This is an introductory work on a metabelief system I call General and Special Scientific Panentheism. It investigates ways of thinking about God and the universe which can enhance both our intellectual understanding and our spiritual progress. As we proceed, we will consider ideas from mysticism, belief dynamics, and a variety of other subjects which will assist us in formulating our basic thesis. The metabelief system is also called The Cyclic God Hypothesis, for reasons which will become clear as we proceed.
The Cyclic God Hypothesis recognizes that God has both transcendent and immanent aspects or modes, and that an exploration of these complementary functions will lead to surprising new understandings of the nature of the Creator and the material universe. Some of the ideas explored in this book are ancient, and some are relatively new, but the particular synthesis of the various components is, to the best of my knowledge, original to me.
We will explore the structure of the physical universe, the nature of human consciousness, and the critical role of beliefs and belief systems in creating our personal realities. This exploration will provide a foundation for comprehending the core beliefs of all particular religious faiths (including scientism) and is intended to precipitate a spiritual epiphany in the reader. My intent is to enhance the reader’s knowledge and to instill a sense of wonder at the beauty, magnificence and complexity of God’s creation.
We will also be seeking to answer the great questions of human existence: who are we, where did we come from, and why are we here? The answers I offer will require open-minded thoughtfulness on the part of the reader. I believe that the end result will be a sense of déjà vu, in which the reader will begin to remember what he or she already knows about God, self and the universe.
We are all part scientist and part theologian. It is no longer necessary to separate these two aspects of our personalities. We can realize that these seemingly disparate realities are simply complementary functions of the two hemispheres of our brains, and it is time that the hemispheres were integrated. In this book, I will put forth a view of science and religion which will result in a harmonious confluence of these two approaches to knowledge. It’s time that we cease compartmentalizing our information about the universe and the place of the Creator and ourselves in that universe. In fact, we’ll need to recognize that the essential insights of religion and science are not and cannot be in conflict with one another. That which is true cannot conflict with any other truth. So we will explore science and religion by sorting the truth from received “knowledge” which may be true only for the moment. We’ll do so by using logical analysis and intuition.
We’ll be gathering information from quantum physics to illuminate the path which lies before us, and we’ll be utilizing information from allied disciplines to bolster our understanding of the structure and function of the physical universe and the consciousness which pervades and sustains it.
I’d like to disclose at this point that I am not a professional physicist or a professional theologian. I am simply a curious person who thinks about the world around him and tries to understand its structure, function, and purpose. Being fifty-three years old at the time of this writing, I have spent a significant amount of time thinking about how the universe came into being and what its purpose may be. The outlines of the Cyclic God Hypothesis as a meta-belief system date from my late teens while a student at Cornell University, but relatively simple precursors of some of the components came to me much earlier, at about age nine or ten. Professionally, however, I am a counselor and minister. Though I am currently medically retired, I have spent many years dealing with clients’ substance abuse issues and serious mental illness, along with their spiritual conflicts and religious confusion. Since retiring, I have done volunteer counseling in church and halfway house settings. My counseling experience has forced me to contemplate the nature and function of the human mind and soul, and this thinking has led to the writing of this book.
Though I will speak of God in the masculine gender, please understand that this is simply a reflection of the Judeo-Christian tradition in which I was raised. I believe that God has no gender, yet I hesitate to use the term It to refer to the Creator. Please substitute whatever term allows you to benefit from the ideas presented in this book.