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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 1:41 pm | Fair 63º


Jim Langley: Theoretical Thoughts on Theology

While visiting Pilgrim Terrace in Santa Barbara the other day, I met a very interesting lady who will soon turn 90 years young. She’s a retired physicist!

I sat down at a vacant table with my guest for the day when we were quickly joined by this lovely octogenarian. In no time at all, the three of us found ourselves in a conversation about our faith.

As a trained scientist, she expressed fairly strong opinions about religions in general and her personal experience with one religion specifically.

Taught by the Catholic Jesuit order as a young girl, by the seventh grade she had decided to not buy in to what she was being taught in her religion classes. Apparently somewhat swayed by scientific theory, she decided to not follow any religion based on simple obedient faith without proving it first.

She seems quite satisfied to simply live her life based on the theoretical thinking that has been her passion for the past 70-plus years. My guest and I had no intent to persuade her during a delightful discussion over lunch, but I personally look forward to seeing her again soon.

Physicists and the larger body of scientists in general base their discipline on scientific theory and the careful observation of the natural world. Granted, there can be much merit in coming up with hypotheses as to why things are the way they are.

As scientists, physicists specialize in the field of physics encompassing the interactions of matter and energy in length and time scales in the physical universe. They are most interested in the root causes of phenomena and frame their understanding in mathematical terms. Normally they apply their knowledge toward solving practical problems or developing new technologies in their discipline.

Interestingly, most of the mathematical and physical ideas used today were first discovered in ancient Greek culture.

In theology, we are presented with what’s known as general or natural revelation. In essence, humankind can discover God and spiritual matters through the observation of plainly available facts about this world and the universe.

I know many scientists buy into theology and the existence of God as the creator of this expansive universe, yet others are blinded to what others find to be obvious.

Frankly, as a young boy I never gave much thought to the possibility that there was no God. If born later in the century, I would not have changed my views of the existence of a Master Designer. Yes, I marvel daily at my surroundings and I’m continually amazed at the intricacy of this world and the universe. I place zero confidence in a “Big Bang” theory at all.

Since I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord in 1984, my senses have been increasingly sharpened to God’s handiwork and His intimate involvement in my life and the lives of those around me.

By the way, not all those around me believe in Christ as Lord! Many of my acquaintances struggle in their faith journey. Many have had bad experiences like this lady at Pilgrim Terrace and, for one reason or another, these folks won’t let go of those experiences and open their eyes to general revelation. I find that unfortunate, but I know only He can open their eyes as he did mine many years ago.

The study of God’s Word over the past three decades has helped me strengthen my walk. Let me share one scripture dealing with general revelation of our Creator.

In Romans 1:20, Paul proclaims “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

Unfortunately, many cannot see Him for Who He is — our Father in Heaven.

Paul continues in verses 21-22, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”

These are the days in which we live. Many worship other things rather than the God of the Universe.

There are many extremely intelligent people these days who simply can’t seem to fathom God’s handiwork, or at least they will not give Him credit for all He’s done from the beginning of time as we know it. Whatever your discipline, I pray that you will soon come to the conclusion that you, too, need to give God a chance and seek Him and all His ways.

Passages to Ponder

» Genesis 1:31

» Job 38:1-7

» Psalm 19:1-6

» Matthew 13:10-12

» Acts 17:24-27

— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at [email protected] for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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