The Hubble, Yahweh, the Bible, and faith.

by Nickolas 269 Replies latest jw friends

  • Nickolas

    There have been several threads in which the views of the universe provided by the Hubble space telescope have been discussed. I guess this will be another one. There's a new series being broadcast here in Canada on the Oasis HD nature channel entitled Hubble's Canvas. Each installment I've watched leaves me slackjawed. The latest episode, aired on Sunday, featured mosaics of individual photographs taken by the Hubble. They were all breathlessly beautiful but one of them in particular hit home. The narrator presented the context: extend your arm out and superimpose your index finger across this particular small part of the sky that appears to be devoid of any light and this represents the area viewed by the Hubble. What fraction of the sky this represents was not specified, but it goes without saying that the number is exceedingly small. In the mosaic are depicted more than 50,000 (fifty thousand) galaxies, each with billions of stars and perhaps trillions of planets, whose light is only now reaching the environs of the Earth after billions of years. Multiply that by further billions and trillions and the greatest potential of humankind's comprehension is overwhelmed.

    Project against this context the image of Yahweh as depicted in the OT. Against the incomprehensible magnificence of what He is alleged to have created, He appears very, very, very, very tiny and insignificant. Against the reality of tens of billions of years and billions of trillions of planets, the context of the past 4-5,000 years and the central story presented in the Bible is almost immeasurably diminished. Add to that the context provided by other branches of science, genetics not the least of them, and any semblance of credibility in Yahweh and the Bible vaporises. All that is left is faith.

    This is a sincere question posed to sincere people. How does one go on believing in Yahweh and the Bible when the evidence against the legitimacy of either is so astonishingly overwhelming and relentless? Is it just cognitive dissonance, or is there something more to it? How is it possible for you to go on believing what you believe?

  • botchtowersociety

    How does one go on believing in Yahweh and the Bible when the evidence against the legitimacy of either is so astonishingly overwhelming and relentless?

    "Yahweh" was described by a people more primitive than our own selves, so I get that. It also think it depends on how you understand the Bible, which includes that. I think as we see and learn more, the Universe will only appear grander and grander.

    Still, there are glimmers in the Bible too.

    “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
    Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
    Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
    or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
    Do you know the laws of the heavens? "

    Just as the Universe is beyond our comprehension in its vastness and majesty, so is the Being it came from and is part of.

    Awesome things.

    Just my humble opinion.

  • sir82
    How is it possible for you to go on believing what you believe?

    Because they haven't entered the Total Perspective Vortex, as described by Douglas Adams:

    Total Perspective Vortex

    The Total Perspective Vortex derives its picture of the whole Universe on the principle of extrapolated matter analyses. Since every piece of matter in the Universe is in some way affected by every other piece of matter in the Universe, it is in theory possible to extrapolate the whole of creation – every sun, every planet, their orbits, their composition and their economic and social history from, say, one small piece of fairy cake.

    The man who invented the Total Perspective Vortex did so basically in order to annoy his wife.

    Trin Tragula – for that was his name – was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher or, as his wife would have it, an idiot. She would nag him

    incessantly about the utterly inordinate amount of time he spent staring out into space, or mulling over the mechanics of safety pins, or doing

    spectrographic analyses of pieces of fairy cake.

    “Have some sense of proportion!” she would say, sometimes as often as thirty-eight times in a single day.
    And so he built the Total Perspective Vortex, just to show her. Into one end he plugged the whole of reality as extrapolated from a piece of fairy cake, and into the other end he plugged his wife: so that when he turned it on she saw in one instant the whole infinity of creation and herself in relation to it.

    To Trin Tragula’s horror, the shock completely annihilated her brain; but to his satisfaction he realized that he had proved conclusively that if life is going

    to exist in a Universe of this size, then the one thing it cannot have is a sense of proportion.
  • AGuest

    Greetings, dear, dear Nick... and the greatest of love and peace to you! I would like to respond as a "sincere" one, if you will:

    How does one go on believing in Yahweh and the Bible when the evidence against the legitimacy of either is so astonishingly overwhelming and relentless?

    One who believes in the Most Holy One of Israel, JAH of Armies (JaHVeH, whom some refer to as "Yahweh")... SHOULDN'T believe or have their faith in the Bible... because (1) not all that is written there is accurate, (2) of what IS accurate, it only shows a tiny piece of a fraction of who and what JAH is, and (3) it is the universe itself, its wonder, vastness, creation... and all that exists in it... that should be EVIDENCE to us that He IS so much more. Indeed, the physical universe (the "creation") should be PROOF to us that it did not come about by accident and that whoever... or, if you must, whatever... WAS the "cause"... is SO much bigger than all we can even imagine, just now.

    For ME, however, along, with the "effect"... the universe itself... is the leadings and revelations of the One who was there when it all came to be, the One THROUGH whom it actually came to be... who has not withheld explaining JAH... as well as the universe (and its creation) TO me. If I did not hear and see HIM... I would most probably come to conclude, as you have, that there is nothing outside of the physical universe. Praise JAH, that has not been my experience.

    Is it just cognitive dissonance, or is there something more to it?

    There is something more to it: evident demonstration of reality. Which, for me, is manifest in hearing and seeing Christ, the Holy One of Israel and Holy Spirit, JAHESHUA, the Chosen One of JAH... himself. Truly, after what I observed and experienced as to religion, particularly the WTBTS... nothing... and no one... else could have persuaded me. Nothing.

    How is it possible for you to go on believing what you believe?

    Faith, dear one. In the One who speaks to me, my Lord, the Holy One of Israel, JAHESHUA... who tells me of/shows me wonders I can't even barely articulate and of the One who sent him and whose image he bears, the MOST Holy One of Israel, JAH... of Armies. Based on what I've heard from him... and the realities he has told and shown me, I simply cannot DENY his existence... or that of the One he represents. As I've stated before, to do so would be to deny my very existence... and the experiences of that existence.

    Sure, I could deny them in order to appear "sane" and "normal" for those who need that from me, in order to fit in, be treated better, not rock the boat, go along to get along, etc. But... it would be lie... about myself, about Christ, and about JaHVeH... which is something I can no longer do.

    It is that simple, dear Nick, truly.

    I hope this helps and, again, peace to you!

    YOUR servant and a slave of Christ,


  • Twitch

    The Hubble Ultra Deep Field photos are amazing; so many galaxies, so many stars.

    The image contains an estimated 10,000 galaxies.
    Located southwest of Orion in the southern-hemisphere constellation Fornax, the image covers 11.0 square arcminutes. This is just one-seventieth the solid angle subtended by the full moon as viewed from Earth, smaller than a 1 mm-by-1 mm square of paper held 1 meter away, and equal to roughly one thirteen-millionth of the total area of the sky. The image is oriented so that the upper left corner points toward north (−46.4°) on the celestial sphere.

    Such a small region of the sky holds an innumerable amount of stars, how could there not be planets orbiting in habitable zones in their respective solar systems where temperature is conducive to water in liquid form? Gotta happen somewhere at some time. It's been said the odds of life emerging by chance are astronomical. Well, given the number of "chances" that exist in the cosmos and the time frame, it ain't so implausible to me that here is the only place it could happen. Are the odds of me winning the lottery greater if I play the same numbers each week for 10 billion years on a billion planets? (or however many have come and gone over the eons). I'm not a statistician but the argument sounds reasonable. The creation explanation never made any sense to me, that 6000 years ago we suddenly appeared out of nowhere. I mean, really now.

    Even if it's mind boggling to comprehend the time and distances involved in astronomy or the onotological aspects of existence, it is still more reasonable to me than believing desert nomads or their followers had it all figured out, especially if you pick and choose what you like out of their tome, the bible. Reason, fact and knowledge doesn't have this luxury that faith seems to have.

  • tec

    Project against this context the image of Yahweh as depicted in the OT.

    I do not limit myself to this view of God.

    Against the incomprehensible magnificence of what He is alleged to have created, He appears very, very, very, very tiny and insignificant

    This is just one of the reasons why I do not limit myself to the OT depiction of God.

    Obviously, God is bigger than that - because we can now see how much bigger He must be than our previous understanding. See, Nick... it is our understanding that is very VERY small, limited, and more often wrong. Even Christ speaks of how people barely understand the physical world around them... how can they think they might understand beyond the physical world?

    If you think that the size of the universe might disprove God, then the discovery of cells and germs, etc, should have done so first. But it has not. Man just did not have the means (scientific) to understand or acknowledge those things before, so he did not incorporate them into his understanding of his world.

    I really don't see why there should be a problem... with our growing understanding of our universe(s)/ together with faith... but for the people who decided that the bible is literal and inerrant, and their view is the one view that is correct. That is - again - man's lack/limit of understanding.

    Hope that helps answer your question somewhat.



  • Bella15

    It is hard to understand GOD in human terms because he is not human ... this is something we tend to forget ... also GOD operates in the Spiritual Realm and we come to believe in him by Faith. We believe what the bible says about HIM creating heavens and earth. We also have the testimony of Jesus, who we as Christians confess is the Son of God. So it is a matter of FAITH, of believing because God says so “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” (Heb. 11:6). “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

    Christ asked, “When the Son of Man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

    As I said before, God is in the spiritual realm. In order to have faith it is necessary to have the fruits of the spirit ... Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Real faith comes from the Spirit of God—it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. No one can have it without God’s Spirit.

    So in my case I go on believing what I believe because I have FAITH.

    "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in."

    Job 37:18 can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze?

    Job 9:8 He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.

    Isaiah 45:12 It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.

  • Nickolas

    Thank you all for your responses (in particular Shelby's and Tammy's. I was hoping in advance you'd both chime in. Twitch and I are on the same page). I've read them over once and will digest their messages for awhile whilst hopefully reading a few more later on.

    Good night, all.

  • Nickolas

    I am reading the same thing throughout the few (and appreciated) replies, and that is it comes down to faith. In the absense of the personal revelation cited by Shelby (denied me and almost all others and about which we have already talked on a number of occasions) what directs one to put one's faith specifically in Yahweh? I take botch's answer to be one of a deist - if I read it right, he is discounting the God of the Bible and his Son but saying that God came from the universe and is the universe itself.

    Perhaps the main questions, related to the incomprehensible vastness of the universe, are why here and (relatively speaking) why now? Of all the trillions upon trillions of planets in the universe and the billions upon billions of years it has been expanding, why did God choose to have his showdown with Satan on the planet Earth in our time? It can be viewed as a very specific and unique form of the anthropic principle, I suppose, but it is more easily viewed as purely situational and provincial rationalisation. That is, the story of Yahweh, Satan, Jesus, etc. was invented as a means to explain what emerging civilisation could not explain otherwise. We now have the ability to explain the phenomenon of our existence in terms of what we can measure and observe and it is, perhaps, that we are still emerging as civilised, thinking beings that we still see God in the things that are incomprehensible to us.

  • sizemik
    why did God choose to have his showdown with Satan on the planet Earth in our time?

    Yeah 15,000,000,000 years seems a long time to wait since, I assume, Satan was that old too. It does make human religious concepts and their progressive change in such a short time (a relative micro-second) seem a solely human concern. Considering these changes in religious concepts have basically been forced by advancing knowledge, makes the human concept increasingly thin and weak IMO. Not proof that God doesn't exist perhaps . . . but certainly holds the traditional human concepts up as more and more questionable.

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