Recently a friend here at Proof Directory sent me the following video of a young thirteen year old physics genius named Maxwell or Max. Max has a theory that God is the energy that created the universe, comprises us and is within us. You can see his video here:
The young physicist Max explains his theory that God is energy.
So our young physicist right? Well not exactly. Energy is a part of creation in physical reality, whereas God transcends physical reality. But perhaps there is an element of truth to Max’s intuition.
Quantum mechanics contains the concept of the wavefunction, the state of a quantum system as a probability wave before it is observed. This wavefunction is defined by the energy value of the system however so perhaps it could be thought of in some ways as being an energy wave in addition to being a probability wave. So perhaps it is not exactly what Max had in mind, but it is pretty close.
Wavefunctions exist for everything. All you need is the energy value of something and you can write down a wavefunction for it. That even includes a wavefunction for the entire universe as well, and this wavefunction of the universe has some properties that sound pretty similar to what we know of God. Let’s have a look:
Behaves Mind-Like: The first thing we know about God is that He is a person, and a person is of course also mind. However as it turns out, a new field of cognitive science called quantum cognition suggests that the wavefunction behaves as though it were mental. In fact not only does it behave as though it is mental, it behaves precisely as though it is mental!
Cognitive scientists have found that the fuzzy logic and uncertainty in decision we exhibit when we waver between chocolate or vanilla ice cream or whether to purchase a blue or gray car, behaves exactly as though these thoughts were in a superposition of states in the quantum wavefunction. Meanwhile the wavefunctions of electrons have been found to behave as though they were influenced by game theory, the theory governing rational decision making. Meaning they behave as though they exhibit rationality!
Six reasons why quantum cognition is more than a classical approximation.
Omniscience: The quantum states encoded in the wavefunction carry all of the information of their associated particles. Now imagine that scaled up to a wavefunction for the entire universe! The sum total of information content of everything would be encoded in it, and if it is mental would be known by it as well. By comparison omniscience is one of the three “omni” properties ascribed to God.
Omnipotence: The wavefunction controls the states of particles entirely. Furthermore, according to quantum mechanics, nothing is ever impossible, only improbable. Seemingly “impossible” things can occur in quantum mechanics such as particles or even entire persons appearing on the other sides of walls. It is just that in some cases these things are vanishingly improbable. Wavefunctions in turn determine these probabilities and could cause anything to happen. So in principle anything could happen. This looks like a pretty good comparison to the sort of omnipotence ascribed to God.
Omnipresence: The last of God’s “omni” properties is omnipresence. The book of Psalms illustrates God’s omnipresence quite clearly when it says “If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in the depths, You are there.” God is quite literally everywhere.
As it turns out the wavefunction also has this property. The probability distribution given by the wavefunction is spread out over all space. The wavefunction for your computer for example has a vanishingly small but nevertheless existent part to it that exists in the Andromeda galaxy. The universal wavefunction of course is even more so.
Exists Outside of Space: Ironically though, despite being omnipresent, God is said to transcend creation as well unlike what pantheists think, which would naturally include space. So we have two seemingly contradictory traits that God has. He is omnipresent everywhere in space, yet He is not in space. How does this make sense?
As it curiously turns out, the wavefunction has exactly this property as well! Space is defined by location, but as it turns out locations of particles do not exist prior to the wavefunction being measured by an observer. So in truth the quantum state in the wavefunction before measurement (or what physicists call “the collapse of the wavefunction”) does not truly exist in space. Nevertheless we can project it to be everywhere in space, yet it is not in space. Interestingly this feature also pegs it as being non-physical, which of course fits the description of God as well, as everything physical exists within space.
Physicist Sean Carroll briefly explains why quantum states exist outside of space.
Eternal: God is eternal, but curiously so is the universal wavefunction! The wavefunction of the universe is determined by a special equation called the Wheeler-DeWitt equation, and this equation has a property called time independence. Meaning that any solution that comes out of this equation is referring to a time-independent object not existing in or limited to time. In other words it is eternal.
Upholds Everything: The wavefunction is perhaps the most foundational entity in physics, and it determines the physics of everything it belonging to it. A universal wavefunction, therefore would hold up the physics of everything in the universe, from keeping electrons attached to atoms, to holding our planet in orbit around our sun. Likewise Hebrews 11: 3 states that God “upholds the universe by the word of his power.”
Created the Universe: Lastly several atheist physicists such as Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawking have suggested that we do not need God to explain the creation of the universe because according to our best physics they argue, the universal wavefunction did it. How ironic it would be for them, if given all of the previous parallels listed, the substitute they had proposed for God was in reality God hiding in the physics!
Video from InspiringPhilosophy showing that the idea popular with some atheists of the universe being created from a universal wavefunction is not at all incompatible with but rather entails the notion that it was created by God!
So was the intuition behind Maxwell’s idea about God right? Only time will tell. However in the mean time we can note that science appears to be pointing towards God rather than as some would believe away from Him.