Please explain to me how quantum mechanics explains the reality and existence of God?
Julie didn’t ask the question quite like that—just sort of. Let me summarize what happened and my answer to her. I hope you find my thoughts stimulating, intriguing and assuring.
“I can’t believe how much I enjoy reading physics books and thinking about how God organized and created the universe,” I said to Julie as we lay in bed one night. I was reading another book about quantum mechanics, and she was hoping that I would soon turn off the light so she could go to sleep.
“I’ve read about ten books on the subject and I think I am starting to understand it just a little bit,” I said to her. “In fact, I think that I’ve figured out how quantum mechanics verifies the existence of God.”
“That sounds exciting. Tell me about it.”
“Well, I am not really sure that I can. It’s too complicated.
“You are good at making things simple,” she said, “try me.”
So, I did.
Let’s start with Isaac Newton. Alexander Pope entwined: “Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night: God said ‘Let Newton be! And all was light.” Newton’s laws explain how the world works in the physical realm in which we live. From the orbits of planets to measuring force, mass and acceleration Newton’s laws explain it all.
Then, along came Albert Einstein to upset the physics apple cart with his general theory of relativity. The general theory explains how gravity curves space as illustrated by the bending of light photons as they pass near a massive star. When his theory was actually verified experimentally it became obvious to many physicists that Newton’s Laws simply didn’t work on the macro level—like the size of the universe. For example, scientists must factor in general relativity in plotting satellite orbits if they have any intention actually putting an object in the proper orbit. It they were to depend on Newton they would miss the proper orbit every time.
Newton’s laws are now known to be simply approximations—on every level.
On the other hand, Quantum Mechanics explains the behaviors of atoms on the micro level. Newton’s laws don’t work on this level either. The energy of an atom was found to change only by a discrete quantity named a “quantum". In other words, you can’t have half of a quantum. They either come whole or not at all.
Einstein used Max Planck’s work that explained the glow of hot bodies to suggest that light was a stream of discrete particles. Each particle had the energy level of one quantum.
Quantum Mechanics explains how the sun shines; how TVs produce pictures; why grass is green and the big bang eruption that brought our universe into existence. Computers, game boys, iPads and lasers all depend on the application of quantum mechanics. Without quantum mechanics none of the things mentioned above could be understood or applied.
What makes quantum mechanics so difficult to understand is that everything about it goes against our every day experiences and common sense. J.B.S. Haldane marveled: “Quantum theory is not only queerer than we suppose. It is queerer than we can suppose.” Niels Bohr said, “Anyone not shocked by quantum Mechanics has not understood it".
Here are some counter intuitive truths about Quantum Mechanics. Remember that everything I am about to share has been experimentally verified. In fact, no part of Quantum Mechanics has ever been shown to be inaccurate or false.
- QM tells us that an observation of one object can instantaneously influence the behavior of another greatly distant object even if no physical force connects the two.
- QM tells us that observing an object to be some place causes it to be there. It wasn’t there before you observed it. If we observe an atom to be someplace, it was our looking at it that caused it to be there.
- QM tells us that an object can be in many places and many states at once.
- QM denies the existence of a physically real world independent of someone’s observations of it.
- It is not common sense that one object can be in two far apart places at once.
- Common sense tells us that there is a “real world” whether or not we look at it. But, that is not true. Nothing is real until someone observes it.
- A photon of light—or an atom—is either a wave or a particle depending on what we want it to be.
- Objects can exist in multiple places and only become real and localized when an observer expects it to be somewhere and actually looks for it there.
Einstein struggled with accepting quantum theory and its implications. “I cannot seriously believe in quantum theory because … physics should represent a reality in time and space, free from spooky actions at a distance.” “Spooky actions at a distance” means that two objects speeding away from each other at the speed of light are still instantaneously connected. Fiddle with one particle and the other is fiddled exactly the same even though no one is fiddling with it.
In other words, Einstein wanted things to be real and separate from each other whether someone was looking or not. However, QM reveals that matter is not real and separate—it is unreal while being completely intertwined with everything in existence.
If a tree falls in the forest, does it make any sound? No, of course not. The falling tree produces air waves, not sound. Sound only occurs when a human ear is near enough to process the moving air waves into electrical signals that we “hear” in our brains as “sounds.”
It should be obvious by now that the implications of quantum demand an encounter with human consciousness. Eugene Wigner declared: “It is not possible to formulate the laws of Quantum Mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”
I think that it is safe to say that many physicists ignore the implication that objects in a physical world can actually be directed and influenced by human consciousness. physicists utilize the mechanics and mathematics of QM but most refuse to acknowledge the consciousness enigma (By the way, QM does not support the ideas of mysticism, ESP, etc. for reasons we won’t take time to engage with now).
That evening in bed I was pondering something Einstein said when I had my “eureka” moment.
Einstein once said, “I’d like to think that the moon was there even when I was not looking at it.”
Then it hit me. Einstein may not be observing the moon at some particular moment—but God is. His observation makes it real!
We live in a world with substance and reality because God is presently observing everything on earth as well as all in the universe surrounding us.
From our perspective we live on a big earth in a big universe. We might do well to consider a broader perspective. Maybe our universe is more like the sphere dangling from the cat collar in the movie, “Men in Black.” The sphere was dazzling. Look really closely and see that what hangs around the cat’s neck is actually an entire universe.
Hebrews 11:3 is my Biblical outline of quantum mechanics: “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”
In Genesis 1:1-31 the Bible describes God as thinking and speaking the universe into existence:
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. … And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." And it was so. … And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear."… And it was so. … Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. … And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, … And it was so. … And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." … And God saw that it was good. … And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds … And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let us make man in our image,” … God saw (observed) all that he had made, and it was very good.
John 1:1-3 reveals that God the Son, Jesus Christ, was the One Who carried out the actual creation to make something out of nothing: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made".
When I finished my explanation to Julie, she said, “That was really good. Why don’t you make it an Ask Roger answer for next week?”
So I did.