The Bible and Science – Light #2

* Matthew 6:22b – If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. (NIV)

The only reason we see light is because of little receptors in our eyes called cones and rods. (They get their name from their shape.) The cones allow us to see colors while the Schematic_of_the_human_eye_enrods are responsible for black and white vision. Unless an object glows the way we see it is by light reflecting off of it to our eyes. The light enters our eye and the wavelengths of energy are focused on the receptors of our retina. The cones and rods are stimulated and pass the message to our brain by the optic nerve. In the brain, the message is decoded and we “see” the image. The eye is designed to have the light hit the retina in the area of the eye called the Fovea; there is actually a higher concentration of cones in this area while the rods are more concentrated just outside of this area. The famous “apple of the eye” is the cornea.

The cones come in three types a red, green and a blue one. Now if that sounds familiar it should because they are the three colors that power our televisions and color monitors. RGB additive colorsNow, these three colors of light can be overlapped to produce all others colors of LIGHT in what is known as an additive process. (Light and color pigments do not combine the same way and yield different results.)

Visible (white) light is a combination of colors but each individual color is its own particular wavelength, which translates into a specific energy. We depend on white light for many things but the individual colors are also important. Our knowledge of colored light and pigments are expanding but we know that humans do react to colors.  There is evidence that they can affect our mood and how we feel while looking at various colors of light.

It is interesting that the triune of red, green and blue light (energy) will give you white light while the same triune of colors in a physical material, like crayons, will give you a dark color. I have never really gotten black it is usually a dark brown color.

I like the comparison of light and the church; the church needs a blend of people (energy) to shine forth God’s glory. Just like it takes the colors of the rainbow to give you white light.

Father, let us use our energies in Your Church so You will get the glory.

The Bible and Science – Light

  • 1 Timothy 6:16 Who (God) alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light.
  • 1 John 1:5 – God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.

These verses share something other than mentioning God and Light in the same sentence; the two writers both had visions of Jesus in His gloried body. Paul, who wrote to Timothy, had the Damascus Road experience in Acts 9:24 and his visions of Heaven that he mentions in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. John had his visions on Patmos in Revelation 1:12-16 and he witnessed Jesus transfigured on the mountain (Mark 9:2-4). So both of these men had a personal knowledge of the power/energy that does exist in Heaven.

Light is a small portion of the energy that belongs to the family of radiation called the Electromagnetic Spectrum. These energy waves/photons (small bundles of energy) range EMSpecfrom radio waves to gamma rays. A student asked why some were waves while others were light and rays, my best explanation was their wavelength and the amount of energy they carry. Now to be “unapproachable light” besides being a pure light like a laser it would need to have a lot of energy associated with it. The most powerful of the “light family” is gamma rays, which we know can damage our cells and kill us. According to NASA we really have no idea how powerful this energy can be but they are sure that the closer you are to the source the more powerful the energy will be.

It is nice to see His nature reflect His qualities and there-by announce His glories.

We divide the EM spectrum into three parts yet they are one continuous group. And light is acknowledged to have a dual nature both energy and particle so we have Jesus being both God and man.

Father, let us be close to you so we can have the energy to bring your Light to the world.

All verse are from the 1984 New International Version  http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/970412e.html

http://www.lbl.gov/MicroWorlds/ALSTool/EMSpec/EMSpec2.html

El-Shaddai

“I Am Who I Am” was God’s answer to Moses when he asked about what to call Him. In the footnotes in my NIV it says that, “Lord (Yahweh) sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for I Am (Exodus 3:14). Then in verse 15 He says that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (why not Israel) and then says that is how He wants to be remembered. “God” here is Elohim.  Now I do want to say that it depends on your concordance as to exactly how some of these names are listed; my Strong’s is slightly different than my NIV Concordance.

A generic name for god is “el.” So if you are reading and a name has “el” in it like Israel or Bethel you know it has something to do with a god or God. According to the Vine’s Dictionary in the ancient world it was thought that if you knew a deity’s name that would give you a special “in” with that deity. Nice to know that humanity has not changed much some people still think that they can manipulate God.

The verse that actually started this study was Exodus 6: 2+3. Moses is “pointing out” all of the trouble that the Children are having but God sees it as the opportunity He needs for their deliverance. In the verse He says that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew Me as God Almighty (El-Shaddai) but they did not know Me as Lord (Yahweh). Vine’s talks about how scholars relate this phrase (El-Shaddai) to the power of mountains. In Psalm 80 they also had a “God Almighty” but there it is Elohim Saba. So you may need to look for exactly which phrase it is that is being used and I can tell you that the translation you read may handle these phrases just a little different.

In researching I found this website which maybe helpful to you: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/El/el.html

So what name do you know God as or what name has He made Himself known to you? 

Psalm 80

I have been looking at the names that describe God so as I read Psalm 80 it’s three repeating verses caught my eye. The verses are #3,7 and 19; the verses add a name of God each time it repeats and part of my study was to look at body parts and it talks about the face of God.

The three names that are added are:

1. God – Elohim it means great or mighty one

2. Almighty – Saba focus on power to conquer or means commander of the army (host)

3. Lord – Yahweh implies a personal covenant relationship of the true God

Different translations handle these verses differently so checking several will be a good study. (I used the NIV.) I did a definition study of the other words in the verse and a loose translation without the names would be:  Physical bring us back O (different names) establish favorable circumstances as a sign of favor so that we can be rescued from earthly enemies.

If you now read the verse adding the definitions for the names it really adds a new depth to the verse.

I like how Asaph added another name as the Psalm proceeded. Now there are three other sets of names in Psalm 80 the first is “Shepherd of Israel” and then in verse 4 and 14 and these are combinations of Lord, God and Almighty; if numerology interest you that is six times names of God are used and a total of twelve individual uses.

Asaph starts the Psalm by calling on the Shepherd of Israel who led Joseph.  I like that title – Shepherd of Israel.  I read several ideas about why he would start off with Joseph and then mention Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh so know that you will find many ideas. So here is mine; Joseph is actually the “first born heir” which was an important position in a Hebrew family.  Benjamin was his brother by the same mother and Ephraim and Manasseh are his children; that would make them Rachel’s (the “loved wife”) children. Jacob was making Joseph the “ruler” of the family when the brothers got rid of him. One sign of this was the coat of many colors. He actually was a first-born son just not the first-born son but Reuben lost the birthright of the first-born (Genesis 35:22).

Here are a few other “nuggets” that I found in doing this study.

  1. “Restore” carries the idea of return or repent; it is different from the New Testament “repent” or metanoia. Metanoia is a mental change while shoob or restore usually refers to a physical return.
  2. The word for face is paneh which comes from panah; it means to turn or look. Another word is paniym and it refers to the “face bread” or shewbread that was put into the Tabernacle.  They did not have a physical image of God but they had the bread. I am not an etymologist so I do not know if they are related but the Spanish word for bread is pan.
  3. I read in my Bible Glow app; that the psalms in Book 1 (#1-41) more often use Yahweh (the Lord) and Book 2 (#42-72) uses Elohim (God) more often, there is no apparent reason for this grouping.
  4. A little background – this is in the Third Book of Psalms and most of these are attributed to Asaph (means gather or collector). He was a Levite and part of King David’s praise team.

I used my Strong’s Concordance with Vines Dictionary as a reference book. pic of bread from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Challah

A GODportunity

As this will be a busy weekend I thought I would share a story I wrote several years ago. Happy Mother’s Day

A GODportunity or The Rocking Chair and Three Men

My wife found a fifties style living room set made of solid wood with wide armrest and bright orange flowered cushions at the Salvation Army and caught a vision of their potential.  The set consisted of a six-foot long couch, a matching rocking chair, a lounge chair of similar style and ten cushions, all for only forty-five dollars.  The cushions were not original to the set because they did not fit quite right.  But she was convinced that with a little work they would brighten up the sun/TV room of our house.  Knowing my objections would go nowhere; we purchased them.  I carefully tied the couch to the top of our 1989 Ford Taurus, arranged the chairs in the trunk and tied it down. I stuffed orange flowered cushions where they could fit and drove home wondering about the new additions to our household.

I always wonder about the history of used furniture: where was it made, who had sat on them, why did it finally end up at the Salvation Army and who made those orange flowered cushions.  My oldest two sons and I spent a week sanding off some of the stories it did tell like “who loved John”, a variety of misspelled words and several burn spots.  Clearly the living room set had a chapter in its history that they would like to forget.  After two coats of polyurethane stain the set looked pretty good.  I guess the hard work and the dark colored stain helped to improve the orange flowered cushions, because they did look nice in our sunroom.  Score another one for my wife’s perceptive vision.

They lived a pretty mild and sort of short chapter with us, but they served us well as those orange flowered cushions were pretty comfortable.  We continued to redo and rearrange our house and soon we realized their season with us had ended.  We finally made the decision to have a two-day yard sale with them as the main attraction.

The early morning part of Day One went well, we sold a lot of stuff but no one even looked at our comfortable, finely finished, orange flowered living room set.  Now the saga of the Three Men begins; late in the morning Man One pulled up in a truck loaded high with furniture.  Our hopes rose that the living room set would soon be sold.  He introduced himself with a business card for a used furniture store in a nearby town.  He said, “ I will make you a fair deal for both of us.” He proceeded to offer us half of our asking price.  He put forth a few other chaffing comments as we finally said,” If they don’t sell by tomorrow we will give you a call.”

With all the work of sanding and staining to be offered that was maddening and outrageous.  I leaned over to my wife and said,” I would rather give them away than sell them to him.”  I should have known better!  God hears those kinds of statements and my wife’s big tender heart never forgets.

Man Two arrived as our first customer of Day Two.  He pulled up in a well-worn compact car.  He came from Egypt and had not been in America very long, he needed a rocking chair and thought ours would be perfect.  I was leery of breaking up the set and he was short on cash.  He said he would come back later with his wife and more money to check and see if it was sold.  My sons recognized him as a clerk from the corner store down the highway.  I dismissed his offer as most people don’t come back.

A couple of hours had gone by when that well-worn compact car drove in the driveway once again.  He got out of the car followed by two energetic preschoolers; he then opened the passenger door for a very pregnant wife.  My wife gave me “the look” and I knew what was about to happen to the “all wood, finely finished, orange flowered living room set.”

Man Three, driving a pickup drove up about this time and began browsing our garage sale offerings.  He watched and listened as the “very pregnant wife” settled comfortably into the rocker and my wife asked the couple all kinds of questions.  I knew I would be parting with my furniture.  Man Three listened as my wife gave away my comfortable, finely finished, orange flowered living room set.  We then discussed how we could get the set to their house when Man Three stepped up and said,” Since you are giving them the living room set, load them in my truck and I will take it to their house.  I will be glad to help with this blessing.”

The living room set fit much better in his truck than on the top of my car.  My wife thought the “very pregnant wife” needed a beautiful homegrown flowering plant, it did not match the cushions, so it was added into the truck.

We waved as they drove off down the street.  Besides a good warm glow on the inside, a hug from my wife completed my earthly payment.

I never saw any of those Men again.

The living room set I am sure added another chapter to its long and useful history of service.  And for us, it had provided a GODportunity at a yard sale to bless someone.