In my experience many secular people consider Bible believing Christians to be ignorant of the scientific realities that are accepted by the rest of the world. Worse still, they think that Christians know about these scientific facts, but stick their head in the sand in the hope that they will go away.
I have to admit that there is some truth in this. I have met many Christians who are either ignorant of the scientific understanding of the nature of the universe, or quite deliberate in their ignoring of it. I am not referring to such arguable points as the age of the earth or whether man has evolved or was created. It is in the very nature of matter and the nature of reality that the fundamental questions are posed, and it is at this fundamental level that answers can be found.
What follows are two views of fundamental reality. The first is that as given in the Bible, and the second is the view that is currently held by the scientific community. Rather than being at odds they both have clear similarities. Christians need to know this so that can have confidence when discussing the arguable factors referred to above – evolution, the age of the earth etc.
The Bible tells us many things about the nature of God and his relationship with his creation. These aspects are expressed in theological rather than scientific terms. I will try to bridge the gap between the two by linking the theological term with the appropriate scientific one.
The Bible tells us that God created all things and that He is not part of the creation. He is not at some location within the creation. He is the one who brought space and time into being and as such he is transcendent, which means he is not located at any one particular place. He is also immanent, which means he is everywhere. We could term this as God having the scientific quality of ‘non-locality’, meaning he has access to the whole of creation all of the time.
God is also infinite in relation to time. Time does not apply to him, he was before time began. He is not restricted by the dimension of time. In scientific terms this aspect of God could be called ‘super luminary’, meaning greater than, and not limited by, the speed of light that determines and confines time.
The Biblical view of God and his ongoing relationship with man can be summarized as follows:
God is Spirit. This does not mean he is nothing, a vacuum. He has substance because he exists. That substance is something that existed before, and is different from, the physical universe he created.
He formed man from the dust (the physical creation) and then breathed life (the preexistent spiritual substance i.e. Himself) into man (Gen. 2:7). God and man were able to enjoy a vital dynamic relationship.
The Fall ruined that relationship and a Kinsman Redeemer was needed. The Spirit combined with created matter and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). The redemptive act (John 17:4) was followed by Pentecost (Acts 2:4) when the Spirit again came into combination with created flesh. In Jesus’ words they were ‘born again of the Spirit’ (John 3: 3 - 8). Jesus said that we couldn’t enter or even see the kingdom of God unless the Spirit filled us. The earthly flesh (created matter) has to be transformed by the Spirit (the preexistent spiritual substance i.e. God) in order to have a vital connection with God.
So there we have the Biblical version of reality. God is both transcendent and immanent. In scientific terms he has none locality and he is super luminary. Remember those two terms. We will meet them again as we now look into the world of quantum mechanics.
From the time of Newton until this century, classical physics provided an orderly model of the universe made up of objects moving around in predictable ways. It was very much a matter of common sense.
However, at the beginning of the 20th century, theories were developed and experiments carried out, whose results were counter to common sense and could not be explained with Newtonian physics. This development, which looks at the behavior of matter and energy, became known as Quantum Mechanics.
In the 1970s the ‘Standard Model’ was developed. This sought to encapsulate the theories and discoveries of thousands of physicists over the past century. The Standard Model is currently the best description science has of the subatomic world, however they recognize that it falls short of explaining the complete picture.
In an effort to find the ‘missing pieces’, theoretically present in the Standard Model, huge particle accelerators were built. These accelerators are large circular machines in which two beams of subatomic particles called 'hadrons' – either protons or lead ions – are fired in opposite directions. They gain energy with every lap and then two beams are collided head-on at very high energy. Physicists hope that by analyzing the particles disbursed by the collisions, that they can fill in the gaps in the Standard Model.
The most famous particle accelerator is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) constructed 100 meters below ground at CERN in Europe. All the experiments conducted at CERN are in an effort to discover the real reality of the physical universe and ‘prove’ the Standard Model.
However, for the Standard Model to be a workable theory it has to include something called Locality. Locality is the principle that an event that happens at one place can't instantaneously affect an event someplace else. For example: if a distant star were to suddenly blow up tomorrow, the principle of locality says that there is no way we could know about this event or be affected by it until something, e.g. a light beam, had time to travel from that star to Earth. The theory of relativity, which predicts that no signal can propagate faster than the speed of light, depends upon locality. When Einstein came across any result that predicted non-locality he refused to accept it and called it, ‘spooky action at a distance’.
In 1964 J.S. Bell (Bell’s Theorem) proved that the results predicted by quantum mechanics could not be explained by any theory that preserved locality. Experiments have since been conducted that have proved the point. Locality is dead.
Basically it has been experimentally proved that there is a faster than the speed of light (super luminary) something that is instantly linked (non-local) to everything else. In short, Bell’s Theorem proves the existence of an invisible non-local reality that, despite the fact that it can be proved to exist, is inaccessible to us who are constrained by the physical universe.
All the theoretical ideas that have been previously formulated to form the Standard Model, and all the experimental efforts at CERN to find a proof for it fall at the stumbling block of the proven Bell’s Theorem. Many attempts have been made to refute it, but all have failed. Like the flat earthers of the past and the religious who confronted Gallileo, many physicists today refuse to accept what has been experimentally proven.
Nevertheless Bell’s Theorem won’t go away and it can provide a meeting point between the scientific community and Biblical Christians. The scientific view of reality is coming to recognize the existence of an invisible non-local and super luminary something. The Biblical view of God that says he is both transcendent and immanent (he has none locality and he is super luminary). Surely we are talking about the same thing.
Acceptance of the fact that there is a ‘something’ outside of the universe that has an ongoing effect upon it, and therefore could be reasonably said to have been the cause of it coming into existence in the first place, is a necessary first step in reconciling the the scientific viewpoint with that of the Christian.
As Christians we need not fear science but embrace it, in the sure and certain knowledge that the deeper mankind probes into the nature of matter and energy, the nearer we will get to the Creator himself.
http://public.web.cern and various public web sites referring to the Standard Model and Bell’s Theorem.
Nick Herbert. Quantum Reality. Anchor Press/Doubleday. Garden city NY. 1985
The famous particle accelerator, Large Hadron Collider (LHC) constructed 100 meters below ground at CERN in Europe.