The Shema and Gravity
The words of the Shema remind us each day that “ADONAI echad,” The LORD is one.
I was watching Cosmos again yesterday as I ran on the elliptical. The escape that has become is critical, as even at 0445 it provides a needed distraction and means of releasing frustration, anger and stress.
Ben has been suffering for the past year with severe eczema, which causes him to scratch and hurt and of course, it’s a vicious cycle, the itch leading to the scratch leading to the pain, leading to more itching and so on. Of course the worst of it is at night, usually starting around 0130 and he almost never able to get to back sleep until between 0400 and 0500. I am basically an early morning guy anyway, so anything after 0500 I am not going back to bed. So if Cami is home and if it is after that time, I will dress out and head to the gym a few blocks away for some elliptical time and lately, Cosmos.
There is something amazing about how our universe is put together, and this morning Carl Sagan was trying to explain – in simple terms – the concepts of something that cannot be seen, a fourth dimension. The reason it matters is because we still are not sure of the actual shape of the universe, and the possibility exists that in the same plane the universe is both infinite AND finite at the same time. I can make it a much shorter description by saying that the possibility exists that the matter of the universe – in it’s entirety – has enough gravity to cause space to bend back upon itself – basically into a sphere, although that would not be our three dimensional perspective of its shape.
In effect, he explained, the universe is (presuming that there is enough matter) both always expanding AND simultaneously running into itself as it gravity bends it around the fourth dimension.
I am not sure exactly of the mathematics behind it, but I am pretty sure that it works in theory at least. But because we are 3-D in our existence there is simply no way to actually prove it visually. We can only test the ToTaL mass of the universe (which we are curretnly doing) to see if there is the proper amount to provide the gravitational pull needed.
Why does it matter? Tehelim (Psalms) 19:2 remains my favorite verse in the Tanach:
The heavens declare the glory of God,
the sky proclaims His handiwork.
Looking to the stars and the universe has always taught us about G-d. No wonder humans have always loved and studied the skies.
And here in a simple discussion of the 4th dimension, gravity and limited perceptions, came a realization of the meaning of the word “echad.” Even as our universe is expanding and is immense beyond our ability to see and experience, it remains “one.”
Indeed the skies do proclaim His handiwork and show us – in our own limited understanding – how things work.