One of the most marvelous aspects of God’s creation is light. Not only does it allow us to see, or influence heavily, our modern information technologies, but it makes for one of the most versatile analogies to truth.
This can be seen all through the scriptures. When studying light, one finds there to be many truly spectacular topics associated with its very existence.
I wish I could discuss some of the more technically rigorous aspects of light’s behavior, and how it has radically changed our perception of the universe as a whole, but I am restricting myself to one particularly mysterious aspect: whether light is a wave or a particle, and how this mystery relates to our faith in who we understand Jesus to be.
Historically—when light was first being seriously studied under the scrutiny of a developing scientific competency—it was thought to be some kind of particle.
But later, at the turn of the 19th century, a set of experiments seemed to confirm that light was actually more like a wave.
Then, at the turn of the 20th century, Plank and Einstein entered the scene showing that light unmistakably exhibits a particle-like fundamental existence. To this day, the true nature of light remains a mystery to even the most accomplished physicists.
Over the years while studying these things I have come to see and appreciate a beautiful symmetry between scripture and the discovery of truth within God’s ordering of creation.
I believe it to be more than coincidence that light is so analogous to many other divine or mundane enigmas which confront us. The most striking is how Jesus can be both fully man and fully God; furthermore, how we must simultaneously keep in mind the significance of both the death and the resurrection of Jesus.
In my text book “Modern Physics” (3rd Edition), authors Raymond A. Serway, Clement J. Moses and Curt A. Moyer discuss quantum theory. After comparing the opposing models for light as particle or wave, they finished by suggesting that, “both views are necessary and complementary… a complete understanding is obtained only if the two models are combined in a complementary manner.”
Thus, it would seem that God created light to exhibit to us truths about His own nature, to guide us towards a better understanding of His personality and relation to us.
How marvelous this mystery! In our ignorance God is glorified and we are brought nearer to Him. As a student of physics, I cannot help but want to solve such mysteries.
Looking through history, it is clear that wherever knowledge is gained even deeper mysteries are revealed—always pointing us towards faith in God as opposed to faith in our own limited ways of knowing.
Knowledge and mystery inhabit two sides of the same coin. Knowledge can be useful, aiding us in the mundane, day-to-day issues throughout life.
However, mystery — the byproduct of discovery — will forever pervade the little we know, continuously beckoning the curious seekers of truth while humbling them before God.