There is life after death, and here is proof
From Vancouver Sun, Saturday, January 6, 1996 B3,
The Baltimore Sun
"A trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised,"we are told in
the Bible, and for centuries believers have taken this prophecy literally.
Yet until now, belief in the world to come has been exclusively a matter of
religious faith, unsupported by tenents of modern science.
So it's no wonder that physicist Frank J. Tipler has created a stir with his
recent book, Thephysics of Immortality, which purports to demonstrate to a
mathematical certainty thatancient promise shall indeed come to pass.
Tipler's book is subtitled Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the
dead, an ambitious convergence of traditional religion and scientific inquiry
that, by the author's own admission, is as startling to him as it may appear
to his readers.
" When I began my career as a cosmologist some 20 years ago, I was a
convinced atheist,"he notes. "I never in my wildest dreams imagined
that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central
claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are
straightforward deduction of the laws of physics as we now understand them.
I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own
special branch physics.
Tipler's specialty is the field of global general relativity, a branch of physics
pioneered in the late 1960s and early 70s by the British physicist Stephen Hawking
and Roger Penrose to investigate the structure of the universe on the largest scale.
When viewed from this perspective, the visible universe of stars and galaxies
emerges as only a tiny fraction of all that exists, because most of space-time lies
in the distant future outside our understanding.
Nevertheless, Tipler marshals an impressive array of evidence from recent
discoveries in particle physics and relativity theory to show that the
biblical prophets were not deluded wishful thinkers. Rather, he shows that
they were inspired seers who somehow stumbled on the most profound truths
of our existence: That :God exists,and He/She loves all and will one day
resurrect us to live forever.
" In Tipler's equations,God is identified as the "Omega Point",
a cosmological "singularity" at the boundary of all future time,
analogous to the "big bang" in which the universe was created
and which lies at the boundary of all past time. The key to this theory lies
in the premise that intelligent life must play a decisive role in order to
ensure its own survival.
From this, the author proceeds by a series of inferences to show not only
that human beings will have life after death in an abode that closely
resembles the heaven of the great world religious, but that far from being
an insignificant accident in a hostile universe, life, in whatever form,
may be regarded as the ultimate cause of the existence of the universe itself.
The attempt to reconcile the world as explained by the scientific method
with that of revealed religion is a fascinating endeavor that already has
borne unexpected fruit in this century.
Consider that as recently as a generation ago many astronomers still doubted
the "big bang" theory of creation on the grounds that it too closely
resembled the biblical account in the book of Genesis.
Today, virtually all physicists accept the hypothesis that the universe came
into being in a stupendous flash of light between 10 billion and 20 billion
years ago. If recent experience is any guide, Tipler's ideas eventually may
well provide the basis for a similar scientific consensus in the future.
Of course, given the antagonism between science and religion that has been
going on at least since Copernicus's day, the prospect of rapprochement offers
hope to many people.
Tipler, a professor of mathematical physics at Tulane University,suggests that
in order to reconcile science and religion, however, we may have to give up
many naive but reassuring notions. For example, the everlasting life he posits
for humanity's future is more akin to the cybernetic limbo of a computer simu-
lation than to the conventional image of St. Peter's pearly gates.
Even Tipler's definition of life is apt to be disconcerting to traditionally
He defines life as "information preserved by natural selection
"- a perfectly logical procedure until one realizes that the concept is
broad enough to include automobiles and personal computers as well as humans
in great chain of being.
We live in an age in which the certainties of the past are continually
reinterpreted and reanalysed, then revalidated or dismissed, Tipler offers
hope that reason may serve as the handmaiden on faith, as in St. Thomas
If so, we may imagine God himself looking down from his heaven on the professor's
provocative little book and seeing that it is good.
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