Summary: Faith is expecting the unexpected.

The Physics of Faith: The Uncertainty Principle


Pastor Mark Batterson

This evotional begins a new series titled The Physics of Faith. Over the next four weeks we’re going to explore four dimensions of faith: expecting the unexpected, seeing the invisible, believing the impossible, and reversing the irreversible.

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I don’t sit around all day thinking about stuff like this, but God could have made us with one eye. The significance of that is this: two eyes give us an important optical capability called depth perception. If you cover one eye, everything seems flat. The reason is simple: you lose the ability to judge distances.

During this series of evotionals, I want you to think about physics as one eye. It is the eye of intellect. Let me call it the IQ eye. And I want you to think about faith as the other eye. It is our spiritual eye. Let me call it the SQ eye. If one of our eyes is closed we lose depth perception!

By the way, some of these ideas are borrowed from a book I highly recommend titled Can a Smart Person Believe in God by Michael Guillen.

I think there are four kinds of people in the world. Think of a matrix with four quadrants. Quadrant I is low IQ and low SQ. This is someone who isn’t very smart and isn’t very spiritual. I know that’s a little blunt, but all of us know a few Quadrant I people. Quadrant II is high IQ and low SQ. This is someone who is very intelligent, but they aren’t very spiritual. Quadrant III is low IQ and high SQ. This is someone who is very spiritual, but they aren’t very smart. And Quadrant IV is high IQ and high SQ. This person is very intelligent and very spiritual. And that is what we aspire to.

Albert Einstein may have said it best. “Science without religion is lame and, conversely, religion without science is blind.” I love that imagery. Physics without faith is lame. And faith without physics is blind. My hope is that this series would open both of our eyes!

Worship Smarter

Sometimes we compartmentalize IQ and SQ, but learning and worshipping are not mutually exclusive endeavors. In fact, they are directly proportional: the more you know the more you can worship. There is an old aphorism: you don’t need to work harder you need to work smarter. In the same sense, we need to worship smarter.

There is a fascinating exchange in John 4 where Jesus is talking to the Samaritan woman at the well. He says, “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know.” The NLT says, “You Samaritans know so little about the one you worship.”

Hold that thought.

In his book, Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot, Richard Restak says, “The richer my knowledge of flora and fauna of the woods, the more I’ll be able to see. Our perceptions take on richness and depth as a result of all the things that we learn. What the eye sees is determined by what the brain has learned.” And he gives a great modus operandi: “learn more, see more.” Here is what knowledge does: it gives us depth perception.

When astronomers look into the night sky, they have a greater appreciation for the constellations and stars and planets because they see more than I do. When musicians listen to music they have a greater appreciation because they hear more than I do.

If you dissect the Great Commandment I think you discover that love is twenty-five percent intellectual. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and soul and mind and strength.” Loving God with your mind is one-quarter of the equation. I think that means loving God with your rational left-brain and your creative right-brain. I think it means loving God with your medial ventral prefrontal cortex.

Here is what I’m trying to say at the outset. I don’t think you can be intellectual, in the truest sense of the word, without being spiritual. And I don’t think you can be spiritual, in the truest sense of the word, without being intellectual.

Critical Realism

Let me give a disclaimer at the outset of this series. I have a fascination with physics. My bookshelves are filled with books on everything from string theory to quantum mechanics, but I’m neither a physicist nor the son of a physicist. When I read physics, it’s like being thrown into the deep end and barely being able to swim. Physics is deep. Sometimes it’s over my head and I can’t touch bottom! But so is theology. You never get to the bottom of God.

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