Monday, October 3, 2011

God, Cosmic collisions and Theodicy

Galaxies NGC 6050 and IC 1179 on collision course
Hubble legacy archive (APOD)


Gravity causes galactic collisions.

This is a rather mundane statement about the simultaneously majestic and horrific event in deep space where billions of worlds are destroyed in a truly infernal collision of huge star islands. Whatever life has been there on planets orbiting their suns is eventually utterly destroyed as the basic elements of matter melt.

What does it matter what happens so far away in NGC 6050/IC 1179 some 450 million light years from us in the Great wall?

Well, our huge neighbour in the Local group,  Andromeda galaxy M31, is approaching us ominously!
John Dubisnki from the Department of Astronomy Astrophysics in the University of Toronto gives detailed information about Galaxy Dynamics in his interesting and educational web site.

Supercomputer power was used to create models that also visually show the fearsome cosmic collision that will also destroy the merging Milkyway and Andromeda galaxies about three billion years from now.

Computer simulation of Spiral metamorphosis 
John Dubinski (ref)

Learning about the enormous events in cosmic collisions teach us something about the greatness of the God of Israel and encourages us people to stop measuring Him with our very powerful but yet limited brains. Just to understand some of the things He has created in the space requires that we use artificial brains, supercomputers, to help us to predict and analyse the highly complex events.

More practically, viewing images of cosmic collisions gives us also a Biblical view about life at the time of personal crisis caused by car accidents, train collisions, explosions of gas lines, sickness, earthquakes and tsunamis that wipe out thousands of people, or even more seriously, someone we know and love. This grave matter is often called the question of Theodicy asking the benevolence and righteousness of God.

God of Israel is fearsome in His majesty of Creation and also when He lets events take their course in the life of nations and life of individuals. Perhaps the most intriguing and challenging part of the Bible in this context is the book of Job.

After experiencing totally devastating series of events in his personal life, loosing his property, children and health, he still rejects the blame of his friends that God has justly punished him for his misdeeds.

"Not so", Job says "God has done wrong to me".

And still he refuses to curse God and die as his dear wife advises him seeing him scraping his wounds with potsherds.

Surprisingly, God answers that Job is right - He is actually doing wrong to a just man.

Even more surprisingly, God does not explain things to Job but instead tells him to look at the grandeur of Nature.

And it works! bringing heavenly peace to the heart of the deeply suffering man.

1 Then Job replied to the LORD:
 2 “I know that you can do all things;
   no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
   Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
   things too wonderful for me to know.
 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
   I will question you,
   and you shall answer me.’
5 My ears had heard of you
   but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
   and repent in dust and ashes.”
Job 42:1-6 NIV

--- Post Script ----
Book of Job is written in a dialect of Hebrew that has suggested to some scholars that this ancient book possibly comes from some area known for its wisdom and outside the borders of the Holy Land, perhaps Bosra or Edom.

No comments:

Post a Comment