Friday, May 22, 2009

What Does Mars Have to Do With Free Will?

Probably nothing. But here's where my mind went-- logical or not.

I recently saw an article in Scientific American that explains why the ubiquitous, thin layer of Martian dust dons a red-orange color. The Sun’s ultraviolet rays produce a chemical reaction against the thin topsoil of Mars that results in transforming the soil into a certain kind of rust

Mars has a scant atmosphere compared with Earth. The ionization process that rusts the topsoil of Mars also causes constant seepage of the atmosphere into space.

 The chemical composition of Martian soil and thin atmosphere suggest that the red planet has lost about 90% of its atmosphere over time.

Infrared photos of Earth show that hydrogen is burning off from our planet and evaporating into space due to the same ultraviolet light beaming towards our planet.

This phenomenon implies that Earth is headed for very similar conditions as the other planets in our solar system. Earth may become a twin to Venus several billion years from now. This possibility also implies that a lot of time has already passed since the planets have formed. And this also implies that a lot of time will continue to go by just as before.

Other planets had a thick atmosphere long into the past. Maybe these planets could have supported life at one time. Yet, the atmosphere leaked away or changed into a volatile environment. Earth is not immune; leakage is ever so slowly happening now.

We seem to be living on a planet that will not continue to support life as we understand it—regardless of how green we may try to live.

If nothing stops the process, Earth will no longer be the unique planet in our solar system.

But other processes are going on that will eventually turn Earth into a wasteland.

The Sun is due to nova billions of years from now. Other stars have already undergone a nova within the frame of our observation. This implies again that a lot of time has gone by and will continue to go by.

Our Sun is no exception if nothing stops the process of our star going through its nova phase.

Here’s another process to consider: why do we have an asteroid belt? Is it just for decoration, or did a former planet have a really, really bad day?

And one of the remnants of that poor planet could get hurled into our way in the future.

Two asteroid belts! Cool! (OK, probably not.)

I realize that all this can sound rather bleak. Regardless, I still find astronomy and cosmology very fascinating and beautiful. But, I have to accept the bleakness with it as well. That’s very much our universe. Life is coupled with death. Love coupled with pain. Happiness and joy coupled with sadness and loss. We must accept all these things together.

I also accept a beautiful and elegant universe that promises a bleak and entropic ending.

Perhaps I should apply this same thinking to God—a benevolent being creates a perfect, yet seemingly doomed universe. I must accept the good with the bad.

Concerning the argument of free will-- I will admit that the argument sounds reasonable when used to explain why evil exists in the world. To me at least.

At first, at least.

But when I contrast the argument of free will against the backdrop of modern cosmology, I’m no longer personally convinced by the free will argument.

God created everything like this, yes? Or has man’s sin in the garden cursed creation to the extent that even the planets have become either barren wastelands or volatile, toxic environments?

Somehow, the initial sensibility that I hear in the argument of free will deteriorates for me when I consider how our universe seems to make an inexorable spiral into oblivion.

One could say that Jesus will come before all this bleakness takes place. But the stars and planets in the sky seem to testify of a different outcome in my view.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Incredible God

Irony can be cruel.

That's why I struggled with writing this post. I don't want to come across as cynical, insensitive, or mean. Maybe I won't be able to help doing that no matter how I say this.

Here goes . . .

I went to church again this past Mother's Day; my mom asked me to go with her as a Mother's Day gift. How could I say, no?

During service, the choir sang a song that was totally new to me entitled Incredible God. A beautiful song, I admit. The atmosphere in the sanctuary became electric as the choir graciously and passionately sang praises to God.

As for me, I was a spectator. And while sitting there in my pew, I wondered if they noticed the irony within their words of worship.

The word incredible primarily has two connotations:


Astonishing, amazing, awesome, miraculous, and wonderful

or

Implausible to the point of disbelief, far fetched, and unsubstantial


I know they meant to express that God is amazing and his character is awesome. His miracles are incredible in the sense that they are wonderful. His Divine Nature is unsurpassed. In this sense, all that he does is incredible.

You know . . . believable by faith, while still being amazing and wondrous.

That's the kind of incredible they meant.

Without saying, the choir certainly didn't mean that God was incredible in the sense that the case for God seemed flimsy, unsubstantiated, or far fetched in their opinion.

Soon the song was finished. Then the sermon came and went. And finally, the service came to a close.

People began to pour out of the sanctuary as the congregation disbursed. As I began to shuffle my way out of the sanctuary like everyone else, I noticed a man slumped over in a corner, breathing laboriously. Ushers had surrounded him and were trying to keep him responsive by rubbing his chest and talking in his ear. This scene went largely unnoticed by the congregants as they left the sanctuary.

An ambulance had already been hailed and eventually came to take him away to the hospital.

I don't know his condition, but I certainly wish(ed) him well. I really, really hope he is okay.

But during all of this, I couldn't help but wonder . . . where's that incredible God everybody was singing about earlier? Was this whole scene unnoticed by God, too?

At that point, I couldn't help but think to myself that God is incredible after all.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Shocking

This post is off topic from my typical musings.

According to the May issue of Discover Magazine, engineers at MIT have built a shock absorber that can generate energy to help keep a car battery charged.

As the car bounces up and down while moving down the road, the shocks harness the heat that is normally wasted and converts the energy into electricity. This allows the battery to run the air, stereo, and lights with more efficiency. That translates into better gas millage and less pollution.

Zee, I thought that you in particular would get a kick out of this one-- not to exclude anyone else who reads this, of course!

Read the article here --> The Next Source of Green Energy: Your car Itself

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Blast from the Past

I dunno. I just thought this was neat.

Proponents of C-decay will disagree with this article, however.

A Blast from the Past