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Did Science Discover God? What Is “the God Particle”?

Tevatron, one of the particle accelerators used in searching for Higgs boson,

Tevatron, one of the particle accelerators used in searching for Higgs boson, "the God particle" (Fermilab photo).

The Higgs boson and the CERN particle accelerator have been in the news. If particle physicists discovered the God particle, are they closer to discovering God?

You have undoubtedly heard of “the God particle” or the Higgs boson. Since most of us are not versed in the intricate theories of physics, the much publicized probable discovery of the Higgs boson by the CERN particle accelerator leaves us confused.

Why call it “the God particle”?

Does calling this discovery “the God particle” imply that science has discovered proof of the existence of God? Actually, the nickname has nothing to do with the Creator.

The God Particle was the name of a 1993 book by physicist Leon Lederman about the possibility of the existence of the Higgs boson. Leon Lederman’s book was about particle physicists’ pursuit of the basic element that gives matter its substance. In a way, it is a continuation of the ancient Greek “atomism,” the search for that which is “indivisible” or “the beginning.”

Lederman played off the words from Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning, God. …” “God particle” was simply Lederman’s nickname for the boson; he did not intend to imply that the God had anything to do with the issue.

Who is Professor Higgs? Peter Higgs was a physicist at Edinburgh University. In 1964, he postulated the existence of this type of boson, which hence took on his name. Now in his 80s, he was present at the announcement of the possible proof of his theory.

The search for the beginning, the indivisible force

The scientific field of atomic physics dates back to the fifth century B.C., when the Greek Leucippus searched for the smallest possible form of matter. His theory was known as “atomism,” which gave us the word “atom” in the 15th century. The corresponding Greek word means “indivisible.”

As the field of physics progressed, scientists discovered the atom was not indivisible, opening up a new branch of physics, particle physics: the study of particles smaller than an atom.

What a boson is

So, what is a boson? Here, we can easily get buried by the highly technical field of particle physics. Simplified, a boson is one type of subatomic particle. Subatomic particles have different weights and characteristics. There are several known bosons, including photons, gluons, as well as particles known only as W and Z—and Higgs boson.

So, did CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) discover the answer? Is the Higgs boson that which gives all matter its substance? The answer is still in the realm of theory, because the CERN scientists cannot state with absolute certainty that the Higgs boson exists. Their best guess from their experiments is that it does.

As well, who is to say that the Higgs boson is the last secret to be discovered by particle physicists? After all, it took until recently to be able to possibly find the Higgs boson. And it took a team of 10,000 scientists and an $8 billion tunnel that is able to crash atoms against each other at speeds just slightly less than the speed of light to get this far! What might yet be discovered?

Proof of God

Without argument, it is a fantastic scientific achievement. But does it prove God’s existence? Yes and no. God’s existence will never be discovered by science. The scientific method requires five basic steps:

  1. Observation/research.
  2. Hypothesis.
  3. Prediction.
  4. Experimentation.
  5. Conclusion.

God is invisible and can never be observed, measured or quantified for study! There will always be an element of faith required to believe in the Creator, because His existence cannot be proven by scientific methods.

Does the existence of the Higgs boson (if indeed it has been discovered) prove God’s existence? Yes! So does a rose, a tree, a bird, an amoeba—any observable part of creation shows that it had to have been made by someone. If the Higgs boson gives matter to all subatomic particles, where did the Higgs boson come from? Someone made it! It had to have a Designer, a Creator.

For those who have eyes to see, the wonderful discoveries of physics throughout the centuries have demonstrated the complexity—and the marvelous integration of all matter. All is evidence of the Creator!

If you want to learn how to find God, see our articles on this subject in the section about God.

About the Author

Cecil Maranville

Cecil Maranville is a minister of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association. He works with the responses to questions our readers send to this website.

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