## An Astronomer's view of 'god'

As an astronomer, people occasionally ask me if I believe in God. My answer to this is yes, but not in the popular concept of an organised religion God. The observational evidence for the astrophysical models of the start of our universe (the ‘big-bang’) is very compelling and no serious scientist believes in creationist myths.

I do not believe there is an interventionist god who responds to prayers etc and my views on the established religions of the world would historically, and today in some fundamentalist societies, have somewhat curtailed my life expectancy!

I do believe each of us has a ‘soul’ though and that death for us is not ‘final’. The following gives an introduction to my personal considerations and is given here for however people may wish to take it.

On a simple graph, any point can be described in 2 “dimensions” (x,y). This could be co-ordinates (latitude and longitude) for a position (say where we are) on a simple map. We can add in a 3rd dimension to show the height above, say, sea level (for example if we were in an aeroplane) and so we can describe the longitude(x), latitude(y) and height (z) of where we are as a 3-dimensional co-ordinate (x, y, z). We know these 3 axes as spatial (position) dimensions.

Now, in the example of an aeroplane, we will not stay in the same place as we’re moving, so our 3 dimensions vary according to another, 4th dimension, in this case time (t). We represent this mathematically as a 4 dimensional “co-ordinate” (x, y, z, t). Another way to think about this is an ice cube in the sun. It will have a length, width and height but as time goes on, it melts and so the values of the ices cubes spatial dimensions change depending upon the 4th dimension (time).

We can easily understand these 4 dimensions because we are 4 dimensional beings ourselves. Any imaginary 3 dimensional “beings” (living on a flat piece of paper) would be able to move in 2 dimensions (varying their length and width positions on the paper), but they’d have no experience or concept of “height” and so would only understand 3 dimensions (length, width, time)

Mathematically we can extend (x, y, z, t) to any number of dimensions; e.g. a 7th dimensional co-ordinate would be (x, y, z, t, a, b, c) etc (this is just an equation with 7 variables) and there is no limit to the number of dimensions we can define. However, because we’re 4 dimensional beings we cannot visualize or have any physical realisation of any higher dimensions (>4) or objects within them.

Now, in everyday life we are aware of 3 space (spatial) dimensions and a single time (temporal) dimension. For us time ‘goes-forward’ and we are physically constrained by this; but we can easily envisage conceptually moving forwards and backwards in time. For example, our memories are our minds ‘looking-back’ in time.

However, there is no reason to constrain our thinking that there is only a single time dimension. A 2nd temporal dimension (a 5th dimension in our thinking) would give our co-ordinate system (x, y, z t1, t2) where t1 is our current concept of time and t2 is an orthogonal (i.e. independent) time dimension. We could envisage this as parallel universes.

The next step is conceptually harder; considering 3 temporal dimensions, all at ‘right-angles’ to each other. Our time (the time x axis), parallel universes (the time z axis), and ‘vertical’ time (the time y axis). We cannot envisage this because all of our thinking and experience is based on 4 dimensions. But mathematically, it’s easy; we now have (x, y, z, t1, t2, t3); or using S for spatial and T for temporal (S1-3, T1-3).

One more step. Again, we know of only 2 dimensional types, time and space. Each we can propose has 3 dimensions (elements). But taking 3 as our concept, I propose there is a third category of dimensional types, let’s call this E (based on an unknown to us ‘energy’) which has 3 orthogonal (independent) elements. Hence our combined physical and metaphysical universe has (S1-3, T1-3, E1-3).

As 4 dimensional beings, we are not constrained by the first 3 dimensions (we can move our position), and similarly, our imaginary 3 dimensional “being” is not constrained by 2 dimensions. So, an Nth dimensional “being” is not constrained by the (N-1)th dimensional frame of reference. Any 5th dimensional being is not constrained by any of the 4 dimensions…i.e. they can be said to be

There are different forms of matter (solid, gaseous, liquid, plasma), energy (chemical, nuclear, kinetic etc) and forces (electrical, magnetic, gravitational etc) of which we are aware. We know that these are interrelated in many ways (e.g. an ionised plasma has high electrical and magnetic energy; matter produces gravitational forces and effects etc) though, as yet, our science does not fully understand the complex interrelation. We have seen the way in which mass can be “converted” to energy through, for e.g. the famous E = mc2 equation as observed in solar fusion. What we have not yet seen though is the reverse reaction, conversion of energy to mass (cosmologist friends please forgive the inaccuracy here for early stages on the big bang!)

There is no reason to suppose or exclude different types of matter, forces and energies within dimensions N>4. In everyday life we use matter to create energy (e.g. we burn wood to generate heat) and we use energy in our manufacturing processes. These processes use 4-dimensional matter and energy and we can create pseudo-3 dimensional ‘things’ e.g. a piece of flat paper. We can make (create) N-1 dimensional objects.

Now imagine and consider a 7th dimensional sentient ‘being’, as a form of energy. We will call this ‘god’. This energy/being/god, whatever we want to call it, is outside time, i.e. not constrained by the 4th (or any other time) dimension. There’s no need to worry about “where did this energy come from?” or “who made the energy/god?” because both these questions are based on our inherent constraint of having to think of things in a time/temporal concept.

This god can produce N-1 dimensional things and so, as long as god exists in the 5th or higher dimension, creation of a 4-dimensional Universe would not be a problem. It would be as easy as us drawing a line on a piece of paper.

In my cosmology and belief (none of this can be proved or disproved, hence it is a belief) initiation of the big-bang was the conversion of E-type dimension energy into 6, and thus 4-dimensional time and space.

It follows that if our universe, including ourselves, derives from E-type dimensional energy (I will use the shorthand of ETDE for this) then we each have a ‘presence’ in the E dimension; i.e. within ourselves there’s a 7th dimensional originated matter and energy.

Our science today cannot really define how we think, our personality and thought processes. We can understand the electrical, chemical and physical processes within the brain but that inner self of “us”, what makes us each individual, cannot yet be explained by the psychological or neurosciences; we do not understand the

When our 4-dimensional bodies change (age) they will at some stage dissipate (we will die). But the ETDE of our souls will not – it is outside the constraints of time. Hence, we’re here in some form forever!

I hope you have found this article thought provoking. There are multiple ways in which it can be interpreted and considered. e.g.

I leave you to explore as your beliefs and interests take you.

I do not believe there is an interventionist god who responds to prayers etc and my views on the established religions of the world would historically, and today in some fundamentalist societies, have somewhat curtailed my life expectancy!

I do believe each of us has a ‘soul’ though and that death for us is not ‘final’. The following gives an introduction to my personal considerations and is given here for however people may wish to take it.

**Space and Time**On a simple graph, any point can be described in 2 “dimensions” (x,y). This could be co-ordinates (latitude and longitude) for a position (say where we are) on a simple map. We can add in a 3rd dimension to show the height above, say, sea level (for example if we were in an aeroplane) and so we can describe the longitude(x), latitude(y) and height (z) of where we are as a 3-dimensional co-ordinate (x, y, z). We know these 3 axes as spatial (position) dimensions.

Now, in the example of an aeroplane, we will not stay in the same place as we’re moving, so our 3 dimensions vary according to another, 4th dimension, in this case time (t). We represent this mathematically as a 4 dimensional “co-ordinate” (x, y, z, t). Another way to think about this is an ice cube in the sun. It will have a length, width and height but as time goes on, it melts and so the values of the ices cubes spatial dimensions change depending upon the 4th dimension (time).

We can easily understand these 4 dimensions because we are 4 dimensional beings ourselves. Any imaginary 3 dimensional “beings” (living on a flat piece of paper) would be able to move in 2 dimensions (varying their length and width positions on the paper), but they’d have no experience or concept of “height” and so would only understand 3 dimensions (length, width, time)

Mathematically we can extend (x, y, z, t) to any number of dimensions; e.g. a 7th dimensional co-ordinate would be (x, y, z, t, a, b, c) etc (this is just an equation with 7 variables) and there is no limit to the number of dimensions we can define. However, because we’re 4 dimensional beings we cannot visualize or have any physical realisation of any higher dimensions (>4) or objects within them.

Now, in everyday life we are aware of 3 space (spatial) dimensions and a single time (temporal) dimension. For us time ‘goes-forward’ and we are physically constrained by this; but we can easily envisage conceptually moving forwards and backwards in time. For example, our memories are our minds ‘looking-back’ in time.

However, there is no reason to constrain our thinking that there is only a single time dimension. A 2nd temporal dimension (a 5th dimension in our thinking) would give our co-ordinate system (x, y, z t1, t2) where t1 is our current concept of time and t2 is an orthogonal (i.e. independent) time dimension. We could envisage this as parallel universes.

The next step is conceptually harder; considering 3 temporal dimensions, all at ‘right-angles’ to each other. Our time (the time x axis), parallel universes (the time z axis), and ‘vertical’ time (the time y axis). We cannot envisage this because all of our thinking and experience is based on 4 dimensions. But mathematically, it’s easy; we now have (x, y, z, t1, t2, t3); or using S for spatial and T for temporal (S1-3, T1-3).

One more step. Again, we know of only 2 dimensional types, time and space. Each we can propose has 3 dimensions (elements). But taking 3 as our concept, I propose there is a third category of dimensional types, let’s call this E (based on an unknown to us ‘energy’) which has 3 orthogonal (independent) elements. Hence our combined physical and metaphysical universe has (S1-3, T1-3, E1-3).

As 4 dimensional beings, we are not constrained by the first 3 dimensions (we can move our position), and similarly, our imaginary 3 dimensional “being” is not constrained by 2 dimensions. So, an Nth dimensional “being” is not constrained by the (N-1)th dimensional frame of reference. Any 5th dimensional being is not constrained by any of the 4 dimensions…i.e. they can be said to be

*outside*the first (forwards and backwards) dimension of time. Similarly, anything existing with the 7th (or any of the E dimensions) is not constrained by any temporal dimension.**Energy Matters and my god**There are different forms of matter (solid, gaseous, liquid, plasma), energy (chemical, nuclear, kinetic etc) and forces (electrical, magnetic, gravitational etc) of which we are aware. We know that these are interrelated in many ways (e.g. an ionised plasma has high electrical and magnetic energy; matter produces gravitational forces and effects etc) though, as yet, our science does not fully understand the complex interrelation. We have seen the way in which mass can be “converted” to energy through, for e.g. the famous E = mc2 equation as observed in solar fusion. What we have not yet seen though is the reverse reaction, conversion of energy to mass (cosmologist friends please forgive the inaccuracy here for early stages on the big bang!)

There is no reason to suppose or exclude different types of matter, forces and energies within dimensions N>4. In everyday life we use matter to create energy (e.g. we burn wood to generate heat) and we use energy in our manufacturing processes. These processes use 4-dimensional matter and energy and we can create pseudo-3 dimensional ‘things’ e.g. a piece of flat paper. We can make (create) N-1 dimensional objects.

Now imagine and consider a 7th dimensional sentient ‘being’, as a form of energy. We will call this ‘god’. This energy/being/god, whatever we want to call it, is outside time, i.e. not constrained by the 4th (or any other time) dimension. There’s no need to worry about “where did this energy come from?” or “who made the energy/god?” because both these questions are based on our inherent constraint of having to think of things in a time/temporal concept.

This god can produce N-1 dimensional things and so, as long as god exists in the 5th or higher dimension, creation of a 4-dimensional Universe would not be a problem. It would be as easy as us drawing a line on a piece of paper.

**The Universe and the soul.**In my cosmology and belief (none of this can be proved or disproved, hence it is a belief) initiation of the big-bang was the conversion of E-type dimension energy into 6, and thus 4-dimensional time and space.

It follows that if our universe, including ourselves, derives from E-type dimensional energy (I will use the shorthand of ETDE for this) then we each have a ‘presence’ in the E dimension; i.e. within ourselves there’s a 7th dimensional originated matter and energy.

Our science today cannot really define how we think, our personality and thought processes. We can understand the electrical, chemical and physical processes within the brain but that inner self of “us”, what makes us each individual, cannot yet be explained by the psychological or neurosciences; we do not understand the

*Soul.*We don’t understand this because we cannot, the soul is the 7th dimensional part of us which stay’s as 7th dimensional energy; i.e. our soul is ETDE.When our 4-dimensional bodies change (age) they will at some stage dissipate (we will die). But the ETDE of our souls will not – it is outside the constraints of time. Hence, we’re here in some form forever!

**Good luck - and see you on the other side!**I hope you have found this article thought provoking. There are multiple ways in which it can be interpreted and considered. e.g.

- astrophysicists and cosmologists may interpret dark matter and dark energy; lambda CDM; MOND; neutron star collapse etc in multiple dimensions;

- philosophers perhaps the eternal nature of the soul; omnipresence of God(s); heaven and hell; the nature of sin;

- and religious fundamentalists please feel free to add me to your hate list!

I leave you to explore as your beliefs and interests take you.