Resurrection and Quantum Physics
“Behold, I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment,
in the twinkling of an eye…for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must
put on immortality.” (1 Cor. 15: 51-53) I want to draw your attention to the word “moment”.
“Moment” is a poor translation of the Greek word ATOMOS, meaning that which is uncuttable
or indivisible, from which the English word “atom” is used. The Greek word for moment is
Parautika, which means instant or momentary. If Paul wanted to refer to a very small unit of
time he would have used Parautika, but he didn’t.
“Twinkling” is translated from the Greek word Rhipe, which means a jerk of the eyes, from the
root Rhipto, a word that means sudden motion. The meaning Paul is trying to convey here is a
sudden change in direction, a sudden refocusing or looking away. It is a sudden change in
perception and understanding. This change in perception will transform us into the image of
Christ — a transformation that is total, down to the quantum state (subatomic structure) of our
In the strange world of Quantum Physics perception is reality. The act of observing the motion of
a particle affects the momentum and position of the particle. So, the observer’s act of observation
or perception changes reality. Recall that Jesus was relentless in his efforts to awaken faith in the
“kingdom” (the coming new reality of God). This faith is a straightforward decision in favor of
the kingdom of God. The metanoia (repentance) or change was a change of direction in a
person’s life, and way of relating to others, that was based on the hope for the coming of the
New Creation of the compassionate and humane Abba, Father.
Jesus perceived and embodied the truth of reality as no one else had done before. The power of
faith is the power of truth. When Jesus encountered people, he awoke their faith in them to see
the truth of reality. Jesus could only heal if the recipient of the healing had faith (Mark 6:5-6).
“Faith was an attitude that people caught from Jesus through their contact with him, almost as if
it were a kind of infection.” (Nolan) The underlying truth of reality was the God Jesus called
Abba, Father; the God who was coming in grace to transform all reality. Jesus was the very act
or Word of God through which this new reality was breaking into the present and bringing in
something utterly new and unprecedented.
Whether or not God creates through “special creation” or evolution is not of primary importance.
The hope of the biblical writers was not a return to a lost golden age of perfection (Eden). “And
no one puts new wine into old skins; otherwise the wine bursts the skins, and the wine is poured
out, and the skins will be destroyed; but new wine is to be put into new skins.” (Mark 2:22). The
hope of the Hebrew prophets, Jesus and Paul was directed toward the future — the future of the
coming of God, of His New Creation. Not the restoration of the old, but the transformation of the
old into a radically new reality.
There is no basis for hope in evolution. Even if humans evolve to an advanced state and become
virtually immortal the universe will finally die a heat death through entropy, and no life will be
possible. Furthermore, evolution can not bring justice to all the poor, lost victims of history and
evolution. The victims of evolution would remain mute victims forever.
Only universal resurrection can bring justice to all the dead victims of evolution and history. The
biblical writers did not see reality divided between natural and supernatural realms. For them the
physical universe is God’s good creation and the hope of all things is for the coming of God,
who will make His home in His creation and dwell among us. YHWH (I Shall Be What I Shall
Be) is the coming of the full presence of the Spirit (Ruach: life giving and transforming energy
of God’s love) that will transform the universe through universal resurrection.
The quantum states (subatomic structure) of an individual includes the total person: DNA, neural
structure, memory, personality — the very self. Think of the quantum state as the information or
bit pattern that defines us. The molecules that presently make up our bodies are all recycled.
Each of us consists of molecules (H2O for instance) that have been in countless living creatures
before us. So, you may have molecules in you that once were in a Woolly Mammoth or in
Alexander the Great. The atoms or molecules that you presently consist of is not significant,
rather your quantum state (pattern of information) is what defines you. When we die all of the
molecules that were in our body return to the environment and are recycled into other creatures,
but our individual states (spirit), I believe, are retained in the “memory” (Ruach, Spirit) of God.
So, in that sense we are with God when we die, but our next conscious moment will be at the
eschaton, or the moment of universal resurrection.
It is very important to recognize that resurrection is universal in the fullest sense of the word. All
people, creatures, and the very structure of the universe must be included and transformed by
universal resurrection, or there will be no resurrection at all. This is because of “quantum nonlocality” which states that once complex quantum systems (the universe) have interacted they are
forever entwined, no matter how far apart they are in space. This illuminates all the more
profoundly the cosmic dimensions and significance of God becoming All in All