The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead
Tipler (Frank)
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Amazon Book Description

  1. This work is written for both layman and scientist. Is there a higher power in the universe? What happens to us when we die? Is there a heaven? For modern scientists the answer has been that there is no proof, no indication that the universe is anything other than a cold, unknowing place, that human beings are accidents of evolution and that when we die, our consciousness disappears into oblivion.
  2. This work rebuts this approach and presents a purely scientific argument for the existence of God and the physical resurrection of the dead.
  3. Frank Tipler is the author (with John Barrow) of "Barrow (John) & Tipler (Frank) - The Anthropic Cosmological Principle".

Amazon Customer Review
  1. As a physicist, I can say that I found Tipler’s book most interesting. It has received some critical comments from other cosmologists but also some very eminent theoretical physicists have argued that it could provide a useful model to work with as a philosophical backdrop (eg. D. Deutch). Personally, I find it an excellent medium for enthusing physics students with the study of the theoretical aspects of cosmology and quantum theory1 and I see no reason to be critical of what might be considered a visionary approach. Einstein himself often used this method, along with philosophical considerations generally, to develop new physics and I am sorry that some workers in the field have been rather over-critical of what I believe to be courageous work on the part of Tipler. Heaven help us if the scientific community shuns new and visionary approaches as once did the church!
  2. One of the positive aspects of the work is that if one adopts such a strongly anthropic approach then it prompts new questions. For example, for an adequate resurrection programme, it would require the extraction of a significant amount of information from the past light cone. Tipler argues that a "brute force" method would work simply on the grounds that every individual can, in principle, be replicated in the virtual space which means ALL possible variants! There seems a considerable amount of redundancy in all this. Every possible me along with all me's at all possible stages of the me's lives would have to be replicated2 to ensure that the one me that actually did exist in the past is resurrected. However, an infinite amount of information could be processed allowing for this possibility.
  3. Now Tipler also adopts the many worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics3 which in some respects might obviate the need to worry about this problem, but although one may be forced to adopt some form of this interpretation, it still seems like a shame that the me's that never existed in the past should have to be brought into existence to ensure the continuity of my person-hood. It is true that nature can be very wasteful - one only has to look at the way evolution operates or how many perfect seeds must be cast to ensure that some get sown etc. but I would like to see if such a strong Anthropic Principle might suggest that there are as yet some hidden physical laws yet to be found. The EPR effect allows "Information" to be passed between particle pairs over spacelike separations without actually violating relativity - perhaps this might also lead to the discovery of a similar effect between identical structures over timelike separations. This would be equivalent to a non-local field which is effectively modulated in some way by a complex structure and which could be detected by the said identically tuned structure in the future. i.e. one could "tune" the replicated4 me to pick up my memory from the original me that existed in the past. The same principle applies with radio waves which are picked up by tuned circuits in the receivers which give appropriate selectivity.
  4. I am currently working on developing a mathematical theory which might describe such a process but clearly since the field is non-local, space derivatives cannot be included which makes wave equations difficult! Even David Bohm's Idea of a quantum potential (causal theory), which would have the required non-local properties does not seem to really show too much promise - I have tried looking into this but it has not proved very fruitful as yet. Moreover, I feel that the so called tuning might well depend on more global system variables of the structure (person). Perhaps plants, and biological structures generally, grow not just because of stored genetic information but also because of information obtained from past similar plants with similar system structure variables - there would be no violation of relativity here and it reinforces an old idea concerning the existence of morphogenic fields.
  5. If this Strong Anthropic principle holds, then I feel sure some form of past-future, non-local connection exists and if Tipler’s book prompts researches like myself to try avenues to find it, then that alone will be a tribute to Tipler’s efforts. I would highly recommend the book to scientists – especially those with minds that are still open and who are not afraid to use possibly incorrect theory as a prompt to search into new areas (just how correct are any of our "good" theories anyway? - they are all only models that can be tested and refuted as Popper suggested of such a good theory). We should not forget that visionary work can be, and usually is, a bridge to new discoveries.


Anchor Doubleday; 1st Anchor Edition edition (Sep 1995)

"Tipler (Frank) - The Physics of Immortality: Preface"

Source: Tipler - Physics of Immortality, Preface

Full Text
  1. It is quite rare in this day and age to come across a book proclaiming the unification of science and religion. It is unique to find a book asserting, as I shall in the body of this book, that theology is a branch of physics, that physicists can infer by calculation the existence of God and the likelihood of the resurrection of the dead to eternal life in exactly the same way as physicists calculate the properties of the electron. One naturally wonders if I am serious.
  2. I am quite serious. But I am as surprised as the reader. When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.
  3. I obtained my Ph.D. in 1976 in the area of global general relativity. This branch of physics, created in the late 1960s and early 1970s by the great British physicists Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking, enables us to draw very deep and very general conclusions about the structure of space and time by looking at the universe in its totality in both time and space.
  4. Now one might think that such a view of the universe is the view of all cosmologists, but this is not so. Almost all cosmologists concern themselves with what is called the visible universe: that part of the universe whose past can be seen from Earth. Since the universe came into existence about 20 billion years ago, and since nothing can go faster than light, we can in principle see the pasts of galaxies which are now about 20 billion light-years away: the visible universe is thus a sphere about 20 billion light-years across.
  5. But to anyone regarding the universe in its total extent in space and especially in time, it is immediately obvious that the visible universe is only a tiny fraction of reality. The universe is almost certain to continue to exist for another 100 billion years, and probably much longer. In other words, the part of the spacetime which can be seen from Earth is relatively insignificant in comparison to the part which lies in our future; we humans have come into existence in the very early childhood of the cosmos. Hence, as a global relativist, I realized that I would have to study the future of the universe, since the future comprises almost all of space and time. It is not possible to look at the universe in its totality in both time and space while ignoring almost all of space and time.
  6. But how does one calculate the behavior of the universe in the far future? My colleague, the British astrophysicist John D. Barrow, has proved that this behavior would be chaotic, which means that the evolution of the universe becomes unpredictable after a time short in cosmological scales. It is now known that chaotic evolution is common on all astronomical scales: on the scale of the solar system, on the scale of the galaxies, on the scale of clusters of galaxies, and so on up to the scale of the entire universe itself.
  7. Furthermore, a simple calculation shows that, since chaos occurs on all size scales, intelligent beings would be able to use these instabilities to manipulate the motion of matter on the very largest scales. In other words, the possible presence and actions of intelligent life cannot be ignored in any calculation of the evolution of the far fixture. This would appear to make calculation of the universe's future even more impossible, since the behavior of humans is notoriously unpredictable. We shall have chaos in the society of intelligent living beings added to the chaos in the Einstein equations.
  8. Interestingly, this is not true. The two sources of chaos cancel out. What happens is that intelligent life, in order to survive, must use the chaos in the physical laws to force the evolution of the universe into one of a very restricted number of possible futures. Its very survival requires life to impose order on the universe. Taking biology into account allows us to do the physics of the far future.
  9. But in order to do calculations, it is essential to translate basic biological concepts into physics language. It is necessary to regard all forms of life — including human beings — as subject to the same laws of physics as electrons and atoms. I therefore regard a human being as nothing but a particular type of machine, the human brain as nothing but an information processing device, the human soul as nothing but a program being run on a computer called the brain. Further, all possible types of living beings, intelligent or not, are of the same nature, and subject to the same laws of physics as constrain all information processing devices.
  10. Many people find this extreme reductionist approach to life not only wrong but repulsive. I think, however, that their hostility is not to reductionism as such but to what they mistakenly believe to be consequences of reductionism. They are convinced that regarding people as machines would mean that people would have no "free will," that there is no hope of individual life after death1, that life itself is a totally insignificant part of "an overwhelmingly hostile universe.”
  11. In fact, the exact opposite is true. The very fact that humans are machines of a very special sort allows us to prove humans probably have free will, that we shall have life after death2 in an abode that closely resembles the Heaven of the great world religions, and that life, far from being insignificant, can be regarded as the ultimate cause of the very existence of the universe itself. How this works as a matter of physics is the subject of this book. The fact that all of these assertions are a consequence of physical reductionism has come as a great surprise to me also. As I said above, I never imagined when I began my career as a physicist that I would one day be writing, qua physicist, that Heaven exists, and that we shall each and every one of us enjoy life after death3. But here I am, writing what my younger self would regard as scientific nonsense. Here I stand — as a physicist, I can do no other.
  12. One naturally wonders why it is only in the last decade of the twentieth century that these ideas have appeared in physical cosmology. A good question. Part of the reason is that the mathematical techniques to analyze the global structure of the universe did not exist until about twenty-five years ago. But a deeper reason is that almost all physicists have ignored the future of the physical universe. There seemed to be a tacit consensus that the future is not as real as the present and the past, in spite of the fact that all fundamental physical theories advanced in the past three centuries — Newtonian mechanics, general relativity, quantum mechanics4, string field theory — have insisted that there is no fundamental distinction between past, present, and future. Hence, the future is just as real as the present. Fifty years ago, the early universe was an equally taboo subject. As the Nobel-prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg put it:
      . . . I think . . . the "big bang" theory did not lead to a search for the 3°K microwave background because it was extraordinarily difficult for physicists to take seriously any theory of the early universe. (I speak here in part from recollections of my own attitude before 1965.) . . . [The early universe is] so remote from us in time, the conditions of temperature and density are so unfamiliar, that we feel uncomfortable in applying our ordinary theories of statistical mechanics and nuclear physics. This is often the way it is in physics — our mistake is not that we take our theories too seriously, but that we do not take them seriously enough. It is always hard to realize that these numbers and equations we play with at our desks have something to do with the real world. Even worse, there often seems to be a general agreement that certain phenomena are just not fit subjects for respectable theoretical and experimental effort.
  13. I take the far future of the universe as seriously as I do the early universe. The equations of physics tell us to take the far future seriously, and until I have experimental evidence to the contrary, I shall believe what the equations say. I hope my fellow physicists will do the same. I intend to show in this book that, by ignoring the far future, they are passing up opportunities to do physics as they previously did by ignoring the early universe.
  14. It is more surprising to me that theologians have ignored the ultimate future of the cosmos. This ultimate future supposedly is the chief concern of the two main Western religions, Christianity and Islam. The central discipline for both religions should therefore be eschatology, which is the study of "last things." Eschatology has traditionally dealt with questions of whether to expect life after death5, what the afterlife6 will be like, and how God will provide for humankind in this afterlife7.
  15. I have been interacting with theologians and professors of religious studies for some six years now, and I have gotten the impression that, with only a few exceptions, they are quite ignorant of eschatology. Let me justify my accusation by recounting one of my recent experiences. In the fall of 1990 the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion happened to be held in New Orleans. I attended a plenary lecture by a famous Columbia University historian of the Middle Ages, who spoke on medieval beliefs about life after death8. She discussed at length an analysis by St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest of the medieval theologians, of a technical problem which arises with the idea of the resurrection of the dead: if the universal resurrection is accomplished by reassembling the original atoms which made up the dead, would it not be logically impossible for God to resurrect cannibals? Every one of their atoms belongs to someone else! The audience, several hundred theologians and religious studies professors, thought this quaint "problem" hilarious, and laughed loudly.
  16. I didn't laugh. When I first read Aquinas' analysis, which I came across when I first began to consider seriously the technical problems associated with a universal resurrection, I did laugh. But I soon realized that Aquinas' cannibal example was subtly chosen to illustrate the problem of personal identity between the original person and the resurrected person; establishing this identity is the central problem to be solved in any theory of resurrection of the dead. Any scholar who has seriously thought about the resurrection of the dead would almost certainly have come across Aquinas' analysis, be completely familiar with the cannibal example, and not laugh when it was mentioned. I infer that the typical American theologian / religious studies professor has never seriously thought about the resurrection of the dead. Eschatology has been left to the physicists.
  17. We physicists are by and large an extremely arrogant group of scholars. Our arrogance stems from the reductionist perception that ours is the ultimate science, and from our undoubted achievements over the past few centuries. What we promise, we generally deliver. Whatever one thinks of the social significance of the nuclear bomb, there is no doubt that it works. Solar eclipses occur exactly when we predict they will. As one who has spent his entire life as a physicist or as a physicist manqué, I not surprisingly share this arrogance. In my previous publications on religion and physics, I have attempted to conceal this arrogance (not very successfully). In this book, however, I have not bothered, mainly because such concealment in the past has prevented me from presenting the strongest case for reductionism. And reductionism is true. Furthermore, accepting reductionism allows one to integrate fully religion and science.
  18. Many of my fellow physicists have strongly advised me to avoid using words like "God," "Heaven," "free will," and the like. My friends believe these words have been debased by philosophers and theologians into synonyms for "nonsense." The "Omega Point" is a beautiful pure physics construct, and it should not be sullied by calling it "God." My friends have a point, but the old theological words retain a rough coherence in the popular language, and I propose to reintroduce them as technical terms which, as the reader will see in the chapters of this book, have roughly their popular meaning. "Resurrection of the dead" has a clear and unequivocal meaning to the person in the street, and if physics predicts such an event will one day occur, it seems unreasonable to adopt a new vocabulary to describe it. Another reason for their well-intended advice is that my fellow physicists are as a general rule atheists, believing that religion is a phenomenon of a pre-scientific world view. They are convinced that the God hypothesis is one which was refuted long ago.
  19. But on rare occasions we physicists find we must reconsider long-rejected theories. Copernicus was perfectly aware that he was resurrecting a theory that had been rejected by astronomers nearly two thousand years before. As his student Rheticus reported in 1539: "My teacher [Copernicus] is convinced, however, that the rejected method of the Sun's rule in the realm of nature must be revived. . .” Copernicus himself in his own book, published four years after Rheticus wrote these words, emphasized that the ancient astronomers had considered and then rejected the Sun-centered solar system.
  20. It is time scientists reconsider the God hypothesis. I hope in this book to persuade them to do so. The time has come to absorb theology into physics, to make Heaven as real as an electron.

    … Fort Walton Beach, Florida, July 1993

"Tipler (Frank) - The Physics of Immortality: Introduction"

Source: Tipler - Physics of Immortality, Introduction

"Tipler (Frank) - The Ultimate Limits of Space Travel"

Source: Tipler - Physics of Immortality, Chapter 2

  1. Space Travel by Man and Intelligent Machine – 18
  2. Can a Machine Be Intelligent? – 20
  3. How to Build an Interstellar Robot Probe – 44
  4. A Space Traveling Species Can Ultimately Engulf and Control the Entire Universe – 55

"Tipler (Frank) - Progress Against the Eternal Return and the Heat Death"

Source: Tipler - Physics of Immortality, Chapter 3

  1. The Heat Death of Nineteenth-Century Physics – 68
  2. The Eternal Return in Philosophy, Religion and Politics – 74
  3. Physics and the Eternal Return – 89
  4. The Poincare Recurrence Theorem – 90
  5. Probabilistic Markov Recurrence – 95
  6. Quantum Mechanics1 Is Almost Periodic – 97
  7. No-Return Theorems in General Relativity – 101
  8. The Triumph of Progress – 104

"Tipler (Frank) - Physics Near the Final State: The Classical Omega Point Theory"

Source: Tipler - Physics of Immortality, Chapter 4

  1. Computer Definitions of "Life," "Person," and "Soul" – 124
  2. What Does It Mean for Life to Exist Forever? – 128
  3. Experimental Tests of the Omega Point Theory – 139
  4. Theological Implications: Omnipresence, Omniscience, and Omnipotence – 153

"Tipler (Frank) - Determinism in Classical General Relativity and in Quantum Mechanics"

Source: Tipler - Physics of Immortality, Chapter 5

  1. The Ancient Failure to Reconcile God's Omniscience and Human Free Will – 159
  2. Types of Contingency in Physics and Their Relation to Temporal Evolution – 160
  3. Nonrelativistic Quantum Mechanics1 Is Deterministic – 167

"Tipler (Frank) - The Quantum Version of the Omega Point Theory"

Source: Tipler - Physics of Immortality, Chapter 6

  1. The Basic Ideas of Quantum Cosmology – 174
  2. The Hartle-Hawking Boundary Condition on the Universal Wave Function – 178
  3. The Omega Point Boundary Condition for the Universal Wave Function – 180
  4. Theological Implications: The Universal Wave Function as Holy Spirit – 183

"Tipler (Frank) - How Free Will Can Arise from Quantum Cosmological Mechanisms"

Source: Tipler - Physics of Immortality, Chapter 7

  1. The Distinction Between Determinism and Indeterminism – 186
  2. Avoiding the Conflict Between Divine Omniscience and Human Free Will – 188
  3. The Quantum Omega Point Theory Is Not Deterministic – 189
  4. How Quantum Cosmological Indeterminism Might Be Used in Human Thought – 194
  5. Why This New Type of Indeterminism Does Not Mean "Mere Chance" – 198
  6. Omega Point Boundary Condition: Agent Determinism Is an Ontological Ultimate – 202

"Tipler (Frank) - The Omega Point and the Physical Universe Necessarily Exist"

Source: Tipler - Physics of Immortality, Chapter 8

  1. The Ontological Argument in Computer Science – 205
  2. Simulations and Emulations – 206
  3. The Algorithm for Deciding Which Concepts Exist Physically – 210
  4. Proof of the Eternal Life Postulate – 212
  5. How the Omega Point Creates the Physical Universe – 214

"Tipler (Frank) - The Physics of Resurrection of the Dead to Eternal Life"

Source: Tipler - Physics of Immortality, Chapter 9

  1. Social Immortality as a Consequence of the Omega Point Theory – 217
  2. The Physical Mechanism of Individual Resurrection – 219
  3. Proof That an Emulation of the Entire Visible Universe Is Physically Possible – 221
  4. When Will the Dead Be Raised? – 225
  5. Why Will the Dead Be Raised? – 227
  6. The Pattern (Form) Theory Versus the Continuity Theory of Identity – 227
  7. Quantum Mechanics1 Supports the Pattern Identity Theory – 230
  8. The Ship of Theseus2 – 234
  9. Continuity Theory: A Later Emulation Is Identical to the Original Person – 235

"Tipler (Frank) - What Happens After the Resurrection: Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory"

Source: Tipler - Physics of Immortality, Chapter 10

  1. Reasons for Believing the Omega Point Will Resurrect Us to Eternal Life – 245
  2. The Existence and Nature of Hell and Purgatory – 251
  3. A Description of Life in Heaven – 255
  4. The Problem of Evil: An Omega Point Theodicy – 259
  5. Social Immortality, Personal Immortality, and Eternal Progress Are Identical – 265

"Tipler (Frank) - Comparison of the Heaven Predicted by Modern Physics With the Afterlife Hoped For by the Great World Religions"

Source: Tipler - Physics of Immortality, Chapter 11

  1. Immortality in the Major Non-Western Religions – 270
  2. The Afterlife1 in Taoism – 270
  3. Immortality in Early Hinduism – 272
  4. Is There Immortality in Buddhism? – 275
  5. Some African Views of God and Immortality – 278
  6. Heaven in Pre-Columbian America – 281
  7. Life After Death2 in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic Tradition – 283
  8. The Messianic Age and the World to Come in Judaism – 284
  9. Resurrection of the Dead Versus Immortality of the Soul in Christianity – 290
  10. The Definition of "Reductionism" – 294
  11. The Garden of Islam – 299

"Tipler (Frank) - The Omega Point Theory and Christianity"

Source: Tipler - Physics of Immortality, Chapter 12

  1. Miracles and the Babbage Mechanism – 308
  2. Why I Am Not a Christian – 309
  3. The Omega Point Is (Probably) Not a Triune Deity – 313
  4. The Miracle of Transubstantiation – 317
  5. American Deism: An Experiment in Rational Christianity – 321

"Tipler (Frank) - Conclusion: Theology as a Branch of Physics"

Source: Tipler - Physics of Immortality, Chapter 13

  1. Theology and Religion Are Branches of Science, Not Branches of Ethics – 330
  2. The Omega Point Theory and Contemporary Religions – 332
  3. The Significance of the Omega Point Theory for the Average Person – 334

"Tipler (Frank) - The Physics of Immortality: Appendix for Scientists"

Source: Tipler - Physics of Immortality, Appendix

  • A. Introduction – 395
  • B. The Relative Sizes of Future History and Past History – 397
  • C. The Bekenstein Bound – 407
  • D. The Law of Mass Action Requires Quantum Indistinguishability – 412
  • E. Proofs of Eternal Return Theorems and the No-Return Theorem – 417
    … 1. The Poincare Recurrence Theorem – 417
    … 2. The Finite Markov Chain Recurrence Theorem – 420
    … 3. The Quantum Recurrence Theorem – 424
    … 4. The General Relativistic No-Return Theorem – 427
  • F. The General Theory of Omega Point Spacetimes – 432
  • G. Two Possible Counter-Examples to the Church-Turing Thesis – 446
  • H. The Classical Omega Point Universe: Mathematical Details – 449
    … 1. Bianchi Type IX Universes – 456
    … 2. The Heat Death Overcome: Free Energy from Shear Energy – 461
    … 3. Experimental Tests: The Top Quark Mass and the Higgs Boson Mass Predictions – 465
  • I. The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics1 – 483
  • J. Quantum Wave Packets and Progress in Evolutionary Biology – 489
  • K. Chaos in Quantum Mechanics2 – 492
  • L. Quantum Mini-Superspace Model with an Omega Point – 498
  • M. The Omega Point Boundary Condition on the Universal Wave Function – 503
  • N. Relativistic Spacecraft – 508

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