Book review: My Universe, A Transcendent Reality

by Alex Vary


The subtitle of this book is an “Atheist-Scientist’s Guide to God.” It’s broken down into five parts of two or three dozen short essays each, which were compiled and organized by Vary over a period of six years. Each essay leads fluidly into the next, however, so it’s not as if Vary is publishing an anthology; this is, rather, a defense of his particular view of reality … a reality that transcends the material cosmos into the transcendental universe. Vary takes what he calls a “rational approach” to God, along the lines of thinkers Bernard Haisch, Paul Davies and Jacob Needleman, and much of his book details his perception of body-soul-spirit. The mind of “God” (in which we, with our limited minds, share) resides outside the physical cosmos.

Vary’s writing is intelligent and he’s extremely well-read. He is a retired research scientist with NASA, and I have to be honest, here: He’s way over my head at times. Part three, the central portion of the book, is simply incomprehensible. I can speak somewhat knowledgeably about quantum entanglement, black holes, and particle-wave duality, but if asked whether Vary adequately argues his hypotheses (among them, an explanation of how the material somethingness of the cosmos arises from nothingness) or whether he has truly formulated a convincing proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, I admit total bafflement.

A key part of Vary’s worldview includes what he refers to as Astrals, non-corporal beings that reside in the mesostratum. Spiritual manifestations with human-like traits, personalities, occupations and ambitions, who tinker in material affairs, fiddling with DNA, fine-tuning our evolution. How else do we explain how species seem to appear suddenly, fully formed and equipped with all sorts of specialized organs, then remain stable for millions of years? Yeah, I know, this stuff is out there, but once we dig below Vary’s tongue-in-cheek caricatures of our designers, he turns out to be quite serious. So, clearly, his is a controversial take.

And also a bit disturbing, since it implies that we humans, like the dinosaurs, are most likely still imperfect beings who will soon be discarded as non-working models while the DNA tinkering continues. 

Honestly? I had a lot of fun reading this one. I highly recommend it for pleasurable reading and fascinating learning. But I don’t think I have room for Vary’s “religion.”

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