What’s Not to Wonder: All Things Reconsidered

 

He is the image of God, the invisible one,

The firstborn of creation.

For in him all things were created,

In the heavens and here on earth.

Things we can see and things we cannot—

Thrones and lordships and rulers and power—

All things were created both through him and for him.

 

 

-The first stanza of one of the earliest Christian poems as recorded in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae, Colossians 1:15-16

~~~

The thing of it.

I grew up around Sola Scriptura thinking. I attended Bible churches for the first half of my life. I attended Moody Bible Institute after high school. In these institutions the trinity of Scripture, right living and evangelism were constantly posited and deemed to be what mattered most. The rest of the cosmos seemed immaterial, except for the tithe. And, not once during that time did I hear anything about science and the nature of things. It was if nature was to be seen but not heard from. But gnostic thinking didn’t come from Jesus. He offered his body and blood as true food and drink (John 6: 53-57).

It wasn’t until I took a college level physics course which employed a mathematics course I was taking at the same time that I became wowed by the nature of things and the theology of science. When I saw that mechanical forces and properties could be defined in beautiful mathematical terms I knew that God was the Designer. I was wowed into worship. I knew for the first time that every…thing… would lead me back to the Creator in a way that Sola Scriptura could never do.

It was also at that time that I began a career in electrical engineering.  I saw engineering as a place where the material and the spiritual could be fused in a creative process. As an engineer I no longer used my Sola Scriptura-infused right brain to dismiss the left brain and its focus on objects—things–as unspiritual and of no eternal value.

Why study the nature of things and theology of science? Everything in the natural world is a sign, a trace, an echo, an image and a sacrament of the triune God. The goodness of God is diffused into HIs good creation. As such, everything in creation has been given a profound relationality with a space to be and a sense of particularity so that it is encountered and not just used.

RNAScience, and certainly engineering, attends to the particularity of things. Both scientists and engineers must understand a thing and how it relates to other things. Imagine if they didn’t. Imagine if geneticists, physicists, biologists, chemists and aeronautical engineers didn’t consider how things relate to each other. Imagine if an electrical engineer didn’t consider that 3000 amps through an aluminum conductor rated for 600 amps would cause heating and the ultimate melting of the conductor. God gave us Scripture so that we could understand God’s nature expressed in the Word (John’s Gospel chapter one). God gave us nature so that we could understand God’s nature as expressed in things.

 

God creates in particular and yet everything created is related. Electrons are relational to protons and neutrons. The periodic table reveals that relationality.

Exoplanet-A temperate exo-Earth around a quiet M dwarf at 3 & 4 tenths parsecs

Before the elements ever began to appear in Mendeleyev’s table they had been fused together-related-in the nuclear furnace of stars. The dying stars sent the dust off into space, into our space, where the elements are now used by engineers to design airplanes, prosthetic arms, super colliders, diodes, super conductors, …every…thing…known to man.

Why study the science of things? Because God made them to be studied. God made the unpredictability of quantum physics for us to puzzle over, to reflect on and then to uncover its mysteries, e.g., light as both point and wave. That contemplative exercise is necessary for the theology of science. And, it what’s required for our theology of the mysterious three-in-one Trinity.

Why study the science of things? Because nothing is stamped on the bottom, “made by God.” That’s for us to find out. We were created to be scientists.

~~~

The Lord and Creator of the Universe, the One for whom all things were created, the One who has taken on a stardust composite of an image-bearing human is standing on a hillside speaking to a massive crowd of people about his kingdom on earth. Just then, a creation of about 13.8 billion years in the making darts by and lands near an open spot. Jesus then talks about what he values in particular…

Collared flycatcher-Ficedula albicollis

“Don’t be afraid of people who can kill the body, but can’t kill the soul. The one you should be afraid of is the one who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna. How much would you get for a couple of sparrows? A single copper coin if you are lucky? And not one of them falls to the ground without your father knowing about it. When it comes to you—why, every hair on you head is counted. So don’t be afraid! You’re worth much more than a great many sparrows.”

-the Gospel according to Matthew 10: 28-31

 

All things reconsidered, since Paul’s poem tells us that all things were created for Jesus, then Jesus’ words to us give us a clue as to where his treasure lies: “Show me your treasure, and I’ll show you where your heart is.”

~~~

The Pleaides and Orion by John Michael Talbot

What’s Not to Wonder: Children of the Light

György Ligeti: Lux Aeterna

 

Consider the scientific testimony about light:

-The sunlight whereby you see everything this moment left the sun about 8.3 minutes ago. But there is more than meets the eye. That light is estimated to be between about 100,000 to 50 million years old by the time it reaches your window plants.

The light began as gamma rays in the sun’s nuclear core. The rays headed out and immediately began colliding with matter surrounding the sun’s core. These collisions (think pinball game) slow down and ‘convert’ the gamma rays into photons. When the photons finally make it to the surface of the sun they stream to the earth in no time flat:  8.3 minutes to travel one astronomical unit (see table below).

-Sunlight received is ancient.

-It is estimated that light from the Andromeda galaxy is 2.5 million years old

Andromeda

-After the explosion of the Big Bang space began to expand. “The early universe was opaque because it was so dense: radiation in the form of photons was constantly being absorbed and re-emitted. Only when the universe was about 300,00 years old did it become transparent enough so that photons could travel in straight lines…A billion years or so after the big bang, the first stars and galaxies began to form. Clusters and superclusters of galaxies emerged over time. The universe continued its expansion, eventually reaching its current size.” Dr. Amir D. Aczel, God’s Equation

-Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) is the afterglow of creation. It is the oldest light we can see, approximately 14 billion years old.

cosmic microwave background dispersion of the universe after big bang

 

“The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is electromagnetic radiation left over from an early stage of the universe in Big Bang Cosmology. In older literature, the CMB is also variously known as cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) or “relic radiation”. The CMB is a faint cosmic background radiation filling all space that is an important source of data on the early universe because it is the oldest electromagnetic radiation in the universe, dating to the epoch of recombination.” Source: Cosmic microwave background

-It took about 13.8 billion years for the universe to expand, cool down and then enable and support carbon-based life on earth.

 

In the light of science’s testimony about ancient light consider the testimony Scripture records:

 “There was a man called John, who was sent from God. He came as evidence, to give evidence about the light, so that everyone might believe in him…The true light, which gives light to every human being, was coming into the world.” John’s eyewitness & empirical gospel account 1: 6-7,9

“The light is among you a little while longer,” replied Jesus. “Keep walking while you have the light, in case the darkness overcomes you. People who walk in the dark don’t know where they are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may be children of the light.” John’s eyewitness & empirical gospel account 12: 35-36

 

 

Consider the ramifications of both testimonies:

Before anyone was born, before anyone began hoping for a “Like” on social media and before anyone decided that light should be overcome by darkness, light began streaming towards you. And that light has been continually streaming towards you.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you (Psalm 139:16-18).

“He chose us in him before the world was made, so as to be holy and irreproachable before him in love. He foreordained us for himself, to be adopted as sons and daughters through Jesus the King. That’s how he wanted it, and that’s what gave him delight…” Ephesians 1:4

 

It is time for us, like John the Baptist, to give evidence of the Light which has come into the world and to walk in that Ancient of Days light, reflecting “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus the Messiah.” 2 Corinthians 4:6

~~~

How fast does light travel from the Sun to each of the planets?

Light travels at a speed of 299,792 kilometers per second; 186,287 miles per second. It takes 499.0 seconds for light to travel from the Sun to the Earth, a distance called 1 Astronomical Unit. below I list the light travel times from the Sun to each planet:

Planet           Distance in AU            Travel time

…………………………………………………………..

Mercury              0.387        193.0 seconds   or    3.2 minutes

Venus                0.723        360.0 seconds   or    6.0 minutes

Earth                1.000        499.0 seconds   or    8.3 minutes

Mars                 1.523        759.9 seconds   or   12.6 minutes

Jupiter              5.203       2595.0 seconds   or   43.2 minutes

Saturn               9.538       4759.0 seconds   or   79.3 minutes

Uranus              19.819       9575.0 seconds   or  159.6 minutes

Neptune             30.058      14998.0 seconds   or    4.1 hours

Pluto               39.44       19680.0 seconds   or    5.5 hours

…………………………………………………………..

What’s Not to Wonder?

The Earth is the Lord’s- Horicon Marsh, WI ©Ann Johnson Kingdom Venturers

“…Cynicism and sentimentality are two ways in which things of value are demoted to things with a price.

“To understand this we need to make a distinction between fantasy and imagination. Both fantasy and imagination concern unrealities; but while the unrealities of fantasy penetrate and pollute the world, those of the imagination exist in a world of their own, in which we wander freely and in full knowledge of the really real…Fantasy covets the gross, the explicit, the no-holds-barred display of the unobtainable; and in the crisis of display the unobtainable is vicariously obtained.”

-Roger Scruton, Chapter 6, Fantasy, Imagination and the Salesman, An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Modern Culture

~~~

One aspect I derive out of the above quote is that there is a Wow! that is not wonder. Fantasy, I’ll label here as “the Wow! that is not wonder”, intrudes on our daily life. We allow it to. We do so, I believe, out of a boredom with life, a boredom sustained by a laziness which suppresses the exercise of curiosity that develops a healthy awe and wonder. In the place of applying oneself to reaching higher and beyond one’s self is down and dirty titillation’s instant gratification. Those in the thrall of fantasy, the “walkers”, need a constant diet of fresh fantasy to devour. Philosopher Scruton, in the same chapter as the above quote, provides an example of the “imaginary object which leaves nothing to the [ethical-life sustaining] imagination”. He offers a comparison, noting the queue outside Madams Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London and the queue outside the National Gallery:

 “No effort of the imagination is required to understand a wax work. It stands amid the wash of easy sentimentality, and is never eroded. It is the paradigm fantasy object; absolutely lifelike, and absolutely dead. Through the work of art, by contrast, we encounter a world of real, vulnerable and living people, which we can only enter by an effort of the imagination, where we, like they, are on trial.”

We are content to sit in front of a TV and to be mesmerized by Computer Generated Images. Comic book superheroes smash all sorts of bad guys and save the planet from other bizarre characters gone bad. Apocalypses of every kind, from earth-colliding meteorites to earthquakes to tsunamis to you-name-it-complete-devastation, is served up in order to rivet the audience to a we-are-in-this-together shared fantasy. The intruders we allow into our dumbed down subconscious also include impossible driving-on-the-edge-car chases, extreme violence, explicit pornography, perverse lewdness, vulgarity, cheapness and a host of other “for sale” excitations “walkers” must purchase to feed on.

As a follower of Christ in the Kingdom of God on earth, I fully expect unbelievers, the walking dead, to feed on Epicurean pleasures. What I don’t expect is that Christians, those alive in Christ, doing the same. When Christians purchase with Kingdom resources and live on food which does nourish the imagination, the world sees no difference between fantasy and imagination or, more importantly, between Christian and the walking dead.

This past year I have written posts attempting to prod those in the Kingdom of God towards awe and wonder. I see the Christian’s neglect in exercising his or her imagination and its required disciplined study of the surrounding cosmos as deplorable. There is so much in the universe that awaits our discovery, yet, we are content to feel something, be it raw excitement, instant righteous anger, CGI generated hope, blithe sentimentality and more, in our increasing moments of boredom

How can one be bored? God has given us two books: Nature and Scripture. There is so much to explore in both. There are mysteries that need discovery by you. And, if you think you know Scripture because you know the four spiritual laws and a few verses which look nice on pictures of cute animals, think again.

Almost daily, as I engage in Twitter, I come across those who question the existence of God. I debate them with a desire not to ‘win’ the argument but to impart knowledge which I hope and pray leads the atheist and the agnostic to question their position and to look further. To debate them I have to study aspects of Scripture, science, philosophy. I have to be well-read.

As I debate there are typically no other Christians who jump in to augment the case for Christ. If they do it is usually with Scripture which is tangential to and not on the point being discussed. In other words, where are the Christians? Vacationing on Fantasy Island? “The harvest is great, but the laborers are few..” I agree with St. Augustine regarding interpreting and positing Scripture to support things you do not understand. (see quote below).

As I see it, the church has been passive, reticent to go deep and to reach higher. Many sermons relate illustrations from current movies and not from scientific findings, philosophy or from works of art or music or literature. Beyond Christian colleges which offer scholarships are there any churches that are currently offering funding for scientific research or science scholarships for a congregant? To be sure church donations go to missionary work and to social causes. Yet the Kingdom of God, I believe, demands more of us than translating the four spiritual laws into another language. The Kingdom of God demands more of us than picking a political sideline.

In the U.S. and elsewhere Christianity is under attack. High culture is under attack. Culture is rooted in religion and high culture serves as a defense of Christianity. High Culture as depicted in the arts holds the ethical life above us as worthy of being desired. High culture needs to be maintained, as well as, science exploration by Christianity. Over the centuries the church has mainly been reactive and often antagonistic towards science. Let this be no more.

Looking up from the quotidian things of life, I find all kinds of things to marvel at. A sky that is blue, a sunset that is red, a night sky filled with diamonds in the works. Wonder and mystery fill our expanding and accelerating out-to-infinity cosmos. Einstein added the Cosmological Constant λ to his General Theory of Relativity because there was a factor at work in the cosmos which is still unknown. 

As I read “God’s Equation: Einstein, Relativity, and the Expanding Universe” by mathematician Amir D. Aczel this past week I was reminded of Einstein’s thought experiments or, as they have been called, “theoretical experiments-in-imagination”. Einstein imagined light traveling thought the cosmos. He also imagined what different observers would see when two trains passed each other. These deliberate intellectual speculations would later spur world-renowned theories, theories that were later proven true through astronomical observations. (Among other things, the church needs to operate observatories or at least buy telescopes! The Book of Nature needs to be read also!)

By coincidence, I read about Einstein’s train thought experiment while riding on a train. In that setting I soon made my own observation: If Einstein used thought experiments to create Special Relativity and did so without the distraction of fantasy, then maybe I should begin thought experiments conceptualizing the Kingdom of God in our expanding and accelerating universe!

Finally, is this how faith works, by giving us conviction about things we can’t see? When the Wow! that is wonder is exercised, the unobtainable becomes obtainable? If so, then it seems to me that prayer in the closet is the de-fantasied realm for a Christian’s thought experiments.

 

~~~

-Saint Augustine (A.D. 354-430) in his work The Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim) regarding interpreting Scripture in the light of scientific knowledge.

 

“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.” [1 Timothy 1.7]

All Things Hold Together

 

“For almost a century, the Universe has been known to be expanding as a consequence of the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago. However, the discovery that this expansion is accelerating is astounding. If the expansion will continue to speed up, the Universe will end in ice.” Saul Perlmutter, astrophysicist

~~~

I find it interesting that light tells us where we have been. Astrophysicist and Nobel winner Saul Perlmutter and his team of astronomers at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory focused the most advanced telescopes on 80 super luminous Type 1a supernova. Using red shift (a Doppler-like effect, the wave lengths of light rays increase towards the red end of the spectrum when the source recedes from the viewer) to determine the speed of recession of distant galaxies, Perlmutter concluded from the data that the universe was accelerating its expansion-the universe was expanding faster and faster. 

And since the known universe has only about 20% of the mass density needed to affect a slowdown and then a stop and a re-Bang, Perlmutter concluded that the universe must be infinite.

Guess who stands at each end of infinite?

Guess what Light has no red shift or shadow of turning?

Guess which Cosmological Constant is greater than the one once proposed and later rescinded by Einstein and is now back on the table after scientists learned about Perlmutter’s findings?

Sound trumpets. Now tympani. Start your crescendo all instruments of praise…

“I am the Alpha and the Omega…” Revelation 1:8

“I am the first and the last…” Revelation 1:17

“Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Revelation 21:6

“I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and last, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 22:13

Guess Who will meet you at every level of your existence and at any time during your existence and at every question you have during your existence?

Guess Who you will meet when you study biology, chemistry, anthropology, origins, genetics, physics, astronomy, philosophy, medicine and engineering?

Guess Who you will meet when you think science and faith are acting incompatible and seem to be accelerating in opposite directions based on cultural shift readings?

See the above. The audacious claims that Jesus makes in Revelation mean that…at the beginning of any sequence and at the end of any sequence is the Person Jesus. In the middle of the sequence is the Person Jesus.

At every level of study, in every field of science, in every atom, quark, super-quark and boson, if you go to infinity and beyond…you will encounter Jesus. The Hound of Heaven is looking for you there.

Let’s get personal for a moment, as did the Psalm writer.

Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

and the light become night around me,”

even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,

for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139: 7-12

Perfect love casts out fear, so start here:

“Search me, God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts” 139: 23

 

~~~

You wonder if God is silent. You watch a movie about God’s supposed Silence based on a novel written in 1966 by the same name. Like the main characters, you may even stand on the face of Jesus and commit apostasy because you think that God doesn’t hear and doesn’t see what is going on in your space and time. You behave as you think God should behave in that situation. Your perception of God, as observed through the prevalent Epicurean/Deist worldview, is reaffirmed: God must be off somewhere in the cosmos and not involved in man’s day to day life; God won’t save his own; we are our own salvation and other’s salvation; God is silent, therefore we must act.

You watch a sci-fi movie about the Arrival of aliens. The main character must learn the language of the aliens to gain the alien’s purpose for coming and to learn whether or not a threat to earth is imminent. Near the end of the movie the main character has a salvific vision. In the vision, time is shuffled as a language and an understanding barrier are overcome, vertically and horizontally. A world saving decision is made. Then, at the end of the movie, a personal choice is made, the ends of which are reconnected to the beginning of the movie.

 

Two movies. The one reveals a lack of personal knowledge about the Alpha and Omega. This accounts for a lack of faith and for actions done out of fear. The second movie attempts to show that a personal encounter with another that is completely other. The main character seeks to understand the other’s language. Full understanding comes from a personal encounter with the alien. The acquired personal knowledge brings about saving transformation for everyone involved.

Now imagine the personal knowledge that you would gain from this lesson: you are the bride at your wedding. Your head server tells you that you are out of wine just when the party is ready to get on the floor and dance. At that moment the Beginning and the End does a work of transubstantiation: Jesus turns the physical properties of water into wine.

For your personal knowledge, here is a poem about the centrality and supremacy of Jesus, from Paul’s letter to the Colossian church:

 

He is the image of God, the invisible one,

The first born of all creation

For in him all things were created,

In the heavens and here on earth.

Things which we can see and things we cannot-

Thrones and lordships and rulers and powers-

All things were created both through him and for him.

 

And he is ahead, prior to all else,

And in him all things hold together;

And he himself is supreme, the head

Over the body, the church.

 

He is the start of it all,

First born from the realms of the dead;

So in in all things he might be the chief.

For in him all the Fullness was glad to dwell

And through him to reconcile all to himself,

Making peace though the blood of his cross,

Through him-yes, things on earth,

And also the things in heaven.

Colossians 1: 15-20

Now, one may read this and say, “this passage is all about Jesus and not about me and my worries”. I say to them, “Read the passage again, but this time see that “all things” includes you and your worries.”  ”And in him all things hold together…”. Wherever you are broken, confused or lost Jesus is there to heal and make whole.

 

Fear often paralyzes us. Then, as we sit in the dark unknown biting our nails and thinking that God is uncommunicative, we act. In so doing, we deny the Alpha and the Omega an encounter with the beginning and the end of our fears. We also deny ourselves a personal knowledge that will sustain going forward. Consider Peter walking on the water until fear kicks his legs out from under him.

Perhaps your universe is expanding faster than you can keep up with it. When there is change and accelerating change, remember that God was there when it began and God is there when it ends.  If God can hold all things together in the cosmos, why not hold onto God-The Ultimate Theory of Everything– for the ride of your life?

 

Meditate on this:

Jesus said, “ἐγὼ τὸ Α καὶ τὸ Ω”

A Gravity Situation

 

Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light!

Psalm 148:3

earth-rotation-time-lapse

Did you wake up today wondering why the planets and moons are round? For some reason, I wondered this while working out on the elliptical machine at the health club this AM.

OK. So, you didn’t wake up and wonder why all the planets and moons in billions of galaxies are round.  But I’m going to tell you anyway.

planetsmvmt

Better, I will let Tega Jessa explain. From Jessa’s web article, “Why Are Planets Round”:

You may have wondered why are planets round. I mean why aren’t the cubes or pyramids? The answers can be found in how gravity works and the formation of our solar system. Our solar system was formed like many other star systems from a nebula. A nebula is a concentrated area of gases and cosmic dust in what is the called the ISM or Interstellar Medium. These gases and dust are spread through space and when enough of it gathers it gains suitable gravity to establish a gravitational field. This clumping creates nebulas and started the process for star formation.

The next step in a star’s birth would be the rotation of the nebula. As matter is drawn in and organized by the nebulas increasing gravitational field it start to gain angular momentum and start to rotate. This is just like how an ice skater spins faster when they pull in their arms. As the matter is pulled into the nebula’s center of mass, it spins faster making it easier for more matter to be pulled in. This process will happen until under the increasing gravity until the gases go under nuclear fusion and a star is born.

After the birth of a star there are now two sources of gravity whose tides fight over the remaining gases and dust. The first gravitational field is that of the nebula and the other is the gravity of the new star. The tidal forces of these two fields bunch the remaining gases and dust together. Heavier element will clump together faster to make the beginnings of rocky planets. It is important to note that gas giants are planets that were close to becoming stars but did not reach critical mass for fusion. In the end, even as these planets are forming they still carry over the angular momentum and spin as well drawing more matter.

This process works like a carpenter’s lath. The new gravitational field pulls matter towards the center of the planet’s mass. The rotation helps to round out the rough edges. As time passes and the planet cools the planet settles into its final shape depending on its own rotation and the gravitic influence of its star. This is what makes a planet round.

 gravity-earth-and-moomgravity-newton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK. Now we both know why planets and moons are round. Next question:

“What is shaping your world?” nebula-forming

Make a Spectrograph of Yourself

Another in the Quantum Theology and the Dispensation of Synchronicity Series
_____________________________________________________________________________________
As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the traveler in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
From the English Lullaby Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 1, scene 5
~~~

So you want to know if God is game? It’s elementary dear reader. It’s in the stars and a spectrograph is required. “But I’m into relationships, not science!” Snap out of it, kid! Put on your thinking cap.  prisma-lightSpectrum-goethe

Prism break. In 1814 Joseph von Fraunhofer, a Bavarian lens maker, invented the spectrograph, a device which separates white light into a rainbow of colors. With a lab spectrometer the fingerprints of atoms and their Creator are uncovered.

“The white-hot surface of the sun emits light of all wavelengths, but this light then passes through the relatively cooler gases of the earth’s atmosphere (the “corona”). Here the atoms might absorb just those same wavelengths they like to emit. This absorption accounts for the curious dark lines observed by Faunhofer. Bit by bit, spectroscopy in the post-Fraunhofer era revealed that each element, when heated, produced a characteristic set of “spectral lines,” some prominent (like the brilliant lines of neon gas that are so familiar in neon signs), and some faint (like the dimmer blue of mercury vapor lamps). These lines were the fingerprints of the chemical elements, the first clues to the tiny “tuning forks” within atoms, or whatever the mysterious structures vibrating inside the atom must be.” (emphasis added) from Quantum Physics for Poets by Leon Lederman and Christopher Hill

“The game is afoot!”. What game? This game is kind of like Hide and Seek, the kid’s game. But in this game someone hides and the rest must seek out the hider. Like the kid’s game, no one seeking believes that the person hiding is unreal and not there, unless a person enters the game after the person hid. This person then has to believe the other seekers. But this person may think that the others may be tricking him and walk away. That’s his or her choice.
The seekers all must have a well-motivated belief that the hider is there and can be found to win the game. See. I am starting to build relationships.

“Spectroscopy’s second major achievement was a more philosophical. In the sun’s signature of dark lines scientists could read its chemical composition, and lo and behold, they found hydrogen, helium, lithium and the other elements of matter that compose our planet Earth. Since then, we have analyzed the light from the stars in extremely distant galaxies, always finding our own familiar elements: hydrogen, helium and so on. The universe everywhere has the same composition and the same laws of nature, all of which hints at a common origin in some incomprehensible act of physical creation.” from Quantum Physics for Poets by Leon Lederman and Christopher Hill

37spectra

“How I wonder what you are.” Information sourced from a twinkling star spectrum includes:  Bright-animated-star-shining-at-night-gif
Our distance from a star.
The temperature of the star
The size of a star.
The mass of a star.
The elements of a star
The motion of a star.
Using a star’s spectral lines we can measure its gas pressure and the strength of a star’s magnetism at the surface.

And you thought those little white dots in the night sky were there just for romantic reasons? They certainly are! The Creator is engaging his creation. So, “Make a Spectrograph of Yourself”.
[spek-truh-graf, -grahf], noun
1. a spectroscope for photographing or producing a representation of a spectrum.

spectrum

Like it or not you are taking in the Light of Christ. His Cosmic photons are constantly bombarding us. With it we can see familiar elements and, more closely, the fingerprints of God. And though the Light source seems off hiding somewhere in a distant galaxy there is considerable information for us to take in. We can analyze the Light from Christ and find the familiar incredibly romantic, like the red Valentines rose.
Under light a rose absorbs most colored light of the rainbow and emits red light.Rosa_gallica_purpuro-violacea_magna
What are you absorbing and what are you emitting? We tend to hunker down with some OTC Christian book that tries to explain God to us in proxy fashion. We ask God about something specific and we expect God to answer us in specific Voodoo-like fashion. “There will be a wet fleece on your doorstep tomorrow. That’s how you will know.” Look around. Adjust your spectrograph and see the full spectrum of answers God has already provided. And, if you ask for wisdom (light), have you used the wisdom God has already given you to find your way?
“The game is on!” Personally and very briefly, I joined the game of Hide and Seek when I started to read and think outside the “Christian” cave. I rid myself of the myopia of single point of light thinking – Sola Scriptura – and I stepped outside. To accomplish the move into the sunlight with a well-motivated belief of greater illumination, over the last several years I began studying science books. This path for me has made all the difference. And this path has shed enormous light back onto Sola Scriptura. God has been found ever since. Yes, he likes to keep hiding and being found. But, is God uncooperative when it comes to me? No!
The Hider is there and His Light is supernal. He wants to be found. Such Light gives itself away!
~~~
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.” Psalm 27:8
May the light of Christ remain with you always…

Move Over Santa and “Settled Science”, the Lord Has Come…

…”let earth receive ….” the Light of the World.  religion versus science

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“People sometimes say that science deals with facts but religion simply trades in opinion. In other words, science’s concern is with truth, understood as correspondence with reality, but the best that can be said of religion is that it might be ‘true’ for an individual, but only in the weak sense that it was helpful for that particular person to look at life in that particular way, without necessarily implying anything about the way reality actually is. Two bad mistakes lie behind this claim…” John Polkinghorne, Science and Religion in Quest of Truth

Mistake #1: When it comes down to it any scientific fact is interpreted fact, a well-motivated opinion about one-dimensional information. Scientific phenomena are comprehended within other interpreted facts and within a personal cosmology. Any discovered fact is unique to an individual until in the process of truth-seeking it is corroborated by others seeking truth. A well-motivated belief then begins to grow that what you have found is consonant with an elegant and repeatable universality. Yet,

“Belief in scientific realism is well-motivated, but one cannot claim that it is logically proved to be true beyond any possibility of question, as if it would be willfully stupid for anyone to deny….the progress of science, with the changes of understanding that can result from this, make it clear that scientific achievement cannot be claimed to constitute the attainment of complete and absolute truth. Instead, science’s exploration of reality must be seen as resulting in the creation of ‘maps’ of the physical world which are indeed reliable, but only on a particular scale.”  John Polkinghorne, Science and Religion in Quest of Truth (emphasis added)

Science ‘maps’ reality in terms of how, how much, how often, and of what terrain – matter and space-time. But a scientist’s impersonal encounter with ‘hard data’ generated from experimentation is self-limiting…

“Science’s declining to engage with the personal dimension of experience implies the limited character that it can give of reality. A scientist, speaking as a scientist, can say no more about music than it is vibrations in the air, but speaking as a person there would be much more to say about the mysterious way in which a temporal succession of sounds can give us access to a timeless realm of beauty.” -John Polkinghorne, Science and Religion in Quest of Truth

Beyond the wonderfully apparent discoveries of science, science certainly has ongoing areas of mystery. Consider that today we have a better understanding of quanta (small packets of energy) and yet scientists cannot readily explain the oxymoronic wave and particle theory of light. To unlock such mysteries inquisitive scientists as truth seekers will test their postulates using experimentation. Their theory will employ a certain amount of belief in and expectation of a supposed outcome. The final experimental data is then evaluated against theory. Science’s truth seeking process goes on in this fashion, seeking truth about a physical reality….except when ideology becomes its handler…

environmentalism is school prayer for liberals.” Harvey Mansfield, Professor of Government at Harvard University  settled science

“Settled science” happens. Though science seeks to understand and map the physical world, science can easily be channeled into populist scientism ‘maps’ where fact is rerouted with ideology meant to produce a certain political outcome. The misconstrued and falsified data behind Global Warming Alarmism is pure scientism. In fact something of religious cult has now formed around a metaphysical belief in Global Warming. And, ‘outsiders’ who do accept such a far-fetched and unverifiable belief are called “deniers”.

The Global Warming cult leaders (Al Gore, Barack Obama, John Kerry, UNFCCC) preach their scientism as “settled science” in order to discharge any further truth-seeking. The light of day was not meant to shine on their furtive agenda – their ends, world-wide redistribution of wealth, justify their means of environmental alarmism and population control (a la John Holdren).

science and religion in quest of truth

Science can be used to deny other means of truth-seeking. The New Atheists came onto the scene after the horrific 9/11 attacks. The New Atheists love to use scientific reasoning, not for truth-seeking, but for their dismissal of belief in God, a God who would allow 9/11. As such the science they comport is piecemeal and typically not readily provable, such as the (preexisting!) Quantum Foam messaged by Quantum Fluctuation equals Universe theory (Alexander Vilenkin). Then there is their use of the multiple universes theory that says that our universe is one of infinite possibilities wrought out of chaos and therefore (even so!) a Creator is not warranted.

The New Atheists, in scientific tone, try but cannot reasonably tell us how humans received a self-consciousness (Who am I? Why am I here? What about life after death?). Nor can they tell how we became intelligent, language based, moral agents and altruistic. Science cannot tell us how. Strict logical analysis fails to tell us how.

But strict logical analysis can tell us about the extreme fine-tuning found in the universe, a fine-tuning that makes earth inhabitable for life. Yet, The New Atheists, again in scientific tone and avoiding a Creator outside of themselves, will serve up the Anthropic Principle as the reason for fine-tuning – – the universe just happened to be because of us, we needed the universe to fit our needs.

“The odds against a universe such as we have are fantastically great, and so are the odds against the emergence of life and the advent of intelligence.”Dr. Amir D. Aczel, mathematician and author of Why Science Does Not Disprove God

Why science Does Not disprove God_

Something to ponder: “If Albert Einstein had not discovered general relativity, no doubt it would eventually have come to light through the labor of others, but if J.S. Bach had not composed the Mass in B Minor, that great work of art would have been lost to us forever.” John Polkinghorne, Science and Religion in Quest of Truth

Now consider a perfect circle and perfect square, Plato’s ideal forms. Consider that mathematicians accept that numbers, equations and geometry exist on their own and outside our physical universe. One would have to then ask, How do we know what is perfect? And, how do we know that an equation is simple and beautiful?

For now, in the interest of brevity, see one-dimensional interpreted science as only one of two addends in the following equation. An insufficiency of either one will cause a lower sum:  santa I dont exist gif

Science + religion = truth-seeking

~~~

“I am the Light of the World.” -Jesus

“Why is it that when we talk to God we’re said to be praying, but when God talks to us we’re schizophrenic?” Lily Tomlin

Mistake #2: Religion isn’t concerned about fact and therefore requires no reason.

True Christianity is truth-seeking. I perceive Christianity as using a microscope (natural theology), eyeglasses (systematic theology) and a telescope (philosophical theology) to seek out and record what is true. Central to true Christianity’s claim on a person is, not unlike science, a focus on truth, a truth ultimate and unchanging, an ‘atomic’ truth that you can set your soul’s machinations to. Truth, scientific truth and Christianity, is freedom.

It was Jesus who said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Now I don’t think Jesus was talking about the Big Bang at the start of this manifest Creation, but He certainly let fly freely both matter and a ‘hair less’ antimatter and then the requisite bosons to form elements and to later compose you and me.

Christianity seeks to know the truth about why and who and from that derived knowledge goes on to the phenomenology of altruistic behavior, something evolutionary science cannot explain or ever reproduce.

Christianity is a personal “come and see”. Science is also a personal “come and see”. And whereas a scientist’s impersonal observations becomes a universally accepted theory through experimentation and corroboration, so too a Christian’s personal observations are corroborated by Scripture and by a chorus of others singing the same tune.

Christianity is centered on the facts of a person. This person, Jesus Christ, claimed to be God, very God, the Creator. Now, imagine very God limiting himself and taking on the form of a servant in evolved flesh – once a single cell amoeba later into ape-hood and then prehistoric man and then to mankind! I cannot fathom this emptying of God but it is true.

Consider the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact witnessed by hundreds of people.

We find a record of Jesus’ life and his death and resurrection in the four Gospels. The Gospels are written by close friends and followers who would die for Jesus based on their own eye-witness testimony. Would a scientist die for any discovered truth?

Keep in mind that Pontius Pilate found no fault with Jesus and yet found no reason to keep him alive, either. He asked “What is truth?” but Truth would be put to death in order to save his reputation

Like science religion can be perverted by powerful figures or groups into false religions and death cults with a phenomenology of terrorism. Acknowledging that no one group has all truth would be a major step toward abandoning the ‘settled theology’ of Islamic terrorism and the ‘settled science’ of global warming.

 

How should science and Christianity relate?

“Fundamentally, the two disciplines of enquiry should be thought of as cousins under the skin because of their shared truthful intent. Both operate under the rubric of critical realism, claiming the attainment of well-motivated beliefs, but not asserting the achievement of absolute certainty. The religious recognition of this fact is expressed in the understanding that believers walk by faith and not by sight…Religious faith dos not demand irrational submission to some unquestionable authority, but it does involve rational commitment to well-motivated belief.” – John Polkinghorne, Science and Religion in Quest of Truth

There is simply too much information about both science and religion to fit this post and to do justice to both truth-seeking disciplines. Besides you need to get ready for Christmas.

The wisest of men still seek Him…Study hard.

~~~

Now for something completely relevant:  you could buy a book about soccer and read about the game as it is delineated (the scientific approach) or you could watch Men in Blazers for a ‘metaphysical’ explanation of the game (the religious soccer zealot approach). Actually, both approaches play the whole field and score goals.

“Imagine” Juxtaposed

Previous posts attempted to expose the Epicurean influence on modernity: the exclusion of God from the garden of good and evil and replaced with Darwinian materialism under the influence of man-made reasoning: “cogito ergo sum”.

The posts also revealed the inclusion of ‘reasoned’ or ‘rational’ people into the high-horse club of scientism. This exclusive club is governed by those who have the power, perhaps the raison d’état, to control the inputs and outputs of desired ‘truth’. “What is truth?” Pilate asked (when he thought he had the force of the whole Roman empire to define it.)

As I wryly mentioned in my previous posts the above either/or, God/science dichotomy came, at first, philosophically, from what I call Epicurus’ “High-Horse” Mal-ware. This mal-ware has since been downloaded over the centuries into each century’s modern man’s psyche. The devastating effect of the Mal-ware was to disable the AND gate of your truth tables. It was not to be used in queries.

Now, like the historically recorded scene of two thieves each hanging on cross with Jesus hanging between them, I offer a similar juxtaposition of two end results, two disparate “Imagines”.

One “Imagine” is Epicurean, God dismissed, materialistic, nihilistic and personified in the likes of former atheist Christopher Hitchens, materialist Barack Obama and fatalist Beatle John Lennon:

 The other “Imagine” is God-inclusive. Here, God is the nucleus, the epicenter of being and meaning. Here, God and science coexist as Lion and lamb, creation being the sublime work of His hands, His signature found in the molded clay.

God’s Kingdom, now begun on earth, has become a dwelling place for all who see His light and follow it. True reality is made known to His followers by the Holy Spirit. The earthly spectrum of sodium street lights, of tungsten lights, of neon lights, of mercury lights, of halogen lights, of xenon lights, lights all of which enable us to see our way on earth are sourced from the Prism of Eternal Light.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C.S. Lewis

At His appearance we will then know Him as He knows us. That Eternal Light you see is Love, not short-lived Epicurean fireworks and party favors. 

 

Footnote: The above song by MercyMe was played during my son’s funeral service, about fourteen years ago. Justin was eighteen when the Lord took him home in a freak car accident. The police reported that it was a clear, sunny and dry day in Texas as Justin drove down a frontage road and lost control of the car. No other cars were involved. No drugs or alcohol were involved according to the Police report.

 Justin had recently graduated from high school. The afternoon of his death he was driving back from his girlfriend’s house. We don’t know why this happened. We just know that we will see him again and this is not final. The Joy that only God’s True Love can give replaced the deepest loss I have ever experienced.  Physics caused the physical death. But, Justin lives on.

 Sure there is pain, loss and evil in the world. But God is greater than any of these, if you let Him be God in your life.

Aren’t You a Bit Solipsistic?

My last post “Aren’t You a Bit Epicurious?” acquainted you with the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus. I presented also several of his main theories, three of which in particular bring us to today’s post” Aren’t You a Bit Solipsistic?”

Epicurus believed that you could learn everything you needed to know through your senses, a form of solipsism but with his close friends at hand just in case he was wrong, I suppose.

Epicurus also promoted Demetrius’ proposition of Atomism-random, unguided ‘atoms’ (as he called them) smashing and swerving into each other, creating the world and life around him.

And, Epicurus also believed that the gods were distant and uninvolved and therefore unrelated to‘thinking’ and ‘sensing’ man’s life. Today, Epicurus’ philosophy is found, mutated, in the DNA of our zeitgeist. This post deals with the Epicurean presupposed philosophical divide between science and religion. So put on your thinking cap, Sherman.

 Critical thinkers now that you have your thinking cap on and a pot of coffee brewing sit back and listen to Alvin Plantinga, Christian philosopher, discuss the topic at hand before students at Biola University Center For Christian Thought. (Note: Just after the one hour mark there is a Q &A session. The video upload is dated 2012.)

Suffice it to say, ‘n’ & ‘e’, is self-defeating and can’t rationally be accepted; evolution is compatible with “mere Christianity”.

And, solipsism is inherent in Darwinian materialism, narcissistic identity politics and predestinational behavioral social science.

Aren’t You A Bit Epicurious?

Little did he know at the time (341-270 B.C.) that he, Epicurus, a Greek philosopher, would be a founding father of the atheism sect, a sect which began its angry resistance movement when Jesus Christ appeared on the scene claiming to be God incarnate. Or, that he, Epicurus would be the gardener who would plant the seeds of the Enlightenment’s now perennial social Darwinism, seeds embedded with the DNA of Democritus’ dictum of random Atomism. Or, that he would be considered an ancient agnostic theologian who preached that the gods were out-of-the picture and the Roman gods were way too bossy. Or, that his philosophy would become an eponymous link with shameless pleasures.

an allegory of five senses. Still Life by Pieter Claesz, 1623. The painting illustrates the senses through musical instruments, a compass, a book, food and drink, a mirror, incense and an open perfume bottle. (via Wikipedia)

An allegory of five senses. Still Life by Pieter Claesz, 1623. The painting illustrates the senses through musical instruments, a compass, a book, food and drink, a mirror, incense and an open perfume bottle. (via Wikipedia)

Epicurus had concluded that any idea of the ‘gods’ had to be put upstairs in the ‘attic’-out of sight, out of mind. Not seen. Not heard from. They should be not be given any consideration much less be feared. Epicurus had an alternative universe to offer his disciples.

Epicurus lived and taught a moderate lifestyle, keeping to himself and to his close friends. He believed and taught that one could learn everything through one’s senses. He counted the senses as trustworthy.

Epicurus spoke of natural desires in life such as food and shelter which one could not live without (a no-brainer). And, he spoke of the natural desire for sex which one could live without (a no-boner). In practice, unlike today’s hedonistic Epicureans, Epicurus was pleasure-passive but not in the sense that he would waste away his time in Margaritaville.

Epicurus also taught that wealth and fame should be avoided because they are intrinsically narcissistic and appeal only to vanity. These things were to be considered ephemeral. (Al Sharpton and a host of politicians and Hollywood stars would not be examples of true Epicureanism.)

As Epicurus was a proponent of living a quiet and peaceful life, unnoticed by the world I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s missive to the church in Thessalonica (circa Ad 52). Paul’s letter was likely written from Corinth the home of Aphrodite’s temple-a hedonist hangout. He encouraged the Christians in Thessalonica to “… make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,” (I Thess. 4:11 )

Epicurean philosophy, detached from its sedate founder’s teaching, would later become associated with extreme pleasure seeking. Per Wikipedia, a “hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure (pleasure minus pain)”. And, with the angry ‘gods thought of as remote, unconcerned and out of the picture a hedonist could unleash and unlock the Animal House within him. But, Epicurus was not a Caligula in pursuit of untold ‘pleasures’. There were no toga parties at Epicurus’ home.

“Seek pleasure in peace and pursue it” was his cart’s bumper sticker-right next to his “COEXIST” bumper sticker.

 Due to his compartmentalizing, putting god upstairs and putting earthly pleasure as a priority, Epicurus can also be considered as one of the founding fathers of the fact/value split, a split where science and religion and politics and religion are deemed to have no common ground-in heaven nor on earth. This Epicurean dichotomy would eventually cause Americans to exile God from their thinking. To fill the vacancy America would welcome all manner of European philosophical and psychoanalytical nonsense as well as all manifestations of statistical ‘science’. (See my post “How Shall I Then Live” regarding the fact/value split.)

Sadly it was with an Epicurean mindset already in place that America’s founding fathers including Thomas Jefferson wrote the U.S. Constitution as the divorce papers to be served on God –God was not to be part of our nation’s public’ life: And though our currency reads “In God We Trust”, that has come to mean “God is our fall back position”. “You may worship God up there but just don’t bring him down from the attic into our Novus ordo seclorum” (see your after tax currency of the New World for both mottos).

It probably could be said that the Epicurean philosophy was the origin of Freud’s Pleasure Principle. The Principle simply stated, is that man’s default modus operandi is to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. Here it would appear that neo-Epicurean philosophy influenced at least Christopher Hitchens, a well-known provocateur atheist given to well-documented habits of smoking, strong drink and other ravishing appetites, a raison d’etre for a pleasure seeker like Hitchens-but only in his previous life.

Mr. Epicurus, on the other hand, took his afternoon delight in hammock contemplation of Atomism, the dictum of his day: life is reducible to invisible atoms which swerve and smash randomly into each other without a defining purpose. This dictum could well define the “angry atheists” Atomistic arguments against the existence of God. (During Epicurus time you had to walk by faith to believe in invisible atoms and no God. Later quantum physics via the LHC and other nuclear colliders would provide us with the silhouettes of nuclear particles including bosons but many scientists chose not to see God as Creator of this “Atomism”)

 Today, “angry atheists,” one such is Richard Dawkins, continue to swerve and smash their Atomistc-like arguments against God’s apologists but their pro-atheistic arguments never coalesce into anti-God anti-matter. And, when everything else they have said fails to discharge God from the universe these angry fellows and their devoted followers resort to ad hominem and strong drink.

Epicurus is the man for all reasons today. Here is someone who can say it better than I.

 N.T. Wright, a New Testament scholar, notes Epicurus’ influence on modern man in his recent book “Surprised by Scripture.” Here are some quotes from Chapter One “Healing the Divide Between Science and Religion”.

 “You could sum up Epicurus’ philosophy, at least in its desired effects, with the slogan Richard Dawkins and his associates put as an advertisement on London buses two or three years ago: “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life….

 So, for Epicurus, there was nothing to worry about. Draw a direct line from him to John Lennon: imagine there’s no heaven, no hell beneath us; now get on and live for today. The image of Epicurus as a hedonist is true, but it was a very refined hedonism, since he taught that the more obviously bodily pleasures didn’t last and produced less pleasurable effects.”

Wright goes on to say that

“The philosophy of Epicurus was given a major new lease on life by the Roman poet Lucretius, who lived about seventy years before Jesus….In Lucretius it all become clear and straightforward. The world is what is it is because of (what he called) atoms, which, free-falling through space, collide with one another, sometimes combining and sometimes bouncing off…major changes are caused by the inexplicable “swerve” that sometime happens to atoms so that they veer off in new directions and produce different results. But the main point is essentially what we would today call the evolutionary thesis: life in the world has developed under its own steam as the random by-product of chance collisions and combinations of atoms and the more complex life-forms they produce….

The second point I want to make about the rise of Epicureanism at the dawn of modernity, and particularly in the origins of the Enlightenment, is that it was seized upon not least because of it political implications. That is clear already in Machiavelli and Hobbes, but it comes to fore in the eighteenth century.”

 The Epicurean endorsed idea that random free-floating atoms made the world what it is ‘swerved’ into the mix of political ideologies which rejected monarchy and a ‘bossy-guy-upstairs’ rule. “Vox populi vox Dei is the cry-but then Deus himself disappears off into the far beyond, and vox populi is all we’re left with.” N. T. Wright, and again:

 “…Democracy can generate new forms of tyranny, and once we have sold our souls to a particular voting process there no way back. We need to return to the drawing board and think more clearly about whether the natural and proper human passion for freedom and the natural and proper need for order and stability are best served by the kinds of democracy we have developed, without the aid of the divine or monarchial intervention from above, on the model of the Epicureanism that has proved so popular and influential.” (I would add that it appears that radicalized Islam seeks to place their false god Allah on the world’s throne. N. T. Wright is referring to the One True God-YHVH-“I Am That I Am”.)

 The threads of Epicurus philosophy are woven throughout our life’s fabric. As Wright notes, “Basically, the American dream is that if you get up and go, you’ll succeed; the egalitarian hope is that the fittest will survive the economic jungle”. And, as I noted above Epicurean philosophy began the fact value split that modern man uses as his template for all of life’s questions, whether personal or political.

 Do I look to God or to some form of science for life’s contextual meaning? Am I a random mix of atoms evolved into a human form? Is life only meant for pleasure seeking and pain avoidance and at any cost to me and to my fellow man. Should I vote to obtain pleasure? And so on…

 For Christians (for all, really) what does it mean that the Kingdom of God has been established on earth? N.T. Wright, in his book referenced above, goes on to explore the current thinking and a Christian response to an Epicurean worldview. For now, there is way too much of Wright’s insight to post today. Except to say that sadly the world now divides science and religion into separate rooms –one downstairs and one upstairs. This should not be. I am convinced that science and properly tuned philosophy support God’s existence, Scripture and the work of His hands. As Francis Schaeffer of L’ Abri once wrote, “He is there and He is not silent.” I’ll save that for other posts.

 

Final thoughts. As mentioned above Epicurus treasured his close friends. They were very important to him. And I would imagine they would be.

 In a universe where god is perceived as remote, uninterested, detached and at best considered as always-looking-down-on you angry and bossy it feels good to have close like-minded friends to commiserate with: “Dionysus my friend, pass the wine and let us sing ”Don’t Worry, Be Happy””.

 Now, you should know from previous posts that I accept the theory of theistic evolution with its old earth creationism. (BTW: after learning about Epicurus you should know that the Atomism dictum that he promoted well preceded any Darwinian theory of evolution.) Having said this I would offer the following friendly apologia.

 Each of us as God formed evolved humans can ‘recognize’ another person, the ‘other,’ via our evolved senses. Can we agree that this was done at a prehistoric man level? And, when one cave man was hungry and another cave man was also hungry they may have then formed a hunter/gatherer tribe to fulfill their basic need for food. Again, this was done at a prehistoric man level.

Now fast forward millions of years and hold on. Epicurus understood his friends at a basic human level-through his basic five senses. The fact the he held them dear meant that he looked outside of himself and considered the ‘other’ as worthy, perhaps starting from a place of tribalism. (I hope I’ve made you epicurious.)

Certainly myriad mutations have made our basic senses ‘alive’ and aware that another being in our presence is either friend or foe. But it is only God’s likeness incarnated into the once primate-now human form that can bring about an embrace, a love for the ‘other’. Human friendship and human love was born out of a different tribe, a tribe not of the Epicurean worldview-the Dancing Embrace of the Trinity Tribe.

“Joy to the World, the Lord has come, Let earth receive her King”:  The Kingdom of God is heaven and earth, science and religion and you and me in one eternal embrace with the Trinity.

At the beginning of Kingdom of God on earth and during his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus-I AM That I Am-reminds us that we are being watched over with love and care. Jesus nullifies Epicurean philosophy, if we let Him.

 

 

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Here’s an interesting recent snapshot of modern Epicurean thought: Raising Kids Without God (But Maybe Not Without Religion)

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Added 1-25-2015. Epicurean science dismissing fact becomes a fanatical ‘faith’ to avoid fantasy-future owies:

MIT Climate Scientist: Global Warming Believers a ‘Cult’