Ones and Zeros

I was mulling over the notion that both monotheism and polytheism are true at the same time. If you’ve been reading along, you may remember that that first came up in a conversation back in October (see Universal Truth?) and then again in November (see Elephant Parts). The idea is that everything is God, so every way of looking at God tends to be correct in so far as it goes.

I continue to try to wrap my head around that supposedly simple truth and it continues to elude me in ways that make my head hurt.

So I gave it another go today.

I asked God if it was like memory in a computer. If you set the bits one way you get the complete works of William Shakespeare, and if you set them another way you get The Bible. Either time when you read the memory what you get is the truth of the memory, but really neither reading explains what the memory is.

To understand what I’m about to explain you need to know a little bit about the way data is stored in computer memory. In the name of not making this explanation into a whole book, I’m going to gloss over details nearly to the point of incorrectness. So if you already know this, don’t get all pedantic on me, instead just focus on the big picture that comes from these small details.

Everything in computers is represented as binary data. So everything is expressed as a series of ones and zeros. Computer memory, then, consists of a sequence of bits and each bit is either true (set to one) or false (set to zero). So in one very common scheme for interpreting what the bits mean the letter “a” is represented by the sequence 01100001. That should be just enough for you to get the import of this next analogy.

God told me this way to look at the computer memory analogy. He told me to imagine that the universe completely exists in computer memory. The computer memory that comprises the universe is actually all set to ones, everything is true at once and nothing is false. However, we aren’t very good at reading the values of memory, so when we read it a lot of it gets interpreted in our minds as zeros and that way we get the illusion of either Shakespeare or The Bible. The more consistent we are about how we misread the memory, the more consistent the particular truth that we’re reading seems to be.

I don’t know why I continue to expect that asking God for explanations should make my head stop hurting. As often as not, it only makes it worse.

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