Quantum Entanglement and Divine Union

Quantum physics (at least as much of it as I can understand) has been fertile ground for some of the most significant paradigm shifts in my spirituality over the past several years.

For example, quantum physics seems to show that the universe isn’t made up of solid “building blocks” stacked together, but rather infinitesimal particles in “energy relationships” with each other, with vast quantities of “empty space” between them.

What is it that fills the “space” between the particles? Nobody really knows, but permit me to wildly speculate: perhaps it’s God’s presence, holding everything together in love (Col 1:17). Maybe we’re swimming in God. Maybe every person you behold is mostly God. Maybe you’re mostly God.

Entangled in the Divine

Another concept from quantum physics I find intriguing is “quantum entanglement,” which is when a group of particles seem to be connected to each other in a way that you can’t observe with Newtonian physics (i.e. they never “touch” or “communicate” with each other in any observable way). When one particle changes state, other “entangled” particles change at precisely the same time, even when separated by vast distances. It’s like they’re connected through some unseen “medium”, almost like being in two places at once

What’s all this got to do with Christian spirituality? Again, permit me to speculate. The New Testament writers talk often as if we are in two places at once. In Romans 6, Paul says, “all who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death… Therefore, we were buried together with him through baptism into his death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life.”

In other words, in our baptism, we’ve already died and been raised from the dead! We die before we die, and we rise before we rise. In Colossians 3, Paul writes “You died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” We exist in two realms at the same time (just like Jesus, who is in heaven with God but also with us to the end of the age).

It’s like we have quantum entanglement with Jesus! Our bodies are here on earth, subject to corruption and disease and sin, but also we’re already dead to all that and we are connected to the resurrected body of Jesus in heaven. When we celebrate the Eucharist, we enter heaven and worship at God’s throne, but we’re also on earth in a church building on a Sunday morning.

In heaven and on earth at the same time

I like how Hans Urs von Balthasar puts it in his book Prayer:

So it is that not only Christ, but our love for him is already in heaven; it is in heaven that we receive him at Holy Mass, in heaven we seek and find him in prayer and contemplation, Indeed in loving our neighbor in the most ordinary earthly matters, we are encountering Christ in heaven. All this is hidden, of course, from our earthly senses at present, but when the Lord returns in will become manifest, along with him, as something that was always there.1

Contemplating quantum entanglement helps take these biblical ideas from “pretty words” to plausible potentialities for me. I’m able to live with a more consistent awareness of the fact that my life really is hidden with Christ in God, so “setting my mind on things above” is not a flight from reality, but rather a grounding in reality.

This work by Gravity Commons is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

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