Arche & The Theory of Everything

On November 21, 2013 by Valmy S. Karemera

In 1988,  the famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking published his best seller, A Brief History of Time.  In this book, he concludes saying that in the quest to find the theory that unites everything and explains everything in the universe, scientists have only been able to explain the “what” but not the “why.”[1]

In his latest publication, The Grand Design (2010), Stephen Hakwing now attempts to explain the “why” of the universe—the foundation of everything in the universe—he writes, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing…spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.  It not necessary to invoke God…” (p. 180).  Dr. Hawking asserts that you and I exist because of the law of gravity.

Responding to Hawking’s claim, John Lennox—professor of Mathematics at Oxford writes, “Hawking’s argument appears to me even more illogical when he says the existence of gravity means the creation of the universe was inevitable. But how did gravity exist in the first place? Who put it there? And what was the creative force behind its birth?”[2]

On this greatest pursuit to find what holds the universe together, other scientists have chimed in.  John Polkinghorne—a quantum physicist—notes that this unified theory of everything can be found only in the “Trinitarian theology”[3]

This question of a principle or the final theory that explains everything in nature is not something new. It is a question that dates back to Milesian (pre-Socratic) thinkers in their quest for the origin of all things.  As Simon Blackburn writes in The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, “In Presocratic thought, the fundamental, underlying source of the being of all things” is arche. [4]   Arche is the principle that undergirds all physical reality.

You may ask what is Arche?

While it is couched in the sanctuary language, symbols, and imageries, the book of revelation speaks of the Seven Churches (chapters 1-3); the Seven Seals (6-7); the Seven Trumpets (8-10); and the seven last plagues, which are introduced amidst the seventh trumpet (15-16).  Tucked away in Seven Churches, especially, the last church of Laodicea we begin to understand the meaning of Arche.

Like the names of other six churches, the name Laodicea provides a hint to the nature of the Church.  It comes from the Greek root words: Laos, which means “people”[5] and dike meaning “principle” or “decision”[6].  Put together, Laodicea implies a “people judged.”

To the church of Laodicea, Christ reveals Himself as the “…the beginning (arche)  of creation of God” (vv.14) Interestingly, Christ employs the same Greek word used by the Milesian philosophers to describe Himself as “the first principle”—the arche.[7]  For nearly nineteen times, the book of Revelation refers/alludes to Him as the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending” (Rev 1:8; cf. 1:4, 8, 17; 2:8; 3:14; 4:9, 10; 5:13, 14; 7:12; 10:6; 11:15, 17; 15: 7; 16: 5; 21:6; 22:13).

In his grandeur painting of Christ to the church of Colossae, the Apostle Paul also utilizes this word arche to describe Christ—“He is before all things and by Him all things consists…the beginning (arche), the first born from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col 1:17, 18; cf. John 1:1, 2; Mark 1:1; Rev. 21:6; 22: 13 KJV).

Christ is the foundation of all foundations.  He is the “the first principle” which governs and explains everything from the quarks of quantum physics to the galaxies of cosmology.  Philosophically speaking, Christ is the IS.  He’s man’s greatest pursuit. Christ is the desire of ages (Haggai 2:7).  Bach sings of Him, “Jesu, Joy of man’s desiring.”[8]  Augustine says, “to fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; to seek Him, the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest accomplishment.”

And then the most translated female author punctuates man’s quest for the final theory with this statement, “Whatever line of investigation we pursue, with a sincere purpose to arrive at truth, we are brought in touch with the unseen, mighty Intelligence that is working in and through all. The mind of man is brought into communion with the mind of God, the finite with the Infinite. The effect of such communion on body and mind and soul is beyond estimate.”[9]

It is Christ that explains everything.  Christ is the final theory and beyond.  Christ is the “what” and “why”!  Christ is the arche!  

[1] S. W. Hawking, A Brief History of Time, Updated and expanded tenth anniversary ed. (New York: Bantam Books, 1998), 190, 191.

[3] J. C. Polkinghorne, Quantum Physics and Theology : An Unexpected Kinship (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), 110.

[4] Simon Blackburn, The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, 2nd ed. (Oxford ;: Oxford University Press, 2008), 21.

[5] Strong’s #1349

[6] Strong’s #2992

[7] John’s usage of Christ as the arche should not be assumed to imply that Christ had a beginning.  For the same John that wrote the book of Revelation is the John that said, “All things were made through Him [Christ]…” (John 1:3; cf. Col 1:17, 18).

[8] See Johannan Sebestien Bach’s piece, “

[9] Ellen Gould Harmon White, Education (Oakland, Calif.: Pacific Press, 1903), 14.

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