You can quote me on that (part 7)

More quotes gleaned mainly from twitter. Most of these are not just things that I thought were cool, or cleaver, or interesting but things that impacted me, resonated deep within me and left me changed (Not so much the last one though which is just an eye brow raiser).

It’s a mockery to God to think I could lay hands on the sick had have nothing happen. Bill Johnson

It’s going to take the ages to come for you and me to know the surpassing greatness of his riches to us simply because we believe. Bill Johnson

C S Lewis

Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done-C.S.Lewis

Paul wants our faith (our deep conviction) to rest in the power of God (1 Cor2:5). That’s more than just head knowledge. It is experiential. JulianCAdams

Some of the most honoured servants of God in evangelism have been extremely ugly men. Let me commend that to you as a study. Lloyd-Jones.

“It’s all about becoming a generation that can authentically display who Jesus is”
“If you want to know what God’s like, look at Jesus”
“He’s in you as a river, not a lake”
“Sometimes we pray in the place of obedience..prayer is important but it’s never to substitute obedience… He said heal the sick”
“Never go to bed at night without blood on your sword”
Bill Johnson

RickWarren Loved this bumper sticker: “If you love Jesus, tithe! Any fool can honk.”

It takes more than competency to make an effective ministry team — it takes chemistry. You have to like those u work with. RickWarren

If people are not healed I will not supply a rationale so that all those around me remain comfortable with the void. I pursue healing till it comes or the individual goes to be with the Lord. (Heaven touches hearth page 115). Bill Johnson

I think it was Bill Johnson who said “when you tell God you love him he puts it on speaker phone”.

If my theory is wrong God should correct the Universe, so beautiful it is Einstein

“is time an illusion?” (The grand design part 7)

I’m feeling very much out of my depth now as I start chapter 7 of professor Hawking’s new book. He has promised much and I  don’t want to miss it. I take a deep breath and start reading. The chapter begins by talking about various creation myths. After looking at what the people of Boshongo believe the Christian young earth view comes under fire:

“According to the Old Testament” God created Adam and Eve only 6 days into the creation. Bishop Ussher…placed the origin of the world even more precisely, at nine in the morning on October 27, 4004 BC. We take a different view: that humans are a recent creation but that the universe itself began much earlier, about 13.7 billion years ago.”

I would have preferred him to say “according to some interpretations of the Old testament” but it’s true a literal six (24 hour) day creation is an obvious immediate interpretation of what the opening chapters say.

“Creation myths all attempt to answer the questions we address in this book: why is there a universe, and why is the universe the way it is?”

Ok here is the “why”. Where has this jump been made from how to why? The “myths” make that jump by looking to a mind or minds. A God or gods decided something, planned something, or did something for a purpose. But anyway, what’s next:

Edwin Hubble

Fred Hoyle

Hubble “saw” that the universe was expanding (although the forces keep objects in it the same size). In 1949 the term “big bang” was coined by Fred Hoyle to describe the theoretical singularity at the start. But models like Einstein’s theory of relativity break down there and so may not provide “a true picture of the origin of the universe”.

Interestingly enough the expansion of the universe is not limited by the speed of light. It can expand much much faster and there is evidence that in fact it did. Anyway, now we get to the heart of the matter. He says when you combine quantum theory with general relativity (has that been done?) time acts as the other three dimensions of space. Just like water does not fall off the edges of the earth because the earth is spherical, and just like there is no point south of the south pole, there is no beginning of time and no need for God to start the ball rolling or to “light the blue touch paper”.

I’m reading the paragraphs many times now and not getting it. Either there is not enough information here to process this or my brain can’t get round it. How did he just magic time away? Where does the directional aspect of time come from? Is it just subjective? Are we sure enough of this to dismiss our moment by moment experience that time is in fact real and uni-directional?

He gives an analogy of bubbles being formed in a liquid, each bubble representing a different universe with its own constants, numbers of large dimensions (the others get curled up) and lifetime before disappearing. We have observed that ours has three large dimensions, so those universes with more or less need no longer be considered when doing the Feynman sum. (You have to think back to the single particle going through either of the two slits and impacting on a screen the other side. The interference pattern produced is explained by considering all the paths that the particle might have taken. Observe which slit the particle actually goes through and you can ignore the effect of the other slit. Observe something in our universe and we no longer need to consider all the other possibilities. Observation changes past and future reality in that sense….I think!)

As I finish this chapter I feel frustrated. I have not understood it. There was one paragraph that claimed to say why we don’t need God to start things off but I have too many questions to engage with it in a meaningful way.

There are two chapters to go. Maybe I’ll just read on and see if things get clearer. If not I’ll come back and read this all again!

“y’u can n’ey change the laws of physics” (The grand design part 6)


Stephen Hawking and Lenonard Mlodinow


I am reading though Stephen Hawking’s new book “the grand design”. While the title seems to be making reference to the theological notion of “design”, in the content God is gently being elbowed out of the picture. Looking at the cover again I notice it’s co authored by Lenonard Mlodinow. While his name is not printed as big as Hawking’s (his name is bigger than the title!), he is never the less an accomplished scientist and author in his own right. He has written a number of exciting sounding books including “How randomness rules our lives”, “Feynman’s rainbow” and has also been a writer for Star Trek : the next generation.

In the original (and best) star treck Scottie used to reply to Captain Kirk’s impossible requests for more speed with the importal phrase “I can ney change the laws of physics cap’in.” Well, what exactly are those laws? I am about to find out in this chapter.

He talks about gravity, the first force to be described in mathematical language. In passing he can’t resist a poke at the Biblical testimony that the sun stood still in the sky for an hour so Joshua could carry on fighting. He notes it would have probably been the earth’s rotation that stopped which would he says, cause everything not nailed down on the surface to carry on moving. But what if God had realized that and made arrangements for that not to happen?

After gravity came models for eclectic and magnetic forces, weak nuclear forces and strong nuclear forces. Maxwell came up with some equations that unified the eclectic and magnetic ones and showed that light was an electro-magnetic field too. Einstein’s special theory of relativity said that light was constant, time relative to the observer and linked with space (space-time). General relativity included gravity and modeled space-time as distorted by mass and energy. In a graphic and timely confirmation of this (Einstein first suggested time was relative 100 years ago) scientists recently placed two very accurate clocks a foot apart in height and recorded a difference in time predicted by Einstein’s theory. This lead one scientific reporter to (Marcus Chown) comment:

” if you want to live longer, buy a bungalow!”

As Hawking has said earlier, things are different at the quantum level. Quantum versions of relativity and electromagnetism are called field theories. The one for electromagnetism is called quantum electromagnetism or QED and was developed by Richard Feynmann et al.

“the division of natural forces into four classes is probably artificial…people heave therefore sought a theory of everything that is compatible with quantum theory. This would be the holy grail of physics.”

Electromagnetism and the week force have been joined together in a quantum theory (which successfully predicted the existence of 3 particles) but not the others. There is not even a quantum theory of gravity. The “standard model” comprises of the joint electro-weak quantum model QED, a separate quantum model of the strong force QCD but no quantum model of gravity.

“it might be that to describe the universe, we have to employ different theories in different situations. Each theory may have its own version of reality, but according to model-dependent realism, that is acceptable so long as the theories agree in their predictions whenever they overlap, that is, whenever they can both be applied.”

He then begins to introduce the idea of multiple universes:

The laws of M-theory …allow for different universes with different apparent laws, depending on how the internal space is curled (up to 10^500 different universes).

So while we can’t change the laws of physics, different universes could have different laws.

“So how did we end up we end up in this universe…and what about those other possible words?”

I will find out no doubt in the next chapter.