The Physics of Christianity

Readers of such recent volumes as The Physics of Star Trek and The Physics of Superheroes — lighthearted attempts to buttress fantastical literary conceits with the rigorous findings of logic and science — will be taken aback by this new book. Dr. Frank Tipler is dead serious about mapping physics, cosmology and biology onto the entire past, present, and future of the Christian faith, maintaining that its prophecies and revelations are verifiably consistent with laboratory results — and in fact a blueprint for research. He sets out to prove that “the Cosmological Singularity is God,” that Jesus worked His miracles by “the electroweak baryon-annihilation process,” and that consecrated bread and wine are “in a coherent quantum state with the Second Hypostasis of the Singularity.” The author does offer a useful capsule tour of the Standard Model of physics, but this innocent springboard quickly launches the reader into the murky end of the intellectual pool, as concepts as the Virgin Birth, the miracles of saints, and humanity’s Fall into sin are subjected to convoluted scientific proofs. The result exhibits the hypnotic yet ultimately unconvincing pirouetting of a Velikovsky or von Daniken. While Tipler does fashion coherent, half-plausible scientific arguments about how parts of the Bible could jibe with science, he never answers the most important unstated question: Why is Christianity the template? Why not voodoo or Scientology? He does dismiss Islam as a rival and uphold Judaism. But of Buddhism and its vaunted tallying with science, he speaks not. The fact that an identical book to his could be constructed around that Asian belief system would seem to invalidate his whole thesis, rendering it no more consequential than a “proof” of Superman’s powers.