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The Virgin Birth Paradox



 

Where Science Meets Religion by Trent Dee Stephens, PhD, for the Come Follow Me lesson December 18-24: Christmas


My post this week is from Chapter 4, The Virgin Birth Paradox and Chapter 5, The Pinocchio Syndrome, in my book, The Immortal Messiah; The Physiology of Resurrected Beings, (Cedar Fort, 2022).

 

Chapter 4 The Virgin Birth Paradox


What makes us human, what made Jesus Christ human, was only vaguely understood before 1900. Over one hundred years later, it is difficult for us to appreciate just how little information was available previously and how much room there was for “mystery.” Although the Austrian monk, Gregor Mendel discovered the basic principles of inheritance in 1865-1866, his data remained largely unknown and certainly unappreciated until 1900, when Carl Correns, Hugo de Vries, and Erich von Tschermak, independently, rediscovered Mendel’s paper and confirmed his findings.1 Then in 1902-1904, Walter Sutton and Theodor Boveri, independently, published papers connecting Mendel’s concept that two genes code for a characteristic to the idea that cells contain two sets of chromosomes.2


In 1915, Thomas Hunt Morgan stated that, “It is difficult to resist the fascinating assumption that the gene is constant because it represents an organic chemical entity.”3 It’s hard for us to imagine, one hundred years later, that this concept of genes being organic chemical entities was somewhat revolutionary. About the same time, biologists specializing in cell structure (cytologists) began to propose that sex was determined by odd chromosomes, called X and Y. Morgan discovered that several Mendelian traits were “linked” to the same chromosome.4 He, with three of his students, Sturtevant, Muller, and Bridges, published a ground-breaking book, The Mechanism of Mendelian Heredity, which clearly demonstrated that genes were located on chromosomes and revolutionized the concepts of heredity.5

 

Nearly forty years later, on 25 April 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick elucidated the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and demonstrated the “organic chemical” basis of genetics.6 Then in 1956, Joe Hin Tjio and Albert Levan established the correct number of chromosomes in humans to be 46.7 Completion of the human genome project, which was announced 25 April 2003, exactly 50 years after Watson and Crick’s paper, informed us that we have approximately 20,000 genes, which make us human.8 Since then, April 25th has been designated International DNA Day – there should be parades.


We now know that humans have approximately 20,000 genes located on 46 chromosomes, two of which, “X” and “Y” determine sex. We, therefore, can also conclude that Jesus Christ, being a male human, had 20,000 genes on 46 chromosomes, with an “X” chromosome from his mother, Mary, a virgin, and a “Y” chromosome from his father, God. For most Christians, this is the paradox: how did a virgin give birth to a child? Not for me. For me, the paradox is much further upstream in the thought process.

 

It seems that nearly every Christmas season some critic comes out with an essay or letter to the editor pointing out how dumb Christians are for believing in a virgin birth. As an example, on 18 November 2013, Daniel Engber, a journalist who likes to write about “weird news” in science and culture for the New York Times Magazine, Slate, Wired, and Popular Science, among others, came out with such a story in his Popular Science column. His heading: “Could A Virgin Birth Ever Happen?” His short answer: “If you’re a mammal, no.” Engber stated concerning a virgin birth, “Virgin birth, known to scientists as parthenogenesis, appears to be rather common in the animal kingdom…But humans and our fellow mammals provide a notable exception.”9


Apparently, Engber did not grow up on a farm, around animals, and believes that the only type of virgin birth to occur is by parthenogenesis – reproduction from an egg only, with no sperm involved. Whereas everything Engber said about the barriers to mammalian parthenogenesis is correct, he missed the most important point concerning Christ’s birth: any mammal developed parthenogenetically would be female. I have often stressed this point in my nearly forty years of teaching developmental biology and human embryology. Parthenogenesis, however, is not the only type of virgin birth available.


I grew up on a dairy farm where we milked about seventy-five cows twice a day. No adult bull ever set foot on our farm, yet, each spring, our cows delivered about seventy-five calves – all by artificial insemination – all born to virgin cows. According to Merriam-Webster, a virgin is “a female animal that has never copulated,” i.e. never engaged “in sexual intercourse.” By definition, every one of our cows was a virgin, yet each produced a calf by virgin birth roughly annually. For me, growing up on a dairy farm, it’s not at all difficult to believe in a virgin birth. For humans, Merriam-Webster also defines a virgin as “a person who has not had sexual intercourse.” Therefore, by definition, Mary gave birth to the Savior without ever having had sexual intercourse. Currently, artificial insemination is fairly common in humans, occurring as many as 50,000 times per year.10 Mary contributed 23 chromosomes, one of which was an “X” chromosome, toward her son. The other 23 chromosomes, including the “Y” chromosome, came from Jesus’ father – God. Because we believe that Mary was a virgin, we do not believe that this occurred through sexual intercourse – but that is not the only way 23 chromosomes from a male can combine with the 23 female chromosomes. If we, as mere mortals, can figure out how to produce offspring in virgins, it is, in our modern society, not at all difficult to believe that God could also accomplish such a feat.


We do know, however, that the 23 female chromosomes and 23 male chromosomes have to be compatible and able to pair up very closely in order for mitosis (a critical part of cell division) to occur in the developing embryo, the next human being. The implication here is that, God, being the biological father of Jesus Christ, contributed 23 chromosomes that were enough compatible with Mary’s 23 chromosomes for mitosis to occur in Jesus’ cells.

I don’t believe that God was the father of Jesus Christ by some hocus pocus magic, mystical bologna – in a similar way to Geppetto’s being Pinocchio’s father. Herein lies the paradox, how did God contribute exactly 23 chromosomes, including a “Y” chromosome, that were compatible with Mary’s 23 chromosomes and 20,000 genes, which apparently developed at random through the process of evolution? This is the true virgin birth paradox. That paradox, which elevates the discussion to a whole new level – that of quantum genetics, will take more time to work through and will, of necessity, be a topic for another book. However, the topic is briefly discussed in the next chapter.      


Isaiah prophesied of the virgin birth of the Savior. “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”11

 

Several scholars, however, have attempted to humanize the Son of God by proposing that the word “virgin” in the King James version of Isaiah is a mistranslation. For example, Joel Hoffman; who calls himself an independent scholar, teacher, translator, and author; stated the following,

 

“But he [Matthew] is quoting a mistranslation. The original Hebrew text of Isa 7:14 is not about a virgin. Rather, the Hebrew used to describe the woman in Isa 7:14 is almah, a word that means ‘young woman.’ But then the Septuagint, an early translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, took the Hebrew almah and rendered it as the Greek parthenos, which means ‘virgin.’”12 


Hoffman goes on to state,


“In most contexts, calling a ‘young woman’ a ‘virgin’ in the days of the Septuagint would be only a minor translation mistake, hardly even noteworthy, because most young women were virgins, and most female virgins were young women. In modern terms, it would be like mixing up ‘high schooler’ and ‘teenager’—imprecise perhaps, but good enough for most purposes.”


But in one situation, obviously, turning a young woman into a virgin rises to the level of a serious gaffe. And that's when the young woman is pregnant. This is how the Septuagint, through lack of precision, turned an ordinary birth into a virgin birth.13

 

Such an explanation may satisfy a skeptical world, but has no footing in a believing world. Hoffman’s statement that a young woman was usually a virgin is on point in Mary’s case.

Nephi’s prophecy in the Book of Mormon, a second testimony of Christ’s divinity, by contrast, makes it very clear that Jesus’ birth was no ordinary birth.

 

“And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white…And he [the angel] said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh. And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.”14

 

The books of Mark and John, in the New Testament, begin with Christ’s baptism and focus on his ministry, except that the first five verses in John describe Christ as the creator of “All things.”15 Some scholars have made an issue of the fact that Mark and John exclude Christ’s virgin birth. This seems to me to follow the same question I will address in other chapters; for example: why did only Matthew mention the star, why are most miracles only mentioned in one gospel, and why did John alone mention Lazarus? This issue of not all the gospels mentioning the virgin birth appears to come mostly from Jewish scholars who wish to undermine the divinity of Christ and from Catholic and other Christian scholars who put an undue emphasis on His virgin birth – teaching that Mary was not only a virgin at the time of Christ’s birth but remained so throughout her life – and denying the scriptures stating that Christ had brothers and sisters, in spite of what we read:


“While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.”16

 

The real-life, human, forty-six-chromosome-twenty-thousand-gene nature of Christ is emphasized in Mark’s gospel, when His neighbors inquired, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.”17

 

Historically, for most of the time since Jesus lived, people could believe that Christ was human by some magical sleight of hand, much like the Blue Fairy turning the wooden Pinocchio into a real boy, or the magician Drosselmeyer turning Chikaskia’s Nutcracker into a real prince. Today, however, with our understanding of cells and chromosomes and genes, those age-old fairytales remain just that.


Under the heading, “Mary the Blessed Virgin,” we are told by the Catholic Online that,

“Traditionally, she [Mary] was declared the daughter of Sts. Joachim and Anne. Born in Jerusalem, Mary was presented in the Temple and took a vow of virginity.”18 There is not a single scriptural reference to support this Catholic tradition. Then we are told that, “The four Catholic dogmas are: Mother of God, Perpetual virginity of Mary, the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary.”19

 

Catholics and other Christians often attempt to argue away Matthew 12:46-47 and Mark 6:3 by saying that they were Joseph’s children by a previous marriage – or some other, similar argument.20 


Under the Wikipedia heading “Brothers of Jesus,” we are told that,


“Catholic, Anglican, Assyrian, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary, as did the Protestant leaders Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin, John Wesley and their respective movements. Those who hold this belief reject the claim that Jesus had biological siblings and maintain that these brothers and sisters received this designation because of their close association with the nuclear family of Jesus, and are actually either his cousins or children of Joseph from a previous marriage.”21


For the vast majority of Christians, then, Mary’s perpetual virginity is in some way critical to their whole belief system. The concept of the Trinity further complicates the very idea of a virgin birth for Jesus (the origin of the trinitarian concept will be discussed in later chapters). How could Christ be his own father and how could a bodiless, formless entity be a father at all? How could God, who is an “immaterial spirit who has an entirely simple…nature—that is, a nature containing no parts,”22 contribute twenty three chromosomes and 20,000 genes toward a son that is somehow himself? The answer – it’s a miracle, it’s a mystery.


I believe in miracles, but I believe that they all occur by obedience to a higher law as yet unknown to the observers. A miracle is explaining to someone from Christ’s time how seventy five cows became pregnant with no bull present. A miracle is a person living a hundred years ago being told that there are humans with artificial hearts or organ transplants. To that person, who does not understand the application of higher laws – unknown in their time – artificial hearts and transplanted organs would appear miraculous. The term mystery, on the other hand, is simply a convenient way of saying “don’t ask because no one can explain it.” With such attitudes in modern churches, it is little wonder that the younger generation is leaving Christianity in large numbers. Unfortunately, because many young people who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don’t appreciate that we are not those Christians, they are being caught up in the general exodus. Because most churches, unfortunately sometimes including ours, don’t even attempt to bring science to bare on these “mysteries,” being Christian is seen by many Millennials as not cool.

 

Chapter 5 The Pinocchio Syndrome


I didn’t like Pinocchio when I was a child. I don’t recall the first time I saw the Walt Disney movie – it was produced in 1940, eight years before I was born – but however young I was, I didn’t like it. I will admit that he had a cute face, but to me that only belied the dark side of his personality. First of all, I didn’t like marionettes – I thought they were freaky – and besides, any time I tried to make one work, I just got the strings all tangled up. Beyond that, I didn’t like Pinocchio’s wooden-headed blundering into trouble. I did like Jiminy Cricket, now that’s a character I could relate to. I also liked Geppetto. I always wanted to have a shop where I could make wooden toys. Most of all, I was never convinced that a wooden puppet could ever become a real boy.


According to The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi, 1883, Pinocchio started life as an animated block of wood, “…that wept and laughed like a child,”1 but according to Walt Disney’s Pinocchio, 1940, a Blue Fairy made Pinocchio magically come alive, and promises him that he can become a real child if he could, “…prove himself to be brave, truthful and unselfish and able to tell right from wrong by listening to his conscience.”2

      

The days of believing in Pinocchio are past. Science has progressed beyond beliefs in puppets or blocks of wood that can come to life. As Paul said, “When I was a child…I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.3 We read in the gospel of Matthew:


“And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”4

 

Few people doubt that a real, physical person named Jesus Christ actually lived. What is debated is the physical nature of that person, Jesus. The central tenant of Christian belief is that Jesus Christ is the physical, begotten Son of God. For nearly two thousand years, it was possible for people to believe that in some foggy, mystical, mysterious, nebulous way Christ was the Son of God, much like Pinocchio was the son of Geppetto, but such a belief cannot stand by itself in the light of the 21st century. I would like to go back in time and have Pinocchio spit into a bottle so I could have his DNA tested and see where he really came from. Even better, I would like to obtain a sample of Christ’s “true blood” from one of the many relics collectors and have its DNA tested.


The latter project is actually not as hard as it sounds. As the story goes, it turns out that there is a vial containing a cloth with Christ’s blood on it in the Basilica of the Holy Blood in Bruges, Belgium. The blood was allegedly originally collected by no less than Joseph of Arimathea and was brought to Belgium from the Holy Land by Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders around 1150. The Count built a private chapel between 1134 and 1157 which housed the relic, and the chapel was later designated a minor basilica. Thierry had made several trips to the Holy Land, including a trip to Jerusalem in 1139, where he married Sibylla of Anjou, daughter of King Fulk of Jerusalem, and, later, as a leader in the Second Crusade in 1147. It was apparently during the Second Crusade trip that Thierry obtained the blood-soaked cloth, but its provenance after Joseph of Arimathea supposedly collected it in approximately 33 AD is unclear.5

 

It is not at all clear what happened to the cloth and blood after 33 AD or how Thierry took possession of it. I have my own theory: Apparently, bazaars were common in the early Middle Ages in the Middle East and throughout Europe, where you could buy anything you could possibly imagine, and then some. And at that time, in those markets, relics were hot items. Splinters from the original cross, called the Holy Rood, were commonly available; thorns from the original Crown of Thorns were probably a dime a dozen. There were enough Apostles’ and martyrs’ bones for sale to build an army, and there were apparently numerous vials of Jesus blood. The relic stands were run by local merchants of Middle Eastern heritage who were certainly not above taking advantage of a gullible Christian pilgrim.

 

It turns out that, today, the world’s largest public collection of relics, over 5,000 total, is on display in St. Anthony’s Chapel in, believe it or not, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The largest private collection is in the Vatican, as might be expected. How did a church in Pittsburgh, of all places, end up with the world’s largest public relic collection? According to the Team at Roadside America, it was Father Suitbert Godfrey Mollinger:


“Father Mollinger was the pastor of Most Holy Name Parish, an inconsequential congregation in what was then the boondocks north of Pittsburgh. He also turned out to be the greatest collector of Catholic relics in history. Born and raised in Belgium, from a wealthy noble family, he had credibility, connections, and money -- and he used them to acquire thousands of relics from churches and monasteries in the politically chaotic Europe of the mid-1800s. ‘He rescued them,’ said Carole of the relics. ‘Most of them would have been destroyed.’”6

 

The St. Anthony’s relic collection includes skulls from several saints. (As an anatomist visiting cathedrals in Europe, I have been often intrigued by a number of statues I passed either holding actual human skulls or having skulls at their feet.) The Chapel has on display the complete skeleton of St. Demetrius (one of several saints by the same name). It also exhibits a reliquary displaying bone chips from each of the Apostles – “not an easy collection to assemble.” There is a fragment of Mary’s veil and a thorn from the Crown of Thorns. There are two splinters of wood from the table used at the Last Supper and no less than twenty-two separate pieces of the Holy Rood, splinters from the original cross. And, oh yes, one of St Anthony’s teeth.7

     

There is one slight catch in obtaining a sample of Jesus’ blood. The phial containing the blood, in the Basilica of the Holy Blood in Bruges, was originally a Byzantine perfume bottle, made in Constantinople, of rock crystal dating from the 11th or 12th century. The phial has never been opened since its arrival in Bruges nearly nine hundred years ago. The stopper is sealed with red wax and the neck of the phial is wrapped with gold thread. The phial is encased in a glass cylinder closed at each end with a gold crown.8 It would take a Dan Brown or Jim Kouf-like adventure to enter the basilica, open the glass cylinder, remove the stopper from the phial, snip off a sample of blood-soaked cloth, replace all the items, and escape without being detected and decapitated – this sounds like the stuff of a future adventure book/movie.


None-the-less, let’s suppose we could obtain a DNA sample from Christ, which we send along to AncestryDNA or 23andMe. What would we find? His mitochondrial DNA (mDNA), which provides the mother’s bloodline, would show a middle-eastern origin from around 0 AD, and would match that of his mother Mary. Although Luke 3:23-38 is often cited as Jesus’ linage through Mary, the scriptures say nothing about her parents. Tradition and apocryphal writings list her parents as Joachim and Anne.9 Beyond Anne, there is no maternal lineage for Christ listed anywhere.


We next consider Christ’s paternal line. The genealogy presented in Mathew 1:1-16 is that of Joseph, Jesus’ adopted father, not his biological father. There is no pedigree listed anywhere for that Father. What we can say about Jesus’ biological Father is that He “has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.”10 The fact that Jesus Christ was a living breathing human male also tells us that his Father has cells with 46 chromosomes, including a “Y” chromosome – as discussed in the previous chapter. If this were not the case, God would be no more Jesus’ actual biological father than Geppetto was Pinocchio’s.


The problem for most Christians is the Trinity, a concept that was institutionalized at the council of Nicaea, as will be discussed in more detail in a later chapter. After 325 AD, anyone believing that the Godhead consisted of three separate beings was branded a heretic. The Emperor Constantine exiled the first Arian heretics – those who had stood up for the idea of three separate individuals – in opposition to Constantine’s wishes. Later heretics – in their thousands – were burned at the stake. Today, the Nicene Creed states,


“We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father.”11

 

The associated problem with the Trinity is the belief that God is spirit and was only incarnated in the form of Jesus Christ. Thus, in some mysterious way, Christ became his own son. The Catholic Catechism (point 461) states, “Taking up St. John's expression, ‘The Word became flesh,’ the Church calls ‘Incarnation’ the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it.”12


An integral part of the Trinity is, according to the Catechism (point 463),


“Belief in the true Incarnation of the Son of God is the distinctive sign of Christian faith: ‘By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.’ Such is the joyous conviction of the Church from her beginning whenever she sings ‘the mystery of our religion’: ‘He was manifested in the flesh.’”13

 

Before the incarnation of Jesus, the Trinity doctrine argues that God was only spirit, citing Jesus’ statement in John, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”14

 

It turns out that, according to the King James Version of the Bible, the word “is” in John 4:24 [shown in italics] was added by the translators and was not there in the original. Thus the original phrase was: “God a Spirit,” with the verb missing. As English does not work without verbs, the King James translators added the verb “is.” The Darby Bible Translation states, “God [is] a spirit…” emphasizing that “is” was an added term. I make this point to emphasize the ambiguity of the phrase. Why didn’t the translators add the verb “has” instead? For one reason – because in 1611 they were already steeped in trinitarian philosophy. Despite the word “is” not being in the original text, nearly all Christians believe that “God is a spirit…” The Catholic Answers website goes even farther, declaring that John 4:24 states that, “God is spirit.”15 They have removed the “a” which was there in the original and retained only the “is,” which was not there but was added de novo by the translators.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are unique among Christians in that we believe in a God who has a spirit, but who also has body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s, as witnessed by the Prophet Joseph Smith.16 In February 1832, the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon bore joint testimony:


“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.”17 


Then in March of the same year, the prophet Joseph received additional revelation:


“Q. What are we to understand by the four beasts, spoken of in the same verse? [Revelation 4:6] A. They are figurative expressions, used by the Revelator, John, in describing heaven,the paradise of God, the happiness of man, and of beasts, and of creeping things, and of the fowls of the air; that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual; the spirit of man in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created.”18


We are further informed in Moses chapter 2: “And I, God, said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and it was so.”19

 

In 1843, the Prophet Joseph Smith revealed that, “There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.”20 

We know, therefore, by revelation that we are “…begotten sons and daughters unto God,” that “the spirit of man [is] in the likeness of his person,” that we were created in the likeness of the Father and the Son, and that are spirits are made of pure, fine matter. The fact that God our Father has a cellular body with the same genes and chromosomes as we have – as evidenced by his being the earthly Father of Jesus Christ, argues that our spirit bodies are cellular, with chromosomes, and genes – weird as this may seem.


The grand paradox of science and scripture is this: how are we in the express image of God, right down to the cellular and genetic level, and yet are the products of random mutation and evolution? The answer to this paradox is certainly not readily apparent, but a solution may be emerging from the strangest branch of science we know: quantum entanglement. 

God told Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”21 


Is it possible that God was referring to the mysterious notion of entanglement when He made that statement – one of the most bazar concepts to ever emerge from scientific investigation? Albert Einstein might say yes. He referred to entanglement as “spooky action at a distance.” In 1935, Einstein, Boris Podolsky, and Nathan Rosen published a paper describing a thought experiment concerning the quantum mechanics of strongly correlated systems. Through their research, they discovered that such systems behave in ways that are not predicted by any existing laws of physics, even of quantum physics. They stated, “We are thus forced to conclude that the quantum-mechanical description of physical reality given by wave functions is not complete.” This pronouncement has become known as the Einstein, Podolsky, Rosen paradox, or simply the EPR paradox.22


Even though Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen described the phenomenon they had discovered, they did not give it a name. Erwin Schrödinger, another major player in the new field of quantum theory, wrote a letter to Einstein shortly after the EPR paradox paper was published, and used the term “entanglement” to describe “…the correlations between two particles that interact and then separate, as in the EPR experiment.” Shortly thereafter, still in 1935, Schrödinger published his own paper expanding upon the EPR concepts and calling this new interaction entanglement. Quantum entanglement is defined as “…a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the others, even when the particles are separated by a large distance…” Schrödinger stated, “I would not call [entanglement] one but rather the characteristic trait of quantum mechanics, the one that enforces its entire departure from classical lines of thought.”23

 

Here are two colloquial examples to help explain quantum entanglement: First, consider the flip of a coin – a term we even use to exemplify randomness. When we flip a coin, the outcome – heads or tails – is believed to be unaffected by any considerations, such as what we want the coin to do or what happened the last time it was flipped. That is true as long as the coins are not entangled. If they are entangled, however, the flip of one coin will always determine the outcome of the other, entangled coin flip. If one coin comes up heads, then so will the other coin – always – even across great distances, such as across the width of the galaxy. If the coins are inversely entangled, the second coin will always come up tails when the first coin is heads. That’s why Einstein called such a connection “spooky action at a distance.” Einstein had a hard time believing what he had discovered and spent much of the rest of his life trying to disprove it – but entanglement has stood the test of time for over eighty years and has stood up to test after test.


The second colloquial example is as follows: Say you leave home for work and when you arrive there, you discover you have only one glove, but you have not as yet checked to see which glove it is. There is a 50:50 chance it is the left glove, exactly the probability of a coin flip. There is also a 50:50 chance that the glove you left home is the left glove. Then you reach into your pocket and discover that the glove you have with you is the right glove. The probability now becomes 100% that the glove you have is the right glove, but, even more importantly, there is now also a 100% chance that the glove at home is the left glove.24


In a 2016 paper in Nature Physics, Kaspar Sakmann and Mark Kasevich, from the Department of Physics, Stanford University, described their discovery that in an ultracold cloud of bosons (a subatomic class of particles, including photons; the cloud is called a Bose-Einstein condensate and was used in the EPR experiment), the bosons become entangled such that random fluctuations in one element of the system can affect other elements of the system in ways “driven by information beyond what is typically available in low-order correlation functions.”25

 

In application to general physics and chemistry, the Sakmann-Kasevich experiment suggests that a Bose-Einstein condensate is acting like a crystal. Expanding upon this theorem, we may conclude that ions in a chemical crystal, such as the sodium and chloride ions in a salt crystal may be considered to be “entangled,” with a predictable, structural relationship between the ions such that knowing the position of one ion determines the positions of the others. Such crystalline entanglement extends all the way to DNA.26 The secret to DNA structure – the whole basis of inheritance, which had remained hidden for millions of years, is that the two halves of the DNA double helix are “entangled” so that the sequence of nucleotides one half of the double helix determines the exact sequence of nucleotides in the other half: based on their exact chemical structure.


The DNA sequence in our 20,000 genes, however, appears to be relatively random. Herein lies a paradox that requires solution. Is there any way that the random DNA sequence in the human genome can in some way be determinate rather than purely stochastic?


About seven years ago, William Poirier, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Joint Professor of Physics, at Texas Tech University was researching the quantum mechanics of complex molecules. His research led him, and us, into a strange new parallel universe that may be “…poking through into our own.” In his research, Poirier “…found a completely new way to draw quantum landscapes. Instead of waves, his medium became parallel universes.”27 Poirier’s theory has become known as “Many Interacting Worlds.” John Davis made the following comment about this theory,


In his theory, Poirier postulates that small particles from many worlds seep through to interact with our own, and their interaction accounts for the strange phenomena of quantum mechanics. Such phenomena include particles that seem to be in more than one place at a time, or to communicate with each other over great distances without explanations…quantum communication of faraway particles…[entanglement] is actually due to interaction of nearby worlds.28

 

Davis quoted Poirier as stating,

 

“We don't have proof that an alternate me or you might be president [sic; present?]. I can't say whether those worlds exist or not. According to the theory, the only worlds we can directly interact with are so close to our own world that we hardly can tell them apart, except at the quantum scale.” Poirier further stated, “…possibility that there are indeed more distant worlds macroscopically different from our own where you and I are living out any number of counterfactual existences. We don't have any direct evidence for that. But then again, nor should we, according to the theory, even if such worlds do exist.”29


Let’s go back and consider the spiritual implications of Poirier’s proposals. “…Poirier postulates that small particles from many worlds seep through to interact with our own… so close to our own world that we hardly can tell them apart…”30 What if those “small particles” from other worlds, so near to us, might be called spirit matter?


Then, in 2016, Juan Maldacena, a theoretical physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, filled in some more of the picture: “…speculate that the link is more general – that whenever we have entanglement we have a kind of geometric connection [a crystal]…When the amount of entanglement becomes larger, we have lots of threads, and these threads could weave together to form the fabric of spacetime.”31 With lots and lots of threads, indeed billions, our spirit selves and our physical selves may be so entangled that they match right down to the subatomic level. Now this is some exciting stuff – stuff that even Millennials can get their teeth into.


Is it, therefore, possible that our spirit bodies are so entangled with our physical bodies that the determinism of the former can drive the stochastic evolution of the latter? Is it possible that what we perceive as a totally random process, evolution, as in the case of entangled coins, can be determined by our entangled spirits? Is it possible that we participated in our own creation? We are told, after all,


“Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day I, God, ended my work, and all things which I had made; and I rested on the seventh day from all my work, and all things which I had made were finished, and I, God, saw that they were good; And I, God, blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it I had rested from all my work which I, God, had created and made. And now, behold, I say unto you, that these are the generations of the heaven and of the earth, when they were created, in the day that I, the Lord God, made the heaven and the earth, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air…”32

 

Is it possible that the evolutionary processes we perceive here on earth actually occurred in a parallel, spirit universe? We are not talking about science fiction here, we have way out stripped science fiction. But these are ideas suggested by scientific research published in leading scientific journals in the past few years. I think it’s safe to say, “We are no longer in Kansas, Toto.” 

 

 

 

Trent Dee Stephens, PhD

 

 

References Chapter 4

1.     Mukherjee, Siddartha, The Gene: An Intimate History, Scribner, New York, New York, 2016

2.     Sutton, WS, On the morphology of the chromosome group in Brachystola magna. Biol Bull, 4:24-39, 1902; Sutton, WS, The chromosomes in heredity, Biol Bull, 4:231-251, 1903; Boveri, TH, Ergebnisse über die Konstitution der chromatischen Substanz des Zelkerns. Fisher, Jena, 1904

3.     Shine, Ian, and Sylvia Wrobel, Thomas Hunt Morgan, Pioneer of Genetics, University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 1976

4.     Ibid

5.     Morgan, TH, AH Sturtevant, HJ Muller, and CB Bridges, The Mechanism of Mendelian Heredity, Henry Holt, New York, New York, 1915

6.     Watson, JD, and FHC Crick, A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid, Nature 171, 737-738, 1953

7.     Tjio, JH and A Levan, The chromosome number of man, Hereditas, 42:1–6, 1956

8.     International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium, Finishing the euchromatic sequence of the human genome, Nature, 431: 931–945, 2004

9.     Engber, Daniel, Could A Virgin Birth Ever Happen?, Popular Science, popsci.com/article/science/fyi-could-virgin-birth-ever-happen, 2013

10.  Yadegaran, Jessica, No Mr. Right? More women start families via artificial insemination, Mercury News, 13 August 2010; this is an estimate, because the fertility industry is not required to report on these statistics

11.  Isaiah 7:14

12.  Hoffman, Joel W, Was There Really a Virgin Birth in the Bible? bibleodyssey.com; Adapted from Chapter 8 of, Hoffman, Joel W, And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible's Original Meaning, St. Martin's Press, 2010

13.  Ibid

14.  1 Nephi 11:13, 18-20

15.  John 1:3

16.  Matthew 12:46-47; see also Mark 3:31 and Galatians 1:19

17.  Mark 6:3

19.  Ibid

20.  Ibid

21.  Wikipedia, Brothers of Jesus

22.  catholic.com/tract/god-has-no-body, retrieved 12 December 2019

 

References Chapter 5

1.     Collodi, Carlo, The Adventures of Pinocchio, 1883, Sterling Children's Books; Unabridged edition, New York, 2014

2.     Disney, Walt, Walt Disney’s Version of Pinocchio, Grosset and Dunlap, New York, 1939

3.     1 Corinthians 13:11

4.     Matthew 13:53-58; see also Mark 6:2-4

5.     Nickell, Joe, Blood of Jesus, In, Relics of the Christ, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. pp. 169–170, 2007.

6.     Roadside America Team, 5,000 relics in St. Anthony’s Chapel, roadsideamerica.com; see also saintanthonyschapel.org

7.     Ibid

8.     Nickell, In, Relics of the Christ, pp. 169–170, 2007.

9.     Moyer, Ginny Kubitz, Who were Mary’s parents? What do we know about them? bustedhalo.com, 16 July 2012.

10.  Doctrine and Covenants 130:22

11.  Nicene Creed, Christian Reformed Church, crcna.org: “The Nicene Creed, also called the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed, is a statement of the orthodox faith of the early Christian church in opposition to certain heresies, especially Arianism.”

12.  Ibid

13.  Ibid

14.  John 4:24

15.  catholic.com/tract/god-has-no-body, retrieved 12 December 2019

16.  Doctrine and Covenants 130:22

17.  Doctrine and Covenants 76:22-24

18.  Doctrine and Covenants 77:2

19.  Moses 2:26

20.  Doctrine and Covenants 131:7-8

21.  Isaiah 55:8-9

22.  Einstein, A.; Podolsky, B.; Rosen, N, Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete? Physical Review, 47: 777–780, 1935

23.  Schrödinger, Erwin, Discussion of probability relations between separated systems, Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 31:555–563, 1935.

24.  Maldacena, Juan, Black holes, wormholes and the secrets of quantum spacetime, Scientific American, 315:26-31, November 2016

25.  Sakmann, Kaspar, and Mark Kasevich, Single shot simulations of dynamic quantum many-body systems, Nature Physics, 12:451-454, 2016

26.  Watson and Crick, Nature 171, 737-738, 1953

27.  Poirier, B, Bohmian Mechanics without Pilot Waves, Chem Phys, 370:4-14, 2010; and see Davis, John, Strange behavior of quantum particles may indicate the existence of other parallel universes, phys.org, 2015

28.  Ibid

29.  Ibid

30.  Ibid

31.  Maldacena, Juan, Black holes, wormholes and the secrets of quantum spacetime, Scientific American, 315:26-31, November 2016

32.  Moses 3:1-5

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