As a sophomore studying physics at Brigham Young University, I have a different view on the world than a lot of youth my age. Many people wonder how I can reconcile such strong religious beliefs with such secular logical theory. But I have a strong testimony of both. To me faith fortifies the logical, and my secular knowledge of physics and the mechanics of the universe broadens my understanding of God. If I was limited to only one or the other, I would in fact find myself confined and restricted in understanding.
For example, throughout scripture God commonly uses the concept of light as His preferred metaphor for Himself. To many this would merely be an accepted condition and they would move on to read the rest of the verse, but to me, as I study light in my physics classes at BYU, I understand the great meaning that can be drawn from this name alone. For example, light is used to not only expel darkness and bring warmth, but it is also the byproduct of electrons bumping up an energy level and thus emitting a photon.
This can be compared to God’s presence becoming more and more evident in our life as we ascend to higher spiritual levels. In addition, light is the only material that is truly constant in the universe—being the basis of all the equations and theories that we have,—just as God is the only true and unchangeable constant in the universe, the only constant upon which if we build we can never ever fall. And finally, light is the only material that is both a particle and a wave, and whose behavior varies upon whether or not we are observing it (double-slit experiment). A single photon will inexplicably behave as a wave if unobserved, but once placed under the scrutiny of the human eye it will behave as it should, or rather as a particle. Similarly, God does not always act the way we expect, seeing as we are observing a celestial and infinite subject through finite mortal eyes, as He says “for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8).
This week for my religion class at BYU I was reading in the Book of Mormon from the book of the early American Prophet Jacob who lived several hundred years before the birth of Christ. In the fourth chapter he warns against those who “despise the words of plainness and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand” (Jacob 4:14). It goes on to tell how because of their pride God took away that which was easy to understand and gave them that which was difficult, for that is what they desired. And because of this they stumbled. Or in other words they fell away from the truth and became lost and confused in their own ways. Although I appreciate and love physics, and it does open my mind to many interesting insights, such as that with light, I need to slow myself down sometimes. For I have found that the most precious and wonderful concepts I gain are from the sweet and simple basic principles taught by the Savior, not the deep doctrine I sometimes aspire after. And just like a baby must begin with milk and work up to meat, so it is with me. And sometimes I need to remember to bite off only that which I can chew, and by doing so, I always gain the most.
This article was written by Rachel G., a student studying physics at Brigham Young University and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.