Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What's Out There?

Here is a passage from Elisabeth Elliot's Keep a Quiet Heart. Besides my wife, Heather, and my mom, Alice, she has more than any other woman shaped my thinking, feeling and (hopefully) some of my doing. The data from the Time magazine article may be dated, but her point remains. Check her science and check out her faith. Seriously, read anything she has written. Start here.
Time magazine once reported the discovery of the most massive object ever detected in the universe. The odd thing is nobody knows what it is. The Kitt Peak telescope picked up two quasars ("intensely bright bodies so far away that the light they emit travels for billions of years before reaching the earth") which seemed to be identical, an occurrence astronomers consider about as likely as finding two people with identical fingerprints. Something called a "gravitation lens" seemed to be bending the light (get that!) from a single quasar in such a way as to produce two identical images. Nothing astonishing about that--Einstein predicted it more than seventy years ago, and Arthur Eddington confirmed it a few years later.

The great question is just exactly what is acting as a gravitational lens. Whatever it is, it has to have the mass of a thousand (1,000) galaxies. If it's a black hole, it is "at least a thousand times as large as the Milky Way (which consists of hundreds of billions of stars, including the sun)." Got that? I was bemused by the statement, "Astrophysicists find it difficult to explain how so tremendous a black hole could have formed." I guess they do. They're turning over a third possibility, much too arcane for me to peer into at all, but it has to do with the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe.

The most numbing of the facts of this story for me is that people go to such elaborate lengths to avoid mentioning one vastly prior fundamental possibility that (surely?) stares them in the face: creation.

How much faith does it take to believe in God? Less, I venture to say--a great deal less--than to believe in the Unconscious generating the Conscious, Mindlessness creating Mind, Nothing giving birth to Something.

What we know of God we have seen in His Son. He in whom we are asked to trust is Love, creative Love; thinking of us, I suppose, before He thought of gravitational lenses; giving Himself in sacrificial love long before He gave us His own breath of life--for the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world.

My Lord and my God. Forgive my faithlessness.

1 comment:

  1. You will be happy to know, Paul that I saw a student here at Arkansas Tech University reading one of her books! I think it was Passion and Purity. I know we don't talk much, but think of you often and I'm praying for you!