By Pullikattil Simon
The Bible, (Genesis 1:27) says "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
Many people say that we should believe the Bible and not question it . But. I would like to examine this subject with a scientific overtone. Bertrand Russell, the philosopher, said "What is wanted is not the will to believe but the desire to find out."I agree with him. Therefore, we have to find out the form of God and then see if man is His true image or else we have to find out the real self of man and check if the image is that of God.
There are various ways to do this. We can find both these aspects by searching for authority in the Bible or in other literature from the pronouncements of other seekers before us. We can examine the subject syllogistically (reasoning) or scientifically by applying axioms and reason.
Jesus said that God is spirit and those who worship Him, worship Him in spirit and truth.
The Hindu Vedas also describe God, the supreme being or Brahma, as spirit and spirit is a force.
When the Hindu philosophers were enquiring into the nature of the supreme being, they found that he was spirit and not matter. Why? Because all matter was created by God and God preexisted matter. Therefore, that which preexisted matter was spirit. Therefore, God must be spirit.
Through the ages, many wise men sought the real self of man. When they found out that the real self of man was not his body but Atman and Atman was none other than the universal being, Brahma they were exceedingly exultant but in their great joy did not bother to explain how they found out or why they believed so.
The answer is found in a story in the Upanishads (which was written about 800 B.C.) that Indra, one of the Vedic gods, and Virocana went to Prajapati, Lord of Creatures, to find out what was the real self of man. At the end of the 32 years of self-discipline Prajapati required of them, Prajapati told them that the real self of man was the image they see in a mirror or in a pool of water. Virocana was very happy with this news and went down into the demon world as well as into the human world and informed his followers that the body was the real self.
But Indra was not satisfied because he knew that the real self was above pain and death and that when the body died, the image was destroyed. Therefore, the body cannot be the real self. They went back again to Prajapati to find the true answer and he said that the real image was the dreaming self. When this was told to Indra, Indra countered saying that man suffers from pain during dream so that cannot be the real self. On further questioning, Prajapati said that the real self of man is what he is when he is in deep sleep, when he is unconscious and unaware of any existence. To this, Indra said, if the man in deep sleep is unaware of anything, he may just as well be dead. The real self is always aware. So deep sleep cannot be the real self.
By this time, Indra had done 101 years of self discipline and was ready for the final answer which was that though all these selves existed in man, the real self is one which transcends all these and the real self is quite conscious but there is no pain or pleasure. It is immutable, omnipotent, which is part of Brahmin.
We erroneously believe that the body is the real self. Yet when a man is dead, we say that which is in the coffin is the body of so and so. Therefore, the body of man is not the real self.
It is also written:
"Dust thou are to dust returnest was not spoken of the soul."
So the soul or spirit of man transcends the perishable body.
When Rembrandt's masterpieces were copied by VanMeegheren, a Dutch painter from Den Haag, during the 1950s, the real painting and the forgery could not be told apart. If someone said that one was not like the other because of the differences in the frame, we would say that that man is foolish. Yet we make the same mistake when we search for our real self. . Instead of identifying ourselves with God whose image we are as spiritual beings, we call ourselves different because of our frame and costume.
How do we explain this from a scientific viewpoint?
Till the latter part of the nineteenth century, two principles were fundamental in physics. They are
1. Conservation of matter
2. Conservation of energy
At that time, it was understood that matter and energy could not be transformed from one to the other. Energy was understood as light energy, heat energy, energy of water and electric energy.
Then Einstein proved E=mc2 or energy equals the square of the speed of light times the mass
This formula showed that matter and energy are interchangeable. These energies were transferable from one state to another and matter also could be transformed from one state to another. Therefore, mass is also energy.
There is another important information that we should grasp with reference to mass and energy.
Newton's law of gravity states that gravity is proportional to the mass and distance. The greater the mass, the greater the force of gravity.
When it comes to the energy of cohesion, i.e. nuclear energy and electromagnetic energy, the smaller the particle, the greater the force of cohesion. For example, I can break a sandstone with a small blow but if I want to break an atom of that sandstone, I have to exert a large force to pull the electrons from the nucleus and again if I have to pull the atoms apart, I have to overcome a lot of nuclear energy. The size of electrons surrounding a proton of an hydrogen atom is nearly 1/2000 of an atom.. Yet this electron has an energy equal to the proton.
Now the scientists have found that there are nearly 35 elementary particles in the atom which they thought was an indivisible unit. The smaller the particle, the greater the cohesive force. What we find here is that with decreasing mass there is an increasing cohesive force. It is therefore easy to imagine that we will reach a stage where there is no mass but only energy.
This is the energy of the Supreme Being.
This is like the water in the deep ocean where the water is calm. It is this water that supports the rest of the water on top of it to the surface where the waves, large and small as well as ripples form and disappear.
From this universal, ever present energy, we are ripples and waves of this energy. He has given us His own spirit and in addition He has given us individuality. So, when we die, our spirit joins the universal spirit as the river joins the ocean.
"Did God create man in his own image?" The answer is "Yes" for God's image is spirit and man has the same spirit which God has invested in man.
Dr. Simon is a retired research scientist, philanthropist and author of two books: The Missing Piece to Paradise and The Philosopher's Notebook. Visit his website at http://simonsecret.org