Quantum Theology: Christianity And The New Physics -- By: William E. Brown

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 33:4 (Dec 1990)
Article: Quantum Theology: Christianity And The New Physics
Author: William E. Brown


Quantum Theology:
Christianity And The New Physics

William E. Brown*

What fellowship has quantum theory with theology? While science and religion approach truth from different paths, they frequently ask the same questions and explore the same territory. Often what is postulated in one affects the other. Christians believe that certain characteristics of God are revealed in what he has made. An investigation of the creation gives us information about the Creator (Rom 1:20; Psalm 19).

Since the enlightenment our finely-tuned universe has been considered a powerful proof for the existence of an intelligent Creator. But in this century, quantum theory—the so-called “new physics”—has provided a strange twist in our understanding of creation.

On a practical level, quantum physics is the basis for innovations in technology. Lasers, computer chips and nuclear power all owe their discovery and development to the findings of quantum physics. But at the theoretical level the new physics provides a view of reality that is bizarre and disturbing.

The nicely organized world of classical physics is shattered by the implications of quantum theory, and the impact of the discoveries has gone far beyond the realm of physics. When he attended a conference on quantum physics Gary Zukav discovered to his surprise that “their discussion sounded very much like a theological discussion.”1 William Craig has noted: “No serious religious thinker can ignore the tenets of the so-called new physics.”2

Some believe that the discoveries of the new physics provide a mandate to reevaluate the traditional understanding of God and reality. Because of the association often made between the new physics and the new-age movement, many Christians conclude that quantum theory is antagonistic to a Biblical view of God and his creation. This is not conclusion.

The purpose of this paper is threefold: (1) to give some basic information about the development and assumptions of quantum physics; (2) to describe

* William Brown is academic vice president and associate professor of Biblical studies at William Jennings Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee.

the epistemological shift in the philosophy of science as a result of quantum physics; (3) to discuss and evaluate select applications of quantum physics to theological questions.

I. What Is The “New Physics”?

1. The rise of classica...

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