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Sound and Light

I have heard that sound waves and light waves are the same thing at different frequencies. Is that true?

No, it is not true. Sound and electromagnetic waves, such as light, are very different types of waves. They aren’t just waving at different frequencies. In fact, some electromagnetic waves are waving at the same frequencies as audible sound waves.

The audible hearing range is about 20 to 20,000 Hz. A Hertz is one cycle per second. A wave at 20 Hz oscillates up and down twenty times in one second, and a wave at 20,000 Hz oscillates up and down 20,000 times in one second. The radio wave section of the electromagnetic spectrum ranges from 3 Hz to 3000 GHz (3,000,000,000,000 Hz). Therefore, the range of radio waves completely overlaps the audible hearing range. Radio waves are oscillating at the same frequencies as the audible hearing range, but we can’t hear them directly. We have to use a radio to translate the radio waves into sound waves so we can hear them.

Electromagnetic Wave
Sound waves are physical waves and require a physical 3D medium like air or water for the waves to move through. On the other hand, light is a nonphysical wave. It does not need a physical medium to move through. Light and other electromagnetic waves can propagate through the vacuum of empty space. Sound interacts with atoms and bigger objects. Light interacts with electrons and other quantum particles. Sound shakes physical things. Light shakes the nonphysical electromagnetic field.

Electromagnetic waves are transverse waves as shown in the figure on the right. They vibrate the electromagnetic field perpendicularly to the direction the wave front is moving in. The electric wave is perpendicular to the magnetic wave, which is perpendicular to the motion of the wave front. Thus, light needs three directions (dimensions/degrees of freedom) to describe it. Light is multi-dimensional.

Transverse Waves vs. Longitudinal Waves
On the other hand, sound is a density wave, so it makes the air, water or other medium denser in some places and less dense in other places. In other words, the wave is alternately squeezing the medium closer together and then pulling it farther apart. This type of wave is a longitudinal wave. That means is it vibrating in the same direction that the wave front is moving. Thus, sound has only one degree of freedom.

Sound and light are completely different types of waves. They are both waves with constant frequency and amplitude, like all waves, but all the other characteristics are different. Speeding up the sound wave won’t turn it into a light wave. They are fundamentally different.

Heavenly Sound and Light

When people have visions of heaven or have spiritual experiences in the Bible and in modern times, they often report that the sounds of heaven seem very tightly linked to the light in heaven. Therefore, many people have assumed that the heavenly sounds are the same as the heavenly light, but this is an overly simplistic assumption. Sound and light are totally different types of waves. Sound is a physical wave and heaven is an entirely nonphysical realm, so what is the “sound” in heaven?

The brain will automatically pick the closest past experience that it can to the present experience and frame the current experience in terms of the previous experience. (For more information on how the brain does that, read the article on optical illusions and higher dimensions.) Most of us have a large library of sights, sounds, and scents to pull from, but we have a small library of spiritual sensory data to pull from. When a person has a spiritual experience or a heavenly experience, the brain interprets all the spiritual sensory data in terms of physical sensory data. Thus, the person experiences familiar sights, sounds, and scents as a way to make sense out of the spiritual experience.

We always have to remember that the way our brains perceive events is not the absolute reality of the event themselves. Everyone perceives every current experience through the filter of his or her past experiences. It is the same with spiritual experiences. We all interpret the nonphysical data in terms of our physical senses. All the spiritual sensory data is nonphysical and coming in through our spirits, so it always feels like it is one thing. No matter how our brains choose to interpret the nonphysical data as sounds, light, scent, taste, or touch it all comes through the same source, so it all seems integrated. By their nature, heavenly spiritual things are much more integrated and unified than physical things as well. The fact that sound and light seem like the same thing in many heavenly experiences is more a reflection of how the brain processes data, rather than saying anything about “heavenly sound” and light itself.

Different people process sensory data differently. Some people are auditory learners and others are visual learners, while still others are kinetic/movement learners. There are different parts of the brain that dominate how each person processes the sensory input from the world around them. Everyone has a unique makeup in the way his or her brain uniquely processes sensory and other information. Someone who is an auditory learner will be much more likely to perceive spiritual experiences in terms of sounds, while a visual learner will perceive the same spiritual experience in terms of sights. The spiritual data didn’t change, but the two different brains processed and reported the information differently.

We should look for the similarities across the gamut of spiritual experiences that we hear about, rather than nit-picking about the differences. The things that are constant across many people’s perceptions are more likely to point to something real, rather than just pointing to the way that humans perceive the nonphysical higher dimensional realm. We also have to translate back to the nonphysical data from the 4D boxes that all our brains automatically put the data in before we could comprehend it ourselves or describe it to someone else.

We also need to remember that God will show each one of us what we need to see and hear in each moment to help us along on our unique journey. What we need to see and hear from God at one point in our journey will be very different from what we need to know in another point in our journey. Also, what someone else needs to experience to learn the next lesson is different from what we need to experience to learn our next lesson. Thus, everyone will have different spiritual experiences from God based on where they are at and what they need right then.

We need to be humble about putting too much stock in the way that our brains process spiritual or physical data and keep in close communication with the Holy Spirit who knows what reality actually is. Our perceptions are always inaccurate, but we can know what is actually going on if we ask God. The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth, that is His job and He is good at it.

John 16:13

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

Discover 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.