Category Archives: Eternity

Interstellar, C. S. Lewis, and 2 Peter 3:8

We recently watched the sci-fi drama Interstellar starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chasten, and Michael Caine. (**Spoiler Alert**) Sometime in the not-so-distant future, Earth is on the verge of becoming inhabitable. The human race will die unless someone can figure out how to colonize another planet. In the process of searching for a potential planet to colonize, Matthew McConaughey’s character, Cooper, enters a black hole. Expecting to perish, instead he finds himself in a tesseract. Inside the tesseract, Cooper is somehow on the other side of his daughter’s bedroom bookshelves. He is able to peek through the bookshelf and see different time frames of his daughter’s life in that room. Amazingly, he is also able to cross the space-time continuum and actually cause books to fall off the shelf. Using Morse code, he is able to communicate to her via a wristwatch lying on the bookshelf, a watch he gave her prior to leaving on his space journey. Through Morse code he delivers to her quantum data collected from the black hole. This data provides the solution to a gravitational equation that is the key to successfully saving the human race from extinction.

How does this relate to the eminent author C. S. Lewis and 2 Peter 3.18?

When Cooper is in the tesseract, he is able to see into, and even communicate, with his daughter, at various times through her life. He is able to see history not as a progression of sequential events, but, in essence, all at once. He even sees himself in the room (think Marty McFly seeing himself in Back to the Future II). At first, Cooper thinks that he has been aided by some five-dimensional alien beings which are obviously more intelligent and advanced than humans. Eventually, though, he realizes that it is not aliens, but a more evolved humanity that has learned to master the space-time continuum.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 12.32.00 PM
Quotes below are from Book IV, chapter 3, “Time  and Beyond Time”

Consider these concepts from Interstellar with what C. S. Lewis wrote back in the 1940s, as found in the book Mere Christianity:

“We tend to assume that the whole universe and God Himself are always moving on from past to future just as we do. But many learned men do not agree with that. It was the Theologians who first started the idea that some things are not in Time at all: later the Philosophers took it over: and now some of the scientists are doing the same.”

Lewis is addressing the very principle on which much of the movie Interstellar is dependent: it is possible to be outside of time as we know and experience it. The difference is that Interstellar envisions a God-less, evolved humanity being the ones who will experience and master the implications of such an eternal view. Lewis, instead, believes God is the One dwelling outside of time. Lewis uses the concept of God hearing and answering prayers as an example of how He stands outside of time:

“His life does not consist of moments following one another. If a million people are praying to Him at ten-thirty tonight, He need not listen to them all in that one little snippet which we call ten-thirty. Ten-thirty – and every  other moment from the beginning of the world –  is always Present for Him. If you like to put it that way, He has all eternity in which to listen to the split second of the prayer put up by a pilot as his plane crashes in flames.”

How does this impact our prayer lives?

“He has infinite attention to spare for each one of us… You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being He had ever created.”

Is your brain hurting yet? If Lewis is correct, then his theory enables us also to think about how God seems to be so more patient in dealing with the things we think He should rushing to fix. In other words, it gives us a clue as to why God is sometimes slow to give us the answers to our prayers.  After all, as 2 Peter 3.8 says, “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

God is awesome and beyond our comprehension! His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than our ways!

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Back Home: Death in a Coal Mine

I was saddened this week to read about a young man getting killed in an accident at a coal mine in my home county back in southern Illinois. It brought back memories for me. When most people think about coal mines, they usually think about West Virginia and eastern Kentucky. I’ve learned that many people don’t realize that southern Illinois has one of the richest coal mining veins in the United States.

I can remember as a young boy going to spend the night at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house and Grandpa coming home from finishing the 2nd shift. He’d wake me up so I could join him for a midnight snack in the kitchen: Pringles and a bottle of cold Mountain Dew.

My Grandpa is in the middle.
My Grandpa is in the middle. Grandpa would shower before our “midnight snack” in the kitchen.

I also remember in grade school getting news of a classmate’s Dad being killed in the mine. One of my Dad’s best buddies had his face crushed in mine accident. Several surgeries were required to reconstruct his face. One of my best friends spent several weeks in a hospital recuperating after nearly dying in a coal mining accident.

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Regarding the Book and Film: “Heaven is For Real”

I don’t plan on going to the theater to see the movie “Heaven is For Real.” I did read the book, however, and will make just a few comments:

1. I am highly skeptical of the testimony of any small child.  The pollyanaish view of children that has become common in recent decades (especially in Hollywood movies) is far from lining up with what God, through His Word, says about children.  The Bible does not have much good to say about the trustworthiness of children. In fact, the Bible states on more than one occasion that children are more on the foolish side. Proverbs 22.15 says, “A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness.” (NLT)

2. I was not convinced by Todd Burpo’s claims that Colton shared details that could only be explained by a trip to Heaven. Each time Mr. Burpo would say that there is no way Colton could have known something, I thought 0f a few ways that Colton could have indeed known about it without a trip to Glory.

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Steve Jobs, Eternity, and the Christian Response

Here they go again, planning to picket another funeral. This time it’s the funeral of Apple, Inc. founder Steve Jobs. Margie Phelps tweeted to the world their latest plans…via her iPhone. The irony was quickly noted by several media outlets. Ms. Phelps responded as expected, filled with condemnation: “Rebels mad cuz I used iPhone to tell you Steve Jobs is in hell. God created iPhone for that purpose! :)”

Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

Seriously? Is that why God created Steve Jobs with his exceptional talents…talents that would eventually give the world innovative and efficient technology products, like the iPhone? God did this just so Ms. Margie Phelps could use an iPhone to celebrate Mr. Jobs death? Memo to the universe: neither the Phelps family nor the Westboro Baptist Church are accepted by true followers of Jesus Christ as legitimate spokespeople for the Christian faith.

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Faithful Witness: Don’t Give Up, God is at Work!

Faithful Gospel preaching in this era of spiritual apathy requires faith and patience. Two stories from the past will encourage the faithful witness.

First, a story from the ministry of John Flavel (1628-1691). Robert Murray M’Cheyne reports of how a 15 year old American immigrant named Luke Short heard Flavel preach a message on 1 Corinthians 16.22: “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema. Maranatha!” Short was not a Christian at the time, nor was he for the next 85 years. But at the age of 100, he reflected on the memory of that sermon and was converted! Of course, Flavel was already in glory with the Savior at that point.

The second story is not of a pastor but a layman who loved Jesus and proclaimed him faithfully through personal witnessing on a street in Sydney, Australia: