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The God particle and a strip club

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Two high-energy photons shown as red towers are smashed together in the LHC. The yellow lines are the measured tracks of other particles produced in the collision -- possible evidence in the hunt for the Higgs Boson (Credit: CERN/Thomas McCauley, Lucas Taylor)

The “God particle” is leading the news this morning.  For generations, physicists have wondered why there is something rather than nothing.  If life began as a Big Bang, a cataclysmic explosion of energy, what converted this energy to matter?  Many have claimed that this unsolved dilemma demonstrates the existence of the Creator God.

Nearly 50 years ago, a Scottish physicist named Peter Higgs postulated the existence of a molecular particle that plays this critical creative role.  Experimenters have been looking for the so-called “Higgs boson” ever since.  Now experiments at the $5 billion Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland may have revealed patterns that indicate the existence of this particle.  Many more experiments will be needed before physicists can be sure of their discovery.

Meanwhile, a minister in Charleston, West Virginia wants to buy the most notorious strip club in his city.  Pastor Art Hage is spearheading an effort to turn the Pink Pony into a rehabilitation center.  The club is notorious as the location where a lottery winner was drugged and robbed of $500,000 eight years ago.  It has been vacant for a year.

The pastor wants to create a ministry center for people who are addicted to gambling, drugs, and other forms of immorality.  He hopes to raise $795,000 to buy and remodel the building.

I believe that the second story says more about the reality of God than the first.

Scholars have debated the existence and necessity of God since the beginnings of Western civilization.  If physicists can prove that a particle responsible for creating the mass of the universe exists, some will claim that their discovery makes belief in God less necessary.  Others will rightly ask who or what made the particle, and the debate will go on.

Meanwhile, Christians who answer Jesus’ call to help hurting people demonstrate God’s love in theirs.  Our Lord taught us clearly, “by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).  When the first believers “gave to anyone as he had need” (Acts 2:45), touched crippled bodies (Acts 3:7), and pooled their resources to be “distributed to anyone as he had need” (Acts 4:35), their movement quickly “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6, KJV).

Ken Medema, the brilliant and prophetic musician, has a line in one of his songs that challenges me every time I remember it: “Don’t tell me I have a friend in Jesus until you show me I have a friend in you.”  Who will find God’s grace in yours today?