Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Universe is God's

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it. - Deuteronomy 10:14 (NASB)

Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. - Romans 1:20

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 128; 1 Kings 11:1-25; John 15:18-16:4

I used to understand
Maxwell's equations...
The universe is God's, and runs by God's design. As a kid who grew up not going to church much, and then becoming a physics student, I've had the opposite of the stereotypical experience. I found that the more I learned about science, the more full of wonder and beauty the universe seemed. I couldn't imagine that anything so complete and elegant could have just randomly happened. When we got to the details of the "Big Bang," the theory that the universe exploded into being with a burst of electromagnetic energy, "Let there be light" took on a whole new meaning for me. I began to see God's fingerprints everywhere in the world.

It was a little later that I began to figure out how Jesus and the Holy Spirit fit into the picture. I found some of the same elegance and "fullness of deity" in what Jesus did and said, and found that like the laws of physics, God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit just works. I can't explain everything! But then, scientists have some very fundamental questions they can't explain either. Over and over, I just find that every step of trust in God leads to new appreciation for the extent of God's love and grace.

Today's verses partly testify to God's presence in the world. And partly they call for a choice. Do we view the universe as God's, or not? Do we recognize the signs that One who is far greater than us has brought this all about, and set us in it, and interacts with us with creativity and delight? Do we seek this one true God, or settle for lesser things?

The other readings (Psalm 128, 1 Kings, John 15) each have an element of strength in recognizing God's place in life, or foolishness and trouble in choosing false gods. God's ways lead to blessing. All of Solomon's wealth and wisdom are put at risk by indulging in worship of other gods. Jesus promises for his followers that even in times of trouble and persecution, the Holy Spirit will be there to inspire our lives' faithful witness.

For me, today's verses remind me of the joy of studying science and math, in small ways "cracking the code" that leads to a little more understanding of how the world works. If we appreciate and work with the laws of physics, we can discover and accomplish more. Since the same God is God of all physical and spiritual reality, the same principle works in our faith life. Respect, seek, understand, learn, appreciate, follow - working with God's ways leads to life in all aspects.

My prayer for today is that the wonder and appreciation of everything God is and does will continue to grow, for me and for others. May our neighbors and leaders and people around the world see and learn about God. May we be faithful and diligent in living in God's ways. May we know the blessings that come with God's design for us.

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