Relating to the Known Universe

The greater the size of the universe, the less value any single person can have who lives within it. But this thinking reminded me of something I had noted earlier concerning the importance of humans and the natural universe in which we live; if we base our value on the impact we have on the universe around us, we are making a mistake.

God bless NPR for airing shows like, “On Being,” and, “To the Best of Our Knowledge,” in the early Sunday morning timeslots when there is little else to listen to. Usually I am done with NPR after, “Car Talk,” and occasionally, “The Prairie Home Companion,” on Saturdays, but on Sunday mornings, before the Christian preaching programs, I will sometimes tune in and they never fail to give me a topic to consider for this space. This was the day for physics experts, (apparently), and as I listened to the discussion I had to wonder if they could hear what they were saying! Now, I’m no physics expert but it seemed to me that somewhere in the discipline should be something about the use of common logic; alas, it was not to be.

One talked quite a while on the subject of how theology is the expression of a lazy mind; one that does not want to pursue the deeper meanings that can be found in science. After decrying the simplistic notion of a non-evidential claim about an eternal God as the creator, the discussion advanced to the proposition that entire universes come and go all the time, in the blink of an eye, originating out of nothing or from another multi-dimensional universe as though they were hernias which pop out of the fabric of space/time. Then the speaker admitted that he had no problem with the idea that there could be an eternal super-universe which spawned the other pop-up ones. I don’t know about quantum theory but how is eternal OK for a universe but not God?

On the other program I was informed that when it comes to advanced/quantum physics, there are things which can be stated as true even though there is no mathematical proof or evidence to confirm a finding. I found this to be very puzzling because it’s the scientific types that usually are the ones who require evidential proof of the God we claim as the originator, the uncaused first cause. But it was the next thing that really struck me. The folks who look into quantum things are trying to decide whether the universe is finite or infinite as we have supposed to this point. I cannot understand how anyone can espouse putting limits on the universe. As soon as the line is drawn one must then ask, “What’s on the other side of the line?” Ah… those whacky physicists!

The discussion continued along the lines of the problems of a rational person trying to grasp an ever expanding universe. As insignificant as we already feel we are in the present universe, for it to continue infinitely to expand only makes us, (human creatures), increasingly insignificant. The greater the size of the universe, the less value any single person can have who lives within it. But this thinking reminded me of something I had noted earlier concerning the importance of humans and the natural universe in which we live; if we base our value on the impact we have on the universe around us, we are making a mistake.

In John 3:30 we read, “He, [Jesus], must become greater; I must become less.” Now it should be obvious that Christ, who is God incarnate, cannot become greater or lesser than He is because it pleased God that all the fullness of the godhead should rest on Him, [Jesus], (Colossians 1:19), and God is as great as God can ever be; He is already infinitely great. The message is that in the relational identity we, as humans, have in ourselves must become smaller so that the one we need with the divine can turn into an amplified greatness in Jesus. We, ourselves, become less important in our own minds and hearts as the Lord begins to occupy an ever increasing share in us. I think that the idea that we should find ourselves more insignificant in an expanding universe is a problem of perspective; it is, “Us,” centered and that always ends badly.

I have written elsewhere, (The Man Behind the Curtain), about this very thing. I used to think incorrectly about how lost and insignificant I felt I was in this expanding universe, even to the point of suicide; but with correct thinking it becomes an increasing wonder of God that He wants to have an individual relationship with each of us, His creations. From a worldly viewpoint is seems natural to think we are becoming more and more insignificant as the playing field increases in size, but the very thing that drives us to despair in the worldly sense should be the very same thing that points us to the awakening of an ever increasing power and glory in the surety of God.

The realization that the universe is expanding coupled with the knowledge that Scripture teaches that God loves us and longs for a relationship with us should make Him grow exponentially in our awareness of Him. If God cares for us now, which He does, (Matthew 10:29-31), and He has put us in a position to understand that the universe is continually expanding; He must know that we would feel increasingly lost on our own. But regardless of our feeling of falling farther and farther away and getting smaller and smaller; God’s love and concern for us remains. Not only does it remain, but it reaches us regardless of how far away we might feel we are; we can never outpace the grasp of God’s reach to catch us.

God says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 1 Corinthians 1:19. I have to think that this includes the fields of science and physics, even quantum studies. The more advanced our wisdom becomes, the more God must laugh at the self-importance we assign ourselves. I believe that everything that we need to know can be understood by the common man, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus used very simple things to illustrate the lessons He taught, and people understood. Granted, there are, and will always remain, mysteries of God. We can never know everything, that is the domain of God alone, but the things that are necessary for us, the lessons which result in eternal security, are available to anyone regardless of their level of formal education.

Education is a fine thing, (taken in moderation), but it seems like the further one goes in their education, the more resistant one becomes to the acceptance of God. We can, if we work hard enough, become a society of super-educated Atheists! “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” Luke 9:25. What good is education if it only takes us farther away from the most important things in life? Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians proclaims that rather than lean on his own wisdom, he had, “… resolved to know nothing, (while I was with you), except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” v 2:2. This is not because Paul had no intelligence; in Acts 26 Festus shouted, “You are out of your mind, Paul! Your great learning is driving you insane.” Paul had great learning alright, but he also had wisdom through the revelation of Jesus Christ, something far greater.

The point is that our learning needs to be understood as something that is not to be the end-all of our existence. We need to be, first, firmly based in the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, and then add to that the educational benefits that are afforded to us. Rather than be a quantum physicist who, though highly educated, is lost in the darkness of the world it’s far better to be a lowly fisherman with an understanding of principles which are…

All for the Glory of Christ

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