God has invested complexity and richness in his physical world.
Three massive science instruments are poised to reveal more about God’s creation. The James Webb Space Telescope, successfully deployed one and a half million kilometres from Earth, is delivering amazing pictures of the scope and beauty of the cosmos. Near Geneva, Switzerland, the upgraded Large Hadron Collider, operated by CERN (from the French for European Organization for Nuclear Research), is revving up to see if we can understand the Higgs boson better. Finally, a trio of giant detectors, filled with tons of frigid liquid xenon, are beginning the next phase of the search for weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). Together these three big science projects could reveal significant facets of how creation works.
What we already know about God’s cosmos reveals a beautiful, complex place. The pictures released by NASA from the Webb telescope are rich, showing water on planets rotating around other stars, the births and deaths of stars, and the formation of galaxies, all through light that has traveled billions of years to reach us. At CERN, the discovery of the Higgs boson 20 years ago confirmed the Standard Model in physics. But the Standard Model is also incomplete, as gravity is not included. The world, quite simply, is stranger than we know, and the search is on to find out how. Meanwhile, WIMPs are a leading explanation for dark matter, thought to make up 85 percent of the matter in the universe, but all work to date has failed to find them. This failure could lead to even weirder theories about how the universe is held together.
If God has invested such complexity and richness in his physical world, we should not be surprised that similar richness can be found both in life on Earth and in our human selves. The planet’s diversity of plants, animals and microbes has kept scientists busy for generations and is still surprising us with new information. Our brains are sometimes called the most complex things on earth, and our consciousness defies current understanding and leads to a dizzying range of different societies.
And then there’s the Bible. When I look to God’s special revelation, I see stories full of beauty and complexity, open to multiple explanations. Sometimes these stories seem to break the rules. Our Lord mentions the eating of the bread of the Presence by David (Matt. 12:4), but we all know many similar “dark” stories in the Old Testament. The story of Naaman, who took two mule loads of earth to worship the Lord but still bowed to Rimmon (2 Kings 5:17, 18), suggests complexity in worship and in the law that often is missed today.
When I read these stories, I’m humbled and encouraged as God seems to accept and love us in the entanglement and richness of our lives and relationships. It would be simpler if pi were equal to 3 rather than to the irrational 3.141… , but thank the Lord that is not what he has created and written in the book he has given us.