The Physics of God

The Physics of God is the best book on the subject that I have ever read. It is a clear and lucid explanation of the interface between science and spirituality, as well as consciousness and matter. Anyone, scientist or layman, will benefit from this marvelous book.–Jyotish Novak, author of How to Meditate

The Physics of God: Unifying Quantum Physics, Consciousness, M-Theory, Heaven, Neuroscience, and Transcendence, by Joseph Selbie, New Page Books, 2018 does an excellent job of bringing together spirituality and contemporary science in a way that benefits both. His view includes an unlimited spiritual cosmos with innumerable spiritual universes where our spiritual bodies reside. This spiritual realm pervades the material universe and our body providing life and consciousness as water permeates a sponge. He uses a holographic model as I do in my writings.

“Joseph Selbie’s The Physics of God is a unique and welcome addition to the growing literature for the scientific evidence for God. Why is this important? To begin with, it runs counter to a misconceived bias that has dominated scientific thought now for several centuries.” (11)—Amit Goswami, quantum physicist in his foreword

Goswami continues, 

[T]he scientific mainstream . . . promulgated the idea of a new philosophy by which to do science— scientific materialism. This philosophy says that every phenomenon is a material phenomenon in space and time caused by material interaction. There is nothing but matter! 

This philosophy is clearly a dogma; Selbie calls it a religion, correctly I think. (12)

Some of the most compelling evidence against scientific materialism has come from quantum physics, the latest paradigm of physics that has replaced Newtonian physics. In quantum physics, objects are waves of possibility that reside in a domain of reality called “the domain of potentiality” where communication is instantaneous, without signal, nonlocal. This domain must be outside the realms of space and time where locality reigns. (13) 

The most important point is that with God back in the picture and backed up by science this time, we can go about founding a human science in which all human experiences are legitimate and scientific, including the spiritual. (13-14)

Selbie helps dismantle the views of Newton, Descarte, and Darwin to present a more contemporary scientific view that is open to and even calls for the the existence of God as part of the equation. Science and spirituality need not be at odds with one another, but can complement and reinforce one another. As I say in Universalist Radha-Krishnaism: A Theological Perspective,

Science does not negate God-dess’ existence pervading and sustaining creation as well as transcending it. Every day, fresh scientific insights confirm the wholeness, interconnectedness, and amazing complexity of creation and its elements.

The big bang for instance calls for a divine explanation since the material manifestation had a clear beginning. The universe could not create itself. A spiritual force outside spacetime created it or transformed itself into the universe. That spiritual force is God-dess.

The anthropic principle, the scientific notion that the universe is planned and finely tuned to develop (human) life, supports the idea that humans are created in the image of God-dess to establish a loving relationship. Symbolically, the universe is God-dess’ play.

Scientific formulas alone cannot answer all questions about the origin of the universe. Belief in a creator God-dess and scientific discoveries can be harmonized. Belief in Goddess answers some questions about what came before the big bang and why the universe appears so well tuned for human existence as well as current science does. (118)

Selbie recalls,

Western philosophy tends to be drily intellectual. I learned almost nothing to help me bridge the gap between the heady thoughts of these philosophers and my heartfelt transcendent experience. 

Not satisfied, I transferred to UC Berkeley, where I studied, with deepening interest, the philosophies of Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, and Hinduism. These philosophies began to narrow the gap between theoretical knowledge and my actual transcendent experience because, unlike most of the Western philosophers, who relied on reason and logic to arrive at an intellectual understanding of consciousness and matter, the Eastern sages relied on methodical and repeated transcendent experiences to arrive at an experiential understanding of consciousness and matter. (16)

Yes. I also found that immersing myself in Eastern spiritual practices that lead to a mystical union with the divine is much more satisfying than intellectual studies. Even the Protestant church I was ordained in admitted their inability to provide a satisfying spiritual experience for me. I want a spiritual taste, not an intellectual discussion.

Selbie concludes, “I have come to appreciate that the findings of the science of religion and the findings of the science of matter—together—combine to give us the most complete view of reality: what I think of as the physics of God.” (18) I concur.

Scientific materialism rests on the belief that everything there is or ever will be springs from the interactions of matter and energy—and from absolutely nothing else. Despite the existence of enduring major scientific mysteries, such as the origin of life and the nature of consciousness, scientific materialists believe that it is only a matter of time before all as-yet-unexplained phenomena will be explained by—and only by—the interactions of matter and energy. (19-20)

This is an ungrounded, fundamentalist belief as much as any fundamentalist religious belief. While claiming to be based on reason and experiment, these ideas are irrational and unproven beliefs. As others have done, we may call this religion Scientism. Unfortunately, it has a large following even among the general public, and its entrenched position among leading scientists makes it difficult or impossible for scientists to pursue nonmaterial solutions to unexplained phenomena no matter how solid their credentials and rigorous their methods.

Fortunately, most scientists are not scientific materialists, and “science’s own findings—when viewed without material bias—are far from proving that religious beliefs are unfounded, and support the existence of transcendent realities such as consciousness.” (24)

“The inescapable conclusion: An intelligent observer plays an essential role in the formation of matter.” 

There is no object in space-time without a conscious subject looking at it.—Amit Goswami, quantum physicist (29) 

Therefore, we may conclude that the material universe would not exist without a conscious observer right from the beginning. Who might that intelligent observer be but Cosmic Consciousness?

Numerous such discoveries—the role of the intelligent observer in the formation of matter, instantaneous physiological changes among multiple-personality sufferers, PEAR’s proof of telekinetic effects, the CIA’s remote-viewing successes—collectively cast significant doubt on scientific materialism’s belief that everything there is and ever will be is the result of matter-energy interactions, and have led many scientists to hold more thoughtful views as to the potential truth behind nonmaterial religious beliefs. (33)

One of those scientists familiar with Eastern spiritual thought points out:

An increasing number of scientists are aware that mystical thought provides a consistent and relevant philosophical background to the theories of contemporary science, a conception of the world in which the scientific discoveries of men and women can be in perfect harmony with their spiritual aims and religious beliefs.—Fritjof Capra (34)

Selbie concludes:

Not one of religion’s core beliefs—miracles, life after death, heaven, God, or the possibility of personal transcendent experience—has been ruled out by science. Rather, it is the widespread acceptance of scientific materialism’s (unproven) beliefs that has made many people think so. (36)  

Selbie explains:

The science of religion is a collection of disciplines, usable by anyone, which, when performed with determined focus and intention, inevitably result in personal transcendent experience. From personal transcendent experience come the revelations that give meaning to all religions. The disciplines that bring personal transcendent experience deserve to be considered scientific because they provide consistent and repeatable results when practiced to perfection. (37-8) 

It is for this reason I wrote Universalist Radha-Krishnaism: The Way of Natural Devotion; A Practitioner’s Handbook to teach an esoteric spiritual practice for contemporary Western devotees to develop their relationship with Radha-Krishna. It effectively served Indian devotees for several hundred years, and Lalita Prasad Thakur asked me to share it with Westerners.

Selbie realizes, “The original and universal message of all true spiritual teachers is easily lost, or worse, twisted out of all recognition by the unfortunate tendency of people who want to have the corner on truth.” (38) I experienced this with A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami and his disciples. Therefore, I returned to the scriptures and the universalist model of Bhaktivinode Thakur who was an essence seeker who respected other essence seekers regardless of their path by seeing their commonalities.

The primary difference between the science of religion and the science of matter is in the discovery process: the science of matter’s view of reality is based on the repeatable and consistent findings of physical experiments; the science of religion’s view of reality is based on the repeatable and consistent findings of transcendent experience

As we continue our exploration, our most remarkable discovery will be that the perception of reality garnered from physical experiments and the one garnered from transcendent experience are remarkably and deeply congruent; together, they give a more complete picture of the physics of God than either can provide separately. (56)

This is why I take the trouble to comment on science books and combine the articles into a book of my own. It’s important for followers of Universalist Radha-Krishnaism to have the full picture and break out of the science/spirituality dichotomy. This is especially true in the twenty-first century when so many opportunities for a wholistic vision present themselves. 

One example of the remarkable similarity between the findings of science and the findings of religion is that both reveal that matter is not what it seems. Many religious traditions hold that matter is an illusion; . . . the findings of science concur that matter is nothing like what our senses reveal. In fact, most of reality is hidden from our senses. (57)

Scientists are forced to admit that empirical observation yields a limited perspective of the universe that does not adequately describe it. Spiritual people can appreciate how science shines new light on insights that ancient sages may have revealed. As I explain in Universalist Radha-Krishnaism: A Theological Perspective:

However, science has its limits. This is where spirituality steps in and helps. Science cannot say what caused the big bang, what happened before it, or what exists outside this universe—although speculation on these subjects abounds. The working assumptions of science are no more or less secure than the working assumptions of religion. A modest skepticism about the abilities of science is arguably in the spirit of science itself. We offer an alternative to scientism’s scientific materialist worldview. (117)

Selbie explains, “The physical world we interact with every day only seems more real to us than a movie because all five of our senses, not just sight and hearing, are engaged with the illusion we call the physical world.” (66) Thus, the material world appears to be an enduring physical reality when in fact it is more like a dream or phantasmagoria. 

Over the span of the 20th and now the 21st centuries, branches of physics have produced an astonishingly vast and predominantly nonmaterial view of the cosmos, a cosmos of which our enormous physical universe is only a tiny part. . . . 

Physicists are not alone in describing a much larger, nonmaterial cosmos beyond the physical universe. Saints, sages, and near-death experiencers have also described heavenly worlds of pure energy: luminous, nonphysical realms that permeate our physical universe. (69)

Scientists and mystics are coming to a common understanding. The material universe is a small part of existence that rests upon the much greater transcendental dimension that  permeates the cosmos as well as our bodies and minds. We need only look within to get a glimpse of the spiritual realm and how it is the basis of material life, which is also spiritual, being comprised of Cosmic Consciousness. 

The energy-verse is . . . the location of the heavens of all religious traditions; where we live after death; where angelic beings dwell. The essential qualities of the energy-verse—that it is nearly infinite, that it exists “beyond” the physical universe, and that it contains only non-material, two-dimensional, high-frequency vibrating energy, matches uncannily well the descriptions of the heavens, or luminous astral regions, given by hundreds of saints, sages, and near-death experiencers. (78-9) 

This spiritual dimension is the greater part of what comprises the universe. So, one need not travel a great distance and leave the universe to get there. It only requires a dimensional shift to get there, and Universalist Radha-Krishnaism teaches how to begin shifting our consciousness to that realm in this lifetime so that at the time of death we can shift there permanently.

According to many enlightened saints, sages, and near-death experiencers, the heavens are not only our afterlife destination, they also embody the ideal form of the physical universe. From firsthand experience, such people testify that the heavens contain a perfect template of what is only imperfectly manifested as the physical universe. (85) 

This is how I explain it in Universalist Radha-Krishnaism: A Theological Perspective.

The material universe exists as a reflection of the spiritual world, like a tree reflected on water. The tree is real; the reflection is ephemeral, yet based in reality. The material universe exists as a temporary modification of the spiritual world. (Plato’s theory of forms is a similar concept.) It appears real like the dream world sleepers inhabit seems real, but they wake up and realize its temporary nature. People consider the waking world real, but it forms another level of dream. However, it shares many features of the real spiritual world.

The Beloved Lord said: With its roots upward and its branches downward, they speak of the everlasting Ashwattha tree, . . .

Extending downward and upward, its branches are nourished by the ‘qualities’ [of nature] with its fresh shoots as the objects of the senses. Also stretched downward are its roots, promoting action in the world of humans. (BG 15.1a,2) (106-7)

Selbie explains how David Bohm solved the problem of randomness versus order in the creation of the universe, which divides science and religion as well as different groups of scientists, in favor of an implicate order.

Bohm showed mathematically that the universe, and everything in it, emerges into physical being in conformance with a hidden order that exists in pre-space. He called this hidden order the implicate order and compared matter’s process of emergence into physical being to that of something initially folded (flat, so to speak, in just two dimensions) then unfolding into three dimensions—the explicate order. The implicate part of the order exists in nonlocal pre-space. It serves as the template for (it provides the missing hidden properties for) the explicate order, which unfolds in our local three-dimensional universe according to the information in the enfolded order in pre-space, (96-7) 

Bohm’s deeper explorations of the weird side of quantum physics, and string theory’s adoption of his holographic principle, strongly suggest that the order Einstein sought not only exists but is nonlocal. Ervin Laszlo, author of Cosmos: A Co-creator’s Guide to the Whole-World, stated on the matter: 

We are beginning to see the entire universe as a holographically interlinked network of energy and information, organically whole and self-referential at all scales of its existence. We, and all things in the universe, are non-locally connected with each other and with all other things in ways that are unfettered by the hitherto known limitations of space and time. (99-100) 

Bohm’s interpretation of quantum physics and his holographic principle are compatible with Universalist Radha-Krishnaism. I refer to them in my writings (URK:ATP 115) and recommend my readers familiarize themselves with them. This enriches one’s worldview and supports the spiritual world being the template for the material world. Also, creation is ongoing, not a past event. The material and spiritual dimensions constantly interact, and we exist simultaneously in both.

We must liberate man from the cosmos created by the genius of physicists and astronomers, that cosmos in which, since the renaissance, he has been imprisoned. We now know that we . . . extend outside the physical continuum.  .  .  . In time, as well as in space, the individual stretches out beyond the frontiers of his body.  .  .  . He also belongs to another world.—Dr. Alexis Carrel, Nobel Prize winner (120) 

Open minded scientists like Carrel realize the false limits of the materialistic, mechanistic universe conceived by Newton, Darwin, and their followers that dominated scientific and intellectual thought for several hundred years. They understand that our consciousness is not a product of the brain, or even limited to the life of the body, but it is part of Cosmic Consciousness and resides in the eternal spiritual world beyond time and space.

The scientifically grounded idea that we exist simultaneously in multiple realms goes far beyond providing a new model for living systems; the idea that we exist simultaneously in multiple realms also opens the door for science to understand how there can be life after death. . . . From the point of view of the multidimensional quantum-biological model, we already exist in the afterlife

Physical death is the withdrawal of the invisible organization of energy from the physical body. When the influence of the template-like holographic energy-body is withdrawn, the physical body loses its coordinated entangled coherence with its holographic energy body. Coherence gone, the physical body begins to respond to the forces of entropy—order goes to disorder, energy dissipates to equilibrium—and the physical body decays into lifeless atoms and molecules. (125)

The holographic energy-body corresponds to the spiritual body. The energy-verse, nonlocal pre-space, or the domain of potentiality correspond to the spiritual world. Just as quantum physicists have the energy-body residing in the energy-verse while incarnate in a material body, some Vaishnav schools have the spirit soul residing in the spiritual world while incarnate in a material body. We can simultaneously be in the timeless spiritual world while incarnate in the time bound material world.

We already inhabit our energy-body. We feel and interact with our energy-body all the time—not just when we die. We feel it and experience it at every moment, even though we can’t perceive it directly with our physical senses. Our energy body is the source of our life-energy, our feelings, our likes and dislikes, our motivations. The energy-body is the source of most of what we think of as ourselves. It is constantly, dynamically, and integrally us. (128) 

Our eternal spiritual body is an integral part of us, our higher self, interacting with us on conscious, sub-conscious, and unconscious levels to guide us through life as we grow, learning the lessons of unconditional love. Our level of spiritual awareness determines how conscious we are of our higher self and how open we are to its guidance.

Death is only the loss of our physical body, the shedding of a suit of clothes that covers the energy-body; it is not the end of our existence. Once the physical body dies, we adjust to being aware of our energy-body only. And once we are beyond the confining limitations of our physical body—as the saints, sages, and near-death experiencers all testify—we will experience a freedom and awareness unlike anything that can be experienced through the physical body. (128) 

Therefore, death is not to be feared, but rather viewed as a release from material bondage. If we are going to reincarnate, we can have an opportunity to reassess our life and prepare for the next growth experience. If we are ready to live in the spiritual world as an eternal associate of Radha-Krishna, we may rejoice at our good fortune. I have long prepared for death with eager anticipation as I count on God-dess’ unconditional love, grace, and knowledge of my heart’s desire.

I would say that in my scientific and philosophical work, my main concern has been with understanding the nature of reality in general and of consciousness in particular as a coherent whole.—David Bohm, Fellow of the Royal Society 

Consciousness is the crux of the physics of God: It is in consciousness that science and religion come together, and it is through an understanding of consciousness that we can reconcile the apparent conflicts between them. (144)

Selbie does a good job of bringing together the scientific and religious perspectives. He is trained in both fields and can do justice to both. It is in such open minded approaches that seek to find common ground between seemingly opposed views that a holistic understanding of higher truth can be found. This is quite refreshing in the highly polarized time in which we live.

He explains, “All matter is projected from, interconnected with, and dependent on, the interpenetrating, nonlocal, two-dimensional energy-verse.” (146) I explain it as, “God-dess pervades creation and constitutes its guiding, ordering, designing principle, the ground of becoming, cosmic consciousness, the one from which many flow. Individuals exist as parts of God-dess, and like a piece of hologram or fractal, they contain the image of the whole. An individual is in the world, and the world is in the individual.” (URK:ATP 60) This is confirmed as follows:

I have concluded that we are in a world made by rules created by an intelligence. To me it is clear that we exist in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance.—Michio Kaku, string theorist (147-8)  

Selbie sums it up as follows:

The light-show illusion that is our physical universe is continuously created by the energy-verse; in turn, the laws that inform the energy-verse’s continuous creation of the physical universe spring from infinite, nonlocal, intelligent consciousness. The screenplay for the cosmic movie, the two-dimensional holographic system that projects the cosmic movie, and the resulting light-show illusion—the three-dimensional, cosmic movie— all spring from and are guided by intelligent consciousness. (150) 

The universe and our experiences here on earth are projections from the transcendental dimension of Cosmic Consciousness, the universal soul. “As above, so below.” Similarly, how we experience ourselves is a projection of our individual spirit soul that gives consciousness to our material bodily existence. As long as this connection exists, we have life. When the connection is broken, we die.

Our local, three-dimensional physical bodies are the holographic projections of our nonlocal, two-dimensional holographic energy bodies. Our two-dimensional energy bodies are the source of most of what we experience as ourselves—our awareness, feelings, motivations, memories, and life-energy. (151)

When we die, our space, time, and matter suit ceases to function, and we are no longer able to operate in space, time, and matter. When we die our awareness shifts to our nonlocal, two-dimensional energy body in the energy-verse. (151-2)

Unlike film in a projector, the holographic energy template isn’t fixed or static; it is dynamically evolving in accordance with its own inherent, intelligently created laws—more like a computer program than like a film. (155)   

Cosmic Consciousness, the universe, and we are all in process. Life unfolds according to the choices people make and the complex outcomes that develop through our interconnectedness. We are co-creators in the evolution of the universe and should not underestimate our potential influence for good or evil. Our life matters and has purpose. By aligning with the divine purpose, we can make the best use of our lives.

Since everything is made out of mind, it can be controlled by mind. As you develop more and more mental strength, ultimately you will be able to do anything.—Paramhansa Yogananda . . . miracles do not defy the laws of matter; rather, they demonstrate deeper laws that science has not yet grasped. (156-7) 

Since we are still in the early stages of ascending Dwapara Yuga, our consciousness remains limited by materialistic Kali Yuga thinking. As the age and our consciousness develops, we will be able to do things that today seem impossible or miraculous because we don’t understand how they work.

Everyone possesses the same creative power as does the infinite intelligent consciousness that creates the cosmos. 

This central truth lies at the heart of all religions: We are divine children of God, made in His formless, infinite image, inseparable from His consciousness. Like the children of all parents, we possess the abilities of our divine parent. . . . We are gods with amnesia. (157-8)

“We simultaneously exist within and beyond this physical world. Our consciousness is nonlocal, essentially infinite, and like the high-frequency energies of our energy body; it exists beyond, yet interpenetrates, our physical bodies.” (160) My Universalist Radha-Krishnaism: The Way of Natural Devotion; A Practitioner’s Handbook outlines a process of developing our perfect spiritual body and integrating its identity with our identity in this life so we can consciously act from the spiritual platform as a loving devotee of Radha-Krishna.

String theory suggests that there are vast two-dimensional nonlocal realms of high-frequency energies in which our three-dimensional local physical universe exists: saturated, created, and sustained by those energies. Pioneering physicists Werner Heisenberg, Max Planck, John von Neumann, John Wheeler, Eugene Wigner, and David Bohm, as well as modern physicists Fritjof Capra, Gary Zukav, Amit Goswami, Michio Kaku, and many others, suggest that these subtler, nonmaterial realms of energy are in turn saturated, created, and sustained by infinite intelligent consciousness. (163-4)

This is where the realms of Vishnu and Radha-Krishna known as Vaikuntha and Goloka Vrindaban by the Vaishnavas exist. The Way of Natural Devotion teaches how to enter the eternal Vrindaban as a personal associate of Radha-Krishna. It is good to have the existence of such transcendental worlds confirmed by eminent scientists as well as eminent devotees.

Matter-energy interactions alone have yet fully to explain the deepest and most important mysteries: the origin and organization of life, the nature of consciousness, and why an intelligent observer is necessary for matter to take form. 

More open-minded scientists, those not wedded to scientific material-ism’s beliefs, accept that matter-energy interactions alone do not explain all observed phenomena; they have been willing to explore nonmaterial alternative theories, ones that look to thought and intelligent consciousness for answers. We have seen that the expanded vision of these open-minded scientists leaves ample room for religion’s most universal claims—miracles, heavenly realms, life after death, personal transcendent experience, immortality of the soul, and God, (168)

Sectarian beliefs accentuate divisions and differences. Blind attachment to exclusive dogmas leads to repression, violence, and war. . . . If one looks past the centuries of well-intentioned but unenlightened additions to the world’s religions . . . the shared truths that lie at the heart of all religions become clear. In these shared truths we find both an inspiring spiritual unity among all religions as well as ample room for the findings of science. 

Together, the discoveries and theories of the broader minds of science and the testimony of the saints, sages, and near-death experiencers best reveal the physics of God. (168-9) 

I explain it like this in Universalist Radha-Krishnaism: A Theological Perspective:

In this postmodern age of cosmology and the human genome, a richly satisfying harmony between scientific and spiritual worldviews is attainable. According to process theology, the cosmos, knowledge of God-dess, and even God-dess evolve. 

Understanding cosmic origins characterizes religions throughout history. Religion springs from the insights of inspired individuals and tries to make sense of life. Ancient seers used the knowledge of the day to describe the nature of the cosmos. . . . 

Scientists constantly delve into new areas—observing nature, investigating the phenomenal world in innovative ways, digging deeper into areas where understanding remains incomplete. Universalist Radha-Krishnaism approaches the spiritual quest with a scientific attitude of discovery. It does not settle for past truths but ever seeks new truth to expand human understanding. In an ever-changing world, people need ever fresh ways to approach God-dess.

Human understanding of the origin of the universe fundamentally changed in the last seventy-five years. Spiritual seekers benefit by understanding cosmology, creation, and origins based on facts known today, rather than following outdated ideas from thousands of years ago. People know things their predecessors did not. (115-16)

The Physics of God is well researched and easy to read. It makes an excellent companion to my Universalist Radha-Krishnaism writings. I highly recommend it since we are in basic agreement.

About the Author

A dedicated meditator for over forty years, Joseph Selbie has taught yoga and meditation throughout the United States and Europe. He is also the author of the nonfiction work The Yugas and the Protectors Diaries, a science fiction/fantasy series inspired by the abilities of mystics.

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