Posted in creation, encouragement, God, universe

How big is the universe? How small is the smallest known object?

A friend sent me a link to a video where the scale of the universe is compared. We start with human size and drill down to the smallest known length/size, which is a string of String Theory.

NOVA – Official Website | A Sense of Scale: String Theory says of a string,

The strings of string theory are unimaginably small. Your average string, if it exists, is about 10-33 centimeters long. That’s a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter. If an atom were magnified to the size of the solar system, a string would be the size of a tree.

Then the scale increases to compare larger objects, and ends with both the known universe’s size and the estimated universe’s size.

It is estimated that the diameter of the observable universe is about 28.5 gigaparsecs (93 billion light-years, 8.8×1026 metres or 5.5×1023 miles), putting the edge of the observable universe at about 46.5 billion light-years away. (Source)

God is bigger than all that.

The reason the video is fascinating is because of the comparison. It makes more sense to compare objects to determine relative size. If I’d have written “The observable universe is 28.5 gigaparsecs” you’d have gone, “hunh?!” But seeing the sizes of known things and pondering their sizes is easier and more productive when you have a known to latch an unknown onto.

Now, when I was a non-saved person, I’d have eagerly learned these facts about the scale of the universe. It is mystifying and wondrous to see the sizes of these things, a string to a neutrino to a DNA strand to a molecule to… and so on. But just knowing the facts for the sake of knowing them is self-glorifying.

The key for the saved person is making the comparison. God is not only bigger than all that, He MADE all that. In six days. There’s the difference.

When we compare everything to Christ things begin to assume a supernatural element which awes and fascinates.

When Paul preached to the Gentiles, he always began with creation. Gentiles didn’t know or care about the Hebrew scriptures, but every Gentile who walked the earth knew that an earth existed. Who made it? In Acts 14:14-15, the Gentiles thought Paul and Barnabas were gods. Paul told them in Lystra:

Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 

In Athens, Paul said,

For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17:23-25)

It is so sweet to meditate on creation balanced against the immensity of the fact that our God made it. And His attributes are just as immense, infinite, actually. His love and mercy and omniscience and power and grace…

Posted in creation, God, valley of vision

Hovering over chaos, order came to birth: Valley of Vision

My morning devotional includes reading one prayer from the phenomenal book “Valley of Vision.” These are Puritan prayers, collected and compiled by grand subject. Today’s was “The Spirit’s Work”. For me, these prayers are utterly moving, piercing, and beautiful with a lyricism of writing and a stirring of the soul that is unmatched, except by the Bible. Here is today’s, and I comment at the end:

The Spirit’s Work (from The Valley of Vision)

O God the Holy Spirit,
Thou who dost proceed from the Father and the Son,
have mercy on me.

When thou didst first hover over chaos,
order came to birth,
beauty robed the world, fruitfulness sprang forth.
Move, I pray thee, upon my disordered heart;
Take away the infirmities of unruly desires
and hateful lusts;

Lift the mists and darkness of unbelief;
Brighten my soul with the pure light of truth;
Make it fragrant as the garden of paradise,
rich with every goodly fruit,
beautiful with heavenly grace,
radiant with rays of divine light.

Fulfil in me the glory of thy divine offices;
Be my comforter, light, guide, sanctifier;
Take of the things of Christ and show them to my soul;
Through thee may I daily learn more of his love,
grace, compassion, faithfulness, beauty;
Lead me to the cross and show me his wounds,
the hateful nature of evil, the power of Satan;

May I there see my sins as
the nails that transfixed him,
the cords that bound him,
the thorns that tore him,
the sword that pierced him.

Help me to find in his death the reality
and immensity of his love.
Open for me the wondrous volumes of truth
in his, ‘It is finished’.

Increase my faith in the clear knowledge of
atonement achieved, expiation completed,
satisfaction made, guilt done away,
my debt paid, my sins forgiven,
my person redeemed, my soul saved,
hell vanquished, heaven opened,
eternity made mine.

O Holy Spirit, deepen in me these saving lessons.
Write them upon my heart, that my walk be
sin-loathing, sin-fleeing, Christ-loving;
And suffer no devil’s device to beguile
or deceive me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I read the line that says,

When thou didst first hover over chaos, order came to birth, beauty robed the world, fruitfulness sprang forth.

It brought to mind a metaphor. When all three Persons of the Triune God were intimately involved with the earth’s creation, it made me think of a metaphor of how the Triune God is intimately involved in similar work to hover over us, order coming to birth, beauty robing our soul, and fruitfulness springing forth. He creates out of the formless void of our disordered heart peace, calm, rest, fruitfulness. All three Persons of the Triune God are involved in creating in us an interior world of light.

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:2-3)

May the perfect and loving God who created earth and soul, bring you truth and comfort today. Let the Light of His love and Word illuminate your soul.

Posted in creation, encouragement, fall, God, seasons

First day of fall: God’s glory in creation continues to awe

The next three months are among my favorites of the year. The hot-hot-hot summer is done. The sticky humidity is over. The skies have cleared of that summer haze, and the stars are again bright at night. There is a new vigor and freshness of the days and a crispness to the evening where it feels just so good to draw up your blanket and cuddle.

The Lord ordained the seasons in their progressions since the very beginnings. The cycle is one that is both useful and beautiful. He could have made everything gray and rectangular. But He didn’t. The diversity of foods, lands, stars, trees, and seasonal changes is gloriously gorgeous. The display of leaves during fall, the harvest bounty, the stars glittering above in the clear night sky…all useful,yes, for signs and growing and timing … but beautiful too.

Our God is creative and His works are to be praised.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, (Genesis 1:14)

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)

He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. (Psalm 104:19)

Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. (Exodus 34:21)

He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes. (Psalm 147:16)

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Posted in creation, encouragement, jesus, universe

The brightest light in the world

Long argued about, long wondered of, discussions ranging from “it was real” to “it’s a myth,” historical records mention it (In the second century AD the writer Lucian said Archimedes destroyed ships with fire. Anthemius of Tralles wrote of it also… Hmmm! Even the MythBusters attempted to replicate its power of reflected sunlight … eventually the class of 2009 at MIT sketched and constructed and tried it.

The Archimedes Sun Death Ray

Was it an ‘urban legend’? Or did Archimedes really build a death ray using the sun? The legend goes that Archimedes constructed a series of mirrors, that when pointed at an oncoming warship in unison under the Mediterranean sun, would ignite the ship into a fire that would subsequently sink it. And it would not take long to do, either. Above is a fresco at the Uffizzi Gallery in Florence depicting Archimedes’ Death Ray at work.

The class of 2009 at MIT wrote up a super witty essay of their experimental efforts, complete with lots of photos, here- The Archimedes Result

The experiment worked! Here is one shot of the fake ship they constructed, burning up!

We know that God created the sun. He did that in Genesis 1:16. But have you ever wondered why God put the sun on His creation schedule on Day 4 and that He said “Let there be Light” first thing on day 1? (Genesis 1:3). He IS the Light! He doesn’t need a secondary entity to illuminate His universe. His Light is first, strongest, brightest, and eventually will be the only Light filling the entire Universe. (Revelation 22:5).

It’s impressive that Archimedes used the sun’s light and power to shine a ray that could ignite a warship in under ten minutes. That is one strong light. But… how bright is God’s light? I am mindful of the verse in Matthew 24:27,

For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Or Luke 17:24–

For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.

To compare, how bright is lightning? The average lightning strike peaks at 1 terawatt which is equal to one trillion (1012) watts. 10 to the 12th power means 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10. That’s bright!

The metaphor for Jesus’ return being as lightning evokes both the suddenness and visibility of it, and also the brightness. IMAGINE! His glory at more than full trillion wattage! No, it’s unimaginable.

If we as Christians reflect (or emit) one tiny fraction of all that glory He has given us no wonder the Apostles turned the world upside down! If mere mirrors reflecting the sun can burn a ship within 10 minutes, imagine the light of a God so big He exceeds the universe’s brightness of all its lightnings and suns! God’s glory-light is so much brighter than the sun, than lighting, than the sun and lightning combined! Our future dwelling place will be where there is no night, where the glory of the light of Jesus Christ illuminates every iota of every atom everywhere. That’s bright. And He is our Savior and friend. What a Savior He is, in Him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

O Splendor of God’s Glory Bright

1 O splendor of God’s glory bright,
from light eternal bringing light;
O Light of light, the fountain spring,
O Day, all days illumining.

2 Come, very Sun of heaven’s love,
in lasting radiance from above,
and pour the Holy Spirit’s ray
on all we think or do today.

Posted in creation, discernment, God, paul, southern lights

What do Aurora Australis, Romans 1, and Apostle Paul have in common?

In Romans 1, the famous passage in which Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit describes the pagans’ reaction to experiencing the God of Creation, begins in verse 18.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20)

How does this play out, exactly? How are His invisible attributes seen and known? How is it that what can be known about God is made plain to people whose minds are darkened?

I was watching a very excellent documentary called “Antarctica: A Year On Ice”. It follows the people who live and work through a year’s cycle at the various scientific stations on the most remote and brutal continent on the planet. The continent is staffed with about 1100 people at various international stations up and down the Antarctic coast. The largest is the United States’ McMurdo Station. In most documentaries, they show the scientists working. Penguins, climate change, volcanic action, geology…but this documentary features the people who staff the stations in support of the scientists’ work. The regular folks.

The documentary further features the many hundreds of regular people who both work there during the summer, and who “winter over.” They man the store, staff the fire station, fix tractors, cook the meals, wash the dishes, take inventory of all the equipment, etc. When the last plane out at the end of summer leaves, they stay. Thus, the wintering over experience is unique to only a few individuals each year, as the full swell of 1100 during summer dwindles to only about 200 souls spread out among 30 scientific stations during winter in the Antarctic.

Living where there is no hope of departure for 6 months, in brutally cold and windy conditions, in darkness as the sun disappears below the horizon, with only a few dozen people around you…is something that only a few are allowed to experience.

Screen shot from “Antarctica: A Year On Ice”. Aurora Australis

Interestingly most of the people who “winter over” in the Antarctic love it. The landscape under the moon has a stark and glowing beauty. There is an astounding resplendence in the sky that only a few people are privileged ever to see. The stars, planets, Milky Way, moon, and of course the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) dance across the sky in majestic processions, all the time, for there is no sun to hide their glories.

Now here comes the Romans 1 passage lived out among a Gentile. One of the workers described her experience seeing all this for the first time. Here is what she said:

I was out on the sea ice, and all of a sudden comes rolling these waves and waves of green like fairy dust. Giant curtains of fairy dust, just kind of undulating over me. It filled the whole sky and moved in waves across the sky. And I thought this is either what it looks like when aliens are about to abduct you…lol, because this is the green stuff coming down and you feel like you can reach up and touch it. Or if you are a person who believes in heaven, maybe this is what you see in heaven. I’m not sure.

But it was really an emotional, life-changing experience for me. I found myself, not believing I’d done it, when I’d figured out where my body position was, I was actually on my knees crying. That’s how beautiful it was to me.

She sounds like every other person who had an encounter with the Living God. She didn’t directly meet the Living God like John, Paul, Isaiah, or Ezekiel did, but she experienced His power through His creation. When you do, you grope for words. You fall on your face. She had a mental reaction and a physical reaction.

First, you notice she described her experience in supernatural terms. It was either aliens, and in context it was clear she was joking, or it was God (“heaven”). Here she was more serious. The blinded mind does see and know of the Living God when they perceive His qualities through His creation, and her description was exhibit A in this process.
 
She lives and works with scientists in a place that only exists to perpetuate science and to discover scientific reasons for the way the planet is and how it works. All her conversations with people on McMurdo are founded from that basis. That is why they are there in the first place. Yet when she encountered the creation power of the Living God, her first thought was heaven. She did not say “Wow the Big Bang all those billions of years ago manifested itself in perfectly organized ions that traveled over millions of miles in a beautiful display!” She said “heaven” … and who lives in heaven? God.

Secondly, you notice her physical reaction. She was so overwhelmed with glory of His creative power she became insensate. She didn’t know if she was ‘in the body or out of her body’. She had to ‘come to’ and when she did, noticed she had fallen to her knees. Do we fall on our knees when we detect a scientific principle at work? Are we so awed by the process of pasteurization that we cry tears of joy on our knees? Maybe Louis Pasteur did, but anyone else? No.

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.  (2 Corinthians 12:2)

Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezekiel 1:28b)

screen shot from the documentary. McMurdo station under southern lights

In the Bible men and women fell down when they experienced the direct glory and power of the LORD. Peter fell to his knees when Jesus brought all the fish to the boat, for example. Isaiah fell down in his vision seeing the heavenly throne room. However, people also fell down when they encountered the near-glory of God, experiencing the things sent from heaven. John fell down at the angel’s feet. Cornelius fell down at Peter’s feet. Saul Saul, he fell down when the light from heaven shone around him. The difference as the Romans verse reminds us, is that we are not to worship the creation, not angels nor light nor other men, which are all created. We are not to worship southern lights or the sun or birds of the air nor creeping things.

But those who encounter a direct power from God through the creation react. This reaction is from a conscience which knows what they are seeing is from God and that He exists. This is what the Romans verses mean.

When Apostle Paul witnessed, he always began in the synagogue when giving the Gospel to Jews, reasoning from the scriptures. (Acts 17:2-3). With the Gentiles though, he always started with creation. He did this with the Lycaonians (Acts 14:6, 15) and the Greeks (Acts 17:22–31). Paul started with Creation and God’s attribute as Creator, and he exhorted Gentile listeners to see what can be seen in nature as the evidence for this.

Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry. (Romans 11:13)

That is because they know the truth. They know God has created all, but they suppress it. Knowing but suppressing, understanding but denying, is an ongoing mental and emotional struggle inside each and every Gentile. It takes energy to suppress the truth that manifests itself in unwanted forms, such as falling to one’s knees, becoming insensate, or crying. The question is, what will they do with the information afterwards?

That’s where we as Christians can bring some more pressure to bear on their internal emotional and physical tension. We are witnesses to the God of creation. Before I was saved I lived unplugged close to the land and on the sea, experiencing the natural world in many ways. It became obvious to me that there IS a God. Nothing of what I was seeing in His creation could have come about through haphazard bangs and solar wind and evolution. So, I knew God is real because I was seeing His invisible attributes. But that is where I became stuck. What now? What does it mean? Who is this God and what does He want from me?

That is where we can be effective in sharing the next step for the questioning pagan. That next step is sharing knowledge of Jesus, sin, and judgment. Paul used but switched their concept of the God of creation to the God of intimate, loving involvement in their lives, a God who demands holiness but provided the way to achieve what we could not.

Posted in creation, deep focus quake, earthquake

Strong, deep-focus earthquake hits off Japan coast

Strong earthquake hits off Japan coast

A powerful undersea earthquake south of Japan has shaken buildings in Tokyo. The US Geological Survey said the 7.8-magnitude earthquake was centred 874km (543 miles) from the Japanese capital, at a depth of almost 700km. It struck at 18:30 local time (11:30 GMT). Buildings in the capital swayed for almost a minute as the quake built in intensity, AFP news agency says. There are no reports of serious damage or casualties. No tsunami warning has been issued.

The unusual thing about this quake is its depth. What scientists call deep-focus earthquakes are an anomaly, they aren’t supposed to be able to happen. At least, according to the scientific theories of why quakes occur.

Deep Earthquakes: About.Com Education- Geology

Deep earthquakes were discovered in the 1920s, but they remain a subject of contention today. The reason is simple: they aren’t supposed to happen. Yet they account for more than 20 percent of all earthquakes.

Shallow earthquakes require solid rocks to occur more specifically, cold, brittle rocks. Only these can store up elastic strain along a geologic fault, held in check by friction, until the strain lets loose in a violent rupture.

The Earth gets hotter by about 1 degree C with each 100 meters of depth on average. Combine that with high pressure underground and it’s clear that by about 50 kilometers down, on average the rocks should be too hot and squeezed too tight to crack and grind the way they do at the surface. Thus deep-focus quakes, those below 70 km, demand an explanation.

And so all the articles go on and try and explain it.

A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, (Psalm 24:1)

Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me. (Job 41:11)

Shallow-focus earthquakes are quakes that occur between depths of 0 and 70KM below the surface.
Intermediate-focus earthquakes are quakes that occur between depths of 70Km and 300KM below the surface.
Deep-focus quakes are quakes that occur between depth of 300-700KM. (source)

So we can see that the Japan quake was the deepest of the deep-focus quakes. It was the deepest this year, being exactly 677.6 KM. There were 4 deep-focus quakes 4 in Fiji this year at 600-613 depth. All the other deep quakes that have occurred so far were shallower than 600KM.

There have been 23 deep-focus quakes this year so far. Here is a screen shot from my search on USGS for quakes between the magnitudes of 5.0-9.9 this year thus far exceeding a depth of 300K, AKA deep focus quakes at a meaningful magnitude. Click to enlarge.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) data presents an average number of annual quakes.

In the 5.0-5.9 range so far this year there have been 565.
In the 6.0-6.9 range so far this year there have been 52.
In the 7.0-7.9 range so far this year there have been 8.
In the 8.0-8.9 range so far this year there have been 0.

This article, Greatest Earthquakes of the Bible, by Dr Steven Austin at the Institute for Creation Research, is excellent. I recommend it. Here is Dr Austin’s conclusion:

Conclusion

A review of the 17 earthquakes listed above shows that virtually the entire story of the Bible can be summarized by its association with earthquakes. Biblical events emphasized by earthquakes are creation, Noah’s Flood, separation of Abraham and Lot from judgment of the wicked cities, the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, authentication of the leadership of Moses, God’s provision in the conquest of Canaan, vindication of the messages of Hebrew prophets, the crucifixion of our Lord in Jerusalem, the resurrection of our Lord, the ministry of the apostles and the church, the modern “birth pangs” sign of the end times, the national conversion of Israel, and the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. History, archaeology, and geology appear to confirm independently many earthquakes mentioned in the Bible.

Earthquakes have been used distinctively by God to highlight some of the most important events of the Bible. The three main purposes for biblical earthquakes are judgment, deliverance, and communication. The lesson is obvious—God does not do anything really big without emphasizing it with an earthquake! In our fast-paced, man-centered, technology-based society of the twenty-first century, God would have us pause and consider His sovereign nature and the program He has been accomplishing in the world.

Posted in awe, creation, creator, NASA

The Pillars of Creation

Phil Johnson’s sermon “Why I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (text: Romans 1:19-20) is a brilliant and majestic exploration of the Creation. Pastor Johnson said,

“…the most obvious truth we learn about God from nature: He is glorious. Every molecule of the universe unveils and declares God’s glory. You can see amazing, majestic displays of incomprehensible glory from any conceivable perspective. The glory of God is on display in vivid, intense, and graphic detail no matter where you turn your eyes. Look in the most powerful telescope at the outer edges of the current technology’s ability to see, and what you will observe is breathtaking glory.”

NASA re-oriented its Hubble telescope and took another photo of the Pillars of Creation, its most famous photo, taken in 1995. In the 20th anniversary of the iconic space picture, we see an even more startling clarity than we’ve ever seen before. This morning in looking at the newly released Hubble telescope’s “Pillars of Creation”, I was pondering the Creator and His glory. What a joy that Johnson’s latest sermon is on this topic. He unfolded a most beautiful and cohesive explanation of why the likeliest most important verse in the bible is:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

Why did AW Tozer claim that verse as the most important? Even though ALL scripture is profitable? Because all else flows from there. In dogmatic, simple fashion, God made a statement that answers the basic questions all humans ask. Where did we come from? Is this all there is? Why is man different from the animals? and has a conscience? and can think? As Johnson said,

This text lays the necessary foundation for a truly biblical worldview. It tells us an essential truth, and it’s the very first of all the inspired biblical dogmas.

This photo takes my breath away. God is tremendous.

When you look at this photo remember that God made all those stars.

He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. (Ps 147:4).

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26).

Please listen to the sermon linked above. It will expand your thinking on Romans 1:19-20, and it will re-affirm your humility, as it did Job’s, under the sovereignty of such a Creator.

Pillars of Creation. NASA

Posted in astronomy, Bob Ballard, creation, God, science

Star Trek-like force field protects earth from killer electrons

I was raised an atheist. My father was in love with science, Darwin, and everything related to evolution. In our house, Darwin was God. Creationism was dismissed with a sneer and “Science” was worshiped.

In some ways I am grateful for the heavy emphasis on science, because I have an enduring love for it now. I enjoy the scientific process, scientific advances, and the interplay between ivory tower discoveries and boots on the ground impact to societies.

However, the bible is the truth, and in Romans 1 we learn that the glory of God has been revealed to all people. It has been made plain to us in His creation. Growing up, I would try to balance what I’d been taught about the Big Bang theory and evolution and other ‘science’, with what I was actually seeing about the creation.

What was I seeing? A glorious earth, mysterious, complex, delicate but sturdy. I’d see the march of the tides, regular and dependable. I’d see the stars, meteor showers, northern lights, moon phases, and occasional comets and I’d wonder how they all got there and why it was so orderly. And so beautiful.

Polar Lights. The Graphics Fairy

I was born in 1960 and I vividly remember the old black and white television set showing ticker tape parades for the early astronauts who went into space and returned alive to tell the tale. The first moon landing…I’d muse about my grandmother, born around 1900 and died around 1980. She was born when man was earth-bound and she watched us as a species leave the ground through flight and eventually leave earth and hurl ourselves into space. The twentieth century was an amazing time to be growing up.

I’d wonder, what is it about man that makes him restless, and wanting to know more, pursue frontiers, go into the dangerous and enticing starry deep?

Bob Ballard was huge too. His pursuit of knowledge from another frontier, deep ocean, captivated me. In the 1970s and 1980s he and Jacques Cousteau kept my interest with reports of yet another ‘previous unknown species’ from the deep. Who were these creatures? Why don’t we know about them? How many more are there? What’s going on down at the deepest levels of the ocean?

My childhood home in RI was not far from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) and the University of RI offered a solid course in oceanography. RI is called “The Ocean State”. Ocean stuff was all around. Therefore, I was curious about the discovery of the deepest ocean mysteries, the hydrothermal vents, discovered in 1977 by Dr Ballard in his submersible Alvin. WHOI explains,

In 1977, scientists diving in the submersible Alvin made a stunning discovery on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean: vents pouring hot, mineral-rich fluids from beneath the seafloor. In addition, they also found the vents were inhabited by previously unknown organisms that thrived in the absence of sunlight. These discoveries forever changed our understanding of Earth and life on it.

That turned my perspective upside down. Organisms that live on magnesium and sulfur and acids?? Organisms that do not need the sun nor photosynthesis? How can this be? How does a cludgy and unwieldy theory such as evolution account for such earthly variety?

It doesn’t, as I came to learn when the Lord regenerated my heart.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20).

They are without excuse because they suppress the truth. (Romans 1:18). I understand this personally and dramatically because the more I looked around me at creation, the more it was plain that God must exist.

Here is some news that shows plainly, once again, that God is showing Himself as Creator.

Earth’s Invisible ‘Star Trek’ Force Field Protects You From Killer Electrons

The Earth is surrounded by “killer electrons,” and it turns out one of the only things protecting us from them is an invisible force field of the type usually seen in sci-fi flicks.

These electrons, part of the two Van Allen radiation belts that surround the planet, can knock satellites out of commission and threaten astronauts. But in a new study in the journal Nature, scientists say they’ve discovered that these electrons suddenly stop at about 7,200 miles above the surface of the Earth. 

“It’s almost like theses electrons are running into a glass wall in space,” professor Daniel Baker, director of CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics and lead author of the study, said in a news release. “Somewhat like the shields created by force fields on ‘Star Trek’ that were used to repel alien weapons, we are seeing an invisible shield blocking these electrons. It’s an extremely puzzling phenomenon.”

LOL, really. Earth is specifically, uniquely, and wonderfully protected by a shield. Here is an artist’s rendition of how the shield may look and how it works.

Caption: “An artist’s rendition of the Van Allen radiation belts as well as the “invisible wall” that blocks electrons from the Earth. | Andy Kale, University of Alberta“.

source

Here is how I like to imagine the same scientific scene in spiritual terms. God’s hands personally protecting us, His people, on the planet He created for us to inhabit and work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15).

The scientist said in another article, “Things we thought in the past were true simply are not correct.” (source)

Lol, really.

Science is wonderful and I am for science. Christianity and science are not mutually exclusive. Science has given us penicillin, DNA understanding, X-rays, space travel, even the internet that fuels this laptop.

However I’d like to say two other things also. The bible is not a book of science. It refers to natural history and other scientific processes, but ultimately it is not an apologetic for human science. It is a book which recounts deeds of a mighty Creator.

Secondly, the bible transcends science. It is always true. Time and again, men and women pursuing an understanding of how earth or ocean or space works, find that they must revise or even abandon their theories. While it can be said that a ride on a scientific theory is like hanging on to a tiger by its tail because it changes so often, ultimately, truth is found in God and in His Bible, and that ride is constant. It is always true. It never needs revision.

People who cling to science as exalted highest knowledge eventually become disappointed because ‘Things we thought in the past were true simply are not correct’. Ultimate truth and ultimate resting in that truth is not in science, it is in God. He never changes. (Hebrews 13:8). There is no shadow of turning in Him. (James 1:17).

The worship of Abraham to God and Jeremiah’s and Micah’s and Peter’s and Paul’s and Calvin’s and Spurgeon’s and MacArthur’s and mine is a constant because it’s toward an unchanging God. He is the same. The world around us changes, and our understanding of it lessens and deepens as we see the science advance and retreat in its hurtling through this frontier or that. However, Moses worshiped the same God I do. This is a comfort.

I never need to restlessly pursue this theory or that, only to find the scientists are changing it all again! What joy to see revelations of our Creator through men like Dr Baker who pursue knowledge of how and why our earth works as it does.

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11:3)

Posted in butterfly, creation, encouragement, metamorphosis

Butterflies: the Death and Resurrection Theory

I recommend the following one-hour documentary:

Metamorphosis: The Beauty and Power of Intelligent Design, explores compelling evidence for intelligent design as revealed through the life cycle of butterflies.

The transformation from caterpillar to chrysalis to adult butterfly defies Darwinian evolution through random variation and small gradual steps. In fact, some evolutionary biologists have called the process of metamorphosis “butterfly magic.” That’s not surprising, given that inside the chrysalis, the cells of the caterpillar break down into a chemical soup. Then new cells – butterfly cells – form from the molecular components. In just a few days, these cells are reassembled into an adult butterfly that has virtually no resemblance to a caterpillar, a process which defies evolution. 

I work as a teacher’s aide in a kindergarten in a public school. At age 5 and 6, girls love butterflies. They wear butterfly shirts, have butterfly hair clips, and love to chase after butterflies on the playground when they happen to flutter by.

Maine butterfly. EPrata photo

As adults, we often stop what we are doing and watch a butterfly alight on a flower. We might not stop to smell the roses, lol, but we usually stop to admire a butterfly. There’s something magical about this little insect, something colorful and worth pausing in our day to wonder about.
Butterflies exist on every continent, except Antarctica. The come in all colors, some quite vivid, and some, transparent as glass.

Source

We know that the moth is mentioned in the bible, moths come out at night, and destroy in secret. God likened Himself to a moth once. In Hosea 5:12 God said “But I am like a moth to Ephraim, and like dry rot to the house of Judah“. Barnes Notes says of the verse,

“Therefore I will be unto Ephraim a moth – Literally, “and I as a moth.” This form of speaking expresses what God was doing, while Ephraim was “willingly following” sin. “And I” was all the while “as a moth.” The moth in a garment, and the decay in wood, corrode and prey upon the substance, in which they lie hid, slowly, imperceptibly, but, at the last, effectually.”

But what of the butterfly? It specifically is not mentioned in the bible, but a similar kind of transformation is.

Vintage butterfly drawing: The Graphics Fairy

We all know from first grade science, that a caterpillar is born from an egg. It is “very hungry.” It munches its way through a couple of weeks of leaf eating, and then spins a chrysalis. It tucks itself into the chrysalis, and unseen by human eyes, it transforms itself into a butterfly, emerging in fully winged glory two weeks later.

Until recently, scientists did not know exactly what went on inside the chrysalis. Now that they do, they are astounded, and scrambling to defend evolution. Even if scientists find a way to defend evolution, they have to come up with theories that have amazing twists and turns to explain this process. Why?

“Metamorphosis” Pixabay Free pics

Evolution does not support that an animal completely disintegrates, where every cell commits suicide in an orderly fashion as it were, and then re-forms to emerge as a new animal. Survival of the fittest says that if the caterpillar had turned into cellular soup once, the animal would have died out. Its caterpillar brain did not say, “Oh, let’s commit suicide because I know that I’ll re-form into different cells later!” To put it simply.

So scientists are asking,

Are Butterflies Two Different Animals in One? The Death And Resurrection Theory

Here’s a dangerous, crazy thought from an otherwise sober (and very eminent) biologist, Bernd Heinrich. He’s thinking about moths and butterflies, and how they radically change shape as they grow, from little wormy, caterpillar critters to airborne beauties. Why, he wondered, do these flying animals begin their lives as wingless, crawling worms? Baby ducks have wings. Baby bats have wings. Why not baby butterflies?
His answer — and I’m quoting him here — knocked me silly.
“[T]he radical change that occurs,” he says, “does indeed arguably involve death followed by reincarnation.
What he’s saying is, while a moth appears to be one animal, with a wormy start and a flying finish, it’s actually two animals — two in one! We start with a baby caterpillar that lives a full life and then dies, dissolves. There’s a pause. Then a new animal, the moth, springs to life, from the same cells, reincarnated.

Now…here’s a question. Why is it a ‘crazy, dangerous thought’? Christians know it is dangerous for the unsaved to ask this because the unsaved already know that God is real in creation, for He has made it plain to them. (Romans 1:18-19). To allow one’s mind to drift into holy territory is dangerous to them because to them it is enemy territory. So satan causes them to suppress that thought.

Dangerous thoughts: poster outside City Lights Bookstore,
San Francisco. EPrata photo

One does not usually see them express creation thoughts in print on liberal websites. But this is how powerful the butterfly’s transformation is. It pushes through the chemical fog in the unsaved’s brain to pop up unwanted and uninvited.

Yet look how hard satan pushes back. The scientist who sees plainly that the butterfly defies evolution, came up with a theory as to why. You see, according to science, the explanation is that two different animals mated in the distant past. From the same article:

According to this theory, long, long ago, two very different animals, one destined to be wormy, the other destined to take wing, accidentally mated, and somehow their genes learned to live side-by-side in their descendants. But their genes never really integrated. They are sharing a DNA molecule like two folks sharing a car, except half way through the trip, one driver dissolves and up pops his totally different successor. Driver No. 2 emerges from the body of driver No. 1.

Um…okaaaay. Or, God.

The migration of the Monarch Butterfly is another wonder.

What Mysterious Cloud Over St. Louis Turned Out to Be

A mysterious cloud that appeared on weather radar over southern Illinois and Central Missouri last week turned out to be a swarm of monarch butterflies. Meteorologists from the National Weather Service analyzed the shape-shifting cloud that was moving toward Mexico to figure out what exactly it could be. “We think these targets are Monarch butterflies.,” the National Weather Service said in a Facebook post. “A Monarch in flight would look oblate to the radar, and flapping wings would account for the changing shape!” With the mystery solved, the fine folks at the NWS wished the butterflies “good luck and a safe journey” on their trip south for the autumn and winter.

What a delight to ponder our God as Creator. He is magnificent and powerful.

With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please. (Jeremiah 27:5)