December 24, 2007 @ 2:34 am by sean
This is not to be used as an actual reference. It is thoughts from listening to A Briefer History of Time and Velvet Elvis. These thoughts may be slightly innaccurate to what was actually said.
It seems today’s Christians continually are falling into the same traps as those throughout our history, including the Jews. Many of Jesus’ teachings to the Pharisees seem directly applicable to much of what we are doing today. I have no examples, it is kind of a feeling routed in experiences. Supposedly the Catholic church would not allow Galileo’s theory because of politics and associating with a certain group of intellectuals and also fighting Protestantism, and eventually they were proven to be idiots behind the times of discovery and eventually accepted what was obviously true – that the Earth revolves around the sun – instead of forcing previous thoughts of a contained shell that puts the Earth not only in the center of the solar system, but the entire universe as was thought to be necessary to make Scripture accurate. And now today Christians are caught in a fierce battle of six-day creationism and young-earth creationism when the majority of scientific discovery continuously points to a developing model of evolution. Christians are also showing their ignorance by completely fighting this battle on this front, when theoretical physics is proposing more serious consequences for the possible existence of God. While some have reached the conclusion that evolution and Christianity are not irreconcilable, that would be much more difficult with the tendencies of quantum physics with general relativity through which a universal theory for all the universe is sought. There is very little room for God in this equation, from being limited in the options available to God to create the world for it to be possible for us to live in it, to the notion that the universe has always existed and will always exist. Science is concerned with the how, the what, the where, not the why. The why is for philosophers, and intrinsically the Christians, because regardless of how or why the universe was created, we hold that it is our God who did it. This universal theory, or theory of everything, is only a theory, as Hawkings says, which means it cannot be proven. This is a hold up in thought for Christians, because when many hear this they think this is evidence for the theory of evolution to be wrong. This is not necessarily true. A universal theory with quantum physics and general relativity cannot be proven, it can be tested however and reliable predictions can be made with it, which makes it a viable and true theory. The theory that the earth is on the back of infinite turtles has little testable proof, because we are not falling off the edge of the earth. Also intrinsic with quantum physics and general relativity is the uncertainty principle, saying we can never actually be 100% sure of anything, partially because these theories cannot be proven. Although we cannot be certain, we still use these theories as models because what we observe fits into these models and things make sense, and as we experiment more, discover more, and observe more, we find these theories to hold up, but also we refine the theories as we adapt to make them more accurate. This is much like faith. We cannot prove God, but we see certain things that the more we experiment, the more we discover, the more we observe, we conclude there is a God and our theory becomes more complete, but we continue to adapt. Just as the church once adapted to accept that the earth is not the center of the universe, and all the other revelations great Christian thinkers have reasoned in the past two-thousand years. In the beginning of Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell speaks of this uncertainty and flexibility necessary for Christian thought and belief. Listening to A Briefer History of Time immediately preceded by Velvet Elvis, the similarities between the two were amazing. Similar words, concepts, and above all, similar desire are found in both to understand where we are in the universe, how we are here, and why we are here. Science may not be concerned with proving ‘why,’ but that is certainly some of the inspiration for discovery comes from. Scientists are continually discovering this great universe that our God created, while many Christians are hung up on the dogma of six-day creationism and young-earth creationism to the effect of causing an unnecessary chasm between Christianity and Science, when really the two are quite compatible. No Christian should ever claim to have it all figured out, there is an uncertainty principle for anyone who is not God, yet we seem to be forcing others to have it all figured out, “accept that the universe could only be created in six literal days and/or be only 12 thousand or so years old, or one is not allowed to be part of the church. There is no flexibility in thinking, or questioning allowed when questioning to discover reality is what Rob Bell says is much of what Jesus prompts us to do. We are placing a burden on others to believe when we don’t force ourselves to that same burden. The Pharisees did this, and so did the Jews to the converted Gentiles by making them follow the Jewish practices as a precursor to accepting the Christian faith. By forcing SDC and YEC, we are limiting God and the creative and inquisitive minds that He gave us. By saying the eye could not evolve because it is too complex, or filling God in the holes of anything science has not yet figured out limits God. As the child figures out that Santa and the Easter Bunny are not real, then the other mystical being, ‘God’ naturally follows suit. The more we force God into the holes where Science has not yet figured things out, but continually searches to fill those holes, when they are filled then our God must go with them. But God is of course not limited to those holes and those holes don’t prove Him. One cannot prove a negative. Proving I am not in the kitchen does not prove I am in the computer room, it only proves I am not in the kitchen. Saying evolution is not true because an eye supposedly could not evolve does not prove there is a God, it only “proves” an eye did not evolve. There is far more evidence for evolution than SDC and YEC because there is no scientific proof for God, and there never will be, and there never needs to be for Him to exist. Yet by evidence of other things, things we observe we say God exists and is still engaged in this world. Science uses similar circumstantial evidence for the same means. Before we left the Earth and could see that it was round, we could see its shadow on the moon during a solar eclipse and posit that the Earth is round, and indeed it is.
Lights travels at around 186,000 miles per second. Other stars in the universe are very far away, so far that to write the number in miles would take up far too much room. A much smaller number for distance can be measured in the time it takes in years for the light to travel. The closest star to us is four light years away. The light we are seeing from that star originated four years ago. There are stars that are millions of light years away. Which means the light that we are seeing from those stars originated millions of years ago and is just now getting to us. This means for YEC, God must have started the universe with those occurrences already in process. Could He have? Sure. Did He? We can never say for certain. What we have observed, however, is that God has given us inquisitive minds, minds that are interested in understanding his creation. We, Christians and Scientists alike, are amazed by the beauty of the world and the universe around us and seek to have a more complete understanding of how it works, what processes are in play, and this helps us to appreciate the wonder of it all the more. With these minds we have figured out that for those stars to be as far away as they are, the light must have originated millions of years ago or more, meaning the universe must be older even than that. But really God is kind of tricking us then, just making it look like that and really the universe is only a couple thousand years old. So we have used the minds He has given us – which should certainly be seen as an act of worship, intended or not – to figure out that the universe must be billions of years old and are trying further to understand how that is possible and what that means and how it works and it is extremely complicated and very few people can understand what is actually happening. But really none of it did, God just made it look like it. What was the point then? Why bother to give us minds to seek out the reality of His creation, when the conclusions about that are true actually only if He didn’t create it 99.99/100th or so of the way through the process? When other things in the Bible don’t match up to reality, we call them analogies, or allegories, why is the creation story in the Bible impossible to not be the same? Regardless of the fact of the creation story, there is truth, and that truth is that God created, and created me in his image. I’m not sure the rest is that important. God can do that however He chooses, but however anyone says the universe or anything in it came to be or even if it has always been, my God is responsible.
While Scientists are making fascinatingly extraordinary discovers about the universe our God created, we are stuck defending our dogmas, fighting for what reality seems to be proving wrong. Instead of participating, we are reacting. This seems to be the mark of today’s Christianity. We don’t get out and love women and show them how precious life is, we react to their confusion and tell them they are going to hell for killing a child, while forcing a change in behavior through laws and politics, rather than a change in heart through the love of Christ. We don’t get out into our communities – in fact we hide from them and destroy them in our suburban houses – and get involved with the children and guiding them to the God whom they have a faith in that Jesus says should be our model and instead we react to people telling our children they cannot pray in school or talk about God in school and get our pants all in a bind apparently not realize that if we allow schools to talk about our God, they can talk about anyone’s god. Christians should be on the forefront of fighting poverty, crime, poor environmental stewardship, etc. because it is our God who created it all and loves it all. Instead of waiting until someone profanes what God has so beautifully done and reacting to them, we should be protecting it and ensuring that our God gets the credit He deserves (even if He doesn’t need it). Christ may have displayed pacifism, but He also displayed action. Action through love. This seems to simple. Ending poverty and crime, protecting our planet, etc., these are not an end in themselves, or else the people involved are merely a means to that end. Alas, God has also created them in His image (however He did it) and that alone is reason to love them, and it is quite possible that as a result they will no longer be homeless, they will no longer live in crime or be criminals, they will no longer breath pollution and live in a society that respects and honors God’s creation.