INTERSTELLAR and the 6 Days of Genesis

Interstellar-posterThe new film, Interstellar, starring Matthew McConaughey incorporates some serious science amid the impressive special effects and sci-fi plot. One of the most interesting principles the film depicts is a phenomenon known as time dilation which has implications for understanding the days of Genesis 1.

Far from being science fiction, time dilation is an observed phenomenon predicted by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity in which things closer to a gravitational field (or gravity potential well) experience time moving more slowly than things further away from the source of gravity. This theory was tested in 1962 when two synchronized clocks were placed on a water tower. The clock at the bottom (closer to the source of gravity, the earth) was observed to run slower than the one at the top. The time difference here is extremely tiny because the difference in altitude is relatively small, but as the change in altitude increases so does the time disparity. Today the clocks of satellites must be adjusted to compensate for the time dilation they experience far above the surface of the earth. But even at this altitude the time difference is still extremely small.

Untitled-1However, on a much larger ‘interstellar’ scale the time dilation could be very large. The more massive the object the deeper the gravitational well (the greater the altitude difference) and the greater the time dilation. This is why in the film the astronauts who visited the first planet that was extremely close to the black hole (within the gravity well) only experienced minutes of time while the astronaut on the ship (above and outside the gravity well) experienced 23 years. (Suspend objections that experiencing such a change of gravity would have crushed them and enjoy the movie.)

But suppose the scale were even larger than a black hole. If the entire mass of the universe were in a compact area and the earth were at or near the center of mass, an extremely deep gravitational potential well would be created. As the mass expanded becoming less dense (Ps. 104:2, Isa. 40:22, Job 9:8), and galaxies moved further apart those on the edges would come out of the well sooner than those at the center and their time clocks would be greatly accelerated compared to those bodies still in the well >> HOURS/DAYS on Earth = BILLIONS OF YEARS in distant galaxies (in theory). According to the peer reviewed calculations of physicist Russell Humphries, bodies deep enough in the well could even experience a timeless zone until enough mass was pulled out of the well bringing bodies within the well up to a shallower depth above the timeless zone.

But skeptics will claim that the time dilation we observe today between bodies in deep space versus that on earth is negligible. This is correct. But there is no longer the ‘altitude’ difference between earth and distant galaxies today as there would have been at the beginning. This “white hole” model (Humphries) assumes that the universe has a center – something that the Big Bang theory vehemently rejects. But why? Basic observations show that distribution of galaxies around us is fairly even in all directions. So the conclusion that the Earth may be at or near the center of them is a reasonable one. However, it is not acceptable in an atheistic model (the Big Bang) because having the earth at the center would suggest either a colossal coincidence or a purpose – a conclusion that ventures way too close to a Creator.  So why do some Christians still buy into the Big Bang (just one model among many) when doing so means that they are also accepting the same atheistic assumptions and trying to shoe-horn them into Genesis?

For Christians, a model such as the white-hole model of the beginning of the universe does far less damage to Scripture than tortured old-earth re-interpretations of Genesis and their subsequent gaping theological holes (death before sin) that are ultimately dictated by a Big Bang model based on atheistic assumptions.  Not only that, but the white-hole model uses established observational principles (relativity) rather than relying on counterintuitive notions (the universe has no center or edge due to cosmic inflation), violates principles (inflation must occur many times faster than the speed of light), and can not account for significant observations counter to the theory (the horizon problem, the absence of anti-matter, the absence of Population III stars, the presence of blue giant stars, etc.)

Remember, the Big Bang is a MODEL – and not the only model –  for a past event requiring assumptions based on the presuppositions of the observer, meaning that it is a philosophy about the universe’s beginning.

So when we elevate a philosophy to the class of observed and repeated science and re-read inerrant Scripture through that lens, how deep in the theological gravity well have we ventured?

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Elysium: sweaty, juvenile Socialism

elysium_posterI really wanted to see Elysium on the big screen but my wife refused to pay theater price for what we both knew was a propaganda film. Still, I really thought the visually artistic aspects and the performances of two A-list actors would redeem it. WROOONNNNG.

Props to my wife for seeing through this one–we are still regretting our payout to Red Box. With a script cobbled together from assorted tweets by unemployed Occupy protestors (via iPhones made by evil capitalists of course), Elysium is a juvenile socialistic tome, and besides that is just a bad film.

Jodie Foster plays a high ranking government official and one-percenter who lives on the idyllic Elysium space station while the rest of the ninety-nine percenters (represented with sweaty, self-righteous gusto by Matt Damon) suffer in the authoritarian, robot-policed squalor of third-world L.A. But Foster’s most distracting attribute is an extremely muddled accent. Is she French? Is she British? Is she German? Is she trying too hard? Yes.

Matt Damon’s acting career and film selection have lately taken a back seat to his preachy left-wing worldview–and with predictable results (e.g. Promised Land, Green Zone, and Happy Feet Two).  Amid a mine field of F-bombs, all of the clichéd bases are covered here: illegal (‘undocumented’) immigration, rich vs. poor, whites (who only live on Elysium) vs. all other races (who only live in squalor).

But despite himself writer/director Neill Blomkamp gives a glimpse of the truth in self-defeating fashion. Who are the one-percenters in the film? The government officials and the business leaders they control. Perhaps if they had gotten out of the way and let a few capitalists employ Matt and his buddies (hello Detroit?) he wouldn’t have to get a bunch of drug dealers with Dremel tools to turn him into a human erector set.

Look at the top of any Socialist/Communist government and you will find the residents of Elysium while the proles barter for black-market bread and drive 50s automobiles.

Rent something with a deeper message like Pacific Rim.

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Christians, it’s ok to be a little weird

Kirsten Powers, a Fox News contributor, self-described liberal, and former atheist recently made public her conversion several years ago to evangelical Christianity. She explains how her boyfriend at the time asked her point-blank if she believed Jesus was her savior. She goes on to say that this “creeped her out” and she thought, “Who says stuff like that?” But later after going to church with him, investigating Scripture for herself, and being unable to shake the feeling that God was pursuing her, she surrendered her life to Christ.

What a freak her boyfriend must have been. He actually came out and asked her if she was saved(!) Can’t think of anything more corny, naive, unsophisticated – or effective? This was convicting to me as an apologist to just sometimes have the guts to ask the question rather than believing I must first anticipate all the objections and mount an argument. Yes, sometimes we need to engage arguments and answer questions, but let’s not assume that the conversation will start there.

Being weird didn’t stop Ezekiel either. After he publicly carries out the bizarre symbolic acts that God tells him to do such as build a miniature siege of Jerusalem, lie on one side for 390 days, divide his shaved hair into thirds, act out an escape through the city wall plus many other things, the people finally ask him, “What are you doing?”

If our Christianity doesn’t come across as a little weird, who will ask why we’re doing it?

(This is a side issue, but shouldn’t our churches come across as a little weird too? Do all of them need to look like shopping malls and coffee shops? Does everyone need to dress conspicuously casual as if dressing up might offend someone? What if our churches looked like …churches?? Nah, people today would just think that’s weird.)

Go be an Ezekiel.

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Blessed by a Leper

The following is not a feel-good story with an online life of its own, but an actual, recent event given to me firsthand by the health care-giver friend of mine in the account. I hope it blesses and teaches you as it did me.

My patient was 87 years old and dying of metastatic prostate cancer. He lived alone in [City, USA] in subsidized housing for the elderly and frail. He said he had 2 daughters but I never saw them. He was so incapable of doing much of anything for himself other than making it from one room to the other. He told me his daughter’s came “when they could” to do his laundry and clean his apartment and help him bathe. However, each time I visited him, I found a filthy apartment with bloody tissues all around (he had severe weeping psoriasis of the arms and legs). I almost always found him sitting in his recliner in the living room with old food someone had brought to him at some point. The TV was usually on and he was typically asleep leaving me wondering every time I came in if he was alive when I arrived. I always sneaked around to find an empty refrigerator and was able several times to slip some food in that would be easy for him to eat. My social worker had him on the list for several community agencies/help but as always, those waits are months long. He was a veteran and no one had ever helped him access vet services. So, we were in the process of trying to help.

So, last Tuesday I stopped in to see him – you have to drop in on him because he rarely answers the phone. His apartment was filthy, his floor covered in scales of dry skin that had fallen from his legs and arms. The apartment smelled awful – worse than usual. I checked the kitchen and it was not from food although he had an old box of chicken from a little mom n’ pop restaurant down the street – occasionally one gentleman whom he got to know at a gas station years ago, would bring him food and had brought this by over the weekend. He was in his chair as always and was awake that day so I didn’t have to wake him. He’d tried to comb his hair. His shirt, although sleeves stained with blood, was tucked in his jeans and he had on socks and shoes. I visited with him a minute or two then set to examining him. When I got to his legs and pulled up his jeans, I found the source of the aroma. He’d had on the same socks and shoes for, he told me, at least a few weeks. He was very apologetic and related that he’d been unable to wash his legs and feet because he couldn’t reach them. I gloved up and took his shoes off and his socks were soaked and crusty at the top. His legs had been weeping since who knows when (at least the last time I saw him) and his socks had acted as a wick. I nearly had to chisel them away from the tops of his ankles and finally got them off. I won’t give you too much detail but will say that his feet were wet and filthy. I was able to find an old bed pan in his bedroom closet from a previous hospital stay and soaked his feet, one at a time, in warm soapy water and washed and washed and washed until I was able to get them clean. I wrapped his legs (he’d been seen at the wound center before so I repeated dressings and wraps from the prescribed regimen there) and went out to the Jeep to find a new pair of socks. I brought them in and put them on, asking him to leave his shoes off at least for the day, and set them out to dry. I went off to the bathroom to dump the water again and came back through sweeping the floors to clear them of the dry scales because I was afraid he’d slip on them in his socks. As I rounded the corner, he was reaching for his wallet, which appeared to have maybe $10 in it. I asked what he was doing, insisting that he owed me nothing, and he said “if you go over to that building across the street, they have a soda machine. I’d like to buy you and me a Coke.” I went on and on about how generous he was and asked if we could keep the money in a bowl on the table so that when I came by later one day when it was really hot, I could run across the street and get us a drink (I wish now I’d just gone and gotten the drinks and called my next patient to say I’d be late). He put the money in a bowl and thanked me two or three times. I told him I’d come by when I got back from [City, USA] (today) and look at his legs and feet again for him.

As I drove away, I remember thinking that this was probably the best thing that was going to happen to me all day. I’d been able to touch a leper and thought of what a privilege it was to wash his feet, remembering that Jesus had loved in a similar way. I was overcome with gratitude and sorrow as I am now. I found out at 5am this morning of his death. He died alone in the night on Wednesday and was found by his apartment maintenance manager, slumped over in that same recliner.

I sit here this morning praising God for the opportunity to have known this man who, for all I know, earned his loneliness somewhere along the way in his life, but was none the less alone and in need of human contact and love. I praise Him for giving me the opportunity to express His love in a tangible way. And I am reminded of how precious the opportunities are to get on our knees and literally or figuratively, was the feet of the leper.

May I never be moving so fast or be so busy that I miss such an opportunity. Grateful to my God, my Savior giving me such a precious moment in this life.

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Free Book Friday! Sponsored by Master Books

Meet The Skeptic book coverComment on this post today (Friday, 5/31/13) and earn a chance to win a free copy of Meet The Skeptic: A Field Guide to Faith Conversations by Bill Foster!

One print copy and one digital copy will be given away.

Meet The Skeptic takes the multitude of objections and reduces them to four basic categories. By understanding these categories, you can more effectively clarify the skeptic’s worldview and share your own.

Learn how to equip yourself and engage your skeptical friends!

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Double-standard for Molech

I’ve recently heard of a certain group in the U.S. who have received government funding and met proper zoning requirements to erect large a bronze statue on a corner lot in their town. The statue resembles the body of a man with a bull’s head and arms bent at a right angle with hands outstretched as if to hold something. The belly of the statue below the arms has an open pocket area at the top sort of like a kangaroo. The belly is stoked with flammable material and heated to a high temperature, so high that the entire statue glows intensely.

It seems that the people of the town have built the statue with the purpose of disposing of unwanted children. They bring their children, mostly babies, and set them on the arms of the white-hot figure until the bodies are burned up and fall into the belly of the statue. Somehow they seem to think that after doing this their lives will get subsequently better.

Of course the above account is fictional. Such a thing is grossly abhorrent, cruel, and unthinkable and you would have obviously heard about it if it were happening, right?

WRONG. Isn’t it interesting that if this were to happen as described above (just as the ancient Ammonites and surrounding cultures used to sacrifice to Molech) there would be a public outcry so loud and reported on by so many media outlets that it would be a lead story for weeks. After all, this is the United States not some primitive culture devoid of a conscience isn’t it?

YET WHERE IS THE MEDIA when Kermit Gosnell and Planned Parenthood offer services with the same outcomes through different techniques (only slightly less painful to the child)? You see, it’s the presentation – not the practice – that seems to get attention. Molten statues are sensational. Nondescript offices are boring, therefore, child disposal is boring; and besides, it tarnishes the pro-aborts’ well-crafted narrative that the real issue is “health care and ‘choice’ for women” not abominable child sacrifice to the god of self interest.

If you haven’t heard of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, you’re not alone. The media – the false prophets of this age (Jer. 6:14, Ezek. 13:10) – is pretending that he doesn’t exist, but if you can stomach descriptions of his hideous abortion practice go here.

Admittedly, I am having trouble praying for Kermit Gosnell. He deserves to be punished under the full extent of the law for what he’s done, but I know God has saved people who have done things just as or even more abhorrent (see King Mannasseh: 2Kings 21:10-18, 2Chron. 33:1-9 then 33:10-20).

And I’m having trouble praying for my country. I ask God for mercy on our country yet Ruth Graham’s remark from a few years ago rings true, “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Pray and inform.

Molech_child_sacrifice

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Super Baal

ravens_champions_1919405It should be no surprise that if you want a good barometer of where the U.S. culture is just watch the Super Bowl. Whereas the ancient Israelites fashioned a golden calf as the focal point for the pagan, Baal-centered religious system to which they repeatedly sunk, the Super Bowl is our annual homage to those things we hold dear.

No, I’m not a prude nor am I averse to celebrating sports. Besides playing and watching sports, my career is built around attracting, directing, and instructing viewers via visual creativity. And I truly didn’t care who won this game. I’ve just become increasingly underwhelmed and disgusted by our biggest sporting event which is a caricature of itself.

_beyonce_72Did Beyonce do a good job on her performance? (Firstly, WHO CARES?!) But for those to whom it’s really important, sure, it contained the pitch-perfect carnality and excess that are the benchmarks of every other other halftime show that we’ve seen ad nauseam. It’s all been done before – and way before us. Just read Ecclesiastes and you’ll find that Solomon has been there and done that and probably with more gusto and creativity than we’ve yet devised. But what did he find at the end of the rainbow? Meaninglessness.

I don’t expect a Mensa test or a soliloquy at halftime of a football game but hasn’t bootyliciousness gotten old yet? (I knew that was a stupid question as soon as my fingers struck the keys.) Yes, banality and emptiness – that’s still what we can’t get enough of and that’s not a good sign.

And let’s just leave the rule book and the referees in the parking lot next year. The ref who got shoved by a player six feet out of the way without a whistle, penalty, fine, or suspension is an apt metaphor for what happens to the rules of the game (and our discretion at large) when “it’s the Super Bowl!” The same thunder-dome standard applied to plays in which one linesman held another for roughly twenty minutes without a call. (See traveling calls in the NBA for further examples.)

Sin never really is very creative.

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