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The Third spiritual misconception one needs to resolve before they die is that the universe has only three dimensions.
This misconception can take two forms. In the first version, everything but the everyday world we see around us [the physical world/ universe or 3d world] is not real! Any existence beyond the 3d is a myth or superstition, like heaven, hell, divine existence, miracles or afterlife.
The second version of the misconception is the opposite view – the physical world and our physical existence is not real. In this version, there is truly only the non-3d and what we feel about our 3d existence is nothing but some sort of non-3d cosmic dream.
So this misconception can take two general forms: the first form in which the only reality is the three physical dimensions (the 3d) that the laws of science seem to govern; and the second form in which the so-called three physical dimensional universe (the 3d) is not real and the only reality is in the non-3d universe (the part of the universe that would be beyond the three physical dimensions).
The truth is the 3d (everyday world) and the non-3d are both real!
The universe contains both the three physical dimensions and dimensions beyond the everyday three physical ones. But that doesn’t mean the whole universe (both the 3d parts and the non-3d parts) do not follow the laws of science.
In this context you cannot equate the existence of the non-3d as the same as there being a heaven or hell. The non-3 isn’t necessarily divine/supernatural or in other words immune to the laws of science/nature. Of course, even if certain aspects of the non-3d do abide by the laws of science/nature (even if the science is undiscovered at this time), that doesn’t mean there isn’t a divine existence or a heaven and hell.
I don’t want to bore or lose the less scientifically inclined seekers with a lot of scientific explanations (I will cover the science more rigidly and more completely in appendix A). So I’ll just state the scientifically known truths or as much as is known at this time.
To do this, I first would like to look at a brief history of the relationship between religion and science in the eastern European region. This is not to imply any of the ideas necessarily only originated in this region or that the following ideas necessarily were first developed/discovered in this region. The point of this exercise is pretty universal and the concepts followed a similar development in most other areas of the world, so any major region would basically show a similar development of the separation in the concepts of religion and science.
At first, there weren’t two separate concepts of religion and natural science. There was, in essence, only one natural law, the law of the gods, which governed and explained all of the natural phenomena or natural sciences as well as any non-3d events/concepts.
When humanity started developing metallurgy, herding/ husbandry, and agriculture, they opened a door that would eventually lead to the first separations of science (the natural laws governing metallurgy and agriculture) from religion.
This separation continued through the years. It increased with the study of math and philosophy in and around 450 BCE, and with Aristotle’s formalizing the study of nature as science in and around 350 BCE.
At this point there started to be a competition between established religions and science. The concept of atheism started to form. Philosophy and natural science was starting to provide answers to questions that previously only had religious based answers.
The traditional ‘Sacred Cows’ of natural events serving as proof there was a god or gods or the supernatural, started falling one by one to the new sciences.
One of the first was the need for god or gods for controlling natural phenomena like day and night and the four seasons; these fell to the new sciences of astronomy and Newton’s laws explaining celestial motion.
One of the next losses was the belief that disease and illness was the product of supernatural spirits. This was brought about by the sciences of medicine and biology explaining disease and illness as 3d or natural processes.
Philosophical proof of the supernatural or ‘God’ started to revolve around the origin of life, the first cause and the noble/self sacrificing emotions.
These last three ‘proofs’ were then attacked by the science of evolution, the philosophy of “ God is dead,” and the new social science of psychology. (see appendix A for a more complete discussion of these points).
The last general argument for proof of ‘God’ or the supernatural, besides the question of an afterlife existence, is the existence of miracles. The atheist’s response is that there are no miracles; there is just yet undiscovered science.
Of course, none of the above constitutes an irrefutable proof of no god or no supernatural part of the universe. It just argues that none of the above constitutes proof that there is a god or supernatural entity.
Part of the misconception is the idea that the existence of non-3d is the same as there being supernatural parts of the universe.
In truth, there are more dimensions than the common three spatial dimensions, but there is nothing necessarily supernatural about them. Again, just because there are some natural non-3d (by natural or non-supernatural I mean they behave according to the laws of science), it neither proves nor disproves the existence of some supernatural part of the universe or the existence of ‘God’.
How many dimensions are there? I don’t know, but it’s considered a scientific fact that there are more than the commonly accepted three physical dimensions. In the early 1900s, scientists became aware that you couldn’t explain all the physical effects they could see in the universe if there were only three dimensions.
The concept of a 4th dimension (the 3 physical plus time) was introduced by Einstein to explain the effects of relativity.
But adding a 4th dimension still wasn’t enough to explain the effects of quantum mechanics. Currently the most advanced theory, though still incomplete (one of the string or loop theories), states that there needs to be at least 11 dimensions in order to be able to even start explaining all the observable effects in the universe.
So the truth is that not only are the three physical dimensions (the 3d) real, but there are many non physical dimensions (non-3d) that are also real. The universe is composed of both the common three physical dimensions (the 3d) and many non-physical dimensions (the non-3d).
So what is the nature of these other dimensions? Well that depends….
For a Deist and Theist we could use a model where these additional dimensions (the non-3d) show up as four other sets of dimensions. They can be labeled the spiritual dimensions, the intellectual dimensions, the transcendental dimensions and the divine dimensions.
For an Agnostic, we could look at the Buddhist model as an example, in which the dimensions are labeled as frames; the 3d/physical or 1st frame, the emotional or 2nd frame, the intellectual or 3rd frame, the analytical or 4th frame and the supra-mundane or 5th frame.
For an Atheist, we could look at the Village Path’s evolutionary model that examines facets of evolution in relation to degrees of Free Will; fight, flight, freeze, surrender & Total Free Will (self determination). Or, we could look at Freud’s model of id, super-ego, ego, amongst other models used to illustrate one’s Free Will in relation to the 3d and non-3d.
So the third spiritual misconception one needs to resolve before they die is that the universe is either only 3d or that the universe is only non-3d…
The truth is the universe is made up of both 3d and non-3d!
(As stated above, this is totally consistent with currently known science as well as most spiritual and divine based systems, see appendix A.)
Potegp uses models to signify the point that we are not trying to teach divine or complete truths/concepts. Models are used as tools to help one make progress within its limits – remember not to look for divine/complete truths through limited use of human words.