The work of physicists and astrophysicists can be fascinating. While I’ve been intrigued, my impression changed when I became aware that some have questioned the existence of God.
They are entitled to their beliefs, but it is difficult to reconcile that one, with a deep understanding of the majesty of the cosmos, does not believe an all-powerful Creator God is at the heart of all. Still, most physicists and scientists admit that humans know only a fraction of what lies beyond what we see with the strongest instruments.
Some prominent physicists have recognized the existence of God as the Creator of all things—from Johannes Kepler who recognized that God created the cosmos in an orderly fashion, to Isaac Newton whose belief in the Truth of God cost him his position at Cambridge.
Others such as Stephen Hawking and Marie Curie did not believe in God’s existence. Albert Einstein saw the logic of a grand Creator, but he believed in the pantheistic god of Baruch Spinoza. He did not believe in a personal God who concerns Himself with fates and actions of human beings.
One theoretical physicist of note in the mid-20th century was Richard Feynman. Born in Queens, New York, in 1918, he attended a public high school in his neighborhood. This high school produced 3 Nobel Prize winners, including Feynman. During his time at Cal Tech and MIT, Feynman had a profound impact on the science of theoretical and particle physics.
Feynman was down-to-earth with a child-like curiosity about the world, and a knack for explaining complex theories. Feynman considered himself agnostic, though he stated that it was impossible for science to disprove the existence of God, and therefore science and God could co-exist.
He made an interesting point concerning unseen waves of all kinds. He imagined two people having a conversation, and at that moment there are chaotic waves bouncing around between the two. Energy waves, radiation, light, heat, and radio waves—they are all present around each of us. We know that oxygen exists though we cannot see it. Similarly, Feynman suggested placing a radio between the two people to illustrate the existence of radio waves by tuning in to a broadcast from a nearby station, or perhaps in his day, Radio Free Europe.
As believers, we know that God exists, just as those waves, and can be present with His people even though He is not seen. In 1 Corinthians 3:16, we read: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
For those whom God calls, this is fundamental. As believers, we know that God is with us, and that sin drives Him away. As children, we most often misbehaved when we thought our parents were not watching. One day, when I was eight or so, I was sitting on the curb up the street from my home. I had taken matches from the house and thought it would be a good idea to start a little campfire in the gutter. When I got home, my mom was angry. A neighbor had phoned her after watching my antics. I had gotten into trouble thinking I was out of Mom’s gaze.
Why then do we sin? God knows our hearts and intentions, and it would be better to remember this and honor Him! Consider, Psalm 139:7-10, a psalm we often sing as a hymn to honor Him:
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.”
We understand that God is always aware of our actions, wherever we are, much like Mom and Dad when we are young. We are human and God offers repentance, but think of God as standing next to you as you contemplate your next move—sin, or obedience? Choosing sin should leave believers remorseful. There is a remedy: repent, obey, and pray—as a first waking thought, and the last one before sleep. Proverbs 15:3 offers an image for us to take to heart: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.”
We cannot hide our actions or our intentions from God, so let’s not waste time justifying sinful behavior. It is better that we live each day with the understanding that God is there. We may not see Him, but we know He is there for us to turn to.
Jeremiah made the point that God is not as a limited pagan idol, but is both present and transcendent. He is everywhere through the power of His Holy Spirit emanating from Him. Let’s consider Chapter 23 of Jeremiah, and verses 23 and 24: “‘Am I a God near at hand,’ says the Lord, ‘And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?’ says the Lord; ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the Lord.”
God has never tried to deceive us to catch us sinning. He has been forthright as our Creator in using Scripture to illustrate that He is present with each of us. Perhaps we think that He is so busy and cannot be concerned about each person. Isaiah captured what God wants for us. In Chapter 57, and in verse 15, we read: “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’”
God is a mystery to be revealed as we seek perfection for His Kingdom. However, God is with us now and we want Him close. Sin can be as subtle as an unkind thought; others require forethought. Choosing sin is counter to being a Christian. It is also foolish and willful. Let’s choose to honor our Father with respect and the obedience that He commands. Consider how Isaiah quotes God’s words in Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”