Friday, August 16, 2013

You Can Count on Him

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet without your Father’s knowledge not one of them can fall to the ground. As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than any number of sparrows.”[1]

God knows every random bird that “falls to the ground” or perishes, all over the world. That’s what Jesus said.

God knows how many hairs are on a person’s head. In fact, this applies to every person.

A 1951 estimate by an ornithologist estimated the worldwide bird population at “more than 100 billion individual wild birds in the world…”[2] That is 100,000,000,000 estimated. That is about fourteen birds for every human being. If 150,000 people die each day, then the number of birds that die every day would be 2,100,000. That is nearly 100,000 birds an hour “falling to the ground.” Over 16,000 a minute.  Over 270 birds die each second. Yet Jesus says “without your Father’s knowledge not one of them can fall to the ground.”

We’re talking an enormous knowledge base. An unfathomable ability to process information. Talk about attention to detail! Not one of them is missed. He is aware.

“… even the hairs of your head have all been counted.” Estimates of how many hairs are on a human head range from about 100,000 to 150,000. That is for one person. I am not sure a count has ever been done that exactly numbers even one head of hair.  Another factor is that about 100 hairs fall out per day, on average. The number keeps varying. So take the conservative estimate of 100 K hairs. Now multiply that times the number of people on earth, which is 7 billion. That number must come out to 7,000,000,000,000,000. If decades old, cob-web encrusted math is correct. That’s a lot of strands of hair. God has counted them. At any given time, he knows the number on my head, and on yours.


Why is he aware of every one of the 1000 birds that have died as I have written this sentence? Why does he know how many hairs are on the head of the proprietor of the Loop Plumbing Company in Mobile, Alabama?

Firstly there's the theological answer that God is omniscient, He knows all. He is capable of doing it and he does it. Secondly, and closer to our hearts, the best answer I can come up with is that He cares. He just plain cares. The things he's made matter to Him. They have value. This counting of impossibly high numbers of items, this awareness of innumerable happenings, is simply a manifestation of the fact that God cares. 

Birds have value. You have more value. “You are worth more than any number of sparrows.”

[1] Matthew 10:29-30
[2] The Audubon Encyclopedia of North American Birds

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Beautiful Balancing Act

There is a really good PBS video called “The Secrets of the Sun,” on Nova. I am giving the link here, because watching it may be more interesting than reading about it on this blog. It is 53 minutes well-invested.

As a Christian apologist, two things stood out to me while watching this documentary about the sun. These provide evidence that the Universe has been purposefully created by God.

The first has to do with the composition of the Sun. Nuclear fusion in its core is the source of it’s great heat and light. There is a nuclear reaction going on in the core of the Sun that is equivalent to millions of atomic bombs going off each second. If that is so, then why doesn’t the Sun blow apart? A Princeton Scientist explains on the documentary, “Because there’s a beautiful balancing act that occurs. In the core of the Sun you’ve got this pressure, from all of this fusion pushing outwards; and the sun is huge so you have all this gravitational pressure pushing downward so you’ve got this gravity pushing down and the Sun trying to blow itself apart from the inside, and it is this beautiful balancing  act between the two, that keeps the Sun in one piece.[1] It’s a “beautiful balancing act.” Just the right amount of push both ways to keep the Sun stable and dependable. I find it exciting how these types of balancing acts keep occurring over and over again in nature.

The second point that grabbed me in this documentary was the fact that the Sun is vibrating. Because of the massive movement of the Sun’s plasma due to convection, many, many sound frequencies are emitted from the Sun. Satellite studies of the Sun’s surface tended to show it vibrating. It was initially thought to be errors in the instruments. As the instruments improved, scientists finally realized the entire surface of the sun vibrates… with sound.

The sound is compared to notes on a pipe organ. Another web source quotes Stanford scientist Dr Amara Graps as comparing the sound to a bell.[2]  Professor Ken Lang of Tufts University writes, "The Sun is playing a secret melody, hidden inside itself, that produces a widespread throbbing motion of its surface. The sounds are coursing through the Sun's interior, causing the entire globe, or parts of it, to move in and out, slowly and rhythmically like the regular rise and fall of tides in a bay or of a beating heart." [3]

The sun is like a pipe organ. Like a bell. Like the rise and fall of tides. Like a beating heart.

Maybe now we begin to comprehend the meaning of the passage in Psalms: "Praise Him Sun and Moon, Praise Him, all you shining stars." [4]

[1] Luc Peterson, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, on the PBS Video, Nova: The Secrets of the Sun
[4] Psalm 148:3 (Revised Standard Version)

Quotes of Note ... The Invisible World

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize the strategies, refusing to cooperate with them, and aggressively cutting off the schemes of the devil in Jesus’ name.” Dean Sherman

“those who protest that God cannot exist because there is too much evil evident in life… Evil exists; therefore, the Creator does not. That is categorically stated… If evil exists, one must assume that good exists in order to know the difference. If good exists, one must assume that a moral law exists by which to measure good and evil. But if a moral law exists, must not one posit an ultimate source of moral law, or at least an objective basis for a moral law? By an objective basis, I mean something that is transcendingly true at all times, regardless of whether I believed it or not.” Ravi Zacharias

“But the Devil is no big threat to God’s purposes; he is not even remotely comparable in power. He has been given a limited time before his final judgment to try to prove his case, just as all other moral beings who have chosen to live in rebellion against heaven.” W.A. Pratney

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I've served as a life-long missionary in Samoa, the Pacific region, India, and now in Pennsylvania. The Christian faith is reasonable and works in real life. It is true to the facts. Hope you enjoy some of the thoughts. I appreciate feedback.

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