It is a little past the Christmas season when people might expect to see such stories. But I have only just come across this: a post by Anglican Curmudgeon, written in November this year, called The Physics of Christianity: Frank Tipler on the Virgin Birth.
I have come across Frank Tipler before. He is certainly a mathematical physicist with top credentials, as is clear from the Wikipedia article about him. His best known contribution to physics is his Omega Point Theory, an argument that the universe will end by collapsing into a point singularity. But he is also considered something of an eccentric because he has dared to identify this Omega Point with God!
Back in the 1990s I read Tipler’s book The Physics of Immortality (1994), supposedly written for a “popular” audience but in fact mathematically complex enough that I was glad of my postgraduate studies in mathematical physics. In this book Tipler argues that as the universe collapses into the Omega Point an infinite amount of computer power will be available, and will be used to provide for everyone who has ever lived an eternal life in a perfect, but virtual, universe. The problem for me is, in what way would that simulated future in fact be my future – especially if there is potentially a large, even infinite, number of simulated futures for me?
It seems that Tipler has now written another “popular” book The Physics of Christianity (2007), in which he has gone beyond his earlier claims that physics implies the existence of God and immortality in rather general terms, to more specific claims in which he
identifies the Omega Point as being the Judeo-Christian God, particularly as described by Christian theological tradition.
Anglican Curmudgeon has read this 2007 book (I have not) and describes it as
one of the most remarkable books about Christianity that I have ever read. In fact, the book is so remarkable that I have decided, at the risk of my reputation as a reliable curmudgeon, … to tell you instead about some of the things which this amazing book shows are inescapably correct about traditional Christian belief.
The example of Tipler’s brilliance which the Curmudgeon chooses to highlight in this post (he promises a series of further posts, and has written the first of them) is in fact not a matter of mathematical physics but one of genetics. Now this is not really Tipler’s field, not the Curmudgeon’s, nor mine. But if what Tipler has discovered is indeed correct, it is quite amazing! I must say that it is so amazing that I cannot quite believe it. It is the sort of thing I might expect to find in a cheap thriller, but not in a supposedly non-fiction book by a respected scientist.
This is what Tipler claims to have discovered, from what I can tell from the short extracts quoted in the Anglican Curmudgeon post: the bloodstains on both the Shroud of Turin and on the Sudarium of Oviedo (supposedly respectively the burial shroud and face cloth of Jesus) contain a unique form of DNA, exhibiting both the very rare XX male syndrome (a human genetically female but physically male) and some other unique characteristics which I do not understand. Tipler writes that he found, in raw data from analysis of the bloodstains,
the expected signature of the DNA of a male born in a Virgin Birth!
The Anglican Curmudgeon writes:
Thus The Physics of Christianity not only provides a physical explanation for how the virgin birth reported in the New Testament would be possible, but it also uses the available physical evidence to provide a stunning verification of Tipler’s hypothesis—a verification which is all the more amazing because it is based on reported results that were never properly presented or interpreted by those who obtained them.
It is for this reason alone that I commend Frank Tipler’s book to all who wish to ground their faith on the physical evidence and common sense that God has given us. Professor Tipler is a unique breed: he is someone who has followed the available evidence, and who has worked out the consequent mathematics, to a conclusion which, no matter how much his colleagues might wish to avoid it, shows that:
A. There is definitely a God Who created the universe in which we find ourselves (to be faithful to his proof, I should use the plural, “universes”—but more on that later);
B. This God indeed has an only-begotten Son, Jesus, who together with the Holy Spirit constitute three separate persons forming one indivisible trinity;
C. The Son—Jesus—although existing before (and throughout) all space and time, came to this planet and took on the form of a man, the product of a unique and one-time Virgin Birth; and
D. Evidence for that unique and one-time birth, as well as for His Resurrection itself, has been waiting for nearly two thousand years for mankind to develop the skills and technology needed to assess it.
It is, as I say, a remarkable thesis, in what is an even more remarkable book.
Indeed – if the thesis is in fact true.