Physicists are theorizing that we actually exist within a computer simulation. Do we exist within a computer simulation like the Matrix? The question may actually be backward. Is reality explaining simulations to us or are our simulations exposing our misunderstanding of reality? Or both?
I don’t believe we exist within a computer simulation. I do believe we exist in the mind of God. Stop rolling your eyes. Call him the Programmer if that makes you happier. If that is the case, then everything we are learning about reality as a simulation makes sense.
One of the evidences considered to provide evidence that we exist in a simulation is that the universe is too finely tuned to our existence. The odds of everything everywhere coming together as a suitable reality to support our existence are astronomically against us. The existence of the God of the Bible as the “Programmer” tells us that such a statement is fundamentally true. The odds against us would never have allowed for us to exist. It was the God who created a finely tuned universe specifically manufactured down to the finest details that allows us to exist. The laws of physics and nature were hand crafted for that very purpose.
Another objection is that our reality comes pre-packaged, just as information exists in a computer. Time can be measured in packets. Light travels as a wave but is also packaged in photons. Matter, no matter how far down in size we go, comes packaged in electrons, quarks, strings. Everything can be measured in our physical world. If the units that make up our reality are packaged, then cannot reality itself be packaged? God says he holds this universe in his hand and how can you hold something that is not “packaged” somehow? As big as this universe is, it is, like everything in it, packaged and measurable. We cannot measure it end to end but we know this must be true. It cannot extend everywhere forever. And, if it can be contained then what is outside the container? And if there is something outside the reality container, how does it relate to the reality within the container?
Quantum physicists have found that merely the act of observing subatomic particles affects them. It can change the outcome of an event or experiment. In this regard, matter exists as a potential, not an actuality. Reality exists as it is observed and until then exists only as a potential reality without actual existence. But ask yourself about the implications of this. It puts the observer almost in the role of a creator within a creation which he did not create. That which we cannot observe does not exist until we observe it and yet all of the created universe operates within a delicately balanced interaction that enables all of its various parts to exist and function. How then could it continue to function if we do not perceive it? What a commentary on the godlike powers we assign to ourselves with these concepts! We are so often the observers of that which we observe but do not understand. How does the act of perceiving a thing make it function? If it functions without our perception or understanding, then how necessary are we to its existence or functionality? Do we matter?
We are wandering into the realm of the philosophers here. If things exist only as they are perceived, then in order for the things we do not perceive to exist, philosophers theorized that there must be a Great Perceiver, which they said was God. Only a Great Perceiver could keep everything in perception (i.e. in existence) with enough understanding to keep it working. So, if you cannot understand how it works but merely that it is working, how can your perception allow it to function? Which then begs the question, does mere observation actually affect the observed object or is it the Great Perceiver? Perhaps, if the Great Perceiver or the Programmer exists outside reality (which he must do in order create and operate reality) then the effects we see are not caused by our observation but by the Great Perceiver. This would answer one of the intriguing questions of quantum physics? How do particles communicate and affect each other over vast distances instantaneously? Well, what is the distance between two thoughts? That’s how.
Another point that is brought up is that reality can be shut down. Drop the temperature low enough and particles cease to move. Light “freezes”. It’s something like when a computer crashes. You face the blue (or black) screen of death. It’s all in there. You just can’t get at it. And yet, it doesn’t exist. Does light exist if the photons don’t move? It would be dark but not the dark of night, but the dark of non-existence. Time itself will stop when everything lurches to a halt. Time measures movement and there would be no movement. To God, you’re moving into home territory. His existence is outside of time and between the photons of light. He is the one who created the laws of physics, and as such, he exists outside of them, working or not. When everything stops moving, God will move through everything as if nothing has happened. What good would it be for the Programmer to be bound by the program as we are?
One thing I did not hear dealt with was the topic of originality. Our simulations are moving toward becoming virtual realities and suggest we could someday create the very kind of simulations we are talking about in terms of our reality. We could become creators of universes. And what would we create? One scientist said porn would figure largely in the virtual realities we would create. Why? Because, he said, it accounts for about 50% of what is running through the internet now. The point he was making (I hope) was that the virtual realities we would create would mirror our reality. We would be copying what we know, not creating something new and different. So here’s the question I want to ask: If we are living in a created reality, a Matrix scenario, is it an original or a copy? This is an important question and the answer is even more so. If it is a copy, then what is it a copy of? If it is a copy of the reality for the Programmer, then was he merely a creature who evolved and became capable of creating this reality? If so, we are back to the problem of how improbable it is that a reality like ours could come into existence on its own. If we cannot exist springing from nothing, then how can the Programmer’s reality come into existence from nothing? And if there is a Programmer for the Programmer’s reality, how many programs back do we have to go to reach the original? But then no matter how many programs back you go, whether it’s one or one billion, it still has the problem of being improbable. If the Programmer is the original but is not related to this reality in terms of its necessity to how he exists (as this reality is necessary for our existence), we have to ask what kind of being is he that he could come up with this original idea of reality when we can only come up with imitations and copies? How do I come up with a functioning reality that has no relationship to how I exist? How do I imagine it? How do I make it work when I have no basis on which to understand how it functions? And yet, the Programmer has to have done just that.
Why do physicists have such a hard time with the concept of God? Why do they prefer to have a Programmer? Because God carries with him certain characteristics which are uncomfortable for physicists. God never had a beginning. He cannot be quantified in the same way we can. There is no beginning point for God. He is not an impersonal force like gravity or light. He declares himself to be a moral being and to make moral demands on his creation. It is much easier if you remove personality from the creation you view. If you decide the cosmos contains impersonal matter devoid of morals, then it makes no demands on you to conform your behavior or acknowledge something superior to yourself. If you substitute a programmer for God, then you can decide who or what this programmer is and, in a way, make your own God. One lecturer asked what we would do if we discovered that we truly were living in a simulation. Would we rebel and attempt to take control of the simulation into our own hands so as to protect ourselves from the programmer? Here’s the answer. Yes. We would. Yes. We do it every day. Every day we try to take control from God. We rebel, we sin, we make war on God. And we try to justify it. This is just another way.
We know who the Programmer is. Whether we want him or not, we know who he is. He has a name. It’s God. He wrote a book about the reality he created. He won’t explain how he did it. Which is just as well since we wouldn’t understand it anyway. But he did explain something much more important which we can understand. He told us why. And physics will never be able to explain that no matter how hard it tries.