As I get older and hopefully wiser, I find myself realizing how much drama and excitement there is in the real world, as opposed to my younger mentality where I thought that reality was boring and that the worlds of imaginations were far more interesting. Yet as I learn more about the world that God has made as an expression of His glory, I also learn how much of it truly sounds like fantasy.
I’ve been an armchair theoretical physics fan for a couple of decades now. My favorite book on the subject is Dr. Michio Kaku’s romp through hyperspace, appropriately titled Hyperspace (and I will never get tired of telling anyone who will listen that Dr. Kaku once called my house when I was sixteen to interview me for his radio show after I had emailed my praises for his futuristic tome Visions). String theory, ten dimensions, wormholes, particles and waves – all that stuff really excited me as a teenager. Still does, though not with the same giddiness. These days, it’s more of, “Man, isn’t God amazing?”
One quiet evening, I was perusing the titles on Amazon Prime and came across an episode of Nova called Einstein’s Quantum Riddle and I gave it a go. The program details the discovery of quantum physics and Einstein’s refusal to acknowledge “quantum entanglement,” which essentially means that two particles can somehow be linked across the expanse of space and act and react at the same time despite their vast separation. It sounds ridiculous at first but the math is solid, and later experiments showed it to indeed be a legitimate phenomenon. Scientists are still baffled as to how this could actually take place but it does, and this is leading to breakthroughs in quantum computing that exceed our wildest imaginations.
As I was watching the program, I found myself shaking my head along with Einstein. How can particles be linked across space like that? Relativity shows that nothing can travel faster than light, so how could a signal from one particle to another traverse astronomical distances instantaneously? One scientist put it simply, “Perhaps there is no such thing as space.” For weeks I’ve been trying to wrap my head around that, and I’m still reeling.
We humans, as rational beings, want everything to make sense. Einstein had his world-changing theory of relativity show very beautifully how time and space interact, and then quantum physics came along and caused major disruptions, much to his consternation. There have been numerous attempts to reconcile quantum physics and relativity, with string theory being the closest candidate, but the “Theory of Everything” remains elusive. I wish general and special relativity explained everything because it would feel so nice and satisfying, or if quantum physics was the blueprint for the entire universe, but we also know that relativity is still in play. It’s frustrating that such “nonsense” winds up being true.
Yet through all the upheavals and discoveries and brick walls, God’s glory is magnified, not diminished. There is a tendency for academics and scientists to think, “The more I know, the smaller God becomes,” when in fact it should be the opposite. Even Albert Einstein, a pantheist with a very shaky concept of God, said about quantum mechanics: “The theory yields much, but it hardly brings us closer to the Old One’s secrets.” The more we learn, the more in awe we should be of God’s power and creativity. And while it may cause much frustration and anguish for the brilliant minds here on Earth, it it more than worth the chase.