Question You will have to be more specific than. You called Christ the Son of God. This is a common phrase. What do you actually mean by it? Answer The …
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The Milky Way
And God said; Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven… Gen. 1,14
Night is no less useful than day, not only because at night man rests from the toils of the day, but also because night is man’s opportunity to listen to what the heavens have to say. If the day is dominated by the brightness of the sun, the night is illuminated by the light of billions of suns, each with its own past, its own history. During the day we feel important, at night insignificant. If our day reveals the varied Wisdom and the Beauty of the Creator, through the miracle of life, the night invites us to contemplation and awe in front of the vastness of Creation.
(*)Excerpt from the book written by Vassilis Petrouleas “Scenes from the greatness of Creation”.
Top cosmologist against ‘Big Bang’ theory
James Peebles won in 2019 Nobel prize in physics for helping transform the field of cosmology into a respected science, but if there’s one term he hates to hear, it’s “Big Bang Theory.”
The leading explanation for the universe in its earliest periods has held sway for decades, with Peebles’ early work investigating cosmic background radiation helping to cement many of the details.
But “the first thing to understand about my field is that its name, Big Bang Theory, is quite inappropriate,” the 84-year-old told a rapt audience at an event honoring US-based Nobel Prize winners at a Swedish Embassy event in Washington on Wednesday.
“It connotes the notion of an event and a position, both of which are quite wrong,” he continued, adding there is in fact no concrete evidence for a giant explosion.
The Nobel committee last month honored Peebles for his work since the mid-1960s developing the now prevalent theoretical framework for the young universe.
But he is careful to note that he does not know about the “beginning.”
“It’s very unfortunate that one thinks of the beginning whereas in fact, we have no good theory of such a thing as the beginning,” he told AFP in an interview.
By contrast, we do have a “well-tested theory of evolution from an early state” to the present state, starting with “the first few seconds of expansion” — literally the first seconds of time, which have left cosmological signatures referred to as “fossils.”
Fossils in paleontology mean the preserved remains of living things from earlier geological ages. The oldest cosmological fossils are the creation of helium and other particles as a result of nucleosynthesis when the universe was very hot and very dense.
These theories are well-argued because of the preponderance of evidence and checks, unlike the theories for the mysterious phase before.
“We don’t have a strong test of what happened earlier in time,” said Peebles, a professor emeritus at Princeton. “We have theories, but not tested.”
– ‘I give up’ –
“Theories, ideas are wonderful, but to me, they become established when passing tests,” he continued.
“Theories of course, any bright physicist can make up theories. They could have nothing to do with reality.
“You discover which theories are close to reality by comparing to experiments. We just don’t have experimental evidence of what happened earlier.”
One of these theories is known as the “inflation model,” which holds that the early universe expanded exponentially fast for a tiny, tiny fraction of a second before the expansion phase.
It’s a beautiful theory,” said Peebles. Many people think it’s so beautiful that it’s surely right. But the evidence of it is very sparse.”
Asked what term he’d prefer over “Big Bang,” Peebles replies: “I have given up, I use Big Bang, I dislike it.
“But for years, some of us have tried to persuade the community to find a better term without success. So ‘Big Bang’ it is. It’s unfortunate, but everyone knows that name. So I give up.”
Some Straight Answers About the Orthodox Church
Why haven’t I heard of the Orthodox Church before?
Beats me! It’s been around since the day of Pentecost. You probably haven’t heard about it because we are a conservative Church that sounds no trumpets in our social programs but rather attempts to lead individuals, each in his or her own circumstances, into communion with God, the very purpose for which the Church exists. Believe it or not, there are perhaps three million of us in North America, and at least 150 million throughout the world.
Are you like the Catholics or the Protestants?
Well, the Orthodox Church is “catholic” in the fullest meaning of the word: “whole and not confined.” But some 500 years before the reformation split western Europe into Protestant and Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christians protested against the Pope of Rome and his attempts to become supreme over the Church in the 11th century, as well as some doctrinal innovations. The Orthodox Church remains unchanged in doctrine and faith since the early Church of the Apostles (yes, we’ve been around that long.)
That’s a pretty bold claim, isn’t it?
It is a bold statement, but when you consider that Jesus Christ promised that he would found His Church and that it would endure unchanged in faith and practice, the gates of hell not prevailing until he came again, it’s altogether refreshing (and confirms one’s faith!)
Do you believe in the Bible?
No. We believe in God! We do, however, believe the Bible to be God’s inspired word, a part of the Tradition of the Church. (II Thessalonians, 2:15) In fact, it was the Church which gave us the Bible as we know it today! (You didn’t think it just fell from heaven as we have it, did you?)
Why should I come to the Orthodox Church or any church for that matter?
Why should you go to work or school, “for that matter”? It is totally natural! As a child of God you must worship him in some way, somehow, with your Christian brothers and sisters. This is a scriptural teaching. The Orthodox Church offers the most meaningful and rich expression of faith and worship there is (you’d have to see it to believe it)! Why settle for less? (Another bold statement, right?)
I thought you had to be Greek or Russian to be Orthodox?
Come on, did you really believe that? the Orthodox Church is not a country club! The Kingdom of Heaven is “equal opportunity”. You are welcome regardless of where your ancestors came from. You are also welcome to bring with you your national customs and culture. Just keep the Gospel of Jesus Christ first and foremost. The Orthodox Church adopts the culture and language of the country she finds herself in.
Do you have to confess your sins to a priest?
No. You confess your sins to God in the presence of a priest who will help you overcome them and proclaim God’s forgiveness, as promised in Holy Scripture. If you choose, you may confess to the entire congregation, following the practice of the early Church. (Admitting that you have sins is the beginning of repentance – that’s half the battle already!)
If I joined your Church, would I have to come to every service?
The only things we have to do in this world are to pay taxes and die! Coming to Church will give you a deduction for the former and prepare you for the latter. You come because you want to come, whenever there is a service. Shotgun Christians are doubters of their own faith. No one forces you. Your attendance and participation is your natural response to God’s place in your personal spiritual life, as well as a testimony to faith in His existence in His Body, the Church and Community of Believers.
How long is one of your services?
Not long enough for those striving for spiritual growth and renewal. In minutes, the Divine Liturgy (the fairly standard Sunday service) is a bit longer than an episode of General Hospital (but without the corruption and commercials!)
What does it cost to be a member of the Orthodox Church?
It costs you your life!
No, I mean in dollars and cents!
It costs you all that you have!
You must be joking!
No, it’s the truth. When you commit yourself to Jesus Christ and His Church, you will come to understand that everything you possess is a gift from Him to be used for His glory. For example, if you are living as best you can according to Jesus Christ’s teachings, your life is giving glory to God. Then even your grocery bill for the food which sustains and nourishes your life, is a contribution to the glory of God. This is the Orthodox understanding of the term “stewardship”.
Come on now, how much are “the dues”?
Okay, enough theology! The scriptural ideal is 10% (a tithe) of your gross income. But unless you submit last year’s tax return, no one would know how much you earn. You give as much as you can conscientiously, on a regular basis but not because God “needs” the money. Man does have a need, however, to give – we know that from our day-to-day experience (particularly as Christians).
All right, now on to your worship. I was told that the Orthodox worship pictures.
Isn’t that against the Commandments?
Sorry, you were told wrong! The Holy Icons (“pictures”) are honored as reminders of the Glory and Presence of God, and venerated as such. ONLY God, the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are due worship. (How can the Church practice what is so contrary to God’s Law?) That is one reason you will find no statues in Orthodox temples – their inclusion in our tradition never developed as that too closely resembled the pagan piety of the early days of our Church, during the time of the Apostles. But icons, rather than attempting to depict reality, point to the Kingdom of God. They are often referred to as “picture windows to Heaven”. In other words, you will not only hear the Gospel in an Orthodox Church, you will see it! The icons act as tools in our spiritual worship and witness to the sanctification of all creation and matter that occurred when Christ Jesus, the Son of God, took on human flesh. The Divine/Human Person of Jesus became the living icon of God (John 10:30; 14:6-11) in the flesh.
You keep mentioning “The Church” over and over again. Why?
Basically, Jesus Christ did not come to establish such a thing as “Christianity”. Even the word is not in the Holy Scriptures. What Christ Jesus did do was to establish the Church, which Scripture calls both His Body and His Bride. The communion which man seeks with God is found by being part of the Church, something which St. Paul calls a “great mystery”, whereby we become members of Christ: “of His flesh, and of His bones.” (Ephesians 5:30) The Bible also tells us that such as were being saved were added to the Church (Acts 2:47). They were not merely making “decisions for Christ” — again, not a Scriptural term — but they were repenting, being baptized for the remission of their sins, and being added to the Church. (Acts 2:38 ff.) There, they were continuing steadfastly in the Apostle’s doctrine and fellowship, the Breaking of Bread (what is commonly called Holy Communion today), and prayer. Finally, from the day of Pentecost, the “birthday” of the Church, the Bible never speaks of Christians who were not a part of it. This sort of sums up why we speak so much of “The Church”.
Famous Scientists Who Are Not Atheists
(Note: The honorary societies to which these scientists belong are given by the number of asterisks after their name. One * denotes member of National Academy of Science; two ** is member of Research Council of Europe; three *** is Fellow at the Royal Society UK.)
1. Professor Christian Anfinsen* (Nobel Prize for Chemistry, biochemistry of RNA, Johns Hopkins University): “I think that only an idiot can be an atheist! We must admit that there exists an incomprehensible power or force with limitless foresight and knowledge that started the whole universe going in the first place.”
2. Professor Werner Archer (Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine, restriction enzymes and molecular genetics, University of Basel): “I do not think our civilization has succeeded in discovering and explaining all the principles acting in the universe. I include the concept of God among these principles. I am happy to accept the concept without trying to define it precisely. I know that the concept of God helped me to master many questions in life; it guides me in critical situations and I see it confirmed in many deep insights into the beauty of the functioning of the living world.”
3. Professor D.H.R. Barton*** (Nobel Prize for Chemistry, conformational analysis in organic chemistry, Texas A&M University): “God is Truth. There is no incompatibility between science and religion. Both are seeking the same truth.”
4. Professor Ulrich Becker** (High energy particle physics, MIT): “How can I exist without a creator? I am not aware of any answer ever given.”
5. Professor Steven Bernasek (Solid state chemistry, Princeton University): “I believe in the existence of God. His existence is apparent to me in everything around me, especially in my work as a scientist. On the other hand I cannot prove the existence of God the way I might prove or disprove a (scientific) hypothesis.”
6. Dr. Francis Collins* (Medicine, former Director of the Human Genome Project, Director, National Institutes of Health, author of “The Language of God”): “Freeing God from the burden of special acts of creation does not remove Him as the source of the things that make humanity special, and of the universe itself. It merely shows us something of how He operates.”
7. Professor Freeman Dyson*,*** (Theoretical physics, Princeton Institute for Advanced Study): “I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension. God may be either a world-soul or a collection of world-souls. So I am thinking that atoms and humans and God may have minds that differ in degree but not in kind.”
8. Sir John Eccles*** (Nobel Prize, neurochemistry): “If I consider reality as I experience it, the primary experience I have is of my own existence as a self-conscious being, which I believe is God-created.”
9. Professor Manfred Eigen (Nobel Prize for Chemistry, fast reaction kinetics, Director Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Gottingen): “…religion and science neither exclude nor prove one another.”
10. Professor John Fornaess* (Mathematics, Princeton Univ.): “I believe that there is a God and that God brings structure to the universe at all levels from elementary particles to human being to superclusters of galaxies.”
11. Professor P.C.C. Garnham*** (Medical protozoology, University of London): “God originated the universe or universes… At some stage in evolution when proto-humans were sufficiently advanced, God created the human soul… By faith and by appreciation of scientific necessity, God must exist.”
12. Professor Conyers Herring* (Solid state physics, Princeton University): “We live in a hard, real universe, to which we have to adapt. God is a characteristic of that universe—indeed a miraculous characteristic—that makes that adaption possible. Things such as truth, goodness, even happiness, are achievable, by virtue of a force that is always present, in the here and now and available to me personally.”
13. Professor Vera Kistiakowsky* (Experimental Nuclear Physics, MIT and Mount Holyoke College): “I am satisfied with the existence of an unknowable source of divine order and purpose and do not find this in conflict with being a practicing Christian.”
14. Professor Sir Neville Mott*** (Nobel Prize for physics, solid state physics, Cambridge University): “…we can and must ask God which way we ought to go, what we ought to do, how we ought to behave.”
15. Professor Robert Neumann* (nuclear and isotope chemistry and physics, Princeton University): “The existence of the universe requires me to conclude that God exists.”
16. Professor Edward Nelson* (Mathematics, Princeton University): “I believe in, pray to, and worship God.”
17. Dr. Arno Penzias* (Nobel Prize for physics for first observation of the universal microwave background radiation, Vice-President for Research, AT&T Bell Laboratories): “…by looking at the order in the world, we can infer purpose and from purpose we begin to get some knowledge of the Creator, the Planner of all this. This is, then, how I look at God. I look at God through the works of God’s hands and from those works imply intentions. From these intentions, I receive an impression of the Almighty.”
18. Rev. Professor John Polkinghorne*** (Theoretical elementary particle physics, President, Queens College, Cambridge University): “I take God very seriously indeed. I am a Christian believer (indeed, an ordained Anglican priest), and I believe that God exists and has made Himself known in Jesus Christ.”
19. Professor Abdus Salam*** (Nobel Prize for physics (elementary particle theory), Director, International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste): “Now this sense of wonder leads most scientists to a Superior Being—der Alte, the Old One, as Einstein affectionately called the Deity—a Superior Intelligence, the Lord of all Creation and Natural Law.”
20. Professor Arthur Schawlow* (Nobel Prize for Physics [laser physics], Stanford University): “It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious… I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life.”
21. Professor Wolfgang Smith (Philosophy, Mathematics and Physics, Oregon State University. His theoretical work provided the key for solving the re-entry problem in space flight): “If the physics of the last century prompted atheism, the physics of today is inciting at least the most thoughtful of its votaries to re-examine ‘the question of God.'”
22. Professor Charles Townes* (Nobel Prize for physics, development of the MASER/LASER, University of California, Berkeley): “I believe in the concept of God and in His existence.”
23. Professor Eugene Wigner* (Nobel Prize for physics, applications of symmetry principles—group theory to quantum mechanics—Princeton University): “The concept of God is a wonderful one—it also helps us makes decisions in the right direction. We would be very different, I fear, if we did not have that concept.”
Faith as a gift
A few remarks are in order to put this list in an appropriate context. First, only a small fraction of the listed scientists are practicing Christians. Most are deists who believe in a Creator God, but not a personal God. Second, some great scientists are atheists or agnostics (Steven Weinberg comes to mind as the most vocal of these). Nevertheless, it shows that faith and atheism is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for being a good scientist.
Finally, I will say that I find most of the remarks inspiring. And it shows me that faith is not ultimately an act of intellectual discernment, but grace given to us by the Holy Spirit. It is a gift, and we should not be scornful of those who have not received the gift.
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