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ULTIMATE SYMMETRY:

Fractal Complex-Time and Quantum Gravity

by Mohamed Haj Yousef



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IV.2.4 The Seven Heavens and the Inner Levels of Time


As we introduced above, most religious and mythological cosmologies assert the creation of Seven Heavens, which usually refer to seven layers of the sky that were associated in ancient times both with the metaphysical realms of deities and with the observed celestial bodies such as the classical planets and fixed stars. This tradition goes back to the ancient Mesopotamian religions, as well as some Indian religions, such as Hinduism and Jainism, which also sometimes include seven earths. The same concept can be found in Islam, Christianity and Judaism, with some variations in the details of the process of creation.

The Seven Heavens are usually associated with the seven planets of the ancient geocentric view of the cosmos, which are the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, in the same order of their respective distance from the Earth, except for the Sun which is located in the fourth heaven, indicating its centrality. Furthermore, some of these planets are also associated with the days of the week. For example, Saturday is named after Saturn, Sunday is named after the Sun and Monday is named after the Moon. This tradition also goes back to the Babylonians who believed that each hour of the day is ruled by one of the five then-known planets plus the Sun and the Moon, so they named the days of the week after the names of these seven circulating planets. This system is still being used in the Latin and Anglo-Saxonic languages, and it was part of earlier Persian theology. It is interesting to note that these celestial bodies, in the same sequence, were also used to name the days of the week in ancient India, Tibet and Burma, as well as the names of Japanese and Chinese days of the week. Ibn al-Arabi also made similar connections in the Futuhat and his other books [III.203.31]. In modern astronomy, however, the Sun is no longer viewed as a planet, but it is the star of our Solar System, and the Moon is also now viewed as a satellite of the Earth. On the other hand, new planets were added as astronomy advanced. Uranus was discovered in 1781, Neptune in 1845 and Pluto in 1930, though it was relegated to the category of dwarf planet in 2006.

The mythology of Seven Heavens is at least as old as ancient Mesopotamia. In later mythologies, the heavens seem to represent different levels of paradise for those humans who have reached ever-increasing levels of piety, but in general, heaven is not a place for humans in Mesopotamian religion. In Sumerian language, the words for heaven (or sky) and earth are An and Ki, which were also considered deities, as we have noted above. The seven gods associated with the heavens were given authority to decree fate. Above their planets dwells the spirit of the Heavens. Even farther out is the Great Celestial Ocean which is the home of the Zodiac, and then the Great Chaotic Crystalline Sea envelops everything. Moreover, under the hemisphere of the surface of the earth are mirror images of the seven wanderers, representing the underworld where ghosts and the king of the dead reside. These lower realms are where people go when they die. One Hindu text, the Puranas, also teaches that there are seven higher worlds and seven lower worlds. However, the concepts of the gods have greatly changed depending on the era, region, and local worship customs. In the Islamic Sufi tradition, where the believe in only One God is the central faith, the celestial orbs are often associated with some angels or the spirits of certain prophets.

In Judaism, different traditions have different numbers of heavens. The Zohar, for example, claims there are 390 heavens and 70,000 worlds. Mystical Judaism says followers can make their way through the heavens if they pass certain tests and know the names of the guardian angels. At each level, the mystic is allowed to receive particular wisdom. Originally, Enoch mentioned Seven Heavens, but it was later changed to ten. Also, what each of the heavens contain or represent vary depending with the teller. The story claims that Enoch walked the heavens with the angels, returned to earth and told his family, then was taken to heaven again (Genesis 5:24). This can be compared with the Quranic verse speaking about Prophet Idris that Allah had him elevated to a high place [Quran, 19:56-57], which is the orb of the Sun, according to Ibn al-Arabi [Futuhat, I.157].

In the Bible, Paul said he was taken to the third heaven, which appears to be the place of spiritual beings. The Bible also mentions several layers, one atop another, for which people go to after they die. In Paradiso, the third part of the Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri also relates several levels of heaven, although they were always meant to be metaphorical. The celestial bodies represent virtues which increase in quality as one progresses.

In the Nocturnal Journey, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was carried during a single night, from Mecca to the Farthest Mosque in Quds (Israa) from where he ascended to Heavens (Miraj). This journey, that took place around the year 621 CE, has been described as both a physical and spiritual journey. A brief sketch of the story is given in Chapter 17 in the Quran, and many other details come from the hadith, which are collections of the reports, teachings, deeds and sayings of Muhammad. The remembrance of this journey is one of the most significant events in the Islamic calendar. In addition to this famous Miraj of the Prophet, Ibn al-Arabi himself spoke in detail in chapter 367 of the Futuhat about his own numerous ascensions, although he affirms that his experiences were only spiritual, while the Prophet s ascension was both physical and spiritual [III.342.32]. According to his accounts of this type of spiritual ascent in chapter 367, the physical elements of the Sufi s body dissociate and return to their corresponding natural place: earth to earth, water to water, air to air and fire to fire, and after that his spiritual self enters the celestial spheres to meet the spirits of the prophets inhabiting each sphere and to learn from them. Then one may even ascend further to the highest spiritual dimensions, as Ibn al-Arabi also describes in greater detail in his highly autobiographical Kitab al-Israa, which formed the main background of all themes Dante s Divine Comedy [25].

In the Quran, the Seven Heavens are mentioned explicitly seven times in [2:29, 17:44, 23:86, 41:12, 65:12, 67:3, 71:15], and two times implicitly (without mentioning the word Heavens but some equivalent synonyms) in [23:17, 78:12]. That s why according to some Sufis, there are actually nine heavens, as we described in Chapter III of Volume I. Actually, the word Heavens itself (without the number seven ) has been mentioned over three hundred times in Quran, in the plural and singular forms, mostly associated with the word Earth . According to many Quranic verses, the creation of the Heavens and Earth occurred in six days: (Indeed, your Lord is Allah, Who created the Heavens and the Earth in six days, then He mounted on the Throne; He covers the night with the day, seeking it relentlessly, and the Sun and the Moon and stars are all subjected by His command. Unquestionably for Him is the Creation and the Command, blessed is Allah, the Lord of the worlds.) [7:54, see also other similar verses: 10:3, 11:7, 25:59, 32:4, 50:38 and 57:4].

However, unlike the word for Sky or Heaven, which is mostly used in the Quran in the plural form, the word for Earth is used in the singular form. Nevertheless, one verse says: Allah created Seven Heavens, and of the earth like them [Quran, 65:12], in addition to one explicit hadith according to which there are Seven Earths. The debate over what is meant by the Seven Heavens has a long history among Muslims scholars, and some Sufis, like Ibn al-Arabi, stress that the number of heavens is nine, when we add the Pedestal and the Throne, as we have already explained in Chapter IV of Volume II. Also many scholars tried to explain why God created the Heavens and the Earth particularly in six days, mostly considering that when the Heavens were not still created, time did not exist either.

This is usually interpreted in various ways as why it took so many days, but in the Duality of Time Theory the six days are the six spatial directions that make the dimensions of space. Therefore, the reason why there are Seven Heavens is because there are seven levels of time, since each spatial dimension is dynamically formed by complementing two orthogonal arrows of time, in addition to the original single point that is perpetually creating all this multiplicity. These seven levels are: , , , , ,  and , while the eighth level  is imaginary, or unrealistic (in this Lower World), though it may be realized in the Hereafter, together with the ninth level . We shall discuss this further in the following chapters, but we can already notice that, apart from the first level, which is the single absolute point of space that describes the magnetic monopole, there are three complete and three fractal dimensions of the complex-time, corresponding to the three generations of the bosonic and fermionic states, respectively. In total, according to available degrees of freedom in these various dimensions, there are five fundamental interactions or fields: magnetic, strong, weak, electric and gravity, corresponding to the dimensions: , , ,  and , respectively. All these fields are dynamically formed at every instance of time from one complex-scalar time-time field. In addition to explaining the hierarchy between these interactions, we can clearly notice the special statues of the magnetic and gravitational fields, where the first can never be realized independently on the physical level, and the latter can only be realized in its ground bosonic state  that is our usual  Euclidean space. This can also explain why quarks are confined and why gluons,  and  are massive despite their being bosons in their respective dimensions.

However, it must be noted the possible confusion between the Seven Heavens and the Seven Paradises. As we have shown in the previous volumes, the Isotropic Orb contains the zodiac, which is divided into the twelve equal parts that are traditionally assigned to the various zodiacal signs. Allah created the seven paradisaical Gardens named in the Quran according to their different states and levels, then below that is the orb of the constellations, as shown the various diagrams in Chapter IV of Volume II. These constellations are usually called the fixed stars and there orb is divided into twenty eight mansions through which the moon appears to pass. Then inside this sphere of stars, Allah created the Seven Heavens and the Earth. The seven planets, including the Sun and the Moon, are then distributed on these Seven Heavens, but Ibn al-Arabi stresses in many places in the Futuhat [III.548.21, I.123.17, II.441.33] that this is only the apparent view for a person who is sitting on the Earth, thus distinguishing between this apparent earthly view and the actual motion of the planets and stars themselves. So, for Ibn al-Arabi, Aristotle s view is a view of the world as we see it while in itself it cannot be described like that [III.548.31]. He also stresses the central position of the Sun which he considers to be in the heart (center) of the Seven Heavens, and he emphasizes the superiority of the Sun over other planets that are even above it with relation to the earth: So the elevation of this place (the sun s orb) comes from its being the heart of orbs, so it is a high place for its status and the orbs that are above it in distance with relation to our heads, are still below it in status [III.441.33].

The real meaning of day comes from the fact that in this day Allah creates the whole manifest world, including the whole 360 degrees of the orb of the outermost celestial sphere, in it. From this whole ongoing creation process, of the six dimensions in six days, we only witness the last day, that is Saturday, while the other six days of creation are actually embodied in it as space. Therefore, unlike some other Muslim theologians, Ibn al-Arabi does not find any difficulty in explaining those verses in the Quran that talk about Allah s creating the Heavens and the Earth in six days. Most religious scholars suggested that Allah meant assumed days , such that if days had actually existed then the time of this creation would have been six days, because they could not conceive of days before the creation of the sun and the earth. Ibn al-Arabi affirms that the creation of the Sun only divided the day into daytime and nighttime. So he gives a dramatically different cosmological meaning to the process of creation in a Week : six days from Sunday to Friday, for space, plus Saturday for time. So the Week is the actual unit of space-time, and this happens at every moment of the outward time that we encounter, and not the commonly understood meaning that it took Allah a current earthly week to finish the creation.

Ibn al-Arabi asserts that although we encounter many apparent days due to the rotation of the earth around its axis, which all appear to be similar to each other, ultimately we can reduce them to only seven distinctive Days depending on the kinds of events that happen in them. He argues that in each Day of the seven Days of the (actual, cosmic) Week , Allah orders the heavenly orbs to act in a special unique manner that causes unique events and motions to appear in the entire cosmos. However, the seven Days of these divine creation are intertwined with our normal days of the apparent earthly week in a special manner that has been explained in Chapter IV of Volume I, and that is why we see multiple events appearing every day. Ibn al-Arabi then goes on to explain the importance of the divine Week and the different meanings of the seven Days of that Week, which are rooted in the meanings of the Arabic terms for each of those Days, running from the First , corresponding to Sunday, to the Day of rest , corresponding to Saturday. He also shows that Saturday is therefore the Day of eternity and that all the Days of the Week of creation, including Saturday itself, are actually occurring on this last Day of eternity. These distinctive conceptions can only be fully understood after investigating Ibn al-Arabi s view of the actual flow of time. So the creation of the world in this Week corresponds to the creation of the six directions of space, in six Days, from Sunday to Friday, and then the appearance of this creation in time on Saturday, the Day of eternity.

More fundamental cosmological concepts can be obtained when we consider the original abstract meanings of the words heaven and earth , in Arabic as well as in English, which respectively have the meanings of ceiling and ground . So if we take these concepts of high and low in the absolute sense, based on the conclusions that we summarized in Chapters VI and VII from Volume II; that the Universal Body and the Initial Body of the cosmos are expressed in terms of the complex-time geometry as  and  respectively, while the Universal Spirit is , we can then consider the ultimate earth as the Universal Body  and the Heavens are the Universal Spirit , because they correspond to the lowest state and highest state(s) of space-time, respectively, while water is , because this  flat space describes the state of super-fluid as we shall also explain in Chapters I and II.

Therefore, the reason why the Heavens are plural is because of the seven different space-time degrees of freedom, which include the six internal levels that constitute the three dimensions of space, and one for the outer time, while the earth  is the common ground state for all these seven levels, although each heaven has its own corresponding earth, or ground state, in the corresponding level, thus we actually have Seven Heavens and seven Earths, exactly as it is alluded in various theological texts.

Also, as we have seen above, most religions assert that the Cosmos emerged when the Heavens and Earth were split from their primordial unity. Allah says in the Holy Quran: (Have the unbelievers not considered that the Heavens and the Earth were entangled, thus We split them, and We made from water everything living? Will they not believe then?) [21:30]. Many Muslim scholars, including Ibn al-Arabi, usually apply this verse to explain how the planet Earth and the skies, or the celestial orbs, or the upper spheres, were all mixed together, then the element earth, and the planet Earth, or heavy elements in general, were gradually separated from the lighter elements and aether to form the planets and stars [II.677-678].

Hence, according to the Quranic verse [21:30] quoted above, these Seven Heavens  and their absolute earth  were initially entangled and then they have been split into the physical world and its anti-world that exist in parallel; on two opposite arrows of time, and they are continuously interacting, or perpetually annihilating and splitting again, according to the equation .

The reason why we don t notice this Cosmic Annihilation, that is taking place at every instance of time, is because it is happening in the inner levels, but in reality it is these fundamental interaction(s) that are causing all kinds of perceptions, which are the interactions between the physical and psychical worlds, which means that they both must have exactly the same structure of atoms and molecules, except they are evolving on orthogonal dimensions, and that s why we denote the psychical world as incorporeal. Actually, it is only hard to imagine how abstract meanings could have the same structure as the physical world because our classical conception of matter, that is based on our direct rough macroscopic experience, is simply not correct at all. With the quantum behavior of atomic particles, it becomes necessary to think of matter in more abstract forms, such as fields or forces. So in reality, we should say that it is the physical world that is like the psychical or abstract meanings, but we only happened to have performed much more studies and experiments in physics than in psychology, otherwise it may have been easier to explain everything in terms of space-time structures, which are naturally abstract psychological concepts, since they are primarily conceived by imagination.

 



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