BOOK REVIEW: God’s Secret Formula: Deciphering the Riddle of the Universe and the Prime Number Code. By Peter Plichta. Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1997.

Journal of Unification Studies Vol. 1, 1997 - Pages 136-139

I was introduced to Peter Plichta several years ago, while I was working with Franz Fiege at the International Religious Foundation. Dr. Plichta had some revolutionary new ideas about science, and especially about how numbers, like 3 and 4, ­were at the center of reality. Franz introduced him to the Divine Principle, and he was impressed particularly by the Four Position Foundation, a concept which he saw remarkably compatible with his own theories. Eventually, Dr. Plichta would have an audience with Rev. Moon, who heartily encouraged him to continue his research.

Peter Plichta is a man with a mission: to bring God back into science. His dreams and visions led him into an arduous search for the divine blueprint behind the natural world. Unlike many other scientists, who are mainly interested in describing what the world is and how it functions, Plichta began to ask the question “Why?” In particular, he asked why there are repeated patterns that transcend the individual sciences. More often than not, these patterns had to do with numbers.

Why do so many things exist in threes? We find three dimensions of space, three aspects of time (past, present and future), three components of atoms (protons, neutrons and electrons), three states of matter (solid, liquid and gas), three types of chemical bonds (ionic, covalent and metallic), three forms of life (plants, animals and humans), three components of DNA (sugar, base and phosphate), three races of man, etc. Why are there exactly 81 stable elements? 81 = 34 and also has the curious property that its reciprocal is an infinite sum of numbers: 1/81 = 0.0123456789 (10) (11)… or 0.0 + 0.01 + 0.002 + 0.0003 + 0.00004 and on out to infinity. Of the 81 elements, only 20 have a single isotope. Likewise, out of all the possible amino acids, only 20 make up all proteins. Why, moreover is the speed of light almost exactly 3 x 1010 cm/sec?

Plichta became convinced that beneath the surface of physical, chemical and biological phenomena lay a deeper structure, composed of numbers. He is not the first to have such an idea; that pedigree goes back to Pythagoras. But he is the first to try to give it a rigorous scientific foundation.

He is up against a heavy prejudice against numbers on the part of most scientists. Scientists are used to thinking in terms of probabilities, of a disordered universe, of physical constants that seem arbitrary and that must be determined accurately to many decimal points. Numbers, for most scientists, are human inventions to allow us to measure things. They have no inherent reality in and of themselves. And surely, there cannot be anything unique and outstanding about the whole numbers, like 1, 2, 3 and 4?

Euler’s number e (= 2.718…) is the foundation of the natural logarithm, the basis upon which all kinds of physical processes which involve events happening at random occur, such as radioactivity, entropy, etc. The familiar bell-shaped curve describing the distribution of intelligence, height or other goods in a population is described by a logarithmic function involving the number e. Yet surprisingly, it had long ago been proved by the mathematicians Hadamard and Poussin that the function x/loge x describes the distribution of the prime numbers. Mathematicians have long marveled over the elegance of this, the Prime Number Theorem, but they took it to be simply a formula. They pondered over it, but did not grasp its true significance. The prime numbers do not occur at random; why is their distribution described mathematically by a formula which ordinarily describes randomness? Plichta turned the issue on its head and thus recognized the answer: the Prime Number Theorem shows that the apparent randomness and fuzziness of nature is in fact grounded in the underlying order of numbers.

Space, time and numbers: if the structure of numbers is the hidden dimension of reality, then it must be the veritable sungsang aspect of matter and energy. Numbers are the scaffold upon which light waves dance across the universe and spread out according to the inverse-square law. Numbers are the blueprint that determines the shape of atoms and the structure of molecules. Why does the chemist observe that all atoms form bonds to fill up their 8-electron shells? Scientists describe these electrons as constituting 1 s-pair plus 3 p-pairs, but they do not explain why it should be so. (On the divine pattern 4 = 1 + 3, see Exposition of the Divine Principle, p. 296.) Plichta discovered that this structure is determined by the scaffold of numbers which extends outward from any point in concentric circles, with the four pairs of rays on which the prime numbers are situated forming a cross. (His Prime Number Cross bears a surprising resemblance to the Unification Church symbol.)

Along the way, Plichta comments about many surprising facts that seem to suggest that the world we live in is the product of design, not the result of chance. While not directly commenting on what physicists call the Anthropic principle, he has much to say about the particular parameters of our world that refute the common materialist notion that we are just a speck in the vastness of space. The Earth, which God created is a special environment for humans, is not some accidental planet. If we seek, we can find signs of its uniqueness.

The Earth has a partner as it courses around the Sun; the Moon is its object partner. Think of them dancing around the Sun every 365.25 days, with the Moon revolving around the Earth every 27.32 days—the length of the sidereal month. Is there any connection between these dual circular motions? The reciprocals of their orbits correspond:

1/27.32 = 0.0366 1/366 = 0.002732

The length of the lunar month exactly corresponds to a solar leap-year! It also happens that the radius of the Moon measures 0.272 Earth radii, and the ratio between the mass of the Moon and the mass of the Earth is 1:81 (remember, 81 = 34 ). Even from ancient times, astronomers wondered that in a solar eclipse, the Moon’s disk is exactly the right size to cover the Sun. The relationship between these three heavenly bodies could not be set up more precisely. What’s more, the number 0.2732 can be calculated by pure geometry. Inscribe a circle within a square; it is the ratio between the area of the remainder of the square after the circle has been cut out and the area of the circle. For a circle of diameter 2 inches inside a square whose side is 2 inches long, the ratio is
(4-p)/p = 0.2732.

Science is uncomfortable with such correlations, for they give the lie to the conventional view that the universe arose by the workings of chance. It is easier to bury them from the public eye or dismiss them as mere coincidences. Is it a coincidence that a human fetus spends exactly 273 days—10 sidereal months—inside the womb? Maybe this is a clear example of the law of growth to completion through 10 stages. Is it a coincidence that absolute zero, the lowest theoretical temperature possible when all motion stops, is ‑273.2° C.? This number depends upon the Celsius temperature scale, which is based upon the freezing and boiling points of water. The Moon, the womb, water—we might expect based on the Principle that these three manifestations of God’s femininity should have correlative qualities. Nature shows them to be joined with precision, in the manner of the pieces of a structure designed from a single blueprint formulated by the Creator.

Plichta is certainly pioneering the edge of scientific thought. Although one might say he is 20 years ahead of his time, he is working with mainstream mathematicians and chemists with the goal to one day win acceptance for his theories. How advanced is he? His ideas are far beyond the understanding of quantum mechanics, for example, which Plichta believes to be a house of cards about to topple. This reviewer can appreciate quantum mechanics for opening the topic of subjectivity and mind, which may one day bear fruit in a scientific understanding of mind and matter as a unitary reality. Yet conventional quantum mechanics is still essentially materialistic. Its notion of probabilistic phenomena is largely compatible with the view that matter evolves by chance. What Plichta is investigating, however, is the deep structure of the Logos, which is essentially numbers. As the Divine Principle states, “the universe... was created based on numerical principles to be the unfolding of the dual characteristics of the invisible God.”[1]

God’s Secret Formula is written for the non-specialist. It walks the reader through complex ideas and equations through the device of autobiography, describing how they were uncovered in the course Plichta’s life. For the general public, the book is written well enough that most of the mathematical concepts are easy to grasp. However, this reviewer, who has a science background, is left with some disappointment that there is not more detailed discussion and rigorous demonstration of the validity of the theory. For this, one must turn to Plichta’s major work, The Prime Number Cross, which unfortunately has not yet been translated from the German.



[1] Exposition of the Divine Principle, p. 294.