Let’s talk Life, the Universe and everything else

Guys, I wanted to introduce a new series of blogs that we are going to be unblushing over the next few weeks / months / years …

We have called this stuff ‘Life, the universe and everything else’. The flavour and focus of these blogs is how we can explore science and God without losing sight of either in the process!

I was at a Men’s event recently and bumped into a gentleman called Dr James Wallace-Hadrill and he shared with me some cool stuff about space and particle physics. I wish I could tell you more about it but I can’t so I thought it might be better for him to do it.

Enough from me, I want to introduce James to you, and this new blog section on the CVM website.

So, if you love science, and want to see how that love of science fuses with the creator who made the lot then read on!

If you have questions of suggestions for topics email in!

Forty years ago I was studying physics at Oxford, being taught to question everything and to place no value on theories and models of reality unless they made predictions that could be tested. My own world view was that Christianity was a benevolent way of life that could teach people to be nicer to each other in some sort of imitation of Jesus, but without any concern for God or eternity. I enjoyed attending traditional church services, and I thought I was a Christian.

Then a friend invited me to a public talk about relationships. I wasn’t sure how useful it would be, and I didn’t want to hear about the shallow sort of relationships I saw around me in the university. But it sounded a bit Christian which was promising, and I didn’t want to offend my friend, so I agreed. There I heard people talking about Jesus, God and eternity in ways I had never heard before, even during confirmation classes. Eternity was something we could experience now, God cares about us and loves us, and Jesus died for our sins, is alive now and wants to be our close friend. How come I had not been told any of this before?

And then the hook: along with this theory about Jesus came a prediction! Something that I could test, and if it failed the test then I could reject it. I wanted it to be true though, everything about it felt right. If I make a commitment to Jesus, turn away from my self-centred life and ask Jesus to enter my life and be my Lord, then he will come in and change me and never leave me. I knew it could not be a shallow test, I would have to really repent and commit myself.

So that evening I made the test, I prayed a heartfelt prayer of commitment, and I went to sleep. Would anything change? I doubted it, I even doubted that I would remember my prayer in the morning. When I woke I was just flooded with joy and excitement, and I realised that was the start of a new life with Jesus. This must be the Spirit giving me confirmation in my heart, and I had no doubt that the answer to the test was a resounding yes! I started meeting with Christian groups to learn more, and there was a huge amount to learn, but now this was not out of curiosity but out of passion.

And I found that my new faith provided what I had always missed in physics: in my physics I was being taught HOW the physical universe ticks, but now I was also learning WHY it ticks – that there is a purpose to our lives which is intimately bound up with God as the creator and sustainer of the universe working out His purposes. While people often assume that science and faith are in opposition, with any thought of God being reduced to filling in the gaps that science cannot explain, I was finding the exact opposite: my understanding of the physical universe was enriched and deepened by seeing the spiritual realities that underlie and drive the physical observables. I even found direct echoes of physical laws in the spiritual truths in the Bible, so that the physics became another way of glimpsing the nature of God.

I spent my twenties doing research in particle physics at CERN, and after postdoctoral research I moved out of academia into IT in industry. I have kept up my interest in physics since however, broadening into astronomy and cosmology, and all of it has enriched my understanding of God’s great creative power. I do have a feeling that the day may come when we find we run out of physical resources to answer the big questions in physics, and we need to turn to our understanding of God instead to answer those questions.

Image Credit: NASA

  • Denis Tones

    Great blog James and a definite appetiser for things to come. This whole myth that science and God are incompatible needs to be exposed. Your background makes you an excellent advocate for truth.
    Denis

  • I’m looking forward to your thoughts James!

    I was encouraged to read of your personal journey and how you found faith and what it meant to you. I look forward to more of your thoughts on the intersection of faith and science!