Fundamentalism: The Building Blocks of the Universe

The world’s largest particle accelerator was tested successful today, setting the stage for one of the world’s largest scientific experiments.  As reported on National Public Radio, Physicists Revving World’s Most Powerful Smashup, the Large Hadron Collider is set to conduct experiments to search “for clues about the fundamental building blocks of matter that make up the universe.” 

The NPR article reports that:   “Physicists hope a particle they call the Higgs (once referred to as the “God Particle”) will emerge. It would help explain why things in the universe have mass. They also hope to manufacture particles of “dark matter” – that mysterious invisible stuff that astronomers believe makes up a quarter of the mass of the universe.”

You can see a graphic showing how the particle accelerator/collider works by clicking here

Personally I find the project interesting and exciting.  For us to gather clues about the fundamental building blocks of matter is also for us to understand the very material and methods of the Creator.   Like DNA, these building blocks of matter are another written word to us from God and another way for creation to make known to us the Creator (see Romans 1:18-20).  And scientists become the prophets to help us understand God’s universe and message.

After posting the above message I was listening to a Mars Hill Audio interview of Patrick Deneen who talked about how 17th Century English Philosopher Francis Bacon  saw nature as in a hostile relationship with humanity.   He wrote that nature must be captured and then like a prisoner tortured to force it to release its secrets.  He saw science as the torturer trying to forcibly extract from nature the things that nature wants to hide from us – truth.  Perhaps Bacon would have been favorably impressed with a Particle Collider which  forcibly extracts truth from nature by creating powerful subatomic collisions which destroy a proton but release its secrets.  I’m not nearly so impressed by the fury needed to reveal the subatomic building blocks of the empiracal world, and see it much more as cracking a code that God wrote into the universe for us to decipher and discern.  However, some will worry that this is perhaps Eve and Adam deciding again that the forbidden fruit is desired to make one wise (Genesis 3:6) and that we are grasping for something that God intentionally put out of our reach.  Or perhaps that this is our tower of Babel(Genesis 11).    My own sense is that God who is light speaks in order to reveal Himself through the created world.  Hopefully we will endeavor to listen to Him.

Crucifying our Sins to the Cross

St. John Chrysostom reminds us that at the crucifixion of Christ the new covenant was established between God and His world.  And, “when the law was dissolved, no one demanded payment for sins but each received forgiveness for their wrongdoing.”   Indeed at the crucifixion the parable of the forgiving master from Matthew 18 was realized!

Through the Cross joy has come into all the world.

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14).

Repentance: The Motivation to Move toward the Kingdom

A thought regarding the SIC report’s recommendation that the Synod must take disciplinary action against those who participated in the scandal or worked to cover it up.  It was said that priests who were named in the SIC report have been humiliated and suffered enough, so no further punishment is needed.

But a friend who knows well one of the perps reports that this man though named in the report shows not even the slightest sign of remorse or embarrassment.   He simply says, “I did nothing wrong.”  At least not, in Clintonesque fashion, as he defines “wrong.”

Since he feels he did nothing wrong, he doesn’t feel chastened either.  Nor does he feel he has anything for which to be remorseful.  And he surely doesn’t feel embarrassed about his role in the scandal.  An amazing thing – millions went missing, money and power abused in every direction, and still no one admits to having done anything wrong.   The SIC report names names, but none of them admit to having done anything wrong – and this in a church which mandates at the minimum yearly confession.

Confession is easy when you only have to admit to things that don’t really matter (I put cream in my coffee during Lent).  But if you really sinned (stole, embezzled, lied, committed adultery, impoverished orphans, denied Christ) then it is hard to admit you have done so.  Your conscience will stay clear as long as you don’t believe you did wrong.  “I was doing my duty.”  “I thought it was the right thing to do at that time.”   “I wasn’t trying to sin.”  (See Hypocrisy: From the Bottom of our Hearts)

Scripture though always wants to break through our defense mechanisms: 

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8-10).

Is confession merely an obligation to be fulfilled by the membership, but truly lacking any saving or healing power?

The Prodigal would not have returned home if he had thought he had done nothing wrong – he would have stayed in the pig pen wallowing in the mire.

I suppose that because none of us did anything wrong in this scandal, that is why we don’t need Jesus in this church.  He came after all to save sinners, and they all belong to some other church.  It also probably explains why there is such spiritual bankruptcy in the church today.  The SIC report in pointing out fault and responsibility paved the way for the perps to repent.  But that spiritual emptiness in the OCA is not the result of kenotic repentance and humility.  Rather it is like the void over which the Spirit hovered in the beginning (Genesis 1:2).