Paradox and Mystery
I’m reading a fascinating book on Energy Healing written by a Christian. She gives us some scientific background for the field of energy healing by explaining some of what we know about physics. As she talked about physics, I started seeing things about God.
In the world of Newtonian or classical physics, everything is either a particle or a wave, and if you have two pieces of information, position and velocity, you can predict the trajectory of that particle or wave. This led to a deterministic worldview that believed if you could know the position and velocity of all the particles in the universe, you could predict all future outcomes. The idea that “All events were scripted by predictable measurement” corresponds to the Calvinistic view of Christianity, that God knows and has already planned everything in advance. (Quotes from Splankna by Sarah Thiessen.)
But quantum physics blew that out of the water. At the quantum level, you cannot measure both position or velocity. You can know the position OR you can know the velocity, but you can’t know both at the same time. The observation itself changes them. So nothing is predictable. This makes the universe random. This would correspond with a broader view of free will in Christianity. Also these particles seem to be capable of being in two different spaces at the same time. “They seem to travel from Point A to Point B without crossing the distance in between.”
So which is it? Both/and? As I read this, I began to see the omniscience, omnipresence, and mystery of God. We can’t really comprehend what appear to be paradoxes. Our minds don’t easily allow us to believe, much less understand, how something can be true and seemingly contradictory. Does God plan everything in advance? Does he know everything that’s going to happen? Is there a strong element of unpredictability in the world? Does our presence and our actions change things?
Maybe the answer is yes to all those questions, even though we can’t see how. Hugh Ross, a Christian apologist and scientist, believes that “while God does play a causal role in the cosmos (not random dice-throwing), His mechanisms are hidden from us. They are purposefully left mysterious.”
I’m not here to solve the mystery, but just to help us see there is so much more left to learn. We spend much mental energy sometimes trying to figure out God and His will and how prayer and the world work. But how can we figure it out? We only have some of the information. The idea of “faith” becomes more important as we realize how finite our understanding and vision are compared to God’s. As God himself said, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? . . . or who laid its cornerstone – while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” Job 38:4,7 “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” Psalm 24:1.