We all recognize that the basic materials out of which our world is formed are remarkably consistent and constant. For example, all pieces of glass share the same properties as do all pieces of aluminum. Science, of course, has shown us that these consistencies are the result of the identical structure of all the atoms that make up chemical elements. We also know that all atoms are made up of protons, neutrons and electrons which are identical to each other. All the levels of structure of all basic particles and forces are incredibly organized and interdependent, no matter how deep into their structure physicists have been able to penetrate.
About a century ago, Albert Einstein showed us an even more fundamental kind of unity when he discovered that matter and energy are actually the same substance in different forms. We soon learned that particles of matter can be changed into energy and energy into matter. As scientists have put this insight to use, they have observed that these transformations are always lawful. It is because of this incredible regularity and predictability of the fundamental building blocks that make up our world that our scientists and engineers are so effective in analyzing and manipulating its forces and materials.
Despite the amazing success of our science and technology, though, scientists still do not know what produces the organization and lawfulness of the universe’s structure which makes our science and technology possible in the first place. The closest science has been able to come in answering these questions has been the “big bang” theory of the how universe started from an incredibly dense, hot point and presumably exploded outward into everything we see today. The theory does not actually provide answers, though, since it fails to tell us what existed prior to this dense point, what started its expansion, why the materials which formed have the characteristics they do, and what serves to maintain their consistency over time.
For the most part, scientists have left these questions to philosophers and theologians. But if we are to move much beyond our current understanding, we must boldly and forthrightly ask what produces and maintains the incredible unification and organization of the material components of the universe. As soon as we take this crucial step, though, the reason scientists have avoided these questions becomes clear: to answer them they would be compelled to consider influences that must originate completely outside of the physical domain and therefore not within the reach of the instruments on which scientists rely. And so, since nonphysical influences cannot be measured by physical devices, scientists have shunned them as “unscientific.”
Why am I so emphatic that we must look to an influence outside of the physical structure of the universe to explain what we find within it? To answer this, try to imagine how some component or subset of components within our universe could be responsible for the stability and regularity of every other physical thing that exists. What physical force or interaction could possibly explain this influence? By what means could this control be exerted? Looked at in another way, when mass is changeable into energy and energy into mass, you absolutely must postulate an influence that stands outside of both mass and energy that guides their transformations into each other and then maintains the stability of their products. Only something outside the system of transformations could possibly control them. The only explanation that makes any sense is an influence that both transcends and guides everything physical. There must be a single, unified, nonphysical influence that explains the unity, organization and lawfulness we observe to be found within all that exists.
Once you have allowed the logical step of inferring that a nonphysical influence must exist to explain the consistency and unity of the universe, other inferences about this influence naturally and inevitably follow. For one, the controlling influence must be incredibly intelligent. Who could fail to appreciate the genius behind the huge variety and intricate complexity of everything that makes up our cosmos, all being manifested from just a handful of fundamental particles? This influence must also be unimaginably powerful. If it wasn’t, how could it not only create it all, but also ensure that every particle and force always follows the intended design? Also clearly implied by the nature of all that exists is undeniable, purposeful intent. While there is a role for randomness in certain areas of the system’s functioning, the over-all design is anything but random. When you take the broad view of the enormous complexity, the incredible organization, and the completely reliable lawfulness of all that makes up the physical universe, you must conclude that it cannot be anything but purposeful.
Before we leave this discussion of the creative influence that has produced our universe, there is another crucial question we have not yet asked: What existed prior to the creation of the universe? Certainly whatever created the universe must have existed prior to its creation, but where, then, did this nonphysical creating influence come from? Could it have emerged from nothingness? If it did, that would mean that there was a point when absolutely nothing existed, yet now it does exist. I believe it is this inability to conceive of everything developing from nothing that has led all the major religions of the world to teach that the creative source is eternal. This is the only conceivable answer that rings true in our heart.
To sum up the inferences that follow from asking how the universe attained the form in which we find it, we must conclude it resulted from the action of an influence that originated outside of the universe and which must also be eternal. Further, that influence purposefully created the universe through its incredible power and intelligence. Once these fundamental questions are accepted as relevant and seriously explored, no other answers make sense. Though they cannot be proven by any physically based method, we can feel their truth deep from within our being.
In the next article, I will begin to pull all of the conclusions of the previous articles together in order to develop a unified picture that incorporates their implications. I will start with an integrated view of how both physical processes and the newly proven nonphysical ones I have been presenting interact and interweave themselves within everything that is happening in the world.