This book is a companion volume to Consciousness: Anatomy of the Soul (AuthorHouse 2009). The scientific arguments used before are now extended to offer a theoretical description for the appearance of angels.
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The Science Of Angels
By Peter Walling
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2017 Peter Walling
All rights reserved.
A mother takes her six year old child to the zoo. Tatum has never been to the zoo before but at age 6 she knows what most of the animals look like from books and TV. Tatum is 3.5 feet tall and weighs 50 pounds. Mother and child stop opposite the elephant enclosure. An elephant stands 20 feet away separated by a low wall and a moat. The elephant is 12 feet tall and weighs 5 tons. Tatum looks at the elephant.
Let us consider what happens next. Like it or not, we all live in a swirling sea of electromagnetic radiation. These include radio waves, X-rays, microwaves, cell phone transmissions and light waves. Some pass through us and others bounce off . It would be a waste to process them all but as humans, we have evolved the capacity to process wavelengths from about 400-700 nanometers (billionths of a meter). This is the visible light spectrum from violet to red. Light from the elephant is focused by the lens in our eye onto the inside of the back of the eyeball, the retina. The image is upside down but that is not the strangest thing. The cells of the photoreceptors covert the electromagnetic radiation to nerve signals. Elephant data is digitized into a staccato stream of impulses racing along the million fibres in each optic nerve, in total darkness. Note well that the elephant did not enter Tatum's brain, coded impulses did. The nerve impulses travel backwards via the optic chiasm to form the optic tract around the midbrain and on to the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), then to the optic radiation and on to the primary visual cortex. The visual signals are processed here and the next thing Tatum knows is that the elephant appears in her visual perceptual space. Tatum is the percipient, but what and where is the percept, i.e. the elephant? Milliseconds before the percept appeared all the information describing the elephant consisted of nerve signals; the brain did not construct a flesh and blood pachyderm! Tatum's neurons exist in physical space but the percept itself is not a physical object in physical space; it is a non-physical construct in non-physical space. The percept is also scale free, it has no size. A 5 ton elephant will not fit into the head of a 50 pound child.
The real, physical elephant is 20 feet away from Tatum and the visual image enjoyed by Tatum seems to correspond with that estimated distance. However, we know that the neural machinery producing the percerpt is in the brain, so is the percept inside or outside Tatum's brain?
The answer is neither.
To assign a location in physical space, either inside or outside the skull, to a nonphysical object in non-physical space, is a non sequitur. As Bertrand Russell pointed out 90 years ago, "Physical and perceptual space have relations, but they are not identical, and failure to grasp the difference between them is a potent source of confusion" (6). An enormous amount of time and effort have been wasted in the search for the fabled anatomical correlate of consciousness.
We now need to consider some aspects of vertebrate brain evolution before we can understand what is going on. During the past 500,000,000 years we have evolved from fish like creatures into the Homo sapiens of today. The story is punctuated by giant leaps forward, the appearance of limbs, migration to dry land and mammalian thermoregulation being a few examples. Generally speaking the brain has enlarged while retaining its position at the "sharp" end of the animal. Brain waves travel quite quickly but they are still slower than light speed by a factor of about 1,000,000. It therefore behoves the creature to keep the neurons coordinating the senses as compact as possible thus reducing communication speed. Whether it be predator or prey, an animal will benefit from the rapid sorting of incoming sensory signals.
During our animal studies we discovered an additional feature of the evolving vertebrate brain. Not only did the attractor dimension increase during evolutionary time but in humans, the dimension recorded correlated roughly with the number of senses being employed. (The attractor describes the moment to moment balance of forces involved in the neurodynamics and its measurement is reported elsewhere. (4) (Fig. 1). The attractor of a pendulum is a circle; as other forces enter the equation, the attractor becomes more complex and its dimension increases.
In humans, we checked back in the records to discover the brain activity reported by the subject at the time of the Electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings. We found a positive corellation between the numberof dimensions and the number of senses engaged. (Fig. 2) The "League Table" spread between "Laser Brain" and "Scatterbrain". The lowest dimension was seen in a Zen priest meditating (Figs 2 and 3)
EEG Attractor Dimension Estimate
Big Gestalt. 3.2
Small Gestalt. 2.8
Mental Math. 2.2
Burst of Volition. 2.1
Yoga Meditation. 2.0
Lords Prayer. 1.97
Zen Meditation 1.3
Figure. 2 "League Table" shows increasing attractor dimension as more senses are incorporated. A gestalt is a combined sensory experience, for example seeing and hearing at the same time.
Notice that with mental arithmatic the brain is working hard but the mind is focussed hence the low dimension of 2.2. In the small gestalt, only two senses are involved and in the big gestalt, four senses are involved, hearing, vision, taste and smell.
Why has the brain evolved this way? Why does the brain need to employ non-physical space at all? The sensory system of an animal must gather the maximum information for survival at the least possible cost. We have considered Tatum's vision but what about the other senses? For example, vision senses electromagnetic radiation, the sense of smell involves chemical analysis while hearing analyses vibrations in the air or water surrounding the creature. Animals do not sample their environments sequentially; they would be eaten before they were half way through deciding where the predator was. They employ "binding", that is the bundling of information so that multiple senses may be processed at the same time. Our league table suggests that binding is accomplished by allocating approximately one dimemsion in the brain's neurodynamics to each sense. In this way visual information and auditory information for example, may be appreciated simultaneously without one contaminating the other. The non-physical perceptual space provides common ground for this to happen. Non-physical space is also "elastic" enough to accommodate up to 5D. This would be impossible in physical space. The accumulation of sensory data in non-physical perceptual space helps to explain another conumdrum; "How is it possible for binding of information to occur when the brain areas processing the information are in different unconnected locations?" (Figs. 4, 5, 6).
The realization that perceptual space may exist in a higher dimensional immediately presents the next problem.
How may a 3D person process information that might exist in a higher dimension than they themeves exist? We probably live in a 3D physical universe because receeding galaxies obey the inverse square law. Small, curled up, higher physical dimensions may exist. However, in non-physical space higher dimensions are the norm but it's hard for us to visualize them. A tesseract is a four dimensional object where three squares meet at every edge; all we can perceive is its shadow.
To better understand higher dimensions we reduce them down to a more manageable level. We have adapted the story of Flatland (7). In this story all our usual dimensions are reduced by 1D so that we may better appreciate higher dimensional beings.
A flat square inhabits Flatland. Mr. Square cannot conceive of up or down. He lives in a flat house shaped like a polygon one side of which hinges to let him in and out.
Every 1,000 years, Flatland is visited by a 3D sphere whose mission is to convince Mr. Square that higher dimensions exist. As Sphere hovers over Flatland, he remains invisible to Mr. Square as he exists outside Mr. Square's event horizon. As soon as Sphere touches Flatland, Mr. Square is able to see Sphere, first as a dot, then as a disc when the 3D shape passes through the fabric of Flatland. The millennial visits are intended to allow the Sphere to persuade Mr. Square that higher dimensions exist, but here we hijack the story for our own ends.
Although Mr. Square is dimensionally deprived, his cunning knows no bounds. He knows that if the Sphere passes through Flatland an expanding hole will be created in the fabric of the surface which will be visible to him. Not only that, but if Mr. Square can remember the changing shapes and stack them up in his own perceptual space, he will form an image of the Sphere.
As the discs stack up, the Sphere takes on the appearance of a Honey Spoon. We believe that a mechanism similar to this allows our 3D brain to comprehend our own higher dimensional perceptual space. Our Honey Spoon theory closely resembles the cinematographic theory of consciousness.
It is easy to appreciate that during vertebrate evolution the dimensional capacity of our perceptual space increased in parallel with our ability to engage in higher thought. Professor Walter Freeman's group at Berkeley has shown that the cerebral cortex is able to organize itself and that it undergoes phase transitions which are analogous to boiling and condensing water. The transitions, which may occur about every 25 ms, are thought to represent frames of information which constitute the cinematographic frames of Consciousness. Freeman attributes the 25 ms timing to the natural firing rates between excitatory and inhibitory pyramidal neurons in the cerebral cortex (8 and 9).
The Honey Spoon Theory of consciousness thus provides a "location" for consciousness, a mechanism to explain how dimensionally deprived humans may access higher dimensions, and a simple explanation of "binding".
And now let us consider angels.CHAPTER 2
They appear without warning and disappear without a trace. First, a distinction must be made between reality, illusion and hallucination. We have argued that the percept which Tatum enjoyed when she saw the elephant at the zoo was real to Tatum. The fact that the percept appeared in Tatum's non-physical perceptual space is quite beside the point. It is within Tatum's perceptual space that her own contact with reality resides. To avoid sensory overload the brain only samples part of the local environment and the resulting smorgasbord provides for Tatum's concept of reality. She does not need to "see" X-Rays and microwaves while looking at the elephant.
When Tatum returns home from the zoo she might see a crumpled blanket in a dark corner of her room. That represents physical reality. If her senses fool her and she mistakes the blanket for her dog, that is an illusion. If she sees a dog and there is nothing there, that is a hallucination. Those who do not believe in angels are quick to point out that reports of angelic encounters probably came from witnesses who were deluded or hallucinating, even supposing that the encounter was reported honestly. Now a single deluded prophet is not outside the bounds of possibility, especially if he has been fasting for 40 days and 40 nights: this may explain why artful angels often appeared to groups of witnesses simultaneously. A starving prophet suffering a delusion is one thing, but a well fed group of down to earth shepherds watching their flocks by night and all suffering a simultateous delusion quite another.
We will start with abbreviated definitions of angels:
A messenger, one sent with a message, a prophet, a priest. A messenger from God acting as an interpreter and declaring what is right.
A spiritual being superior to humans in power and intelligence.
An angel is a pure spirit created by God. The Old Testament theology included the belief in angels: the name applied to certain spiritual beings or intelligences of heavenly residence, employed by God as the ministers of His will.
Angels are heavenly beings mentioned many times in the Quran and hadith literature. Unlike humans or jinn, they have no biological needs and therefore no lower desires predicated by animal nature; consequently, they may be described as creatures of pure reason, who though endowed with free will are not subject to temptation. (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
Thus, the most important Abrahamic religions would probably agree that an angel is a messenger from God. Angels are purely spiritual beings, created by God, and superior to humans in power and intelligence. They have no biological needs and are therefore creatures of pure reason.
Before embarking on a survey of a variety of angelic appearances which are recorded in the Bible, it would be amiss not to mention the greatest Angelic scholar ever, Saint Thomas Aquinas "The Dumb Ox".(c.12251274). Born into a noble Neapolitan family, Thomas chose the life of a mendicant friar. Lumbering and shy- his classmates dubbed him "the Dumb Ox"- he led a revolution in Christian thought. Posessed of the rarest brilliance, he found the highest truth in the humblest object (10).
His greatest work, Summa Theologiae or Summa Theologica (5) was written between 1265 and 1274. It consisted of three parts, the First Part describes God's existence and nature, the creation, angels and the nature of man. Of the 119 questions considered, questions 50-64 concern angels. The Second Part deals mainly with morality and virtues and the Third part deals with the person and work of Christ, the sacraments and the end of the world. His thorough description of angels earned him the name of "The Angelic Doctor".
James Collins wrote in a dissertation about St. Th omas Aquinas (11).
"What are angels and how do we know of their existence?
Thomas gives an argument that the perfection of the universe requires the existence of intellectual creatures. Since God intends the good for His creation, he intends that it be like Himself. And since an effect is most like its cause when it shares with it the feature whereby it was caused, God's creation must contain something with intellect and will since that is how God creates, i.e. by first knowing it and loving it into being.
Hence the perfection of the universe requires that there should be intellectual creatures. Now to understand cannot be the action of a body, nor of any corporeal power. ... Hence the perfection of the universe requires the existence of an incorporeal creature. (ST Ia 50, 1)
However, since humans are intellectual creatures, as he indicates at the end of this very argument, the need for some intellectual creatures is not sufficient to give us knowledge of the existence of purely intellectual creatures which the angels are.
Since Sacred Scripture does speak definitively about the existence of angels, it belongs to Sacred Doctrine, i.e. theology, to treat of angels in a truly scientific manner. The divine science has the intellectual tools (faith in Scripture) to establish both the fact of angels and their nature (ST Ia, 1, 3). Having accepted on faith that angels exist, or taking their existence to be purely hypothetical, one can still draw certain philosophical conclusions about their nature. Thomas' words in the Summa are an excellent guide for how one can think clearly about the angelic hosts. For Thomas, given that angels are intellectual creatures, they must be pure spirit, i.e. self-subsistent forms. They are completely incorporeal; they are in no way material, and have no bodies of any kind. (Ia 50, 2)".
What follows is a literal but abridged translation of Question 51. The reply has been shortened considerably due to constraints on space and this short extract is purely intended to give the reader a sample of St. Th omas' writing style
From Summa Theologiae.
"Question 51. The angels in comparison with bodies
Article 1. Whether the angels have bodies naturally united to them?
Objection 1. It would seem that angels have bodies naturally united to them. For Origen says (Peri Archon i): "It is God's attribute alone--that is, it belongs to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, as a property of nature, that He is understood to exist without any material substance and without any companionship of corporeal addition." Bernard likewise says (Hom. vi. super Cant.): "Let us assign incorporeity to God alone even as we do immortality, whose nature alone, neither for its own sake nor on account of anything else, needs the help of any corporeal organ. But it is clear that every created spirit needs corporeal substance." Augustine also says (Gen. ad lit. iii): "The demons are called animals of the atmosphere because their nature is akin to that of aerial bodies." But the nature of demons and angels is the same. Therefore angels have bodies naturally united to them.
Excerpted from The Science Of Angels by Peter Walling. Copyright © 2017 Peter Walling. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Consciousness, 1,
Chapter 2 Angels, 29,
Chapter 3 Modus Operandi of angels, 69,