Quantum Physics as a Means of Leading Scientists to Christianity
Rev. Seiichi Ariga, Ph.D.
There has been an ongoing discussion on our email list at:
about the influence of Quantum Physics on Christianity. One of our members, Rev. Seiichi Ariga, Ph.D. is both a Christian Minister and Physicist. So, I emailed Seiichi and posed a couple questions to him:
"Are there Quantum Physicist coming to faith in God as a result of their discoveries at the micro-level?"
"Does our knowledge of the quantum level provide us with more 'scientific' information that can easily lead the inquiring mind to seriously consider the existence of a Creator?"
The following is Seiichi's response to me. I felt his response so well researched and thought out that it should be posted on the web site for the benefit of other inquiry minds. I have pasted below his response to my questions.
Sorry it took me a while to respond to your last question. I needed to seek advice from "real" physicists before I give my answer. I consulted two professor emeriti, a theoretician of elementary particle physics and an experimentalist in nuclear physics. The former is non-Christian while the latter is an active Christian.
When I asked the question you posed, "Are there Quantum Physicist coming to faith in God as a result of their discoveries at the micro-level?", both of them said they were not aware of any physicist who falls into that picture. The Christian physicist even laughed and said he knows more examples of "the other way", means physicists who have left the church because they had advanced in science.
As I further questioned them, however, both of them agreed with me that both religious and non-religious scientists have more awe to the extremely orderly form of nature, and submit themselves to the "yet-unknown" something/somebody (italics mine). In this sense, they do not deny, if already believe, there is Creator. They, however, tend to reject a simplistic explanation or definition of God in religious terms and any decent scientist would laugh at such a simplistic idea, for example, that the big bang theory is a proof of Genesis 1.
These my older colleagues also suggested that there is an ongoing question to many scientists' mind as to why we have ability to understand mathematics and to formulate mathematical expression of virtually every natural phenomenon. We have a very special kind of brain for sure, and we can attribute it to the "power" that is beyond our understanding.
I do not know of any physicists who have come to faith through quantum physics. I did get acquainted with a professor of brain neurology who has become an active Christian in my denomination. He said he had been caught by an inexplicable awe when he was examining the mechanism of brain function. He concluded that nobody-else than God could have made the brain in such an orderly and sophisticated manner.
So, I can comfortably assume that very many scientists do have a sense of awe to God, but at the same time they are not satisfied with traditional explanations about God and attitude of church as a whole. I often feed it sad that I can often have a deeper spiritual discussion with skeptical students and scientists than so-called "religious" people. We Christians need to be more humble and open-minded, keeping the same kind of awe to God than pretending as if we know God better than those scientists (Italics mine).
I don't know if I have already answered to your question, especially the one, "does our knowledge of the quantum level provide us with more 'scientific' information that can easily lead the inquiring mind to seriously consider the existence of a Creator?". For me, both Newtonian and quantum physics are maps; in an analogy, the former being an Atlas while the latter being a local map. Both express the orderly reality of creation. Galileo never denied God. It was the Church who denied his new map of God's creation.
In other words, quantum physics provides us with a far more precise map of a part of God's creation, and in this respect we get more precise knowledge and understanding of God at least indirectly, but I myself don't think science can ever decisively "prove" the presence or absence of God. To me, God is, like parents, somebody whom we trust and accept without proof. Today DNA may prove my own father being my real biological father, but I don't need such a proof, for I know my father, together with my mother, loved me and cared for me, and that is enough to me. Ultimately, acceptance of God is a matter of faith, not of scientific proof or anything as DNA (Italics mine).
If we Christians would like to bring those inquisitive scientists into faith community, however, I think we should examine our old maps (beliefs, doctrines, dogmas, etc.) more seriously and become more open-minded to refer to the new maps that science would provide us. This does not necessarily mean that we must throw our old maps away and accept new maps uncritically. An old map may still be relevant and a new map may contain false information. Further, it is more dangerous to make a simplistic harmonization of old and new maps. Such a map may mislead people more easily than a single old map would.
I am exhausted. I hope this would have been helpful to your further thinking.
Peace be with you,
©2006 Seiichi Ariga All rights reserved.