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Sunday: The Eyes of the Lord — 11 Comments

  1. When we are convinced that our world view is the only viable one, we can be somewhat dismissive of the world view of others. We can be quite patronising and look down our spiritual noses at the big ideas of others. I have taken the time to read some of the important thought developers of the twentieth centuries. People like Roger Penrose, who developed the mathematics that led to the prediction of black holes; and Paul Davies, a physicist and cosmologist who had done much to helps us understand the extent and scope of the universe.

    While both of these men are atheist, they are not entirely dismissive of an intelligence behind the universe. But importantly, they have both contributed much to understanding the nature of the universe that we have really only learned about in the space of my own lifetime. Our cosmological view is based on a period where to a large extent our view of the universe was limited to the solar system and the starry heavens beyond that as a sort of a wallpaper background. I can remember learning about Orion in my childhood and being told that it was sort of at the edge of the universe and beyond that was heaven. Since that time we have been able to see much further in the depths of space and learn about new kinds of objects. One of the real eye-openers for me was to visit the Siding Springs Observatory in the Warrumbungles - about 4 hours drive from where we live. You are reminded of the size of the solar system as you drive there by signs along the road showing in scale the distance of the planets from the sun. But the piece de resistance is a glass photographic plate in the observatory itself that shows dozens of fuzzy black smudges, each one an image of a galaxy as large as our own milky way. What is compelling, is the knowledge that these images were formed by the arrival of photons of light that originated from events in these galaxies (otherwise we would not be able to see them at all).

    It is a sobering process to try and integrate the dimensions and scale represented in the information in these photographs of our universe into our Christian view of God, origins and the state of man. At the very least it reminds me not to be complacent about my own belief in God. But it is also a challenge to try and understand what we see and measure in terms of what we understand about God.

    It is far too easy to make up questions like: "Why, in the end, is the biblical worldview, the theistic worldview, simply so much more logical and rational than its atheistic rival?" and then provide a trivial answer where we will get a lot of amens in a forum such as this.

    Don't get me wrong. I believe there is much to offer in a world-view based on the Bible, but we are not going to win people by being dismissive or providing answers that show that we do not really understand the problem.

    The question that I ask myself is this: Has my world-view become stuck in a 19th-century mode, or has it grown and kept pace with the knowledge and understanding that has grown up around us in our lifetime. The personal challenge for me is that both Roger Penrose and Paul Davies - world-class cosmologists - are science graduates in the same era from the same university that I graduated from, The University of London. What sort of meaningful conversation could I have with them today?

  2. Seeing other’s worldview/s as “narrow” and “limited” and my world view, by contrast, as “simply so much more logical and rational”, will show through in the way I relate to and with others. It can’t not.

    I can not find any biblical support for holding such a view or attitude. Rather, I find biblical support for having a heart-attitude of compassionate beneficence for others (John 13:35) that first seeks to genuinely understand where another is coming from and how their life experience has contributed to them arriving at that place (eg as per Jesus interactions with Nicodemus in John 3 and The Samaritan Woman in John 4). This was Jesus method - mingling with humanity as One who genuinely desired their best interests.

    And then, when authentic trust had been developed, Jesus offered an alternative perspective for consideration. And He did so in an authentically invitational manner with gentleness and respect (as per 1 Peter 3:15). This includes respecting a person’s freedom to hold to a different worldview if they chose to (eg Judas), knowing that each person needed to be fully persuaded in their own mind (as per Romans 14:5). He also gave people time to come to terms with a different world view (eg spending several years patiently nurturing his disciples).

    Our role, as followers of Jesus, is to do the same - while leaving the role of actual convicting to the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11).

    People are more likely (but it’s not guaranteed) to care about the worldview we hold when they first experience that because of our worldview, we genuinely care...

  3. Maurice – in answer to your question: “What sort of meaningful conversation could I have with them today?” let me suggest to offer your personal testimony of why you, a scientist in your own right, believe the Scripture, God and His revelations are relevant in our day and time and how your faith in God has shaped your world view.

    Man’s ability to look further and further into the Cosmos and reveal to us the handiwork of God should not pose a stumbling block in your conversation. Your conversation is not about whether there is a God or not – this is the prerogative of faith to decide; one faith decides for the other against intelligent creation.
    Science and Theology are two different sides of the same coin – Life/Existence. Visible to the 'eye' of both are natural science and its governing laws, but one side having a 4th dimension defined as Spirit. Where the difference comes in is when we talk about HOW this visible Cosmos was established by its First Source with all its interrelated laws to keep its order.
    You could also bring up a question regarding how he believes it is all held together; as a mathematician you will find that the laws are quite incredibly, intricately relational regardles of size and scope!

    I am sure that man's progress in process has developed quite a bit more insight in all fields of science and this, too, could lend an interesting topic to see how creation-science relates to evolutionary science - emperical science is defined as 'discovery in constant progress'. There is no limit to what can be discovered', therefore one can not state any findings as 'fact' unless qualifying it by time!

    Reading Scripture, we learn that God will make a new Heaven and a new Earth. How could a scientist respond to this using his knowledge of the laws which govern time, matter, space and energy.
    I think that you would have a wonderfully lively conversation with your friends whiles God inspires you to speak the words of Truth respectfully, intelligently and logically.

    • Thank you Brigitte. Much of what you say makes sense to a committed Christian but would sound awfully patronising to my atheist friends and I would probably end up not being their friends, losing the opportunities I have to share with them. Many of my good atheist friends have thought about what they believe and why. They have also read Christian apologetics books and understand where we are coming from. This is not new to them. I spend a lot of time listening to them and very little time talking. I pray that my actions speak of my relationship with Jesus. I want to be their friend when they are in trouble. Times do occur when I can say something but I prefer to say just enough to give them something to think about rather than take the opportunity to hammer them with "Gospel Speak". It is too easy to become patronizing once we start to say what we believe. Appearing as a fellow learner has more appeal than appearing as a teacher.

  4. We understand that a person's worldview is impacted by their parents and early education. I have also discovered that it is impacted by personality type.
    The first two look for alternatives while the second two are drawn to the Biblical worldview:
    The Artisan – likes to be free to do what they feel like, rejects control
    The Rationalist– they want to use their own reasoning to make decisions
    The Idealist – is drawn to the mystical spiritual world
    The Guardian - respect authority and are drawn to rules and regulations
    Understanding a person's personality or temperament type will help us in choosing where to start when introducing them to Jesus and His Word

  5. The eyes of the Lord are on every place, beholding(observing) the evil and the good. Pro 15:3
    There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Pro 14:12

    There way a young man who lived with his parent, his parent was an Adventist. He was taught to love and fear the Lord from a young age. He visited his grandparents on holidays who were Atheists'. His mother sent him to the Adventist college to obtain a Christian education. He started out good but after a while he started questioning this God of love, grace, forgiveness and judgment. Before he even graduated, he renounced the God of creation and choose the god/ideas that his grandparents spoke and believe in- the Atheist way.

    Going back to Eden, when Satan told Eve her eyes will be open to know good and evil had far reaching consequences. That 'one eye' if you don't know, some may say represent the eye of God looking at humans. Why would God need a 'one eye of providence' to represent him as looking at us humans?
    This world only has two sides. I cant agree with any one who believes in any other side but by the creation ways. A great designer who lives and still intervenes in the affairs of men. It was Eve ruining when she took the time to listen to another side and reasoning out what the deceiver had to offer.
    Our fore-father thought after the flood they could build Babel,(now I am wondering how many dimensions they were think about since they were so smarter than us). Were they thinking about living in degrading sins and still escape the hands of a Holy Father?
    Humans are always thinking how to do wrong and by-pass a Holy God as the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of us, human. Its governed by Satan and his envy against God because he didn't got to see/observe the way man was created. Its man thinking that he coined the 4th........., and even thinking about the 10th or even the 12th dimension and how things will operate now or in the future. Time and Space and space-time belong to God.. Humans have limitations, he can do somethings, but cant do all sorts of things living in those dimensions. Satan is very busy confusing humans. Dimension to some Mathematians is different from dimensions of other Sciences. When we starts looking at 4th dimensions and telepathy and the spirit world, let us ask ourselves if that is of God or Satan.
    There are some words mentioned in the 4th dimensions-
    1. Past, Present and Future, humans can control all.
    2. Is time(moving forward) a direction or a duration.

    Solution- As God people, let us not be caught up in things that is not of any use to our soul salvation.

    What can I do- Recently, we are doing some repairs and the authority asked us to have a '4th dimensional plot plan.' We got that drawn up and presented it. If what we are doing for good is pleasing in the site of God, then ok, if not, be careful about where our reasoning takes us.

  6. The crux of the issue revolves around the meaning of life itself and the nature of man. Is Man/Woman created in the image of God which provides inherent value or is He/She a machine. Is Mankind basically good or evil. I have found that if I can manage to get a discussion started on these two subjects, it sometimes leads to a conversation. I find it fascinating that most atheists think that Mankind is basically good. That is sometimes a great chasm to bridge.

  7. What is the nature of reality? This question can be formulated because we perceive that it is possible that there is more than one reality and define it by how we answer this question. The mind defines one as “purely material, purely natural’, the other, with the aid of the Holy Spirit is defined as a mixture of material, natural and spiritual; the spiritual being the unseen, governing force behind the material, natural.

    I see the matter of the difference between the two coming to its high-point when Jesus Christ our Savior was born outside of the means of man's natural process of conception – Luke1:26-35. From then on, there has to be at least the acknowledgement given that Jesus was a real person. People debate who commissioned Him and assigning Him His mission, but at least the world acknowledges that He existed. Through prophecy, biblical history establishes the claim that He is Immanuel – God with us in the form of the Son of God. John the Baptist declares – “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” – is His mission. John1:29,36.

    This is the point in time when all of mankind was given/would be able to hear the message of God, declaring that He is omnipotent and searching with His Spirit those who are willing to be called to become Sons of God – John14:6.
    The Scriptures speaks to the power inherent in the Word of God and of spirits in high places where spiritual warfare takes place (has taken place) just like it is in our physical world – Heb.4:12; Eph.6:10-18.
    God’s Spirit and man’s faith provide the only bridge which spans the gulf separating the two worldviews.

    • Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. Ezek 18:4

      Brigette- I am glad how you explained your point. There is only two sided in this life. The side of Christ and the side of Satan.
      Many, if it is not seen with the natural eyes and feel with the hands like Thomas they will not believe. Many want to have it both ways. The Bible says, after his resurrection Jesus way human(disciples can touch his hands, side and feet, he was hungry and he sat and ate a meal with them). Yet he was divine in the things he did. For example, he entered the room when all the entrances and exits were shut tight for fear of the Jews. When they saw him, they said it was a spirit because how can a human enter a room through the walls? Can this be the (4th dimension of human theory)? see Luke 24:36-48. Many also doubted Phillip encountered how he was at one place, did his baptism, them taken to another by the Spirit of God. Acts 8:34-39.

      Christina- I understood what you are saying. I have several friends who are not SDA, or even Christians. Yesterday I called a friend who I got to know last year and she is of a different religion. My Muslim friend, once coworker, sends me scripture readings everyday and I sent them also to her. I do not go in the Koran that I have and look for quotes to send for her. I have other co-workers who are Muslims. I have Hindu coworker, etc. At the food pantry we gave out food to anyone who is in need regardless of race or religion/non religion or Politian affiliation.
      For several mornings I am waking up with this hymn singing-
      # 213. Lift up the trumpet and loud let it ring, Jesus is coming again. If we see people living and dying in sin and we do not do our part to point men to Jesus and his soon coming, we will he held responsible for their sins. Mankind only hope is in Jesus. I talk to those the Lord place in my way on a daily basis and let them know about the God I serve how he is a might provider and he is powerful to save.

  8. I think the tough part is that we use the Bible to defend our worldview, but you must believe the Bible is inspired to use it in this way. Others can just say it's just a human book (and they do). Don't get me wrong, I do believe the Bible, but I'm not sure looking up Bible verses will convince the secular people around us. I agree with Maurice that the way we live is the most convincing testimony.

    I grew up in a Christian home and have never known anything else. It's easy to judge others who have had different experiences, but it's not very profitable.

    I have a colleague who is an atheist. She asked me once what I get out of my faith. I told her "peace, a sense of purpose etc." She liked that idea, but said she has never felt God, even as a child (she was raised in a Catholic home in Switzerland). As a Christian, I can't believe God wasn't try to reach her all those years, but it does no good to argue with her experience. It is real. All I can do is be honest and humble in my dealings with her.

    I do remember a time when another colleague was kind of making fun of creationists and she actually stood up for creationists even though I know she believes in evolution. I feel she was standing up for me in a sense. She has also defended other religious people who are kind but have what society calls "bigoted beliefs" (you probably can guess what those are). So in my heart, I feel she is an honest-hearted truth-seeker. But she hasn't moved any closer to Christianity either.

    I would say we have become friends and check up on each other though we have now been working from home since March due to the pandemic. When she shares her struggles, I tell her I'll pray for her, and I feel she genuinely appreciates that. But she would be very turned off by the attitudes in the lesson, I think. I guess mostly all I can do is be a friend and pray for. I do respect her as a person and always will, no matter whether she stays an atheist or not.

    • "... I feel she is an honest-hearted truth-seeker."

      Having looked cover to cover through the Bible quite a number of times, the distinction between those who are part of the Kingdom of God and those who aren't is their heart orientation: beneficent vs self-seeking.

      Hence 1 Samuel 16:7 is a significant summary statement that is also in harmony with Paul's observations in Romans 2:11-16. Also notice the diagnostic assessment ('judgment') in Genesis 6:5 regarding the heart condition of those who perished outside the ark because they did not take up the offer to participate in salvation by being among those who entered the ark.


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