Imagine a room full of ecstatic scientists! A little hard to do? Well, at the world’s largest atom smasher (the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, a 17 mile circular underground tunnel), scientists broke into cheers (and even singing) as they announced that they believe they’ve found the “God particle.”
They claim they’ve discovered a subatomic particle matching the description of the Higgs boson, named after the 83 year old physicist, Peter Higgs who first theorized the role of a particle that holds all matter together with a force functioning as a kind of cosmic glue. Without it, Higgs theorized, nothing could exist. (see: video explanation)
“Physicists say they have all but proven that the ‘God particle’ exists. They have a footprint and a shadow, and the only thing left is to see for themselves the elusive subatomic particle believed to give all matter in the universe size and shape.” (John Heilprin, AP)
Physicists are more than 99 percent sure that they’ve found the long-sought particle with a mass 125 times the size of a proton. One scientist said, “For now, it’s time to celebrate a little and spike the ball in the end zone.”
The nickname “God particle” is controversial. It arose through physicist Leon Lederman’s book, The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?. But Higgs, an avowed atheist, wasn’t amused by the nickname. Many other scientists also protested the association of God with the particle (See: “Why Scientists Don’t Like the Term ‘God Particle’ for the Higgs boson,”
Some time ago, William Lane Craig wrote about this moment.
“Scientists hope to be able to discover the Higgs boson, a particle thought to be responsible for the field that imparts mass to various sub-atomic particles. The Higgs boson is frequently called “the God Particle,” not because it has any theological significance but because, like God, it is everywhere but is mysteriously hidden.”
“In layman’s terms,” another source noted, “different subatomic particles are responsible for giving matter different properties. One of the most mysterious and important properties is mass. Some particles, like protons and neutrons, have mass. Others, like photons, do not. The Higgs boson, or “God particle,” is believed to be the particle which gives mass to matter. The “God particle” nickname grew out of the long, drawn-out struggles of physicists to find this elusive piece of the cosmic puzzle” (from Got Questions).
At least 7 primary accomplishments are being associated with this discovery.
- It would help answer basic questions about the universe
- It would reveal the origin of Mass
- It would confirm the standard model for the universe
- It would explain the electroweak force
- It would make supersymmetry a viable theory
- It would justify the Large Hadron Collider (built for approximately $10 billion by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)). The U.S. had a chance to build a supercollider in Texas, but Congress cut off federal funding.
- It would open a new direction for scientific research.
Scientist think that the discovery will substantiate that something could be permeating the universe that gives substance to all things. It will tell us why we’re here and why any of what we see exists.
“The press has dubbed the Higgs boson the ‘God particle,’ a nickname that makes many physicists cringe. But there is some logic to it. According to the Bible, God set the universe into motion as he proclaimed “Let there be light!” In physics, the universe started off with a cosmic explosion, the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago, which sent the stars and galaxies hurtling in all directions. But the key question is left unanswered: Why did it bang? The big-bang theory says nothing about how and why it banged in the first place” (Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at CUNY).
Although none of this has necessary theological implications, I was compelled to reflect on the amazing and clarifying statements of Scripture:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty,darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light” (Genesis 1:1-3).
“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything” (Hebrews 3:4).
“For by him (Jesus Christ) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible . . . all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. ” (Colossians 1:16-17, emphasis mine).
Joe Carter, over at The Gospel Coalition appropriately wrote, “God not only caused the universe to come into existence (Gen. 1:1), he continues to sustain its existence. Every particle in the universe would cease to exist if God were not actively, continuously, and sovereignly ensuring their continued existence. The existence of the universe is as dependent on a Sustainer now as it was dependent on the Creator at the time of the Big Bang. “And he is before all things,” said Paul, “and in him all things hold together.” The Higgs boson may be responsible for holding the universe together, but Jesus holds the “God particle” in it’s place.”
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun” (Psalm 19:1-4).
Look up to the heavens. Look up at the skies. Be still and listen. Their voice and words go out to “all the earth,” to “the ends of the world.” They provide the one universally accessible language on earth! They testify to the glory of their Maker and proclaim the work of His hands!
- A choice between two worldviews
- Creation: an act of imaginative love
- The original creation and subsequent formation
- Who created God or what does blue smell like?