Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My son and the repentance of God

I am working at home today and my son came down and asked if he could ask me a question. Sure.

"I am reading 1 Samuel 15 for Omnibus today and I read that God regretted that he made Saul king over Israel. Since God ordained everything that takes place, how can this be real regret?"

What does a father say? With a big, thankful gulp, I offered a silent prayer of gratitude to a God who would bless me with a son who thinks while he reads and is not afraid to ask hard questions.

I grabbed my Bible and turned to 1 Sam 15. I then pointed out not only the verse at 1 Sam 15:35, but also 1 Sam 15:29. "Son, how can God not be able to regret and regret six verses later?"

Blank stare. The dawning recognition of a deeper complication. "I don't know."

I would have loved to just tell him what I believe. But I wanted him to go read it somewhere. Maybe that is still telling him, but it would be good for him to read someone other than me.

I sent him here.

Praise God.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Abell 370: Galaxy Cluster Gravitational Lens

Abell 370: Galaxy Cluster Gravitational Lens
Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team & ST-ECF

Explanation: What is that strange arc? While imaging the cluster of galaxies Abell 370, astronomers had noted an unusual arc to the right of many cluster galaxies. Although curious, one initial response was to avoid commenting on the arc because nothing like it had ever been noted before. In the mid-1980s, however, better images allowed astronomers to identify the arc as a prototype of a new kind of astrophysical phenomenon -- the gravitational lens effect of entire cluster of galaxies on background galaxies. Today, we know that this arc actually consists of two distorted images of a fairly normal galaxy that happened to lie far behind the huge cluster. Abell 370's gravity caused the background galaxies' light -- and others -- to spread out and come to the observer along multiple paths, not unlike a distant light appears through the stem of a wine glass. In mid-July, astronomers used the just-upgraded Hubble Space Telescope to image Abell 370 and its gravitational lens images in unprecedented detail. Almost all of the yellow images pictured above are galaxies in the Abell 370 cluster. An astute eye can pick up many strange arcs and distorted arclets, however, that are actually images of more distant galaxies. Studying Abell 370 and its images gives astronomers a unique window into the distribution of normal and dark matter in galaxy clusters and the universe.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I miss the PNW

I could not let this picture go by with out referencing it here. From the September 9, 2009 Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Star Trails Over Oregon
Credit & Copyright: Joshua Bury

Explanation: As the Earth spins on its axis, the sky seems to rotate around us. This motion, called diurnal motion, produces the beautiful concentric trails traced by stars during time exposures. Partial-circle star trails are pictured above over Grants Pass, Oregon, USA last month. Near the middle of the circles is the North Celestial Pole (NCP), easily identified as the point in the sky at the center of all the star trail arcs. The star Polaris, commonly known as the North Star, made the very short bright circle near the NCP. About 12,000 years ago, the bright star Vega was the North Star, and in about 14,000 years, as the Earth's spin axis slowly continues to precess, Vega will become the North Star again.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Every Person has a Theology

"The question is not whether you have a theology. Every person has a theology. The question is whether your theology is good or bad."

—Quoted in various forms by lots of people

Thief on the Cross

"The thief on the cross repented at the very last, but as a wise Puritan put it, God gave us one last minute conversion in Scripture so that no one would despair, but only one so that no one would presume."

Douglas Wilson