Higgs and God

July 18, 2012

The ancient story begins...."In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light, and there was light.' " These first verses of Genesis are not a scientific telling, they are the beginnings of a story of God and God's relationship with God's creation, which includes you and me. But one day came and there was science. Science, born of the inquisitive mind that seeks answers to the whys and hows of life and leads in some instances to discovery of sources and fixes. Without science, cures to polio and tuberculosis, the trip to the moon and discovery of outer space, the communications and technology explosion... all might still be scratching on a cave wall. Without science, the workings of the world would remain locked and hidden. But the lock is off the door and discovery is only curbed the the availability of research funding and financial backing.... but that's another story. The tension that has grown between science and faith is not a new thing. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century height of the Age of Scholasticism reflected in volumes of his Summa Theologica about the source of creation and came to a conclusion that creation began in the workings of an"Uncaused Cause." It is heartening to read some contemporary quantum physicists who come to a similar conclusion... the Big Bang was begun in something mysterious, something unexplainable. Expansion, spontaneous explosion, yada, yada..... When physicist Leon Lederman named the mysterious source, "The God Particle," the search was on. Lawrence Krauss in the July 16 issue of Newsweek reports of the announcements of the European Center for Nuclear Research, that a particle has been found! Scientists are calling it "the Higgs Particle." Krauss's article goes further to some conclusions that- for a person of faith... even a person who loves science - find inadequate and short. I quote from Krauss's article on page 5 of Newsweek, July 16, 2012: "A Higgs field validates the notion that seemingly empty space may contain the seeds of our existence. This idea is at the heart of one of the boldest predictions of cosmology, called inflation. This posits that a similar type of background field was established in the earlier moments of the big bang, causing a microscope region to expand by more than 85 orders of magnitude in a fraction of a second, after which the energy contained in otherwise empty space was converted into all the matter and radiation we see today!" His last paragraph is what I take most issue with, Krauss calls these "the two potentially uncomfortable possibilities. First is the possibility that "many features of our universe , including our existence, might be accidental consequences associated with the universe's birth." But secondly, Krauss says, "that creating 'stuff from no stuff' seems to be no problem at all, everything we see could have emerged as a purposeless quantum burp..." He concludes by saying,"The Higgs particle is arguably more relevant than God." This is the point at which I shuddered! My question is the same as Aquinas's.... what it the Uncaused Cause, the Spirit that moves across the no stuff to call forth stuff in bangs and burps to accomplish something God reflects on as good? I see no contradiction in the science and the faith that God brings forth all that is in whatever way God chooses. To dismiss God as irrelevant is a sad statement on the part of Mr. Krauss. For you see, I think there is no particle that is not God's, no creation that is without purpose, and no work that does not reflect the mystery and majesty that is the Divine Creator, the Uncaused Cause, the God of my faith. I am thankful to hold the tension as sacred trust and carry forth a life that is praise and glory to the One who made me. Amen.  

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