Sunday, March 29, 2009

Comet Hale-Bopp - Heaven's Gate

Comet Hale-Bopp appeared in 1997

Human mind is very powerful and even has from ancient times the ability to face death with ideas and beliefs about what comes after it.

No one should underestimate the tremendous power of religious belief. It would be totally irresponsible for a government of a state to claim in the name of liberty that "faith is everyone's private matter" and leave it alone. No government in the world does so and many laws control the way individuals are allowed to behave in religious groups. Religion and good citizenship goes hand in hand in such diversity of countries as Israel, Saudi Arabia, France, Argentina and Zimbabwe.

The reason to the social controls of religion are in the structure of religious communities. They are usually led by strong charismatic characters who inspire their followers in a way no political ideology or philosophical doctrine can do.

Rabbi Menahem Schneerson

For example, in Bnai Brak, Jerusalem or Brooklyn one can only be amazed by the pictures of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, on the car tops of Chabad people suggesting that perhaps he is that promised anointed leader. He was a religious leader who had to be very careful with his words and suggestions as his followers are ready to do whatever he exhorted. Power with responsibility.

Jesus walking by the Sea of Galilee, calling two brothers,
Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew, to be fishers of men.
Matthew 4:18-19
Harry Anderson 1906-1996

Human race consists of shepherds and lambs, leaders and followers, and religion is the deepest possible way to tie them together. Jesus of Nazareth told to those fishermen "I will make you fishers of men". And He did.

But not all the shepherds are good and not all the fishermen are catching people to something nice and good. Religion can be a source of immense evil and most sick social orders one can imagine.

The men flying those kamikaze air planes were motivated by genuine religious fewer and violent religious ideas that are not accepted by all the Moslem people around the world. But they are accepted and admired by some very serious people Their leader had shaped the religion against the great Satan of America and anything goes in the name of God.

A very sad example of such no-good fishers of people is Marshall Applewhite (1931-1997). While recovering from a near-death experience Marshall became convinced that he and his nurse, Bonnie Nettles (1927-1985) are the Two Witnesses mentioned in a mighty passage of Revelation, the Second Woe:

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

Revelation 11:3-13 KJVA

This is not a "small text" from the Bible. This is a massive life and death text that has truly apocalyptic dimensions.

Well. If religion is just a private matter these two would have the freedom to believe whatever they think. They want to be the Two Witnesses so let them be - who cares.

Unfortunately, religion does not work that way. It is catchy. It catches people like nets catch fish in the lake. Marshall and Bonnie developed their ideas together and reached a belief system whit quite fantastic cosmic dimensions. In the same way as George Lucas created his innocent adventures of Star Wars in his lovely childish mind these two people created their own fairytale. But this tale was a truly religious fantasy and there was nothing childish, lovely or innocent about it.

"It is also possible that part of our test of faith is our hating this world, even our flesh body, to the extent to be willing to leave it without any proof of the Next Level's existence".
M. Applewhite

Yes. It is possible.

Human mind is very powerful to the point of being able to be tested by death. Christian martyrs from the Roman period before Constantine the Great are a shining example of this power of mind over matter.

The logo used by the Heaven's Gate group

But in the Californian Heaven's Gate UFO cult the monastic society that Applewhite established was nurtured with a faith that was a mixture of hatred of life on earth and a most poisonous mixture of imaginary "truths" cooked up by the sick mind of a single human. And too many drank that poison created by Applewhite in their Final Exit on March 19, 1997.

Thirty eight people were found dead together with their leader Applewhite. He had fished men and women with his religious nonsense and had caught way too many with his lies.

In a great operation the Earth would be recycled, washed and cleaned from human trash rejuvenated expanding on the theme in the Book of Revelation. The only way to salvation to the Next Level would be to go through the gate of heavens. Somehow and suddenly Applewhite realized that the Gate is the Hale-Bobb comet designated C/1995 O1 that was fast approaching planet Earth from the space. There is always a danger that some asteroid or comet will hit our planet again and media had a field day playing with such ideas creating an atmosphere that was not healthy to all people.

An ice cold empty rock flying on its orbit through the vast emptiness of the space with a bright tail of dust illuminated by our sun. In Applewhite's imagination this was the vehicle and his mind crossed over all the rational arguments against it. Mind would take control and the human bodies would obey. They would leave the Earth at the last moment and ride this marvellous and scary comet to the New Level.

What nonsense you say.

Yes. But thirty nine people killed themselves because they firmly believed with Applewhite that he somehow knew the greatest truths about the fate of this planet. He and Bonnie, who had died already in 1985, were the Two Witnesses of the Bible and their brand of space theology was convincing enough to those poor souls.

The new sneakers they were all wearing at the moment of suicide
makes one want to cry. Ready for the Next Level.
Power of mind. Power of religious faith.

But the story is also a chilling reminder that space is today one of the main sources of religious awe to humans, an exciting and challenging unknown, the ground for beautiful imaginary adventures in outer worlds - and also the source of great falsehoods and dangerous religious ideas that can kill people.

Religion and truth

If they do not go hand in hand religion can turn into something very dangerous.

Apostle Paul talks about the love of truth which God is ready to give as a present to those who ask for it. Love of truth is not an easy present. But it is a divine present:

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

2 Thessalonian 2:1-10 KJVA

Love of truth does not mean knowing all the truth. It is well said that if you meet someone who thinks he or she knows all the truth run, Forrest, run!

It means that a Christian should love truth and never accept anything about the world, about religion, about himself or herself, that is not truthful.

Love of truth?

Easy - for He is the Truth. And there is nothing more loveable in this world or in the coming one than He, Jesus Christ.

Abraham the great sky gazer

Bible contains many stories about unforgettable moments. Among the more beautiful ones is the short description of how our Lord takes His friend, Abram, out at night in order to tell him something wonderful in a most concrete and humanly understandable way. Moslems give him the beautiful name ibrahim el-khalil, Abraham, the Friend of God and call the city of Hebron where he is buried by his nickname el-khalil.

Our Lord uses the brilliant night sky of Beersheba to make His point. This happened long before electric light pollution from the big city had largely spoiled the night view. Negev sky is deep black and blue and even dimmer stars flicker over the majestic canopy like little jewels. The setting is unspeakably beautiful and our Lord chose a very effective educational technique: from that night on every time Abram would look up at the night sky he would remember of what was said. And also us who read from the Bible about Abram remember that message when we look up at the sky.

For it was not a little message only to Abram but a universal message for all nations on earth.

After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Genesis 15:1-6 KJVA

Please, note the translation "word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision saying"

Word of God came to Abram!

Jesus and Abraham
Later Jesus of Nazareth would confirm that it was He talking with Abram. He confirmed this and used the awsome words "I am" - and was about to be killed for blasphemy but at that time He succeeded to escape:

Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?

Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?

Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

John 8:48-59 KJVA

Tough words!

Reconstruction of the Ishtar gate from Babylon 575 BC
Pergamon Museum, Berlin

Other sky gazers
Islamic people emphasize that Abraham, Ibrahim, was the first Moslem and the first one who believed in a pure and simple way in one God.

It is good to remember this when we read about the nocturnal encounter between our Lord and Abram in Beersheba. It was quite unusual at his time not to see that sky full of divine beings.

Abraham was moving his tents from campsite to other caring his sheep and goats wandering as a stranger between mighty Canaanite cities. The urban inhabitants of the Promised Land shared the rich cultural heritage of ancient Near East. The big cultural and military powers of that time were in Mesopotamia, Syria and Egypt. The priests and prophets living in these regions gazed at stars and carefully followed their movements. For these were not just points of light but mighty divinities with strong effect on human destiny. Religious human mind wanted to please these powers and use them for good and bad offering them sacrifices and incense and with many other ways learned from the ancestors.

In this context it is interesting that many Biblical scholars date the Abraham cycle in Genesis to a rather late period near the Exile. Scientific study of Bible is not simple and theories abound. But if the final compiling is indeed in late 7th century B.C. it is quite remarkable. At this time God of Israel castigated through the mouth of prophet Jeremiah the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the refugees in Egypt for their worship of the Queen of Heaven, Ishtar (beautiful planet Venus)

Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,

As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.

But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?

Then Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him that answer, saying,

The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it not into his mind? So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day.

Jeremiah 44:15-22 KJVA

Pagan star gazing had penetrated Judah and Jerusalem and was carried to the diaspora also to Egypt.

The tomb of Patriarchs in Hebron

After this vision of the word of God Abraham was probably often standing outside his tent holding Sarah tenderly beside him and wondering the night sky.

Nothing on that canopy of stars was in itself divine for him. But he heard the great promise of the One who has made them all.

Today we know that He kept His promise to Abraham.

He will also keep His promises to us.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Beam me up, Spock!

The unforgettable ears of Star Trek hero Spock

Great emptiness was created above us in the sudden expansion of distances and space around Earth that followed when the discoveries of early 20th century astronomy became generally known.

Medieval Europeans had a happy balance of existence on earth in the middle, under the heavens of God and above the hell of devils and Church taking good care of the eternal issues concerning human beings before and during and after life.

When Jules Verne wrote his classic science fiction the scientifically known universe was of limited size estimated at about 100.000 light years across, space a rather boring empty coldness with sun like stars with planetary systems here and there separated by nothing. Verne's famed fictional trip from Earth to Moon and back in 1865 was, of cause, at its time quite sensational publication. But with its accuracy it was a bit too technical for the masses to make a deeper impression.

From Steven Spielberg's spooky version of War of Worlds (2005)

Space was still a rather empty place for most humans in October 8, 1938 when Orson Wells shocked the American radio audience into panic with very real radio broadcast of H.G. Wells' novel War of the Worlds. The hysterical reaction was probably much more influenced by the feeling in the air that a great war was going to reach the shores of USA than any factual knowledge about planet Mars and its canals and inhabitants.

In the old times, far corners of the earth were filled with fairytale characters and especially the oceans fascinated the curious mind. There is no parallel to the richness of Greek imagination and their golden legends with strong psychological and intellectual sting still have a lasting influence on those who hear them. Imaginary story telling mixed with old legends and mythology filled the mental surroundings in all cultures from ancient India to Africa, Far East and even Pacific islands.

Lord of the Rings

Human mind is a powerful and creative engine. J .R.R. Tolkien created a reality of his own that has powerful and lasting interest with its Hobbits and that Ring. Or, it is not perhaps quite his own peculiar reality but rather our common human reality dressed into the clothes of a very colourful and exciting story and spiced with imaginary characters who nevertheless ring true as personalities. The wonderful world of Harry Potter created by J.K. Rowling may not have the same human depth and width of imagination as Tolkien's massive volumes but the captivating story of the English school boy will has claimed his place among the great imaginary characters of western culture.

Science made space empty of personal characters, gods and spirits and dragons. But people do not like such huge unknowns. An empty space up there above our heads is not a nice feeling. So the stories were moved there from the by now too familiar and small boundaries of earth.

Religions became less and less comforting as filler of the space above us as it has become more and more difficult to locate divinities "up". Where is "up" when everything is whirling around, spinning and turning topsy turvy and expanding and colliding?

The great power of human mind to the help!

And so it has happened that with the help of our collective imagination most people today have a quiet comfortable feeling that they "know" what is up there even if it is millions of light years away from us.

A very small portion of these people are professionals, cosmologists and astronomers who know increasingly detailed scientific, mathematical, physical and chemical facts about the universe.

The great majority of these people having that nice "I know" feeling have adopted a totally imaginary world on the hazy borders of their subconscious minds.

This imaginary world is based on the space travels made by the human mind and they shown in such convincing vivid detail, with such real human emotion and feeling of understanding that it has created the "I know" feeling - someone has been there and even if nobody has been anywhere near there we still know what there is to be found.

This ability to unite our minds by using imagery and visual effects and all kind of techniques is the root in the power of mass-media and especially in marketing. Hollywood and Bollywood and other Woods are feeding people with what people want to hear and see and the media is effectively giving the impression that we are breaking the borders of unknown. But this is a totally imaginary - or sometimes carefully considered imaginary science fiction - breaking into the unknown.

And yet. Jules Verne is an example that it may not necessarily be all wrong. Somehow, somewhere, our mind is capable of creating reality that is today somewhere or will become reality in the future.

The younger population of this earth having access to the product of American film industry has absorbed as almost self-evident the way how Captain Kirk moves from some distant planet back to the wondrous spaceship Enterprise with that simple request "Beam me up, Spock". Of course, that is how it is done! We can visualize - with the help of the creators of the legendary Start Trek - how a space ship gains speed and wraps through the universe with incredible lightness of being. No problem at all!

Star Trek Enterprise

Gene Roddenbery (1921-1994), the Great Bird of the Galaxy, will probably be recognized by future generations as an outstanding genius of our culture. Few may realize how far-reaching impact the original Star Trek TV series 1966-1969 has had on human civilization on the entire earth. Roddenbery suggested the series in 1960 as an idea of putting Swift's classic Gulliver's Travels into space. The rest is history.

And voilà! The scary and uneasy emptiness above - and below - our heads has all but disappeared.

Christian God and angels and those mighty Nordic pagan divinities causing thunders with their hammers have given room to brave humans, the core family or the basic team with that necessary bad apple. The empty void created by disappearing religious beliefs has been filled. Not with other religious beliefs based on modern world view but with us! We are the brave humans who challenge the impossible and succeed.

The new crew of Enterprise

With the help of these characters movie industry has created we have conquered, we are there, we are the Lords of the vast cosmos, we humans shoot at the Indians of today's space westerns and win! Veni, vidi, vici - we came, was saw, we won. In our not so humble minds.

So the space above our heads is filled with the events described in the original Star Trek series and motion pictures (latest coming to theatres near you in 2009) with the events and characters in the famed trilogy of Star Wars by George Lucas and with the imagination in numerous other space adventures, explorations and invasions that are copying the original concept of Star Trek.

Of course, we all know that this is all fictional.

But yet, strangely, this fictional data is actually quite satisfying and it fills with grey feeling of knowing something the data that in reality is missing from our minds about what is out there in space. The mass-media gives us for a few dollars price of a movie ticket or book or cartoon magazine a possible, if not plausible, mental image about what it would be like up there in Enterprise crossing light-years faster than the light.

The amazing power of human mind!

you may ask me: "what about Isaac Asimov?"

I can only say: "oh, he is another story altogether".

you may ask me: "what about UFO's and God?"

I would say: "I will come back to that subject in another posting".

Friday, March 27, 2009

Young Earth Creationists and Jehovah's Witnesses

Geology is Theology!
Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

Today their ideas are often present there where people are talking religion and creation. Therefore I want to make clear to the readers of this blog that in my opinion the group of Young Earth creationists, mostly in the USA, may have a noble goal to save Christianity from evil scientists. But they utterly fail the critical "Love of Truth" test so valued by God himself according to the words of Apostle Paul:

"But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" 2 Thessalonian 2:13 KJVA

The Young Earth creationists wish to enforce the Biblical 6000 year chronology- minus tens of thousands of years depending on the writer. In its rational looking argumentation this type of creationism resembles the reasoning in Jehovah's Witnesses textbooks. This highly organized religious group still carries some of its Adventist roots making it look a bit like Christianity and has developed quite a machinery for spreading its message of salvation. Young Earth creationists and Jehovah's Witnesses are all very convinced about the divinity of their mission and their belief systems seem to have internal logic but both fail in the light of objective criticism.

I am particularly worried about attempts to create pseudo-scientific Young Earth "realities" that can fool many people, such as the catastrophic flood interpretation of Grand Canyon carefully analysed by G.R. Morton or the rather commercial looking Project Creation asking donations for a planned Dinosaur-People park.

Creationism - confused meanings
There is an important terminological distinction between one type of creationism and other. Because it is often forgotten there is much confusion in the discussions between believers and unbelievers in creation.

It should be noted that all believers in Judaism, Christianity and Islam are "creationists" in the sense that they share the fundamental belief that one personal God has created the entire cosmos.

As a Christian, I also believe that these three religions of the Book are right in accepting the message of Genesis about on God who has created the world. However, some believers tend are so convinced about this that they have a tendency to forget that God Almighty cannot be part of any scientific theory. Faith says that "God has created the world". This statement of religious belief does not have any direct scientific value since it cannot be proven right or wrong by science and it does not indicate anything about how the world is made. Science is busy studying the "how" and has yet much to learn but it has great difficulty with the question "by whom".

The existence or non-existence of God cannot be proved scientifically because He has hidden himself from our sight in great darkness. Dawkins suggest on those buses that probably God does not exists but even he cannot go further than that. Bible actually suggests that we would die seeing Him as He is. It is not healthy to look at the sun without sunglasses and getting close to a Black Hole Sun would not be a wise move from us. And God has made them both.

Natura et Gratia
Saint Thomas of Aquinas made a significant conceptual distinction between nature and grace. Thick theological books have since been written about the subject.

In simple terms, we can say that Grace is the revelation of God to the entire human race in Jewish Scriptures (both the Old and the New Testament are written by the Jews). Word of God is personally present in the numerous Christian congregations that exist on planet earth. Grace includes such matters as expressed in the Nicene Creed and in the holy sacraments.

Grace is essentially beyond the study of human science and belongs to the realm of faith. For example, it is true that we can make scientific studies about the content of the faith of the various people gathered together for the sacrament of baptism. We can also describe very accurately the average age of the participants, the chemical composition of the water used or make exhausting analyses of the psychological and sociological and religious profiles of those present. But the essence of the sacrament, the baptism itself, is beyond science.

Nature is all God's creation. It is fully open to scientific study using repeatable experiments, making theories and learning facts. Study of nature does not necessarily make men believe in God. Rather, the opposite seems to be true as apostle Paul wrote to the Romans:

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20 KJVA)

Creationist approaches include legitimate - and some not so legitimate - discussions on the theories of evolution and especially the profound doubt that the probabilities of Chance being the leading force in creating order from chaos.

Those six thousand years
But the problematic creationism is the type presented by "Young Earth Creationists" who twist facts of nature to enforce religious belief. Fundamentalists believe in those famous 6000 years that are included in the King James versions of the Bible. That chronology was the best estimate the sharp academic mind of Bishop James Ussher (1581-1656) could come up in the early 17th century.

In Ussher's time the Bible offered the oldest known historical dating evidence with its genealogies that go back to Adam and Eve in Paradise. From his calculations Ussher suggested that God finished creating the world in the night preceding 27 October 4004 BC, according to the proleptic Julian calendar.

Today we know that dendrochronology, the modern dating method counting series of tree rings, reaches dates older than that: "Fully anchored chronologies which extend back more than 10,000 years exist for river oak trees from South Germany (from the Main and Rhine rivers)." (wikipedia)

If we take Ussher's date as our authority on world chronology and reject all the work done after him on history, archaeology, geology and sciences, we might as well ask advise from the best 17th century doctors how to operate on broken leg without anaesthesia with only rudimentary if any understanding of blood circulation in human body. Or we might produce copies of 17th century dentists tools and learn their methods for fixing cavities in our children's tooth.

Of course it is allowed to fight against erroneous scientific claims, criticize manipulated fossil evidence about human evolution and bring up overlooked facts about the wonders of nature - this is a process of learning. And if a Young Earth creationist really is able to show that universe was created 4004 B.C. he or she should write a scientific book or two and some articles to Nature or Science about this overwhelmingly important discovery and probably get the next Nobel price for the glorious work.

With the pseudo-science and propagandist view of "truth" Young Earth Creationists are actually causing great damage to the holy name of our God they wish to protect. His name is been trodden to dirt by unbelievers who wrongly think that the baseless claims of Young Earth creationists represents true Christianity.

Let there be light!

Space Age has rendered much of this Young Earth talk utter nonsense. Why do not these people do what Abraham did walking with God and look at the night sky He has made?

Today we know that the light that comes to our eyes from the moon travels about a second, the light from sun some eight minutes. The light takes 2.7 million years to reach us from Andromeda, our big brother in the neighbourhood of Local Group of galaxies (Andromeda, Milky Way, Magellan clouds). Yes Sir, the light you see coming from there is a bit older than six thousand years. And it is our nearest galaxy.

Andromeda M-31 is our big neighbour in the Local Group of galaxies

You can see this 2.7 million year old light by looking at the night sky with simple binoculars and using the W of Cassiopeia constellation as your guide. However, maybe you do not want to look at Andromeda like the inquisition did not like to look at Galileo's telescope in order to keep their firm faith? Or maybe it is HTBWYS - hard to believe, what you see.

Go for the truth and nothing but the truth. In all matters of life and death importance like creation.

That galaxy may not look in your binocular the same as in this or other pictures taken with high-powered telescopes. Perhaps just a greyish dot of dust between bright stars - but still, just spotting it up there and seeing it with your own eyes while your toes are freezing in the cold night maybe a life changing experience.

Your God who has made all the life in that enormous spiral so far away. Seeing that thing shows that He is a bit bigger than you were perhaps thinking. So big, in fact, that He is truly concerned with little ones, like the safety on road of your youngest child on the way to school right now.


To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

Psalm 8 KJVA

Jules Verne - Power of human mind

Jules Verne (1828 - 1905)
100 years before Apollo 8 Verne made
an amazing trip to the moon - in his mind

Jules Verne published in 1865 his world famous science fiction novel "From Earth to the Moon". De la terra à la lune. Trajet Direct della 97 Heures 20 minutes.

A giant gun is used to shoot a missile to the moon with three men riding inside it. Already the subtitle of the book shows that Verne did not only imagine such a fantastic possibility. He made very careful calculations about the smallest details of such a trip.

The artist wanted to show the size of the gun and not hide it in a hole

The huge gun was cast into a 274 m deep hole in the ground and its diameter was 2.74 meters. It was loaded with 61 meters high pile of gunpowder that weighted 122 tons. The missile was made of 30 cm thick aluminium and had hydraulic absorbers.

With such a powerful explosion Verne estimated that the missile would shoot from the gun at the speed of 16 km/s and that the friction of the atmosphere would then slow down the travelling speed to 11 km/s.

The trip begins!

Following really quite amazing comparisons have been made between the trip Jules Verne made in his mind in 1865 in France and what happened hundred years later in the USA:

Verne: The first trip to the moon would be done by United States of America.
- It was.

Verne: The project would cost $5,446,675 in the currency of 1865, $ 12.112 billion in 1969.
- when Apollo 8 project had made the trip around the moon the cost had been $ 14.405 billion.

Verne: There were three men in the missile, Ardan, Barbicane ja Nicholl.
- The astronauts in Apollo 8 were Anders, Borman and Lovell.
- The astronauts in Apollo 11 were Aldrin, Amstrong and Collins.

Verne: The missile would be made of aluminium and weighted 19,250 pounds.
- Apollo 8 capsule was made of aluminium and weighted 26,275 pounds.

Verne: The name of the gun was Columbiad.
- The commando module of Apollo 11 was named Columbia.

Verne: After consideration of 12 different launch sites in Texas and Florida the huge gun was located in Stone Hill, Florida near Tampa.
- NASA considered 7 different launch sites and rejected Texas. The final choice was Merritt Island in Florida.

Verne: The missile was shot in December at the location 27° 7' North and 82° 9' West.
After 242 hours and 31 minutes, including 48 hours around the moon the missile fell to the Pacific Ocean 20° 7' North and 118° 39' West.
The coast guard ship Susquehanna rescued the missile.

- Apollo 8 was launched in December hundred years later 28° 27' North and 80° 39' West. This is merely 213 km from the launch site given by Jules Verne.
After 147 hours and 1 minute with 20 hours 10 minutes around the moon the capsule fell into the Pacific Ocean 8° 10' North and 165° 00' West.
The coast guard ship Hornet saved it.

Of course, all is not well in Verne's plan well before rockets had been invited. It has been estimated that a 80 kg man would have the weight of 30.000 kg if shot to the space at the launching speed of 16 km/s. This would crush him to death.

And many other problems can surely be noticed by us who have seen the complicated oxygen masks and dresses astronauts, cosmonauts and taikonauts are using today. Despite of the problems we cannot but admire the power of human mind that can cross such distances and create such fictional and yet almost real stories as the amazing science fiction of Jules Verne.

The American astronauts travelling to the moon were well aware of Jules Verne's genius and published this photo of beautifully illuminated Apollo 8 at its launching pad in honour of his birthday February 8, 1828.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

WYSIWYG - Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

What You See Is What You Get.

The entire humanity was limited to the amazing capacities of eyesight. In dark clear night thousands of stars of different brightness made the sky so beautiful. Constellations helped sailors in their navigation on open sees as they helped birds in their flight from one continent to another. The main planets followed their regular paths across the night sky and had been the focus of human worship in ancient times carrying the names of old gods. There was the mighty Jupiter, bright Saturn, reddish Mars, lovely evening star Venus dancing with the moon.

Ptolemy had defined the routes and movements of stars and planets on the flat sky in a way that satisfied even the most curious star watchers for over a thousand years. With only a few exceptions, they followed the - sometimes quite complicated - paths he had recorded in his book.

Galilei's telescope 1601 magnified the view 14x

Then something happened. The human race was given a device that multiplied the power of human eye.

The invention was made in Netherlands. In 1609 Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) heard that a Dutch optician Lippershey had used polished glass to see objects that are further away. Next year, 1610, Galileo had made for himself a similar device, a 1330 mm long tube made of copper, wood and paper and with two polished glasses in a simple refractor. The diameter of the lens was 26 mm and on the other end of the tube there was an eyepiece. Galilei's telescope magnified the view a whopping 14 times. Galileo prepared several such instruments in Pisa between 1610-1614 and in 1619 he invented microscope. In 1611 prince Federico Cesei named the device telescope (tele scopia, see far).

Well, most of us would probably be satisfied looking at our neighbourhood. But Galileo pointed the first telescope to the sky and made some stunning observations.

The moon was not a perfect circle completely different from good old earth. It had mountains and valleys and planes just like earth. Galileo was the first human to see four moons around Jupiter. These Galilean moons are called Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede. He made accurate observations about their visibility in his book Sidereus Nuncius in order to help sailors navigating on the open seas. It is amazing what he achieved with that telescope. Children have better binoculars today. An example of the low quality of the instrument is that it did not differentiate between Saturn and its rings so Galileo suggested that the planet has strange "horns" attached to its sides.

When Galileo saw what he saw there was an ongoing scientific controversy. If Tyco Brahe and Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) were right that planets circulate Sun they should show moon faces, from crescents to full moon. With his primitive telescope Galileo was able to see that this was indeed the case!

But the big surprise waiting for this genius was the Sun. Wisely he did not aim the telescope at it and loose his eyesight. He projected sunlight through the telescope to a paper. To his amazement he not only noticed dark spots on the surface of the Sun but these were moving in a manner that indicated that the Sun itself is turning around its axis.

What You See Is What You Get.

But the church leaders of Galileo's time were not ready to look.

In 1615 during the rule of Pope Paul V Galileo Galilei was summoned to Vatican to answer for his godless claims that in the pure symbol of God, the Sun, there are imperfections, black spots. Or that the Sun would be rotating or that Copernicus was right in saying that planets have orbits around the Sun.

Galileo in the Papal Court 1615

Galileo, and his brave supporter Cardinal Foscarino tried in vain to explain that the Bible is intended to show the way to heaven, not the way heavenly bodies are moving on the sky.

The court ruled that Galileo was allowed to study the hypotheses of Copernicus but not publicly claim that they were correct. It is told that after leaving the building of the inquisition Galileo said E pur si muove- it rotates anyway. The blind faith of the believers cannot stop sun from rotating.

In 1633 Galileo was again in church court for his publications and lived the rest of his life in the shadow of the inquisition. However, Pope Urbanus VII ordered that he should be given state pension and sent his papal blessing to dying Galileo in 1642.

A bit later, during the time of the enlightened Pope John Paul II, Galileo was finally vindicated by the Roman Catholic church. Over three hundred years after his death.

Luther and Copernicus
Similarly as the Pope and his scientists and theologians also the church reformer Martin Luther ridiculed Copernicus for his claims about a heliocentric solar system. For Luther these godless and stupid claims run against Biblical revelation. For how could Joshua stop the sun and the moon for that famed battle in the valley of Ayalon if that joker Nicolaus was right?

"And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Bethhoron, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.

Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.

And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel."

Joshua 10:11-14 KJVA

As a personal comment on this matter between Luther and Copernicus I would like to tell a personal experience here in Israel. One afternoon I was driving along a smaller road in the Valley of Ayalon towards Emmaus when I saw the setting sun in west and a full moon in East. I had to stop the car and look amazed at the spectacular sight. I have never seen anything like that elsewhere in the world. The ancient war poem of Joshua tells about sun and moon stopping - so they are visible simultaneously. I could reason that this rare sight might have inspired the fighters to slaughter even more Canaanite warriors? Of course, the Bible itself says that sun and moon stopped for a long time in order to let the required massacre of enemy to happen.

This hazy photo taken elsewhere gives some idea how it looked

Similarly, the Ayalon region is known for the unusually heavy hailstones that sometimes fall causing damage to crops. In the Biblical story God joins the battle on the side of Joshua against the Canaanite people using awe inspiring signs and miracles of the nature.

HTBWYS - Hard to Believe What You See

The case of Galileo Galilei and the Church or the Bible as the ultimate guardian of truth is a classic example of religious misbehaviour by us humans. For it is sometimes very hard to believe what one sees if it goes against what all people have believed forever. Truth has an institutional and social aspect also in learned societies as any scholar with radically new theories and discoveries can witness. The colleagues are often quite offended by ideas that show they are wrong. And not just for selfish reasons - there is something in Truth that is hard to swallow.

Copernicus was observing the movements of the planets and suggested that Ptolemy was wrong and the entire solar system was not properly understood. It is quite understandable that Luther who was totally immersed in the ancient world of Bible found such ideas simply ridiculous. Living in the first half of the 16th century Luther did not have the means or methods to check for himself the complicated calculations that led Copernicus to his revolutionary conclusions.

Galileo observed with his newly invented telescope something that the entire human race had never seen before. It is quite understandable that the blasphemy of Sun, the perfect symbol of God, was hard to accept to the scholars in Vatican.

But the inquisition had an alternative to blind faith. They could have asked Galileo to bring one of those tele-scopias with him and show the black spots of Sun in the reflected image. Or to sit with him at night and look at the moons in orbit around Jupiter giving a model of how the heavenly objects in our solar system move.

They did not want to see.

We can call this "blind faith" in the bad way. Not wanting to see what is there.

In religious circles it is not limited to 17th century scientific controversies that shake religious views of the world to the root.

And "blind faith" is not limited to the sphere of religion only.

Sometimes it is HTBWYS - Hard to Believe What You See.

Prolegomena - natural religion and revelation

In order to have our own Delta II with boosters to lift our theology from this earth also to cover the vastness of space and galaxies and bang bangs we need to break free from the gravity forces of unbelief.

Here, in a nutshell, is a description of this kind of gravity that actually destroys the true foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

As Science of Religion students we examine the human experience from prehistoric times to modern days. We observe that all cultures everywhere practice some sort of religion - was it the millions of Hindu gods or the worship of a single God by the great monotheistic religions. The officially atheistic Soviet Union had rituals every Mayday in front of the Kremlin that really seemed more religious than religion itself. So we conclude that religiosity is a feature that characterizes the human race we are Homo religiosis as much as we are Homo habilis, toolmakers.

No amount of education and brain washing can remove this characteristic religiosity from the humans. We are built that way.

Dogon dancing

There is a general religiosity in the human race that takes many colourful and fabulous expressions that belong to the highest achievements of that nation. Babylon would be so flat without the ziqqurrat. Who would travel to the jungles of Mexico if the temples were not there with the awesome stories? What is so exciting about the Lapps of the past if not shamanism, their drums and off-body travels? What would world music be without Johann Sebastian Bach?

However, in addition to these amazing achievements the rich world of religion is also filled with horror stories, strange myths and plain fairytale, curious explanations how things were born and work and exist, stories that human brain conceived in the society before methodical science had its chance to explain natural phenomena.

Thunder is an awesome sound and made deep impression on the Vikings with their Thor or the Canaanites with their Baal. Most people think science today in thunderstorm, electricity and heat and winds... very few people think divine beings as the cause of thunder.

Paul Dirac lecturing

There are people who do not believe in any god above their own intelligence:

"Werner Heisenberg recollects a friendly conversation among young participants at the 1927 Solvay Conference about Einstein's and Planck's views on religion. Wolfgang Pauli, Heisenberg and Dirac took part in it.

Among other things, Dirac said: "I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest — and as scientists honesty is our precise duty — we cannot help but admit that any religion is a pack of false statements, deprived of any real foundation. The very idea of God is a product of human imagination.[...] I do not recognize any religious myth, at least because they contradict one another.[...]"

Pauli jokingly said: "Well, I'd say that also our friend Dirac has got a religion and the first commandment of this religion is: God does not exist and Paul Dirac is his prophet." Physics and Beyond: Encounters and Conversations. New York: Harper & Row.

The sentence has since been applied to many famous atheists "there is no god and XX is his prophet"

It is difficult to show major achievements that have their source in atheism or skepticism and unbelief. There are many atheists who have achieved great results in their fields but not necessarily because of their lack of faith.

So where is the centre of the gravity of unbelief?

In our understanding of the nature of Scriptures.

The Jewish Bible, what the Christians call the Old Testament and which the Moslems often refer in the Koran, is an amazing book.

An atheist totally refuses the concept of divine revelation in the Bible. Therefore the three great monotheistic book religions that are fundamentally based on the concept of self revealing God cease to have any foundations of truth what-so-ever.

Without Biblical revelation there is no point to look anywhere behind the galaxies. It is all just ancient Near Eastern people's imagination and storytelling and old religious beliefs that have no place in modern world. There is no God and no Creator, only human wishes and weaknesses in the face of the harshness of natural life and inevitable death.

So. How do we get ourselves free from this gravity of unbelief and soar higher up from this earth towards the exciting world of God's creation.


We accept the words of Second Peter 1:14-21 that, according to some scholars, may be an actual fragment from Peter himself embedded into the later combination that makes this New Testament letter.

Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.

Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

2 Peter 1:14-25 KJVA

Prolegomena - scientists and theologians

Albert Einstein is one of the greatest scientists of all times.
He did not believe in God

To say the obvious, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are religions.

The essence of religion is faith. This faith is not devoid of content that relates to everyday life.

Faith has many consequences to individual and social life.

Religion is a belief system rather than a knowledge system. Not all people share the same faith and not everyone is religious.

There is no scientific evidence that God exists and there is no proof that God has created the universe. If there was such proof there would be no need for faith. Everyone would know that God exists as he would be visible and not hidden and no faith would be necessary.

In his letter to the early Christians in Rome apostle Paul writes words that ring true also in our modern world:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Romans 1:18-23

The scientist justly asks "what has a religion that is based on faith have to do with space research and cosmology that are based on mathematical theories and experimental research?"

The theologian answers "from our religious point of view we cannot contribute to the study of interstellar space bubbles. Instead, we are asking ourselves what your research contributes to our faith."

The thing is - genuine faith in God is not something under your control so that you just say "okay, now I will begin to believe" or "okay, now I stop believing".

But there is help on the way. We can always ask God to give us more faith in His grace.

One day in Galilee about two thousand years ago a very distressed man brought his seriously sick child to Jesus of Nazareth. He was talking about an evil spirit that is dangering the life of his son by suddenly throwing him to water or fire. Today we might probably identify these symptoms as some kind of epilepsy.

And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.

He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.

And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him?

And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.

And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

Mark 9:17-27 KJVA

Einstein and God
The recently published letter written in1954 by Albert Einstein to Eric Gutkind demonstrated how he despised religion as a product of human weakness. One of the greatest scientists of all times, he had little patience to Bible stories and practical Judaism with belief systems behind Sabbath candles and the commandments from Mount Sinai. And to be honest, we must confess that many things we see in human religious behaviour and belief systems does not look all that logical for even a lesser mathematical thinker than very brainy Einstein. (It has been said that the shaft between the left and right sides of his brain was shorter than usual and these additional connections may have helped him to associate things in a very creative way).

The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.

Albert Einstein 1954

But Einstein's theories of relativity do have great importance also to all those who believe that God of Israel is the Creator of the universe. Einstein's thinking reveals something of the divine thinking that is manifest in the works of Creation.

CHIPS and Interstellar Bubble

A thin, over 40 meters high Boeing Delta II stood on its launching station in Florida in the evening of January 12. 2003. The heavy load on the rocket included also a little only 60 kg weighing CHIPS satellite (Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer).
Exactly at 19:45 EST the Rocketdyne RS- 27A main engine was started. It was assisted by four Alliant Techsystem GEM graphite-epoxy supporting engines pressing more power to the fiery flames. Delta II runs mostly on liquid oxygen. The noisy lift is at first slow but it catches up speed quickly. 83 minutes from the launch the rocket had reached the elevation of 560 km and the small CHIPS was relaesed to its own orbit. People felt great relief in the honorable Berkeley Space Research Center (est. 1956) in the University of California when the radiosingal of the satellite was heard 13 minutes after it was released.

CHIPS was about the size of a large suitcase and gets the energy it needs from sun panels. It had nine very accurate spectrometers that measured space radiation from carefully selected frequencies. Thin aluminium and polymer filters protect the instruments measuring the radiation sot that there would not be overload that could choke them. During the 12 months mission the satellite collected information for about one GB. This hits a single Exatype tape using the FITS data format.

CHIPS spectrometers are extremely sensitive. The engineers working with it in Kennedy space center did not allow a single speck of dust penetrate the radiation measuring instruments. The satellite is LEO (low-earth-orbiting) and it is not possible to fix any faults in the system after it has been launched to its orbit. There is only a single chance to succeed. Carelessness may be very expensive since, in addition to the cost of CHIPS itself there is the list price of the lifting rocket payload. In 2003 a two-stage Delta II with four additional GEMs was 42 million dollars. The institutes and organizations joining in the same launch divide the expenses between themselves. CHIPS project was financed by NASA itself.

Dr. Mark Hurwitz directs the CHIPS project in Berkeley. He explains the mission:

”CHIPS does spectroscopy on the diffuse background radiation on the entire sky in the 90 - 260 Å wavelength l/150 (about 0.5 eV) top resolution. The information gathered by CHIPS helps scientists to define the temperature of the electrons in the plasma of the local interstellar bubble which is assumed to be about million degrees Kelvin, as well as the state of ionization and cooling mechanisms. Majority of the light from the diffuse million degrees hot plasma is expected to come from the little known wavelengths that CHIPS is measuring, so the data is significant to the study of many internal and external galactic astrophysical environment.”

The simplified drawing published by the CHIPS project shows the interesting target of the mission. We can see a peanut shaped "Local Bubble" that surrounds us in the space. It is about 300 light years in diameter and there are two stars inside it. One is our Sun and the second one is the beta Canis Maior.

Notice how our bubble touches the bottle shaped bubble which contains the Antares of Scorpio, a red star that competes at night sky with planet Mars. Antares is a red giant or M-star that is quickly approaching its explosion point.

Further back in the picture we can see the bright Betelgeuse in Orion. This is also red giant, largest M-star known to astronomy. The diameter of Betelgeuse is not less than 800 times that of our Sun - most of the M stars are ten or maximum 500 times the size of Sun. The mass of Betelgeuse is 20 times that of Sun. Once the enormous nuclear reactor inside the star runs out of hydrogen it means the death of this star Betelgeuse. The explosion creates a brilliant supernova that can emit more light for a moment than an entire galaxy.

The study of the interstellar bubble yielded results but Dr Horowitz and his colleagues do not seem to be overly enthusiastic. There are so many sources of radiation in space that even in narrow-slid mode the detection of distant bubble plasma is very difficult. An abstract and the full text in pdf-format of the highly technical report is in here.

The concept of interstellar bubbles is probably unfamiliar to many. However, it gives a wonderfully 3-dimensional view of the sky which we naturally tend to see two dimensionally as a surface with bright dots in constellations. It is not easy to conceptualize the third dimension that is emphasized by these amazing bubbles created by our God.

Cosmic Christology

Small step for man
Neil Anderson July 1969

LIFE hosted by Google

Space Age theology faces enormous challenges in bringing the Gospel about Jesus Christ to modern man. Our views about the universe in which we live have utterly changed from the times when Biblical scriptures were written down in the Near East. The change has not been easy and involves many sad chapters when Christians have fiercely opposed scientific discovery and new insights into our existence.

The purpose of this blog is to examine the impact of space research on the Judeo-Christian traditions based on the Bible and especially on our faith on Jesus Christ.

The address of Christ in the Universe

Let us assume that an imaginary Galactic traveller wanted to find Jesus Christ. His address would be something like this - using the names that we have ourselves given to the space objects in our vicinity:

Jesus Christ
Planet Earth
Rocky star no. 3
Solar system
Milky way Galaxy

In other words, the Bible is earth centred. In the time of prophets and apostles the human race assumed that earth equals the entire universe and sun, moon and stars circle on their paths on the sky above the earth. Yet, according to the Scriptures Jesus Christ is involved in the creation of everything - which for us modern people includes the entire cosmos, visible and invisible.

For by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him.
Colossians 1:16

The Creation story in Genesis 1 begins with the making of heavens and earth. Green plants were made on the second day even before God had made the sun and the moon and the stars as light source for day and night and as a clockwork.

So how do we travel in time from this Ancient Near Eastern view of world and creation to modern times?

There are those who stick literally to the Scriptures, reject science and say that "Bible is God's word, the truth and nothing but the truth. Sooner or later we shall understand how science has again erred in going against the Holy Scriptures".

And there are those who give up the Biblical stories of creation and say "Holy Bible is not a textbook for natural history. The spiritual message is important and in Genesis we find the fundamental truth that God has created the universe and everything in it".

Both these views start to be outdated as school children learn about cosmos and are getting familiar with the concepts of galaxies and the enormous distances in the space.

Theology and Science of Religion
Theology tries to bring the message from the ancient Scriptures to the men and women living in today's world. Theology attempts to bridge the huge gap between ancient and modern world views. Science of Religion, on the other hand, uses scientific methods to study religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

However, although often seen in that way. Theology is not a branch of Science of Religion that concentrates on Christianity. Despite of overlapping methods there is a truly fundamental difference: ultimately, Theologians work from the unique viewpoint of Biblical faith. This is, of course, self-evident about Systematic Theology but it is also true of all the other branches of theological studies, as well.

The distinction is not easy to define and some think that because of such claims Theology is not an academic subject suitable for universities. By this criticism they show that they do not really understand Theology, which is one of the most accurate disciplines in the sphere of human thinking.

This blog

Anyone is invited to comment and expand on the themes presented in this blog. I am well aware of my limited knowledge of the deep subjects discussed here and readily admit that I may make factual mistakes more than I would like to.

This blog hopefully will have links to other blogs and web sites interested in the same subject so that there is a rich network of sites representing different points of view written in many different languages.

The site is not denominational. The purpose is not to discuss the many different doctrinal views that separate Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic, Armenian, Protestant and other churches from each other. Rather, the site concentrates on the fundamentals of faith that unite all Christians who confess the Nicaian Creed.

Love of truth
There is a very basic principle in the Bible that should be emphasized: the love of truth.

This is something that God wants to give as a free present. It is not something secondary or an embellishment of our faith in Christ. It is so essential, that God allows great lies to fill the earth that all those who did not accept the love of truth would go astray, if possible even the elect.

Second Thessalonicians is among the oldest writings in the New Testament. Apostle Paul warns the Christians in that city:

Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

2 Th 2:5-10 KJVA

A note on the Bible that I am using.

There is a great number of excellent Bible versions and search engines available in the Web. However, the e-Sword desktop Bible is very handy because of the many useful study tools built into it, the ability to quickly switch between translations, the Hebrew, Greek and Latin texts and very efficient search that picks verses in the current selected language.

It is quite amazing that Rick Meyers has been able to create this system and to maintain it and to provide the service freely to all around the world. May God bless him and his family and all those who have submitted Bible translations to this service!

Especailly I like Rick's mottofrom Matthew 10:8 "Freely you received, freely give"