astro or quantum – it all points to God

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In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good.” – Genesis 1:1-3

I am certainly no scientist or math whiz, nor do I own any of those engineering or number-crunching analytical qualities. Truth be told, I’m not sure that I’m either left-brained or right-brained; maybe there’s also “no-brained”, and that’s where my sweet spot resides?

But I am genuinely intrigued with several big-ticket items even if I may be ill-equipped to understand them. I think the entire realm of brain-science, and consciousness, and how organisms achieve self-awareness is fascinating, plus I’m drawn to physics, specifically astrophysics and quantum physics.

  • Astrophysics, of course, looks out from our world and wonders: When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars you have set in place…” (Psalm 8)
  • Quantum physics examines the smallest objects and then looks even farther beyond the surface: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow…” (Matthew 6)

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So, along with the psalmist – and Jesus too – I enjoy considering. I love to take photographs of the big picture, such as the sunrise from a mountaintop, the place where the beach meets the sky meets the ocean, or even a huge crowd at church; and I am also drawn to the small picture, close-ups of flowers or the intricacies of a delicate hummingbird.

Then, when I look at the poetic design of an open blossom and understand that what I see is just one more window into more exquisite detail, I find myself wondering, “Where are the boundaries and the limitations of creation (and of The Creator)?” And I see immediately that there are none, and that each layer is simply another wrapper inviting us to see beyond.

The layers peeled back, of elements, and molecules, and atoms; quarks, gluons, electrons, neutrinos; plus the forces that hold things together – and even light is carried by subatomic particles called photons.

Then layers peeled back again – of earth, planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies, black holes, light years, the expanding universe and so much more.

  • Light that bends.
  • Time that does not move at a constant, incremental, predictable rate.
  • Looking through telescopes at stars that may not exist any more.
  • Principles of physics that do not necessarily hold up beyond our planet.
  • Things we “know” that may or may not actually be.
  • A God who holds all this together yet who is not subject to the “laws” of time, space, and reason we hang our hats on.

1-DSC_0005All of this fascinates me no end. Then I walk in the confines of our back garden and I come across an iris bloom that was not there yesterday and I am as blown away by wonder as I was when I first understood that by looking into the night sky I was looking into the past, sometimes thousands of years into history.

Once in a while this all causes me to fall to my knees. Not because I feel I have to attribute what I cannot understand to some god in a kind of intellectual Hail Mary, but because the more I do understand the more the beauty and the complexity and the simplicity and the scope and the fine detail and the limitless possibility inherent in all that I am constantly learning leads me into God’s embrace.

… and that’s likely enough for this day – DEREK

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