Last Friday, October 1, a philosophy forum was held in the Tulsa Royalties Conference Room in Baylee Business Center. The stimulating and enriching conversation posed the question: Does God play dice with the universe?
Philosophy forums are an exciting series bringing new topics and speakers to lecture over a particular philosophical topic allowing for questions and academic discussion.
Dr. Anderson says, “Philosophy forums are intended to bring philosophical issues and broaden parts to the public sphere”.
Dr. Michael Strauss is Professor of Physics at the University of Oklahoma. Strauss is a particle physicist who works on the CERN particle collider in Switzerland. His work in Switzerland seeks to understand precisely what takes place in the quantum realm. Strauss works on many robust machines to experiment on the particles by examining the debris after intentional collision of the particles.
Dr. Strauss broke down quantum physics with analogies adding clarity to an intimidating topic of study. He elaborates on the inconsistency of particles in the microscopic world creating an unknowable realm where physical things can pop into existence. Objects could change or come into existence or even pass through barriers in the microscopic realm.
Strauss said, “By the way, these things I am talking about with quantum mechanics have been verified experimentally. We are not just thinking this is the way it works. As far as we know, this is the way it works”.
The common claims continue as such: reality is fuzzy, so God cannot know everything; the observer determines reality so humans can impede on God’s plan; probability rules, so God cannot plan the future.
Strauss responds, “I believe these claims are based on two fallacies. The first is a misunderstanding of quantum mechanics. The second is a misunderstanding of God”.
Reality is fuzzy; however, this does not mean God is not sovereign. As Dr. Strauss explains, to a degree, God does play dice with the universe. It is in God’s logical being to not know what will occur in quantum mechanics due to its random nature. With quantum mechanics, there is a clear nature of absurdity, but the experiments add precision to our understanding of the weird and uncertain realm of particles and atoms.
Dr. Strauss says, “It is not that quantum mechanics makes things more fuzzy, rather it makes things more concrete. We can understand what the universe is like and make exact predictions. It is still probabilistic. I can’t tell you what every coin flip will be at the quantum level. I can’t tell you if it will be heads of tails, but I can tell you exactly that over the course of time fifty percent will be heads and fifty percent will be tails or even more…Quantum mechanics does not make things more fuzzy but more understandable”.
God knows everything that is knowable. This does not limit God. God is still omniscient and omnipotent. If we have the ability to somewhat predict the future, God can with precision. Our pursuit should be to understand God’s character by way of the truth that being the Scriptures. God knows all that is knowable. He is transcendent, not bound by the laws of nature.
Dr. Strauss concluded that quantum mechanics exposes the incredible design of our macroscopic and microscopic reality. God is required for us to exist.
He says, “It is remarkable that something so strange and unimaginable to humans has such extreme design. Without quantum mechanical structure, we wouldn’t be here to discuss it. Everything in the universe is dependent on quantum mechanical structures”.
Isaiah 55 says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”.
God’s ways are greater than our ways. Quantum mechanics is a testament to this truth.
Following the lecture, several questions were discussed cultivating an intentional engaging and welcoming academic environment.
Annual Hobbs Lectures
The past week on Bison Hill, Oklahoma Baptist University presented two sponsored chapels aimed to explore Baptist theology and Baptist history. The series is known as the “Annual Hobbs Lectures”.
Hobbs lectures are an annual fall chapel series on Oklahoma Baptist University’s campus. The history of the Hobbs lectures brings light to the unique opportunity to receive highly esteemed lecturers in the Baptist sphere. The Herschel Hobbs and Frances J. Hobbs Lectureship was OBU’s first endowed lectureship. The first chapel of this nature was hosted in the fall of 1980. Herschel H. Hobbs delivered the first of the message series which has continued through the present.
Dr. Hobbs was a well-known pastor in Oklahoma City at First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City as well as among the Southern Baptist circles.
The lectures provide chapels designed in hopes of engaging students to grow in their knowledge of Baptist theology, Baptist history, and studies of the Bible.
Upwards of sixty pastors have been a part of the Hobbs lectures including individuals such as Herschel H. Hobbs, R. Albert Mohler Jr., among other renowned pastors in the Baptist community.
This past week, OBU invited Matthew Y. Emerson and Stephen Presley to read papers of past study to bring an academic atmosphere to chapel.
Dr. Emerson is the dean of the Hobbs College of Theology at Oklahoma Baptist University. Emerson delivered his lectures on Benjamin Keach’s use of the Old Testament. Keach was a particular Baptist who lived in England in the seventeenth century prior to the Enlightenment.
Emerson walks through Old Testament texts Keach utilizes in the further clarification of the interpretation of the Word. It is important to look back at earlier church leaders to develop an informed interpretation of the Bible. Dr. Emerson claims Keach uses the Old Testament in three distinctive ways: catholic, reformational, and Baptist to bring light to the interpretation of the Bible.
Dr. Stephen Presley was the second speaker of the series. Dr. Presley is the Associate Professor of Church History and Director of Research Doctoral Studies at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. He also serves as the Research Fellow at The Center for Religion, Culture, and Democracy and The Center for Baptist Renewal.
His academic studies examine doctrine, practice and Biblical interpretation in early Christianity as seen in his authorship of The Intertextual Reception of Genesis 1-3 in Irenaeus of Lyons as well as other assorted articles and essays.
Dr. Presley led students through one of his academic studies regarding early Christianity. He highlighted several pivotal individuals in the timeline of the development of the Church including believers and skeptics in early Christianity.
Presley discussed early Christianity as a public good with a couple approaches to go about evangelism and the process of sharing the Gospel. The first scenario had leaders who aim to transform the society by engaging and intentionally living in the circles of unbelievers. The second appeared to share the Gospel with others then seek to separate from nonbelievers in order to avoid temptation and seek God as a church family together. The question of how to live in the world yet not of the world is one of the most challenging question plaguing the church today.
Presley claimed it is no longer advantageous in the cultural sphere to be a Christian. He said, “Christianity has a goodness problem”. We live in a post-Christian society lacking the ideals of the Christian faith in our culture.
Christians should seek out the humble and broken. We should be the most loving community due to the true understanding of common good for the community derived from the Scriptures. Irenaeus provoked the question of the good asking, what good is it to know what is good but to defile the body by not doing it?
The Church has a great responsibility to uphold to live in the world and look different in word and action. We are called to live out our true identity and citizenship in Christ on this earth. Presley challenged the students that as the soul is to the body, so the Christian should be to the world.