Thursday, 15 December 2011

God Particles and the meaning of life

It was with great interest I read that a senior physicist of Hadron Collider at CERN announced that there was evidence of the existence of the Higgs Boson- the particle that is thought to underpin the subatomic workings of nature. I find these kinds of scientific discoveries and advancements awe inspiring

There is one part of this story that I struggle with; the idea that Higgs Boson is somehow “The God Particle”, and more importantly the suggestion that if it is discovered in the next year as predicted, this will both prove “The Big Bang Theory” and in doing so disprove the hand of God in creation and ultimately God .

I feel this is reflective of the type of consumerism society that we live in, we want everything now and we want answers neatly wrapped up in a bow. There is no room for the unknown or the mysterious. Yet science itself rarely gives definitive answers, Newton´s Law of Gravity was corrected by Einstein’s. It is only what we know now – and knowing the physical facts rarely is enough to understand the meaning of that knowledge for all of life

Higgs himself said of the name, “It embarrasses me”, going on to state that he felt it to be a “misuse of terminology”; it being called “The God Particle” overstates the importance of the particle. If discovered it will still leave many questions unanswered;

Explanation is one thing, however experience and decision are others that are critical to how our lives are lived. Self - giving love is at the heart of the Christian faith, and knowing another human being does not focus on the amounts of chemical compounds we are undoubtedly made up of. My love for my family goes far beyond emotion and relies little on scientific knowledge, however immensely valuable that is. The material of faith remains rich and is not dependent on one discovery or another. Indeed seen through the lens of faith, the work of science is to be welcomed rather than feared, especially if it can be harnessed to improve the lives of those suffering the ravages of poverty and disease. 

God is within and beyond any particles no matter how awe inspiring they may be.

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