Let me begin this little treatise with a quick word to any atheists who may be reading this article. You are right. The god you do not believe in does not exist.
St. John the Evangelist opens his gospel by introducing a new concept, that of God as Logos. I have mentioned logos a couple of times in earlier posts, so I thought I would devote an entire reflection on the idea. I find it especially important for our 21st century culture.
Logos is a Greek word usually translated “word”, but, in truth, it is a great deal more than a particle of language. Logos finds its way into our English language in the form of the suffix “-logy” as in biology, geology, psychology, etc. Webster usually defines it as “the study of….” Again, it is so much more. It is best understood as, “the sum of all.” So, geology is the sum of all knowledge pertaining to the “geos” or earth. Biology is the sum of all knowledge pertaining to the “bios” or all living things. When St. John describes God as Logos, he is saying, “God is the sum of all – all knowledge, all wisdom, all energy and thereby all existence in heaven and earth.” That is a far cry from the anthropomorphic image of God usually gleaned from reading the Bible.
Now, I am not knocking the way the Bible talks about God. The Bible is written in language, and language is limiting. The Bible was written to reveal man’s relationship with God. It follows naturally that the Bible would focus on the personhood of God and his intimate character. Therefore the Bible uses anthropomorphic language to describe God as a person with whom man can be intimate. But if we take the language too far and think of God as human, albeit some kind of super-human, we have severely limited God. Countering that limitation, St. John describes God as Logos, the sum of all. Then, once he has us viewing God in inexpressible expansiveness, he goes on to say, “The Logos became flesh and pitched his tent among us.”
The concept that God became man for a brief point in human history is the fulcrum of Christianity. It is what Christians refer to as the incarnation. To those of us who have inherited two millennia of Christian culture, it seems like a very normal thing to talk about. To first century Jews who believed you might be struck dead for just whispering the name of God, the concept of God being human – eating, drinking, shaking hands with the guys – was inconceivable. However, the incarnation event, that of Logos in flesh, was inevitable, as it is written into the very fabric of existence.
Let me make it clear that you do not need to understand quantum physics to have faith. I, for one, find it helpful to have at least a rudimentary understanding of the way the universe works in order to expand my understanding of God and embrace the power of faith in a new and more expansive way. Others, especially those who began searching the internet for images from the Hubble telescope in kindergarten, may find it difficult to believe in a God as explained by their parents and grandparents (old fogies like me). For them, perhaps a quantum understanding of God is essential to find their faith.
We all know that the universe is made up of atoms. We learned in school that atoms are made up of subatomic particles called protons, electrons and neutrons. Now, here is where the Logos comes in. While protons, electrons, neutrons, and photons (light particles) for that matter are indeed particles (corpuscles in the quantum vernacular), they have no matter unless they are also waves of energy. While energy can exist without matter, matter cannot exist without energy. This is called the “principle of complementarity”. Furthermore, all these energy waves exist as a single energy in what is called the “unified field”, which interconnects all energy in the universe. Remember what I said about Logos, it is the sum of all energy and thereby of all things in heaven and earth. Every particle is Divine energy in the form of matter, fully energy and fully matter making the building blocks that form everything in the universe. Just as Jesus Christ is (from the Christian’s perspective) fully God and fully man becoming the perfect revelation of God.
Every atom in your body and in mine is an incarnation of the Divine energy that empowers us and connects us to God, to each other, and to the entire universe. This is not an impersonal god who wound the universe like a clock then went on vacation, or an anthropomorphic god who is a little disguised super version of myself. This is truly the God of the universe whose depths can never be fathomed but who is as intimate and personal as every atom within me. This is a God I, for one, find joy to believe in.