Saturday 9 June 2012

Theory of Everything…

Three people are standing by the railway line as the London to Brighton train hurtles past, discussing what makes it go.

 The first one says, "I'm a physicist. When a magnet moves through an electric coil a powerful force is generated. This can be harnessed to turn a wheel. That is why the train goes to Brighton. It's just physics."

 The second one says, "Well I'm an economist. There would be no trains to Brighton if there wasn't a strong tourist industry there. Obviously it's market forces that make the train go."

 The third one says, "Yes, but why should there be a tourist industry in Brighton in the first place? As a biologist I know that people evolved as opportunistic feeders driven to exploit new environments - such as the seaside. It's deep human drives that drive the train…"

 Who's right? I'll leave that to you, but I know who's wrong. It's the one who says, "Only my explanation will do. Other explanations don't fit my rules – so they don't count." Such a person shuts out the full experience of the reality before them. Instead of helping them come to terms with reality, their explanation closes life down.

 One of the many things I love about trusting in God is that it allows me to be fully open to life. God is beautiful, God is love, He is the rational Creator of everything. So I can be inspired by the beauty all around me, I can try to live a just and loving life, I can use my reason to study the universe, not on the basis of fractured and partial views of reality, but in relationship with the One.

Scientists are trying to put together a theory of everything. They are doing this because a theory that explains lots of things is unquestionably more powerful than a theory that only explains a few things. The trouble is that the physicists' "everything" is limited to physicists' things: mass, electro-magnetism, nuclear and chemical forces. What about beauty? What about ethics? What about consciousness? What about love?

A theory that explains lots of things is more powerful… Such a theory has been alongside us for millennia (among others, belief in God also inspired all the great pioneering scientists – check out their biographies). It's more than time that we dusted this theory off and took a fresh look.

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