Several of my unsaved friends have expressed justifiable enthusiasm at the announcement last week of the discovery of the Higgs boson (a.k.a. ‘God’) particle. I celebrate with them, though in a different way. As such, I thought it worthwhile to look at it more closely.
One of the things that stands out in a lot of the coverage, including the Christian coverage, is the degree to which commentators stop at the mere implication of there being a God of some kind but let’s not get too particular about Who He Is, how He may have revealed Himself, what His name is, or what He expects of us. (They would not use capital letters either.)
That would be too divisive. We can’t prove it scientifically. It’s a private matter of opinion.
Forget about the dyed-in-the-wool atheists. God had a track record of turning them around. It’s the vaguely religious I’m most concerned about. They ought to consider that even the demons would acknowledge the Higgs as pointing to a generic, singular God… and shudder.
MSNBC chose to feature the announcement under a headline which unintentionally says a lot more: “Higgs boson particle may open door to dark matter’s secrets“ –
It opens the door beyond the Standard Model [of physics] for explaining the existence of dark matter, the mysterious substance widely thought to make up 83 percent of all matter in the universe. Dark matter has yet to be directly detected; its presence is inferred based on its gravitational pull… evidence for the enigmatic substance (based on its gravitational effects) is hard to ignore.
Hold the ‘open door’ thought. We’ll come back to it.
The ‘dark’ in ‘dark matter’ does not refer to being without light, or to being sinister. (As we’ll see in a moment, just the opposite!!) It merely means that this matter is ‘dark’ to us. I.e., it is veiled; out of view; enigmatic; unseen… by us. And not only in the visible spectrum. We cannot detect it at all. We can only infer it.
In effect, it is we who are in the dark about it. Our minds are darkened. We are blind. We see only through a glass darkly. We grope about and stumble often. (Believers: I’m using secular language and taking a secular-scientific perspective on purpose here to make a point.)
Yet physics has proven that what we cannot see — this dark matter — is as real as the stuff which makes up the chair in which you chose to place your faith when you sat down to read this, or the shoes you are wearing as you walk along reading this on your mobile device.
Other credible sources put the percentage of ‘dark’ matter to either side of 83%, between the mid 70′s% and ~90% of matter out there. The point is the same:
ALL scientific theories to date about anything and everything in the universe are based on observing a sample that’s at most 1/4th and perhaps 1/6th or less of the actual ‘stuff’ which makes it up. Furthermore, we have no reason to believe that our tiny sample is in any way representative of the other portion — the overwhelming majority of what exists. It might be, but because we can’t see it, the veracity of our limited sample cannot be proven scientifically.
That should not be taken as a cudgel with which to discredit science (which could not exist without an expectation of order, and therefore an orderly Creator) but should drive towards extreme humility in regards to any purely scientific claims to understanding reality.
In other words, contrary to the popular notion that spiritual truth and empirical, practical truth are separate, not united in Truth itself (Jesus), and that religion ought to stay off in a corner while science does its thing, merrily discovering the ‘real’ universe, the fact of dark matter being a super-majority of ‘stuff’ should cause any logical scientific thinker to conclude just the opposite.
I’ll try and suggest why that is so later-on, though no answer is likely to satisfy hardened scoffers, however ‘tight’ and inexorable the logic may be.
This might be a good time to reflect on a very familiar passage in the light of these facts:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
In a spiritual and even a physical-scientific matter-and-cosmos sense then, it is we who are in the dark. The rough analogy would be to our being locked in a room with no windows whilst the sun (Son!) shone brightly just outside. (And yet, in the believer, He is near.) The whole phenomenon is much like what is described in Genesis 3:24 when Adam and Eve are locked out of the Garden.
(Some commentators have suggested — and I agree with them — that this banishment involved not just a geographic relocation or a symbolic act but an actual ‘locking out’ of our conscious being from six or seven empirically proven dimensions of space-time. The fact that God is described as having seven spirits makes this a tantalizing and deeply rich mystery we’ll have to wait to understand fully.)
One theoretical physicist used the room-and-door (a.k.a. Divine Garden-and-world) analogy in commenting on the Higgs discovery to the BBC:
The standard model [of physics] is a little bit like a room. It doesn’t have any windows. We can’t see what physics lies beyond the standard model although we’re pretty certain there is something there. But there is a door to this room. That door is labelled Higgs Boson. We’re going to be looking beyond the standard model.”
Here’s some other coverage from last week’s New York Times:
Confirmation of the Higgs boson or something very much like it would constitute a rendezvous with destiny for a generation of physicists who have believed in the boson for half a century without ever seeing it…
[One thinks of John 20:29 and the words of the resurrected Jesus to Thomas, itself a rendezvous with destiny (rendezvous, from the French, means "present yourselves"): "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."]
Dr. [Fabiola] Gianotti noted that the mass of the putative Higgs, apparently one of the heaviest subatomic particles, made it easy to study its many behaviors. “Thanks, nature,” she said…
[One wonders why an apparent atheist would be inclined to give thanks to something, 'nature', which would be unable to receive it, i.e., what sounds, from her comment, like an impersonal, non-sentient force.]
One implication of their theory was that this cosmic molasses, normally invisible, would produce its own quantum particle if hit hard enough with the right amount of energy…
[When the Trinitarian Godhead planned, from before time, to allow the Son, Jesus Christ, to be hit hard enough by men to be killed, that interaction also produced huge new insight and openings. What had been unseen became visible. The invisible God took on flesh (matter) and opened the door to heaven for those who would trust in Him.]
To the eternal dismay of his colleagues, Leon Lederman, the former director of Fermilab, called it the “God particle,” in his book of the same name, written with Dick Teresi. (He later said that he had wanted to call it the “g****mn particle.”)
[The NYT printed the whole blasphemous word. Those who are offended by the name of God will indeed experience eternal dismay in hell, having made clear that they want no part of the scene portrayed in Revelation 7, but want their own self-centric 'heaven' instead.]
I also liked the way the discovery was described initially in the AP wire, on the 2nd:
Rob Roser, who leads the search for the Higgs boson at the Fermilab in Chicago… compared the results that scientists will announce Wednesday to finding the fossilized imprint of a dinosaur: “You see the footprints and the shadow of the object, but you don’t actually see it.”
HEBREWS 8:4 — …there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.”
COLOSSIANS 2:17 – [food, drink and holidays] are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
HEBREWS 10:1 — For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.
According to Wikipedia’s entry on the subject, the Higgs boson theory…
“…suggests that an unseen field permeates all of space; this field has a non-zero value everywhere, even in its lowest energy state, and other elementary particles obtain mass when they interact with it… Because of its possible role in producing a fundamental property of elementary particles, the Higgs boson has been referred to as the ‘God particle’ in popular culture, although virtually all scientists regard this as a hyperbole.”
In other words, this omnipresent but unseen “field” actually created the fundamental properties of all elementary particles (i.e., all that is seen). And further, it is only via ongoing interaction with this “field” that anything that exists continues to have substance. Point by point, this hard-won, deep, ‘modern’ scientific insight was summed up succinctly by the Apostle Paul, almost 2,000 years ago:
COLOSSIANS 1:15 He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
And still some bristle at the idea of calling the Higgs the God particle. Why can’t they see what ought to be plain, and reach what in any other context would be very logical, easy conclusions about the existence of an unseen, omnipresent, omnipotent, and active God Whose character is entirely consistent with the One revealed in scripture? Paul tells us, in Romans 1 –
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
I find it exciting that science in general, and this discovery in particular continue to verify the reliability of the Word of God. If someone ever asserts the opposite, it’s worth asking them which passage(s) exactly they object to and asking if they’ll sit down to review them with you.
(To add yet another example among many, dozens of passages in Job — the oldest book in Bible, written in the 3rd Millennium BC — anticipate scientific discoveries, across a range of fields, that were made only in the last few centuries.)
I grieve at the so-close-but-yet-so-far, way in which, on its own, the continued discovery of deeper and deeper levels of scientific truth does nothing to open the eyes of so many to the ultimate cause of what they discover. Scripture tells us that many will be right at the door, staring at it, but will not be able to enter the kingdom of God because they refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Christ (king, anointed, Lord, Master, Sovereign, God). Those who attempt to get in via an alternate route are by definition thieves and robbers; they will not be successful.
LUKE 13:24-25 — Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’
MATTHEW 25:10 And while they [the 'foolish virgins'] were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
JOHN 10:7-9 – Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
REVELATION 3:8,12 — And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name… The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. [Structurally speaking, pillars often frame doors.] Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
By contrast, the call to the end-times, largely apostate, lukewarm, health-and-wealth ‘gospel’ Laodicean (“of the people”) church is to a few individuals amidst a sea of folks who claim to be religious but are in fact deaf to God:
REVELATION 3:20 — Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. [He's standing outside of this church! He's not welcome in it.]
MATTHEW 7:13-14 — Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
REVELATION 22:13 — I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
The initial theory of the Higgs boson was developed circa 1964 but became more widely known only later, with the 1993 release of a book entitled, “The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?”
Good question!! The first question of the Westminster Catechism, (thoroughly grounded in scripture) gives us both question and answer. It tells us simply:
Q: What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
What’s on the other side of the door outside the room of 10-25% of reality that we inhabit? The Living God. Christ. And yet the paradox: for the believer, He is inside as well. He has broken into the realm Satan stole and conquered it by his blood, making us citizens not of this realm but the heavenly place where He rules forever.
For the non-believer, He whom the folks Paul describes in Romans 1 is standing outside because they absolutely do not want to acknowledge for Who He Is and what he’s done for us. Why not? Because, before his grandeur and wrath, and in light of the wealth of knowledge available to them, they are without excuse unless they bend their knee in reverent fear and love. Pride gets in the way.
Those outside of Christ stand, and will stand utterly naked at the judgment seat — unjustified to be in the presence of a Holy God by definition. It’s not that he’s mean or spiteful. He died for you, fergoodnessakes. On a cross! Torture in extremis. For you. In our place. In yours. What we all deserved. And yet some still will not deign to accept his incredible gift.
The King of the Universe has given men a clear and simple way to come into His presence and many have said, in effect: No thanks, I’ll have it my way instead. I won’t call you God and won’t even call a particle by your name. I have no need of you or your Son. I have no desire to know you for who you really are.
To which God must say, OK, have it your way then. By constrast, to those with ears to hear, such as John the Apostle, what awaits is amazing…
REVELATION 4:1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
2 At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.
5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”