Friday, July 08, 2022

New Dimensions in Old Universes

The previous post about emergence and anticipatory systems left off with an unanticipated remark about the Incarnation, which in turn touches on the presence of additional dimensions in our cosmos beyond the usual plain vanilla three spatial + one temporal.

Sources confirm the truth of that chance remark. Specifically, later in the day I was reading a book called The Pope Benedict XVI Reader, chapter 13, The Resurrection. I'll cite some of the passages while italicizing the particular words and phrases that slapped my interior mama: 

Whether Jesus merely was or whether he also is -- this depends on the Resurrection.

Those italics are actually Benedict's, but go to the very nature of time, because if Jesus is, then either history isn't what we think it is, or else it has become something else, more on which as we proceed. (In fact, the last aphorism at the end of the post touches on how the Was and Is relate in the Now.) 

From the perspective of the original witnesses, Benedict asks, "What actually happened?" For

They were confronted with what for them was an entirely new reality, far beyond the limits of their experience.

For this is not merely a resuscitation or reanimation -- like, say, Lazarus, who eventually died just like the restavus will. Rather, this is "utterly unlike anything they had previously known." There is no existing intellectual, religious, or philosophical category or paradigm for what is taking place.  

It's starting to sound like a genuine emergence -- or better, a kind of "meta-emergence," the only comparable prior cases of which might include the emergence of the cosmos from nothing, the emergence of life from an inanimate world, and the emergence of an immaterial soul in bipedal primates. 

If this were only "a resuscitated corpse, it would ultimately be of no concern to us" -- lucky for Jesus, to be sure, but having no bearing on our own luckless rendezvous with death. 

I suppose it would be more like a typical "near-death experience," in which case we'd want to know if Jesus saw the familiar white tunnel with his relatives awaiting him at the other end. 

But it's not like that at all, rather, "about breaking out into an entirely new form of life," one "that opens up a new dimension of human existence." 

A new life in a new dimension? Yes indeed,

a new possibility of human existence is attained that affects everyone and opens up a future, a new kind of future, for mankind.  

This is beginning to sound like a new kind of cosmos, again, analogous to the transition from a nonliving to a living one, or a nonthinking to a thinking one. 


Christ's Resurrection is either a universal event, or it is nothing

Either/or: a new universe or the same old cosmic nothingburger. 

Exactly what is going on here? Is this an evolutionary leap into a new kind of species, or is this the inbreaking of a higher dimension into ours, like the sphere passing through the plane? Whatever it is, it is

something that surpasses all experience and yet is utterly real and present

How can something beyond experience be present? Easy: it's called a "numinous experience," which comes down to an experience of the Noumenon. But this seems to go beyond these prior close encounters with O, to a... how to put it... to a face-to-face encounter with the actual Person-Source of the prior meetings. For the disciples clearly

speak of something new, something unprecedented -- a new dimension of reality that is revealed..., a further dimension, beyond what was previously known

Even Benedict stammers before the radical novelty of this emergent n-n-new d-d-dimension of r-r-reality. But it sure looks like this is an evolutionary universe and thensome, like we're seeing -- and offered participation in -- a "last and highest 'evolutionary leap,'" which is to say, a "union of the finite with the infinite," or nothing short of "union of man and God."

I just had to get that material out of the cosmic inbox. We'll return to our irregularly unscheduled programming in the next post. Meanwhile, Aphorisms that touch on the subject from various angles:

Faith is not an irrational assent to a proposition; it is a perception of a special order of realities.

Religion is not a set of solutions to known problems, but a new dimension of the universe. The religious man lives among realities that the secular man ignores...

Christ was in history like a point on a line. But his redemptive act is to history as the center is to the circumference (Dávila).


John Venlet said...

The first thought that comes to me, after reading the ending aphorisms, is, increase my faith, just as the disciples asked of The Messiah for themselves.

Secondly, backtracking a bit in the post, is the new dimension and new life thought, and what first occurs to me in this regard is that upon The Messiah's resurrection not even the closest individuals to him initially recognized Him. In considering this aspect of the resurrected Christ, I would posit that they He was unrecognizable, initially, because He was in a new dimension and new life, physically and spiritually. A mind boggling consideration, indeed, but even Isaiah told us that neither our eyes can see, our ears hear, or our minds conceive what God has prepared for those who love him.

Gagdad Bob said...

That is correct: he was the same but different. I suppose the Transfiguration was a preview. It also reminds me of the idea that "percept follows concept." The existing categories eclipsed the perception of reality. Which they always do, more or less.

julie said...

For the disciples clearly

speak of something new, something unprecedented -- a new dimension of reality that is revealed..., a further dimension, beyond what was previously known.

In a way, in order for the flatlanders to even begin to properly understand the sphere (other than to notice that there's something odd about that there circle), they must first understand themselves, too, to be three-dimensional objects existing in a three dimensional world. No simple task, even for those who would believe.

Reminds me of Thomas. I love the disciples, we can see ourselves and our relationship to Christ within each of them in different ways - Thomas' doubt, Peter's lack of faith and betrayal, Paul's persecution of Christians, the thundering of James & John (what a nickname, I wonder what they did to deserve it?), Martha's griping about her sister... all so flawed in ways that everyone is, at one time or another, and all so valued and loved anyway. Why did He do it? For them, of course, and for everyone like them.

John Venlet said...

Julie, the flaws clearly articulated in individuals in Scripture should be encouraging to us all. I know that at times knowing these flaws of past followers of The Way, and those in the OT, take the edge off my own thoughts of my shortcomings, not to ignore those shortcomings, but to better understand those words that His grace is sufficient for me/us.

julie said...

This video is worth a watch if you have the time: here's a flatlander who was shown the sphere, and now quite suddenly finds that everything has changed. Notably, he mentions later that when he was younger he was involved in some kind of Christian ministry; Nicolas had some things to say about that...

Takes a little while to get to the sphere, so to speak, but obviously something very profound happened to this man, and I pray it continues to transform his life in beautiful ways.

julie said...

*OK, I stopped watching after he explained about his experience; like many who have just seen the light for the first time, he starts rambling.

Gagdad Bob said...

There's a really good program on EWTN called The Journey Home. The most interesting episodes involve atheists who read and thought their way into the Church. No loose shit!

julie said...

Listening to fr. Spitzer's show from yesterday right now. Interesting stuff, he's talking about Noam Chomsky basically trying to tiptoe around God even as science seems to point right at Him (apparently will be included in an upcoming book). Also the science behind recent Eucharistic miracles.

Gagdad Bob said...

He's a firehose with one setting.

Gagdad Bob said...

The other great show on EWTN is Called to Communion. The host, David Anders, is possibly the most precisely articulate person I've ever heard.

Gagdad Bob said...

If Spitzer is a firehose, Anders is one of those high pressure water jets that can etch concrete.

julie said...

Found his most post for today; I'll give him a listen later. We have a new assistant priest, so I've been drafted to help decorate for the welcoming party this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Something to ponder:

Lazarus was resurrected.

Gagdad Bob said...

How so?