Theology and Theoretical Physics

In the past people turned to theology to explain the universe. Today, many people turn to theoretical physics for the same explanations. On the surface these two fields may appear to be very different, but theology and theoretical physics are essentially the same thing. I am sure the theologians and theoretical physicists would disagree, but few people maintain an accurate perspective on their own field. For example, I think philosophy is very important, but you know, it’s probably not.

Philosophy Socrates

At the very least, Philosophy is a great way to kill an afternoon.

Both theology and theoretical physics are concerned with rules and laws to explain the cosmos. Why are things the way they are? What is just over the horizon of our understanding? Theologians are looking for answers from God. Theoretical physicists are looking for answers from that greatest of deities: Math. They are both chasing after the same sunset. They are both looking for the same pot of gold at the end of the same rainbow.

Rainbow

Great, now everyone knows where I hide my gold!

In their pursuits, both theologians and theoretical physicists tend to become myopic in their views. Divine laws and mathematical theories are important, but too much focus on them makes a person blind to more practical understanding. It is great to try and figure out what God wants, but that won’t keep you healthy. It is amazing to understand quantum physics, but that won’t help you get through life.

Working in an office

“Hey, are you working?”             “Well, I was, until you started observing me.”

Focusing too much on theories, on things that may or may not be revealed, shuts a person away from life’s other mysteries. It is like waking up one day on a spaceship and proceeding to spend all of your time looking out the window.

“Don’t you want to know about the ship?” the other passengers ask. “Aren’t you curious about what kind of sensors we have? Do you care who else is on board? Do you know if we have shields or transporters or anything like that? How big is the ship? How is the structural integrity holding up?”

2001 Space Odyssey

“Should we be worried about this ominous red light?”

The theologians and the theoretical physicists on board would give these questions little mind. Those concerns are mundane. They just want to keep staring out the window and thinking about space.

Maybe they will see God, and He will tell them all His secrets. Maybe they will think of an eloquent equation that neatly explains all that exists, including the ship. But they will certainly have a lot of things to say, and they probably won’t be all that helpful to the rest of the crew.

Mathematical Equation

“There is no reason to be afraid. God told me so. And I’ll prove it with math!