Friday, October 19, 2012
In ancient times, people believed the planets were gods that influenced events on Earth. A believer might claim God is more powerful than the demon planets and will protect us from their harmful influences.
During the medieval age, many Christians amalgamated the ideas of the pagan Plotinus with the Scripture. In Plotinus’ scheme, nature was the realm of a world soul. The wind is blowing and the world soul is breathing. For a thousand years Christians feared the spirits that controlled nature.
Seven hundred years ago, Catholic friars adapted the ideas of the pagan Aristotle to the Bible. They imagined that substance has an essence that, like God, is unchanging. The essence of substance is changeless, the Europeans imagined. Using this as a creed, European intellectuals invented symbols that supposedly represented unchanging reality: mass, energy and time. The metaphor for nature became the machine. The universe was clock-like, because the great Clock Maker had established the orbits with perpetual motion.
The metaphor for reality today is information. We live in the information age in which economies depend on people organizing and controlling information. Information theories are probabilistic. Supposedly, the quantum encodes information about the probabilistic ways atoms behave. In the macro world, statistical thermodynamics encodes reality. Likewise, DNA encodes information about life. In the larger universe, Einstein’s theories dictate how information spreads through the universe at the speed of light. Physicists wonder if black holes destroy information.
Will future generations look back on our information theories as we look on the medieval Christians and their nature spirits? Whenever Christians have amalgamated the Bible with philosophy, it has resulted in nonsense. It is best for a believer to stick to text of the Bible.
What is biblical reality like? At first God completed creating the plural heavens and Earth. Yet what He had completed was tohu wa bohu (unformed and empty). Job speaks of streams that flow into the dessert and disappear (tohu). Isaiah says rulers and judges are brought to nothing (tohu). How did the world that was unformed and empty begin to have form? The spirit of God dithered over the dark, primordial, unformed place that had a surface (face paniym) and continued to command light to continue to be. It was then that the Earth began to have extension. God Himself speaks of the house of light that has a border, where paths of light within its house are mysterious, the place of darkness. Evidently God is describing what we call atoms as the house of light in Job 38:19 - 22. Atoms are mostly empty space, have extension, because light dithers around within its house. Whenever scientists smash bits of matter, they find light-like things moving at the speed of light. No one has discovered a god particle, something that cannot be further reduced to light-like. To understand reality as a relation with light is to take a strictly biblical perspective. Paul said light reveals the truth and exposes error because all that is visible is light (phos estin - Ephesians 5:13).
The wonderful thing about light is it shows us the creation exactly as the Bible describes it. We see that ancient galaxies were often naked, without starry arms. We observe how the stars formed and come out from tohu (formless) beginnings. Sometimes we observe great flashes of light as matter jets out to form the stars that continue to spread out into huge, growth spirals. In billions of galaxies we observe matter emerging from the tuhu (formless) centers of galaxies. We even find evidence on our planet that it once was a tiny globe, without major seas. Our planet has continued to spread out “above the waters” as the Bible describes.
Efforts to tailor the Bible to fit philosophy eventually fail. The universe is certainly not clock-like, since we observe how clocks and star stream orbits both accelerate outward, exactly as one should expect from the several Bible passages that tell us that God continues to call the stars to come out, that He continues to spread out the plural heavens in unbroken continuity. We observe the evidence that our planet has continued to grow, exactly as the Bible states.
Here are two views of Centaurs A, the nearest galaxy with an active center. The left view is of the two bulbous expansions that have moved out from the center of this galaxy, extending far beyond the starry mass. On the right, a magnified (compared to the left view) X-ray image of the center of the galaxy. We observe how a jet and counter jet of matter is emerging from a tohu (formless) place. What we observe is God spreading out the plural heavens in unbroken continuity, as He says He does. Credit NASA and the Chandra Space Telescope.
How great will be the triumph of the literal Words of God over the scientists.