Deeper Waters Podcast 12/3/2016: Hugh Ross

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It used to be said that we lived on a pale blue dot. In this vast universe of ours, we are one solitary spot on the map. To some, this makes us seem insignificant. Why should there be a vast universe and yet this one tiny little planet that has life? If there is a God, why would He do something like this? Isn’t that wasteful?

Besides, is there anything really unique about our planet having life? Surely there are others out there that have life. Why should we look at our planet and see it as an exception to the rule. Ironically with the skeptics, the claim has us losing both ways. If we alone have life, well that shows that we’re just a freak accident. If life is throughout the universe, that shows that there is no creator supposedly needed.

Is our planet unique? I’m not a scientist, so I can’t say, but I do know someone who is. He is returning to my show to talk about his book The Improbable Planet. He is someone I consider a friend and I have a high respect for him also with him being a fellow Aspie just like I am. My guest this Saturday is going to be once again, Dr. Hugh Ross.

hugh-ross-head-shot

Astronomer Hugh Ross is founder and president of Reasons to Believe, an organization dedicated to integrating scientific fact and biblical faith. His books include Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job. and Navigating Genesis.

We’ll be talking about his latest book and looking at the claims that he presents in it. Why is the universe the way that it is and why is it that we have all these planets out here? Is God just creating some pretty scenery for us to look at, or is something else going on? Is there a reason our solar system is the way it is?

Why did it take so long for life to show up on the Earth anyway? Couldn’t God have done things a lot faster? Look at how many extinction events we had and how many disasters we had on this planet before we showed up. Is there really a point to that?

Come to think of it, what is the point? Why is it that God did all of this? Why is it that he created dinosaurs that we would never see with our eyes and had all these events take place for billions of years when the time that we have spent on here is just a tiny portion of all of that? Is God really interested in this time that humanity has been alive so much that He will create a universe and a planet just for that?

Join me this Saturday as Hugh Ross and I discuss these topics. We are working on getting past shows up. We had a flaw with the audio on David Sorrell’s so we are going to be working on that again and then everything should flow as normal. Please go to ITunes also and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Improbable Planet

What do I think of Hugh Ross’s book published by Baker Academic? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I like Hugh Ross a lot. It could be because he and I both have Aspergers. I was thrilled then to hear from him and be offered a review copy of his book. As you can see, the title is The Improbable Planet and it’s a history of Earth from a Christian old-earth creationist perspective that is not evolutionary.

Readers of my blog know I don’t answer yes or no on science questions. When it comes to evolution, I tend to keep silent, though I am open to the idea. Therefore, as I go through this work, I am going to avoid speaking specifically on many science issues, which might seem odd, but there is more than just science.

If I grant much of what is in Ross’s book, and it is not to me to decide if it is true or not but more to the scientists, then I would say the main point of the book is to learn about providence. There are plenty of interesting concepts that one can learn about going through. For instance, I had never once heard of the Boring Billion before I read this book. This is supposed to be a time in Earth’s history when it doesn’t seem like much is going on.

Reading about matters involving the planets is always fascinating. While reading about the New Testament and apologetics is my main love in learning, there’s something intriguing about space. If I pull up an article about strange phenomena that can be seen in space, I can stay there for quite awhile looking at it. I find it mind-blowing to think of a massive mountain on Mars or an underground ocean on Europa. There is so much activity taking place in our universe as I write this right now.

Ross’s book does go into that. It goes into why there were so many billions of years spent before we showed up on the scene. Why is our solar system the way it is? How did we get the moon? Why are there so many big planets known as gas giants like Jupiter or Saturn? (One criticism is that at one point he does speak about the eight planets of our solar system. Say what you will, but I will always consider Pluto a planet.)

In fact, the portions that talk about life are brief and I would have liked to have seen more detail on that. One particular area would be dinosaurs, which most every student growing up is fascinated with. Still, there is something and reading about how powerful the asteroid was that hit that was believed to lead to the death of the dinosaurs was quite incredible.

It’s my understanding that Hugh Ross is a dispensationalist, which would make sense because there are a lot of charts and graphs in the book. Thankfully, they’re not on eschatology. Still, I do think this viewpoint of his actually leads to a disappointing ending. The whole of the book is good, but when I got to the end, I did feel a bit let down by that part.

If you’re someone who is curious about the history of Earth, this would be an interesting read. As I said, I cannot comment on the science yes or no. If anything, the main message I think to get from this book is providence. We are not an accident. God made our world the way that He made it for a reason. (This is one area where I think design arguments could work better.) If we can trust God who put so much into making this place for us, what can we not trust Him with?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Apostles’ Creed: Of Heaven and Earth

What does the Bible mean when it speaks about Heaven and Earth? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

When we hear Heaven and Earth, our minds can often think of two opposites. In some ways, this is accurate, but not totally. The danger with many Christians is to make it such a contrast that there is no relation between the two, whereas in Revelation 21, what one ultimately sees in the end is the marriage of Heaven and Earth. Christians don’t go up to Heaven. Heaven, in the New Jerusalem, comes down to Earth.

What is really going on when we see Heaven and Earth spoken of in the Scripture then?

What is happening is what is called a merism. This is where you speak of two contrasting realities and by speaking of them, you mean to include everything in between them. North and south, east and west, good and evil, etc. In the Psalm, when the Psalmist says he can go to the highest heaven or the deepest darkness and not escape God, it doesn’t mean that if He stays right in the middle God won’t notice Him. It means that by saying those two opposite, He’s included everything.

What this means then by Heaven and Earth is not saying the celestial realm, but rather the skies above. Now of course, sometimes the Bible uses the term Heaven and refers to the celestial realm, but not normally. One place I can think of that is an exception in fact differs in that Paul refers in 2 Cor. 12 to going to the “third Heaven.”

So when we read that God created the Heavens and the Earth, it means He created the universe. As was said yesterday, this is a being of great power and intelligence who can do something like this and that is a power and intelligence that deserves to be respected.

If we form a divide between Heaven and Earth that the two will have nothing to do with each other, we end up holding to a more Gnostic worldview that says this world as it is evil. Now there is much that is fallen about our world and I am of the viewpoint that it was not created to be perfect as it is, but there is much that is good. I agree with the old hymn that says “This Is My Father’s World.”

Heaven is not meant in the Bible to be seen as an escapist reality. To be fair, Christians should think about Heaven, but we should be aware of how much of our idea of Heaven comes from modern popular thought and how much from Scripture. I happen to agree with many skeptics who say they don’t want eternity sitting on a cloud playing a harp. I’m not much of a musical man. Some of my favorite words to hear in church are “You may be seated.” An eternal concert would have me thinking I was in the other place.

If there is one defining feature I’d point to about Heaven, it would be the presence of God. Heaven is where God’s presence is made manifest. God is in fact what defines Heaven and for those who love Him, being eternally in His presence will be a great joy. For those who do not love Him, being eternally in His presence will be Hell.

If we make Heaven too much about other things, then we distract from what makes it Heaven. Of course, we can ask other questions such as what will be the status of our marriage in Heaven and will our pets be in Heaven and what will we do, but these are secondary questions. The primary question is “What will our relationship to God be in Heaven?”

Until then, let us realize this Earth is not a plan B. This Earth is God’s idea. We are to care for it and cherish it. Now of course, we are not to worship the creation or find our salvation in it, but we are to be stewards of the creation and to care for it. For those who think that Heaven is in a way like “God’s House” it is a wonder that we think He would let us in His house if we can’t take care of the place to live that He gives us.

Let the fact that God is the creator remind us that creation is a good and we ought to cherish and celebrate it. There is much in our world that is good and beautiful and we should thank the Creator for it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters