For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
That’s from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans – specifically Romans 1:18-23 (this is from the English Standard Version).
The line below –
“A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand”
is from Bertrand Russell.
One might think the two had much in common – in that they both have a quote about not being able to understand things.
At least, you might think that – until you learn even a little bit more about Bertrand Russell.
He had a lot to say about philosophy, mathematics, society – and a whole bunch of other things.
Among his more memorable quotes –
“No one can sit at the bedside of a dying child and still believe in God.”
The problem here, of course, is that Russel, like so many of us, presumes to know the mind of God.
Which sets up an even more outrageous scenario.
Russell presumes to know the mind of a God he claims doesn’t even exist!
Clearly – there’s a logic problem here. Just the fact that Russell claims to know that God can’t exist – because of what he also claims to know about that non-existent God’s lack of feeling over the sight of a dying child – indicates one really huge flaw in this man’s thinking. Either Bertrand Russell doesn’t know what God feels about that child – or God does exist. It’s a logic flaw that even a beginning student in the theory of logic could point out. But apparently once one reaches the pinnacles of success that Bertrand Russel has – “minor” little details like invalid logic no longer apply.
Oh well – so much for Bertrand Russell and the Apostle Paul having anything in common.
More likely – Bertrand Russell would be one of those Paul had in mind whose heart was darkened.
This one was originally written December 6, 2010. It's now August 9, 2016. Updates made in 2016 will be in text like this.
Rather than add a huge update to this article, I ended up doing a whole new one on this Bertrand Russell statement. If you'd like to check it out - it's here - True or False - No one can ...
So – time travel.
What’s any of this got to do with time travel?
Well – this quote showed up as part of a reader comment on a web article called Stephen Hawking’s Time Machine on msnbc.com.
That article was referenced by another msnbc.com page called Stephen Hawking says time travel should be possible — but with a big ‘if’.
No surprise here – that Stephen Hawking would be talking about time travel.
What was a bit of a surprise – and a big disappointment –
is that he seems to have reverted back to having no use for God again –
saying that the law of gravity is enough to explain the universe.
Nothing about “who” created that law of gravity – just that it can explain the universe.
He is still alive though – so there’s still hope for him.
Such an apparently “brilliant” man – but not able to see the plain truth.
Just as Paul said would be the case.
Anyway – following is a quote from the time machine article –
The laws of physics actually accommodate the notion of time travel, through portals known as wormholes.
“The truth is wormholes are all around us, only they’re too small to see. They occur in nooks and crannies in space and time,” Hawking writes. “Nothing is flat or solid. If you look closely enough at anything you’ll find holes and wrinkles in it. It’s a basic physical principle, and it even applies to time. Even something as smooth as a pool ball has tiny crevices, wrinkles and voids.
More laws – this time physics – that explain how things work.
I can’t help but wonder who Hawking thinks created the laws of physics.
On the other hand- there is another author – quite unscientific – writing during the 1940s – who took a rather different view on the topic.
In the last chapter I had to touch on the subject of prayer, and while that is still fresh in your mind and my own, I should like to deal with a difficulty that some people find about the whole idea of prayer. A man put it to me by saying “I can believe in God all right, but what I cannot swallow is the idea of Him attending to several hundred million human beings who are all addressing Him at the same moment.” And I have found that quite a lot of people feel this.
Now, the first thing to notice is that the whole sting of it comes in the words at the same moment. Most of us can imagine God attending to any number of applicants if only they came one by one and He had an endless time to do it in. So what is really at the back of this difficulty is the idea of God having to fit too many things into one moment of time.
Well that is of course what happens to us. Our life comes to us moment by moment. One moment disappears before the next comes along: and there is room for very little in each. That is what Time is like. And of course you and I tend to take it for granted that this Time series–this arrangement of past, present and future–is not simply the way life comes to us but the way all things really exist. We tend to assume that the whole universe and God Himself are always moving on from past to future just as we do. But many learned men do not agree with that. It was the Theologians who first started the idea that some things are not in Time at all: later the Philosophers took it over: and now some of the scientists are doing the same.
This is from Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis.
Did you catch that part about theologians being the first to assert that some things are not in Time – followed by the philosophers – and finally scientists.
So what Lewis is essentially saying – God was the One who can “travel through time” because He is not in Time – the theologians came to this conclusion first (from studying the Bible, presumably – to give God His credit) – then the philosophers took on the idea (with people like Bertrand Russell to take the credit away from God) – and finally the scientists who are starting to be able to “prove” the concept (but they are not giving God the credit).
So – how does Hawking say this all works? From the time travel article –
The fourth dimension
First, though, you have to get your head around the notion that time is a dimension, just like width, height and length.
Hawking uses the example of driving in your car: You go forward. That’s one direction. You turn left or right, that’s a second. You journey up a mountain road, that’s a third. The fourth dimension is time.
This all makes a lot of sense – on the surface – the fourth dimension. That thought has been around for quite some time.
It gets a bit more confusing when we consider how mathematics actually defines the three dimensions that we are all familiar with.
The way I had it described back in geometry classes (sorry if this is technical & confusing – but the point will hopefully be more clear at the end)
- The primary building block of geometry is something called a point. A point has zero dimensions – no length width or height. It’s just a point. It’s totally theoretical – it cannot exist in “real” life – since it has no dimensions. But without it – the rest of geometry doesn’t work. (Technically, this is Euclidean geometry – so for the math people out there – that’s all I’m talking about here.)
- The first dimension comes by taking two points – any two points – and drawing a line between them. This line has exactly one dimension – length. It has no width or height. There are also an infinite number of points between those two points. It’s interesting that if you take one point, it has no length – but an infinite number of these dimensionless points all of a sudden has a length. BTW – if you take any two points from somewhere along that one dimensional line – there are also an infinite number of points between them!
- The second dimension comes from taking two lines – and creating a “plane” from them. This plane has exactly two dimensions – length and width. If you could manage to get a piece of paper thin enough to have no thickness – that would be a plane. Of course – in the real world – that can’t be done – the plane is just as impossible in life as we know it as the line and the point are. BTW – there are an infinite number of points on this plane – just like there were in either of the two lines that were used to create the plane.
- The third dimension comes from adding height – or, in the case of the piece of paper, thickness. At least we’ve now made it to reality – as we know it. We have three dimensions – each of them coming about by putting together an infinite number of points in each of the three dimensions – and each of those infinite number of points has no dimension of its own.
I ask – how real is that?
I had so much trouble with this concept in geometry. There’s really only two choices in school. 1 – go with it, just accept it and move on. 2 – fail the class. I chose option 1. That allowed me to go on to trig, calculus, Etc. After that – I went on to physics. By this time there were just too many things that I couldn’t accept and move on – so I dropped out of physics after a couple semesters and went on for a pure theoretical math degree.
Anyway – comparing Hawking’s example of driving the car to the more technical definitions of the first three dimensions – they aren’t exactly close to each other in terms of what’s in the reality of the world that we live in – not to mention the ease of understanding.
Unfortunately, oversimplifying things can lead us to coming to conclusions that aren’t necessarily correct.
What does the Apostle Paul have to say about such things – things that we cannot understand? Here is a quote from 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God
1Co 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
1Co 1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
Indeed – where are the wise man, the scholar and the philosopher?
The philosophers like Bertrand Russell are denying that God exists.
The scholars like Hawking are denying that God is even needed.
The wise men (in this case meaning the college educated who just accept everything with no questions) are learning that God doesn’t exist and isn’t needed. Accepting that the philosopher is the most clever person, and would never unconsciously translate something he didn’t understand – because he apparently can understand everything. Even though the scholar claims that there are “laws” to explain everything – without ever explaining where these “laws” came from / who created them. And the wise students do this because they learned early on that the only way to survive in the world is to just accept everything they learn in school as the truth.
This whole scenario comes – in spite of quotes like this one from the scholar – Stephen Hawking in the time travel should be possible – but with a big ‘if’ article –
He compared humanity’s view of the universe to that of a goldfish looking out of its bowl, saying that we can’t be sure our view is the “correct” one. We might be in a giant goldfish bowl, for there is no single, absolute picture of reality, he added.
So he is aware that we might be in a giant goldfish bowl – and don’t have the full picture!
That begs yet another question – whose goldfish bowl is it that we might be in?
Make that 2 questions — Is that covered by the “law of giant goldfish bowls”?
Seriously though – at what point does someone have to stop and say –
“WAIT! – There’s something missing here!”
<That would be a quote from me – from this article – although I’m sure it’s been said many times before>
Back in October, I wrote another piece called Physicists Eye Parallel Universe, Extra Dimensions Breakthrough – which talked about an article in the science section of FoxNews.com.
In that one, I wrote about another C.S. Lewis quote –
related to us living in enemy occupied territory –
like the possibility that Satan / demons / angels could very well be right here with us –
but in an alternate universe that we humans cannot see.
I’d like to say what Hawking’s stand is on parallel universes –
but it changes, so I hesitate put one in here.
At one time –
he did believe them to be real –
before he didn’t –
but will he switch back again?
At any rate – given what little we know – who’s to say that once again, the Bible is Truth and we humans have translated it into something we can understand?
For instance – in John 7:33-34 –
Jn 7:33 Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
In both cases, where Jesus said “I am” – the original Greek is translated as “I exist”.
At first glance, it seems like a pretty simple statement – but the disciples didn’t understand, so maybe it’s not quite so obvious – as we see in John 7:35-36 –
Jn 7:35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? 36 What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”
How can Jesus exist someplace where He is here – with them – and still exist someplace where they can’t go. It’s not like Jesus said He exists with them now and will exist someplace else later – both statements of existence are in the present tense. We can know this from the definition of the Greek word eimi – which is defined as “first person singular present indicitative”.
How can Jesus exist in the first person present in two places – at the same time – how about the ability to do things with parallel universes that we can;t begin to understand?
Or maybe this example –
In Luke 23:32-43 –
Lk 23:32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Lk 23:35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”
Lk 23:36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
Lk 23:38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Lk 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
Lk 23:40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Lk 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’”
Lk 23:43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
We have Jesus telling one of the men on the cross next to His own – that person will be with Jesus in Heaven – today. Today!
But how can that be – when judgment doesn’t come until later?
In Revelation 20:11-15 –
The Dead Are Judged
Rev 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
we have people being judged in what is assumed to be a future vision of Heaven that was given to John.
But – if God isn’t bound by time the way we are –
if all of this takes place in what we call a parallel universe that operates by different laws –
who is to say that it isn’t all “now”?
On additional example – take the entire Book of Revelation. We know the ending.
Is God a “fortune teller”?
Is He just arrogant and assuming that He will win?
Maybe He has the deck stacked – it’s all God pulling strings and we don’t really have any control over anything?
All of these are things that “could” be true.
But – why would He send Jesus to suffer and die like He did if any of these were true?
That would make absolutely no sense.
No – there has to be something else.
God gave us free will –
and yet He knows what each of us will do before we do it.
He knew us before we were born.
This is possible – if God isn’t limited by time.
If He is everywhere – at all times – it all makes sense.
It’s so simple. It can’t be proven for the scholar or the philosopher –
but it can be accepted by the faithful.
We seem to be so willing to accept the words of the scholar and the philosopher – who, in moments of honesty, are willing to admit that they don’t know everything.
But we find it so hard to accept the words of God – who not only knows everything, but created everything.
Maybe it’s time to stop being so clever – and start to open our eyes and look around – and pray that God will also open our hearts so that we can see Him when we look around.
Update – August 11, 2016
One is probably tempted to think it’s the knowledge that keeps people from being able to see God. But that’s not true. Not at all.
You may remember this event in the life of Solomon – the wisest man ever –
2Ch 1:7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
2Ch 1:8 Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 9 Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
2Ch 1:11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”
2Ch 1:13 Then Solomon went to Jerusalem from the high place at Gibeon, from before the Tent of Meeting. And he reigned over Israel.
So knowledge – in and of itself – is not a problem.
It’s what we do with that knowledge that can cause problems.
For example, Solomon himself wrote –
Pr 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Pr 1:22 “How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?
Pr 10:14 Wise men store up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.
Pr 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates correction is stupid.
Pr 12:23 A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself,
but the heart of fools blurts out folly.
Pr 14:6 The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none,
but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.
Need I put in more? I hope not. There’s a lot more, if you need more proof.
I think 14:6 kind of says it all in this case –
Pr 14:6 The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none,
but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.
One can mock God.
And many people do.
But they will be seen to be the fool in the end.
What do you see?