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The Theology of Holography

A hologram is a three-dimensional image stored as vague markings on a photographic plate, caused by the interference pattern of two identical laser light beams. When the holographic plate is developed, and laser light is shone through it, an image appears that can be so life-like it may be hard to tell the image from the original object, just by looking at it.

Here's a simple diagram:



There is something mysterious about holograms. Each part of the plate records a slightly different view of the whole image. Break a piece off the holographic plate, and laser light shining through the broken piece produces a whole image of the object. The image of the whole object is encoded in every part of the holographic plate.


There is a strong parallel between the theology of creation and the formation of a hologram. St John's Gospel's first verse says that all things created by God came about through the interaction between an unchangeable field (God) and another identical part of itself (the Word). The essential part of this is that these are identical. "The Word was with God, and the Word was God".


The Chinese mystic Lao-tse in the first verse of the Tao Te Ching says the two entities (Tao) "spring from the same source but differ in name".


It is difficult to imagine ordinary thought coming up with the concept of the creation of a complex image by a light beam interacting with itself. But that is what we see in the hologram. And then the concept that these interactions produce such a reliable image that every part of a holographic plate carries a picture of the entire whole. Every cell in the human body carries in itself a picture of the whole body.


There is something quite tantalising in this similarity. God said "Let there be light" (Genesis 1) at the beginning of the creative epoch; God is "us" when creating human beings (verse 26) referring to a personal duality.


I feel there's something more to find here. Perhaps by focusing our thoughts on the theology of holography we might come up with some Holy algorithm.


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