For a long time people have been debating over how our Universe, including our experience of consciousness and free choice, came about. There are two favored ideas. The one maintained by theology (the study of God) is:
God simply exists, and God creates the world,including us, endowing us with consciousness and free choice.
The other idea, asserted by science, is:
The physical universe simply exists and it forms consciousness, including our ideas about free choice and God.
There has been a widening rift between these two paradigms of the ultimate reality since Democritus suggested the theory of atoms 2,500 years ago.
THE LILA PARADIGM
The thesis presented here, the Lila Paradigm, allows these two apparently conflicting views to be unified into a single theory. The word 'Lila' is Sanskrit for the Play of the Gods, LI meaning the gods and LA meaning play or dance. In the Lila Paradigm, a non-physical Ultimate Reality (God, gods) appears as our physical Universe. The paradigm describes
this appearance in some detail, and the physical Universe which appears in each of our consciousnesses agrees with the measurements made by science.
According to the Lila Paradigm, there are three important erroneous assumptions which have gradually come to be part of both the scientific and theological paradigms.
Error 1: An individual is a human body.
While some people in the various religious traditions believe that one is a soul and not a body, most faiths have come to teach that what one is, is a human body. People think, "What I am is this body that God has made." Many people think that when one dies it is one's soul that goes to heaven and it is oneself, the body, that goes into the grave.
Of course, science assumes that one is a body and, "When you're dead, you're dead".
Instead, the Lila Paradigm states:
AN INDIVIDUAL IS A NON-PHYSICAL ENTITY
The Lila Paradigm agrees with those religious traditions and theologians which say that what one really is, is not a human animal body but a soul, a spirit, an atman, a psyche, an anima, a ka, a divine entity called by some name. This 'soul' can be associated with a human body but becomes disassociated from it when the body dies.
What one really is, the soul, is the one who can be conscious. It is this one, who one really is, that goes to heaven, or wherever, whereas it is the body that dies and goes into the grave or is cremated. Jesus in John 10:34 said, "you are all gods (souls)"; Jesus was quoting God from Psalm 82:6.
Science is making an error by thinking that what one is, is a human body. Science must do this because science assumes that all that exists is the physical world, therefore souls must be only ideas which are the product of the mind which, in turn, is the product of the brain, which is physical.
The Lila Paradigm calls this soul 'a non physical individual', to indicate that that which we really are is not physical, just as God is not physical.
Error 2: God is only single.
Originally most religious traditions held that God was not only single, but one and many. In more recent times many religions have come to emphasize the unitary nature of God. Most religious people these days are monotheistic; that is, they believe in a single Divine Being.
Science assumes there is no God, so that any ideas about some God being single or whatever are only mental imaginings.
In this regard the Lila Paradigm states:
GOD IS BOTH SINGLE AND MULTIPLE
The ancient Hebrew word for God in the first verse of the Bible is 'ELOHIM'. Those who wrote the Book of Genesis chose this word over EL, the singular form, because ELOHIM means God as both one and many. In the Lila Paradigm, God-as-one is the singular Power, held by God-as-many, the many gods (the many non-physical individuals), which is what we really are. In Genesis, verse 26, God says, "Let us create man in our image...".
The concept of God as both singular and plural is similar to the concept of an choir, a whole which is made up of many singers. The Lila Paradigm says God is one non-physical Power and God is many non-physical individuals which, individually, exercise that Power.
Error 3: The physical world exists on its own and only it exists.
Science is the dominant influence in teaching that only the physical universe exists and that all things, including life, consciousness, and thoughts like 'God' are products of this physical world. Today, most people believe that there is only the physical world and that God is just an idea. Even religious people, in recent times, believe that the world and God exist separately.
The Lila Paradigm states:
NON-PHYSICAL INDIVIDUALS ARE THE BASIS OF EVERYTHING.
In the Lila Paradigm, it is indeed God that creates the physical Universe; however, it is God as all of us, it is we non-physical individuals, that collectively create this Universe which is not separate from us. Chapter I, verse 42, of the Pasupata Sutram states 'BHABE BHABE NATIBHAVE', "God [as both single and plural] is manifested as this created universe and does not manifest otherwise". This means that God, both as the One Power and as us non-physical individual gods who individually exercise that Power, transform(s) itself or ourselves to appear as this world. "In the beginning God [as both one and many] created heaven and the earth." We, the non-physical individuals, are the basis of the physical, rather than the other way around.
How do we go about creating the physical Universe out of our non-physical selves? How do we non-physical individuals transfigure ourselves to appear as the physical Universe?
The Lila Paradigm agrees with theology that God has the Power of choice and with science that physical things do not. Since we non-physical individuals collectively are God, each of us, not as human bodies but as non-physical individuals, can exercise that Power of choice. This ability is self-evident.
The Power of choice which each of us exercises is this: the Power to choose to place oneself in a state of knowledge of any nonphysical individual or to choose to not be in such a state of knowledge. Choosing to be in a state of knowledge of a nonphysical individual is not a state of consciousness. The state of manifest consciousness leaves out who it is that the nonphysical individual is, making the manifest conscious state appear to be a physical thing, instead of a nonphysical individual who can be conscious and has freewill choice. Thus in the consciousness of any nonphysical individual there appears only the physical as manifest. This is the great illusion which misleads us.
What really exists is only us as nonphysical individuals and our knowledge choices of each other, thus science and theology are reconciled.