Tag: Azusa Pacific University

A Sceptic Meets Hubble

A Sceptic Meets Hubble

Science and Technology have come a long way in recent years. Especially in Astronomy. The Hubble Telescope and the Gravity Wave Telescope for example are two of the most impressive instruments ever created by human hands. In fact, these two telescopes are said to be the most precisely tuned instruments ever made. The degree of specificity to which the Gravity Wave Telescope can be adjusted is 1 part in 10 to the 23. Or, the number 1 with 23 zero’s after it. If you’re like me and that kind of number doesn’t quite compute, suffice it to say that these telescopes can be adjusted up to approximately one trillionth of an inch. Beyond comprehension.

But the Creator of the Universe makes the best of our machines look like kids craft day at your local Home Depot. Our God has fine tuned the Universe to a degree of accuracy that is a trillion x trillion x trillion x trillion x trillion x trillion x trillion x trillion times more accurate than the Hubble Telescope or the Gravity Wave Telescope. Yes, that’s a trillion to the eighth power. If this insane level of fine tuning is off just slightly, our earth would not be fit for life.

This fine tuning data is terrible news to the sceptic, especially the Atheist, according to Dr. Hugh Ross, an astrophysicist from Glendora California; Ross explains in a speech given at Azusa Pacific University several years ago, that when the Space Energy Density Term (which is the result of recent scientific data about our universe) was confirmed by both believers and Atheists alike, a few of the Atheist Physicists expressed their disappointment with the following words;

Lawrence Krauss wrote “we are now forced to accept that we live in a universe with this space energy density term. This has profound negative implications.” Of course it’s only negative if you’re an Atheist.

Ross quoted the comments of 2 unnamed Jewish Atheists as was published in the British Journal Nature; “This type of universe requires a degree of fine tuning of the initial conditions that is an apparent conflict with common wisdom.” The common wisdom they’re referring to is Atheism.

A Swiss astrophysicist, also unnamed by Ross, was quoted as to having said; “We are now confronted with a disturbing cosmic coincidence problem.” Again, it’s only a problem if you’re an atheist.

For the first time in History perhaps, it has become impossible for an honest Atheist to deny an intentional creation by a divine hand. But for those of us who are believers, it’s a confirmation of what our faith has already allowed us to know.

Our God has lovingly fine tuned the universe in which our planet resides so that life is possible. And if God can fine tune the vast and complex cosmos to the degree he has, how much more is he capable of fine tuning every aspect of our lives down to the slightest detail. And what little we’re able to see of the universe has a way of speaking to that issue in a unique way.

After getting a glimpse of how our universe may have come together and just how accurate and deliberate its design is, I now view the stars from a different perspective. Astrophysicists tell us that if humanity had been created any earlier, we would not be able to see the stars. And if we had been created later in the timeline of creation the stars would be out of viewing range. Our path of view simply will become too narrow to see a single star as the universe expands over time. Humanity was created at the optimal time to see Gods vast array of lights scattered throughout the sky. And I would not suffer the suggestion of mere coincidence in the parallel existence of humanity and the stars.

I recently went star-gazing on a cold night as inspired by my research for this blog. All I could think about was God’s glory, his beauty and the level of excellence he’s capable of. The stars themselves seemed to evoke such quiet praise. And as I continued to meditate on his greatness, my mind would occasionally jump back to my current struggles, worries and wants. And they seemed petty compared to the expanse of the blanket of stars I was engaging.

As I continued to take in a small glimpse of our own galaxy, my spirit was elevated as if to the stars themselves. And all seemed in perspective, at least for a while. And I couldn’t help but ask; if God can create such a universe with the skill that makes the smartest among us scratch their head, shouldn’t I trust him with my life? And to think that this brilliant God is love at his core, is almost too much to take in. But I gladly took it in.

I walked away from star-gazing that night with something of profound value; that God simply is. And somehow that is enough. And the longer I pondered our God in the stillness that night, the more alive I felt. I knew in my heart that whatever we’re struggling with, it cannot affect us beyond God’s will. And his will is that ultimately we know his faithful love without a hint of doubt. That we bear fruit. That we prosper. Especially in the vein of trust, hope, peace, contentment and gratefulness. And that filled me with an overwhelming joy. My heart was settled. My fear again waned.

As the Psalmist wrote;

“When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?” Psalm 8:3-4 NIV

When God wanted to encourage Abraham and give him a vision for the promises he had made, he asked him to go outside and look up at the stars.

He will encourage you with the same stars that Abraham saw. So keep looking up, he made them for you.

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Who Removed My Coat?

Who Removed My Coat?

In a ministries class I once took at Azusa Pacific University, we studied the life and work of Mother Teresa. Her early work took place in one of the poorest places on earth at the time; Calcutta, India. We watched films of her and her fellow nuns as they carefully removed emaciated souls from the streets. They offered affection, food and water. Much to my amazement though, some of those barely alive were smiling as they received the care. They appeared to be dead as they lied on the streets, but they were alive enough to express appreciation for the love shown.

Years later, Mother Teresa made the controversial move to New York City to care for the poor. They showed footage of her work in this vast city. Most of the poor in New York already had housing, we’re far from starving and had their basic needs met. One big difference though; they weren’t smiling. They appeared devoid of any joy or gratitude. They seemed dead in fact. Not in body like those on the streets of Calcutta, but in spirit. Mother Teresa went on to say that the United States suffers from the worst kind of poverty; spiritual poverty.

God desires to clothe you and me with his righteousness in part to protect us from the deceptions of this life. And that includes the deception of the glitter of gold. And the Word reminds with little subtlety that a thief is indeed real and ready to remove our coat.

Caught in the Storm

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:9-11

So how does this evil force called Satan actually steal from us? One common way is through creating a counterfeit idea of what a full life is. And too many fall for a monetary model of success apart from spiritual fulfillment, even in the church. I have seen far too many good church attending Christians allow their ambitions to take up all the space in their heart. They no longer are excited about the things of God, no longer want to even talk about God and they lose their taste for his precious word. They just can’t get their minds off the pursuit of the American Dream. And their spiritual life is neatly tucked into a 2 hour time slot each Sunday morning.

Some of us tend to get into trouble when Gods blessings become more important than our personal connection with God. When God is no longer our first love, the very reason we lift our head off the pillow each day. In the process, we allow the coat of protection from deception to be removed. So how do we make sure that the wealth we’re surrounded by doesn’t smother out our understanding of what a full life really is?

Part of the answer is found in the words of the Apostle Paul. He faced the same temptations and struggles we do. And in a letter to the Corinthians, he makes a insightful statement that hints to the reason for his spiritual survival;

“And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15: 30-31 NKJV

Paul saw the need to die to his human nature everyday that he may avoid the deception of a life apart from God. Though we live in a very wealthy country in general and we ourselves may be enjoying our own success, we must deny our success in a way that we don’t live by it. It’s taken me years to learn not to look to the blessings themselves, but to the one who blesses. It’s that simple.

As we live by the spirit of God each day and deny the very flesh that thrives within, this is when our witness will matter the most. If we’re not resisting effectively, we won’t be the light God has called us to be.

I like the imagery of a coat because when I take heart and soul to God, when I bask in his Word and contemplate his excellence and beauty, and when I care more about what he thinks than anyone else, I feel as if God has placed the coat of love, hope and peace on my back. And then I know what it’s like for God to provide for me well beyond monetary success.

When this happens, my bitterness fades. My greed subsides. My anxious spirit softens. The worries I would normally carry disappear and my whole being finds a balance only God can arrange. My poverty of spirit becomes one of wealth. And once again, I have eyes of abundance for Gods bountiful gifts and generosity. Don’t be fooled by the counterfeit life that the evil one would dangle before our eyes, it’s far too shallow and hardly sufficient for what God desires for you and me.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Matthew 6:32-34 NKJ

Don’t let anyone or anything remove the coat God has placed on you.

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