God’s Dice and the Uncertainty Principle of Life

The current state of affairs regarding religion v religion, religion v politics, religion v LGBT, and the Westboro Baptist Church versus the whole world, makes me wonder what people think God has done, is doing and is going to do.

Albert Einstein was once famously quoted as saying “God does not play dice with the universe”. This was in response to Werner Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, which states that you cannot observe or measure both the position and speed of a particle with any certainty. You observe or measure one, you disturb the other. Einstein wasn’t happy with this, retaining his belief that the universe should be predictable through physics. Further experimentation by the late John Bell upheld the Uncertainty Principle (Bell’s Theorem). This means that we can predict how something like a star or a leaf can develop, but not whether it will develop, or even if it will develop in the expected way. This is only one of the many laws of physics but it does show that, if  he exists, God is actually a bit of a gambler.

Life, then, is a random coming-together of atomic and sub-atomic particles, at just the right time,  with a few physical laws defining how they interact. It doesn’t have the same ‘panache’ as a celestial being creating the world in six days and then putting his feet up on the seventh, but the idea of life being a random creation is certainly more plausible. It certainly explains people like myself.

According to the bible, in Genesis, God created heaven and earth and all things in between. He then created the Garden of Eden and, from the dust, created Man to look after it, with the only stipulation being not to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. God then created Eve, by putting Adam to sleep, (Interestingly, there is no mention of who came up with the name Adam, it just goes from ‘man’ to ‘Adam’), and then used a rib to create Eve, (anaesthetic and cloning all in one go!), with the same admonition, not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. It’s a shame that the all-knowing, all-seeing God didn’t see a certain serpent in the Garden having a chat with Eve. Or did he?

Is this, then, God having a little flutter, a gamble? He’s created two beings, (one from the other), put them in a garden full of food to eat, and told them not to eat from a particular tree in that garden, otherwise they’ll die. Being their creator, he could have quite easily prevented them from going near the tree by making them totally obedient to his will, covered or hidden the tree, or removed the tree altogether, but, no. God gave Adam and Eve free will, to see what they would do and, with the help of a wily reptile, they ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and consequently were booted out of Eden. God then had to put a guardian on the Tree of Life to stop them eating the fruit of that tree and becoming immortal, which could have caused a bit of a problem for him.

So, according to the bible, God took a gamble and lost, having given humans free will and telling them not to go near the tree. Thus the choice of whether or not to believe in and worship God is ours.

This means that what happens to us, is down to us. If we destroy ourselves, whether through nuclear annihilation or destruction of the climate, that is down to humanity, nothing else. Not divine anger, retribution for sin or the devil taking over. Conversely, if we make peace and create a world of health and harmony, that is also not down to divine intervention. Simply our own free will taking us where we let it.

Therefore, we have the unpredictability of physics combined with our own free will. So, whether you believe in God or physics, humanity, by it’s very nature, is unpredictable. This means that, if we are all made in God’s image, then that image is one of all shapes, sizes, colours, sexual orientations, genders,  beliefs. There is no one-size-fits-all. God has thrown his celestial dice and the result is us.

If, like me, you believe in physics, then shit happens. Physics is the how and why.