Throughout the ages, various religions have provided allegorical accounts as to how our existence came into being. To this day, our scientific understanding of the origins of the universe is communicated in ways that fail to exemplify the totality of the universe's grandeur and complexity. This is an understandable constraint of our current human reality and may always be, in some way, a limitation of the human condition. As a result, the allegory of religion serves an important role in our ability to understand the present and imagine the future.
In the Judeo-Christian tradition, for example, God speaks order into existence. Some theologians have historically contended that God created the world "ex-nihilo" (out of nothing), but the Bible doesn't seem to indicate this. Instead, what we read is that God orders the material of existence in ways that make it conducive to life.
From a scientific standpoint, this makes sense. Many scientists have contended that every particle in existence is computational in nature. That means that, in a way similar to how a smartphone or a computer interprets and orders information, the information of the universe may be ordered so that it functions like a giant quantum computer. In the allegory of existence then, God would serve as the universal programmer.
In the Biblical myth, humans are created in God's image and are invited into this creative organizational process. We, from a different level of observation, experience and participate in the intentional ordering of the world around us. Trees are transformed into chairs. Grain is ground into flour and ordered with other ingredients to be baked into bread. Metal is refined from the earth and turned into cars, skyscrapers and computers. We are creative, ordering beings like the depicted Creator.
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In the New Testament, we read of such human and Godly ordering. We are told of a virtual changing of humans' environment. Jesus orders disease into health, changes water into wine, causes a fig tree to whither and even transforms water into a state that allowed him to walk on it. Sure, it is easy to dismiss such activity as exaggeration or fable, but if the universe is a quantum computer of sorts, then science might have something radically different to explain such events.
And, similar to the creation narratives, both the Old Testament and the New Testament tell of how humans are active participants in such material reordering as well. God's followers also heal people of various ailments, walk on water, part a sea, raise the dead, the list goes on and on.
Again, all of this might be easy to dismiss as just embellished or misinformed accounts. But what if they aren't? What if our belief is tangibly able to reorder our environment and change our world? What if our efforts, thoughts and attitudes really do affect how we experience existence?
Maybe our situations, our relationships and even our health are dependent on our conscious reordering of our environment. Think and act in a positive manner and get an ordered result. Think and act in a negative manner and get disordered chaos.
If science finds this idea to be the case, it could radically affect the world we live in. How we teach could change. How we report the news could change. How we live our lives could change.
This of course, raises a question for us as individuals and as a community: "How are we going to order the world today?"
The Rev. Christopher Benek is the associate pastor of family ministries at Providence Presbyterian Church. Read his blog at www.christopherbenek.com.