The God Particle

Jan Antonsson

Higgs

The Glory Road Blog, A Kingdom Highway

September 29, 2017

Neosho, MO

“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3, NIV).

This title has been coming to me for several weeks now, not surprising since three of the four courses I took from The Great Courses were on Physics. As I’ve written before, I’ve long been interested in Physics because it describes how the world works, why planes fly and how combustion engines cause the car to move.  

Alas, my math skills are rudimentary at best.  My college and graduate school degrees are in English and Spanish literature, not math.  Since Physics is explained by math equations, I figured there would be no way I could understand it.  The Great Courses, however, changed that perspective for me, because the material is presented conceptually, using math calculations rarely.

The term “God particle” first grabbed my attention in 2008.  It was used to describe an elementary particle that Physicists believed was a prime component of understanding how the Universe works.  A scientist friend complained that religious people know nothing about science, to which I replied that scientists know nothing about God or the Bible.  Neither statement is totally true, but the great gulf fixed between Christians and scientists has bugged me for almost 60 years now.

The“God particle” nickname came from Leon Lederman’s book The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?  Lederman was a gifted physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1988 for another discovery.  The particle in question is the Higgs boson, which is named after Peter Higgs, another gifted physicist who was instrumental in its discovery, for which he was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2013.  Its discovery was announced on July 4, 2012.

My interest in the “God Particle” sprang from my hope that scientists were finally giving God some credit for His magnificent creation, but actually, it was the press which kept the term alive. Most Physicists themselves apparently hate the term.

Dr. Sean Carroll is the excellent professor of the Course I took on the Higgs boson, as well as author of  the book, The Particle at the End of the Universe, which I just finished.  He began the course by stating, “God had nothing to do with the Higgs boson or finding it.”  Oh really?  I’m sure the Apostle Paul would be shocked to hear this, but maybe not since he spent time with the philosophers in Athens and introduced them to the “unknown god” they had been honoring.

In Dr. Carroll’s book, he explained the importance of finally finding the Higgs boson, the cost for which was about nine billion dollars:  

“It should be clear why Leon Lederman thought that the God particle was an appropriate name for the Higgs boson. That boson is the hidden piece of equipment that explains the magic trick the universe is pulling on us, giving particles different masses and thereby making particle physics interesting. Without the Higgs, the intricate variety of the Standard Model would collapse to a featureless collection of pretty much identical particles, and all the fermions (of which humans are composed), would be essentially massless.  There would be no atoms, no chemistry, no life as we know it. The Higgs boson, in a very real sense, is what brings the universe to life. If there were one particle that deserves such a lofty title, there’s no question it would be the Higgs” (Page 37).  End quote. 

Now we’re getting somewhere, though Dr. Carroll would be loath to give God Himself the credit.  But think about it with me.  The existence of the Higgs boson has been suspected since the 1960s, based on indications too complicated for me to really understand and/or explain to you.  Scientists believed it existed but couldn’t determine exactly what it was, how it worked, or how to find it.  They couldn’t prove it existed, and isn’t that why many scientists don’t believe in God? They can’t find Him in a test tube and if they can’t prove His existence, then He doesn’t exist in their minds.  Clearly they never met Him up close and personal.

I have been enjoying the daily blogs from Quora.com, in which the public can ask questions and scientists, physicists mostly, answer them.  One such scientist who was asked why he didn’t believe in God, replied, Because I’ve never seen a miracle.  Show me one and we’ll talk about it.”  There are miracles all around us everyday, but perhaps the word has been cheapened by events that a scientist thinks can be explained by observation and experiment.  Such a person would not give any credence to this statement by Paul: 

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:16-17, ESV).

Still, most of us can relate to Hamlet’s statement in Shakespeare’s play by the same name:  “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy” (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5).  In other words, we cannot figure everything out logically, with our minds.

Putting aside for the moment, the misunderstanding and lack of common ground between religion and science, it comes to me that even dedicated, committed Christians, who have been believing in and serving God for 60 or more years, still have trouble accessing His presence.  Perhaps it is because they don’t understand the mystical nature of our relationship with Father God.  In his meditation  on 9/24/17, Fr. Richard Rohr commented, “Many Christians are scared of the word “mysticism.” But a mystic is simply one who has moved from mere belief or belonging systems to actual inner experience of God.   End quote.

We find everything we need to live an overcoming life only by experiencing Christ, and His bounty in our lives, but in times of trial, trouble, terminal illness, natural disaster, extreme privation and loss, or just garden variety frustration, how do we access Him?  Someone is sure to say,  “I know God’s presence is the answer, but how do I get there?  I know I have His peace, but why can’t I feel it?”  And that my friends, is the dilemma we all face at one time or another. 

Church groups, fellowship meetings, prayer sessions, even entire denominations have begun based on this need to feel God’s Presence in our time of sorrow and trouble, though trying to follow “how to” instructions from someone else’s leading has been mostly unsuccessful.  

If I had a sure fire formula, a guaranteed result program, I would give it to you right now.  The Psalmist had as fine a plan on how to do that as anything else I’ve read: My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation (my deliverance) (Psalm 62:1).

I can’t tell you  exactly how I access the presence of God, but maybe I can suggest when.  It is often in the fiery collisions of life, in the low points of suffering, doubt and fear, and the destruction of our pride and ego that we come face to face with the One with whom we have to do.  It is in those moments of total defeat and complete failure, when we are at the end of our rope, that we finally acknowledge that our plans, our will, our goodness, our works count for absolutely nothing.  The One who said, “Let there be light,” shines in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6, ESV).  

It can be a crushing blow to our ego and pride to acknowledge that we, God’s children, “were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13, ESV).

Father, help us by Your grace, to view the pain and suffering caused by our failures, as a gift rather than a punishment, and to know that Your perfect will, delivers us from ourselves.  We cheer as You lift us up from Mount Sinai’s fire and thundering, and terror,  and set our feet on Mount Zion, where we join an innumerable company of angels and the church of the firstborn.  Together, we  rejoice that You have shaken our heaven and earth, so that only that which cannot be shaken remains.  (See Hebrews 12:18-23; 26-28.)

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” Amen.  Jan Antonsson

Jan Austin Antonsson

17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail Address)

All our writings from 1997-2010 are on

The Glory Road

Our writings from 2010 to the present are on this blog.

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