If you’re going to believe in something, you may as well go the whole hog.
I must admit, I’ve often been guilty of doing something half-baked, although I’m learning to be confident enough to do something the best I can, even if it may rub others the wrong way – I grew up hating the thought of offending others, and often shied away from touting my achievements. Ah well, we all learn lessons once in a while. So, this year, as we well and truly enter the festive season, I can’t help but think that I may end up ruffling a few feathers with this post about such things as the Big Bang, a manger and going the whole hog. Debate only makes us sharper, though, so it’s all good. I also can’t help but wonder how many more Christmases we’ll see, ever. As the world hurtles towards its inevitable climax, I can see global humanity moving towards a more generic, universal celebration, one that uplifts humanity’s triumph over ‘evil’ – the kind of fuss and gift-giving prophesied in the book of Revelation (11:10). Not that I’m a big believer in Christmas festivities, anyway – the gospel message that underpins the event, yes; the actual festivities, not so much – so it’s not like I’ll miss much of the hype and consumerism.
Back to the topic, though, the belief in the early expansion of the universe, which is sometimes unwittingly referred to as the ‘Big Bang’ by the uninformed, but also often, understandably, referenced by leading-edge scientists, who are over having to cover old ground, etymologically speaking, as they discuss the finer points of higher level cosmology, even if they don’t really subscribe to the strict original idea of the ‘Big Bang’ theory. So, to be clear, we are talking here about the belief in the expanding (past, present and continuous into the future) universe.
This expansion, by definition must have begun from a single point in space and time; perhaps the space of a golf ball, depending on who you talk to in the specialised field of cosmology (a recent episode of Cataylst on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation comes to mind – said episode will appear in the next few days online). Ok, so let’s try this; here is a definition of how the universe began – see how it fits with your idea of the theory of the origins of the universe:
“One day (before time even existed), the universe was suddenly stretched out into existence.”
Oh wait; “there seems to be something fishy about that definition”, I hear you say. In this day and age of scientific advancement, believing in a Creator God is almost politically incorrect, and besides, that definition sounds a little too similar to that quote from the Bible (Gasp! Surely not!) found in Isaiah 51:13. And, no! We scientists of the world, and protectors of all things real and sane, did not say anything about the Big Bang coming out of nothing! The tenets expressly say it came from a single something or rather, got it? Let me just add, that it doesn’t take that much more faith to believe that everything came from nothing. After all, if the three dimensional world as we know it leaped into existence from a one-dimensional point in space, well, naturally we should be able to entertain the idea of an origin from, not 3d, 2d or 1d, but zero-d, too. But that just defies logic to the rational mind, I guess.
So, fine, how about this, “The universe was pushed (oh, hang on), expanded into existence.” There now. We’ve managed to push God out of the equation. Let’s keep it that way for a while, then. And this is what I’m talking about when I say, ‘Let’s not do things half-baked’; if God is not in the equation, are we really going to face up to the realities of what we believe in. Why not just go the whole hog?
And this is where it really starts getting interesting.
Yes, we’ve heard the respected, leading-edge theorists talk about the entropy of the universe back into masses of black holes and an apocalyptic (sorry, my add), ultimate state of nothing but radiation. Yes, we’ve heard that with expansion follows the idea that it is possible for the universe to contract, or implode, perhaps even a swinging back and forth of the galactic pendulum. We’ve been tracking the discoveries about redshift, and even been impressed with the phenomenal discoveries of the equilibrium of dark matter with the rest of the universe, as well as fine-tuning at the subatomic level. They are truly startling and breathtaking discoveries. Truly.
But, let me also take time to mention that we’ve also heard some of our leading atheist experts on mainstream media say things like, “Why don’t I believe in this all loving God? The bottom line, apart from the fact that I don’t need an emotional prop to give me a sense of meaning in life, is that I just don’t see how in my mind I can believe in a loving Being who would allow all this suffering and horrific injustice to occur on a daily basis. Wouldn’t that kind of God come and be the saviour, come and aid in times of trouble? Let’s not go into why a loving god would send all non-believers to a place called hell, either…” Are we all following here?
This is where the road hits the rubber.
We’ve taken God out of the equation, so what is left is what we need to work with. Now, just in case you didn’t pick this up yet, although I am sure that if you have read this far and understood what I’ve written, I should give you the respect you deserve, and you probably don’t need me saying this anyway – I do believe in God, in the Creator, in Jesus Christ, the Son. That was more for the Christians who think I am trying to belittle God. For those who aren’t quite convinced about the whole God thing yet, I commend you for reading thus far, truly.
Before we return to the bit about the hog, however, we need to step back a little and ponder the origin of the universe again. It is said that what existed in that original source of the universe was a whole heap of energy, so intense that it would – words won’t do it justice. So, you need to have a whole heap of energy there to cause the explosion/expansion. It must have been extremely hot, unbearably hot. But wait, we don’t believe in intense, unbearable ”fire” energy that is confined to a space that is more like a mass of soup, a fiery lake if you will. Oh. Yes. We. Do. If you subscribe to the latest scientific theory, then yes you do, albeit the timing of this soupy mass is squarely discussed as being positioned at the beginning of time.
Could souls have existed there?
Now if we really wanted to be defiant and not listen to the wisdom of certain ancient texts, then we should take the universe without God to its final conclusion. We believe that the world expanded into existence. We believe it is still expanding. We believe in a collapse or contraction of the universe, which might be coming sooner than we think (Catalyst episode found here). If we don’t believe in the previous statement, we certainly trust the experts who engage in discourse on the possibility of the idea. We believe in no God, and are certainly happy and willing to accept this fate, or we’re prepared to do everything we possibly can to avert this horrific destiny.
Hang on, we can’t even sort out our own planet, let alone the universe.
(On that, by the way, many people believe that the current climate change campaigning is a challenge to the global corporations to do something about the deteriorating environment due to anthropogenic causes, which it is. Now, I am a big believer in protecting the earth and all of its creatures and fauna. No need to mention the biblical mandate here. But, I also believe that the current global campaigning is misdirected. It is also most certainly linked to a massive money-spinner of global significance. But that’s another story. The day we see a world leader pretending to be able to solve our climate and drought calamities (and do we really know and acknowledge what is really happening to our climate anyway?) is most certainly the one day in the history of the world where we need to be watching and testing everything we see in the media, so as not to be deceived.)
So here is the crux of the matter. Even if God were out of the equation, we will still end up in a ‘hell’ of some sort that is beyond our power to do anything about. And it is for eternity. Now, if we were simply physical entities floating in this existence that is our universe, perhaps it wouldn’t matter so much, but if you agree that every human has a soul, then be sure that what you believe about the universe makes sense to you and that you have considered the whole picture, including the eventual demise of the human race, the earth and the universe.
About that loving God. Here’s the deal, and here is your ticket to a different journey.
Let’s just say that God does exist. He is not one of those parents who dotes after every fall of a clumsy child. He wants us to be strong and courageous and learn all of life’s lessons, robust and sturdy in living this journey called life. If he came to the rescue at our every beckon, our every whim and call, we really wouldn’t be prepared to take on life as we know it. It is a cruel world. In fact, God has set us as stewards over all that is on the earth. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we veer so far from the mission of our destiny that we ruin it for everyone, even our self-serving selves. If not that, then we allow the rulers of the world to dictate our freedoms to such an extent that we lose the right to worship, speak, think whatever we please, whatever we have deemed to be acceptable and right in a peaceful, humane society. In doing that, we relinquish control over our destiny and our right to participate in a free world, and in the process, reap the rewards of our lack of passion for liberty, and end up living in a ruined world anyway, one which in reality wouldn’t appreciate the little people, anyhow.
Now it is evident that all through human history, there has been a divine message about salvation for all people. It has coursed its way through time and still beats in the pulse of those who seek the loving God as he has revealed himself to all peoples. There has always been a way, perhaps sometimes clouded by several generations of those who did not pass on the promises of the faithful God of the universe. But, there are certain generations to blame for those times. They will be held accountable, one day.
The message of the gospel has been there; even the strange wise men from the east, from a country laden with idolatry, found a way, preserved the message, studied the promises, and found their way to the cradle in a manger to worship the King. In the darkest night, they came. They found light in a darkened world.
That message is here for you. It has always been there. It is free and available to all who would seek. It’s message is found in the ancient pages of the prophets. The King of all creation has spoken. Seek him while he may be found. The days are darkening. But, his light still shines. And when you find him – and find him you shall, if you seek him with all your heart, as though you seek the truth – you will be given the promise of the sons of God. You will be taken into the family of the loving God. You will find that your journey will not end when this world retreats; and retreat it will, whether you believe in a God or not, whether you believe in the ‘Big Bang’ or not. Do you remember that fine-tuned dark energy that holds all things in equilibrium? Or that verse that tells of the God who stretched forth the heavens like a tent spread out over space, and the God who still keeps the heavens stretched by the power of his hand today? This is the God I speak about. This is the God I follow; not for any good I have done, but because of all he did in Christ Jesus. Seek and you shall find. Ask and it shall be given you. Knock and it shall be opened unto you (Matthew 7:7).
So, how real can it get?
Do I believe in the theories of this world because they just seem like novel ideas that kinda sorta suit where I’m at at the mo? Do I really ponder the extent of what I believe in? Is there a better way? When the world melts away back into a fiery mass, your God and Father can and will take you to a life beyond the temporal, if you believe, if you have faith. He has also promised a new heaven and a new earth, which will most likely be around for at least one thousand years. God is faithful. He is a God of renewal and reconciliation, and he calls us to peace, and not fear, patience, and not worry. Have you trusted in him, yet? The door is opened, will you enter it?
I hope the message is crystal clear. To sum up, if I don’t want anything to do with a Creator God, then I really have no one to blame when I find myself in the lake of fire. God doesn’t need to cast me in. I’ve chosen such a destiny anyway, right. I didn’t want a saviour, see? He has done everything to make your way to eternal life possible, without handing it to you in a silver plate. He has allowed us all to make the choice. But when we seek for faith to believe and seek him with all we have, he promises to come and make good on this deal. So, the cards are on the table. Let’s go the whole hog. What’ll it be?
Blessings in the name of Jesus. I’ll be watching out for you and praying for you. This is real.
(The Big Bang, a manger and going the whole hog: a possible response to Getting Seasonal prompt)
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