Quantum Physics and Christian Theology

Quantum Physics and theology have come together. It once again demonstrates that science and theology are friends and not foes. They complement each other rather than contrast each other. This coming together of both science and theology can bring us closer to the truth or to verisimilitude as Karl Popper would teach us. Of course, the two disciples are focusing on different aspects of the truth. Maybe the two books theory of Galileo and Kepler may assist us to understand their independence and inter-relations. Galileo and Kepler taught us that God gave us to books. One is read by the Scientists, which consists of the works of God while the other is read by the Priests which consists of the word of God or Scriptures. Both Word and Works come from the same author God and, therefore, are in harmony with each other. There is a hermeneutical circle between science and theology. St Augustine has already emphasized this when he underlined the process of believing in order to understand and understanding in order to believe. Faith cannot escape this hermeneutical circle. Today both theology and science can mutually illuminate each other and thus bring about the growth of our faith and the progress of society. Hermeneutics of trust is testing critically hermeneutics of suspicion leading to dialogue between theology and science promoting a comingling of faith and life at the deepest level. Being a catholic, I am trying to open the hermeneutical circle between science and Christian tradition and yet remain open to the challenge and perplexing nature of inter-faith disagreement that may arise because of this exclusive indulgence.

Quantum Insight and Christic Insight

We can find parallels between the manner in which there were struggles to understand both Christic insight and quantum insight. The early church struggled to understand the dual nature of Jesus Christ and early 20th-century physicists struggled to understand the dual nature of light/ reality. Just as 20th-century quantum physics led us to a new synthesis of reality at the subatomic level, so too the early church was led by the Holy Spirit to assist the faithful to understand the human and divine natures of Jesus Christ and arrive at it the understanding of itself as both human and divine as the mystical body of Jesus Christ. Maybe we have the challenge to understand the truth and dogma of the council of Nicea and the council of Chalcedon that definitely proclaimed the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ in the light of quantum duality. Aristotelian hylomorphism ( Principle of Matter and Form) has done it is served with great distinction. Maybe now is an opportune time to understand the mystery of the Incarnation in the light of quantum physics. Perhaps, quantum physics can provide the best model to understand how the person of Jesus Christ was and is simultaneously human and divine.

Quantum Insight and Sacramental dynamism

Matter and form righty bring the dual dimensions of matter and grace at work in the working of seven sacraments. But they just bring together matter and grace and do not fully model how the visible matter and invisible grace come together and make the sacraments effective. Moreover, the principle of matter and form have become outdated in science and is no longer evoked to describe the unity and stability of substance. Perhaps, God’s covenant and grace are working at the quantum level in the sacraments. Quantum models, therefore, can provide us with deeper insights into the inner dynamism of the working of the seven sacraments. Quantum entanglement and quantum tunnelling might provide models to understand that sacraments truly matter and grace all the way down. Otherwise, it appears that there is only an external combination of form and matter and maybe the inner dynamism is left to work only through grace alone forgetting the principle that grace works through matter. In Jesus Christ, we have come to understand that God reaches out to us through mediation. Jesus Christ is the only mediator par excellence. Perhaps, quantum theory offers us new possibilities for understanding how sacraments are acts of divine mediation in Jesus Christ and his Church that share salvific grace to with us.

Quantum Insight and the Holy Trinity

Faith and theology have opened us to the life of the mystery Holy Trinity. The mystery of one God and three persons defies our human rational logic. It is the divine logic of excessive love and cannot be fully assimilated human mind. St. Augustine has taught us to bow in humble faith before this magnificent mystery of the divine. The dynamism of quantum reality can bring new light into the mystery of circumincession or perichoresis of the Holy Trinity as well as offer us a leap of consciousness to understand the oneness of the triune God. This requires new thinking that has been called bottom-up thinking by Anglican priest and mathematical physicist John Polkinhorne, bottom-up thinking. It is about moving from experience to understanding faith. This involves openness to creativity as well as constraints of already established dogma. It tries to understand the already established dogmas of faith in the light of quantum findings of science. Maybe this method reminds us about Christology from below and Christology from above or as we India describe a bullock cart theology and helicopter theology. Obviously, the bottom-up method chooses Christology from below or what we call the bullock cart theology in our country.

Conclusion

Quantum theory offers us new ways of doing theology. There are already several theologians who are walking this path. It can certainly expand the horizons of theology and bring new light to the already-established dogmas of our faith. St. Thomas Aquinas dialogued with the best Science of his times (Aristotle’s Physics) producing a great synthesis of faith, we too have the challenge to dialogue with the most successful theory (quantum theory) of our times and bring new insights into theology. This task will also lead us to a larger mission of evangelization of science.

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