Daydreaming in Church: String Theory, Medieval Cosmology

Does your mind ever wander when you're sitting in church?

I take notes during sermons in an attempt to prevent this drift.  When I find myself starting to drift, sometimes I just scribble down the topic (allowing myself to come back to it later).

Last week, during Jon's excellent sermon on Psalm 1 (check it out here), I scribbled down "Mapping String Theory onto Medieval Cosmology."  This scribble allowed me to jump back into the sermon.

But what about that scribble?

Medieval cosmology involves the way men and women before the Copernican revolution viewed the universe.  The Earth was the center: smallest, coldest, darkest.  Above the Earth, spheres: Sky, the Seven Heavens and the Highest Heaven.  All of it full of music.  All of it full of light.

For more on Medieval Cosmology, check out The Discarded Image by CS Lewis or Planet Narnia (a blog by Dr. Michael Ward).

Some folks are tempted to discard the idea of heaven as a medieval mistake.  They look through telescopes and don't see God's Throne, so they move on.

But in the last 50 years, a leading edge of theoretical physics - String Theory - may have reintroduced the Medieval model to the world.  String Theory sees the particles that make up matter as interconnected and opens doors to explain the existence of extra dimensions and multiverses.

What if, instead of talking about the Seven Heavens as musical spheres that encircle the Earth, we used the language of String Theory?  What if Heaven was both beyond Earth and connected to Earth?  What if the medieval cosmology got it right, but just used math and language that was simple and analogical?

This is where my mind wanders during church.

Where does your mind wander?  What do you do with the wandering?

1 comment:

  1. chapter camp zach11:11 AM

    Read this one a while ago and thought it was brilliant. Had to come back and read it again. Thanks for sharing, Steve!