The Cosmic Cube: Explaining Life

Could you ultimately explain any aspect of life in a way that would make sense not only to the human mind, but also with proper deference to the mysteries of life?  In “The Cosmic Cube” chapter of our worldview series of essays, we have been addressing the need to look outside “the box” to answer many of life’s most important questions inside “the box.”  In this final essay of  “The Cosmic Cube,” Sandra reminds us of some essential things to consider.  Please do just that.  – Arthur

“Hurry up, Mom!  I see a caterpillar on our passion vine,” cried Angela.  I hurry up and go outside to bring in the little crawling caterpillar.  We love bringing in the caterpillars.  We love watching their amazing metamorphosis take place before our very eyes.  This past winter, we brought in 15 caterpillars and watched all of them transform into butterflies.  Since our passion vine had very few leaves, Daniel, Angela and I rode our bikes one Sunday to the South Pasadena High School field to get some of their passion vines’ leaves.  I love seeing the caterpillars get bigger and fatter as they continually eat and shed their skins.  They are very dainty eaters, taking small bites on a leaf until they have eaten it all.

After they have eaten and gotten quite plump and large, they start crawling around, looking for a place to attach the end of their bodies.  They anchor themselves and then hang down in the shape of a “J”.  Unlike a moth, they do not “spin” a cocoon; rather, they just allow their bodies to start “metamorphosizing” until their outward body starts hardening.  Eventually, all the spikes from their caterpillar bodies collect into a little ball and fall off.  After a couple of weeks, we see the chrysalis start getting darker and have a couple of white dots on the sides.  We see it start to wriggle and know that it is almost time for it to “hatch”.  In an instant, it bursts from the thin skin of its chrysalis and emerges as a butterfly.  At first the wings hang limp and the antennae are twisted together, but soon the wings starts to flatten out and expand, and before we know it, it is starting to flap its iridescent wings.  They are beautiful and glorious.

We always make a ceremony of releasing our butterflies, and I always cry out to them, “Have a good life, butterfly!”  During one recent release, we witnessed one of our butterflies not even being able to get away from our house before a bird came and snatched it in its beak!  The kids ran into the house hysterical, screaming.  It was very traumatic to see the “circle of life” take place before our very eyes!

What if Angela was to ask me, “Mom, why does the caterpillar transform into a butterfly?”  Well, could I answer that question with solely natural, physical explanations?  I could just say that they were programmed that way, but then I would need a programmer.  I could also say that caterpillars are unable to mate, so they need to turn into butterflies so that they can mate and propagate the butterfly population, but then I would need to introduce the idea of male and female and the amazing fact of life, to be able to reproduce itself.  It is pretty obvious that the answers to these and other questions lie outside “the cube“ that we call this universe.

Where did the life-giving substance of water come from?  It is one of the few liquids whose frozen state is less dense than its liquid state, so ice floats to the top.  If this wasn’t true, the oceans and lakes would all eventually freeze over as the frozen blocks of ice drop to the bottom and would not be exposed to the sun to melt them.  Water is the perfect liquid that all life needs to exist.  It is totally “recyclable” and cleanses itself as it goes from earth to the heavens and back down again.  Within the cube, one person can only hypothesize that our “blue planet” is a result of an “intense bombardment of the inner solar system over 4 billion years ago.”

As hard as it is for us to answer the most basic questions of our world, it is even more difficult for us to answer questions of love, ambition, hate, jealousy, ideas of immortality, and other questions unique to man.  Like Del Tackett says, “there is no direction/area in life where God has not spoken….”  God’s fingerprint is on everything inside this cube.  Man reveals his blindness and distorted heart when he refuses to not only acknowledge, but more importantly, to worship the obvious Creator of everything inside this cube.

So, why does the caterpillar turn into a butterfly?  Perhaps the Lord wanted us to have the constant illustration and reminder that that all Christians are naturally caterpillars that, one day, will hang up this body and miraculously go through a metamorphosis where we are transformed into glorious “butterflies” whose likeness to our former selves are barely recognizable.  The mystery of the butterfly, as well as millions of other facts of creation, are remarkable and amazing.  Let us never fail to declare it to be so!  But let’s not stop there.  Everything found in the finite cube points to the greater Truth of the one and only God who is infinite and holds this cube in the palm of His hand.

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God and their expanse is declaring the works of His hands.”  Psalms 19:1

– by Sandra Hsieh

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The Cosmic Cube: After Darkness, Light

Continuing our Cosmic Cube series, Kathy takes us back to her college days and the challenge she faced by professors and the like to live by the box rather than to live by the Book.  And while God’s Light is often eclipsed by the world’s darkness, it will never be obliterated.  His Light will always emerge from the fray, for He is the Light of the World! – Arthur

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July 16, 1945 is a day forever remembered and celebrated by the Los Alamos scientific community as the day physicists first tested out the atomic bomb over the New Mexico desert. On August 6th of 1945, the rest of the world watched in horror and fascination as “Little Boy” exploded over Hiroshima, instantly killing 66,000 people. The splitting of the atom was certainly a great scientific achievement and was met with much congratulation. However, it also unleashed unimaginable horror.

On September 10, 2008, my Life Science professor excitedly walked into class and asked, “Have you heard the news?” He proudly announced that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle accelerator, made its first successful test run beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. Among the scientific community, it was a day of great celebration and accomplishment. After all, the project began in 1984, was built in collaboration with more than 10,000 scientists, and cost $10 billion! Furthermore, United States, Japan, Canada, Russia, India, and several European nations have all been major contributors to this huge project. BBC radio called this day, “Big Bang Day”, for “these international group of scientists plan to smash particles together to create, on a small-scale, re-enactments of the Big Bang.” (Yahoo News) Scientists hoped that this achievement will be the next great step to understand the makeup of the universe.

Mankind continues on the quest to find the answers to life’s big questions, and have progressed to greater and greater lengths with bigger investments and funding in pursuit of answers to questions, like how the universe came to be and how man originated on this earth. The successful firing of a beam of protons around the 17-mile tunnel housing the LHC was certainly a great scientific achievement and was also met with much congratulation. However, reminiscent of the atomic bomb, this celebratory attitude is unnerving, because the implications of building the LHC are horrific, beyond what we can imagine. Do they know exactly what they are cheering for when scientists congratulate themselves on this massive achievement? Take it to its logical conclusion and the assumptions are hardly a cause for celebration.

If indeed the cosmos is all there ever was, there wouldn’t be any ultimate meaning to human existence! If there is no ultimate meaning to human existence, then living morally and righteously would only be a preference. After all, all came from nothing and to nothing will we return. Is that a cause to celebrate? “‘What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?’ And I said in my heart that this also is vanity…how the wise dies just like the fool! So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.” (Ecc.2:15-17) As the world attempts to find the answers in the box, the implications can only be met with hate, grief, hopelessness, and despair. The author of Ecclesiastes understood that these are the implications if there is nothing outside the cube.

Somewhere underneath Geneva, Switzerland is this LHC. It is built in darkness, and sprung up from dark thoughts. Ironically, somewhere in Geneva, Switzerland, a Reformation Monument adorned with statues of the 16th century Reformation leaders, Calvin, Beza, Farel, and Knox, stands in the light above ground.  Surrounding these figures is the phrase, “Post Tenebras Lux—After darkness, light.” The light of the Reformation was the light of the Bible. We live by its light! If you ask a child what he thinks his life will be like living in a closed box, would we be surprised if he said, “dark?” Man attempts to answer life’s questions by looking for answers in the box. It’s a futile attempt and by its darkness, we can’t see anything! We can hardly understand where we are from, what we are doing here, and where we are going, what is right, and what is wrong. But, we have the Bible, which is not only a book about God, but a book from God. From above, He reached down and gave us His light; it is in Him that we can see. He gives us all the answers- who we are, why we exist, where we came from, where we are going, and how we should live! Until we see that, we’d be living in the dark, in the horrors of the false assumptions preached on college campuses, and carried out behind scientific research laboratory doors.

At the beginning of the year, another one of my professors proudly reminded our class that 2009 is the year evolutionists will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of On the Origin of the Species. A look into the assumptions tells us it’s not a cause for celebration.  As for me, I celebrate the Lord, the Most High…a great king over all the earth! “For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly.” (Ps. 138:6) Let us join the heavenly congregation in rejoicing, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Rev. 4:11)

– Kathy Hung (now Chan)

The Cosmic Cube: Thinking Outside the Box

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Assumptions. Everyone lives by them each moment of the day. Truth is, the veracity and quality of your assumptions will determine the course of your life and affect the lives around you. What assumptions are you living by? Are they true? Will they stand the test of life and of time? Who or what is building your box of assumptions? It is questions like these that faced a high schooler named Eunice Im a few years back. I urge you to read her story and learn from it. – Arthur

“The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.”

One night, I found my high school yearbook lying on my desk. Cracking it open brought back a flood of memories. While looking through pictures and reading through messages from old friends, a mix of emotions sprung up from reminiscing and remembering those ‘good old times.’ As I sat and pondered, I was confronted with a harsh question—did any of that really matter?

During high school, I always wanted to popular. I wanted to be the girl who was liked, sociable, and accepted. Of course, there were things that I was not willing to compromise for the sake of popularity, but I still had a strong desire for it. I envied those who had more friends than me, who always had a date to the upcoming dance, and who were invited to all the ‘cool’ parties. I could not bear the idea of being a social outcast, someone who missed out on all the ‘fun.’

Reflecting back, I can see that I lived with the assumption that man’s praise is the best thing to receive in life. Del Tackett poignantly states, “Assumptions are the most dangerous form of knowledge.” Assumptions, depending on its source, will bring prosperity or turmoil. Only the assumptions that align best with truth can yield a well-lived life. God, the One with perfect perception, is the source of truth. “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.” (Psalm 19:8)

What does God do with His people, who live according to ‘precepts’ of the flesh, rather than the Spirit? How does He break down these assumptions? What does it take to break away from our destructive thinking?

Before college started, I made a commitment to intentionally invest in more meaningful relationships with my family and church friends. I didn’t want to spread myself thin, like I did in high school, and the Lord convinced me, through His Word and through different people and circumstances, that this is the best decision. It wasn’t until I carried this out that I realized the depth of my assumptive thinking. Continue reading

The Cosmic Cube: Hollow Philosophies

Hey TD, I know Nathaniel’s essay was scary :), but this next one in The Cosmic Cube series is scary too … in a different and in a “Gulp, this is what I’ve been eating all this time???” kind of way.  Robert does a fantastic job dissecting hollow philosophy and pointing us to Real Philosophy.

Please keep up with these essays!  If you do, you WILL be changed for the better!  

– Arthur 

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“The intellect, as a means for the preservation of the individual, develops its chief power in dissimulation; for it is by dissimulation that the feebler and lest robust individuals preserve themselves, since it has been denied them to fight the battle of existence with horns or the sharp teeth of beasts of prey. In man this art of dissimulation reaches its acme of perfection: in him deception, flattery, falsehood and fraud, slander, display, pretentiousness, disguise, cloaking convention, and acting to others and to himself, in short, the continual fluttering to and from around the one flame—Vanity.” – Nietzsche

     Philosophy teetered on the edge of emptiness when Friedrich Nietzsche made his grave declaration in 1882: “God is dead.”  The roots of this tragedy reach back twenty three years to Darwin’s The Origin of Species. The theory of evolution, according to Nietzsche, liberates man—at a high price. It renders the idea of God unnecessary, which erases any standard of objective morality. Morality becomes merely a “herd instinct” that can be manipulated by the first person who that realizes its arbitrariness. But however freeing it seems to do away with belief in God, Nietzsche knew that truth, significance, and purpose would also vanish. Continue reading

The Cosmic Cube: Life Outside the Box – the South Side

Hey TD, I hope you have been keeping up with The Cosmic Battle series of essays.  They have been a rich source of perspective and thought to help us in our call to “fight the good fight.”  They have reminded us of the reality that “… our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 6:12)

Today, we kick off our new series, The Cosmic Cube, which will challenge us to think, live, and battle outside the naturalistic box that we are being suckered to live in each day. 

Nathaniel will get us started, giving us chilling and uncomfortable insight into our Enemy’s heart.  It’s long, but it’s incredible!  Please read and be sharpened for the battle! Comments welcomed.  – Arthur

            Who would have known that something as fragile as a web could reach out so far and entangle so many?  Who could have guessed that lies could drill a hole so deep, the bottom was neither in sight nor in any stretch of the finite imagination.  The web of lies is infinite, working its way into every aspect of human life and thought.  Invisibly.  The web of lies is powerful, blinding its captives and dragging them into the bottomless pit.  Eternally.

“It amuses me,” my demon tour guide, Erebus, chuckled, “that the stupid humans have not the slightest inclination of who we are.  How could they even begin to see the way we master their lives when they regard themselves as progressive, open-minded, and intelligent.  Ha! They will always be naive children, children of lies, the unsuspecting pupils of the master and teacher, the Father of Lies.”

I shuttered at the sight of him.  His brazen eyes were ablaze with cruelty, shining like one who had not only seen the eternal fire, but set eyes on its prisoners and exulted in their agony.  The fire in his eyes grew hotter and the strength of his piercing words increased as we descended the web together. Continue reading