Yesterday, physicists with the European Organization for Nuclear Research announced the discovery of the Higgs boson, which is more familiarly known as the “God Particle.” Researchers believe that this particle is at the center of how the universe was created and formed.
This is a tremendous discovery and achievement for science. The announcement, coming on the Fourth of July, is worthy of fireworks and celebrations. When a scientific discovery of this magnitude is announced it should be celebrated.
As Christians how do we understand the discovery of the “God Particle?” Does it challenge our faith? Or, does it help us understand something about what it is that we believe? One of our beliefs is that God created the world (Genesis 1-2). If science has discovered the “God Particle,” where is God in this particle?
The answer to this question depends on how one understands the relationship between science and theology. If one believes science and theology are polar opposites and have nothing to offer to the other, then a person is likely to disregard yesterday’s findings as insignificant or science trying to debunk God. On the other hand, if you see a place for science and theology to work together then you are, perhaps, more likely to hear these findings and think about what they mean.
Personally, I do not believe science and theology are characteristically opposed to one another. Each field seeks to do something different and can communicate with one another. The purpose of science is to understand the universe through observations and data. One of the roles of theology is to think about the universe and what God has to say about it. For too long, science and theology have been treated as competitors instead of companions, which is unfortunate. Science can give us a deeper appreciation of God’s creation, while theology can help us to understand the deeper meaning and truth behind observations and facts.
Science, yesterday, gave us a deeper picture of God’s creation. It’s theology’s role to continue to tell the story of the meaning behind creation. That God was at work from the beginning of time in shaping the world for a specific purpose. We are not an accident, but, indeed, created for purpose.
We should celebrate yesterday’s findings, but let us not believe that the finding of a “God Particle” diminishes God, faith, or the role of theology in understanding creation.