This post was originally delivered as a chapel message on 1 August 2018 at one of South Africa’s top private boys’ boarding schools.
As a scientist (I am a Chemical engineer by education and a Physical Sciences and Chemistry teacher by profession) I come across facts that often blows my mind. I sometimes just go “WOW!”. Light and the properties thereof is something I find to particularly have an awe-factor of ten plus.
Number 1: The properties of light.
Light is amazing. Without it we cannot see anything. Without light we would not be here. Without light there would be no life at all. This is the effect of light, but what are the properties of light?
First, white light is not white at all, but is a mixture of three primary colours – green, red and blue. We use this property of light in projectors, LCD screens and in graphic design. Light has the property that three primary colours are one. A trinity. Why is this mind blowing?
Christians believe that God is one being consisting of three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is interesting that the Bible describes God in various places as Light.
1 John 1:5 reads “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.”
And 1 John 5:7 says: “For there are three, that bear witness in heaven the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit and these three are one.”
Just like light consists of three primary colours, red, blue and green, each distinct, but one. So does God consist of three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three in one – Light.
You might say, wait, when we use a prism in science to split white light we get seven colours. Yes that is so. Does the Bible refer to this? Well yes of course. The Bible describes God as light, consisting of three unique persons, and seven spirits. Revelation 1:4 reads “from the seven Spirits which are before His throne”. It is amazing that in the Old Testament God gave Moses the menorah – a lampstand consisting of 7 stands with three branches, all being one.
Is it not mind-blowing that the words written down by people with no scientific education so accurately describes the attributes of God, which we find when we study the properties of light? Is this purely coincidental?
I do not think so. No other religious book gives such an accurate description of its god when it compares it to natural phenomenon. The Bible is the only book and Christianity the only faith where their God is described as light and the God is believed to consist of three unique persons just as light consists of three unique colours, which then produces 7 colours when divided again through a prism, like the 7 spirits of God.
Number 2: Moving at the speed of light
At the age of 25 Albert Einstein described his Special Theory of Relativity in the year 1905. Einstein stated that when you move at the speed of light time no longer exists. Time ceases. Clocks stand still. Why is this fact mind blowing? I find it mind-blowing as God is described as being before time, outside time. How did people with no scientific knowledge know this when they wrote down Jesus’ words in John 8:12 which declares “I am the light of the world.”
When John writes in John 1 “The Word was with God and the Word was before all” just to declare later and the “light of the world was coming to the world” How did he know that light has the property that time does not exist for it?
Not only does time cease to exist when moving at the speed of light, but also the very notion that it takes time to travel to some place. When moving at the speed of light the distance between two planets is exactly zero and the time between the start and the end of the journey is also exactly zero. This is from light’s point of view. What do we call this? We call this entanglement, the ability of a particle to be at more than one place at the exact same time. When you here that God is omnipresent, you ask: “How is it even possible?”, but light shows this ability and the entanglement of particles all over the universe has been a hot topic in science since 1936.
We struggle to understand these concepts as we are within time. We accept these attributes when scientists write about it in the natural world, but why do we then question it as the very attributes of the one and only, living God? Is it a coincidence that the Creator who is described as Light is also described as being outside of time and omnipresent?
Is God a light particle, NO, but by observing nature we can see and observe the attributes of God, just as Paul declares in Romans 1:19-20 “For what may be known about God is clear to them. The invisible things about Him – His eternal power and deity – have been clearly seen since the creation of the world and are understood by the things that are made, so that they are without excuse.”
Paul is saying that we have no excuse to say “God cannot be known”, “God cannot be seen”, “there is no evidence for God”, because God’s very creation is telling us about Him. When we look at the properties of light we see three in one, being seven, which is ever present and outside of time.
Number 3: The speed of light – a “constant”
The speed of light was first determined in 1657 by a Danish Mathematician by doing studies of Jupiter’s moons. Roemer calculated the speed of light to be 307 600 km/s.
It was more than 200 years later that scientists at Harvard could redo the calculation with better telescopes and when Jupiter’s moons were visible to the earth-dwellers once more. They found a value of 299 921 km/s.
In 1983 the NBS confirmed that the speed of light was 299 792 km/s.
Our first inclination can be that the accuracy of our equipment improved and therefore it explains the difference between the values. However, is this true?
It is so that we now have better equipment, but the different values calculated over more than 350 years does not even overlap.
It was suggested in 1998 for the first time that the speed of light is not constant at all, and that at one point light was travelling much faster. Although scientists are still exploring this, preliminary results indicate that the speed of light is slowing down. Based on calculations by the Canadian Mathematician Alan Montgomery the speed of light was 10-30% faster in the time of Christ; twice as fast in the days of Solomon; four times as fast in the days of Abraham, and perhaps more than 10 million times faster prior to 3000 B.C. What does this mean for science?
It means that the age of the universe is most probably not 13,7 billion years. A faster speed of light will also explain why the remaining energy of the so-called Big Bang which Scientists cannot explain, is so uniformly dispersed throughout the universe. If the speed of light is not constant it changes everything we know about theoretical physics. Most of our calculations of the beginning of the universe will be proven wrong.
Why is this a mind-blowing fact? It shows the limits of what humans know and the fallibility of our assumptions. Actually according to some of NASA’s latest work, the universe should not exist. Mathematically it does not make sense that we are here. What is the problem? We are here. We do exist and we have to ask the question, “Why?”
If the universe is not 13,7 billion years old and the Earth not 4,5 billion years old, what are we going to do with the theory of evolution? A smaller period of time will not help, and even the current assumed period of time does not provide a probability that is likely at all.
The vocal atheist and genealogist Richard Dawkins is on record for admitting that no one knows the origin of the first self-replicating molecule. Science cannot even explain the start of life, therefore how can it postulate a theory of the evolution of that life. We need a start to life, before we can have a theory of how it developed. Science fails.
This is also true for the beginning of the universe, for even if the Big Bang happened, it still leaves us with the question – how did something come from nothing. Science does not have a good and conclusive answer. Our knowledge as humans are limited by time and space. Unlike light, we do not have a vantage point from without time and therefore we should tread lightly on matters we only have little information on.
What then is my conclusion? This – our human minds are unable to shed light on the roots of our origins. We can theorize and we can think, but ultimately we do not know. We cannot go back in time to confirm our theories and hypotheses. Our calculations fail and our constants are not that constant after all.
What are we left to do? How do we find truth? Pontius Pilate, the man who condemned Jesus to death under pressure from the Jews, asked the question “What is truth?” Modern society asks the same question – “What is truth?”
The dividing lines between wrong and right have become blurred. Hitler would hopefully have no support among Christians for his cleansing of the human race. Hitler cleansed society of those with disabilities. Those who did not make the cut. Hitler conducted experiments on humans, trying to modify them, cutting up twins and mutilating kids. He ostracized those who were Jews, and those not part of his view of a pure human race. What does modern society do? We get rid of inconveniences by abortion. We abort even healthy babies. We abort those with disabilities. We use genetic manipulation to form the human race of our choosing. Who is worse? Modern society or Hitler. Who is worse the “modern, liberal” Christian or Hitler?
Ah! It is relative you say. There is no right or wrong. People are unable to say “It is objectively morally wrong to abuse babies for pleasure.” You got to be kidding me. Do you hear what you say? How have we gotten to a point where we cannot say This is right. This is wrong.
There is no social justice when we are unwilling to have Light shed on our culture. It fails if we do not see right and wrong clearly. It means nothing if there is no objective right and wrong.
CS Lewis said: “I believe in Christianity, like I believe the sun has risen, not because I see it, but by it I see everything else.”
We need light. Jesus said: “I am the Light”. The attributes of God are revealed within nature and through His nature we are to view ourselves and humanity.
John 1:5 reads “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it”. The Light of the world was born into a small, useless Roman province. He was denied authority by both the Jewish leaders and the Roman government. Pilate asked “What is truth?” when He condemned Jesus to crucifixion, and yet this man with no authority would be the division of history. This man’s followers will convince even the Roman government itself of the Truth which is this man. How could this be if this man is dead?
If you have not critically engaged with this Truth, you have not engaged with life itself. Christianity is of no importance if Jesus was a good man that rotted away in a grave, but if He rose from the dead we have to face the Ultimate Truth.
Truth is not relative. Truth is a person. Jesus said: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me” in John 14:6.
There is one truth that is eternal and seated in the person of God. A truth that is unchanging. A truth which is Light, ever-present, three in one. What will you do with the Light?