Saturday, March 15, 2014

John Piper on Whether Or Not God Wanted Jesus To Be Killed Unjustly

In his essay, Does God Desire All To Be Saved (2013), John Piper faces mystery and paradox in the Bible head-on. As he does so, he soberly admits that "some of the paths in this book are steep," (p. 9) and that "God’s emotional life is infinitely complex beyond our ability to fully comprehend," (p. 45).

The excerpt that I quote below (p. 19-21) is part of a larger argument in his essay, but here I think it can stand alone with integrity.

In this quote, Piper gives his answer to the question, Did God want Jesus to suffer and be killed unjustly or does God not want people killed unjustly? Piper finds that the answer is both.

(Italicized emphasis below is his.)

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The betrayal of Jesus by Judas was a morally evil act inspired immediately by Satan (Luke 22:3). Yet, in Acts 2:23, Peter says, “This Jesus [was] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.” The betrayal was sin, and it involved the instrumentality of Satan, but it was part of God’s ordained plan. That is, there is a sense in which God willed the delivering up of his Son, even though Judas’s act was sin.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Relativity, Quantum Theory, and the EPR Paradox

I am not a physicist, but I do fit the technical definition of an "amateur:" I love learning what I can.

In November 2005, the APS News, a publication of the American Physical Society, published a brief article entitled "Einstein and the EPR Paradox" (Volume 14, No. 10, p.2; pdfweb). The article summarizes a significant paradox that currently exists in the scientific world.

On the one hand, it has been proven mathematically and experimentally that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. This is part of Einstein's theory of relativity, consistent with classical Newtonian physics. On the other hand, there's quantum physics, which seems to be equally true but appears to violate the Newtonian understanding of physics in fundamental ways, casting doubt on the very nature of matter, space, and time.

This excerpt from APS article explains further (bolded emphasis mine):

* * *

By the 1920s, it had become clear to most physicists that classical mechanics could not fully describe the world of atoms, especially the notion of “quanta” first proposed by Planck and further developed by Albert Einstein to explain the photoelectric effect. Physics had to be rebuilt, leading to the emergence of quantum theory.

Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr and others who helped create the theory insisted that there was no meaningful way in which to discuss certain details of an atom’s behavior: for example, one could never predict the precise moment when an atom would emit a quantum of light. But Einstein could never fully accept this innate uncertainty, once famously declaring, “God does not play dice.” He wasn’t alone in his discomfort: Erwin Schrödinger, inventor of the wave function, once declared of quantum mechanics, “I don’t like it, and I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with it.”