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It’s “The Higgs boson” or “a Higgs boson” but not the “God particle.”
CERN scientists just confirmed that they are reasonably certain the elusive Higgs boson they discovered last July is really the particle they’ve been looking for. The Standard Model of physics suggests that a particle, named the Higgs boson after physicist Peter Higgs predicted its existence in 1964, is what imparts mass to subatomic particles. As such, the Higgs boson is the “reason” any matter that exists has mass. And because gravity pulling on matter’s mass holds the physical universe together, the Higgs boson could go a long way toward explaining the way God designed the universe.1
Further analyses of data collected on the particle confirm that it does indeed have the properties the predicted particle is supposed to have and that it interacts with other subatomic particles the way it should. CERN scientist Joe Incandela says, “The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson.”2 Whether this particle, which does fit physicists’ understanding of the nature of matter, is only the Higgs boson or whether some game-changing new particles are to be discovered has yet to be determined.
The long-sought particle acquired the popular—or unpopular—nickname because it controls the nature of other particles.
Most physicists chafe at the moniker “God particle.” The long-sought particle acquired the popular—or unpopular—nickname because it controls the nature of other particles. The name, coined by physicist Leon Lederman to the consternation of many colleagues, has nothing to do with proving or disproving God’s existence.
“We think a particle like the Higgs boson was actually a match that set off this cosmic explosion, which created everything we see around us, including the earth and even us,” explains physicist Michio Kaku from City University of New York. Yet despite the claim that it explains what triggered the big bang, the existence of the Higgs boson reveals nothing about the origin of the universe.3
On the contrary, the Higgs boson beautifully illustrates God’s creative design. Creationist astronomer Dr. Danny Faulkner, now with Answers in Genesis after 26 years as professor of astronomy and physics at the University of South Carolina Lancaster, says, “The Higgs boson particle probably does exist. God upholds the creation with the power of His word, and I think this is just a humanly seen manifestation of that.”
But does it prove the big bang? No. Dr. Faulkner says, “It’s oversell, because it doesn’t really tell you about the big bang at all. What they’re testing is in the here and now, and we’re quite comfortable with testing how the world exists and how it now operates.”
Theistic evolutionist Dr. Karl Giberson, former vice president of BioLogos Foundation, commented back in 2011 that the search for the Higgs boson was letting us “push back a bit closer to that mysterious moment almost 14 billion years ago, when our universe emerged in the big bang. What the LHC [Large Hadron Collider, built to discover the Higgs boson] might demonstrate is a piece of the grand puzzle: where does mass come from? . . . If Christians can embrace the big bang theory, instead of inventing odd and implausible reasons to reject it, they will be drawn into a most wonderful world of grandeur that will greatly enlarge their concept of God.”4
Dr. Faulknerr, however, says, “To say it proves the big bang or somehow increases your faith in it is just silly.” The Higgs boson doesn’t tell us anything about the universe’s origins. Creationist astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle of the Institute for Creation Research explains, “That seems to really confuse two different issues. The big bang theory is really a conjecture about the past, about how the universe could really come into existence from nothing. And the Higgs boson has nothing to do with that. The Higgs boson is about how the universe works today. It appears to be the mechanism by which God has chosen to give different particles different masses.”
The Higgs boson does not scientifically supplant the Creator but is a manifestation of His glory and power. Dr. Lisle adds, “It is rather apparently the way that God has chosen to uphold the universe. That’s true of any law of physics. Gravity is an example. Gravity is not a replacement of God’s power; gravity is an example of God’s power. And that’s the way it is with the Higgs boson.”
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