Do Physicists Believe in Miracles?

On Saturday 31 October our Men’s Breakfast group met in The George Inn, Eton, for a fry-up and some early-morning musings on the subject “Do Physicists Believe in Miracles?”  A lively discussion was led by our resident physicist Andy Felce, and for those who missed it, here’s a flavour of the questions we considered, and some possible answers:

What is a miracle?

“Something that can’t be explained by the laws of physics.”

To a physicist it is therefore highly unlikely since everything we have ever seen can be.

What’s the pre-eminent physical reality of the universe?

The laws of physics have come to be seen as predominating over matter.  No particles have any measurable finite extent.  Everything is empty space bubbling with mathematical fields talking to each other.  Matter doesn’t matter!  The known laws are amazingly successful (for example 11 significant figure agreement between experiment and theory for the anomalous magnetic moment of the electron).  [Physics is the crowning achievement of human civilization – discuss!]

What possibilities exist for the origin of the laws of physics?

a) Always existed with no author;

b) Spontaneously came into existence with no author;

c) Written (or more correctly, spoken!) at some time/event.

Can laws evolve?

No.  There is no mechanism for laws to “fail”, nor any way for putative laws to be generated.

Does the many-worlds interpretation make sense? Can it explain anything?

No & no!  It’s the very antithesis of Occam’s razor, in particular because it completely lacks testability.  “Whenever possible, substitute constructions out of known entities for inferences to unknown entities.” (Bertrand Russell)

Do physicists believe in miracles?

Yes.  The origin of the laws of physics cannot be explained by the laws of physics themselves.  You have to pick one of 3) a), b), c) above.  They all satisfy the definition of a miracle.  All are highly improbable, but there are no other alternatives, and to deride theists for believing in impossible or unnecessary things is a fabulous example of the pot calling the kettle black!

Why is mathematical elegance such a successful criterion for postulating laws of physics that work?

It’s hard to explain for an atheist, but for a Christian it’s the logical consequence of having a Creator who loves beauty and speaks maths!

What significance is there in the fact that there are laws of physics and that we can discover them?

It points to God who is the law-giver, and humans being made in the image of God.  For atheists it’s an inexplicable mystery.  Romans 1:20 says “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”

Why does maths discovered/invented in the human brain successfully describe the universe?  Can this fact be explained by natural selection?

There’s no evolutionary advantage in being able to understand quantum physics (100 years is an insignificant timescale).  For atheists there is no logical reason to expect chemical thought processes in our brains to have any correspondence with external reality on any hard-to-observe scale, either large or small.

Is the universe the product of a pre-existent Mind, or simply some spontaneously-generated stuff?

Given what we discovered in the 20th century about the pre-eminence of laws in the universe, and the fading away of “stuff”, it looks more and more likely that the former idea is true (see John 1) and that the latter idea stems from a rather unsophisticated understanding of 19th century physics.  It’s also much harder, for me at least, to believe in pre-existent laws than it is to believe in a pre-existent law-giver.

Why are Christians so defensive about science?

In the light of the answers above, it’s inexplicable!  We should be happy to admit that there are many questions about God that we can’t answer, but point out that science struggles even more with the question of ultimate origins, whilst Christianity has unique insights which answer many of the really perplexing questions.

Real channeling

“God is love, but love is not God.” So began Neil Watkinson in his sermon last Sunday. He told us that in order to have love, we must pursue God. This is such a key point, isn’t it? Most people think that if they seek love, they will be loving. However, to be truly loving we must recognize that Jesus is the perfect model of love and that the cross is fundamental for knowing that God is love. We need to rely on Jesus rather than ourselves for love, and then we can channel that love to the world around us.

Come hear Sam Allberry this Sunday as he continues our series in 1 John 5 and we celebrate communion.

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The Windsor Fellowship is having a social get together on November 14th at 7.00 pm at The George Inn, Eton (77 High Street, SL4 6AF) which has just been taken over by Windsor and Eton Brewery.

It would be great to see many people there. Food is ordered individually from the pub’s menu. Please let Jane Reed know on reedsing@singnet.com.sg (or hit the RSVP button below) if you would like to come.

Holy love

Down through the centuries Christians have struggled to understand the tension between God’s all encompassing love and His command to “be holy as I am holy.” We know that it is only by His grace that we can be saved, and we cherish His great compassion. However, as the Apostle Paul wrote, “Should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! . . . Now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.” (Romans 6: 1-2, 22 NLT)

Our talks from 1 John have stimulated some good discussions about how we can be sure of our salvation and see how much God loves us.  We look forward to hearing the next sermon on 1 John 3. Come with your questions!

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On Wednesday, 21 October we will have a special evening of prayer at Beech House, Hermitage Lane, Windsor, SL4 4AZ. Please join us for a cuppa at 7:30 pm and we will begin our time of prayer together at 8. There will be no pressure for anyone to pray aloud unless they so choose. Everyone is welcome to come along. It’s a great way to be encouraged in your faith!

The next Mens’ Breakfast will take place on Saturday, 31 October at 8:15 am. They will be trialling a new venue—The George Inn 77 High Street, Eton SL4 6AF, which is just across the bridge from Windsor. We will finish promptly by 9:45 am.

Saturday, 14 November is the date of our next WF social. We will meet at The George Inn on Eton High Street at 7 pm, which has recently been bought by the Windsor and Eton Brewery. Come along for a meal and a time of encouraging conversation.

On the launch pad

Thanks to everyone who came along to our official launch at the Windsor Youth and Community Centre! It was wonderful to have a full house and it was lovely that so many stayed afterwards to chat and enjoy the tea.

IMG_6211It was a great team effort. Thanks to those who came early to set up the children’s corner or stayed late to roll up the table cloths, those who blessed us with their musical talent and those who lavished on uscakes and sandwiches! We so appreciate every person who has offered their time and talents. If anyone would like to be on a rota to set up, welcome, serve tea, read scripture, etc. please speak to one of us or see Muffie Shepherd.

We launched our new prayer ministry last week. What that means is that there will always be people ready to pray with you after every service if you so choose. You can also write your prayer request on a card, put it in a box, and know that two people will be praying for you during the week. All prayer requests will remain confidential. We trust that this will be a huge blessing for all of us as we continue to learn to lean on Jesus.
Speaking of prayer, on Wednesday 21 October (7:30 for 8 pm start) we will be having a prayer meeting at Beech House, Hermitage Lane, SL4 4AZ. Prayer meetings can seem daunting but do come anyway as it is a great time learn more about the fellowship and we promise you won’t be put on the spot!

May God help us all as we look to Him to change our attitudes about the world we live in. “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives for ever.” 1 John 2:17v

P.S. Please let us know if you want to be in a home group. It is a great way to get to know others and to be encouraged in your faith.

“This is your mission if you choose to accept it.”  Frog Orr-Ewing speaking this Sunday at the Windsor Fellowship

Up for a challenge?

Those of us who have encountered Jesus know that we have stumbled upon a really good thing. Life certainly isn’t perfect, but we now have the assurance of forgiveness and amazing hope for the future! We can stop striving for things that really don’t matter and rest in God’s love.

So how can we encourage others to give Jesus a try? How can we spread the joy and peace?

Frog Orr-Ewing is rector of Latimer Minster in Beaconsfield. He and his wife, Amy, have been great Windsor Fellowship encouragers and Frog will be coming this Sunday to instruct us and cheer us on in our outreach to our community.

No doubt his words will be challenging, but my guess is that we are up for a challenge! See you on Sunday at 4 pm at the Youth Centre.

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