Quantum theory illustrates God’s omnipotence
Being Easter, time to take a break from potholes, crazy water bills and political shenanigans and broach a bigger topic: Why are we here?
Somewhere along the way in my spiritual journey I quit reading the Bible wondering what’s wrong with it and began reading the Bible wondering what’s wrong with me.
Take Genesis for example. Without faith, its description of creation may seem at odds with science. With faith, Genesis seems to be a pretty good way of describing the creation of our universe and our earth to people 2,000 years ago who knew nothing of modern day science. As even St. Augustine believed, it’s the big picture that matters.
The Genesis timeline may seem to be a problem except for the fact that a day as we measure it did not exist as a measurement until after the earth and the sun were created.
As it is written in 2 Peter 3:8: But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
If science seems to contradict the Bible, the science is wrong, not the other way around. Which brings me to quantum mechanics. (And ultimately, the Resurrection.)
We have advanced so far that we can now study not just molecules and atoms, but sub-atomic particles such as photons and electrons and quarks. That’s where the universe gets really weird.
The weirdness is crystallized in one simple experiment called the “double slit” experiment.
It started a couple hundred years ago when Thomas Young cut two slits in a piece of flat plank and shone light through it. You can do this experiment at home!
Young expected to see a pattern of light on the wall behind the plank that was the shape of the two slits. Instead, he saw a band of patterns. Young concluded that light was a wave and the bands were a classic wave interference pattern of the peaks and troughs.
As time went on, other experiments concluded light was a particle called a photon. But how could light be both a wave and a particle? For centuries, this puzzle has vexed physicists.
The same pattern was true of not just photons, but electrons, atoms and even molecules.
Then American physicist Richard Feynman, one of the inventors of the atomic bomb, refined the double slit experiment.
Feynman showed that if you deliberately shot photons through one slit or the other, there was no interference pattern, just a splotch of light on the back of the wall the same shape as the slit. But if you randomly shot photons through either slit, the interference pattern re-emerged.
It was as though the photons were reading the minds of the scientists. How did the photons know when the photon generator was set on random and when it was deliberately aimed?
Dozens of experiments followed, each more perplexing than the last. If you measured the photons, then they became particles. If you didn’t measure them, they stayed waves.
This led to the weirdest double slit experiment of all, the quantum eraser experiment. In this experiment, the photons were measured after they went through the slits, yet the same paradox resulted.
As Wikipedia describes it: Wheeler's delayed choice experiments demonstrate that extracting "which path" information after a particle passes through the slits can seem to retroactively alter its previous behavior at the slits. Go figure.
German physicist Erwin Schrodinger won a Nobel prize for explaining the phenomenon using one of the most successful equations in the history of man. It is called the Schrodinger equation. Without it, much of the world’s technology wouldn’t exist. It has been the most experimentally accurate equation in the history of physics.
The universe exists not as particles but as a “wave of probabilities.” These probabilities are not pre-determined, but rather mathematically described possibilities. They do not take form until an action is taken, such as a measurement. Making a measurement, or even a decision to measure, instantly transforms the probability wave into a real particle.
This led to the discovery of entangled particles, which Albert Einstein described as “spooky action at a distance.” At this very moment, the top scientists in the world are busy racing to create a new type of computer chip based on particle entanglement.
This amazing revelation completely befuddled Einstein, who refused to believe the results, stating, “God does not play dice with the universe.” Neils Bohr, a colleague of Schrodinger, replied: “Don’t tell God what to do.”
Today, the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics is established beyond all doubt. We live in a universe of infinite probabilities. These probabilities aren’t made real until intervention, turning wave into particle.
Maybe you are thinking that I have lost it, but to me the spiritual implications of quantum mechanics are staggering. It helps explain major spiritual issues that our greatest saints have grappled with for centuries.
For instance, how can God be both omnipotent yet allow for human choice and free will? Simple. God designed a universe of infinite probabilities and gave us the ability through the process of living to turn these probabilities into reality. Just as God has the ability to turn probabilities into reality, so do we, since he made us in his image.
Why does an omnipotent God allow evil to exist? Same answer. God didn’t create evil, but he gave us free will. Through our sinful choices, we create evil. That is the point of the story of Adam and Eve.
We are floating in a universe of probabilities, turning these probabilities into reality every microsecond as we live our lives. Life is not a blank slate. Things are probably going to go a certain way. But neither is it competely foreordained. It is a mix and our personal choices can affect the outcome.
At the highest level of math, dozens of Nobel prize winning physicists have tried to reconcile Schrodinger’s probability wave equation with other great physics equations that have been proven experimentally.
The most elegant mathematical solution is the multiverse concept. At every decision point, an entirely new universe is created with you in it. This takes the concept of infinity to a whole new level. The omnipotence of God is even greater than we ever imagined.
Does your whole life seem to be a personal spiritual journey? Quantum mechanics’ multiverse theory may mean it really is all about you. And the same is true of every other human being. God can create as many universes as is necessary to get you there. But you have to do your part.
Back to the Resurrection. We doubting Thomases question God’s sovereignty over every atom and molecule in the universe. We struggle with faith. We struggle believing the Resurrection. “Blessed are those who have never seen yet believe.”
God doesn’t just have sovereignty over this universe. God may be sovereign over an infinite number of universes, one of which is designed for your unique spiritual journey.
That is a magnitude of power that our meager minds cannot grasp, even when God’s math points the way. It is that infinite power that rose Christ from the dead. It is a power that can give each one of us eternal life, if we so choose.