If There Is No God, We Don’t Make Sense

If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning — just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark.  Dark would be without meaning.  Similarly, the fact that eyes exist suggests that light must exist.  And the the fact that we have spiritual longings … the fact that we even have a meaningful category of thought and speech called spirituality … Suggests that there is some corresponding reality out there which we have the capacity to “sense”.  That capacity would be called faith, and that reality, God.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1943, p. 46)

Stephen Hawking Proves That God Created the Universe(s)!

I continue to be a little confused by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow’s book, The Grand Design.

Following from their work in this book Stephen Hawking uses their theories to explain why it’s possible for the universe to have begun spontaneously, created from nothing.  From this basis Hawking postulates that being able to use the laws of physics and nature to describe how the universe could have sprung into being is sufficient to explain that it could not have been created by God.

I’ve long had a problem with this idea because it seemed to ignore the questions of what came before and how this could be.  Yet I figure out a way to explain why it wasn’t sitting right.  I understood what my issues with the theory were, but I couldn’t find appropriate language to explain it.

I recently read a response by Gerald Schroeder which I feel goes a long way toward explaining why I felt something was seriously wrong with Dr. Hawking’s conclusions.  The paradox is that Mr. Hawking has demonstrated very eloquently that the laws of nature must have existed prior to the big bang and the creation of the physical universe.  In my view, there is no difference between “laws of nature” and God.  The “laws of nature” are God and God is the laws of nature.  Thus, Mr. Hawking has provide us with a theory supporting the existence of God (nature) by showing us how nature (God) could have caused the physical universe to spontaneously spring into being.

In “The Big Bang Creation: God or the Laws of Nature” Schroeder explains it best…

The Grand Design breaks the news, bitter to some, that … to create a universe from absolute nothing God is not necessary.  All that is needed are the laws of nature.

That is…

there can have been a big bang creation without the help of God, provided the laws of nature pre-date the universe.  Our concept of time begins with the creation of the universe.  Therefore if the laws of nature created the universe, these laws must have existed prior to time; that is the laws of nature would be outside of time.  What we have then is totally non-physical laws, outside of time, creating a universe.  Now that description might sound somewhat familiar.  Very much like the biblical concept of God: not physical, outside of time, able to create a universe.

My opinion is simply stated.  Being physical, we know and relate everything to our physical world.  God is alien to us in this regard.  Being spiritual and not physical we cannot and should not try to fit the experiential possibilities of God into the constraints of our physical world.  Understanding this, it follows that if we can track the evolution of our physical world back in time to a singular point where it all began, and we base our understanding of this beginning on the laws of nature and physics that we observe to govern our physical world, that we must conclude that something occurred to bring about the laws of nature and physics and were necessary to bring about the physical world.  If the laws of nature and physics are not physical in and of themselves, perhaps we can think of them as spiritual.  If the laws of nature and physics are spiritual then perhaps we can think of them as God.

What do you think?

What is the image of God?

In his book, We Make The Road By Walking, Brian McLaren writes…

An image is a small imitation or echo, like a reflection in a mirror. So if we bear the image of God, then like God, we experience life through relationships. Like God, we experience love through our complementary differences. Like God, we notice and enjoy and name things — starting with the animals, our companions on the Earth. Like God, we are caretakers of the garden of the Earth. And like God, we are “naked and not ashamed”, meaning we can be who we are without fear.

I would suggest that we also echo God in that like God, the essence of our “selves” is spirit not flesh. We exist in flesh due to God’s miracle of creation. But we also exist in spirit. Like God, there is a part of us that is not bound by the constraints of the physical world, and instead is ordered by the bounds of a different dimension — a different creation, also of God.

If the kingdom of God were a symphony…

If the kingdom of God were a symphony, it would welcome anyone who had a desire to learn to play music — from tuba players to piccolo players, from violinists to percussionists. It would accept beginners and master musicians, wisely pairing up the novices with mentors who could help them learn. But it could not welcome people who hated music or who wanted to shout and scream and disrupt rehearsals and concerts; that would ruin the music for everyone and destroy the symphony. True, it would try to influence music haters to become music lovers, but it couldn’t accept them into the symphony until they wanted to be there because of a love of music.

— Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus

The Danger of Blind Inclusion

I heard it said recently that as a community of believers in the way of Jesus we should be prepared and willing to accept and include anyone into the community. However, I think it’s important and essential that our inclusion not be blind. This is often a difficult distinction which serves to illustrate the radically paradoxical world of our Lord.

Instead, we should adopt the practice of purposeful inclusion. This does not mean that we begin practicing exclusiveness and rejection. Instead, we seek to include all who want to participate in and contribute to the community, but not those whose purpose is the opposite.

To be truly inclusive we must exclude exclusive people. On the other hand, to be truly all inclusive we must not gather all, rejecting those who reject the gathering.

The paradox exists because we must be inclusive and exclusive at the same time, sometimes with the same people. We must make our community inclusive for all those who choose to be a part of the community of believers, while at the same time excluding all those who would choose to ruin the community. Unless they have a change of heart. Then they should be welcomed in.

Perhaps Brian McLaren said it best in his example from The Secret Message of Jesus

If the kingdom of God were a symphony, it would welcome anyone who had a desire to learn to play music — from tuba players to piccolo players, from violinists to percussionists. It would accept beginners and master musicians, wisely pairing up the novices with mentors who could help them learn. But it could not welcome people who hated music or who wanted to shout and scream and disrupt rehearsals and concerts; that would ruin the music for everyone and destroy the symphony. True, it would try to influence music haters to become music lovers, but it couldn’t accept them into the symphony until they wanted to be there because of a love of music.

Seasons (of life)

It’s been too long since I’ve posted. I know that. Like everyone else, I get caught up in daily life. What some would call the “reality” of daily life. What I think of as the non-real. But those thoughts are for another day.

Today my thoughts turn toward life and it’s seasons. I’m really not that deep of a thinker. My thoughts have been prompted by a couple of events.

1) A close friend and the anchor of the base section of our church choir died rather unexpectedly. I say rather only because he was in his 70’s. However, despite his age, and medical situation, there really wasn’t any reason to expect a situation to arise that would claim his life in a matter of a couple of weeks. But it did. What’s more remarkable is the insight into his thinking about life that is being exposed by his family as they read through his text marking within his person Bible. Fascinating!

2) An acquaintance from church just discovered that she has stage 4 liver cancer. She was hospitalized for a completely different, and routine, procedure. Through routine pre-surgery evaluation they found the cancer. Two years is what they say.

So…

The question that comes up in these circumstances is frequently consistent. Why?

Not just why death. Not necessarily why now? But why?

Why did God create this world – our lives – and place us in an existence that will ALWAYS end in death.

I don’t mean to imply that I’m asking these questions. I’m not. I think I know what the BIG why is.

I’ve rarely spoken of it. I’ve held back. I’m not completely sure why. Perhaps because I fear exposing the fact that I have beliefs that run outside the mainstream of my church. But, at the same time, I’ve always know that the day would come.

I think that’s one reason I started this blog. It’s not for others to read what I have to say. It’s simply for me to document what I think.

It’s time. It’s coming. I need to document the WHY.

Why life?
Why are we born?
Why do we suffer?
Why do we experience joy?
Why pain?
Why die?

I think I know.

At least I have a theory that’s based on…

nothing…

just my feelings…

my impressions….

It’s time to give it a voice.