Truth Cannot Contradict Truth

Paul Riggins


As a Christian and a physicist, I am sometimes a controversial person in two worlds: in the academy because I believe the Bible is true and Jesus Christ is Lord, and in the church because I think evolution and the big bang probably happened. Many in both worlds see my theology and my physics as incompatible, but I have come to see them as complementary pursuits of different kinds of truth—and “truth cannot contradict truth” (Pope Leo XIII). I will discuss and illustrate the nature of this complementarity, and also explore ways in which my theology and my physics inform each other. Among other things, I will address miracles, spiritual warfare, prayer, Genesis, God’s sovereignty, and the multiverse, how each can be understood as a simultaneously natural and supernatural phenomenon, and how that affects my daily life as a Christian physicist.

I am currently beginning my second year as a physics PhD student at UC Berkeley. My research focuses on high energy theory and phenomenology: I am interested in dark matter and dark energy, black holes, multiple universes, new particles, quantum gravity, string theory, and other things that help us understand new physics and the fundamental make-up of the natural world.

I grew up in the church, and first decided to study high energy theoretical physics when I was in junior high. The past decade or so has seen the fulfillment of that dream, along with countless discussions and debates with others and myself as I have struggled to understand and reconcile Biblical truth and scientific discovery. I praise God that today I am more convinced than ever of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the truth of the Bible, and that now I get to work full time studying and teaching the wonders of His Creation.

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