September 20, 2014
...dispatches from the post-evangelical wilderness
The Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar. Words fail completely.
Praise be to God.
When I need to “see” everlasting, all powerful, all knowing, this is where I turn. Trying to wrap my mind around the universe is like trying to wrap my mind around God. Wonder and Awe….
These are also great images when describing to kids the immensity of God.
He (Yahweh) determines the number of the stars; He gives to all of them their names.
Okay, now try looking at those images while listening to this:
aahhhh……………… peace at last.
“When I consider your heavens, the works of your hands”
Does anybody else find it kind of harder to believe in God after looking at stuff like this?
I sort of feel like I have to throw every thought I’ve ever had about Him into one of those black holes and just wait to die, for all my little feelings and intuitions are worth.
I find it hard to believe that any of my thoughts about God have much consequence, that’s for sure. The second commandment makes sense.
Your thoughts have consequence to God. Awesome thought, huh?
Space humiliates our belief in ourselves, I feel like. If a million-mile band of stardust can be called an ‘object’, it seems almost hard to speak up on behalf of existing as we do, a fleck of organics and a drop of blood. It’s sort of a trick your mind plays on you – that bigger things are somehow more meaningful than little ones. It’s hard to have a lot of pride when you can look at 200 galaxies at once and know you could never really comprehend what you’re seeing.
And the first troll to smugly preach “It’s All Gonna Burn” gets pushed down the nearest flight of stairs….
As a long-time SF fan, I keep noticing the utter failure of imagination in “Christian (TM)” SF; I even belong to two Christian genre writer’s groups trying to get around such “Conventional Christian (TM)” attempts at F&SF.
I figure this is what’ happening:
A lot of Christians are scared of such a big Universe (and by implication a big God) and retreat into a 6012-year-old, Earth-and-some-lights-in-the-sky “punyverse” with a puny God. A Universe and God small enough for them to wrap their heads around, where they can be Important in the Cosmic scheme of things.
Never mind that of the three major human monotheisms, Christians already have the solution to the immensity of the universe and insignificance of “a fleck of organics” on a rockball orbiting a small sun in a random galaxy. It’s called The Incarnation. No matter how big the Cosmos becomes, no matter how big God has to be, God always remains at a one-to-one human scale though Incarnation as Christ.
And a lot of Christians forget that. And retreat in fear from the Universe into the Punyverse.
I think it’s awesome and it goes right along with my huge view of God, but for my grandfather the images from the Hubble telescope seem to have done just what Patrick is describing…pushed him further from the belief in a personal, saving, relational God. He and I are both scientists, both engineers, but the work of the Spirit in me is the only explanation for our difference in perspectives.
Write toChaplain Mike
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