Friday, September 4, 2009

An Exciting Spiritual/Scientific Discovery!!!

So it all started today in Music Civilization class when we were listening to a lecture on Greek Philosophy. My professor mentioned a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants: Section 3, verse 2:
"For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round."

My professor pointed out the paradox of this passage. God walks in straight paths, yet it's one eternal round? Straight? Round? How can you walk in a straight line, but still in a circle? My professor thought up some logical ideas... Maybe God walks in an upward spiral, or maybe the words "path" and "course" mean different things in the scriputures. He concluded by saying there are some things we probably won't understand while we're here on earth, and this is one of them. Either way, it was something to think about.

Then, on that very same day, I went to my physical science class and we talked a bit about the speed of light and the discoveries of Einstein. Near the end of the lecture, my Physics professor discussed the topic of the theory of relativity. It's a difficult topic to explain, so I think I'll let someone else do it. I'll quote my science book:
"Recall that the first law [of gravity] says objects drfting in empty space without applied forces go straight without accelerating. Einstein theorized that orbiting objects are doing just that, going straight through space (and time). However a large body like the Earth affects the space and time surrounding it,causing them to "curve." When the Moon moves, it follows the straightest possible path through curved space and time, which happens to be an orbit. Massive objects extend a gravitational influence by altering the space that surrounds them!

"The curving takes place in the four dimentsions of space and time and is impossible to visualize fully. However, it can be illustrated in two dimensions by stretching a rubber sheet across a wire hoop and placing a heavy ball bearing in the middle... The ball bearing causes the sheet to sag so that a smaller bead rolling on the edge will naturally curve around in a circle. By analogy, the Moon moves in an orbit around the Earth, following the curved space and time caused by the Earth.

"An extraordinary claim like this demands extraordinary proof. Predictions based on this theory have been tested in laboratories worldwide, passing every tim e. The global positioning system uses this theory to create accurate positions that otherwise could be off by several kilometers per day. Perhaps the most stark and irrefutable demonstration is... the image of a cluster of galaxies containing an incredible amount of mass. Light from more distand galaxies located behind the cluster curves through the space surrounding it, forming the arcs seen surrounding the cluster. Curved space and time is the only possible explanation for this visual phenomenon."

Do you see the connection between what I learned in the scriptures and what I learned in my physics class?
How interesting this is to me!! The laws of physics, themselves, are, in many ways, a paradox! Just like in D&C Section 3!! While the moon orbits the earth in a straight line, we see it as a curved one because space and time are warped in our view. It's path is straight, but it's course, as we percieve it, is one eternal round! Perhaps that's how things work in heaven as well? God's kingdom, undoubtably, is made of spiritual matter, matter we cannot see with our own eyes. This spiritual matter may be able to warp time and space, just as all other physical matter does. The consequences of this idea may be the explanation for all dealings in the universe. I don't know for sure, of course, but I have been told many times that God follows laws -- scientific laws -- when he governs nature, and to me this is a stunning example.
I just thought this was a cool link between faith and science. Sometimes they really do compliment each other.