Physics and the Bible: Duality of Light and 1 John

I’ve said many times to understand your Bible you must understand Physics. Yes, you don’t necessarily have to, but many times some basic understanding of Physics clears up controversy or provides insight. Don’t worry, we won’t be delving too much into long technical discussions as we’re interested in application of the Bible, not science for science sake.

In part I of this series, we’ll consider a passage in 1 John — perhaps one of the most troubling in the Bible.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).

Most people don’t see a problem with that, unless you’ve heard of the following…

Wave-Particle Duality of Light

We’re all familiar with light acting as a wave, like when you throw a rock in a pool. You can see the pattern, and a wave bouncing off a side will interfere with other waves as it travels back.

If you’ve watched Star Trek at all, it seems just about every episode has the phrase “load photon torpedoes” — a photon is a particle of light (the Star Trek weapon didn’t seem to use actual photons, but I’m not a Trekkie interested in fictional technology). Light can also exist as a particle, like a golf ball. If you’ve played in those boxes filled with balls, you see an entirely different set of rules at work.

Light exists with dual-properties. Experiments with light can obtain either the wave nature, or the particle nature, but not both at the same time; light exists as two-in-one — two natures together, yet distinct.

Note: for those interested in details, look up the two-slit experiment with light and you’ll find plenty to occupy your time.

Keeping Awake at Night

Now you see that problem, God is light — not light-like, not having the characteristics of light. If God is a trinity (and He is), and light exists as a duality (and it does), Houston, we’ve got a problem.

The passage causing sleepless nights, in Greek:

θεός ἐστί φῶς (theos esti phōs, or God is light)

You’ll find it’s translated correctly, God is Light, so the problem isn’t in translation.

What do we do? If the Bible is inerrant (and it is), and the wave-particle duality of light is true (and it is), how do we solve the apparent inherit contradiction between duality and trinity? As always, the answer appears elsewhere in the Bible.

But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. (John 15:26 NKJV)

There’s the answer. The Holy Spirit doesn’t speak of Himself, only of Jesus.

It will turn out light does actually have three properties, but the third will only be observable by indirect means, because under experimental conditions it looks like either a wave or particle — as John wrote the Holy Spirit will testify of Jesus.

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