The adequacy of classical physics’ mechanistic worldview is called into question by an “entanglement” interpretation of quantum nonlocal correlations, which suggests a relational holistic account of physical processes. Albert Einstein rejected the possibility of such behavior, but recent experiments confirm its existence in the world. The concept of entanglement provides an especially fruitful locus for appropriating quantum insights into theological reflection because it bridges two otherwise antithetical interpretations of the theory, the indeterministic “Copenhagen” version developed by Niels Bohr and the deterministic version later discovered by David Bohm. Entanglement also offers an opportunity to explore what Robert Russell has called the method of “mutual interaction,” by which theology can play a legitimate heuristic role in scientific research programs even as it responds to scientific discoveries.
The concept of entanglement offers rich possibilities for developing a theological program within which to situate an ecological, trinitarian understanding of creation. In particular, a theological appropriation of entanglement can strengthen an ecological approach such as that of Sallie McFague, who argues powerfully for the importance of naturalistic metaphors in crafting a cosmic vision of wholeness but whose use of “organic” metaphors does not entirely eliminate the specter of mechanism. Entanglement can also strengthen a trinitarian approach such as one finds in Wolfhart Pannenberg, whose relational understanding of creation remains mechanistic insofar as it depends primarily on classical rather than quantum field theory. According to the theological approach developed in this dissertation, a trinitarian relational God creates a universe that is entangled with itself and, as a result of the incarnation, also with God. Additionally, this theological perspective leads to the scientific prediction that no complete solution to the quantum measurement problem beyond “decoherence” will be forthcoming. Decoherence accounts for the emergence of real separation at the macroscopic level in a world that remains holistically interconnected at the quantum level, and it does so in a manner that is consonant with an ecological, trinitarian perspective. Three appendices provide: a derivation and discussion of John Bell’s inequality, a summary of several key entanglement experiments, and a general time line of related scientific developments.