Freeman Dyson God as the World Soul!

Augustine Pamplany CST

“I asked (my mother), ‘Why do we have so many churches in Winchester?’ and she said, ‘If God had wanted us all to worship in one church, he wouldn’t have made so many different kinds of people.’ I liked that, and I feel the same way about life as a whole. I mean, that’s the glory of life, that it always seems to tend to diversity.” These are the words of the renowned physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson (1923).

Dyson says, there will ever be the inexhaustible mystery ploughed by science and religion. “Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here. The two windows give different views, but they look out at the same universe. Both views are one-sided, neither is complete. Both leave out essential features of the real world. And both are worthy of respect.”

Dyson summarized his personal theology that is consistent with a scientific worldview: “I like to describe [God] as the “world soul” — which was my mother’s phrase — so that we are little bits of the world soul. And so it may well be that we are part of the world’s growth.”

Receiving the Templeton Prize in 2000, he succinctly formulated his theology: “The universe shows evidence of the operations of mind on three levels. The first level is elementary physical processes, as we see them when we study atoms in the laboratory. The second level is our direct human experience of our own consciousness. The third level is the universe as a whole. Atoms in the laboratory are weird stuff, behaving like active agents rather than inert substances. They make unpredictable choices between alternative possibilities according to the laws of quantum mechanics. It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every atom. The universe as a whole is also weird, with laws of nature that make it hospitable to the growth of mind. I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension. I am thinking that atoms and humans and God may have minds that differ in degree but not in kind. We stand, in a manner of speaking, midway between the unpredictability of atoms and the unpredictability of God. Atoms are small pieces of our mental apparatus, and we are small pieces of God’s mental apparatus. Our minds may receive inputs equally from atoms and from God.” His scientific theology is outlined in his work, Infinite In All Directions.

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