THE THEOLOGICAL ENGINEER
String Theory and God's Creation
By Jeff Laird
String Theory is a field of theoretical physics which refers to several different, though related, ideas about the fundamental mechanics of the universe. There are some controversial aspects to String Theory, and a few major hurdles that it would have to be cleared up before it could be accepted by the scientific community at large. In this sense, it is no different than other ideas about the physical universe: it is an attempt to better understand how this universe operates. Since God is a God of truth, there is nothing about honest scientific investigation that Christians should be concerned about. The more we know about the universe, the more we can appreciate the Creator.
Unlike less complex models, String Theory cannot be explained in any real depth in layman's terms. It draws on quantum mechanics, general relativity, and complex mathematics. In a nutshell, however, String Theory is the idea that the smallest known particles, such as electrons, are not zero-dimensional points, but rather one-dimensional "strings." These strings are normally shaped into closed loops. When the strings encounter other physical entities, called "branes", they open up into line segments. The interactions of these strings and branes would then produce the various forces and reactions we see in physics. While normal physics views the universe in four dimensions (three for space and one for time), various versions of String Theory assume that the universe has as many as 11 dimensions. These assumptions are all attempts to unify all of the known properties of physics into a single "theory of everything."
At this point in time, String Theory, in all its forms, is purely theoretical. That is, no part of String Theory has ever been demonstrated, tested, or observed in any way that could confirm or disprove it. This is partly due to technological constraints, since the energy required to test these ideas would be enormous. It is also a product of the properties of String Theory itself. The more "dimensions" (or "degrees of freedom") a complex system has, the more possible solutions there are to a given problem. In the case of String Theory, a system using 11 dimensions could potentially produce so many possible answers to a problem that the system becomes meaningless. These problems also mean that String Theory (for now) has no predictive power: it is a purely abstract model which may or may not have any basis in reality, and (for now) cannot be used to gain new understanding of the universe.
From a Christian perspective, String Theory isn't really different than prior ideas in physics, such as atoms, molecules, the Standard Model, and so forth. These are all attempts to better understand how the universe is arranged. The more we know about Creation, the more glory we can give to the Creator (Psalm 19:1). Christians are actually encouraged to seek truth and understanding (Psalm 111:7; Proverbs 23:23), so we should judge ideas like String Theory purely on the basis of their scientific validity. Truth cannot contradict truth, so Christians who pursue scientific truth can be confident that it will never contradict spiritual truth (John 4:24; 2 Corinthians 13:8).
Image Credit: amanda; "what are you looking at"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Current-Issues | God-Father | Science-Creation
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