The world as we know it has been shaped by the discoveries of influential scientists like sir Isaac Newton, whose breakthroughs in physics influenced our understanding of the world and even the church. This Newtonian worldview, with its emphasis on hierarchies and materialism, has been the dominant worldview for centuries, shaping even our approach to business through scientific management theories like Taylorism, which helped us build efficient factories and production lines that enabled mass global consumerism.
But since the early 20th century, an opposing worldview has started emerging through the discoveries of quantum physics, revealing a world made up not of atoms, but of smaller particles called quanta. Scientists studying the very small subatomic particles found that the rules that apply to the larger objects we interact with do not necessarily apply to these tiny building blocks of matter.
The quantum worldview
One of the most interesting findings is that simply observing these subatomic particles changes their behaviour. This means that our presence and actions as observers have an effect on the very tiny building blocks of everything around us. This highlights the importance of the unseen, the very small, and the role of human observation in shaping the universe.
But what does that mean for us? In simple terms, it means that the way we understand the universe has changed because of the ‘quantum worldview’. This new way of thinking is impacting every aspect of our lives, as Newtonian physics did. What makes our worldview so powerful, is that it affects our beliefs and values without us even realising it. We need to be careful and pay attention so that false ideas and half truths do not sneak into our beliefs (and consequently, our actions) without us noticing.
We must intentionally cultivate a biblical worldview – we must ensure that our thoughts and emotions are focused on worship and the kingdom of God. This means standing in authority over nature, being fruitful and multiplying, and making disciples of all nations.
Threat and opportunity
As believers, we are called to give, not to take. We should be ‘troublemakers’ who extend the kingdom of heaven. However, we must also be vigilant against the changing worldview that seeks to infuse our minds and hearts with subtle lies and confusion.
At the same time, we can capitalise on changing paradigms of leadership and management, redeeming and aligning these innovations to be salt and light in the world. We can build systems and processes that facilitate discipleship relationships, and we can fulfil our calling and create a better world for ourselves and those around us.
The threat and opportunity of the changing worldview looks like this:
|Controlled organisation||Spontaneous organisation||Broad framework, principles, and freedom because of the law|
|Determinism||Indeterminism||Teleological certainty with co-creation|
|Planned||Emergent||Planned and emergent according to heavenly templates (God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will) Spirit-led|
|Atomistic||Holistic||Atomistic and holistic
Individuals that are connected to one another and to the Creator
|Isolated||Contextual||From isolation to contextual
From individual salvation to corporate impact
|Limited||Potentiality||Created with purpose, agency and free will|
|Reality completely separate from observer||Wave function coherence because of observation||Reality aligned with kingdom through state of worship|
|One reality||Create new realities||The objective truth guides man’s authority on earth to create kingdom alignment|
|Simplicity||Driven towards complexity||Complexity made simple and practical through, trust, faith, and wisdom|
(Adapted and expanded from Zohar, Zero Distance)
Without over-explaining each term here, the threat to the biblical worldview can be summarised as, ‘The quantum worldview suggests that matter, which makes up everything in the world, has its own spirituality and divinity’.
This would mean that the power of creation comes from the complexity of these natural processes rather than from God. This belief challenges the idea that God created everything in the world. The natural extension of this is that man is spiritual and divine in and of himself. This is the great risk of the unexamined worldview. It is also consistent with the original deception in the garden of Eden, that ‘God is holding out on us – take this shortcut and take power into your own hands’.
Impact on business
To fully understand how this shifting worldview can impact business leaders, we need to keep on learning and engage both our heads and hearts. The combination of head and heart is the combination of devotion and attention, which is necessary for servant leaders in business to grasp the shifting worldview and be the salt and light.
The quantum paradigm can either confuse or empower leaders to position their organisations for kingdom impact. Leaders need to upskill themselves dramatically and channel the upskilling and leadership development into creative and innovative businesses that give more than they take at every level of the business.
As leaders, we can learn a lot from quantum physics, such as:
A new servant leader is needed who can unlearn old paradigms and step into a mandated co-creation relationship with God to build systems of life and freedom. This requires an understanding of sonship, trust, faith, and letting go, which is only possible through the leadership development God has ordained. The only way to know the condition of our hearts and minds is when we are tested in the wilderness of disappointment, frustration, patience, and rejection. We were not saved to be comfortable, but to be troublemakers who extend the kingdom.
You can find J-D Nel’ previous article, entitled “The Importance Of Examining Your Worldview” also on the Ziwani Knowledge Hub.
J-D Nel is a coach, facilitator, and author with a decade of experience in start-up and leadership development. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Ethics from Stellenbosch university and is currently an entrepreneurial coach with the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. J-D is passionate about leadership development and supporting purposeful businesses inAfrica. He is married, has two kids, and lives in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
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