In my last article I pondered some of the issues surrounding Deepak Chopra’s quantum theory of divinity. This post will jump further into the world of quantum physics. As before, I must preface with my own naivety when it comes to this field of discipline. The writing that inspired this post was an article in National Geographic entitled ” The God Particle”. The focus of this article is on the massive Hadron collider that is set to launch its most extensive tests later this year. In case you haven’t heard of this massive machine, let me give you a quick run down. The Hadron collider is a vortex of tubes and magnets which pulses high level particle beams through it at a high rate causing them to collide at its center. The purpose of this machine is multi-faceted. However, its overarching purpose is to see what happens when particles collide.
Now in case you failed science class like I did, let me give a quick rundown of our current understanding of physical reality. Our material world is made up of tiny molecules. These tiny molecules can be broken down into Atoms. Beyond Atoms lies a world of particles which are classified as protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons can be broken down into quirks and gluon’s. As far as electrons, physicists think that these are foundational. Protons and neutrons are classified as hadrons, which give the collider its name. While there are many things that happen when particles collide, the one that fascinates me the most is the possible discovery of what has been coined “the god particle” (or the Higgs Boson particle as it is properly referred).
Broken down as simply as possible, the god particle is the carrier of what physicists theorize is a Higgs field. This field is what gives particles their mass. Borrowing from the physicist John Ellis, the Higgs field is like mud on a rainy day. As particles, like shoes, pass through the field, or mud, they collect varying amounts of mass dependant on their sub-atomic structure. Thus some bigger particles collect large quantities of mass, while some are so small that they simply float right over the surface without any growth. Put another way, the Higgs particle can be said to be the creator of life or mass in particles. So when particles collide and explode in a mess of energy it is theorized that the Higgs particle goes to work giving new mass to the ball of particles. This unseen creator is as close as one comes to the God of physicists. As of now, the god particle is the theorized core of all existence.
All of this is fascinating to me, but the real question is, so what? What does some underground particle collider have to with my personal understanding of God? The answer to this question is much simpler than quantum physics. Put colloquially, I want to know if I am praying to a bunch of particles. My spiritual journey to this point, has been about finding God. This is why I study and pray and worship. For most of my life I attempted this search under the constraints of a specific tradition of Christianity. Now I don’t mean to put down Christian tradition. All I am saying is that I have recently felt like the boundaries of Christianity were too limiting for me to find all I wanted of God. Thus I have undertaken the task of broadening my scope to include other religious traditions as well as secular ones. After all, I just want to find God, I don’t care who helps me get there. So when a group of physicists say they have found God and “he” is something called a Higgs field I listen to what they are saying. Now I understand many of the inherent weaknesses in this perspective of God. First of all, the Higgs field is a scientific theory ( which as many will point out is not much different than theology). Furthermore, even if God is a Higgs field, this doesn’t prove whether or not this field has a conscience or some form of intention in its creative design. Its quite possible that during the process of smashing particles together a white bearded man will emerge from the particle mayhem and declare himself Higgs God of the universe. Its also just as possible that no discernible field will come through. This experiment may end up proving only that the Higgs theory is incorrect. Whatever the result I will be watching just in case it turns out I’ve been praying to particles.