Is God a Mind In Which Our Universe Is Only a Thought?

It’s easy to create a universe.  First, imagine a Big Bang in which the stuff of the universe spews outward and slowly congeals into stars, planets and other astronomical matter. Next, imagine that one of those planets you’ve just envisioned develops life and slowly evolves into humanoids. Now imagine one of those humanoids contemplating the nature of the universe. There – you’ve done it. You’ve just created a universe, albeit in your own mind.  What if God has done exactly the same thing?

It is much easier to understand some aspects of the universe when it is imagined as a mental process.  It could certainly explain how the universe was created from nothing, how it is precisely fine-tuned for the creation of life, how some aspects of evolutionary development appear to be retrocausal or post-priori. It also goes quite a long way toward explaining how God could be omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient if we imagine all things occurring in His transcendent Mind.

This is not just science-fiction. There have been many prominent scientist over the last century who have relectantly come to this seemingly fantastic conclusion as well:

“It has occurred to me lately—I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities—that both questions [the origin of consciousness in humans and of life from non-living matter] might be brought into some degree of congruence. This is with the assumption that mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality—that stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create: science-, art-, and technology-making animals. In them the universe begins to know itself.”

– George Wald, (Noble laureate and professor of biology at Harvard University) wrote this in an article entitled “Life and Mind in the Universe” which appeared in the peer-reviewed journal the International Journal of Quantum Chemistry: Quantum Biology, symposium 11 (1984): 1-15.

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“As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

– Max Planck (founder of the quantum theory and one of the most important physicists of the twentieth century)

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“There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter—not of course our individual minds, but the mind in which the atoms out of which our individual minds have grown, exist as thoughts.”

– Sir James Jeans knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer who helped develop our understanding of the evolution of stars, wrote this in his book The Mysterious Universe (Cambridge, 1931).

Are we all just thoughts in God’s mind? This idea may be at least a little disconcerting.  You may wonder if in fact you are somehow ‘unreal’. But the answer to this is in Descartes’ statement, “Cogito ergo sum” (I think therefore I am).  Those who wonder if they are ‘real’ are in fact real (at least from a certain point of view).

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