Saturday, 6 June 2020

Entanglement

Trinity Sunday 2020
Isaiah 40:12-17, 27 - end

The question I want to ponder this morning is “As our human knowledge increases does God become more or less mysterious?” Our reading from Isaiah this morning finds him full of wonder:

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
And weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?”

Although phrased as a question Isaiah is full of certainty. Faced with creation he is convinced not only of God’s existence but of God’s capability. Ever since Darwin’s dangerous idea1  there have been attempts to take God out of the picture by delving deeper and smaller. Contract this with Isaiah who steps back to look at the big things: the heavens, the seas, the whole earth of the earth, the mountains and the hills and who concludes that God is much bigger than all these. To help us, like a modern photographer who places a person in front of the Great Pyramid for scale he sets the creator against our sizes: a span, a measure, a scale or a balance.

Our science, however, seems more concerned with building blocks, the components of life, the genome, the DNA, the components of the universe, the particles, waves, quantum mechanics. The microscopes and telescopes were not there for Isaiah but if they had been I like to think he would have written in the same way.

Newton is of course now old hat superseded by Einstein who by now may be also partly old hat. Once I imagined I understood the atom, the proton, neutron and the electron, the orbitals and the excited states but that by now is very very old hat. My father- in- law a professional nuclear physicist in his day, wondered recently what he had missed and ordered a first year undergraduate textbook - the book was large, the print tiny and the changes considerable.

Considerable and for me often marvellous. There is a new thing, well new for me at any rate called “Quantum Entanglement.” This is a complex idea now demonstrated by more complex experiments that allows that something can be in two places at once. The technical definition is that entanglement occurs “when two (or more) particles are such that their quantum states cannot be described independently even though they are apart.”

Today is Trinity Sunday, where we reflect on the threeness and oneness of God and most especially the perfect loving, making sure we stress loving here, the perfect loving relationship between them. Or, even though God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit may be far apart they are indivisible and cannot be described independently.

The more we learn the bigger God becomes.

Amen.

1 Dennett Daniel C Penguin 1995

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