Things of Eternal Importance

By Lucas Hamilton

 Thoughts on the eclipse.

It is remarkable that the Moon can so well eclipse our star, Sol. In the rest of our solar system, only one other satellite—Prometheus—matches so well with the sun as to cause a total eclipse, yet it lasts for only one second in duration.
  And while this ratio of sizes is rare enough, it is more spectacular when one considers the improbability of life itself. Life existing in this universe at all is so improbable as to be impossible. Life with consciousness—with the ability to recognize a center of being and say, "I"—is nigh impossible for science to even tackle.
 And combine that, then, with the fact that this incredibly rare event occurs at a place in the universe where there is not only life, but life which can appreciate what is happening. Life which not just responds to the stimuli, but is awed by it; inspired by it.
Since 9-11, I have not seen Americans more united in something, except this time it was in joy and not horror.

Why is there something rather than nothing?

  "In some sense we now understand that there's really not a great deal of difference between something and nothing; nothing could turn into something all the time and nothing is unstable—not only can space produce particles, space itself can spontaneously come into existence—and science has changed the whole fabric of the discussion." —Lawrence Krauss, prominent astrophysicist and atheist.

  In some sense, we are very lucky that an enraged Bengal tiger does not pop into existence from nothing while we're driving down the road; even luckier that another universe doesn't simply explode into our own.
Hebrews 11:3
 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

Can God make a rock so heavy that He can't move it?
 No doubt you've heard this, and it raises certain paradoxes of omnipotence that are tough to consider, and perhaps frustrate you. Do not fear, youngling or oldling, because there are logical answers to this consideration!

  Let's start with this: does God’s being all-powerful mean that God can act contrary to His own nature? Can God contradict His own nature because He is all-powerful? Specifically, could God, for example, make another God (an idol, let’s say) and fall down and worship it? 

 That seems impossible because that would be contrary to the essence of God. He is essentially holy and morally perfect and therefore cannot sin. So omnipotence should not be taken to mean that God can act contrary to His own nature. He cannot act against His own essence, which includes things like moral perfection. That would not be encompassed within omnipotence.

  But what about logical impossibilities? For example, people will often ask if God can make a stone to heavy for Him to lift. If He is all-powerful, shouldn’t God be able to make a stone that is so heavy that He is unable to lift it? If you say, “No, He can lift anything!” then that means there is something He can’t do – which is make such a stone. This is a logical impossibility. 

  Could God bring it about that Jesus both died on the cross and did not die on the cross? That again seems logically inconceivable – that is a logical contradiction. Can God make a round square or a married bachelor? Those sorts of logical impossibilities are typically exempted from omnipotence. Omnipotence doesn’t mean the ability to do things that are logically impossible.

  Indeed, something that is logically impossible isn’t really a thing at all, when you think about it. It is not as though there is some “thing” that God can’t do. Those are just contradictory combinations of words, and there is no such thing as a round square or a stone too heavy for God to lift. This is not an infringement of his omnipotence, as it is typically understood.  Instead, it's actually just an unintelligible "gotcha" statement that makes no sense, as it's self-contradictory. 

 SPEAR 17 consisted of a number of British special forces men. They crossed the entirety of Antarctica on Nordic skis, and totally self-sufficiently. Skiing in a line, they took turns with who led, and being in the lead was tougher not just because of forging the path, but also because each sled has this motivation written on the back: "Onwards." Another famous explorer had always signed off every communication with that one word, "Onwards." They recognized the benefit. Onwards. "Encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing." (1 Thess 5) Who is driving you spiritually onwards? How are you helping others?