Modern Science and the Fall of Adam
The complementarity principle and quantum entanglement not only reconcile science with the biblical creation story, but the same scientific principles also explain the fall of Adam and Eve. I’ll append a non-mathematical explanation and description of relevant experiments on complementarity and entanglement to the end of this post. If you haven’t read it yet, this might be a good time to do so. It might also be a good idea to read my recent post on the biblical creation story.
It might also be prudent at this point to clear up some potential misunderstandings about my posts. My aim is to counter the mistaken notion by many that science disproves religion, or that science is wrong because it does not agree with scripture. The things I write about are not the doctrine of any church or religious organization, as far as I am aware. I write about what the Lord gives me personally, that’s all. However, I may quote from or analyze extra-biblical sources in order to illustrate or clarify my point. I am not advocating for any particular religion. I don’t care what your brand of Christianity is, although if you are not already a Christian, I hope you will reconsider.
Also, you might be wondering about my qualifications to be writing about science, so here is a short bio:
- Nationally Certified Reliability Engineer (retired)
- Principal Engineer / space systems reliability lead at General Dynamics
- Inventor / published in professional engineering journals
- M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (thermodynamics specialty)
- B.S. in Mathematics
- Author of one book and several articles on modern science in the scriptures
Now back to Genesis. After a brief cosmological introduction in Genesis 1, Moses shifts to the human story, narrowing his focus to the account of the fall of Adam and Eve from the presence of God. In the first part of Chapter 2 he makes it clear that the features and creatures described in Chapter 1 did not yet have a terrestrial existence. Nevertheless, given that our planet and solar system are relative newcomers to the cosmos, there is no reason to suppose that the universe wasn’t already abounding with plant and animal life as well as other of God’s children before they developed on Planet Earth.
4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
What can it mean that the Lord had not yet caused it to rain on the earth (Verse 5)? The author is saying the earth (the planet now) was not yet mature enough in its evolution to support life. Yet, He has previously created plants, herbs, animals and man. Some would argue that Gen 1 is an account of the spiritual creation (the heavens), but remember, God “saw” (observed) His work after each “day” of creation, and observation manifests physical reality from the spiritual (light, in Moses’s metaphor.) This is further evidence that the first chapter of Genesis is about the creation of the universe, not about Planet Earth. It’s also evidence for a physically evolving earth, as I see it.
In Verse 7 Moses says God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Moses could simply have said that God placed man’s spirit into his body. Instead, man receives a portion of God’s breath. But the Hebrew word “rauch,” translated here as “breath” or “breathe,” also translates as “life” or “spirit.”
It follows that man’s spirit was in God before He breathed it into man. We could say He breathed the man into the body. The point here is that God and man are of the same essence, as a wave is of the same essence as the ocean.
I think these verses confuse many people. In Genesis 1 God accomplishes the creation of the universe, including man. By the complementary principle, all created things have a spiritual and a physical nature, whether alive, dead, or inanimate. This does not mean all created things are alive. In Verse 7 God breathes the uncreated man into the spiritual/physical body that he has previously created. A rock is a two-layered entity. It has no “breath of life” in it. Man is a three-layered being.
In the rest of Chapter 2 Moses goes on to say that God made the plants to grow “out of the ground,” again indicating terrestrial creation, and supporting the claim that the earlier creation of them in Chapter 1 was universal. Finally, He creates Eve from Adam’s physical rib and gives her physicality as well.
The physical creation is now complete, including Adam and Eve. But in Verse 25 we read:
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
What does it mean that they were naked yet unashamed at this point? Moses is saying that they had not yet experienced themselves as separate and distinct from the rest of creation. Before the fall, man and the rest of the universe were one entangled entity to man’s perception, just as the radioactive atom, cat, and other items in Schrodinger’s thought experiment were one entangled entity while isolated and unobserved. They had no concept yet of “here I am and there you are looking at me.” Through their spiritual senses they perceived everything as Light. To their perception, all was one.
One might question whether it’s plausible that conscious human beings could be in or perceive a state of superposition, or whether the idea violates quantum theory in any way. According to Sir Roger Penrose it is indeed plausible, and no violation exists. Penrose is an English physicist, mathematician and philosopher of science who has received several prizes and awards in physics, including the 1988 Wolf Prize, which he shared with Stephen Hawking. Quoting Penrose regarding a variation of Schrodinger’s cat-in-the-box thought experiment,
“I wish to make clear that… there is nothing in the formalism of quantum mechanics that demands that a state of consciousness cannot involve the simultaneous perception of a live and a dead cat.” (The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe, Penrose, R., Vintage Books, 2004).
Penrose’s statement applies as well to Adam and Eve’s perception of the unmanifested universe, including themselves.
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
The serpent, representing Satan, tempts the couple with the truth that by partaking of the forbidden fruit “your eyes shall be opened” (that is, their physical senses will be activated), and “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (by experiencing the physical world, the world of opposites – e.g., good and evil – via their physical senses). Notice the phrase “in the day” in Verse 5, which we should understand to mean “in the physical world, the only realm in which space and time (days) exist.”
In Verse 3 Eve tells the serpent that they weren’t even supposed to touch the fruit. As mentioned in the appendix, observation includes any physical sensory experience. In Verse 6 we find out that it’s good for food, bringing the senses of taste and smell into the mix, and pleasant to the eyes, engaging the sense of vision. That makes four of the five senses. Of course, it’s hard to imagine how one might “hear” an apple! Not to worry, though, the fifth sense is mentioned shortly. The fact that all five senses are mentioned supports my claim that the forbidden fruit is physical sensory experience.
Importantly, Eve says the fruit is to be desired to make one wise. The desire for wisdom is, of course, a righteous one. Jesus said “Be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Remember this point, because Moses is soon going to contrast the nature of Eve’s desire before the fall with the nature of her desire after the fall, in which the object of her desire changes from wisdom to physical pleasure.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Translation: Experiencing (observing) the world through their physical senses “collapsed” the entangled wave functions of which they had been a part, after which they experienced their separateness from the rest of the cosmos and from each other.
This was the “transgression:” After the Lord created Adam and Eve and gave them physicality by observing them, they used their new physical senses to observe the world, thereby causing the physical world, including themselves, to manifest to their consciousness! The “tree of knowledge of good and evil” is the body, especially the nervous system and physical senses, and the “forbidden fruit” is physical sensory experience. The fall was a pre-planned event!
Why, then, did God command Adam and Eve to avoid the tree of knowledge of good and evil? The story of the forbidden fruit is symbolic. It’s meant to illustrate the constant competition for the focus of our consciousness – God versus the world. If they don’t transgress, they remain with God but have no opportunity to grow by experiencing the physical world – the world of opposites, the world in which both good and evil exist.
In order to know joy, it is necessary to experience its opposite – grief. If the whole world were blue there would be no such thing as blue. Blue is only blue by contrast with that which is not blue. If they do transgress, they have the opportunity to become more like God (wiser, knowing good and evil, and capable of experiencing love and joy), but they must be separated from Him for a time to do so, because in God’s presence there is only good. This is the human story still. We are all Adams and Eves.
8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
Moses’s creation story is a masterpiece of subtlety and symbolism. Even the phrase “cool of the day” has hidden meaning. “Day” again means our ordinary spacetime, and “cool of the day” is symbolic of the light and warmth of God’s presence having disappeared from their awareness like the setting of the sun.
The “trees of the garden” represent the objects of sensory experience, which provide the constant and ubiquitous barrage of sensory input that stubbornly maintains the external focus of our consciousness in opposition to communion with God, who can only be found within. They “hid from the Lord among the trees” means the physical world came between them and their awareness of God, who is ever present. Notice also, that Moses has now brought the fifth sense into the story (they heard the voice of the Lord).
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Adam is now subject to fear, one of two inherent characteristics of fallen man, the other being its polar opposite – desire. It’s often said that fear and desire, or equivalently, aversion and attachment, are the causes of all human suffering. Notice that fear and desire are both important themes in the creation story.
This new condition of separateness is reinforced in the next few verses when the couple have their first spat, each attempting to shift the blame to the other or claiming “The devil made me do it!” When the Lord questions them about the new state of affairs, Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent. So much for togetherness!
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Three additional points about desire:
- Moses contrasts the object of Eve’s desire before the fall (wisdom) with the object of her desire after the fall (pleasure, physical sensory experience). Before the fall, Eve “desired” the fruit of sensory experience to make her wise – a righteous desire (Genesis 3:6). Now, however, she desires the sensory experience for its own sake. Before the fall her desire was centered on the things of God. Now it’s physical.
- Without physical bodies subject to physical desire, how was Eve to conceive and bear children? Before the fall she couldn’t, but now she can!
- A Google search reveals several sources that translate the second pronoun “he” in Verse 16 as “it.” It then reads, “…thy desire shall be to thy husband, and it (physical desire) shall rule over thee.” Moses is not saying women should be submissive to their husbands. He is stating the fact that in the fallen world, passions tend to rule rather than wisdom.
Complementarity and the Double Slit Experiments
In 1801 Thomas Young demonstrated the wave nature of light by performing a simple version of what is known today as the “double slit” experiment, in which a coherent light source, e.g. a laser (Young used sunlight), shines onto a plate with two narrow, closely spaced slits. As the light wave passes through the slits, it emerges on the back side, spreading out from the slits and interfering with itself. The effect is analogous to two water waves on a pond. Where peak meets peak or trough meets trough their amplitudes add. Where the peak of one wave meets the trough of the other, they subtract. A screen placed behind the plate captures the resulting “wave interference pattern.”
When one of the slits is closed the wave pattern on the screen no longer appears, and a single band, called a “clump pattern,” forms directly behind the open slit instead, as if the light source is emitting particles. The difference is that when both slits are open it’s impossible to determine which path the light travelled (through which slit it passed), but with only one slit open the path is known. When the path is known, it behaves as a particle. When the path is unknown, it behaves as a wave. And if we attempt to determine, by any means whatsoever, which of the open slits it passes through, the wave pattern disappears.
Also, using a photon gun to shoot photons one at a time through a double-slit apparatus results in single particles appearing on the screen, as expected, but as the photons build up one by one, a characteristic wave interference pattern emerges just as it does with, say, a laser beam. And again, closing one slit causes the wave pattern to disappear and a clump pattern to appear instead, clearly demonstrating the complementary nature of individual photons.
The complementarity phenomenon has been shown unequivocally to occur with electrons, atoms, and even some large molecules, as well as with photons. These experiments provide convincing evidence that everything we perceive has its own wave nature, strongly suggesting that everything in the physical universe is characterized by the complementarity principle.
The Quantum Eraser
Physicist Richard Feynman once proposed a thought experiment in which sensors are placed so as to determine which slit the photon has passed through, and predicted that this would cause the interference pattern to disappear. Figure 2 is a schematic representation of the basic idea in Feynman’s thought experiment.
On the left side of the illustration a light source shines onto a half-silvered mirror, which replaces the slitted plate in the original experiment. Each photon has an equal probability of being reflected or passing through the half-silvered mirror to a normal mirror that directs it to one detector or the other, depending on whether it has passed through or been reflected by the half-silvered mirror. In this scenario the path of the photon is known, and therefore a clump pattern forms at each detector, as with the double slit apparatus when only one slit is open.
On the right side of the figure a second half-silvered mirror is placed as shown in the upper right-hand corner. Photons arriving at the second mirror again have an equal chance of passing through or being reflected. Now, however, it’s impossible to determine which path the photon has travelled, and a wave interference pattern forms at the detectors as a result. The principles in operation in this case are the same as in the double slit version of the experiment with both slits open, except that in this version the “which path” information has been erased after the photon has made its decision to travel one path or the other. The path information has been hidden from human consciousness.
Figure 2. Quantum Eraser Experiment.
Quantum Entanglement and Delayed Choice
We might ask what would happen if the “which path” information is obscured after the photons have reached the detector(s) but – and this is important – before the result has been observed. In 2000, physicists Yoon-Ho Kim and colleagues conducted a mind-bending experiment that not only answered this question, but raised intriguing questions about causality. Their experimental setup is rather complicated, but the basic idea exploits an important property of quantum systems called entanglement.
According to entanglement, any two objects that have ever interacted are thereafter related, to a greater or lesser degree, such that anything experienced by one instantaneously affects the other also, regardless of distance between them. The more intense the interaction, the greater the degree of entanglement. And the principle applies to everything, including humans.
Kim, et al generate two entangled photons and send them along opposite paths, each to its own detector(s). The path of one, let’s call it photon A, is unknown, so it should show a wave pattern. The path of the other, photon B, is sometimes known and sometimes unknown (randomly). When the path of photon B is known, it registers a clump pattern, and when its path is unknown, it registers a wave pattern.
The A photon patterns remain unobserved until after the B photon patterns are observed. When the paths of the B photons are known, both they and their entangled A photon twins register a clump pattern, and when their paths are unknown, they and their entangled A photon twins register a wave pattern.
But the path of the B photons is longer than the path of the A photons, so that they arrive at their detector eight nanoseconds later than the A photons arrive at theirs. The effect appears to precede the cause! I want to emphasize this. The outcome of the later event determines the outcome of the earlier event, given that the later event is observed first!
The conclusion from all this is that observation manifests physical reality (all physical reality, not just photons) from spiritual potential (light waves). And that reality includes a history that’s rational and consistent with all other (observed) history! It should also be noted that observation includes all sensory input, not just visual, and that the observation may be below the threshold of human awareness.