On July 4 scientists announced the discovery of an important particle in the universe: the Higgs boson. It has been called the “God particle.” Some say that this discovery is another important step toward proving that our universe exists without God. Is that true?
First of all, despite the fireworks coming from the scientific community over this triumph of human intellect, many riddles about the nature of our universe remain unsolved (What in the world is “dark matter”?). But why this preoccupation with trying to disprove God’s existence anyway?
Scientific exploration in our world was carried on for thousands of years by men and women who assumed that careful study of the physical world yields answers because the physical world operates based on observable and predictable laws. The laws governing our universe are guaranteed by the Lawgiver: God.
Because God is the Designer, his world exhibits design, complex beauty which is worthy of our careful study. And because God has created each of us in his image, we have curious minds capable of recognizing and appreciating design.
But another group of scientists has gained prominence. They assume that God is a myth, so there is no design and no guarantee of answers. The question of why the world operates according to laws and principles is taboo with this newer group. In fact, physical laws are merely accidental forces that are to be described and manipulated, nothing more.
For instance, the law of gravity is manipulated in order to produce flight. Asking why our universe should have a law of gravity is dangerous because it might lead back to the search for God. Just fly and don’t ask too many questions.
The godless scientists come with a curious irony. When badly outnumbered by the God-believing scientists, they insisted on their right to think and explore outside the established dogma. Now they refuse to allow others the same courtesy. They insist on limiting exploration of the universe by closing the door on God, or trying to.
But the God question refuses to go away, why? Because questions about “the beginning” are unavoidable and yet they seem to be beyond the reach of human science. “The beginning” seems to hide behind a mysterious cosmic curtain that human science is incapable of piercing.
Some scientists may wish to limit the debate, but human curiosity will not be silenced. If scientists have found the Higgs boson, great! but how did it originate? Why does it exist at all? If science finds a particle that explains the beginning of the Higgs particle then we must ask how that particle originated.
The Bible addresses our desire to know about “the beginning.” Scripture starts with these momentous words in Genesis 1, “In the beginning God created. . . .” The answer to the beginning of the Higgs boson, of dark matter, and of everything else is God.
Here is the problem for those who want to cut God out: God does more than answer questions about beginnings. Once we admit that God cannot be removed from the equation then we are faced with the next logical question. Who is God and what is he like?
According to Scripture God is holy, righteous, and just. As our Maker, he expects us to be holy because he is holy. To refuse living by his standard is to fall under his judgment. To admit that disobedience is wrong and seek his forgiveness is to experience his mercy and love.
Maybe God would be more acceptable to secular science if he simply answered questions about the physical universe without bringing in moral, ethical, and spiritual matters. But God is indivisible. To have his answers about origins is to face his challenges about ethics.
Secular people think that scientific exploration of the universe, and everyday life, should be liberated from God. Such a freedom, however, comes at a terrible cost. Without God we lose the ability to ever answer the questions about the origins of our universe and about the source of the laws that govern it. But even more hangs in the balance.
Without God there is no fixed standard of truth, goodness, and love. In a godless universe these are not eternal realities, they are simply human ideas, subject to constant change, suspension, or cancellation. But fortunately for us, God has not changed his name nor will he ever change his character.
The God question persists because God persists. The stubborn question about “the beginning” is a reminder that like God, morals, ethics, and spirituality will never be expelled from human experience. And because God is eternal and God is love, then love is eternal.
Am I saying that without God there is no love? Yes I am. And without God there is no science. Science depends upon the laws of physics and the laws of physics depend upon the Lawgiver. Don’t allow anyone to limit you in your quest to learn about “the beginning.”
Richard Foster, Grace Baptist Church, July 2012
Printed July 2012; Camden News; Camden, AR.