A few weeks ago I finished the stimulating book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, by Rob Bell. In it, he reveals some fascinating facts such as:

– The edge of the universe is roughly ninety billion trillion miles away.

– Our solar system fills less than a trillionth of the available space.

– 96% of the universe is made up of dark matter, black holes, and dark energy.

– A single grain of sand contains 22 quintillion atoms.

– The nucleus of one of those atoms? It is one millionth of a billionth of the volume of the atom.

– Sub atomic particles are constantly in motion, exploring all of the possible paths from point a to point b – at the same time — meaning they are nowhere and everywhere at the same time.

– When you stand on the sidewalk and see your reflection in the glass front of a store, it's because some of the light particles from the sun (photons) don't pass through the glass. They essentially bounce off of it and all you to see your reflection. Other photons, however, go through the glass and illuminate the goods inside the store. The weird thing is, it's impossible to predict which particles will do which thing.

And if all of that isn't enough to just blow your mind get this: “As things heat up, they register different colors, each new color representing an increase in temperature. And so, according to the standard assumptions about heat and corresponding color, your toaster should glow blue.

But it doesn't; it glows red. Why? No one knows. WHAT?

Can you feel the magnificence of that statement? We have put men on the moon but have no idea why our toasters glow red?!?!

(Side note: That really is how I read the book. There are fascinating facts and mind blowing science on page after page and I'm thinking, “Wow, that's awesome. How amazing.” Then I get to the toaster thing and that's when my mind was blown…go figure.)

And Bell goes on:

– Your body is made up of about seventy-five trillion cells.

– Each of those cells contains six feet worth of DNA.

– We share over 60 percent of our genes with fruit flies, over 90 percent with mice, and 96 percent with large apes.

– Every twenty-eight days you get completely new skin.

– Every nine years your entire body is renewed.

Your. entire. body. Every. cell. New. Every nine years. (I'm four years away from my 5th me.)

And so, this got me to thinking about Jesus. And specifically — for those of us who believe that Jesus is the son of God and therefore all knowing -how maddening it must have been for Him to come to earth before we knew any of this stuff. I mean really – can you imagine knowing all about disease and medicine and energy, and on and on and on, but also know that there was no means of making a finite man understand it?

It would be like teaching a toddler to drive – too much information. Incapable of handling the knowledge.

Timing is everything, and I've no doubt that He came right when He needed to be here. Long before we made advances in science. I also am quite certain that He would have loved to explain more. But hundreds of years later people would still be stoned for believing in the most rudimentary science facts, and at the time He was here, He had a limited time to share His message. Moreover, this critical message of love and grace would eventually end in a crucifixion, so the battles He was sent to fight were chosen well before his arrival.

But maybe that is why the bible is so challenging to understand. Just maybe that is why Jesus spoke and taught in parables. Parables that had a meaning that could expand as our knowledge expanded. We understand so much more about this beautiful and intricate universe. Proverbs 2:10 says, “For wisdom will come into your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.” Oh, amen. How true is that, and how beautiful and infinitely amazing this world is. But how careful would God have had to be when explaining things without revealing too much? How careful would He have had to be reveal without overwhelming us?

I guess some may argue that a loving God would have come specifically for that purpose, to give us this basic knowledge – but is that even feasible? Can I ever teach a toddler how to drive a car? There is only so much we can handle at any given time. The universe has had to reveal itself over thousands of years and while our capacity to understand has accelerated rapidly. What wonders still remain? It takes time for us to accept new ideas and new concepts; knowledge is not something you can just pour over people and expect them to absorb in a single sitting. The universe unfolds just as it should, slowly.

And then I am humbled once again by the thought that this same essay could have been written, in all sincerity, 1000 years ago, 100 years ago, 10 years ago….and yet what we once thought of as knowledge is no more. It's amazing how much of our 'knowledge' has already been laid to waste – swallowed up by deeper truths and more clear understanding. Knowledge is always put away in the end for new knowledge to take its place. It always has been and always will be. I believe that to be true until one day when all knowledge will be made whole and all will be revealed. One day our eyes will be opened and we will understand and see everything. Some of what we know will be put away, much like the idea of the sun revolving around the earth. Some will be expanded upon further and we will find that our rudimentary knowledge of quantum physics is just the tip of the iceberg. Who knows, perhaps we will find we got a few things right.

For me, the deeper the mystery, the higher my love, the wider my belief…the more peaceful my soul. I think God revels in our building the blocks of knowledge and unlocking the mysteries of his amazing universe. But I also believe that with that knowledge we have to maintain our humanity and honor the Spirit of love that is in each of us. 2 Corinthian 8:7 says, “But as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you – see that you excel in this act of grace also.”

We were never meant to excel in grace and forsake knowledge, but neither were we to excel in knowledge and forego grace. It is only when we learn to live in balance with both of these things that we are able to fully appreciate this gift.

I encourage my fellow believers to embrace the beauty of science as a gift from a loving God.

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” Proverbs 19:1

 

  • Cathy

    Awesome Julie! I am always amazed by nature, the human body, science, and everything that I see. How can you not be awed by God and all His creation.
    You are an inspiration to me.

    • jgaustin

      Thank you, Cathy!

  • Barb A

    Amen!! God is good all the time God is good

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