Albert Einstein once mused, "I like to think that the moon is there even if I am not looking at it." Welcome to the strange world of quantum physics, where the very act of observing actually ends up affecting the observed reality. This was confirmed in a ground breaking experiment conducted at the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1998, and reported in an issue of Nature (Vol. 391, pp. 871-874) as follows:
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have now conducted a highly controlled experiment demonstrating how a beam of electrons is affected by the act of being observed. The experiment revealed that the greater the amount of "watching," the greater the observer's influence on what actually takes place ... In other words, when under observation, electrons are being "forced" to behave like particles (matter) and not like waves (energy). Thus the mere act of observation affects the experimental findings.
So, when someone is looking, electrons behave like particles. When no one is looking, they behave like a wave. As another writer put it, "Consciousness collapses the wave function into actual particles that exist in space and time."
We already knew that the universe was made of energy that only appears to us as matter. What is astounding is to learn of the role the conscious mind plays in that transformation.
This principle holds great promise in the field of computer encryption. One day we will be able to ensure the secrecy of information transfers by employing quantum physics in the way it is encoded. "This," according to Weizmann Institute Professor Heiblum, "would let the recipient know if the message has been intercepted." They would know because the mere act of observation would alter the information while it was in transit.
For an easy to understand five minute animated tutorial that explains how the famous "Double Slit" experiment worked, go to "Your Thoughts Effect Your Reality" on YouTube.
Physicists tell us that we can't observe something in our world without changing it in the process. In other words, the act of observation actually alters reality.
There is an Observer Effect in the spiritual world, as well. That was Jesus' message when He warned us against performing our good deeds in public view. Of course, it's always good to do the right thing. However, we can only be sure that our motives are pure when God is the only one Who sees our good deeds. When others (other than God, that is) observe our actions, the purity of those actions is--in a spiritual sense--altered.
"But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in secret. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you" (Matthew 6:17-18, NLT).
The implication of the Observer Effect is quite profound. It tells us that behind the universe is a Supreme Consciousness, a force Who actually monitors all conscious behavior, and that this force reacts by altering reality for the benefit of the observer. Not only that, this Supreme Consciousness is intelligent, having the capacity to detect not only human observers, but even mechanical monitoring devices deployed by human observers. What we have been gifted with here is a glimpse into the perpetual presence and intimate care of an all-knowing Creator God.
"I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night--but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you" (Psalm 139:11-12, NLT).