Friday, July 6, 2012

God Created the Higgs Boson

Isaiah 46:9 “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other;  I am God, and there is no one like Me

How Science has been understanding the world of the extremely small for the past century
In the world of physics a major announcement was made that a new particle called "The Higgs Boson" was observed on July 4, 2012 for the first time.  Over the course of the past century scientists have been developing how we understand the underlying structure of physical reality.  For roughly fifty of those years, a model called "The Standard Model" has been used.  From the discovery of the existence of the electron in 1893 to the supposed discovery of this newest particle, science in general, and the Standard Model in particular, have been useful  in helping us understand our sub-atomic world.  This model identifies objects such as protons, neutrons and electrons (stuff that we learned in school) and nearly sixty other different types of sub-atomic particles are categorized according to their mass, their characteristics and interractions with one another.

A Brief Look at the Higgs Boson or what scientists call "The God Particle"
Like the periodical chart of the elements we all had to memorize in our highschool chemistry courses, the standard model of particle physics has its own chart.  For decades we've experimentally demonstrated the existence of every particle predicted by the model except one - "The Higgs Boson".

In short, "The Standard Model" suggests that the sizes, shapes and masses of the particles that make up everything we see from tables to toddlers is based upon how those particles interract within a field of energy that pervades the entire universe called the "Higgs field".  The reason for this nickname "the God particle" is due to the Higgs' property (as a field, and then as a particle) of supplying mass and shape to every other particle described in the standard model. 

In one way of illustrating, picture a school cafeteria where the entry of certain people will cause the rest of students to act and behave differently.  Whether it be the captain of the football team, the class bully or the Principal will determine whether the students go along the wall, crowd to sit at the same table or line up single file in a neat line.  In the minds of many scientists, this constitutes finding the "Holy Grail" of particle physics, since such a particle may unlock further mysteries of creation itself. 

What the God Particle is and is not - putting this discovery into perspective
Just like the discovery of the laws of Gravity, first articulated by Sir Isaac Newton 500 years ago, the supposed discovery of the Higgs Boson is man's exploration of a property of our universe God Himself wrote into the fabric of creation.  God has given mankind the ability to explore, discover and describe the universe. (Proverbs 2:6)  Despite man's fallen condition, the ability to discovery both the underlying structure and meaning of our universe constititutes partially of what it means to to be made in God's image. (Genesis 1:26-28)

In our current understanding of the universe, the amount of material reality defined by the Standard Model as discussed above only covers 5% of what we know and observe.  To illustrate, lets say I was to give you a puzzle composed of 20 pieces that when completed, would picture the entire universe.  With the discovery of the Higgs Boson, we now have a complete understanding of one of those pieces.  The other 19 pieces are either incompletely understood by our laws of physics or are not understood at all.  We to this day still do not know what occupies the over 90% remaining stuff and energy holding together all of our galaxies and stars (scientists have given the remainder such vague names as "dark energy" and "dark matter") 

The truth still remains - God created the heavens, the earth and yes - the Higgs Boson
If anything, the discovery made this past week is a very important one, but it is one that won't overturn what the scripture asserts in 60 places: That God created the Heavens and the Earth.   Certainly there is nothing wrong in discovering the fact that there could be a special energy field that pervades the universe that is used as a means of supplying the matter we know of its size and shape.  Yet the "Higgs Boson" represents an area that comprises a small amount of what is yet to be discovered.  As long as we don't make the philosophical leap and say that all existence, life and humanity sprang from that field, we will retain the much needed humility and sound reasoning required in both scientific and theological understanding.  To say that the Higgs Field is responsible for the universe, life and humanity itself begs the question: from whence came the Higgs field, life and the universe itself? 

Keep focusing upon Christ, the Author and Finisher of Creation and Redemption
Colossians 1:16-17 tells us the true Power, or rather, the Person behind fields of energy such as the Higgs Field - Christ Himself:  "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." 

As God's people, living in this unprecedented age of discovery and knowledge, may we ever strive to focus our eyes on Jesus Christ, the "Author and Finisher of the Creation" and "The Author and Finisher of our Faith". (1 Corinthians 8:6; Hebrews 12:1-2)

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