When a thing has been said and said well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.

This a document from my advisor/professor that I think holds some valuable insights. Take note that none of the italicized thoughts are my owns, but simply ones that I have copied down for you.

These are reflections that – I believe – are best presented in print (so you can see and ponder them). The central theme is that God reveals Himself from the creation (Ps. 19, Ps. 8, Job 38-41, Rom. 1:16-20, etc.).

There are many whose level of expertise/experience in the way of handling scientific data is quite low… I can’t imagine taking the approach below with them – after all, their background means they value other things. In fact, most whose appreciation for the sciences is weak tend to see the explanations from the sciences as just another opinion in an ocean of opinions… of little value.

The more experience you have in the sciences, however, the more you tend to see the powerful explanatory capabilities of the sciences. You see how such explanations are drawn from huge quantities of evidence. You see how those explanations are guided and confined by their ability to describe and conform to that measurable evidence, even when tested again and again.

You see how those explanations can take on a life of their own and generate predictions – which are also tested, and which then add further confirmation to the explanations.

And if you can see God’s place as creator and sustainer of the universe, you can be quickly blown away by His capability and design. His character is being revealed.

Here is an abbreviated list of character qualities clearly revealed in the creation:

* omnipresence (from the big bang theory and from radioactive decay that describes short and incredibly long lifetimes for atomic nuclei);

* omnipotence (big bang theory again; the truly universal extent of the ‘laws of nature’ such as gravitational attraction and inertia – which we might just as well recognize as God’s sustaining and directing hand);

* changelessness – from one time to another, and from one place to another (shown by astronomical data, which gives us a look back in time – since it takes time for light from distant objects to reach us – and across great distances);

* creativity (consider the variety of birds, flowers, and even among humans; consider that the big bang theory demands a creation from nothing);

* a mind above our understanding – omniscience (shown both in the simplicity of the equations of our physical laws such as gravity; and in the complexity/inter-relatedness of the various physical laws, such as the relationship between magnetism and electrical charge behavior – which are superimposable onto the same equations!);

* a desire to be known by us (that these same laws above should be discoverable and recognizable to our comparatively limited human mental capacities; that the skies of our planet do not absorb visible light, as they do absorb most of the wavelengths not discernable by our eyes – allowing us to see, appreciate, and study the heavens);

* care for us / love (that there is protection for us built in at so many levels… boundaries for the oceans, protection from X-rays by the action of molecules in our atmosphere, seasons that promote growing cycles, biological characteristics such as eyelids and eyelashes, etc.; and pleasures for our appreciation, such as music, sunsets, rainbows, flowers, birds, etc.);

* His desire for relationship with us (the common yearning for fulfilling relationship shared by humans, and the common search for more depth –for God – in truly filling that need);

* His standard for perfection – His position on that scale of good and evil (our own consciences remind us that we don’t measure up to a standard that is incredibly, unachievably high; the laws of nature show us an exceptionless standard of action);

* how He “builds in” mechanisms for recovery/reconciliation after instances of evil (consider that dying/exploding stars become the ‘seeds’ for growth of the next stars; that forest fires lead to predictable recovery patterns; that nutrients in our soils and energy sources deep underground are both the result of death – a natural evil – for some earlier creature);

* and more… (I find it difficult to impose any type of limit to the way the creation describes the hidden attributes and divine nature of our God – this list is not complete).

What it takes more than anything else is a sense that God is part of the picture.

Placing concepts such as evolution or the big bang (to focus only on origin-type explanations) under the direction of God – considering them to be His tools – completely transforms how a Christian might look at those foundational ways of understanding the evidence.

Again, it all comes down to applying ourselves to reconciling God’s revelations of truth.

From Proverbs 2:1-6 – Search for understanding/wisdom as for silver… then you will find the fear of the Lord. [It’s not like searching for gold, which is found pure in nugget form – that would be too easy to be a good analogy. Instead, the search for understanding is like searching for a valuable metal found only as a chemical compound (an ore)… it is not pure and it doesn’t even look like silver, so it will take the skill of metallurgists… and even when it is purified it requires our continuing effort to prevent tarnishing. The search for wisdom and understanding is of highest value – it leads to the fear of God, but it is not easy; it is both difficult and demands continuing energy. *Note: Solomon wrote this within a generation of Israel’s development of these metallurgical methods. Note also the extensive use of this analogy throughout scripture… that this kind of refining also happens in our own souls.]

Isn’t that interesting? Your thoughts?

The Great Puzzle: who am I?

It’s Sunday.

It’s Sunday and I went to church.

It’s Sunday and I went to church and I found out that I don’t know who I am.

Well, specifically, I was told that I don’t understand myself at all. Which is a partially true statement. The pastor said that the only person who completely understands me is the God who made me.

Let’s be honest: I can’t argue with that.

But this opens a lot of questions. If I don’t understand myself, how can I possibly live a life to fulfill goals that I’m not even sure that I want in the first place? What are my true goals then? What are my motives for acting the way that I do? Why do I experience emotions? Why can’t I pick just one favorite color instead of switching based on my mood? Why can’t I pick a favorite food instead of selecting all the food I would want for my last meal if I was on Death Row?

…see what I mean? Important questions.

But, for some reason, I’m okay with not knowing who I am. I think I’ll be just fine figuring it out as I go along my way. Usually I would be freaking out by this lack of information.

Why am I responding in a perfectly logical and calm manner?

Not sure. Probably because I have no idea who I am.

What will Heaven smell like?

I have this feeling that when I go to Heaven, my olfactory glands (or whatever they are called) will explode. This might be a good thing because we will have perfect bodies then and maybe God’s idea of perfection is a noseless face. Maybe, after all this time on Earth, we will go to Heaven and find out that noses were a result of the Fall!

…But maybe not. Maybe we will still have noses and I will be assaulted with celestial scents so divine that they will clear out my sinuses for all of eternity.

I hope it smells like communion. I hope I will be enveloped by the smell of fresh bread, still warm from the galaxy-gas ovens. I hope there will be a sickly, sweet stench of red wine that permeates the atmosphere.

I hope it smells like dryer sheets, like the godly garments that He has freshly folded out of the Elysian laundry basket. Whenever I get dressed, I hope that that clean smell with always tickle my nostrils, teasing me and reminding that I have narrowly escaped the earthly curse of never-ending laundry. Now I shall suffer no more.

I hope it smells like bonfire, like the acrid malevolence of the splintered cross succumbing to the sulfurous flames. I hope the faint smoky smell with follow me wherever I go, clinging to my hair like the ghostly presence of a nearly forgotten friend. In fact, that’s how I got here.

I hope it smells like dude. Not a bad dude smell, but a good dude smell. I hope that whenever I give God a huge hug, that the rich masculine smell of my Father would pat me on the head as I go about my day. I hope that whenever I give Jesus a fist-bump, some of his essence would linger on my fingers — not a sweaty, awkward, “when-did-you-last-shower?” smell, but a comfortable big brother smell that beckons a smile to my face. And whenever the Holy Spirit greets my with a holy kiss (because that’s His thing and everyone just goes with it), I hope it’s accented with the teasing spice of expensive cologne — strong enough that the musk is noticeable but not so overpowering that you can’t breathe.

I hope that Heaven smells like communion, dryer sheets, bonfire, and lots and lots of dude.

Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.

Yesterday, the raindrops plummeted to the ground during the thunderstorm that accompanied my move-in day. I was with some of my good friends watching Doctor Who and swooning over Matt Smith’s cheekbones when the swirling clouds darkened the window. I didn’t really mind — I actually admire the power of storms. Little did I know that that wasn’t all that was going to fall that day.

The nervousness had slipped to the back burner at this point, but it was still eating away at my thoughts. I was ignoring it, distracting myself with attractive British men so that I wouldn’t focus on the important deadlines that would be on my radar in a week, running on the hamster wheel because it was easier than jumping off. Even when I returned to my room after those BBC episodes, I refused to think about it.

I opened the door to see that the RAs had visited our room and dropped off our planners, papers to fill out, and chocolate (because obviously). There was a little post-it note attached to each of our individual packets; two simple sentences that weren’t meant to be a big deal.

Sydney,
It was nice meeting you! I’m really excited for this year and to get to know you!
Brittney
Psalm 55:22

I had only introduced myself to her for a fraction of a second and I remembered vague details about her: mainly, she lived across the hall and had curly hair. The verse caught my attention though. I skimmed my roommates’ notes and recognized all their verses, but mine? I had to look it up.

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

I don’t believe in coincidences. God has a purpose for everything and I know that He was the one who inspired Brittney to write that verse on my specific post-it note. I’m just grateful that she listened. Based on how I’ve been feeling recently, I couldn’t have asked for more encouraging words. If she had given me any of the other verses and I could’ve rattled it off in my head and thought nothing more of it. But she gave me the one I didn’t know that led to me to get in my bible and look it up. I’ve got this one memorized too now 🙂 but that doesn’t mean I won’t go back and read it again.

And yes, Miss Brittney Miller. I’m excited to get to know you too 🙂