String theory tells us that there are at least 10 or 11 dimensions in the universe. We have the four dimensions (4D) of time, length, width, and height that we are used to in the physical part of the universe, but there are also at least six or seven more “something else” dimensions that are hidden inside the physical dimensions.
Each dimension is perpendicular to all the others. We see this when we look at a box. The length, width, and height are all perpendicular to each other forming right angles. Each dimension is a direction of movement. On a line, which is one dimensional, one can only move forward or backwards. One direction; one dimension. Each dimension is also called a “Degree of Freedom.” There is only one degree of freedom in a line. We are only free to move in one direction and we can only have line segments, rays, or the whole line contained within the line. The ability to do and be is very limited on a line. The line segments could be of any length, though. There are technically an infinite number of variations, but all of them are entirely limited to the line.
When we add a dimension by going from a line to a plane, like a piece of paper, we add another direction of movement perpendicular to the first. Now, movement can happen in the forward and back direction and in the side-to-side direction. There are two directions; two dimensions; two degrees of freedom. There are a lot more ways to move around in a plane. Objects can move along a straight path or a curvy path, swirl around, or pass other objects. Many more types of objects can exist in a plane. There can be open and filled polygons, spirals, curves, and any number of other flat shapes. There is infinitely more ability to be and do in two degrees of freedom than in one. The infinity of options in one dimension have been multiplied by another infinity of options in two dimensions.
We can now add one more dimension and make a box. That brings us up to three dimensions; three directions; three degrees of freedom. Motion can happen in the forward and back direction, the side-to-side direction, and in the up and down direction or in any combination of the three directions. There can be all kinds of complex solid or wire shapes and surfaces curving all around. Things can exist and move around in the wide variety of complex ways that we see in the world around us. We have multiplied the ability to be and do by another infinity by adding one more degree of freedom. There is an infinite amount of freedom in one dimension and an infinite amount of freedom in three dimensions, but they are very different types of infinities.
Then, we add six or seven more dimensions perpendicular to those three. How do we do that? What direction is perpendicular to length, width, and height all at the same time? The math is fairly straight forward, but it’s very hard to visualize. However, it should be clear that any direction that is simultaneously perpendicular to all the three physical dimensions couldn’t be pointed inside the physical dimensions. That direction has to go somewhere else, outside the physical dimensions.
As we add these six or more degrees of freedom, we are increasing the ability to be and do by infinity with each dimension. It is unfathomable what we could be like and what kinds of abilities we could have with even one more degree of freedom, let alone if we had full access to all of the higher (nonphysical/spiritual) dimensions.
Take some time to think about it. Then, pause and ponder how much more freedom and ability must God have who created all the dimensions? Then, think about how much freedom and ability He gives us access to in the unseen spiritual realm as the Holy Spirit leads us and teaches us.
It is fun to think about the possibilities, but it’s hard to know what is just our imagination and what is actually possible. Science is just beginning to explore the possibilities in the higher dimensions and just beginning to find experiments to determine what is actually out there. Stay tuned for exciting discoveries to come.
Parallel or Perpendicular
The whole universe contains the 4D physical space-time part that we are familiar with and the six or more higher nonphysical dimensions that we are just discovering. It is important to note that the invisible/unseen realm, which the Bible refers to as the spiritual realm, is not some far distant place or in a parallel reality. The unseen dimensions are perpendicular to the visible dimensions. They are right here, right now, but in another direction that we can’t usually perceive. Jesus told us that the “Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2, 10:7, Mark 1:15, Luke 17:20-21). It is not far away and hard to reach. The Kingdom of Heaven is right here intersecting with us everywhere.
Some people have argued that the spiritual realm is like a parallel world much like a separate sheet of paper on top of the sheet of paper with our world in it. However, two parallel lines never meet. It would be impossible to ever get to Heaven or accomplish Jesus’ prayer of “on Earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4) if Heaven was parallel to Earth, but that is not the case. Heaven is perpendicular to Earth.
The unseen dimensions are very near to us. They are perpendicular to the seen dimensions, so they intersect at every point. There is no disconnect between the physical realm and the spiritual realm. It is not hard to connect with the unseen realm. It is happening all the time whether we are aware of it or not. The unseen realm is not parallel. It is perpendicular. We just need God’s help to begin to perceive the spiritual realm so we can start to access the abilities that God gives us in the unseen realm.
Observations of the Higher Dimensions
The question is: how do we explore the unseen realm when it’s invisible? Let’s look at an example to help us get a better grid for how we can indirectly observe the unseen realm. Take a look at this figure and stare at it for a moment and observe whether the dotted line is in the front or in the back. Keep staring at it for a while and you should observe that the dotted line shifts back and forth between the front and the back.
What have you observed? Is the dotted line in the front or in the back? In the front, in the back, both, and neither are all acceptable and correct answers. This example demonstrates that we have to be careful about how we ask our experimental questions or else we will get nonsensical answers.
The drawing is technically a two dimensional flat object that doesn’t have a front or back, so we can argue that the dotted line is neither in the front nor in the back. Therefore asking the question about the front or back is nonsensical. However, we always observe it either in the front or in the back and it never actually looks like a flat object to us. Therefore, we can just as easily argue that the drawing is a picture of a three dimensional object which does have a front and a back to it, so we can ask about that and expect a reasonable answer.
About half the time, we observe that the dotted line is in the front. The other half of the time, we observe that the dotted line is in the back. Therefore, when we observe the dotted line in the front, it is correct to say that it is. The same is true when we observe that the dotted line is in the back. However, those individual observations don’t tell the whole story. The picture with the dotted line in the front looks identical to the picture with the dotted line in the back, and the two pictures could be superimposed on each other, so we can’t distinguish them.
We can say that there is a 50/50 probability distribution of observing the dotted line in the front or in the back. We have a distribution of two possible answers that each has an equal probability of being observed the next time we look at the drawing. There is no way for us to tell from our past observations if the “true” answer is always changing between the front and the back; both front and back; or neither front or back. All we can talk about is the probabilities of all the possibilities.
This is the case in our quantum experiments, too. In quantum physics lingo, we say that the dotted line is in an equal quantum superposition of being in the front and the back. It is equally both at the same time, but we can only observe one answer at a time because that is the only way for the object to be a real three dimensional thing that we can have a picture of at any given time.
When we do our experiments, we make an observation and get one of the possible answers. Then, we repeat the experiment many, many times and get a different answer from the set of possible answers each time. After we get enough data, we can mathematically figure out what the probability distribution of each possible answer is. Finally, we can reconstruct the superposition and figure out what the full state of the object is beyond what we can measure.
We can think of it like taking a large number of two-dimensional images or shadows of a three-dimensional object from all different angles and trying to reconstruct the full object from all the flat shadow pictures. We can imagine that fairly easily because we are used to working with 3D objects. But, if we were 2D creatures trying to reconstruct a 3D object that no one had ever seen before, it would be very confusing and there would be tons of heated debate about it. It is the same for us when we try to take 4D (space-time) measurements of higher dimensional quantum particles (strings).
Another question we can ask is this: is the wire box in the picture really changing every time we observe it differently, or is it always the same and it is just what we are able to observe that is changing? It’s easy to understand that the wire box isn’t actually changing from front to back because we know the drawing on the paper is static. We are seeing a different piece of the puzzle every time, but the puzzle itself isn’t changing. However, when our limited quantum measurements give us different answers each time, somehow we think the objects themselves are spontaneously changing in impossible ways, but it is just our limited ability to observe the fullness of the objects that causes the changes in our observations. We can only see one aspect of the full object each time we observe it. We need to keep this in mind as we are trying to interpret the data properly.
Let’s look for a moment at what is happening inside our brains when we observe the dotted line as being in the front or the back. Our brains are used to seeing 3D objects all the time. When we see a drawing that looks like a 3D box, our brains automatically assume that it is a 3D box, but there isn’t enough information for our brains to guess the orientation of the box accurately. Sometimes, our brains guess that the dotted line is in the front and other times our brains guess that it is in the back. Our brains are constantly interpreting the visual data and making a guess. That is why the drawing seems to switch back and forth.
We have seen and touched so many boxes, that our brain automatically sees a box and never sees a hexagon with some strategically placed internal lines. This is technically just an optical illusion. That’s how all optical illusions work. They force our brain to reference something we have seen before. Our brain can’t help but make the designated assumption and put that previous image up on the screen in our imagination. It’s practically impossible to see the original image for what is actually is – just a bunch of carefully laid out lines and shapes.
My point is that our brains are taking the 2D data in the drawing and putting it in the closest 3D box from our mental library that it can find, and our brains always do this. When we talk about the higher dimensions and non-physical data, the brain also takes those signals, picks the closest 4D (space-time) experience we have had, and identifies it as that. We are always interpreting everything through a 4D lens. When we do that, we don’t see the full picture. We only see one facet of it. We are also seeing a distorted picture since we had to squish the original into the closest box. There aren’t any other options really. That is how our brains work. The only thing we can do is to gain more experience with more variety, so we can have a better grid for all kinds of data.
We need to be aware that this is happening so we can have an ample amount of humility and healthy skepticism about what we are sensing both spiritually and physically. Our brains and our eyes, ears, etc. are not very good or reliable scientific instruments. They should not be trusted implicitly. There is no way for us to actually know if the electrical signals that our brains are interpreting as the world around us are really real or if they are just our imagination.
Only God knows what is really real and what is actually true. He exists outside of the universe and isn’t subject to the limitations of how our brains work. He isn’t stuck inside a 4D worldview. We can trust God, but we can’t trust our own perception. God is a constant, unchanging solid rock that never lies (Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Psalms 33:11, Psalms 102:25-27, 110:4, Isaiah 46:9-10, 54:10, 55:8-13, Malachi 3:6, Romans 11:29, Hebrews 6:17-20, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17), and God has everything under His control. God can be trusted completely and without question. God loves us and wants what is best for us (Exodus 34:6-7, Deuteronomy 7:6-9, 23:5, Jeremiah 31:3, John 16:27, Romans 8:28, Ephesians 2:4-9, Titus 3:4-7, 1 John 4:7-11, 16-19). God wants to connect with us intimately and work with us in all our circumstances. God will guide us into all truth (John 14:26, 16:13, 1 Corinthians 2:9-16, 1 John 2:27) as we let Him teach us and show us what reality actually is. All we have to do is ask Him to teach us and guide us and He will.
I mentioned before that our best scientific instruments are still four-dimensional and can only measure 4D data. Similar to our brains, they are also only able to measure certain aspects of the higher dimensional quantum particles (strings) during each run of an experiment. Our physical experiments are inherently limited, but until our brains can think outside the 4D box and come up with higher dimensional instruments, we have to do our best with what we have.
Even with the limitations of our equipment and experiments, we have still managed to make many discoveries about the higher dimensions and the non-physical part of the universe. We can reconstruct the higher dimensional superposition by making lots of measurements about each facet of the system we are measuring and thereby gather some information about the fullness of the system. As we develop better and better experiments and instruments, I’m sure that we will continue to discover much more.
For a more in-depth discussion of what this and many other scientific discoveries reveal about the spiritual realm and how that compares with the Scriptures, see my book, “Heaven’s Reality: Lifting the Quantum Veil” which can be purchased here.