Quantum Physics And Paradoxes In Christian Theology

The last century ushered in the age of quantum physics.   In the study of quantum physics,  physicists realize the sub atomic particles do not react to the Newtonian principles of physics held since the 17th century.

The physicist Max Planck discovered light energy came in dsicreet packets known as quanta and not just in waves and the duality of particle-wave in light became known.

The atom itself is full of mystery.   Almost 99.999999999999% is empty space.  When left on its own,  it acts in random ways but when they are lumped together to form an object,  they act normally as they do in classical physics.

Scientists have come to accept a principle formulated by Dr Bohr, the principle of complementarity to explain 2 seemingly opposite pictures of a phenomenon.

This principle simply means that the use of certain concepts in the description of nature automatically excludes the use of other concepts, which however in another connection are equally necessary for the description of the phenomenon, as re-phrased by Dr Wheeler.    The duality nature of light in particle or wave  is one example.

This “nature of complementarity” can also be redefined as the existence of two apparently contradictory concepts to fully describe reality.

Though this principle is yet to be proven, Dr Wheeler said,” Complementarity is battle-tested. No one knows an acceptable alternative. The new viewpoint is part of the working attitude of the great majority of physicists of this generation. It would be hard to name a part of science better established than the quantum principle, more thoroughly analyzed for self-consistency, or able to account for a more fantastic range of experience. There is no going back on complementarity !”

This principle seems to mirror the several paradoxes in Christian theology.

  1. The righteous status of a Christian and his still fallen state.
  2. The dual nature of Christ.
  3. Faith and works.
  4. God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.

The apparent paradoxes in Christian theology, instead of being used as proof of falsehood of the Christian faith, actually find an ally in modern physics with similar experience.

I see the sub atomic particles as a good illustration of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.   We can see the absolute freedom of the atom in random freewheeling around by itself but when lumped together to form an object, they follow strictly to natural laws. Likewise, we have free will to make choices but ultimately God is sovereign over all details.

For further reading :  http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1956/JASA12-56Bube.html