Let me first start by saying that I’m not a trained scientist. I have been captivated though recently concerning all the articles written about the supposed Higgs boson discovery or the “God particle”. At first, I really didn’t know what to make of it, and after considerable reading, I’m not sure anyone else does either. There’s still a lot to be said and written and explained. The questions I’ve been wrestling with relate to the connection between science and my faith. Does this discovery negate what we believe to be true in Genesis 1 and 2? Will this rock the traditional, orthodox Christian understanding of the universe?
I did want to share some of my brief observations as a Christian regarding what I understand concerning the God particle discovery. This is by no means exhaustive, but a simple attempt to help us answer basic questions and stay focused on the realities of God and His gospel. First, though, I’m going to try to explain the Higgs boson in the most basic terms.
In the mid 1960s, a physicist by the name of Peter Higgs had a theory about what gave mass to matter. The theory is part of an overall system known as the “standard model” of particle physics (a system which, by the way, still has many holes). Scientists had known for some time that some sub-atomic particles have mass while others didn’t, but scientists didn’t really understand how mass came to be determined in those particles. The Higgs boson theory became popularized after Nobel physicist Leon Lederman’s book, The God Particle: If the universe is the answer, what is the question? was published in 1993. By the way, most scientists hate the name “God particle” for the Higgs boson.
Over the last few years, 5000 researchers from 2 independent teams have spent billions of dollars attempting to recreate the big bang in an underground labratory outside Geneva. They’ve been smashing atoms at nearly the speed of light in an 17-mile long tube, in order to find the Higgs boson. After all the time and money spent, they supposedly have found something that resembles a Higgs boson, even though it only lasts for a billionth of a billionth of a second.
So what does all this mean, especially from a Christian perspective?
1. Don’t be scared of science. As a Christian we’ve been taught to fear science. Science and religion are not enemies though. It’s not like science is the dog Toto pulling the curtain to expose the man behind the smoke and mirrors. Faith and science exist beautifully together. They exist together because they both answer different questions about life. Science can tell me how reproduction is accomplished, but only philosophy and religion can tell me why. Science can answer a lot of the what and how questions we may have, but science will always fall short because God has created us with a mind and soul. We aren’t merely a clump of cells, but His image bearers, so the questions we wrestle with will ultimately be the “why” questions of life. We also have to remember that science is not interpreted within a vacuum. Every scientist and researcher has their own philosophical worldview, and it’s their worldview that can determine the interpretation of facts.
2. This discovery screams that there’s a Designer. I find it interesting that all these scientists and all these researchers have spent all this money and all this time attempting to find this sub-atomic particle. In the process, what they have shown is that it took an incredible amount of intelligence and design to discover it. The universe we live in is amazing. From what I’ve read, there’s a new frontier of physics around the corner. That’s great because it just keeps showing the design and beauty of this universe. A universe that we as Christians believe was created by God. The theories that we are just now understanding shows a highly complex universe. This all screams that there is a designer behind the design. Every new complexity shows the deepness of the mind of God to create a universe like ours. The teleological argument behind the existence of God (where there is design, there must be a Designer) is strengthened by every new scientific discovery. For example, the human genome project exemplified the incredible design of the human body and DNA. It took greater faith to believe in naturalistic evolution after that discovery.
3. People are still looking for answers. I think one of the biggest lies that Satan would have us believe is that people are just not interested in God anymore. We are too technologically advanced, and too scientifically minded to concern ourselves with religious mumbo-jumbo. The reality is that the interest in the “God particle” drives us because every man, woman and child wants to know why they are here, who they are, and what happens when they die. As Christians, we give the greatest, most consistent answer to these questions. The Bible clearly and definitely answers all these questions and more because you can’t answer them without God. If every person is asking these questions, are you ready to give an answer?
Finally, I would encourage you to do some more reading on this. I’m sure in the coming days that there will be an appropriate scientific response from the Christian perspective from organizations like Answers in Genesis or the Creation Research Institute.
I think it’s fitting to end with a passage of Scripture that shows how Jesus is still relevant to His creation today, even after all scientific discoveries. It’s His gospel that gives us meaning and hope. It has done that for millenia and it will continue to do so for eternity.
Colossians 1:15-20 - He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.