Shots Across the Bow

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Why Am I a Christian? Part 1: A Brief History of Us

There's a lot of different answers for that question.

I am a Christian because God has called me to follow Him and I am answering that Call.

That sounds pretty arrogant, doesn't it? After all, who am I to claim that the all powerful all knowing all everything Lord of all creation has taken personal notice of an insignificant little sinner like me, and specifically called me to follow him? It's preposterous. It's lunacy.

It's the truth.

Let's start by looking at the Bible. Here are a few Scriptures to start the conversation.

Matthew 20:16
So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.

Rom 1:7
To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called [to be] saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:28-30
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Ok, I know, I've lost a bunch of you when I started quoting Scripture. After all, it's just the Bible, right? It's just a book.

Well, I disagree with that idea very strongly, and here's why.

Let's look at a few things the Old Testament had to say about Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Isaiah 50:6 I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
Isaiah 53:9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.
Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

These were all written more than 400 years before Christ was born. In Daniel, we find out the exact year Christ would be born. In fact, the prophecies in Daniel were so accurate that many scholars thought that the Book of Daniel had to have been written much later than tradition claimed. That is, they thought that until a copy of the book was found among the Dead Sea scrolls and dated to 300 BC.

When a book can make predictions that specifically about events that won't happen for another 300-500 years, it's time to pay attention to it.

But let's get back to Christianity, and why I am a Christian.

I love science. I love learning about how things work, how they fit together, what makes things happen, all that great stuff. I'm not a scientist myself, but I have a solid grounding in science, and I read voraciously.

One of the areas I really get into is theoretical physics, and astrophysics, specifically the origins of the universe. Essentially, when you're talking about the origins of the universe, all the competing theories boil down to one of two contradictory yet equally ridiculous propositions.

Proposition 1. The universe is eternal.

Proposition 2. The universe appeared out of nothing.

The universe exists, therefore it has either always existed, or it was created from nothing. Science, for obvious reasons, favored Proposition 1, but the latest research, much to their surprise, now favors Proposition 2. The universe is not eternal; it had a beginning and will have an end.

Score one for the Bible, eh?

Well, not so fast. A beginning doesn't always mean there has to be a beginner, if you see what I'm saying. There is a possibility that things just, well, happened. And that's what the scientists are telling us right now.

The theory goes something like this.

In the beginning was nothing. Absolutely nothing. No time, no space, no energy, no matter. Picture your fridge two days before payday. That's the kind of nothing I'm talking about.

Except it's a little more complicated when you get close to zero on a sub atomic level. It turns out that when you get down to very very small things, the laws of physics don't act like they do at our gross physical level. Because of the quantum nature of our universe, we can't be precisely sure what zero is. If you remember your high school physics, you might remember something called the uncertainty principle. If you're a real nerd like me, you might even remember that it said that we can't be absolutely certain of the position and the velocity of a subatomic particle. We can know either one individually, but not both.

Now when my high school teacher explained it, she made it sound like it was a limitation on our experimental ability, that the act of measuring one aspect of a particle changed the other aspect. The truth is that it goes deeper than that. The more accurate way of saying it is that once you get small enough, the universe itself isn't sure of the exact characteristics of a particle or a piece of space for that matter. Obviously, zero is smaller than that, and in a very real way, the value of zero is indeterminate.

So what does this mean to us? Well, when I say that in the beginning there was nothing, that is both true and false. It is true that we were at a zero state, but the actual value of zero was indeterminate, and by that, I mean it moved. Zero at one instant in time was bigger than at another instant in time.

Yes, I see a hand in the back...

I thought you said there was no time at this point? How could things be changing?

Excellent question! In order for zero to change, time had to be passing. So physicists have theorized that a different kind of time existed before the universe began called, and I am not making this up, imaginary time. Imaginary time is absolutely unrelated to real time, which hadn't even started yet, and according to most physicists conveniently went away on vacation when real time began, which was certainly a relief for the future watchmakers of the universe.

And then it blew up. Chaos theory has a type of equation that can be applied to this indeterminate variation of sub quantum level states and if you solve it just right, it rapidly expands, and some physicists believe a similar blow up was the origin of our universe.

So here's the scientific picture of the origin of the Universe. There was nothing, but that nothing was sometimes more than nothing and other times less than nothing as it varied indeterminately in imaginary time. Then it blew up and we had a Universe.

Like I said, I love science, and this mind game is a lot of fun to play, and who knows, it might even be close to the truth, but think about it for a minute.

We're looking at a very improbable event either way we look at it. Whether we believe that an Infinite Being created the entire universe, or we believe that the Universe sprang into being because of a chaotic explosion in imaginary time, we're making a pretty big leap of faith either way. Both ideas are so ridiculous that the only reason they are not dismissed out of hand is, well, we had to get here somehow.

So what does all of this have to do with why I am a Christian?

Because when you look at science, and everything we know, and everything we've learned, and everything we think we've learned, there's still room for God. The big questions, how did we get here, where did we come from, how did life begin, are we the result of billions of happy accidents, or was there a plan, why are we here, these remain unanswered with no real indication that science will answer them any time in the near future.

Christianity has those answers, if we're willing to look, and learn, and listen. That doesn't mean I reject science, not at all. Science is great on how, at least in most cases, but why is another matter altogether. I'll be talking more about science in the days to come because there's some really interesting things going on right now. As a teaser, I'll just say that when Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is at hand, he was describing a physical truth that modern man did not become aware of for almost 2000 years.
Posted by Rich
Christianity 101 • (4) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

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You lost me when you started talking quantum physics... I preferred your explanation when we were kids, "because that's the way God made it..."
Posted by Deedi  on  11/13  at  12:15 PM

Nice post. I'm looking forward to Part II.
Posted by Byron  on  11/13  at  12:37 PM

I like the cut of your jib, sir.
Posted by Chris  on  11/13  at  02:22 PM

I'd love to learn more about imaginary time. Where would I find the best information on it?
Posted by Tim  on  01/03  at  07:13 PM

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