repugnant you've ever heard about Christianity, one thing that is very interesting (particularly in Orthodox Christianity) is the concept of infinity. In Orthodox theology, God exists in infinity. There's a standard Orthodox prayer in which God is described as "who art everywhere present and fillest all things." This is religious language, I know, but when I watched the YouTube thing I thought about it immediately. Since God is by definition beyond our comprehension, we've come up with a way of trying to understand him, and that is trying to imagine him as being three persons in one, three at the same time (three dimensional?), which in theology is called the Trinity. The Trinity is an ancient concept, and maybe now, with this idea of ten dimensions, we would have to change it. But it does suggest a fully dimensional being.
When religious people try to come into contact with God, they can only do it by meeting him in his infinite-ness. This is what prayer is. To non-religious people, prayer sometimes sounds pretty silly, but to deeply religious people it's almost like the diagrams on the YouTube thing, folding the dimensions over on each other.
I'm not going to go any further, because this is starting to sound preachy, and I don't want to be preachy! But I thought you might like to know how this struck me.
It's also very interesting that the priest of our church is a physicist. Another friend of ours in church is a particle physicist working at Delft University (he's also Russian). I really believe science and religion have a lot in common and can really inform each other in important ways.
Re the photo: this is a Hubble view of deep space sent to us by the friend who sent us the link to the Ten Dimensions film.