Is God a particle-wave duality?

Published: 4 November 2012 (GMT+10)

In today’s feedbacks, Dr Jonathan Sarfati answers some questions about biblical metaphor and quantum mechanics, white holes, and an expanding universe in creationist cosmologies.


Dominic O. from the United States writes:

I was discussing with my friend about the necessary preconditions of intelligibility like Logic and he argued that the Duality of light negates the Law of Identity in logic. This was rather troubling and as I am no physicist I do not understand the nature of lights particle and wave like duality. Also what does the Bible mean when it says God is light. On another note how does quantum mechanics relate to Logic. I have heard ideas about it that would seem to allow contradictions, similar to dialetheism. Sorry for all these questions.

CMI’s Dr Jonathan Sarfati responds:

Dear Mr O.

Thank you for writing to CMI. You came to the right place, because I have written detailed papers both on logic and quantum mechanics from a creationist perspective: Loving God with all your mind: logic and creation and Should creationists accept quantum mechanics?.

From the first: “A contradiction is defined as the conjunction of the affirmation and denial of a premise, in the same time, place, and sense (i.e. p and not-p, or in symbolic form, p.~p).”

From the second: “But this unified theory did not permit wave and particle qualities to be observed at the same time; it was always one or the other.”

Here we have the resolution: there is no contradiction, first because it’s not a case of p and not-p, but also because the wave and particle properties don’t exist at the same time. So there is no need for dialetheism.

The statement “God is light” doesn’t mean that He is electromagnetic energy. This meaning of “light” is clearly part of the creation not the Creator, since God said “let there be light”. Rather, it is a profound metaphor involving many aspects of light, as explained in a previous feedback.


Jonathan Sarfati

Dan O. from the United States writes:

Dear CMI:

I greatly appreciate the excellent resources available on your website that provide great scientific resources for creationism.

I have spent much time studying the fascinating cosmology developed by Russell Humphreys in his book Starlight and Time. I have two questions about a comment he made regarding the nature of white holes in the paper, “D. Russell Humphreys replies and clarifies cosmology,” TJ 16(3):76–78, 2002. On page 77, Dr. Humphreys said:

“According to the basic equations, a white hole would not repel matter. Instead, the matter in it gravitates normally, but has enough outward momentum to overcome its own self-attraction.”

He cited a reference (The classical theory of fields, 1971), and though I was able to obtain a copy of this book, it is a different edition (1975) and thus does not appear to have the cited section on the same pages. Can you provide the name of the chapter/section that Humphreys references so that I can find it in the edition I have?

My second question is, since gravity is operating normally in a white hole, and since there is matter within its Schwarzschild radius, wouldn’t the escape velocity at the event horizon still be greater than light? If so, how can outward momentum overcome that and allow matter and light to escape?

Thank you for your time and help.

Dr Jonathan Sarfati responds:

Dear Mr O.

Thank you for writing.

I can’t help with the first question, but it’s possible that something like Google Books or a university library will have the reference.

But with the second question, it goes back to what a white hole is. Schwartzschild showed that what we now call a black hole is a valid solution for general relativity (since you like source material, it’s “Über das Gravitationsfeld eines Massenpunktes nach der Einsteinschen Theorie”, Sitzungsberichte der Königlich-Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, S. 189–196, 3 February 1916, or “On the Gravitational Field of a Point-Mass, according to the Einsteinian Theory”, Proceedings of the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences). But the equations of relativity are reversible, so if a black hole is a valid solution, then a white hole is as well. Both of them involve a mass inside an event horizon given by the Schwarzschild Radius RS = 2GM/c². In both cases, there is matter inside the radius by definition, as shown by the formula. But since the white hole is running in reverse and losing mass, the radius is shrinking.

I hope this helps.


Jonathan Sarfati

Alex C. writes:

Dear Creation Ministries International,

I have a simple question, what do Christians need to think about the universe expanding and not static? Furthermore, is it true?



Dr Jonathan Sarfati responds:

Dear Mr C.

Thank you for writing to CMI. We think that the Bible does not teach one way or the other. So for now, we would probably go for the expanding universe theory since that seems to be supported by the evidence, and doesn’t conflict with Scripture. This is our general policy on biblically neutral theories; cf. Should creationists accept quantum mechanics? You might also like to read the articles under What are some of the problems with the ‘big bang’ hypothesis? and the key articles on that page.


Jonathan Sarfati

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

Russ Humphreys
Dear Dan:

Thanks for being a Berean (Acts 17:10–11) enough to dig into the references. Here are some answers to the first question you asked CMI. First of all, the “1971” in my reference to Landau and Lifshitz (L&L) was wrong. It should have been “1975”. Sorry for that mistake; my head and my typing fingers were clearly operating independently of one another!

So what you had was indeed the section [103, “Gravitational collapse of a dustlike sphere”] and pages [316–320] that I had in mind. But apparently you didn’t recognize that section as answering the second question you had, about gravity operating around a white hole. I don’t blame you for that. L&L were writing for advanced grad students who had become skilled in the mathematics of general relativity. I regret that there isn’t any better reference. For some reason, relativists become very reticent in talking about white holes, probably because they don't understand very much about them.

Figure 24 on page 320 of the section, contains the answers you wanted, but encoded so only relativists can understand it. The lower half of the graph represents a white hole (though that term wasn’t popular when L&L were writing this section). The top half represents a black hole. Let me walk you through that graph. The vertical axis is a time coordinate, which L&L label τ (Greek lower-case tau).

The horizontal axis, labeled R, is tricky. It is a “co-moving” radial coordinate with units of angle. It is related to the real radial coordinate r by a scale factor a which depends on time,

r = a sin R

Near the bottom of the graph, a is zero. It increases smoothly to its maximum at the middle of the graph, the R axis. Near the top of the graph, a becomes zero again. That means that that if we convert R in the graph into the real radial coordinate r, the vertical dashed straight line abcd becomes a curve resembling a parabola. If you have my book Starlight and Time, you can see from Fig. 9, p. 117 (which has time horizontal and the scale factor vertical) that it is a cycloid. For later purposes, take note that the dashed line in Fig. 24 always curves leftward.

Now notice what L&L say about that dashed line in the sentence right below their Fig. 24:

The world line [trajectory] of a particle that is at rest relative to this reference system is a vertical line (R = const). It starts from r = 0 (point a), cuts the Schwarzschild sphere [event horizon] at the point b, reaches its farthest distance [the apex of the cycloid] at time τ = 0, after which the particle again begins to fall in toward the Schwarzschild sphere, passes through it at point c [the event horizon again], and arrives once more at r = 0 (point d) at the time [I’m omitting the equation here].

So the particle is moving fast outward out of the white hole, slows down to a stop at the middle of the graph, and then falls back toward the event horizon, which is now that of a black hole.

The curvature of the dashed line in (r, τ) coordinates is the particle’s acceleration, which is caused by gravity. It is always inward, meaning that gravity is always attractive, even in the white-hole part of the graph. There is no gravitational repulsion from a white hole.

Now as to your second question about the speed of light, I regret that relativists have neglected to tell the public that inside an event horizon, particles can, and often do, exceed the speed of light, as measured in (r, τ) coordinates. You can check that from the math of this section of L&L.

Sorry things are so complex,

Russ Humphreys
Josef L.
Dr Sarfati,

This is why I look up to you so much. I have found that it is a rarity to find someone who has such a strong grasp of the scientific issues of the creation/evolution debate and also the philosophical ones as well.
Derek H.
Thank you Jonathan for your response to my remarks. I shall enjoy following up the themes you mentioned. I take on board the points you raised: the conservation of energy and God’s finished work in creation Genesis ch. 1–2. Very helpful.

Derek H.
I like Alec’s question about the possible expansion or not of the universe. I recently came across Fred Hoyle and his ideas. This made me realise that there can be other ways of looking at the universe. Why not a steady state or God continually creating new energy and matter?
I find this liberating because it encourages true independence of mind instead of the need to toe the party line on the big bang etc. I even found it was Fred Hoyle who coined the phrase “big bang” in the first place.
I find it remarkable though that with all his brilliance Fred Hoyle couldn’t bring himself to accept God as Creator despite not accepting the theory of evolution.
Jonathan Sarfati
Indeed, see our article Big bang critic dies (Fred Hoyle). But the problem with the continuous creation idea is that Genesis 2:1–3 states that creation is finished. God’s main activity now is sustaining His creation via what are often described as natural laws (see also Is evolution allowed by scientific laws? and Miracles and science). One of these is the Law of Conservation of Mass-Energy.
sonica L.
Just today I woke up wondering about my purpose in life and feeling really down. Today, I read your article and was reminded again that if God created this universe with me in it then He must have a purpose for me however small I am. I am programmed by the Creator of Heavens and Earth and this makes me want to burst with pride and now I feel overwhelmed by His love. This is all due to your brilliant scientific articles on our great Creator.

Thank you CMI.
John A.
In Isaiah 40:22 it states,

God is enthroned above the circle of the earth … . He stretches out the heavens like thin cloth and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

There are a number of other references like Job 9:8:

He alone stretches out the heavens.

So God and Jesus continue to fashion the universe—remarkable.
B. S.
Thank you for sharing this article. I am so appreciative of these questions. They are “digging deep” and it’s satisfying to read intelligent questions, not fluff. It’s nice to see that you want to be challenged as well. Good work, Dr. Sarfati.

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