News came out this week that scientists may have discovered the Higgs-Boson particle, known to us lay folk as the “God particle” (but, apparently, many scientists don’t like us calling it that). This is an elementary particle in physics which some are hailing, in its potential discovery, as a scientific revelation which could explain how the universe came to be.
The human race has a fascination with origins, whether it’s of the human race itself, or the development of the earth, or the universe as we know it. We often think in this regard of Charles Darwin, because of the controversy stirred up over the theories created by, and spawned by, some of his discoveries. But consider that many learned people put thousands of hours each year into ongoing research on the origin of humanity, the earth, and the universe even today.
And consider that enough money has been spent on space exploration in the past fifty years to solve all of the world’s hunger and debt problems – probably many times over. To be sure, our curiosity has captured the imagination, and the finances, of governments in several countries around the world. Humanity is looking for answers to a lot of questions.
There was a time when theology was called “the Queen of Sciences”. Many scientists were also theologians! People who searched for life’s meaning were often followers of Jesus, and they did their scientific research in the light of their faith. There are still some scientists who are people of faith. (One example is Francis Collins, who was the lead researcher in the Human Genome Project; he has written about his experience in light of his faith.)
Much ink has been spilled and many trees cut down in Jesus’ name in an attempt to demonstrate either the absolute separation of, or peaceful coexistence between, science and faith. Many Christ followers hold strong opinions, either that the Bible is a reliable science book in contrast to scientific effort, or that the work of science need not necessarily look exactly like the stories of the Bible in order for each to have value for the person of faith.
The rest of us, well, we don’t really have strong opinions one way or the other. And frankly, I think that’s okay. It’s also why I’m quite comfortable with the term “God particle”, because, as I see it, the how that scientists seek, is less important than the who or the why of world origins on which Scripture is quite clear.
Some folks major on the minors – mostly because they think they are majors, not minors. For followers of Jesus, the major needs to be who, not how. When we believe that God is the who, that has a significant influence on our study of how. And for us, the baseline for any conversation is simply this: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1.1, NIV). The rest follows from that. God, for us, is more than a particle!