Albert Einstein, Christianity and Science Pt 2

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All truth contained within our universe has its source in its Creator, Jesus Christ.  While James Clerk-Maxwell was a devout Christian, to call Einstein as such is very hard to pin down.  Yet this man played a crucial part in consolidating light, electricity and magnetism into its relational unity that, as far as his work is concerned, there can be no other way. If it was all wrong, then, as silly as it sounds, everything in our high tech modern world would also be all wrong. We see this very same relational unity within the Trinity, what we call perichoresis; ie the relational unity, mutual indwelling and interpenetration of the Persons of the Trinity. Once we see the Trinity in this way, the shining light of Truth is on display where there is nowhere else to turn.

I am not one who is willing to discount Albert Einstein as a Christian on the basis of my own version of Christian truth. I simply cannot do that.  Such is the nature of the profound truths Einstein was able to uncover regarding our physical universe, to me, defies nearly every mainstream evangelical framework of truth.  One must know the truth to disclose the truth, not just regarding the very nature of his work, but the public confession he made in regard to who it was that was behind his work. If we take Christ out of the equation, there is no other explicable way this tiny light could have broken through the shackles of the enormous darkness of fundamentalism that existed in his field of science and the liberal and evangelical church of his day. Though it may not be outspoken and as loud as we would like, there is no doubt Albert Einstein had intimacy with the “one” who was behind the universe, which we know to be Christ. Though he may not have filled all the requirements of the denominational evangelical prescription to become a Christian, it cannot be denied that there was some relational unity between Einstein and the Creator.

Before Trinitarian theology, my gospel was radically different to what it is now.  There were large tracts of pre-requisites I had to know before I understood the role of Jesus Christ and His salvation of me.  Even though I knew the Truth in my own way by an encounter, there was so much information I had to know to understand what happened to me.  There were people who had an indirect role in my becoming a Christian but I hardly heard, let alone, understood what it is they said.  It was the reality that was set before me that their truly is a God, in particular, the God of the Christians.  It was only in hindsight that I understood it was Jesus Christ who was revealing Himself to me.  In the following years after, I tried to grasp the overall crux of the Christian message.  However, my life, especially after I was married, hardly made sense with the gospel I understood.  There was so much information coming my way from well meaning Christians.  In amongst all this theological noise, deep down, there appeared to be no consensus or overall agreement on what the gospel is.    I felt I was out of tune and out of time with the music of the Spirit of Christ.  There were many versions of the gospel with all who propose their theories make the claim only their theory is based on Scripture.  As I listened to these people, they way they laid out their argument made sense.    I often asked myself the question, “How do I know which one will take me down the path of truth? Which theory best reflects the Truth?”

I truly believe Albert Einstein was in tune and in time with the music of the Spirit of Christ.  Some of the things he said appear to me to be the overflowing of the Spirit of Christ in him as he tried to explain the mysteries of the universe. With this in mind read some of the things Albert Einstein said:

You will hardly find one among the profounder sort of scientific minds without a peculiar religious feeling of his own . . . His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is utterly insignificant reflection (Ideas and Opinions, p. 40).

The problem we have today when we read about people like Albert Einstein, we look too microscopically trying to find little bits of information that will discount everything they say.  In this case, it is very unfair to take one little piece of what he said and then make a broad sweeping statement.  When we listen to someone like Einstein, we need to listen holistically rather than looking for parts to undermine all else.  It is like saying, universal reconciliation and then conclude this to be universalism.  The two are far apart and should not be logically connected without understanding the depth of such a statement.  The nature of the understanding of God according to Einstein, could not be contained into a systematic belief in much the same way one cannot systemise the Trinity into logical dot-points.  What he did say was profoundly far more superior to systematics of any sort.  Systematics tends to conceive of God within the limitations of human rules of what He should and should not be and what He can and cannot do so that He meets their selfish desires.

Einstein did believe that the knowledge of nature could be best understood in the light of the knowledge of God.  As far as he was concerned there was a unity between the two.  He did appeal to Spinoza but in a very precise way. Rather than discount for this appeal, we need to look closely at what this meant to Him:  In an interview with George Sylvester Viereck he asked Albert Einstein,

Do you believe in the God of Spinoza?

I can’t answer with a simple yes or no. I’m not an atheist and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in a position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. He dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see a universe marvellously arranged and obeying certain laws, but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza’s pantheism, but admire even more his contribution to modern thought because he is the first philosopher to deal with the soul and the body as one, not two separate things.

Albert Einstein was living in a world where the fictitious principles of science did not truly reflect the empirical experiences of the natural world. A particular reality in the physical world was not adequately explained according to the nature it truly contained.  For example, up until his time, light was thought to be made of particles that travelled in a straight line at a fixed speed and travelled through a medium call ether.  Thus ether was the constant in which all speeds were measured by. Newton developed this idea and because of his prestige, it was hardly challenged for more than a hundred years.  James Clerk-Maxwell suspected light travelled as a wave but found it hard to let go of ether as the absolute meaning for velocity.  Theories were  developed on the basis of how things might possibly work by forming a logical bridge between phenomena and theoretical principles.  Something like this:  Maybe what we are studying works this way. Let see if this idea corresponds mathematically.  The mathematics says what I want it to say. Then this outcome would dictate what is reality rather than the object itself.  Formulas would be laid out in logical steps and often manipulated to prove a validity of an idea. The outcome of understanding an object mathematically does not reflect the nature of the object.  Einstein boldly says there is no logical bridge between phenomena and their theoretical principles (The World as I See it, p. 126). One cannot establish truth built upon inference after inference. He also said (in his assessment of Galileo) Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world, all knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it. Prepositions arrived at by purely logical means are completely empty as regards reality (ibid. 33).  Hypothesis’ were proposed and then strings of theories were developed to try to understand the property of a reality.  In actual fact it should be the other way around. Once the facts regarding a reality is established and it is found to be unquestionably and empirically true, beginning with the facts, hypothesis and theories should be established that best reflected the facts and reality of what the object of study disclosed. In a nutshell, ideas concerning the nature of light, electricity and magnetism according to Newtonian mechanics were built upon myths. Therefore any move forward towards better understanding our universe, nature and so on, were severely impeded because, as a whole, the foundation they were built on were simply not true.

Even when James Clerk-Maxwell introduced his Dynamical Theory of the Electrodynamic Field the whole scientific community were still locked in an unsatisfactory way of investigation.  In this paper he introduced a new and revolutionary way of scientific investigation. While studying the work of Michael Faraday, Maxwell was aware Faraday lacked the ability to translate his findings into suitable mathematical language.  Michael Faraday simply observed what he saw and recorded it. What Maxwell was also aware of was the science of the electromagnetic field was an exact one.  So the corresponding mathematics had to reflect the precision of this field.  The problem with the conventional mechanical mathematical method of the time was its inability to truly reflect the object in a relational and unified way, especially in the area of the electro-dynamical field.  Objects were broken down into their smallest parts and studied individually rather than how they related to each other as a whole.  That is, scientific theories should measure up as far as possible to the intrinsic nature and realities disclosed in creation.  He endeavoured to investigate the facts and produce exact ideas and subsequent mathematical calculations consistent with the objects of study. Such was the norm of his time, figures were manipulated at the sacrifice of the physical reality they represented. In stepping away from the unreliability of mathematics to adequately and accurately express the exactness of the nature of his dynamical theory he had to abandon his quest to explain Faraday’s theory using conventional mechanical mathematics and pursue a new mathematical method.

He pursued a method of developing forms so that mathematical formulations truly reflected the behaviour of nature so that it discloses its physical truth.  The mathematicians of the time was more focused on the equations than on the natural phenomena in which they were suppose to represent.  Maxwell, as the first step in scientific investigation, proposed the student should actually familiarise themselves with the natural phenomena and engage their mind until they become familiar with its behaviour.  In so doing, the student is able to structure and perform experiments and to develop theories that are consistent with the true and intrinsic nature of the phenomena they study.  This information can then be used to build further ideas that are built from the fundamental truths. Thought has to conform with the reality they are confronted with. If something new is brought to light in the process, then data can be adjusted to properly reflect the new information. Rather than treating objects in their isolated and individual entities, they are treated in their inter-relational whole. In this way, a truth that was uncovered on one natural phenomena can often be transferred onto another natural phenomena such as we find in the relationship between light, electricity, magnetism and even gravity. James Clerk Maxwell started with assuming the characteristics of magnetic effects, then he used electric balls to prove the relationship between current, magnetism and induction, then he proceeded to show that light was part of the electro-magnetic field.  Investigating an object for the truth it reveals in its natural properties led to further unveiling of truths which led to even further unveiling of truths. He allowed his mind to engage with the object and an intuitive process to conform his mind to everything thereafter to what the reality of the electro-magnetic field disclosed to him.  The fundamental point I want to make here is the object of study is the master that guides and directs us wherever possible and, if needed, the object will dictate necessary changes in our thought if new information is unveiled.

In conclusion, what James Clerk-Maxwell endeavoured to achieve was to show the invariance of the behaviour of electricity, magnetism and light.  They behaved in a particular way.  In trying to show the particular way they behaved, he produce data to reflect the particular way they behaved.  Albert Einstein was conducting experiments with the understanding that whatever the results, he accepted their conclusions were true.  The norm at this time was to conduct experiments as if the theory was true. If the results did not conclude in proving the theory, then the experiment failed.  By focusing on the reliability of his results, Albert Einstein showed the truth about the speed of light being the absolute reliable constant i.e. 300,000 km/sec regardless of how fast objects are moving.  Though there is much more to be said about Special Relativity, the point here is Einstein introduced a truth that was verified by others time and time again.  Light is the universal physical constant that is central to all physics. In theology, Jesus Christ is the object of study and the Master that guides and directs us wherever possible.  Whatever we say about God must conform to all that God is in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. John 14.6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.