cut on the bias

keeping an eye on the spins and weirdness of media, crime and everyday life

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cosmos, black holes and other entertaining things

I have a love/hate relationship with math and science. I love what they can do, and some elements of them perform very elegantly. But generally my brain does not move in math/science paths, so I struggle to grasp the details. What I do is read books written for people like me: those who want to know some concepts and latest updates, but don't want to have to know any mathematical equations before understanding it.

For Christmas I requested and received 13 Things That Don't Make Sense, by Michael Brooks. It's precisely what I like. So far I've worked my way through the first chapter, on the missing universe. Essentially, Brooks says that we know what 4% of the universe is made of - those bits we can see. But we don't know what the other 96% is made of - those bits we can't see. Is it dark matter? Dark energy? Or, looking ahead to Chapter 2, possibly the bizarre substance known in the 1800s as ether? (And no, it's not the ether that makes you go to sleep for an operation.) His stroll through the current state of things is illuminating, frustrating and exciting all at the same time.

Earlier this year, I got all in a tizzy about supermassive black holes, after watching a program on the Science channel. According to Brooks (or my understanding of what he says), we don't really know if they exist. We extrapolate their existence because of how matter and light and energy around them behave. Scientists theorize that black holes not only bend those elements of our universe, but also time itself.

I'm curious about these things for their own sakes, of course. But the intensity of my interest comes from what I learn about God from learning about His universe. Because I do believe in God, I do believe He created everything, that He is eternal, that everything He gave us in the Bible is factual and true. I don't think that science proves God is only a name for things we do not know. I think science proves *what is* in the physical universe, not what isn't or what cannot be experienced physically. Thus, science cannot prove God doesn't exist, even if it were true, and it really can't *prove* He does exist, in a definitive way. God is like science's explanation of the black hole, in part: we know He exists because of the way things behave around Him. And also because of Him, because He is the best answer to the questions about "How?" and "Why?"

One of the perennial questions is about the difference between science's current understanding of the age of the earth - millions and millions of years old - and the Biblical account of creation - six days, and then rest. People have tried to explain the discrepancy many ways. Could the six days actually be six eras/epochs? Could it be that God does not count time like we do? The list goes on. My answer? I don't know. Right now, with our current knowledge of the universe and of God, we *can't* know in any concrete way. What I do know is that when I find out the answer, likely when I am with God after death, it will make perfect sense. Ah ha! I will think. Of course! That works perfectly, and everything fits neatly into place without gaps or left-overs. What I am is confident that *there is an answer* that makes it all work.

All of my reading in science only reinforce that to me. In a way, my science explorations are part of my search for and worship of God. How amazing He is! I think often. And it humbles, too. When I read of the vast reaches of the universe, of all the minute creatures thriving miles under the surface of the sea, I struggle to grasp that the God of the Bible is this God, the one who did this. Outrageous that He'd have anything to do with me personally!

So the journey continues. I highly recommend reading in science. Subscribe to Scientific American or New Scientist. Stretch your mind and challenge yourself to learn more about God's mind. Absolutely, incredibly, thoroughly amazing.

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