Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Comment by Diógenes Vázquez-Castillejos — March 14, 2013 @ 11:09 am
I believe there are some things that we will never be able to do and some things we will never be able to understand. Dr. Brand points to the atomic conversion of energy to matter in the creation of matter but that would be creating from something - not from nothing. I believe God created both energy and matter from what does not exist and that is something I can't understand. Likewise, I can't understand the concept of infinity, how can God not have a beginning? On these kinds of issues I can only accept it by faith. That is one of the reasons I worship God and not pathetic puny man no matter how many degrees a person might have.
Comment by Tyler Cluthe — March 14, 2013 @ 12:58 pm
Tyler, what I understand Dr Brand to be saying is that God can create matter from His own energy:
Perhaps He just reverses the process that occurs in nuclear particle annihilation reactions, and changes some of His great energy into matter.
I don't see that as "creating from something" -- certainly not anything outside of Himself. The energy in His Word is creative energy, as the Bible testifies, "He spoke, and it was done."
That God created ex nihilo, may be understood to mean, 'from things that did not appear (energy)'.
Many have long held the view that God used the forward process that Einstein and Oppenheimer reversed to 'discover' the atomic age and what we are now fiddling with, in awe, as we get glimpses of nuclear capacity.
God created them all.
We need to remember that He is going to be the light of the NJ City. This is possible as He has always been the SOURCE of all renewable and nonrenewable energy (not just solar) and can create and recreate at will/word.
His meaning is very often lost in his statement in Jn 14:6, "...kai he zwe..."; "...and the LIFE...". The word conveys the meaning 'the very source of life- as opposed to 'Bios', which may be translated 'livelihood'.
Comment by Samuel P Ellis — March 16, 2013 @ 5:16 am
Samuel, I understand what you and Inge are saying and maybe it is so. However, what I am saying is that it doesn't necessarily have to be. Before I begin a statement of clarification we need to hear some really good advice, "It is impossible for finite minds fully to comprehend the character or the works of the Infinite One. To the keenest intellect, the most highly educated mind, that holy Being must ever remain clothed in mystery" (Steps to Christ 105).
Now with that in mind let me clarify what I said concerning my understanding of God's creative works. Let me ask a question concerning something commonly known in the industrialized countries. Which is more of a miracle to use a dehumidifier and get water out of humid air by condensation or to get water out of a vacuum by the same means? You see, to me it is not nearly as much of a miracle for God to convert something from one form into another even if it is His own energy than it would be for God to bring something into existence in the total absence of anything previously existing. To put it in the words Matthew Henry:
We have here one of the first acts and articles of faith, which has a great influence on all the rest, and which is common to all believers in every age and part of the world, namely, the creation of the worlds by the word of God, not out of pre-existent matter, but out of nothing (Matthew Henry Commentary on Heb 11:3)
We could say that both Matthew Henry and the writers of the Bible simply didn't know about either Einstein's or Oppenheimer's understanding of the relationship between matter and energy but to me that would be narrowing God down to our understanding of things. To me God is not indebted to anything preexisting whether it is matter or energy. He spoke and it was and as I said that is something I can't even begin to understand.
God Himself stands outside of what He created being self existing and the act of creation doesn't have to adhere to any of the physical laws that He established. He simply chooses to uphold what He created by those established laws yet is not bound by them. That to me is the wonder of God who said, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa. 55:9 NKJV).
Comment by Tyler Cluthe — March 16, 2013 @ 2:10 pm
Well!, i hear thay Mr. Cluthe!
In that case Can we say--Water turned to wine at the wedding?
Your last two paragraphs....well said and I agree!
Comment by Lawrence Menns — March 17, 2013 @ 8:38 am
It seems Tyler was thinking of energy apart from God, as a separate "thing", as others have presented it. (How do we define "God's energy"?) The statement that God might reverse the process of converting matter to energy implies that this energy is separate from God. But my question is this: does God need energy to create matter? Does He need anything? He didn't need a man to conceive Jesus, and doesn't need an oyster to make a pearl. We are told that He made the heavens by His word. (Psalm 33:6)
The Bible simply says He made all things and by Him all things consist. Impossible to comprehend, but simple to accept with the faith of a child.
Comment by Robert Whiteman — March 17, 2013 @ 10:19 am
The discussion of the "ex nihilo" idea is sometimes clouded by a persons understanding of modern science. It is interesting that a number of respondents use Einstein's energy-mass equivalence formula as some sort of evidence for creation ex nihilo but that is far too simplistic. We need to be careful that we do not use scientific concepts merely because they appear to support our view of origins. That does not mean that we should ignore them but that we should recognise our limited understanding of them and avoid making assumptions about what they mean.
There are a range of interesting ideas springing from the two major developments in Physics in the last century; relativity and quantum mechanics. Having a background in Physics, I have read the recent developments with interest and sometimes wish that I had remained a physicist instead of switching to studying the less enigmatic computer science. What does surprise me is that a number of prominent physicists/cosmologists have become almost theological as they try to understand the implications of the relativity/quantum mechanics nexus. I take the view that physics tells us how God works, but says very little about why. That is where I read my Bible.
Comment by Maurice Ashton — March 17, 2013 @ 11:19 am
Even though I am not a scientist I still have an interest in science. I do feel that science can tell us a lot about the physical world around us but I also realize that it is very limited especially when science arbitrarily eliminates possibilities.
What bothers me most about some areas of science, especially theoretical ones is that sometimes scientists feel that they know more than they actually do. For instance back in the 80's I was looking at a Nova program on particle physics and lo and behold a very brilliant, extremely arrogant physicist made the incredible statement that he thought that we were near the end of knowledge. To me that is pure academic irresponsibility.
A couple of years ago when I was attempting to get back into college with a major in physics I asked my physics professor who had a PHD in particle physics and worked some time in the field as a researcher whether there was a possibility of more basic smaller particles than the quarks. Her reply was, "There probably is and they are looking for them all the time." That tells me that we are far from being there to say the least. In fact, in my view I believe that we are just beginning to barely scratch the surface of knowledge. And to me a lot of the available knowledge that we can tap into we will in all likelihood never know this side of Heaven because in order to get down to sublevels of particles or reach out further in the cosmos takes an increasing amount of energy and equipment size which we economically cannot afford - there is a practical limit.
And this is only the start of my many gripes. As for you going into the area of DP rather than physics, I think you have some advantages that physicists don't have especially in understanding the complexities of the human mind. So I believe you shouldn't be thinking that it was a wrong move at all. Besides you and Carmel have lived reasonably good lives in a good part of the world. So perhaps we all should be thankful for what we do have and less concerned about what might have been; besides there is Heaven to look forward to where knowledge and understanding is unlimited throughout eternity.
Comment by Tyler Cluthe — March 17, 2013 @ 1:49 pm
Actually Robert I wasn't thinking of energy at all. Why must we shackle God with limits?
I tend to think in terms of trying to understand what the fourth dimension is like. Dr. Carl Sagan once had a video on the subject and explained it like being in a two dimensional world where there is no height. If a three dimensional person stepped into that world all the two dimensional people would only be able to see is an infinitesimally small sliver of the three dimensional person - a rather limited view and frightening experience for two dimensional people.
I feel that our view of God and what He does is similar to that. We are only seeing a very small portion of what God is and does. That, in my opinion, should humble us in trying to figure God out. Because of that I prefer to view God's creative powers without bound and certainly not with respect to what we midget brained humans can conceive.
Comment by Tyler Cluthe — March 17, 2013 @ 2:09 pm
Tyler, there were certainly times when some people made rash statements about knowledge limitations. However some of those statements have been misrepresented. Most scientific models are overturned when it is recognised that they have reached the limits of their application. I grew up scientifically on the cusp of newtonian mechanics and relativity. Keppler's laws and their application were useful when talking about satellite motion but there were gravitational phenomena that were outside the abiity of Keppler's laws. These phenomena required a new model that overcame the limitation of the Newtonian model, and it was Einstein's theory of relativity and curvature of the gravitation field near large masses that came to the rescue. The new model is much harder to understand in some respects but it is more elegant in that is describes (and predicts) a greater range of gravitational phenomena that the previous model.
Likewise in the area of cosmology there are changing models that help us to rethink how we describe our universe. As a Christian I find these new models interesting, and challenging but I am also continually reminded that it is telling me something about how God works and that the "Why" of God's working is outside scientific measurement. God has given us something to discover and something to accept by faith. I am glad He has worked that way.
Comment by Maurice Ashton — March 17, 2013 @ 10:02 pm
If Jim Silbert is using "Faith" as the formula, he should then punctuate his question with a full stop (period) to get an answer.
Thank you very much. There is one important point you brought out. God gave us knowledge to a certain level for us to survive and understand certain things including worshiping. Those things that our finite brains cannot grasp we must only leave to faith. I respect those who want to find more about the world around us continuosly. I do not respect those who think they already know everything and hence vehemently deny God's existance. There is no chance that we will ever know everything until God reveals it to us. Lets have faith and be happy.
Comment by Godfrey Ncube — March 18, 2013 @ 7:28 am
Why would laws be seen as "binding" God?
Maybe they are, instead, an outworking or expression of himself?
From that perspective, God is not seen as arbitrary. We simply may not understand the physical laws fully enough and so they appear to be "broken" by Him sometimes.
Just my view.
Comment by Andrew Legall — March 20, 2013 @ 10:05 am
Andrew, I have to admit that at times I am not very clear in stating what I mean. The laws themselves don't bind God. Our narrow concept of God is what binds Him in our minds. God is not bound by anything but we tend to think in finite terms and conceive of God as limited by the laws He established.
Comment by Tyler Cluthe — March 20, 2013 @ 11:07 am
Andrew, I believe that Dr Brand's section on "natural law" and "supernatural law" speaks to this point. They are all His laws, but we know only a portion of even "natural law."
Thus, from our perspective, God may be seen as working "outside His laws," but in reality, He is working within His laws, which are the foundation of His government.
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Comment by yuonne [surname?] — June 2, 2013 @ 8:44 am