Thursday, May 24, 2018

T.F. Torrance on Science and Theology


‘When the scientist inquires into the nature of the world, he does that not by looking at God but by looking away from him at the world, but when the theologian inquires into the nature of God as he has revealed himself he does that not by looking at the nature of the world, which God has created out of nothing, but by looking away from the world to its Creator. The scientist and the theologian thus move in opposite directions. The scientist is concerned with the created or contingent universe, so that he does not reckon God among the data with which natural science is concerned. And that is of course consonant with a proper theological understanding of the nature of the universe which God has created as a reality utterly different from himself but which he has endowed with a created rational order reflecting his own transcendent rationality.’ (T.F. Torrance, Preaching Christ Today: The Gospel and Scientific Thinking, 48-49)

Friday, May 4, 2018

Faith and Science According to the First American Female Astronomer, Maria Mitchell


Maria Mitchell (August 1, 1818-June 28, 1889), the first American woman astronomer, was the first professor of Astronomy at Vassar College and the first director of Vassar's observatory. Honored internationally, she was one of the most celebrated American scientists of the 19th century.

Maria was the third of ten children born to Quakers Lydia Coleman and William Mitchell on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. William Mitchell, an amateur astronomer, shared with his children what he considered to be the evidence of God in the natural world. Only Maria was interested enough to learn the mathematics of astronomy. At age 12 Maria counted the seconds for her father while they observed a lunar eclipse. At 14 she could adjust a ship's chronometer, a valuable skill in a whaling port. She preferred to stand on the roof searching the skies to gathering with the family or friends in the parlor.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Documentary: "Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story" (2017)


Starlet. Screen Siren. The Most Beautiful Woman in the World. All phrases used to describe 1940’s Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr, whose ravishing visage was the inspiration for Snow White and Cat Woman. Alexandra Dean’s illuminating documentary adds Inventor to the list. Known for her matchless beauty and electric screen persona, Lamarr’s legion of fans never knew she possessed such a beautiful mind, whose concepts were the basis of cell phone and bluetooth technology. An Austrian Jewish émigré who acted by day and drew mechanical and electronic inventions by night, Lamarr came up with a “secret communication system” to help the Allies to beat the Nazis. Weaving in Lamarr’s own voice from archival recordings, Dean reveals how Lamarr gave her patent to the Navy, received no credit for her contributions, and wound up impoverished in her latter years. Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story is a film for lovers of history, Hollywood and science.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

R.I.P. Stephen Hawking (8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018)

R.I.P. Stephen Hawking (8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018)

The brilliant Stephen Hawking, who was an theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge, died at his home in Cambridge, England, early in the morning of 14 March 2018 at the age of 76. His family stated that he "died peacefully".

Hawking was best known for his discoveries in relativity and black holes. Though at one time a theist, he gradually became dissatisfied with the idea of God and the afterlife, being satisfied with what scientific knowledge alone can offer to mankind. One thing is for sure however: he thought a lot about God and often spoke of a Creator, although he did not believe a personal one existed. Below are some articles from the past that reference Hawking and his thought, some from an Orthodox Christian perspective.

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Earliest Manuscripts of the Book of Genesis

Jacob Wrestling the Angel and Rebecca and Eliezer at the Wall, from the Vienna Genesis.
Early Byzantine Europe. 6th Century C.E. Illuminated manuscript.

The earliest substantial fragments of the Old Testament we have are the Dead Sea Scrolls found in Qumran and other sites in the Judaean Desert (ca. 2nd century BCE-1st century CE) and the Nash Papyrus (150-100 BCE), which contains the text of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17 + Deuteronomy 5:6-21). The earliest artifacts we have which contain a biblical text are two small silver scrolls from the Jerusalem area dating from the 7th century BCE inscribed with portions of the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26).

The oldest known copy of Genesis (4QPaleoGen[sup]m[/sup], from Qumran) is really just a small fragment containing ten (or nine) complete words and eight (or nine) parts of words from Genesis 26:21-28. Written in paleo-Hebrew (the script used by the Israelites before they switched to the ‘square-script’ Hebrew letters used today), the fragment probably dates from the mid-2nd century BCE.