Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Miracles & Physics - A Clarification

In my previous post, I discussed why I believe that God's miracles do not defy the laws physics that He created himself to govern the universe.

A few of you have challenged my assumption and I wanted to offer some clarification.

I think the best place to start here is with the concept of resurrection. Presumably Lazarus was beginning to decay and rigor mortis had certainly set it. Bringing him back to life was a trivial matter for Jesus (you either believe it or you don't) but let's look at it from a scientific point of view.

In order to view this objectively, you have to shift your thinking and separate "what" can be manipulated and "how" it is manipulated. Most of you know that something in material makeup of your computer screen has been manipulated by electricity and some clever tinkering with 1's and 0's to produce the words you're reading right now. So you know "what", but not "how" it's done.

Apply this to a resurrection. We are, in a material sense, nothing more than the elements of the Earth, assembled together by some formula we truly don't understand and imbued with the ability to replenish the ever dying parts of our system by eating, drinking water, etc. Lazarus was no different. When he died, he was a complete living machine. Is it beyond conceivable that Jesus was able to take what already existed and reconstitute it and return the life and soul of Lazarus to him without breaking the rules of the universe? Remember, right now we're not concerned with the "how", just the "what". The material Jesus needed to make Lazarus whole again was already there! Obviously, God did not create new material to bestow upon Lazarus since creation ended the 6th day. There is a finite amount of building blocks to work with. God created this universe and the physical rules by which it's governed. I would contend that God doesn't likely distinguish between the spiritual rules and the physical ones not to mention the inter-dimensional rules that extend beyond our ability to observe but that's a completely different discussion. Adam was created from the dust of the Earth, not new material; creation was finished on the 6th day.

There are lots of miracles in the Old Testament. The pillar of fire that the Israelites followed in the wilderness was some advanced technology that we do not understand. So much of what we take for granted now would cause us to be executed for sorcery in the not too distant past. Hey, how did those tiny people get in that glass container you call a television? Imagine how cell phones would have been looked on a couple of hundred years ago. Most of our modern comforts would have been deemed scientifically impossible back then yet now they are ubiquitous.

Since God created the rules and can act on them from outside of that rule system, doesn't it seem very highly likely that he has ways of manipulating that system without breaking the ruleshe created? Doesn't it seem very likely that there are rules governing the universe that God has intentionally hidden from us and/or are beyond our ability to develop the technology to control? It seems reasonable.

God is a God of order. It seems to me that God created the system and sanctified it. Does God intervene? Absolutely but I believe he knew ahead of time what our needs would be and accounted for it from the dawn of creation. He knows the end from the beginning. Since God exists outside of our physical universe and is not bound by the constraints of time (which is a physical property) our future is just as close to him as our own present is to us today which is why he arranged ahead of time (from our perspective) for all of those miracles to come about.

Here are a few other miracles and possible explanations:
  • Long Day of Joshua - strong gravitational field from some other entity essentially neutralized the gravitational forces that currently move our planets around the sun.
  • Walls of Jericho - Earthquake seems the obvious answer.
  • Walk on Water - Manipulated the density of the water below him.
I cannot even begin to speculate on "how" he does any of it, but he does and I believe he does it without violating any precept that he established.

I'm open to be shown that I'm wrong, but just saying, "There's no way God could have done x without violating the laws of physics," isn't going to convince me. Provide an alternate theory.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thoughts On A Virgin Birth

In light of the story of the female shark giving birth without having been fertilized by a male, I was thinking about all of the Bible skeptics that think there cannot possibly be a virgin birth.

It's not that I think Mary spontaneously generated a child in her womb, but I did stop to consider how God created Jesus in her.

God created the physical laws of the universe and I don't believe that he can break those laws (or won't). Whatever miracles the Bible lists or that you might have personally witnessed have a scientific explanation for them. They are still miracles but God sticks to His boundaries in performing them.

How then did God impregnate Mary without violating all kinds of laws of the universe? First of all, just like the rest of us, Jesus has a body and a spirit. So, all God had to do is rearrange some of the existing matter in Mary to fertilize an egg just like he created Adam from the dust of the Earth. After/During the fertilization (I can't even speculate on the timing) God imbued the egg with the spirit of Jesus. Thus, Jesus was given his human body.

Yes, I could be way off base here. Maybe God caused, or allowed to happen a mutation in Mary that produced Jesus in much the same process as the shark in the story above was created. Feel free to invent your own theory; but my theory at least shows how an omnipotent being could facilitate a virgin birth without violating the laws of our physical universe.

Oh, one more thing to keep in mind. Since creation was finished on the 6th day, I don't think God specifically created something at the moment of conception. He would have to have use that which He had already created.