Is reality an illusion?
By Craig Portwood
It seems to be inviolable. The idea that our consciousness occupies but a small space, contained in a fleshy shell, is virtually unquestioned. Though believers accept the concept that mankind is spiritual in nature, this postulate is easier to accept in theory than it is to imagine in practice. As the Christian looks to his Bible for validation, the skeptic looks to science for refutation.
The Biblical premise is that all that occurs in this physical world is a mere reflection of what takes place in the heavenlies. That we might be little more than programs in a computer, processing bits of information in binary fashion, is a difficult concept to accept. Now scientists themselves are having to cope with just such abstract notions.
A joint team of British and German researchers attempting to detect gravity waves in a project known as GEO600, have been faced with a mysterious noise which threatens the success of the project. This ambient background anomaly has mystified the scientific community, save for one man.
Physicist Craig Hogan, director of the Center for Particle Astrophysics, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and professor of astronomy and astrophysics, University of Chicago, has developed a theory of a "holographic universe." The diffusive noise discovered by the GEO600 team, fits neatly into Hogan’s hypothesis.
For years, Hogan has been pursuing experiments which might prove true his speculation as to the reality of a holographic universe. He is convinced that he has found substantiation in the data of the gravitational wave detector GEO600. Hogan maintains that his ideas could account for the mysterious noise in the detector data that has not been explained thus far. Hogan states: ‘If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram.’
This holographic model of the universe has been described as similar to holograms you find on credit cards, which are etched on two-dimensional plastic films. When light bounces off them, it recreates the appearance of a 3 dimensional image. In the 1990s physicists Leonard Susskind and Nobel prizewinner Gerard 't Hooft suggested that the same principle might apply to the universe as a whole. Thus, they reason that our everyday experience might itself be a holographic projection of physical processes that take place on a distant, 2 dimensional surface. This would also mean that these same actions are occurring on a plane billions of light years away.
If this holographic principle is true, it means that what seems to be happening in the apparent present physical realm, is actually because of something happening on the boundary of the universe. This idea of our existence being not absolutely in the here and now, but in some distant place in the heavens instead, has definite Biblical support.
Christians do know that “God hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3) We do also understand from Ephesians 1:20, that our Savior is likewise there presently. The Scriptures further state that we are indeed seated there now, according to Ephesians 2:6, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
If Hogan’s model of a holographic universe can be proved to be more than scientific conjecture, it would mean that science, far from being able to refute these scriptures, would serve instead to validate them. Although the cynical atheist is unlikely to concede defeat on this point, he cannot claim victory using science as his weapon. Newer studies on the subject of a holographic model of the universe are corroborative.
How sweet is vindication.
This idea that we are not really occupying this particular space in time does go a long way in explaining how we could indeed have been known before our time, to which Ephesians 1:4 and Revelation 17:8 allude. Such a model also fits nicely with what we are told about the spiritual battle which all believers fight. Though our battlefield is in this temporal plane (the world of the flesh), our battle is not. It occurs in the ‘heavens’. As Paul noted in Ephesians 6:12:
‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’
Even though the concept may not be any easier to comprehend in consideration, this author yet finds comfort and hope in the knowledge that, this "present reality" is in fact, an illusion recondite. So it would seem that there is indeed more truth in the portrayal of reality as a giant computer simulation as presented in the movie "The Matrix," than the human mind can accept.
As the potential adept explained to the main character Neo in that movie during an attempt to bend a spoon using only the power of the will:
Adept: "Do not try and bend the spoon, that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth."
Neo: ‘"What truth?"
Adept: "There is no spoon. Then you will see that it is not the spoon that bends. It is only yourself."
If the "world of the flesh" is not real but is in fact only a testing ground upon which we are proven, it begs the question: In this world which is but an illusion, is the immortal soul the only real thing which exists?