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The Gospel According to Schrödinger’s Cat
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Wendy Wippel

A t-shirt I own says, ''Schrödinger's cat is dead'' on the front, and ''Schroedinger's cat is not dead'' on the back. (My family only lets me wear it to my team trivia league.) It's a science thing. But it has as much to do with faith as it does with physics.

Schrödinger's cat was an attempt by Professor Erwin Schrödinger to explain quantum mechanics to no less a brilliant personality than Einstein. He came up with the analogy because quantum mechanics is; well, very difficult to understand. Fellow physics professor Richard Feynman, in fact, said that "if you claim to understand quantum physics--you don't understand quantum physics."

And the reason quantum physics is difficult to understand is that in the quantum world (smaller than the atoms that comprise you and me); mutually exclusive things seem to be able to co-exist quite happily. Like heads and tails. Right and left. Things that can't both be true at the same time. But in the quantum world, they apparently are.

Schrödinger, trying to explain this, came up with a cat--a cat, not in a hat, but in a box in which he may or may not be killed.

A famous (well, among science geeks it's famous) Dr.-Seuss-style poem describes the outcome of the cat in the box like this:

"I have been reading of Schrödinger's cat, but none of my cats are at all like that. This unusual animal (so it is said) is simultaneously alive and dead!

We don't like that. We all know that that can't be true. In fact, the poem goes on to say, "What I don't understand is just why he can't be one or the other unquestionably."

And in our world, he has to be. One or the other, unquestionably.

Schrödinger was attempting to use the cat to illustrate a classic paradox in quantum physics: the nature of light. Modern experiments show that light seems to exist as both a wave and a particle. The problem is traditionally, in science, waves and particles are like heads and tails. Like the dead or alive cat, they can't both be true at the same time.

We're just more comfortable with apparently mutually exclusive things to stay mutually exclusive. Like heads and tails. Light and dark.

Like the sovereignty of God and free will.

The argument about which one of these is true about salvation has split up endless churches. It's been argued endlessly among Christians for hundreds of years.  I personally know a men's Bible study who has discussed this every Saturday morning for almost twenty years.

What a waste. Because the truth is that, like Schrödinger's cat that is both alive and dead simultaneously, like the light that is paradoxically both a wave and particle, free will can happily coexist with the sovereignty of God. And the reason is the same for physics and faith.

The contradictions disappear outside of time.

So it is pretty interesting that God says that He proves Himself as God by the fact that He is outside of time:

“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done.” (Isaiah 46:9-10 NKJV)

"I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another… See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” (Isaiah 42:8-9)

"I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.  Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come— yes, let him foretell what will come.  Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?  You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?”  (Isaiah 44:6-8)

God challenged Israel to get their idols to do the same thing:

"Present your case," says the LORD. "Set forth your arguments," says Jacob's King. "Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods." (Isaiah 41:21-23)

And even Jesus proved his divinity by being outside of time but this is to fulfill the scripture

"He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me. "I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He." (John 13:19)

God is a God that inhabits eternity--a God that lives outside of time-so that only He knows the end from the beginning. A God who created what we see and who is therefore beyond our time/space universe.

The problem is that from our perspective, salvation is cause and effect:

"Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)

"He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." (John 5:24)

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. (John 1:12)

Cause and effect.

Cause and effect demand a sequence in time.

But the flipside is that we were chosen in him before the creation of the world (before time existed:

"He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love" (Ephesians 1:4)

"For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son." (Romans 8:29)

"Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began."(2 Timothy 1:9)

So which is true?

The answer, of course, is both of them. The apparent contradiction is a function of us being prisoners of our four dimensions, wherein, as Einstein finally observed, past, present and future are stubbornly persistent illusions. In eternity, our choices and God's sovereignty live quite harmoniously together. God's sovereignty doesn't negate our freedom, and our choices don’t define the application of his grace and redemption. Free will and sovereignty don't contradict. God wills AND we choose. Both, simultaneously, with no tension between them.

And actually, it's interesting how often that principal is laid down in Scripture if you pay attention:

God predestined the cross:

Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; (Acts 2:23)

But Jesus chose it:

"I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself."  (John 10:17-18)

(Notice that in Acts 2:23, God predestined it, but the crucifiers were nonetheless responsible for their actions.)

Judas's betrayal of the Lord was predestined but;

"Woe to that man by whom He is betrayed".  (Luke 22:22)

The Jews' rejection of Christ was both predestined and freely chosen:

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. (1 Peter 2:7-8)

Free will and God's sovereignty, with no contradiction. This principle is repeated all through the Bible. And because of Christ, we are, like Schrödinger's cat, dead and alive simultaneously:

"You He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins." (Ephesians 2:1)

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." (Galatians 2: 20)

The best part? When we see Him, who is outside time, we will be like Him, freed from our time prison to live forever in eternity.

Wippel" href="http://www.omegaletter.com/content/?Bio_Wendy_page">About Wendy Wippel

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