4th September 2023

‘I talked to the trees…’ So went a song of yesteryear. But did you know that trees can talk to each other? That’s what some scientists are now suggesting – in the sense of transmitting biochemical information to one another via their root systems and associated fungal inhabitants: about water supply, soil nutrients and so on. So young trees can ‘find out’ from each other whether the soil in which they’re growing is likely to support them, or if it’s too poor or already overcrowded with trees. It seems that in some cases, nature isn’t just a matter of ruthless survival-of-the-fittest competition. Togetherness and cooperation are there too.

Then, physicists working with the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva observe that some sub-atomic particles are always found spinning in pairs, and that if you hit one of the particles with a massive magnetic shock so that it spins the other way, its ‘partner’ will change likewise, even when they are separated by great distances (in atomic terms equivalent to one billiard ball in Geneva, the other in Singapore). What we call the material universe isn’t just ‘material’ at all. It’s a web of energies insisting on togetherness.

I don’t think any of this ‘proves God’. But I can’t help thinking of Proverbs 8:31 which speaks of the Wisdom through which God created all things ‘rejoicing in his inhabited world’; and of Paul (Colossians 1: 17) saying of Christ ‘in him all things hold together’. Science reveals a world of mysterious togetherness. Faith invites us to share God’s joy in whatever reflects his purpose in Jesus.

Keith Clements