Friday, March 27, 2009

God and the Stars

Have you ever wondered why we’re so enamored with the stars? Is it their light? Is it their distance? Their awesome size? What draws our gaze to them? Maybe it’s something supernatural…

What makes up a star? “…stars are big exploding balls of gas, mostly hydrogen and helium..." according to the Northwestern University website.

The periodic table shows us that a hydrogen atom has an atomic number of one and a helium atom has an atomic number of two. Added together bring the value to three—the number of persons in the Trinity.

Right now, we’re just scratching the surface. Let’s look deeper into these elements and atoms in general and see if there are any other mysteries to be found. “Atoms make up all the matter around us including ourselves… (atoms contain) three smaller particles…called subatomic particles.” (from the Green-Planet-Solar-Energy website) These subatomic particles include neutrons, protons and electrons, another Trinitarian symbol using three.

Neutrons are the largest and have no charge, while the protons are smaller with a positive charge. Electrons are the smallest and maintain a negative charge. “The protons and neutrons are clumped together in the middle of an atom and the electrons orbit around the outside.” (from the GPSE site) If you follow the link, you can see how the electrons orbit the neutrons and protons. The shape is a never-ending circle, symbolic of God as He was, He is, and will ever be.

The hydrogen atom itself mirrors our relationship with God in a number of ways. First, this element with the atomic number of one reflects our one God. Secondly, hydrogen also enjoys the unique position that it is the most abundant element in the universe and is present in water and in all organic compounds, reflecting that our God is present in His creation. What a wonderful thought for us!

How hot are the stars?

“Scientists think that the core of our Sun (relatively cool by scientific standards) is a 15 million degree Celsius plasma, a soup of electrons and protons that are stripped from hydrogen atoms. This ‘soup,’ called plasma, makes up 90 percent of the Sun. Every second, thousands of protons in the Sun's core collide with other protons to produce helium nuclei in a nuclear fusion reaction that releases energy. Just outside the core, energy moves outward by a process called radiation.” (Northwestern U.)

Symbolically our God is on fire for us. He sends us heat everyday that kisses our skin and all of earth’s creation, reminding us of His undying love.

Are we drawn by the Trinitarian nature in creation? Is that why we look up to the stars?

What a gift nature is for us! And in understanding more about creation, we learn more about our God. And when we learn more about our God, we begin to grasp His love and His great plans for us. Enjoy the wonder, feel the Love.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Natural Selection to Extinction

“We are not long for this world. “ While this idiom is usually refers to a single person’s life, today I am speaking of our human species—and the culprit is not what you may think.

The topic of natural selection is usually reserved for classrooms and scientific debate between philosophers and scientists. However, I believe it’s time for us to recognize that among the concepts of nature that God created, natural selection is the one humanity is most abusing right now.

The concept of natural selection is part of the theory of evolution and is worth your time to investigate at “The key thing to remember about evolution is that it favours more preferable genes in the gene pool, and over time, these preferable characteristics become more exclusive in the gene pool.”

If you follow the link and read more about the concept, you will come across the concept of non-random mating. I am putting in the following quote from that piece for you to read carefully.

“…non-random mating is also known as selective breeding, where the breakthroughs of Mendelian genetics have allowed us to predetermine what genes are present in offspring. As advantageous genes are desired by the breeder, some of the less 'popular' genes are lost due to this random mating, therefore decreasing genetic diversity.

It is important for a species to have a large gene pool, because in the event of danger, some alleles will allow the species to survive and reproduce to produce a larger and more variant gene pool. For example, an extremely contagious disease may threaten 99% of a species, though the remaining 1% may possess an allele that provides them with resistance to the disease. If this allele was not present in the population, then chances are the entire population would be wiped out.”

Today we see the effects of Mendelian genetics with regard to purebred dogs. Many of those dogs have different diseases because of in breeding. For example, Shelties typically have weak backs; other breeds have a predisposition to cancers or digestive problems.

If we look at the second paragraph, the author points out that “it is important for a species to have a large gene pool…for example, an extremely contagious disease may threaten 99% of a species, though the remaining 1% may possess an allele that provides them with resistance to the disease.”

Each year there are 1.2 million abortions just in the U.S. alone.

With 303,824,640 people in the U.S., that means that a little less than %1 of the population has been killed by abortion. While that number seems small, if we look at the concept of natural selection, what if that %1 is the percent that saves the human race?

Because these people are missing, their immune systems are missing in our gene pool. Their genes that contain the “allele” that allows the “species to survive and reproduce to produce a larger and more variant gene pool” are missing.

God put natural selection into place for our own survival, but through abortion, we have interfered with God’s plan for humanity. Have we humans put our own species at risk? Possible.

Do I think that pro-abortion advocates will listen to this scientific evidence? Probably not. If we review pro-abortion Camille Paglia’s statement from a few postings ago, we see that it is sheer selfishness that drives abortion, not science, not ethics and certainly not religion.

“Hence I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful. Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue.”

There are times when you can’t convince people of the truth, because they are not looking for it. It is in those times that you use the most powerful weapon you have…prayer.

Diseases of different kinds are on the rise here in the U.S. Everything from chronic breathing problems to digestive problems are becoming an everyday occurrence. We often ask why diseases are on the rise, but have we considered the idea that we’ve done it to ourselves?

There are consequences for every action, good and bad. Just something to think about.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Designer Children and Science

So did you see last week’s news about the new posh L.A. fertility clinic? You can now determine such traits as eye color and hair color for your new little family addition. What could possibly be wrong with this?

I can think of a number of things, but the simplest is that this procedure builds off in-vitro fertilization in which multiple embryos are created just to get one to survive when implanted in the mother.

With this new procedure, once again we are toying with things we don’t fully understand and human life is disregarded. This process used by scientists also creates multiple embryos and screens them, changing individual genes (gene splicing) around until they get just the right blend. What happens to the other embryos that don’t make the grade? These children are discarded.

Besides the obvious life issues, there is one concern getting lost in our quest for control. Though we’ve “mapped” the human genome, we still do not know many things about how characteristics work across separate chromosomes. For example, if you change eye color (these genes actually exist across three different chromosomes), what effect will this change have on the rest of the chromosomes? We do not have a good grasp on how genes interact with each other. How do we know that changing that one “C” to a “G” won’t change this child’s brain chemistry down the road?

We don’t know. But scientists are willing to take these risks…with someone else’s kids. Why are we allowing them to get away with this? Why do we sit back and allow these types of procedures to happen?

We claim it's science so it’s okay. We claim it's science and since we don’t understand, we shouldn’t get involved. But it’s not okay, and if we don’t stand up and say something, who will? Is there a big ethics committee somewhere who will put the kibosh on this? If you are waiting for Congress, then you’re looking in the wrong place.

We must learn not to shy away from science topics. It is our responsibility to be informed and to act on our knowledge. That is what it means to be a good steward of this earth, of God’s creation. He gave us the awesome responsibility to “fill the earth and subdue it,” (Gen 1:28) but that didn’t include the right to abuse creation.

That is what we are doing. We are abusing our privileges as stewards of this earth. We worry about global warming and greenhouse gases, but those issues won’t mean a thing if we are not here because we’ve mucked around with our genes and killed off humanity. (Think I've gone too far? With these gene changes, what will happen when this child grows up and tries to have children?)

There is another scientific issue we haven’t even touched here. Natural selection. Have we thought about the effects gene tampering on this scientific phenomenon?

Come back next week to discuss natural selection with regard to gene splicing and a completely different topic that has influenced humanity's future.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Start at the Beginning

Yes, it has been almost a month since my last posting. I’ve had so many thoughts going through my mind but I haven’t been able to put them into words. I decided that the only way I could put my thoughts down was to go back to the beginning…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John1:1)

God gave us language to communicate with each other and it is a pity that we’ve come so far with language, but have forgotten what it is about. In order to go back to the beginning, I needed to include language in my discussion.

The Old Testament was first written in Hebrew and true Hebrew is never taken lightly. According to author Rabbi Michael L. Munk, the letters of the Hebrew alphabet are everything. They keep the universe together. In his book, The Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet, Munk says, “ The twenty-two sacred letters are profound, primal spiritual forces. They are, in effect, the raw material of Creation.” (pg. 19)

Why is this important? If we are to have an honest discussion about science and faith, we must be true to the letters and the words that make up our thoughts.

There is currently no greater science discussion than that of the creation of the universe and of our world. Scientists postulate ideas like Big Bang and Evolution, while theologians consider the meaning of the creation story. As my pastor said yesterday, religion addresses why, while science addresses how. That implies that we are talking to each other on separate planes and will never meet.

Nowhere have I seen this more clearly demonstrated than a website that I ran across lately. (AiG)is a website dedicated to debunking all science that does not lead to the Creationism theory. At first glance, I was interested to see what it said about the story of creation and the age of the earth. Although I know that radioactive dating has its issues, I don’t think it can be completely eliminated as author Mike Riddle suggests. Any and all theories are based on criteria and assumptions of our current knowledge. Yet, that is where we seem to get stuck in the primordial goo that is our human brain. For more on what this website says, follow the link.

As I was reading this webpage, I thought of another author that I so enjoy, Dr. Gerald Schroeder. His works include The Science of God and The Hidden Face of God. This physicist has many other titles, but the one I’ve continually come back to is the former, The Science of God. I love chapter 4, “The Six Days of Genesis.” It uses physics to show how the Creation Story fits with science’s version of the age of the earth.

I investigated further. I thought that maybe this website didn't know about Dr. Schroeder. Right?

A simple search actually gave me the answer to the contrary. So I read that article as well. Then I read another piece that asked the editors of the AiG website why they were so hostile to the ideas of Dr. Schroeder. Their only defense was to point to the physicist’s “gross misuse of Hebrew.”

So I sat back and asked myself the following question. Which version of the Bible is this Christian website using?

In order to find this answer I had to go back ALL the way to the beginning…

In the beginning of God’s creating (Gen1:1)...

“Wait!”, you say. That’s not what my version says. If not, then you are not using the authentic translation of the original Hebrew. And if you’re not using the original Hebrew, then THAT’S the “gross misuse of Hebrew!”

Why? Because there are entire volumes of philosophy written about the importance of those first words.

I could relay volumes to you, but that’s not what this blog is about. Instead, I’m going to give you a couple tidbits in which you can begin your own research.
BeReSHiYT BaRA ELoHiYM are the three words of Genesis in Hebrew. (I've taken these from my Jewish friend's Hebrew Bible, and it's English translation, Art Scroll TaNaCH - (Torah , Prophets, Writings - Mesorah Publications Ind. 1996)) I’ve capitalized the consonants and left the vowels lowercase. In Hebrew, each letter contains its own meaning, rich in symbolism and philosophy. Original Hebrew did not contain vowels and I wanted to show that to you. This will eliminate any discussion of the different Jewish philosophies as well (for those of you who do know Hebrew), since vowels can change the meaning of words.

BeReSHiYT—In the beginning of

B'RO—God’s creating

The first letter is B or Beit in Hebrew. It’s form is shown in the picture below. You can see open side on the left of the letter. According to Hebrew philosophy, this means to start with the declaration that God is the Creator, and humans cannot fully understand anything or everything before this. It is closed to us as humans.

In the end, what this says to me is that we can fight and argue about Creationism and Evolution, but we will never fully understand the process of Creation. The only thing that we can do is open ourselves to meaningful dialogue between science and faith and be eager to find what Truth remains in both. And most definitely we must start at the beginning.