Leonard Susskind’s book, “The Black Hole War”, brings up an interesting concept, that of the holographic principle. So, I decided to check into it a little more. Wikipedia defines it so,
“The holographic principle states that the entropy of ordinary mass (not just black holes) is also proportional to surface area and not volume; that volume itself is illusory and the universe is really a hologram which is isomorphic to the information "inscribed" on the surface of its boundary.”
That might be a little misleading, however, since a version of string theory, called “M-theory”, is interpreted as implying that the visible universe is really like a 4-D shadow (3 space dimensions + time) of a higher (not lower) reality. So depending on the analogy used, either the boundary of the universe is a lower dimension surface (analogous to the surface of a black hole) which is like a holographic film containing all the information that describes the cosmos we experience or the universe is merely a lower-dimensional projection or shadow of the underlying higher dimension reality! Either way, the implication is made that what we see is not ultimate reality.
This does have profound implications for theories of physics and actually may help to explain some current mysteries such as the relationship between general relativity and quantum mechanics, weird action at a distance quantum effects, etc. However, we need to be careful about the philosophical implications. For instance, when we discovered that atoms were not simple solid objects, but actually were composed of multiple parts, it broadened our understanding of them, but it didn’t change what they were. They were still atoms.
There has been a tendency for some to ascribe this underlying reality and possible inter-connectedness to various new age or metaphysical world-views such as Hinduism. I would challenge the validity of that conclusion. For example, if I only have access to the outside of an apple, I can feel it, see it, weight it, or smell it, but I cannot taste what is inside. Does that somehow make the apple an illusion or not real simply because I can’t take a bite of it without breaking the surface? Likewise, just because we might not have full access to all the information that describes what we see, does not mean that what we do see is not real. Incomplete access or knowledge does not equate to unreality or illusion. Also, even if physics operates this way, everything is not necessarily connected to everything else. We could be observing different aspects of a higher dimensional object, but still have separation of particles, objects, etc.
Finally, I think that this discovery is actually quite compatible with a Christian worldview. The Bible depicts God and/or angels existing in extra dimensions (heaven or the spiritual realm) that are more “real” than our own. See Hebrews 8:5; Col 2:16-17; and Matt 6:19-20. Food for thought: Could God be the “laser” or coherence that a holographic universe requires to be created or brought into existence?
Some related articles that you might find interesting are:
Hugh Ross’ book, Beyond the Cosmos (http://www.reasons.org/catalog/beyond-cosmos-3rd-edition), is also a great resource.