I like to think. Sometimes it gets me into trouble as my thoughts often tend to wander beyond the ‘box’ where most people reside. My mind tends to reject boundaries of thought imposed by others who jealously guard their intellectual and philosophical/theological territory. Yet such intellectual and spiritual ‘truth-seeking’ is not only healthy but required in a world that apparently eschews faith and yet is built upon ‘faith’ in so many ways, be it secularism, scientism or atheism. This week threw up yet another example of such ‘faith’. In the Guardian online (link) a report appeared about Elon Musk and his ongoing desire to frame his bright new electric world. The article begins “Musk is just one of the people in Silicon Valley to take a keen interest in the “simulation hypothesis”, which argues that what we experience as reality is actually a giant computer simulation created by a more sophisticated intelligence. If it sounds a lot like The Matrix, that’s because it is.”
Such views have of course a long historical reach, as the article points out, they are not new. That we may be living in a reality within a reality is not however contrary to the Torah and Scriptures. If G-d is our final reality, a benchmark of ‘real’ in the universe, then we must concede that His eternity, outside of our understanding of time and the restrictions that places upon us as mere mortals, is the final prime reality. Our experience of the physical world as over against the deeper reality of the eternal spiritual world, must also take second place to His eternity. Such a view resonates perfectly with the idea that the physical Creation was a necessity predicated on the need for G-d to show us His love (love needing a demonstration to be real and meaningful). As created recipients made in His image we are able to not only recognise and receive His love but are able to reflect it back to Him again. Such a cycle of a beneficent God and love filled worship and service perfectly fits the picture we know within Judaism. Of course, by creating a somewhat artificial dichotomy between spiritual and physical (or as the Scriptures describe it, spirit verses flesh) the danger was always going to be real that the ‘nowness’ of what is seen and experienced would always cause us a problem in serving G-d (and it most certainly did… and sadly does).
Seen thus however, the question of the ‘more sophisticated intelligence’ behind this ‘simulation’ is answered. It’s not so much a comment about so-called intelligent design, it’s much more a focus on the Designer. The article goes on “That we might be in a simulation is (…..) a simpler explanation for our existence than the idea that we are the first generation to rise up from primordial ooze and evolve into molecules, biology and eventually intelligence and self-awareness. The simulation hypothesis also accounts for peculiarities in quantum mechanics, particularly the measurement problem, whereby things only become defined when they are observed. For decades it’s been a problem. Scientists have bent over backwards to eliminate the idea that we need a conscious observer. Maybe the real solution is you do need a conscious entity like a conscious player of a video game.”
I welcome the admittance that so many in the scientific world have had an agenda against G-d, despite the internal logical problems that throws up, which are well documented. In Judaism however there is no teaching about a Conscious Observer, or a sophisticated intelligence, nor merely a Grand Software writer, but a real, living G-d whose care, love and attention to us as His created beings in a Creation framework goes on from day to day, millennia to millennia. Our G-d is One who not only observes but breaks into the physical to demonstrate His love for us, His faithfulness and mercy. The greatest expression of this love was none other than in Mashiach Yeshua, whose life and death rent the physical asunder to reveal the deeper layer of reality: mankind and G-d could once more freely love each other unburdened by guilt and shame.
The wonderful truth that comes out of such thinking is that we do need a conscious entity who is running the ‘Creation app’, and it is difficult to make sense of this existential experience without Him. The revelation is that this One is the G-d of Israel, the only, unique G-d. As we continue through this Sukkot week and consider our fleeting years on this earth, sojourners no less on the planet, we would do well to consider our Maker’s ways and His ongoing desire that all men would know Him, and that no sinner should die.