Monday, September 29, 2008
We’ve talked so much about science, but we’ve never defined it, so I thought I’d start a short series of postings on science and how it applies to so many different things in our lives.
Okay, I know what you are thinking…you’re scared, you’re shivering…NOOOO, don’t make my brain hurt! But before you skip to the next blog on your list, remember this…science is more than growing experiments in your refrigerator. Remember the meatloaf from two weeks ago? Is it still in there…looming…waiting…growing…morphing…
Oh, back to reality. I’ll take that meatloaf out later.
Science is not boring. Science is key to understanding our God and logical concept that there is a God.
So here’s the deal, read the next paragraph, then the next. If after that, you’re still bored, move on to the next blog on your list.
“How do we define science? According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of science is ‘knowledge attained through study or practice,’ or ‘knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws, esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method [and] concerned with the physical world.’” (http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/science-definition.html )
So did you read that? “Knowledge attained through study or practice” and “knowledge covering general truths”. When you study science, you find truth. Who is truth? John 8:31-32 says the following, “Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him, ‘If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”
God is truth and all creation comes from Him. So how do you separate yourself from science? You don’t. It’s IN you, it IS you, and it is FOR you. So how do you keep your head from hurting when you hear the word, science? You remember that God loves you and He made you… “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14)
What do you observe, hypothesize, predict about life? What experiments and conclusions can you have? Over the next several postings, we’ll look at one aspect of life, the preborn child, and apply the scientific method to “our problem”. Let’s consider together when a human becomes a human. Let’s see what we can learn from science.
Did you make it to the end?
Monday, September 22, 2008
There have been several times this week where I’ve heard a fabulous word around me and it seemed the right time to put it in my blog.
In one instance, I heard a disc jockey talking to a listener about his disappointment when a situation didn’t meet his expectations.
In another case, a friend of mine was talking about her birthday and all the fun things that happened on her special day. Although it was great, it wasn’t what she hoped…what she imagined.
At CERN a couple weeks ago, everyone was thrilled at the prospect of smashing particles together. Their imaginations ran wild with all the possibilities. Amy left a comment on last week’s blog saying that her friend was very excited about CERN starting up.
She should be.
So why do we have a habit of looking beyond? Why is it never enough? Why aren’t we ever satisfied?
Imagination is a double-edged sword. It gives us our hopes and dreams, but sometimes takes us beyond reality. We are disappointed with that reality.
Imagination leads us to create—it gives wings to our ideas. Yet, in those wings, we sometimes forget that our imagination keeps us in chains through disappointment.
So why do we have imagination?
I believe that God gave us our imaginations in hopes that we would use them to imagine His love for us and for creation. To know creation, to understand how particles smash together, is to know God. To me, that’s the real draw of science.
What is really mind-boggling is the fact that God is the one thing that our imaginations can never completely grasp. We will never seize all that is our Creator—yet that means that we will never be disappointed.
Those who are disappointed with “religion” are really just disappointed with themselves. They can’t see past their shortcomings. They can’t imagine that God loves them.
So I say, go ahead CERN, smash those proton particles together, make it happen. God will not let you down. Whatever you find will blow you away.
Just remember whatever you find is only limited by your imagination…not God’s. And just remember to be thankful that as scientists you really are looking for God. You just don’t know it.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Congratulations! If you are reading this, you are still alive.
The Large Hadron Collider (CERN) facility came online and the 17-mile underground physics experiment fired proton beams. No black hole sucked us up; we are still here.
If you’re in the “dark” with regard to CERN, here are several articles you can read that will educate you. (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,420062,00.html ; http://public.web.cern.ch/public/ ; http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,414546,00.html this last one shows a cool rap song that explains the concepts.)
The bottom line is that scientists have tried to create an environment to test their theories on how the Big Bang happened. They are going to let protons smash into each other to see if they can recreate the Big Bang on a smaller scale. There have been smaller proton smashing labs, but this facility is the largest particle collider on earth. Why should you care?
CERN scientists are looking for several things. They are hoping that “…the CERN experiments could reveal more about ‘dark matter,’ antimatter and possibly hidden dimensions of space and time.” (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,418582,00.html . All quotes come from this article.)
Another tidbit scientists hope to ascertain is “evidence of the hypothetical particle—Higgs boson—which is sometimes called the ‘God particle’ because it is believe to give mass to all other particles, and thus to matter that makes up the universe.” (The following link gives a good basic understanding of the Higgs boson with examples that are easy to comprehend: http://www.exploratorium.edu/origins/cern/ideas/higgs.html )
Are you wondering what it all means? It means that scientists are trying to figure out what makes the universe tick. They think that a Higgs boson exists, but no one has ever seen it. If the Higgs boson exists, then scientists will be able to better theorize how the universe came to be.
So much of all this recent CERN press makes me smile and it makes me wonder what God thinks of all this. Never mind that no one has ever seen a Higgs boson, yet we have seen God (the opium of the masses). Scientists are willing to stick their necks out for a Higgs boson, but not for God. Interesting…
No! That’s not what makes me smile. This whole episode makes me wonder what kind of “movie” humanity is in. Indulge me.
Some scientists are deeply concerned that the smashing of these particles will cause micro-black holes that suck Earth right in. They have filed suit in U.S. District Court in Hawaii and in the European Court of Human Rights. So are we in a thriller movie where the Earth is threatened by a rogue asteroid as in Armageddon or a comet in Deep Impact?
Perhaps we are in another genre like the James Bond movies. There are scientists who think that the CERN facility is safe and they are not concerned about any antimatter problems. These quantum physics people are confident that nothing will go wrong. Completely focused on their experiments, they are sure we’re all safe…all 6 billion of us. So maybe we are in a doomsday movie like Independence Day.
Maybe we are in a Greek tragedy where scientists are so guided by a strange fascination (the Higgs boson) that they completely ignore what’s in front of their faces and destroy humanity with a black hole.
But really what I wonder is if the real genre is one of those love story movies where the guy (the scientists) is so oblivious to the love right in front of him that he nearly loses the girl (God) because he’s basically forgotten what he’s looking for or why he’s looking at all.
No matter the sort of movie, all the hullabaloo makes me wonder what God thinks of CERN. We are so concerned that we are going to be swept up in black holes or that we are going to determine the origins of the universe that we’ve completely set aside what is important. Are we egotistical enough to think that God’s plan is so simple that we can and will figure it out? Moreover, what will be the outcome if we are able to solve these questions? If humanity’s past is any indicator, then we will seek to control everything from the weather to the appearance of cosmic phenomena. It is always amazing to me that there are those who think resolving these scientific questions will answer all their questions.
Take for example, the Higgs particle. The Higgs boson is a theoretical particle that gives mass to an object. I can see why it is sometimes called the “God particle”. God gives us mass. He is the gravity that pulls us towards Him.
I can’t help but consider that while we seek to discover the Higgs boson if subconsciously we are seeking God. As humans, we are constantly seeking answers, and truly, God is the answer to every question we’ll ever have. God is truth, love, and our destiny.
So back to the movies…
Every good movie has the goal of presenting a hero on a journey and that hero searches for his destiny, his truth. It seems to me that CERN is how humanity searches for its destiny.
No matter what the movie is, I wonder if God likes butter on His popcorn.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
A couple of weeks ago I blogged on the concept of dark matter in the segment, “Where’s the 96%?” I received many interesting responses in both email and blog comments. Of course, I received one from my esteemed Jewish friend who wants to remain anonymous (we’ll call him: Dr. E).
Usually I try to keep the topics light and not give too much info. However, Hebrew tradition is so rich that I wanted to share it with you in detail. Thank you for taking the time to deepen your knowledge of the gifts God has given to us.
Dr. E pointed out something very interesting. He reminded me of the Jewish version opening of the Bible in Genesis, “In the beginning of God’s creating the heavens and the earth—when the earth was astonishingly empty with darkness upon the surface of the deep, and the Divine Presence hovered upon the surface of the waters—God said let there be light and there was light.” (Gen: 1:1-3)(The Chumash, the Art Scroll Series published by Mesorah Publications)
Darkness and Dark matter…pondering these words, Dr. E. asked the simple question, “Is the Bible telling us something that scientists are just now figuring out?”
Dr. E pointed out the Jewish word for darkness was choshech (the King James Version is choshek (http://www.sacrednamebible.com/kjvstrongs/STRHEB28.htm look up 2822)). When we break that down into its Hebrew letters, we get CHoSHeCH (when CH appears at the end of a Hebrew word, then it is a final CHaf). The capital letters signify the Hebrew consonants while the lower case letters address the vowels. Since the Hebrew alphabet does not include vowels, they are added with elements around the consonants.
After our discussion, I went to my Hebrew sources to review the meanings of the individual letters. Mystical Hebrew tradition takes each letter seriously and I hoped that it would reveal some interesting thoughts on the darkness that covered the earth at creation and the 96% of darkness that exists out in the universe.
Today I present just a few thoughts on what I found.
I start with (SH) first because there is a Hebrew thought that it relates to three separate units that when combined “result in completeness.” This spoke to me as the Trinity, so I started there.
SH-Y-N (SH) “stands high among the Sacred Letters (the Hebrew Alphabet) because it represents two names of God: the All-Sufficient, Unlimited One and Peace.” (The Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet: The Sacred Letters as a Guide to Jewish Deed and Thought, by Rabbi Michael Munk)
This means that God is the All-Sufficient Creator; He needed no one to create the universe or the things in it. The Lord created an ever-expanding cosmos that seems unlimited to us, as He is the Unlimited One. To grasp the universe is to grasp our Creator…all knowing, all encompassing. Did you know that there is a letter SH-Y-N on the doorpost of every Jewish house? It represents the following, “Let God be present in this home. Let there be peace.” (The Book of Letters: A Mystical Alef-beit, by Lawrence Kushner.)
If we are made in the image and likeness of God—then this also corresponds to how God feels about being apart from us, as well as us being apart from God. Our Lord desperately wants us to be with Him, yet he ultimately gave us the gift of free will leaving that decision to each person individually.
The Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet also imparts the idea, “By dedicating himself to the service of God, man can resolve the contradiction between human endeavor and trust in Him.”
In other words, if we dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of God, we will be able to tell the difference between the useless quest of our own wishes and those that come from the Lord. Many times when we are in darkness, we do not see God’s wishes, but our own.
Perhaps the most intriguing letter is the final CH or as transliterated, CHa-F. According to The Book of Letters: A Mystical Alef-beit, CHa-F symbolizes “the palm of a hand filled with sincerity (Kavannah).” The Hebrew Alphabet: A Mystical Journey (by E. Hoffman) describes kavannah or kavana as a “one-pointedness of mind”, willpower, intentionality, and transcendental awareness.
My interpretation of one-pointedness is that God created us for Him. If we keep our eyes fixed on Him and our eyes fixed on the goal, we keep life in perspective. When we remove our gaze from our goal of Heaven and reaching God, our life simply takes on a less meaningful posture.
What do all these Hebrew reflections offer with regard to darkness? Within the original darkness that God created, He brought forth light. But within that darkness, He gives us His sincere love in every aspect of creation, whether it is the beautiful flower in front of us, or the forming star in a distant universe.
Although there is darkness, God does not leave us alone in it. We may not understand that 96% of the universe, but if we look at it from God’s eyes, if we keep our eyes fixed on Him, the Lord reveals to us His light and love.