Gazing up into the night sky can make us wonder what the ‘reality’ behind everything might be. We tend to think about reality in a ‘material’ way, but our scientists have been telling us that matter is made up of what we call ‘atoms’ that are 99.99% ’empty space’! If such an ‘atom’ were the size of the Royal Albert Hall, its ‘nucleus’ in the middle would be about the size of a pea, and its surrounding ‘electrons’ like two or three midges buzzing around somewhere inside the vast auditorium. Someone has worked out that if all our ’empty space’ were taken away, the entire human race would shrink to the size of a sugar cube!
On a bigger scale, this means that the whole universe is more or less ‘empty space’. And while we’re on the subject, the ‘equals’ sign in Einstein’s famous E=mc2 equation tells us that Energy and matter are one and the same. Matter could be thought of as a kind of ‘frozen’ energy that’s become visible to our human eyes. If that’s the case, then everything that exists is Energy, some of which we can see and most of which we can’t.
Next time we sit down at a table, we can think about the fact that although it looks, and feels, solid enough, it’s really more like a ‘ghost’ of a table. It is only ‘atomic force fields’ that give it the illusion of solidity. In a way, it’s reminiscent of an aeroplane propellor, at high speed, looking like a solid circle, until it stops! And now for the punch line. What’s true of the table is also true of us, because we’re made of ‘atoms’ as well. It really does seem to be the case that there’s a lot LESS to us than meets the eye!
When I now think about ‘ultimate reality’, my mind forms a ‘picture’ of a limitless, complex, surging field of Energy. That reminds me of another picture – that of the Hindu god Shiva, “The Lord of the Dance.” He’s the source of all movement in the universe, with a raised hand which holds the drum that beats the passing of time, and a dancing foot flung into the air – an eye-catching picture of spinning, whirling, endlessly dancing energy
If we’re hunting for an up-to-date, credible version of ‘God’, then ‘dancing energy’, despite the image of Shiva, might not sound immediately promising. But we should note that this Energy ‘answers questions’. It can, in part at least, be explored by science, and explained by maths. It’s not chaotic. It’s to a degree orderly and predictable, because it has laws. And it has also brought into existence intelligent life forms and conscious awareness. I think it’s fair to say that there’s arguably MORE to it than meets the eye!
For myself, I’m happy enough to call this ‘picture’ of underlying, well-organised, to some extent understandable to us, intelligence-and-consciousness-producing energy ‘God’. It’s true that, in the Hebrew Bible, an apparently physical God strolls around in the Garden of Eden, but the writer of John’s Gospel tells us that actually, “God is Spirit”. Whatever ‘spirit’ is, it’s invisible and intangible. Now that, to me, doesn’t seem all that far away from saying that ‘God is Energy’.
This, of course, is a very different ‘God’ from the traditional one. We’re not talking now about a bigger version of ourselves, constantly watching out for and listening in to us. This isn’t a ‘just-above-the-sky’ God who gets involved in our day-to-day events, great or small. It’s hard to imagine the ‘dancing energy’ of the universe stopping our wars or curing our toothache, or making rules about our religious beliefs, eating and drinking habits, sexual preferences, or modes of dress.
I’ll need to give this a bit more thought …..