Archive for the ‘creation’ Category

Our Odd Solar System

Posted: May 16, 2013 in creation, science

A fascinating discovery that raises interesting questions:

As of this month, we’ve discovered 884 planets, 692 planetary systems, 132 of them with more than one planet and, strange to tell, almost none of them look like us.

“We are now beginning to understand that nature seems to overwhelmingly prefer [planetary] systems that have multiple planets with orbits of less than 100 days,” says Steve Vogt, astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “This is quite unlike our own solar system, where there is nothing with an orbit inside that of Mercury. So our solar system is, in some sense, a bit of a freak and not the most typical kind of system that Nature cooks up.” …

As the discoveries roll in, Mike [Brown, an astronomer at Caltech,] is getting more and more uncomfortable. Though it will take a while to discover smaller planets, right now there’s only one planetary system that looks a lot like our own, he says. “HD 13931 b is nearly perfect. What I would desperately like to know is whether or not it has the small rocky bodies on the inside too. But it’ll be a long time before we can find that.”

Meantime, he is trying to get used to the idea that we live on an unusual planet in an unusual solar system. That’s two “unusuals.” One more than he’s used to. To live doubly-unusual, is to be luckier — and perhaps rarer — than we knew.

“It really is something that I find deeply weird,” he writes. “What does it all mean? I don’t know. I am certain that this single-minded emphasis on planets-in-habitable-zones is making people forget that there is still a lot of weird stuff happening out there and that we still don’t even understand the basics of how we ourselves got here.”

Next time you’re outside and it’s dark, look up and marvel at the glory and wisdom of our God:

To investigate the motions of the heavenly bodies, to determine their positions, measure their distances, and ascertain their properties, demands skill, and a more careful examination; and where these are so employed, as the Providence of God is thereby more fully unfolded, so it is reasonable to suppose that the mind takes a loftier flight, and obtains brighter views of his glory. Still, none who have the use of their eyes can be ignorant of the divine skill manifested so conspicuously in the endless variety, yet distinct and well ordered array, of the heavenly host; and, therefore, it is plain that the Lord has furnished every man with abundant proofs of his wisdom.

– John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1.5.2.

John Frame offers 11 principles, 6 of which are reprinted below:

1. This discussion concerns the interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2. The question is not whether we should abandon the teaching of these chapters to accomodate science. The question is, What does this passage actually say? It is an exegetical issue. …

2. I am not denying that secular science has influenced the debate. The claims of scientists that the universe has existed for billions of years have certainly motivated theologians to go back to the text, in order to see whether these claims are consistent with Scripture. In my view, that is entirely right and proper. …

3. But there are also wrong ways of being influenced by science. In re-examining traditional views, we should not be governed by any principles of reasoning that are inconsistent with Scripture. …

8. There are reasons for taking the days as normal days.

9. On the other hand, I am not persuaded that figurative views should be considered heretical…

10. In all this discussion, we should remind ourselves that God, speaking through Moses in Genesis 1-2, has a purpose, namely, to display his glory in his creative work and to provide background for the narrative of the Fall. It is not the primary purpose of the narrative to tell us precisely how God made the world, when he did it, how long it took, and how all of this relates to the theories of modern science.

– John Frame, The Doctrine of God, A Theology of Lordship, vol. 2 (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2002), 302-306

A Prayer for Spring

Posted: April 17, 2013 in creation, music, nature, prayer

Be praised for all Your tenderness by these works of Your hands
Suns that rise and rains that fall to bless and bring to life Your land
Look down upon this winter wheat and be glad that You have made
Blue for the sky and the color green that fills these fields with praise

– Rich Mullins, “The Color Green

In this panel discussion from Ligonier’s 2012 National Conference, R.C. Sproul and friends discuss the Christian’s approach to Scripture and the natural world, offering wise words regarding the importance of embracing both as infallible revelation from God.  In my opinion, R.C. Sproul (in the clip below) and Michael Horton (in the full recording, timestamp 69:30) offer the most helpful insights into how Christians should think about and discuss these controversial issues.  Sproul’s main point is that we must embrace all of God’s revelation, not setting one part against another.  Horton clearly agrees, noting: “All truth is God’s truth, but not all truth is in the Bible.”

In my opinion, this fascinating discussion should serve as (yet another) call for a little more light and a little less heat in discussions related to faith and science.

The end of Cain’s history, and so the end of all history, is Christ on the cross, the murdered Son of God.  That is the last desperate assault on the gate of paradise.  And under the whirling sword, under the cross, the human race dies.  But Christ lives.  The trunk of the cross becomes the wood of life, and now in the midst of the world, on the accursed ground itself, life is raised up anew. …

What a strange paradise is this hill of Golgotha, this cross, this blood, this broken body.  What a strange tree of life, this trunk on which the very God had to suffer and die.  Yet it is the very kingdom of life and of the resurrection, which by grace God grants us again.  It is the gate of imperishable hope now opened, the gate of waiting and of patience.  The tree of life, the cross of Christ, the center of God’s world that is fallen but upheld and preserved – that is what the end of the story about paradise is for us.

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall: A Theological Exposition of Genesis 1-3Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 3 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997), 146.

If the world is fundamentally an accident, if in the beginning, there was no eternal personality, no eternal living being, merely super-hot, hyper-dense I AM matter (with no space and no universe outside of itself), and if, wandering those hyper-dense, super tiny corridors of the Forever Matter, attending to its normal routine, there happened to be one little chemical that caught its toe and flopped into another very different chemical, and both of them said, “Oh crap,” in tiny voices and went deaf in the explosion, then when did the accident start making sense and why the hell do we have the Special Olympics?

– N. D. Wilson, Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009), p. 127.