The God Particle
This entry, lengthy but by no means “tongue in cheek” relates to the recent discovery of the elusive subatomic particle, to which all mass is now attributed, the Higgs boson. A boson by the way is defined as “any of a group of elementary particles, such as a photon or pion,that has zero or integral spin and obeys the rules of Bose-Einstein statistics.” 1 Does that help?
I too seem to have my own elusive “particle”, though with limited statistical evidence I’ll admit, but supported by multiple life experiences that have been somewhat replicable. For that reason, I run the risk of being misunderstood as I process publicly. For the sake of my writing, I will call my God particle, the “His” boson”!
No, this is not some anti-dinosaur rage in defense of the Creation story! I have always been captivated by science; man’s best attempts at physical truth seem to come from this process. I even hold a degree in Biology now 40 years old, though easily discounted if one so desires.
I understand that this recent discovery comes out of a pursuit under way since 1964, when Peter Higgs first theorized the existence of such a particle. That takes me to the “why” for my entry this morning. Why do we as believers so easily settle for a religion that promises so much more than the average life experiences? I find my personal devotions also quite timely, a story of a similar collision of cosmic forces as described by John in the pages of The Revelation, Chapter twelve. This is the story of a great battle in the heavens, possibly long before the Big Bang.
I will now need some latitude from the reader, both those who believe in the Big Bang and the Creation purist as well. I struggle with both at times, yet possibly neither. I am simply trying to sort through “findings” from 63 years of a phenomenal God experience, one that has delivered numerous physical manifestations, though less often in a church setting and never in a science laboratory that I recall. My objective is neither to bash the church nor the laboratory, just authentic processing, given what I am currently reading.
By the way, one more piece of evidence: a book by Dietrich Bonhoeeffer called Life Together. Bonhoeffer’s book clarifies certain necessary life disciplines in order to foster true body life, Christian community. As a scholar, he is “scientific” in his approach, and even more difficult to discard as overly religious, if one knows his story. Born in Germany, he was sent to America early on by those who valued his life as a scholar and theologian. He was later hanged by Hitler’s direct order at the Flossenbürg concentration camp, on 9 April 1945 at 39 years of age. He had moved back to Germany out of love for the then erring Lutheran Church, though unwilling to contend with his country’s infatuation with this mad man, and the atrocities eventually evident by all, though ignored by many, even the clergy.
Parenthetically, I chill to think what might have happened on this globe had he and others not challenged Hitler, by then deep into his own “scientific ventures” a demonic attempt to create a master race! Ironically, many of those who defected from his regime were responsible for laying the foundation that affords the technology behind today’s discovery of the “God particle.”
Certain parallels exist between those who seek physical truth in the laboratory at all costs, and those who seek spiritual truth, many to their death. Surely something of substance is behind the passion of both “sides.” Of interest to me also are the moments of cross over among those who remained unbiased by either science or religion; brilliant men, many who have contributed to both.
I am also intrigued by the unexplained moments in my own life and those of others, when physical and spiritual realities intersect. Celtic tradition called these moments “Thin Spots.” My life has been privileged with many, in fact my next book, The Journey to Delight is an attempt to capture just a few.
If discoveries like this elusive Higgs Boson drive the passion of brilliant men for a lifetime, (the physicist for which this elusive particle is named, teared up as he was interviewed), why are we as spiritual believers not more committed to our faith? We have seen just as much evidence of our position. Ancient scriptures, even across multiple religions give credence to this faith “boson.” Though more than any subatomic particle, this Being we call God, holds a capacity that exceeds the Hadron Collider, hurling particles together with His voice, the Big Bang possibly our first demonstration! His love, once experienced certainly enables one to comprehend the literal sculpting of human living beings from clay, yet holding the wisdom to guide a complex galaxy in its formation, especially one that affords such apparent intellectual design as our own.
“Give me evidence” cries the skeptic! I can no more satisfy that demand than Higgs could in 1964, though now we have some evidence, at least see a shadow of his boson.
We too have shadows: The Old Testament. When one cross examines the story alongside of that revealed in the New, we are offered perspective, not unlike what CERN observed in their own a reversed video of this momentous collision of subatomic particles.
However, if believers are not able to replicate on demand (as I suspect will even be the case for the Higgs boson for some time), it does not mean God does not exist, but more the dilemma of our own spiritual technology. Back to Bonhoeffer. His premise along these lines is that we are connected spiritually as a community of believers, not unlike a physical body. If then we are truly a body, and yet lack the disciplines required to fully live into the hidden revelations of this never intended to be scientific journal we call The Bible, we may miss critical manifestations otherwise afforded.
“Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.” James 5:14 (NIV). Remedy for our physical illness is implied when discipline and revelation reign. In fact, Bonhoeffer boldly acclaims that when sickness is present among believers, chances are the body is simply manifesting physically something that has become hidden spiritually among those who compose the body, and not necessarily the one who is sick!
Some of us recoil at science when breakthroughs occur, and yet sit comfortable in our pews long after any real evidence of God has left our sanctuaries, let alone our lifestyles. Where are the men like Bonhoeffer, James or Paul, who knew God and were persuaded that He was able “to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV); and, for that reason would lay down their life so that others would not miss this “spiritual boson”.
1 Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003