Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

"Nature's God"

Thomas Jefferson may well have been among the first to understand.

I believe in God the Creator, the God of Genesis, of the Old Testament Bible. I believe Jesus Christ was His Son, who came to earth to show us how we should live in an ever-changing world. I believe this because I have had a continuous, personal experience with God, and with His Son, both directly and through the Holy Spirit, for 46 years. I am alive today because I believe, and I listen when God speaks to me. I say this not to boast, but in humility. God speaks to all of us, if we but take the trouble to listen.

I love science - I always have. The mysteries of the universe thrill me more than I care to admit. It's not just the sciences that look outward that thrill me, but also the ones that look inward, toward the history of this planet, and of life upon it. I don't' have the math skills to follow all the sciences as well as I'd like, but I do read, constantly, and study. I have more than 300 textbooks in my house, on dozens of subjects, and I've read them all.

I've tried to understand the paradox between what I read in science textbooks and what I read in the Bible. I've spent a great amount of time in prayer, asking God for the wisdom to understand, and to solve this paradox. I've listened, hoping to hear the answers, and to know they come from God, and not from the Deceiver. I now believe that I understand, at least partly, the answers, and that they are truly from the God of all, the God of the Bible.

Many people say they believe in God, but then try to put God into a box, something small enough for them to feel comfortable with. They limit God to what they can accept, what they know, and what they're able to relate to. They refuse to acknowledge just how awesome, how powerful, and how extensive the powers of God are, because they cannot imagine, or accept, such a God. That doesn't mean He doesn't exist.

God created the entire universe - not just this Earth, or our solar system, but all that exists, seen and unseen. Nothing that IS in this Universe exists unless it was created by God. That includes all the so-called "natural laws" - of physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, geophysics, astrophysics, biology, and all their derivatives - these were just as much the creation of God as the dirt under our feet and the air we breathe. Man has consistently tried to reduce God to their level, because it's far too difficult to actually KNOW God as He is. Man has to limit God to what Man can believe, or the terror of the true awesomeness of God overwhelms him. That has absolutely no effect on God Himself, but allows Man to be a bit more smug about his relationship with God. It also means living a lie, thinking that they worship such a small, limited God. Unfortunately, man's understanding of God hasn't grown much in the ten thousand years of semi-recorded history of Man's dealings with his Creator.

I believe that God created the "heavens and the earth". I do not believe, however, that Genesis is a factual accounting of daily activity on God's part. I believe it's an allegory, a story created to allow Man to understand what God did, in a way that Man some six or seven thousand years ago could understand. I also believe that modern physics may have the science part right, and the Big Bang is a valid evaluation of how this universe was created. I don't see any contradictions in that. Science tells us the "what" and "how" of creation; the Bible tells us the "who" and "why". They are both sides of the same coin. I believe that God Himself told mankind the entire creation story, perhaps to Moses, but the story goes back thousands of years before Moses. God had to use an allegory. How can you explain particle physics, the Big Bang, quantum mechanics, the periodic tables, and the laws of thermodynamics to a simple goat-herder, and have him understand it, when he doesn't have words for half of what I just mentioned?

God hasn't revealed Himself to us all at once during the past 6000 years. He has revealed Himself bit by bit, as we, his imperfect creations, can understand what God tells us. We are imperfect, because we are capable of sin - of disobeying God. Without that imperfection, we cannot be ready to receive God, to repent of our sins, and to be made whole. God continues to reveal Himself and His glory to us, through the prophets of old, through His Son, Jesus Christ, and through tens of thousands of ordinary people. Sadly, we miss much of what God says, because we are too stubborn, to sure of ourselves, to open our hearts and truly LISTEN.

What of evolution? If we believe in God, can we accept evolution? Yes, if we understand that even this is a part of God's plan. God has created an ever-changing universe. Why is known only to God, and will only be revealed to us in the proper time. But change is a constant: unless there is some way for God's creatures to adjust to change, they will all perish. God would either have to constantly repopulate the Earth with all manners of living things, or establish what engineers call a self-correcting feedback loop. The easiest to understand form of such a feedback loop is self-adjusting disk brakes. "Evolution" is God's feedback loop for His creatures, to allow them to change along with their changing environment. A better name for this would be a self-correcting adaptive change mechanism, rather than evolution, as creatures don't really "evolve" so much as adapt to the changes that affect them.

I am always amazed and saddened when any person, especially a person who claims to have faith in God, says the Earth is only 6000 years old. I am ashamed that believers in an Almighty, unlimited God can only concieve of things that are easy for them to believe, while swallowing whole a raft of lies that would choke any honest man.

The "date" of creation cited by these Christians is 4004BC - a date worked out by the Anglican Archibishop James Ussher in 1654. The amount of scientific evidence that states that the world is at least four billion times that old is greeted as the work of Satan to confuse mortal men. In other words, God has allowed the entire universe to be controlled by Satan. I cannot believe that. When two assumptions are so diametrically opposed, it's up to us to learn as much as we can to see where the error lies. There are lots of room for error, and most of them originate in a Church that thinks it knows everything, and anyone stating otherwise is a heretic. One only has to look at the Muslim faith's absolute dictate that nothing can be added or subtracted from Mohammed, whom they claim to be the "last Prophet", that God cannot ever again speak to His people, to see how that creates dissonance and the seeds of religious warfare and human disaster.

I enjoy studying hard sciences - astronomy, geology, geomorphology, nuclear physics, chemistry, biology, paleontology, and a dozen other "ologies". I'm not a professional scientist, but an educated layman. Everything I read conflicts with that 4004BC date. One or the other has to be wrong. The processes that say the Earth is 4 billion years old continue to exist today, and mankind uses many of the principles that establish this date in our everyday lives. Rivers continue to build deltas today the same way they did 300 million years ago, and we use that knowledge to search for - and find - oil and coal deposits. We know the sun shines because of a complex process whereby hydrogen, in the presence of carbon, unites through fusion to form helium, generating heat in the process. The same convection currents that bring that heat to the surface of the sun are present in the mantle of the Earth, moving continents, and in a pot as water boils. These things can be seen, can be measured, and can be studied through advances in recording devices and scientific principles. None of this, however, fits a creation that occurred only 6000 years ago. Something is wrong.

I've spent 20 years praying about this, speaking to God about this, and frequently, getting an answer. Saying you hear God speak to you will either get you stoned or put into a mental institution. Yet God Himself has encouraged me, even FORCED me, to speak out. I know this will cause pain between me and many members of my family - maybe even a split that will never be healed. Jesus said that He "came not to bring peace, but a Sword", and "a man's foes shall be they of his own household". How else can we understand the intense fight that has been generated among Christians, among non-believers, and among those who worship other gods, than that our lack of concensus about the very reality of God divides us, hardens our hearts to the words of others, and brings forth division and hate.

The first thing that everyone needs to understand is that God is Eternal. For Him, there is no beginning, and no end. Time measures beginnings and endings, and the passage between them. For God, time has no meaning. Time is for mankind, who is born, lives a little, and dies. God Himself said this: "Before the world was, I Am".

Once we understand that, unlike man, God has no limits, then Genesis can be viewed for what it is - an allegory telling us that God created everything, in His way, and for His Glory. God's statement that it was done in six days, and that on the seventh He rested can be accepted in many ways, not just in the literal sense. One indication that this is allegory, instead of literal, is that Genesis says in 1:14 that God created the "lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide day from the night" - in the fourth day. Yet the "lights in the firmament of the heaven" is our sun, which establishes our day, just as God has said.

The Bible also says that "a day for God is as ten thousand years, and ten thousand years as but a day" - another description of God's immortality. God doesn't measure time the way Man does. God is not that limited. He can compress all of time into so finite a measurable distance we cannot fathom it, or spread it out over 20 billion years or more. God is not limited by time, only mankind. That is why, often when we pray, we don't understand why God doesn't answer immediately. Usually He does, but in His time, not man's time. In God's time, it's never too late, only now.

God also says that whosoever shall harm any of His children, or cause them to stumble in faith, they shall be in danger of hell fire. I have written here what I believe God has said to me. I do not wish to change any mind, or convert any soul, only to speak what I believe is truth. If anyone wishes to think on this, I ask that you pray first for wisdom, and for God to show you the truth, whether my words or the words of others. Jesus has promised us that if we seek the truth from our Holy Father, it will be given to us. Let God speak to your heart, and to your soul, that you may know the truth.


Blogger Gustav said...

"The importance of Genesis is not the how but the who."

A wise pastor of mine whom I respect greatly once told me that. I come from a church-goin' family. Every Sunday-- rain or snow or sleet or hail.

Both of my parents are professional scientists: A doctor and a geologist.

God and Science were never a contradiction for me.

I read once that they weren't for Einstein either. (To give a credible source, not to suggest any similarity in level of intelligence :-)) He saw the two as in completely different realms.

So I think you're right to come to the conclusions you do. You make an excellent point as well about the eternal (i.e.- outside of time)-ness of God.

What a puzzle he's given us to solve! What a wonderful gift to connect human beings throughout history-- not by the course of our wars, but by the course of our scientific acheivements.

I can't agree with you on Islam's limiting nature though. It's interesting to note that "the seeds of religious warfare and human disaster" have not been planted in, say, Dearborn, Michigan where there are plenty of Ethnic Arabs (many Iraqis), who go to school and learn science and even become doctors and engineers.

Islamic cultures have added much to the collective knowledge of human civilization: notably in Mathematics: Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry were all pioneered in the Middle East.

So, I'm not sure it's the Islam that's sewing ""the seeds of religious warfare and human disaster."

The difference now is that many Muslims live in oppressive societies and under desperately poor living conditions.

Such dire situations make it much easier to accept extremism (of whatever variety), and that makes extremism a practical method for those who want to gain power.

I hope you post that novel. Can't wait to read it.

4:44 PM  

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