Why did the Big Bang Theory Irritate Einstein?

I friend of mine recently let me borrow a book that is now out of print: “God And The Astronomers” by Robert Jastrow, an agnostic astronomer (someone who believes that there may be a God but can never know that for sure, and if said God does exist, you can never know him), who came to realize his own dilemma as a result of science proving that the universe had a beginning and is expanding. Listen to how Dr. Jastrow put it himself:

In his book (first edition, 1978), he cites why Einstein was troubled by the discovery that the universe had a beginning and was expanding (pgs. 23-29). In a letter to a fellow scientist, Willem de Sitter, Einstein said, “This circumstance [of an expanding universe] irritates me . . . to admit such possibilities seems senseless.” For some time Einstein resisted the discoveries. Here’s why:

  1. Einstein’s “static universe” theory was now inconsistent with science.
  2. An expanding universe implies a beginning.
  3. A universe that had a beginning implies some other force outside of it.
  4. If not God, then what? If the “What?”, then the evidence blew up in the Big Bang.
  5. If all we now have is the result of the Big Bang, then that’s all we have – residual, left-over evidence.
  6. If what we have is better explained by an intelligent designer, than random collision, then . . .
  7. And there you have it.

In another clip, Dr. Jastrow said this:

 

I just had a thought: the means of posting this, writing these words, thinking, reading, using my HP laptop with WiFi connection, pulling these video clips from YouTube, all of this and more, was not by chance. It would take more faith to believe in chance than to believe that intelligent, intentional, purposeful persons created all the hardware to produce this post (leave me out of that equation:). There is not a chance in 100 million trillion years that I could be writing these words in a digital format and sent to you through digital coding apart from Intelligent People who created the mapping of digital communication and images. Therefore, I don’t just choose to believe in a Creator by default, rather, there is a necessity upon my conscience that is irresistibly true:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made . . . and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” – John 1:1-3, 14.

 

“All At Once”

 

From one of my most favorite musicians of the Christian Faith, Phil Keaggy does his album cover song, All At Once. 

Here are the lyrics with my explanation in italics. May this song cause you to either turn to Christ for salvation, or if you already have, let these words remind you of the great hope that you already have.

when you took away the burden (of sin and its horrible consequences)

to a place that we could never go (the cross)

and when you see the pain and hurting (in the body of Jesus that was absorbed for you)

that we will never have to know (Christ has become my substitute)

how do you look at that (what will you do with the crucified Son of God?)

chorus 

all at once it breaks the heart (The Spirit opens the eyes of the heart to see your need of the Savior)

puts in back together stronger than it was (raised to walk a new life in Christ)

yea it does what it does (the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes)

all at once (to be made right with God is instant life from the dead)

 

it interrupts our situation (the gospel is a great truth to be reckoned with)

invades your point of view (the gospel crushes your hope and pride in good works)

what to do with the information (how will you respond to the gospel that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures)

oh what is happening to you (it’s the Spirit of Christ raising you up from being dead in sin)

how do you deal with that (what will you do with the Crucified Son of God?)     

chorus

 

look upon the body broken (look at your Salvation hanging on the cross)

see the healing in yourself (Christ was broken so that your soul could find rest)

when at once the words are spoken (by faith in the finished work of Christ, “you’re forgiven of all your sins”)

you know you’ve been made well (like the leper, the prostitute, and the beggar)

what do you take from that (what will you do with the Crucified Son of God?)       

chorus

When People Are BIG and God is small

Image result for when people are big and god is small

It was 1997 when Ed Welch published his book, of which the post is titled after. Of all the books that Ed has written, this is by far one of my favorites.

Below is an outline that we’ll use this Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, to begin this bible study for our church family. If you’ve never read anything by him, this would be a first great read. Follow this link for a bio of him:

https://www.ccef.org/about/people/ed-welch

“The opposite of love for others is an inordinate love for self; ‘love for self’ is simply fear of man. The reason why we are incapable of loving others as we ought is because we fear them, that is, we have an unhealthy reverence for them more than God.

  • Are you over-committed? Do you find that it is hard to say no even when wisdom indicates that you should? You are a “people-pleaser,” another euphemism for the fear of man.
  • Do you “need” something from your spouse? Do you “need” your spouse to listen to you, love you, respect you? Think carefully here. Certainly God is pleased when there is good communication and a mutual honor between spouses. But for many people, the desire for these things has roots in something that is far from God’s design for his image-bearers. Unless you understand the biblical parameters of marital commitment, your spouse will become the one you fear. Your spouse will control you. Your spouse will quietly take the place of God in your life.
  • Is self-esteem a critical concern for you? This, at least in the United States, is the most popular way that the fear of other people is expressed. If self-esteem is a recurring theme for you, chances are that your life revolves around what others think. You reverence or fear their opinion. You need them to buttress your sense of well-being and identity. You need them to fill you up.

Are you always second-guessing decisions because of what other people might think? Are you afraid of making mistakes that will make you look bad in other people’s eyes?

  • Do you feel empty or meaningless? Do you experience “love hunger”? Here again, if you need others to fill you, you are controlled by them.
  • Do you ever lie, especially the little white lies? What about cover-ups where you are not technically lying with your mouth? Lying and other forms of living in the dark are usually ways to make ourselves look better before other people. They also serve to cover our shame before them.
  • Are you jealous of other people? You are controlled by them and their possessions.
  • Do you avoid people? If so, even though you might not say that you need people, you are still controlled by them. Isn’t a hermit dominated by the fear of man?
  • Do you fear that others may disagree with you or not admire you? Do you intimidate others into agreeing with you? The endless jockeying of egos in the corporate board room is an aggressive version of fear of man.
  • Have you ever been too timid to share your faith in Christ because others might think you are an irrational fool?

Fear of man is such a part of our [fallen] human fabric that we should check for a pulse if someone denies it . . . God can fill you with his love, so you don’t have to be filled by other people.”

I’m looking forward to this study because I want to love God more and fear man less. Ed will pastorally walk you through scripture, showing you how to do this.

 

Starting 2019 like this . . .

IMG_2081

Almost always mildly satisfied with my prayer life, I often turn to someone for encouragement. Tim Keller wrote his book, “Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God” (published in 2014), and this is my first book to read this year because I want to do better at praying and having a devotion with Cheryl. For our devotions this year, we’ll use the Keller’s, “God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Book of Proverbs.”  

Do not admire me for what appears to be a strong spiritual walk with God. Hardly! I struggle with the same ups-and-downs as any believer does with prayer and devotion with a spouse. But if this post encourages you to do better, then mission accomplished.

Might I give you a quote to help you as it did me; Tim begins his book on prayer like this:

“In the second half of my adult life, I discovered prayer. I had to. In the fall of 1999, I taught a Bible study course on the Psalms. It became clear to me that I was barely scratching the surface of what the Bible commanded and promised regarding prayer. Then came the dark weeks in New York after 9/11, when our whole city sank into a kind of corporate clinical depression, even as it rallied. For my family the shadow was intensified as my wife, Kathy, struggled with the effects of Crohn’s disease. Finally, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. At one point during all this, my wife urged me to do something with her we had never been able to muster the self-discipline to do regularly. She asked me to pray with her every night. Every night. She used an illustration that crystallized her feelings very well. As we remember it, she said something like this:

Imagine you were diagnosed with such a lethal condition that the doctor told you that you would die within hours unless you took a particular medicine – a pill every night before going to sleep. Imagine that you were told that you could never miss it or you would die. Would you forget? Would you not get around to it some nights? No – it would be so crucial that you wouldn’t forget, you would never miss. Well, if we don’t pray together to God, we’re not going to make it because of all we are facing. I’m certainly not. We have to pray, we can’t let it just slip our minds.”

Tim then says,

“Maybe it was the power of the illustration, maybe it was just the right moment, maybe it was the Spirit of God. Or, most likely of all, it was the Spirit of God using the moment and the clarity of the metaphor. For both of us the penny dropped; we realized the seriousness of the issue, and we admitted that anything that was truly a nonnegotiable necessity was something we could do. That was more than twelve years ago, and Kathy and I can’t remember missing a single evening of praying together, at least by phone, even when we’ve been apart in different hemispheres. Kathy’s jolting challenge, along with my own growing conviction that I just didn’t get prayer, led me into a search. I wanted a far better personal life. I began to read widely and experiment in prayer. As I looked around, I quickly came to see that I was not alone” (pgs. 9-10).

And neither are you. May the Lord be your joyful pursuit this New Year!

“Away in a Manger” needs a diaper change.

Image result for away in a mangerThe song was published in 1895 by William J. Kirkpatrick. Here is the second verse:

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus! look down from the sky,
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

It can be shown throughout the last 2,000 years that people, even well-intentioned people, have made one or both of two errors: either minimizing the full deity of Christ, or his full humanity, or both. Scripture however, is non-negotiable: Jesus is both fully God and fully Man at the same time (if you would like scripture on that, or even a discussion with no scripture, please respond – it would be my pleasure to serve you). And that means that he needed his diaper changed because that’s what babies need. Speaking of needing a change, so does the second line of the second verse of “Away in a Manger.”

At our church, we sing it like this:

“The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, The little Lord Jesus, What crying he makes.”

Why the change? Because Jesus was fully human – and that’s what babies do when they’re startled by bellowing 1,400 pound cattle standing over them! Let us never exalt Jesus so far above his humanity that he can’t know our needs. Also, let us never dethrone Jesus so far down from his Deity that he can’t meet our needs. Read your bible and keep the full tension of mystery and beauty in the God-Man!

But even having said this, I’m nostalgic and reminiscent this time of year. Enjoy!

 

A bogus marriage and implied pre-marital sex in “Winter Wonderland”

Image result for winter wonderlandWe’re so used to lyrics that we rarely stop to listen to them. Years ago I listened a little closer to one of the most famous Christmas songs ever written. In 1934, Richard B. Smith produced his “Winter Wonderland” – a song that he did not intend to become a Christmas song. Here are the lyrics that I focus on, with my own plausible comments in italic brackets:

In the meadow we can build a snowman
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown [the local pastor]
He’ll say, Are you married? [a good question coming from a pastor]
We’ll say, No man [at least they’re being honest]
But you can do the job
When you’re in town [a bogus marriage ceremony by a pretend pastor who is a snowman built by the couple]
Later on, we’ll conspire [Merriam- Webster: “make secret plans jointly to commit an unlawful or harmful act”]
As we dream by the fire [get a chaperone!!]
To face unafraid
The plans that we’ve made [because we need a clear conscience]
Walking in a winter wonderland [yea right!!]

 

Take away: listen to what you’re listening to. 

And now that I’ve poked fun at a favorite Christmas song, I’ll put away my cynical interpretation and just enjoy it . . .