Search

The Bible Blotter

Turning the Bible Into Behavior

Category

Science

DVD Review: The Theory of Everything

theory of everythingMy wife and I recently watched “The Theory of Everything,” the biopic about famed physicist Stephen Hawking. Here’s the rundown:

  • Cast

The acting was superb. Eddie Redmayne doesn’t just portray Stephen Hawking – he BECOMES Hawking. The physical transformation in incredible to watch, and quick research will tell you that Redmayne studied and talked to many people who suffer with ALS. He also trained with a dance coach in order to learn how to better control his body so that his physical performance was accurate. I wouldn’t necessarily call the film a happy film, but the actors do an excellent job of drawing the audience into the struggles (and triumphs) of the characters.

  • Score

The musical score for the movie was excellent. I know most people reading reviews don’t really care about the music, but my wife and I both noticed it. It is the kind of music one would want as a stand-alone album.

But let’s get down to brass tacks – what people REALLY want to talk about when it comes to movies like this: the thematic elements.mathematics

  • Themes

The first, and most easily identifiable, theme, is the back and forth between Atheism and Theism. This theme was a point of contention within the Hawking marriage, Jane being a Christian with the Church of England and Stephen being an atheist. I won’t spend much time debating this theme myself – blog posts about atheism/theism never convince anyone on the opposite side to change positions. Clearly I believe in God, and I think Hawking is wrong.

The movie actually does a decent job of portraying the different viewpoints of Jane and Stephen without demonizing one or the other. One of my favorite scenes is when Jane is explaining how science views God differently depending on whether one is looking through the lens of relativity or quantum physics.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a Christian film, and the director clearly portrays Hawking’s bias against God, but the theme can make for interesting conversation and should prompt us all to think more deeply about the interplay of faith and science (yes, they CAN coexist).

The second theme I noticed was that of the suffering servant. Suffering Servant is a phrase I’ve come across only in biblical studies, but it seemed appropriate for this movie. At the beginning of Stephen’s diagnosis, his father tells Jane (who is not yet married to Stephen) that she doesn’t realize what she’s in for. It’s not a fight, because there’s no positive outcome. It will only be a brutal beating. She stays the course and decides to pursue a relationship with Stephen.

For 30 years she was married to him and helped care for him. The movie portrays the kind of toll being a caregiver can take on family. It’s hard on spouses who care for each other. It’s hard for parents who care for children. It’s hard for children who care for parents. It’s hard on ANYONE who provides full-time care for loved ones. Emotional and relational damage are all too common, and the movie shows such damage; damage to the point of the eventual divorce of Jane and Stephen. It should cause us to ask difficult questions about our level of care and commitment towards our loved ones – even when things get tough.

Once upon a time weddings used to use the phrase, “For Better or For Worse.” Being a full-time caregiver for a family member with special needs can definitely run the gamut of better to worse. In an age where it’s all too easy to put loved ones in homes and institutions, how far does our care, commitment, and yes, even love, take us?

The final theme I want to talk about is that of hope. At the end of the movie there’s a neat scene where Stephen is asked, since he doesn’t believe in God, what drives him to carry on day after day. In the scene, Eddie Radmayne suddenly shifts his feet, stands up from the wheelchair, and walks down some steps to pick up a pen dropped by a student. Cinematically it’s a neat way of showing the imagination of Hawking and leads us to his answer. What drives him day after day? Hope. As a physicist who believes in a world with no boundaries and endless possibilities, he says, “As long as there is life, there is hope.” Of course the audience stands and erupts in applause.

But life isn’t enough for hope, because when life ends, then what? Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:19 ~

 If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.

Those who believe in God know that hope is so much MORE than the idea of possibilities in this life. Hope goes beyond life into the great beyond. Hope is the anticipation we have that this life WILL end and that God will make all things right.

At the end of the day, The Theory of Everything is an excellent film that is worth watching. Talk about the themes with your family and friends. Don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions raised by the film.

Enjoy the show!

 

 

 

Are You Saved Enough?!?

In the beginning

Salvation is a funny word that Christians like to throw around. Sometimes it feels like we use it so much that we’ve lost the sense of what it really means. Put simply, salvation is the idea that this world is not the end but that there is an eternal afterlife. Those who are “saved” spend eternity in the presence of God. Those who are “unsaved” spend eternity outside the presence of God.

In honor of last night’s debate on the question of the origin of the world (creation vs. evolution) here’s a little reminder:

The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

The Apostle Paul also writes in Romans 10:13

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Did you catch what the Bible lists as the requirements for salvation? It’s faith. Those who call on Jesus as savior are those who are saved.

Did you catch what the Bible DOESN’T list as a requirement for salvation? Your view of how the universe began. Or your view of how the universe will end. Or your view on what church should look like, sound like, feel like, etc.

That means that even evolutionists can go to heaven. GASP! I know this is really gonna tweak some people, but the Bible is clear that salvation is offered to those who believe. There is no benchmark of belief that says, “You start at saved level ALPHA but don’t have access to heaven until you reach saved level FOXTROT.”

If we understand what the Bible is saying then we see that there will be people in heaven who disagree with some of our most dearly held ideologies.

In the big picture, we need to be okay with that. It’s all about Jesus. I happen to believe that the cosmos has a divine foundation – that YAHWEH was the creative force driving the car. If someone else who calls on the name of Jesus says he believes that God started the evolutionary ball rolling, my disagreement with that issue should not prevent me from worshipping alongside him as a fellow disciple of Jesus.

Difficult as it may be, we are called to do better. It’s time to lay down our pet issues for the sake of the kingdom. The only real issue is Jesus Christ. If you’re with him, then you’re with me.

And one day we’ll be worshipping him together for eternity.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Bill Nye is Firing God!

Image courtesy of xedos4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of xedos4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Did God actually create the cosmos?

I recently learned that Bill Nye (The Science Guy) is going to be involved in a public debate with Ken Ham, the founder of the Creation Museum. The primary point debated: “Is creation a viable model of origins?”

The tickets are already sold out – now the powers that be are contemplating streaming the debate, recording it for video, and other options for those of us who cannot attend.
To be honest, I really had no idea that Bill Nye was a vocal opponent to creationism. I’m not so naive as to think everyone believes the way I do – I had simply never heard him talk about it before. So with a little (very little) digging I found an interview he have regarding the upcoming debate:

Let’s look at and respond to three moments from the brief interview.

– At 0:35 Mr. Nye comments that people who want to teach that the earth is 10,000 years old is not in the best interest of the U.S. or the world.

This is a gross overgeneralization of the creation perspective. Even in the Evangelical camp there are different perspectives on the age of the earth. Some of us are Old-Earth creationists. Some of us are Young-Earth creationists.

Tolkien freaks are Middle-Earth creationists (bad-um-bum!).

No matter what one’s position on the age of the earth, a creationist’s worldview does not negate science. We don’t turn in our science card when we claim we believe that God laid the foundations of the world.

– At 1:40 Mr. Nye claims that we need to have a scientifically literate populace in order to solve the world’s problems.

Continuing with the first point, creationists do not disregard science. I personally know Christian scientists who very much believe in the scientific method and processes. Some of the great scientists in the past have been people who hold to a creationist worldview. Their science is not lessened or cheapened because they believe that life began from God rather than a cosmic accident.

– At 3:25 Mr. Nye claims that this issue is an economic concern.

Finally, Mr. Nye seems to think that economics comes into play. While he doesn’t explain fully, my guess would be he believes that a poor scientific community would ultimately create world instability and, thus, economic failure. How can people who believe words from an ancient text be innovative thinkers and problem solvers?

But his argument doesn’t stand the test of history, for innovations have long been brought on by religiously minded people. And Mr. Nye’s arguments seem to be straw men that never really address the issue of the debate:

“Is creation a viable model of origins?”

Rather than looking at the viability of the model, Mr. Nye resorts to setting up hypothetical problems that may be brought on if creation continues to be taught.

I think it’s clear where I stand – I believe that everything that is had to have a beginning. Even a Big Bang has to come from somewhere. I believe that God is the impetus behind the cosmos. I can’t say specifically how He did it, or give you the exact timeline. The Bible is a book to lead us to faith. It is not a science textbook.

But science does not negate my faith.

My faith does not diminish my understanding and interest in science.

God is big enough to deal with science.

It will be interesting to see how this debate plays out. Will you be watching?

**Sound off!** What’s your take on this debate and the issue of creation being a viable model of origins?

Related Posts:
Jesus Loves Dinosaurs

When Science and Faith Collide

Image courtesy of ponsulak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of ponsulak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yesterday I saw a headline that really grabbed my attention:
400,000 year old human DNA adds new tangle to our origin story.

It’s not really as big a tangle as the headline would have you believe – it seems that the DNA of Neanderthals in Spain is similar to a different ancient population from Siberian known as the Denisovans.

The family tree is more webbed than science originally thought.

Okay.

That’s fine.

The idea that remains in Spain are genetically connected to remains in Siberia doesn’t bother me. To me it speaks of a single creator and a common ancestor to all of humanity. Hmm…even the Bible talks about that.

Where many Christians will take issue with the article is the age assigned to the remains and DNA. If the remains are 400,000 years old then the stories in the Bible can’t be right…right? But if the Bible is right then the science must be faulty…right?

And once again science and faith collide.

The problem comes when we insist on a rigid, literal reading of the biblical stories. We get lost in the nitty-gritty details rather than step back to see the big picture of what is being communicated.

Simply put – the Bible is not (and never was) intended to be a science textbook. It is a book of faith. It doesn’t teach us how to be forensic experts. It draws us into relationship with God, the Creator of the universe.

The idea of an “Old Earth” doesn’t bother me. Even conservative theologians like Millard Erickson concede that the Hebrew creation stories don’t have to mean a literal six days but could refer to epochs or long periods of time (you can see Erickson’s Christian Theology for his detailed presentation).

So we can go with an Old Earth – but what about humanity? The Bible is clear that humanity has an origin in God, not a spontaneous arrival. Ancient genealogies were not exact for the purposes of record keeping like Ancestry.com is. Genealogies are as much of the storytelling process as any of the narrative portions of the story. They inform the story, but are not intended to be scientific records for all posterity.

In the end I look at it like this: does the Bible fit science’s understanding of an Old Earth? Yes, it does. If humanity is older than a literal reading would have us believe – if there are massive gaps in history that the genealogies don’t cover – is my faith ruined? No, it is not.
The story is till the same. Everything has value because it has been made by God. Out of nothing, God created everything. Does it matter how long He took to do it? Not to me.
In the end the clash between science and faith is not as big as many would try to trick us into believing, and faithful Christians can fully embrace their faith and scientific discovery.

Because the world that God has made is a unique and marvelous thing – and we should learn as much about it as possible.

Related Post:
Jesus Loves Dinosaurs

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: