Monday, August 30, 2010

"You Prepare A Table Before Me"

The first few hydrogen atom electron orbitals ...Image via Wikipedia
Ball Bounces contributor PatJ's take on fine-tuning:
The universe is 880,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 metres across, and in all of it, there is one tiny spot, a region less than 4,000m thick on the surface of a tiny sphere, where you could survive (most of that surface covered by water that would drown you in minutes, so cold you would freeze to death in an hour, or so dry you would desiccate in days). The rest of the universe is dominated by extremely dissociated hydrogen gas, and bombarded by cosmic rays. (There may be other, similar small areas where you could survive, but none within a reachable distance, of course). But that only accounts for less than 5% of the universe mass, as most is less ordered than the hydrogen atom. The universe is at least 13,750,000,000 years old, our sun less than 5,000,000,000 years, the planet only slightly younger, and an atmosphere with sufficient oxygen that you do not asphyxiate instantly less than 2,500,000,000 years. Your oldest relatives that could even loosely be termed “hominid” developed less than 2,000,000 years ago. Your religion was invented less than 2,000 years ago, and you, I suspect, are less than 100 years old. 
So less than a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of the universe is habitable by you, and your life span is a billionth of the life span of the universe. But somehow it is all about you. How self-deluded and self-important do you have to be?
My response:

First, I want to thank PatJ for his contribution, and commend him for his knowledge of science.

As usual, it is not the facts on the table, but how they are interpreted (and why there is a table in the first place!).

The facts presented are entirely in keeping with a God who is a) Big, i.e., operates on a scale that is unimaginably bigger than we are, b) in no hurry, i.e., has all the time in the world since he made both the world and time itself, and, c) wanted to give us something marvel-worthy.  Even atheists agree that the heavens are a marvel.

As for it being about "me".

It's not about "me", but the marvel that there is a "me", i.e., a self-conscious soul peeking out of the molecules to do the marvelling.

It's about Christ, the Logos, by whom all things were made, who sustains the universe moment by moment, and for whom all things were made.

Now, I cannot help the fact that God loved this world wrecked by sin -- that's his choice, not mine. But, I'm not going to let that stop me from signing-on to his offer and program, as countless others have done and will I trust yet do.

In the book of Revelation there is a wonderful picture of the countless multitudes who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, and who have thus been made worthy of God Himself.  They are engaged in the wonder not merely of creation but also of redemption. The gospel is not just praise-worthy, when properly understood, it is gasp-worthy. One of the things I like to say about it is that it is "too good not to be true", by which I mean, no human would or could invent such a story of human unworthiness and divine sacrifice and all the paradoxes and table-turning that takes place at the Cross.

I don't know how many are in the countless multitudes standing washed in the blood of the Lamb, but we are well on our way to reaching the quota. Let's not forget that when this prophecy was given, Christianity was, as its critics are wont to point out, an obscure, insignificant movement that numbered in the hundreds or low thousands at most -- so insignificant that it barely, but just, shows up in official records of the day.  A pretty brave prognosis by the politically powerless John exiled on the Isle of Patmos for the word of God.

And yet his prophecy is all part of the arrow of divine purpose launched in Genesis and which culminates in the book of Revelation -- a narrative in whose shadow we all live our lives, whether wittingly or unwittingly, willingly or unwillingly.

So, no, it's not about me. I didn't make the table, and I didn't set the table. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to eat what's on the table.
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"