I was reading to my toddler today from the ‘Big Picture Story Bible‘ by David R. Helm (2010) and came across the following passage: “Do you know how God created everything? Simply by speaking words. Imagine, making the world with words! Strong words. Powerful words.” That’s when my inner theologian started to question. Is anything really so “simple” with God?
Psalm 33:6 says, “By the word of Yahweh the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.” Clear enough. But speaking in our universe involves vocal chords and sound waves moving through a medium. Likewise, breath in our universe involves lungs, cellular respiration, and various gasses such as carbon dioxide. Does God the Father have vocal chords? Or lungs? What medium did his words move through before anything other than God existed? Does the breath of God contain carbon dioxide?
Don’t think that I am mocking. A principle I come back to again and again is the ‘dimensional beyondness‘ of God – that Yahweh the Creator is ‘qualitatively different’ than anything found in the created cosmos. God is “spirit” (John 4:24). God pre-existed all things and is not dependent on anything within creation itself. So, a scripture that informs us that God said, “Let there be light” and there was light is indeed simple, but the reality behind what actually took place might be completely out of our ability as created, mortal creatures to comprehend. I do not pretend to know how God could actualize a world through speech, but the following concept intrigues me.
The bleeding-edge of theoretical physics suggests possible unification in the form of Superstring theory (M-theory being the most advanced version). The absolute smallest building block of our created universe is proposed to be a ‘string,’ an incredibly tiny filament of energy (10–33 centimeters). As a guitar string will produce a different note based on how it vibrates, these quantum strings will produce different particle species based on how they “vibrate” (a very simplistic explanation).
Imagine a blank canvas of motionless strings, stretching out in every direction, filling the void. Now imagine God speaking… and having every filament of energy come alive – dancing and oscillating in harmony with the majestic symphony of an instantly manifesting cosmos. This concept can apply to a lot of miracles that involve supernatural changes within our physical world.
Remember in Matthew 8 when Jesus reached out and touched a man with leprosy, and he was immediately cleansed of the disease? Those who are skeptical or discount the many accounts of miracles throughout Scripture may likewise scoff at this – “surely this is just a legendary embellishment attached to the ‘good moral teacher’ Jesus that we accept!” But how hard is it to conceive, even for so-called modern, so-called post-Enlightenment minded people, that the God of the Universe could cause the basic building blocks underlying those cells to change vibrational frequency? Leprous tissue could have been reconfigured as healthy tissue in a microsecond.
Likewise, seeming “thin air” could be reconfigured into the matter comprising bread loaves and fishes, and a torrent of water can gush from a rock. Most recorded miracles do originate from the supernatural but operate in the natural, created universe that we inhabit. There are physical changes that can be observed and documented. A cancerous tumor that is miraculously healed has to go somewhere, or cease to exist, or turn into something else. Some force, such as gravity, must be manipulated in order for dry ground to appear in the middle of a Sea so that Moses can walk through.
In other physics-meets-theology news, if God decides to change the value of the theoretical Higgs Ocean that permeates our entire universe, all matter will boil away. Sounds like 2 Peter 3:12 to me! How else could outer space burn?