Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Science and the Bible" UT Seminar

     Last Friday, Christians on Campus hosted a seminar on "Science and the Bible." The speaker was a professor at UT, Dr. Ken Diller, who teaches in the Biomedical engineering department. The presentation he delivered was really clear and helped me align these two subjects in a proper way.

     As a student in the college of natural science, its not uncommon for me to hear a professor speak of evolution of man from apes as if it were an established fact. This can cause anyone to be a little confused and I would find myself struggling to relate what I was learning in class to my faith and belief in the Bible as the word of God. However, after hearing this lecture on "Science and the Bible," these two matters and how they relate to and exist with one another was made much more clear to me.

     The over all take-home message from this lecture was that "there's consistent harmony between verified science and the holistically interpreted Bible," meaning that when viewed as a whole, the Bible has no contention and conflict with hard, established scientific fact.

     What really impressed me from this lecture was a diagram shown which was entitled "Understanding Creation." Here, Dr. Diller, distinguished the two realms of the old creation and the new creation. In the old creation, there is science and the Bible. In the new creation there is God's purpose and God's economy. Within the old creation, science and the Bible were described as two different lines, each with a perspective, method and reason.

     On one hand, science can be described as having the perspective of the processes, meaning it focuses on how things change when altered. These processes are described by laws, equations and theories and are the subject of studies done by scientists. On the other hand, the perspective of the Bible is the purpose. If one wanted to find God's purpose for man or anything found in nature, this could not be found in science. This is only found in the Bible.

     The next point of difference along the lines of science and the Bible was the method. The method of science is concerned with the observable evidence or proof. Science is based on observable phenomena that can be measured, tested and manipulated. However, the method of the Bible is faith. As seen in Heb. 11:1, faith is concerning with things unseen.

The final point was the reason. While the reason for science is to explain the how, the reason for the Bible is to explain the why.


     After hearing this lecture, I feel a lot more at peace regarding the relationship between science and the Bible. Though there is undoubtedly many who would argue that there is great contention between science and the Bible, this stems from the mixing of the two lines or the attempt of trying to interconnect them. When we try to find purpose in science or even the processes in the Bible, we will just end up more confused and frustrated.

     So I am really thankful to have been able to see that science is where we find the processes, through means of observable proof, in order to find the how; whereas the Bible is where we can find the purpose, through means of unseen faith, in order to answer the why. To me, the purpose and why of nature and our human lives seems tremendously valuable. Therefore, I really treasure this opportunity to have learned more about how precious the word of God truly is. :)

for more on this...  here is another blog post on the same seminar :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Some More Helpful Principles

... continuing from last post with some more juicy principles...

The next principle is...

"A straight line is not God's way."

     This section of the book, on not being discouraged when we fall, was the most encouraging and helpful section to me. It discusses the common experience of really loving the Lord and pursuing Him during a period of time, then inexplicably and involuntarily falling. But then being revived and pursing the Lord again and so on and so on. Though we may prefer a continuous and smooth pursuit of the Lord our entire life, God's thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways (Isa. 55:8-9). It is through these experiences of failures and falls that we discover and realize that we are not dependable or consistent. And it is through these difficult situations, though they may be contrary to our preference, that God is able to work Himself into us. Though this path may seem uncertain or shaky, we need to remember that we are in the Lord's hand. So regardless to how much our situation or experience of the Lord changes, the intention behind His hand never changes! God's hand upon us has a consistent purpose from beginning to end! This was such a revelation to me! It really shows me that my thoughts and preferences are not a match to God's ways and thoughts! But  we can ask the Lord to open our eyes to know His ways so that our thoughts may be adjusted!

Though we may want a straight path, this is not God's way.

Another principle is...

"God's riches can be experienced only by those who have been defeated."

     When I read this, all I could say was wow! This point is mentioned in relation to David's great sin and failure. Through his failure, David's spirit and heart were broken. (Psa. 51:16-17). Similarly, when we fail, we become broken. However, in God's eyes, this is truly precious. God's desire is that we experience Him and enjoy Him. But if we were to be whole, with no "hole" or entrance for God, how would He enter into us? God can only accomplish His goal through our experiences of repeated failures. But of course, this doesn't mean that we purposely fail just to say that we are helping God's goal. As mentioned in the last principle, we are in God's hand and He will allow us to fall according to His ways. So there is no need to seek out failure. However, what I really enjoyed from this point is that when we do encounter failures and falls, we can realize that this is another opportunity to really gain the Lord and to allow Him to gain more ground in our being. The more we follow the Lord, and experience Him in this way, the more we will known the sweetness and preciousness of our failures and see them as God sees them.

Only through failures can we be broken so that God has a way to enter into our being.

The last principle is...

"God's unique goal for His chosen ones is to enter into them and to mingle Himself with them."

     Finally we come to God's goal. This point is so awesome! This section mentions that man's usefulness and function in relation to God are connected to his capacity to be mingled with God! So what does it mean to be mingled with God? In Genesis 1:26 we see that man was created in God's image and according to His likeness. This gives man the capacity to be mingled with God. This mingling is of two natures, human and divine. This is likened to sugar and water. A dry cube of sugar wouldn't be the most desirous form to eat sugar in, but when mixed with water, it's flavor is released. Man's human nature is like the dry sugar cube and God's divine nature is like the water. When God is put into man, the full flavor of God is manifested! But this mingling is also two-sided. God became a man, lived on the earth, died on the cross, resurrected and ascended to become the life-giving Spirit so that God could enter man. God is in every believer who has received God's salvation, however, every believer is not also in God. The proper living of God in man and man in God expresses the mingling of the two natures. When such a living is seen by man, there is a sense of both human flavor and divine flavor. This is how man can bear the flavor and scent of God and Christ! (2 Cor. 2:15)

God in man and man in God is like the mingling of sugar in water.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Helpful Principles

     As mentioned in my last post, this winter break I've been reading a book entitled, "God's Need and God's Goal." With only one more day of reading left, I have to say that I have been so encouraged and helped through this book. It addresses many common questions and experiences we may encounter throughout our Christian lives. Some highlights included a number of principles and points that were mentioned throughout the book.

The first one is...
"God supplies us according to our need." 

     This one literally blew me away! It made me consider how naturally, I don't want to need anything or anyone, but would rather be independent and self-reliant. But how is God suppose to supply someone who believes that they need nothing? He can't! This made me realize that needing much isn't necessarily a bad thing. According to this principle, one who needs much is able to be supplied much.

To come to the Lord empty handed allows Him to supply us with Himself.

The second one is...

"Any lack that we may feel speaks of a corresponding need of God."

     This, again, was revolutionary to me! Though we may not like to think that we need much, in actuality, we need a LOT! But this is just a picture of God's great desire to fulfill all that we lack or need. It's not unheard of to hear that man needs salvation or that man needs faith, power, grace and so on. But according to this principle, this need in man reflects a need in God! Have you every considered that God's salvation needs man!? Or that God's faith, power and grace needs man to be manifested and expressed through? This was so enjoyable to see! God really does need man!

Any lack we may feel is a reflection of God's desire to fill that lack with Himself!

Another principle is... 

"Behind everything that is visible and physical, there is something that is invisible and spiritual."

     This principle was presented in the chapter concerning the spiritual significance of a new year.  This principle is truly impressive because it shows that the reality of man does not merely depend on the visible and tangible, but actually on what is invisible and intangible. So in relation to the visible and physical cycles of days, months and years, there is a invisible and spiritual reality. This reality is that God has prepared and established numerous opportunities! If we have a disappointment or failure one day, there is a new day waiting for us right around the corner.

"It is truly wonderful that we have a new opportunity every 24-hours"

... this will be continued on a following post... too much enjoyment to fit in one post! :)