POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

The Physics of Christianity

Well, I took the book The Physics of Christianity with me on vacation in late July looking forward to a refresh of some of my undergraduate course work at UNC Chapel Hill and to see how a contemporary Physicist integrates his scientific work with the doctrines of the Christian Faith. Let me be honest up front that I only got about half way through the work and was tracking with it at a level of investigation to review the book here on the blog. To be frank, I simply didn't finish the book...as it got more and more bizarre as I read on and we ran out of vacation time.

It begins with some big claims that all of the discoveries of modern physics confirm the Christian narrative and its categories. The existence of God as the first cause of the universe, the triunity of this God and beliefs such as the resurection of the dead and eternal life. All fine and dandy. What followed was a pretty approachable discussion of some modern physics. General relativity, quantum mechanics and the standard model for particle physics were all on the docket. I will say that for the uninitiated it will be difficult reading. I did 3 years of a BS in Physics before switching to Applied Computer Science and I found the reading accessible. I kept thinking...you need at least some basic understanding of physics and an analytic mind to follow this.

After the general introductions the book just started getting odd. The singularity at the beginning of this universe, the singularity at the end of this univers and the singularity which began the "multiverse" becomes "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" - The quantum reality of the multiverse and tunneling theory become the means by the multiverse Jesus walks through walls and rises from the dead. Most bizarre was that the resurrection and eternal life become us uploading into supercomputers buried deep in bedrock safe from nuclear blasts. We'll live forever singing Kum Ba Yah in the matrix. No kidding. And I thought being banished to Chiron Beta Prime would be a ride.

Here is an example of someone fully trained and convinced in his own field (Physics) and wandering around in one he clearly does not understand (theology). I applaud Tipler's boldness and zeal and certainly his theories are very interesting if you are a fan of sci-fi. Yet the Christianity of this book was unrecognizable once Tipler's theory of everything had its way.

One final note - here is a full review of the book by Canadian Journalist Denyse O'Leary - something I am unable to do as I did not have the time to finish the work as vacation was a bit short this summer. I wish Tipler the best in his efforts to integrate Physics and faith - a much needed enterprise.  I would only suggest having some theological dialog partners and perhaps reading a few simple catechisms along the way.