Dr. Gerald Gabrielse’s Scientia et Fides talk “The God of Antimatter” hit upon a question I find myself asking often: what is the nature of the God that I worship? As a scientist, I get in the habit of thinking that anything can be understood if I just apply enough time, effort, and cleverness. But Gabrielse used the story of Job as an reminder that God is bigger than any aspect of his creation:
4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Job 38 5:7 (ESV)
If God is sovereign over Job’s earth, he is certainly sovereign over ours as well. Gabrielse reminded us (through original Job-esque poetry that I couldn’t even hope to reproduce here with fidelity) that we follow the God of quarks and gluons, of matter and antimatter, of magnetism and electricity. Any truth we learn about the natural world gives us insight into God’s character and should increase our esteem and awe of him accordingly. I can’t hear this humbling message enough, and to see a Harvard physicist share it with other scientists in such an eloquent way made the talk great.
While I deeply appreciated this emphasis on God’s sovereignty, as well as Gabrielse’s insistence that one can be a no-nonsense naturalist in the lab while still espousing a genuine faith in the unfalsifiable claims of religion, I do wish he had spent some time going into what exactly he, as a scientist, finds compelling about the God narrative in the first place. If we can’t and shouldn’t subject God to empiricism to prove his existence, how then should we come to believe in him? I suspect some of the other scientists in the room may have had similar questions. Overall, however, I was very glad to hear Gabrielse’s thoughts on how to think about – and interact with – the God of antimatter.