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Earth’s fiery travail

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Both Genesis and the Enuma Elish describe the earth as being formed from out of  chaos and into order. The giant impact hypothesis of 1975 states that the moon is a byproduct of a massive impact of the earth and another giant body called Theia. It’s a crazy idea, but there’s actually some supporting evidence. Now Frédéric Moynier, a planetary scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, claims he’s discovered further confirmation of this hypothesis. His support is summarized in this article in Science Daily.

It’s fascinating to me that the earth would have to go through this kind of cosmic struggle. Why a fiery planetary collision? Wouldn’t it be simpler if the earth were formed by a spoken word and seven days? That would be so neat and clean. But if you’re willing to listen to science, that doesn’t seem to be the way of God.

Think of what the name Israel represents. In Genesis 32:22-32, Jacob had to wrestle with God to get that name. It would have been sweet if Israel had appeared a fully formed nation obedient to the laws of God. That would have been so nice and tidy. Instead, they had to suffer in Egypt, wander through the wilderness, and battle for Canaan. Then they still couldn’t get it right.

Even in our present age with all our science and technology we face a crisis of faith. Religions battle to redefine what they believe. Wouldn’t it be better if the Bible just told us everything we need to know? I would personally like it to be delivered on golden tablets. That would make it so easy. Instead, we have to wrestle with God as Jacob did. And it’s all so messy.

Yes, the fiery travails of earth seem to be our struggle also.

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Bruce Meyer
Bruce Meyerhttp://www.dominsions.com
Bruce Meyer writes about the relationship between the physical universe and the pursuit of spirituality.

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Alice_Wondering
Alice_Wondering
11 years ago

Hello,

You stated, “…if you’re willing to listen to science, that doesn’t seem to be the way of God.” I’d like to ask why is it we tend to view science as opposed to “the way of God?” As I understand it, “Truth” exists in two forms, that which we determine to be truth through the process of reason, and that truth we discover through experience. Religion falls into the process of reason, and science into experience, does it not? Sometimes they have conflicting results, but is this so intolerable? When one “truth” conflicts with another (those things we KNOW to be true), it is called a paradox, correct? And, are there not paradoxes to be found everywhere? What if the Great Lord intended such a paradoxical reality and that we are to “figure it out?” And, the Bible is but one clue of many for us to ponder. The point (message) of seeking the truth is to never stop seeking it; is this not shown to us within Judaic (from which Christianity draws its roots) teaching? Science uses the language of Mathematics to describe and define it, and it was the great Saint Augustine (Thomas Aquinas) who said that “The Mathematics is the Language the Deity gave to us to discover the Truth.” This is undeniable, and Galileo used mathematics to compel the Church to accept that Copernicus was right about we were revolving around the sun, and it not us. Since then mathematics has shown us that we live on a world that is in orbit around the sun moving at greater than 18 miles per second, and that our entire solar system is moving at 137 miles per second around the trailing edge of a galaxy that has more stars in it that we have trees on our Earth. There are more galaxies out there (millions) than we so far have been able to count. But, it doesn’t stop there, mathematics has revealed to us an accurate approximation of the actual size of the Universe in which we exist. We now know that ALL of the matter we are familiar with; stars, planets, rocks, dust, and the like comprised only 4.5% of this universe. Something called Dark Matter (of which we now have direct proof of), is 24.5%, and Dark Energy comprises 75% of this universe. Dark Matter exerts a force holding matter together, while Dark Energy apparently is trying to pull it apart. Why is this so? Why is it we are moving on a planet at such a rate of speed traveling through “what” and “why?” What purpose could this possibly have? Yet, we “know” these to be facts—the mathematics demonstrates this conclusively. Judaism teaches we should accept the “truth” from no matter the source, and we are to continue to seek the “truth” no matter what—we are to continue to seek it even after we feel we’ve “found” it.

All too often I observe others (and many Christians), claim they’ve found the “truth,” and there is no need to look any further. I feel this is a kind of “intellectual laziness,” as it quite many times leads to using such claims of possessing the “truth” and compelling others to comply to it, and while I don’t have a problem with that as a whole, as there are many “truths” we SHOULD compel others to follow—such as, justice, fairness, and the like, but to forbid any questioning of it I see as an error, and I begin to suspect hidden motives in the ones preventing further questioning.

Whatever the Great God is, He (She?) is FAR beyond in complexity than anyone has ever considered before in human history, and is this to be ignored and such ideas to be condemned? Why not view it as a challenge to us? To continue to seek the truth, even after we feel or believe we’ve found it? There is a story (parable, I guess), about three blind men in India coming upon an Elephant that none of them have ever known existed before. And one of those men, grasping one of the legs, claims the Elephant is like a pillar—stout and strong; another grasps one of the ears, and determines the Elephant is akin to a rug—flexible and rough; and the third holds the trunk, and claims the Elephant is like a hose, long and narrow. Yet, this is all the same Elephant, is it not? Is it unreasonable to consider each Faith as akin to one of these blind men? With each Faith contending with only one part of God? And, would it not be an error to declare that their version is the ONLY version that is true? Clearly, the Great God is far more than our guide—the Bible—as you yourself reflected that it does not provide answers to everything, There are many “truths,” out there, some of which are paradoxes, and are we not, should we not continue to seek? Even after we believe we’ve “found” the truth?

After many years of study I’m astonished to discover just how much I actually do not know, and what I’ve felt as “wisdom” apparently is only the beginning of “understanding.” I honor the “Great God,” or “Great One,” or the “Universe,” if-you-like. I do not fear it. I honor that which I do not understand, and am thankful to it for my existence.

My “two-cents…” 🙂

Bruce
Bruce
11 years ago

Great comments! I think that was worth a lot more than two-cents. I agree with you and also don’t understand why our culture views science as opposed to the way of God. I enjoyed your sense of mystery. You might enjoy Anselm of Canterbury’s Proslogion, where he says God is that which nothing greater can be thought or imagined.

Dennis
Dennis
11 years ago

I thought your comments were very interesting as well. Many good thoughts in there. I’d throw in a couple things along the way for the sake of discussion. I would add that truth is also something that is revealed by God Himself. You’ve mentioned Judaism several times and I feel very indebted, as a Christian, to the Jewish people. In Daniel 2:20-22 Daniel says that God changes times and seasons, gives wisdom to the wise, knowledge to those who have understanding and reveals deep and hidden things. I agree wholeheartedly that our God is unknowable by ourselves. But I do believe that, as One Who is all-wise and all-knowing, He is able to communicate with us and has done so through the Scriptures, both OT and NT, and also in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1-4).

Science, to me, is the study of things created by God and has been that to many scientists in the past. Since Darwin though, fear has crept in and those who don’t toe the line are ostracized. The Bible says that He created all things and as such all the laws that science uses to discover things, that make things repeatable are there because God put them there. Thanks to Him there is order, yes even precision, in the universe. We have been placed in a position in the universe itself that allows us to observe it. We could have been in a cosmic dust cloud that would have hidden the whole universe to our eyes. So in that sense I totally believe that science and faith in God are compatible. Many of the controversies come from a faith position against the truth of God and not from provable fact.

I would also say, in regard to intellectual laziness, that in my case, before I knew Christ, that was when I was intellectually lazy. Since I have come to know Him I have had an almost insatiable desire to study the Bible, history, science and other religions as I never had before. I think questions are all valid and that no one should be or even can be compelled to believe something, and to force compliance apart from belief is wrong. God Himself does not do that, but allows men and women to have their own way in everything. That doesn’t mean they won’t experience the consequences of that freedom though. If there is Truth, and I believe there is, and there are many conflicting ideas of what that truth is, then by definition there can be only one belief that is actually true. Jesus Christ is the only Person in history to back up His claims to be God and our Savior and Lord by having risen from the dead, just as He Himself as well as many OT prophets said He would. I would ask you to give a read to Acts 17: 21-32 and see what you think about it. Thanks for reading!

Bruce
Bruce
11 years ago

Thanks Dennis! I always appreciate what you add to this website.

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