Miracles & The Quantum Realm
Quantum Physics challenges common-sense assumptions that we live in a material universe and that’s all there is to it. The Double-Slit Experiment demonstrated that electrons act as balls of matter (like mini marbles) but also as waves of possibilities at the same time. This knowledge would have been incomprehensible during Newton’s and Darwin’s time.
Scientists discovered that when firing individual electrons through a tiny slit to observe the pattern they make ricocheting off a wall, these electrons behave exactly how you would expect tiny balls of matter to act. They formed a single strip on the impact wall, exactly in line with the slit. However, when scientists added a second slit (so now the electron had two choices for its pathway), an ‘interference pattern’ developed on the impact wall. If you shine light waves through two slits then you see an interference pattern. This is because the light is able to go through both slits at the same time as it is not an individual ball of matter that can only go through one. When the split wave comes out the other side, it interferes with itself and creates ripples which leave numerous impact marks on the wall. Scientists were amazed to discover that electrons acted like waves when there were two slits and left an imprint with numerous lines; rather than the one strip from the first experiment.
They concluded that this must mean electrons are waves rather than balls of matter and the first experiment didn’t show this because when there is only one slit, the wave has only one option to go through, so no interference pattern is caused. Therefore, the scientists decided to run the experiment again, but this time with a camera to watch the ‘wave-like’ electron go through both slits. This time, however, because they were watching, the electron acted like a ball of matter again and only went through one slit with no interference pattern forming. Instead, there was a single strip, just like you would expect when firing balls of matter through one hole. What does this mean? The scientists theorised that electrons exist as waves (are in various locations simultaneously, travelling at various speeds simultaneously) until something observes them. This process of observation collapses the wave function into one concrete possibility (i.e. a ball of matter acting in predictable ways).
What does this have to do with Miracles and whether or not they are possible? Well, when you assume this material universe is all there is, you are supposing that everything is made of lumps of matter -- i.e. planets and stars exist as concrete realities in the form that we perceive them. But we are made of atoms, as are planets and stars, and these tiny particles are subject to the conclusions from the Double-Slit experiment. The world is not as solid and predictable as we used to believe. How can an electron be a ball of matter and a wave at the same time? It defies common sense, but maybe opens up the door to understanding how a Creator who designed the Universe this way could intervene in His creation. This Creator could cause events to happen that seem to defy the natural order of things but actually operate within its parameters.
The Philosopher, David Hume, argued that miracles are NEVER possible because they violate the Laws of Nature which are uniform, inflexible and certain. But he was not alive to witness the Quantum revolution. If electrons exist as waves of possibilities then there is not just one location they can possibly be, or only one speed at which they can travel, etc. Human eyes collapse the wave function to view reality in a certain way. But who is to say that is the only or ‘true’ way to see it? Our observations seem to collapse the wave function in set ways depending on the senses we have at our disposal. We know that cats and dogs can hear frequencies of sounds that are outside our range of hearing and they are virtually colour blind compared to human sight – so, who is seeing the world as it really is? Who has access to the full picture? Who can see the infinite possibilities of the wave function of electrons? Who can ‘collapse them’ in other ways outside our limited field of vision?
When unobserved, electrons can travel through both slits simultaneously, but when we watch, it appears to only go through one. We have bent reality via our 'human lens’. If we conclude a miracle could never happen, we are thinking of matter only as ‘blobs of stuff’ that act in uniform ways; like an electron going through two slits whilst being observed. We would be denying that electrons also exist as waves with untold possibilities. An infinitely powerful creator God, who sees all, could observe all the possibilities of the not-so material world and collapse the wave function however He deemed necessary to achieve His purposes.
Why do Christians pray? We are instructed in the Bible to “pray continually” and to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”. God partners with us in this lifetime. We are being trained to trust him; to ask Him for healing; and to plead for Him to intervene in the world around us. Sometimes He answers these requests and sometimes He does not, for reasons that we cannot fully understand this side of the New Creation. But from the many accounts of biblical and modern-day miracles, it appears He intervenes a lot more than we give Him credit for. A national scientific survey conducted by Barna Research recorded that 38% of Americans claimed to have experienced at least one miracle, which they attributed to the power of God (that’s a whopping 94,792,000 people!).
God can say No to our prayer requests (No is an answer to prayer, just not the answer we wanted). Not everyone who wants healing gets it; not every hungry child is fed; not every marriage is restored. I witnessed amazing supernatural events when I was young, but my sons haven’t. I don’t know why God chooses to intervene and other times not. But just because some miracles are withheld, that doesn’t discredit those accounts that do testify to supernatural occurrences happening. They deserve to be heard, explored and hopefully verified.
I’m starting to understand from the advances of Quantum Physics that miracles aren’t just myths or trickery. The Quantum Universe has been constructed with infinite possibilities built into it. Humans have access to only one narrow ‘lens’ to see a slice of the bigger picture. Animals, plants and other living things have their own unique ‘lens’. Such as migratory birds that can utilise the magnetic fields of the Earth to travel up to 50,000 miles to the same breeding-ground destination each year. Who sees all? Do humans? Clearly not! How then can we conclude that miracles are impossible? I don’t even possess the ability to conclusively discern if you see the exact same colours that I do. It’s quite a claim, from the limited viewpoint we humans possess, to state as a fact that miracles are impossible.
God alone sees all. He could perceive the infinite wave function of every atom in the universe, and through that, direct a whole range of possibilities to arise in the natural world by collapsing the wave function in previously undocumented ways. This would not be a violation of the Natural Laws but simply operating within the in-built designed features of the Universe -- the infinite possibilities that are outside our field of sight. Heisenberg coined the phrase the Uncertainty Principle to attest to our inability to know an electron’s speed and position at the same time. This means we cannot know for a fact where exactly an electron is at any given moment. The Universe is uncertain, not as Hume once thought. Upon the assumption that the Universe operates along inflexible Natural Laws, Hume concluded miracles (exceptions to the rule) were impossible. Now that we realise everything is subject to the Uncertainty Principle, shouldn’t our scepticism towards miracles be similarly reassessed?
References & Footnotes  https://youtu.be/Q1YqgPAtzho  1 Thess 5:17  Phil 4:6  A random representative sample of 1000 US adults completed this questionnaire.  See future post on God and His Nature – what we can know about His characteristics.