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The Universe on the Thirteenth Floor

On God, Astrology and why we’ll never explore space.


by S.E. Shepherd
June 13, 2003

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The Universe on the Thirteenth Floor_S.E. Shepherd-On God, Astrology and why we’ll never explore space. Recently I found myself pondering why any person of reasonable intelligence would believe in Astrology. It seems silly to me that anyone would believe that the position of stars and planets would affect their “fate” and/or outcome of a particular day. Why Mars appearing in the western half of the sky and the fact that I was born in January, supposedly making me a “Capricorn” would have anything to do with each other. Then I began to think more about it.

There is a bit of logic that we are "controlled" or at least affected by events in the universe. Obviously the Moon effects us, the tides of the planet, women’s monthly cycles (why do you think the Greeks made the Moon a goddess?), so why not the rest of the universe? Astrologers like to believe that the way the stars/planets are aligned effects what happens in our daily lives, and who's to say they’re wrong?

Yet, I believe we are like an ant on a cruise ship; the boat is moving and the ant is affected by the movement of the ship, but since the ant can't see the ship moving, he is not aware he is moving. He can only see the small portion of the ship he exists in. Perhaps he occasionally wonders about outside forces, such as the moving ship, the way light changes on the ship as it sails across the ocean, etc., but most of it is beyond his capabilities to fathom, so he just settles on what he knows.

I realized that any intelligent person does not believe the position of the stars controls their destiny so much as the "force" that moves the stars controls their destiny. As a Christian, I believe this “force” is God. However to astrologers, God or the concept of God, is too small to fit in an infinite universe; how can something exist beyond infinity?

This led me to what I call my “Thirteenth Floor” theory of the universe. In the movie “The Thirteenth Floor,” programmers create an elaborate virtual reality so real, “characters” of this reality interact independently; the “game” is being “played” whether the programmers are in the program or not. Eventually a character realizes he is part of a program by traveling to a place he has no reason to go to. When he arrives, there is nothing there; his universe literally ends.

I have come to the conclusion that the reason we'll never explore outer space is because that is the "end" of our reality. If we use the model/premise of "The Thirteenth Floor," then the one place we'd never have a reason to go to is outer space. I am not talking about our solar system, our galaxy, or even all of the universe that we can "see" with the help of satellites and telescopes. The universe is infinite because after a point, nothing exists; we come to the end of our "program."

And (heresy alert) God is the "programmer" because he is outside the "program," yet he can "insert" Himself into the program. This explains why God is bigger than the universe and also controls the universe.

All of which may seem heretical or even blasphemous now that I look at it. I do not believe we are characters in a computer, or that God is some programmer who likes “tinkering” with His universe every now and then. Rather God is both in the universe and outside it, fully involved in all of its functions.

As finite creatures, we cannot fathom an infinite universe, a place that has no end. Surely space has a “shore” and what is at that shore? That would be God; He is beyond infinity, and we can’t quite grasp that.

Anyway, this exercise in philosophy/theology has exhausted me, and I am content to go back to concerning myself with just the promenade deck, which is vast enough for me.

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The Universe on the Thirteenth Floor
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