Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More wedding photos

So, here are a few more pictures to give you some insight to our day.
First we have the happy couple...

and then, the mother of the bride trying to be stoic as she watches her daughter walk down the aisle. I think I look more like I might bite someone's head off!

Last, but not least, we have the bride with two of her older siblings,
Julie and Christopher.


Ted M. Gossard said...

Well, I get to be among the first to see these photos and be honored.

Quite wonderful, indeed. God's blessings were on you(pl) that day!

To all,
This from Scot on A.N. Wilson is quite the read, both articles linked, though long, quite good.

Yes, A.N. Wilson felt like he had undergone a born again experience when he left Christianity and became an atheist, but now....

So I thought I'd get this up for you folks on the other side of the globe, since you'll be stirring quite soon. And I hope everyone gives this a good look.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Here's the link which doesn't put you square on the comments.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, from the last thread.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Here I go again! I'm crazy, but at least I know it.

But I did comment (see Susan's last posting) related to my struggles yesterday.

But in keeping with this post, again, a lovely bride and handsome groom. And I think she does get a good share of her looks from her mother. :)

What a special day that was!

I am too hyped up tonight, and need to get some shut eye, and so shut mouth as well, so that you folks won't be inflicted with my comments for a time, anyhow.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I can't sleep tonight either, Ted. Interesting stories, thanks for linking them here.

Maalie said...

Great pictures, Halfmom! They look happy indeed!

Ted, he says: No, the existence of language is one of the many phenomena – of which love and music are the two strongest – which suggest that human beings are very much more than collections of meat.Don't you see that he is arguing from personal incredulity, not from any knowledge or understanding of the subject. To assert, "I don't believe that this or that could happen without a God" is not evidence. That is what they said once about rainbows. Now we understand the refractive and intrnal-reflective properties of raindrops and don't need to explain them in terms of a God.

Birds, whales and even insects as well as other creatures also communicate with their appropriate "language" and the playing of "whale music" is (or was) popular among pregnant women.

Maalie said...

Ted, there is quite a lot written about the evolution of language. I wonder if A N Wilson read this , for example.

Whatever evidence people might think they have about the existance of a God, I don't think evolution of language makes a very good case.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I personally don't have an issue with human language coming through evolution. I do not think for a moment that that in any way nullifies the Christian belief. And each species surely is remarkable within its sphere, so why should humans question whether animals can communicate or in some cases demonstrate reasoning as we understand that?

To beauty, because this is what this post really points to- (yes, to love as well, but the pics have to remind you of beauty, also), why do we get so goo goo eyed and moved to the depths over beauty? In the most simple things, such as a wildflower. Or in a bride and her groom and their love expressed on their wedding day.

Like Pascal said:
“The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.” Sure, maybe some of that can be explained in evolutionary terms, and with truth. But that in no way nullifies the mystery in the wonder, awe, and tears of love and joy that Olivia and Drew experienced on their very special day.

Yes, I'll make a statement of faith here, but I believe all beauty points to the beauty we find in Jesus. And I accept both what I can understand, and not understand, because life is lived with more than just rationality. It has heart (blood pump?) and this is at the center of Scripture, to love God with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. And to participate in the communion of God the Trinity, who is love.

Beauty everywhere in this creation is to be someday known in perfection and without fading, in the new creation, in Jesus, but it's meant to begin, and indeed does begin in Jesus in the new creation, now.

So language and beauty -I was listening to Awadagin Pratt play Beethoven Piano Sonatas last night/early this morning: beautiful, breathtaking, bringing tears- why? does that and all else have to be explained and understood in natural terms, and then there we have it? We can walk away happy and satisfied that we've figured it out.

And the love between a man and a woman- would they be better off if they could figure it out? No more mystery, nothing more to learn of each other, no more growing in the breadth and depth of love? Of course not. Rationality is important, but not the totality of who we are as humans.

Maalie said...

>But that in no way nullifies the mystery in the wonder, awe, and tears of love and joy Yes, I agree that is at present mysterious and, like Einstein, I am prepared to use a word like "spirituality" to describe it (that is why I have become a Unitarian, a group who accepts my Pagan tendencies, though they prefer to call it "Earth Movement").

But remember, such things as rainbows, the solar system, DNA replication, the Human Genome and so on were once themselves mysteries which are now explainable.

The fact that we can't right now explain in detail how our emotions work does not, as far as I am concerned, preclude the possibility that we might one day. It is likely to come through advances in neurology, cell physiology and endocrinology, which is more Halfmom's area then mine.

My own lack of understanding of these processes does not reflect incredulity.

Thanks for the discussion Ted. I am about to go hiking in the hills with Lorenzo today, before leaving for some proper mountains in Austria tomorrow!

Maalie said...

Ted, just as an additional thought, the concept of mammalian pheromones and endorphins (you can google these) was not available when I was a student. These are certainly involved in what we might call "love", which is a very sophisticated method of ensuring procreation the next generation and easily explained in terms of Darwinian natural selection. And of course Richard Dawkins has explained the origin of altruism very well in his peer-reviewed book The Selfish Gene .

Of course, as you say, the details are, for the time being, mysterious.

Now, where are my hiking boots...

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thank you, Maalie!

I just want to add that all natural explanation does not nullify in the least what one experiences. Nor does it satisfy that. I could care less myself if all that really could or would be explained. I don't care, period. Even if completely explained, it's something to be experienced. After all, that's what we live in, experience- which includes reason but also delight, awe, love etc.

Such explanation could only explain the reality of what is seen and experienced. But if life is not lived with rationality alone, how is rationality going to suffice for explaining life?

Do have a wonderful time with Lorenzo today, and a great time later in Austria. What beautiful country that is (though someday I'd like to be able to say that firsthand)!

Maalie said...

"Even if completely explained, it's something to be experienced. After all, that's what we live in, experience- which includes reason but also delight, awe, love etc."

Absolutely Ted. I agree with every word of that, and I believe Simon would too.

Now I'm really off...

Ted M. Gossard said...

How is rationality going to COVER all of life. Rationality explains of course, but all of life leaves us with reasons that we can't explain, it's just real and therefore true.

A bit of a gliche in my sentence on the last comment.

But again I think the final answer will never be found in science and evolution, but in Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life. So truth is found not just in rationality, but in a person.

Ted M. Gossard said...

yes, I THINK, and thinking is a part of faith though not all of it-
but better said, "I BELIEVE..."

(glad there's more than one of me, here on this blog, in Jesus) :)

Maalie said...

>in Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life.And also in many other great men and women who have been a good influence on civilisationn

Craver Vii said...

Don't mind me; I didn't mean to interrupt. I was just looking to see if there was any wedding cake left over.

The pics are great. O's eyes are so full of life, don't you think?

Ted M. Gossard said...

You know well that we believe Jesus is much more than just another good influence. But the son of God in a unique way, one in whose face we see God. And in whose sufferings and death for us, we can receive resurrection, new creation life- beginning here and now.

Of course I agree that there are many good influences we can learn from, but Jesus and what he did for the world, is unique.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Jesus died to bring reconciliation to us and God, and to us and all peoples. This in the end is what God's redemptive work in Jesus brings about. I believe in the old time gospel story: yes, Jesus died for our sins, he was raised from the dead- resurrection, and ascended as Lord over all, and is coming back to bring in the kingdom and new creation in its fullness, in a garden and a city, a renewed creation.

Craver Vii said...

(nodding to affirm Ted's last two comments)

donsands said...

Nice photographs.

"old time gospel story" -Ted

"I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.

I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long."-A. Ka­ther­ine Hank­ey

Ted M. Gossard said...

For any who take Christianity seriously at all in its orthodox and Biblical expression, salvation involves Jesus and a cross. Paul was quite learned, known for that, excelling in two different directions with regard to the Law of Moses, before and after conversion to Christ.

When you read Paul, it is clear, for example in Romans, that God's salvation (from where Susan gets her "NOT ASHAMED of the gospel") is meant for all peoples. Just as all are under sin's power and judgment, so in Christ by faith all are set free from sin and its penalty, death. So that in Christ, humankind individually and together can realize its intended destiny.

We aren't here for no reason. Just to go back to the ground and continue the cycle of life. There is more to it, and that sense is in our hearts. There's more to life than meets the eye, more to this life, and that sense is in the human heart (blood pump! like Don, says- ha).

Amen, Don. I really loved "Back to the Bible Broadcast" (they used that as their theme song) with Theodore Epp, a fine Bible teacher (he was raised Mennonite, too). I remember him well years back, and heard him teach in Michigan, not far from where we now live.

Nice to hear Craver in the mix as well.

L.L. Barkat said...

Beautiful, beautiful! And I like your try at Stoicism. :)

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Yeh, LL, I'm not so good at stoic I'm afraid - but I gave it my best effort.

Yes Craver, her eyes are bright and shiny and full of fun and life!

simon said...

Nice photos.

Stoic! haah! I hope my kids never marry but have really wonderful, quality relationships

Litl-Luther said...

Nice pics!!

...okay. I'm off for a well-earned swim in the ocean after a long day of walking on the beach and getting Thai massages...

lorenzothellama said...

I'm with Craver, wondering about the wedding cake!
Love pictures Susan.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Don, I was singing that song, I Love to Tell the Story, this morning, along with Give Thanks.

Brought back the good memories of Theodore Epp speaking at Gull Lake in 1979, I believe, on the Joseph Story from Genesis (or also called "the Joseph novel" because it's supposedly woven together more than the other stories in Genesis). Called story not because it's not true or historical, but because like the gospels, it is told in a certain way.

Anyhow, I remember him with tears in his eyes getting to the end in which the Romans 8:28 theme comes out, His brothers in the past trying to do him in, but God working in it for good- as Joseph said.

That time is stamped on my heart.

Yes, we see beauty in people like Joseph and others. But that beauty is fulfilled in Jesus, in his person, words and work.

Only Jesus could say "I am meek and humble in heart." So that we can "come to [Him] and find rest."

I really see the beauty of Jesus in other Christians here. And I see something of God's beauty in all other people as well. We're made to be changed into his beauty in all our unique ways.

Maalie said...

>we see beauty in people like Joseph and others. But that beauty is fulfilled in Jesus The problem that faces me here Ted is that these sort of feelings happen to people of all religions, and indeed to those of no religion. I don't really understand what Jesus has got to do with it.

Every Square Inch said...

What a beautiful couple. Looks like a wonderfully joyful day.

simon said...

yes I agree Maalie

Litl-Luther said...

All the riches of wisdom and knowledge are found in Jesus Christ, Maalie. That explains why you don't understand Ted's point.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Maalie (and Simon),
I think our differing perspectives factor in here, in regard to Jesus.

I see Jesus in the light of studies in the first century which unlike the Jesus seminar (I can hardly remember that name anymore) scholars, and their votes, really does take the Jesus given/ portrayed to us in the gospels seriously. N.T. Wright is one example of a scholar who has done some exemplary, helpful work on this, whether any of us agree with all of his conclusions or not.

And something else of my perspective, and of other Christians here: We take seriously God's wrath and judgment. Indeed "wrath" can be a kind of shorthand for judgment. Not simply God leaving people to the consequences of their doings, though that is a part of it. But God actively at work to right wrongs, etc. A part of faith is to believe in a final judgment. So that those who have gotten away with murder in this life, really do not get away with it in the end.

But to your point on Jesus and your other words. Yes, and that's a part of God's image stamped on humankind. We are a mix of good and evil, really. We're (human beings) capable of doing wonderful things, even saving someone's life at great personal risk, yet at the same time capable of taking another's life out of anger, or something just as bad (I know "morality" is up for grabs in this discussion, but I've already heard you agree against at least some of what happens in abortion). Of course we're weak and we can't be expected to live in some sort of perfection, not so anyhow in this life for sure. But my point is to point to Jesus as the one who not only is the exemplar of beauty in living, but the source of it. Again this gets into Christian orthodoxy which you don't accept, I know.

But in our faith Jesus is the Creator and Redeemer, and so all beauty and all that is right and good and true in any religion or nonreligion, actually finds its source in him, even though that may not be acknowledged at all.

Thanks for getting back here, for the comment - and thanks Simon, for chiming in, as well. Hope your trip is going well. Spring is more than in the air here today.

Maalie said...

>All the riches of wisdom and knowledge are found in Jesus Christ, Maalie. That explains why you don't understand Ted's point.

Litl Luther: It explains no such thing! People of other faiths, or of no faith at all, have found wisdom and knowledge without reference to Jesus Christ.

all beauty and all that is right and good and true in any religion or nonreligion, actually finds its source in him Ted But only because people attribute that to him. It is a tautology. People of other faiths, or of no faith at all, do not invoke Jesus to explain all that is right and good. And of course, what is considered to be "right and good" is different between different cultures, or in the same culture but in different times. Is it "right and good" that a billion people should be suffering by existing on less than a dollar a day, or that children beyond counting are dying daily of AIDS in Africa and eksewhere? I suppose that finds it source in Jesus Christ too?

Maalie said...

Ted, I meant to say thanks for the good wishes. Spring has sprung in earnest where I am now!

Ted M. Gossard said...

If I may just comment a bit on your brief exchange with Triston. Of course all people find wisdom and knowledge whether believing in, or invoking God, or Jesus- or not. Christians believe that's a part of "common grace," God's gift to all humanity, as well as an aspect of God's image in human beings. We relate to each other and to all things (or we try to) in love, we worship, etc. Just my thought on that.

To what you say to me, yes indeed, of course there are other explanations of why people think and behave as they do. Christians believe that there is a universal agreement among humans, because there is a law, so to speak, written in the human heart (meaning the mind, will, and affections). This law includes such notions as love, wisdom, faith, reason, ethics as in judgment, etc. Not to say other parts of creation don't have some of this, but humans are believed to have it in a way that is unique as those made in God's image.

To the disasters you mention, in Christian belief this is an assertion of "the fall" or the reality that earth and its inhabitants are subject to decay and all kinds of problems and disasters, and that this is ongoing because humans have chosen to live as gods, rather than in God's will. Jesus comes, however, not to bring war or destruction, but just the opposite, the righteousness and peace and joy of God's kingdom. But the only way that is done in this world is in the way of the cross, in laying down our lives for others as Jesus did, in both good works and words to help all others.

God's word over and over again, and of course I mean Scripture, emphasizes God's concern for justice, and for the poor and oppressed. And Scripture over and over again rather puts down war and the ways of this world.

The way of Jesus is the way of resurrection. It's always life out of death from sacrificial love. Jesus' resurrection life is the foundation from which others can follow in that same kind of life, being yes a pattern, but also a recapitulation done by Jesus to take humanity up into him and his life and death and resurrection, so that humanity could live out a new life, this new life of Jesus.

A life which gives itself up in love, the love of Jesus himself by the Spirit, to the world. In small ways (Mother Teresa said something like there's never anything great we can do, but rather, only small things done in love) in the spirit of Jesus, for others.

Ted M. Gossard said...

A hopefully brief addition: Differences among humans in regard to ethics, I think as I remember is a bit controversial in studies. I mean a culture may adopt a practice for a time, but why?

When Don and Julie Richardson went to a tribe (maybe in Irian Jaya, can't recall) and sought to share the good news of Jesus, when they got to Judas in telling the story, they noticed a clear reaction from the hearers, which basically was a one of recognition and later they understood, approval, as I recall. This tribe was known for befriending strangers over time, then killing and eating them. The gospel changed that, of course.

Christians would attribute such a difference to sin. Sin violates God's law which at that law's heart, or core of meaning is a law of love.

Litl-Luther said...

Maalie, you are an extremely bright person. I would never suggest you lack a great deal of wisdom and knowledge. However, there is wisdom and knowledge you will never know personally until you know Jesus Christ. I suppose that was my point (paying by the minute makes me keep my comments brief).

We're off to Pattaya tomorrow to continue our well-earned holiday.

Children dying of aids; people living on less than a dollar a day suffering through life (like many people in parts of Nepal), or worse: living in Manhattan to worship the god of money (at least poor people in Nepal are often happy) and a number of other desperate situations people find themselves in, etc., etc. all the results of the Fall of Man into sin.

Ted M. Gossard said...

there is wisdom and knowledge you will never know personally until you know Jesus Christ.I completely agree with you, Triston. Amen. And a needed addition to what I said.

This reminds me of meaning and purpose if (and we'd say, since) indeed there is a transcendent and immanent God as Scripture portrays.

Ted M. Gossard said...

There must be a gliche in the system as no matter how I tried, I couldn't get the separation from what I wanted to italicize. I finally give up.

Giving up is not a part of my personality, at least not normally so which can be both good and bad!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Sorry Triston, about getting into your exchange with Maalie. You are able to get to the Internet quite a bit on your well-earned holiday!

You can tell that I have a bit too much time on my hands. While Deb is sleeping, I'm reading in the sun (a nice, warm Spring day here!) with bandaged wounds on my left hand which really prevent me from doing much else.

Maalie said...

Ted I too have been failing to get line breaks after HTML tags. I think it is something to do with blogger. Sorry to hear about your hand, have you been involved in an accident?

Ted, This reminds me of meaning and purpose, you said.

The problem is, we are so conditioned to giving a meaning and purpose to everything we do and make on earth that it is difficult to imagine that we exist without a meaning and purpose. But that is simply the case: we just ARE. Nature is cold and indifferent and life evolved with no direction, no purpose. We are temporary reservoirs of solar energy (via our food chain of course) that will in due course dissipate back out into the Universe as entropy.

I'm afraid it is as simple as that. It is only Man's vanity that has ascribed a meaning and purpose to life and Man needed to invent a God to explain it. Every culture has its own methods, it's own God or Gods.

It's a dreadful thought, it just happens to be true. Of course anyone can prescribe for themselves what their meaning and purpose is, but it is an individual thing.

donsands said...

"..we just ARE."

I look around and see all that is in the world and universe; the trillions of stars, and mankind, and say, "What a Creation! This all came from a Majestic Designer, there can be no doubt."

And others who haven't faith to believe in the eternal Creator, have there faith in an eternal rock, gas, or something that existed eternally, but was not a Designer.

Maalie said...

Donsands: I respectfully suggest you are merely talking from personal incredulity. Something like "I can't believe all this happened without a creator...".

Science says something more like :"I don't understand how all this happened...." and so attempts to gather evidence to explain it. True, we have not yet reached a complete understanding of cosmology, but we already understand enough to know that life developed and evolved on earth without recourse to a designer. I'm afraid it is true, however unpalatable it may seem.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Maalie, Thanks. Yes I was at least trotting down the sidewalk in the dark on Wedesday morning, toward the lady's house with whom I carpool when I hit a bump on the sidewalk and went flying. Actually did end up scraping both of my knees more than I thought and landed on back of my left hand as well. Looks to me maybe- like through more than one layer of skin on one of the knuckles. Now getting the treatment it need, now that Deb has done what she wanted to do. My work makes it hard to go with bandages. I'm sure it'll be fine, and just thankful I didn't do worse. Thanks.

Without going upstairs and grabbing the book, I was interested to see that I think in quantum physics there is a certain amount of chance built into the fabric of things- not something science can't explain but as part of the explanation. That would allow agency of beings whose choices could make a difference in what takes place. If that agency is allowed, then another agency, namely God, could work in that sphere as well, and all this in the natural end of things. So that all that we see could have been directed by God for a certain outcome. And what we do as humans could/can make a difference, say for example in the survival of an ongoing species of bird. Even lower forms of life are said to have done better in surviving when in observable patterns of harmony (not using good term there, but an apt metaphor).

I know you're saying just the notion of a god and of us being more than just dust is vanity. I don't think vanity is a part of what happens to those who really follow Christ. Instead I think we take on the spirit of Jesus in loving all people, and wanting all to be reconciled in God through Jesus. And we accept not only the fact that we are greatly loved by God, but that we are greatly flawed and in need of salvation. And in that salvation is the promise of hope by the resurrection of Jesus, a hope that is living and begins now, and is to bring in fully a new creation.

Isn't it interesting if it's really true, that this old creation may just be the prelude to the new creation in Jesus. A whole new set of laws at work in that new reality, when in the message of Scripture, heaven and earth become one, seen perhaps in the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus in the gospels prior to his "ascension" to heaven.

If God was really behind the Big Bang or whatever preceded that, and if life comes from a Life-giver, than God can surely do what Scripture says he can do.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Some days I'm really ready for that new set of laws in that new reality Ted - no more sorrow, now more pain, no more tears. It is something to look forward to.

However, what I am thinking this afternoon is how much I love seeing the grace and mercy exhibited in the old, flawed creation. There is something quite special about knowing that there is something beyond what we can see - someone beyond what we can see.

It is rather, perhaps, like the wind - I cannot see it but I know it is there because I see it rustle the leaves. I cannot see the Holy Spirit, but I feel Him rustle the leaves of my soul as He comforts me in this difficult place.

All honor and glory be to His name as He keeps us in this world and makes us ready for the world to come.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I have a question for you, Maalie, in light of what Don is saying here.

Why has design fell on such hard times so that it's not something used in trying to help those such as you? There has to be a reason. And from what I've read, it may be just weaknesses that are built into the old arguments for God's existence.

We know Einstein stood in awe and invoked language that made it seemed like he believed in god when he actually did not. He was in awe over what he saw. There is design and beauty in the overall scheme of things, it seems, in the outcome. But I've not much wanted to head toward the design argument because of the baggage it currently carries, either justifiably, or not. Though we Christians believe there surely is justification in it, just flaws in the way we understand it.

Isaiah 40 is a chapter which I think hits on what Don and us Christians are getting at, and how we see the world.

Ted M. Gossard said...

So very well spoken, Susan. And I so very much agree.

In fact I've been thinking on that lately, just how wonderful to know and experience that grace in this world now, with all the problems and issues- and let that spill out in love to others.

Maalie said...

Ted, as we say on this side of the pond "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". What might be considered beautiful in one culture could be regarded as revolting in another. Beauty is purely subjective, and differs form person to person.

Yes, I too am in awe and marvel at things that I find aesthetically pleasing and emotionally stimulating. This very day I found real happiness during a springtime walk through a park in one of Europe's capital cities, and the lilac was in bloom and everything was wonderful.

But the lilac's scent evolved to attract insects to its pollen in order to ensure cross-fertilisation and survival of its lilac genes. No design here, it evolved that way because it would simply die out if it didn't. No a priori "design". So in no sense at all did it evolve with the purpose of pleasing humans with its blossom and scent - that is absolutely incidental! As you will know, some plants absolutely stink!

Rather like Einstein (though in a different intellectual bracket of course) I recognise that there are some emotional resonses we can't fully explain and, until such time as we can, I am happy to call it "spirituality" and for that reason I have become a Unitarian .

Maalie said...

Litl Luther: I have the whole weight of the modern peer-reviewed scientific literature on my pan of the scales; you have a two-thousand year old tome, somewhat discredited, on yours. No contest, really.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for the reply. I am a bit short on time, but maybe will catch you before you turn in.

You say, Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I certainly agree, but that in no way should dimish it. And surely there is some signficant agreement over beauty: the ancients have all been in awe of the "dome" of the sky, thinking of the lights as gods, etc.

Jesus said that when he is lifted up on the earth, he would draw all peoples to himself. This is a powerful drawing, which has occurred across all cultures, from the tribe Don and Carol Richardson (I had her name wrong on a previous comment), to others all over the earth. To be given the message of Christ crucified, that is, Jesus dying on the cross for the forgiveness of sins and to give new life, the picture of Jesus, has changed many who have beheld it, and the beauty in it.

Isaiah 53 (along with some of 52 here) brings that out, as well- from the Hebrew Bible. A beauty that helps us by faith, into the true beauty to which all other beauty points. Fulfilled only through Jesus. Which means a new life of beauty destined to fulfill what we get a glimpse of now in nature. Yes, Deb and I enjoyed being outdoors at our favorite bagel, coffee place, today. Simply beautiful! Glad you had a nice time as well.

Rather hurried (at least for me), but just a thought here to what you said.

donsands said...

"But the lilac's scent evolved to attract insects to its pollen in order to ensure cross-fertilisation and survival of its lilac genes."

So the Lilac knew it had to do something for survival? So the first Lilac's scent wasn't gettin' it done, and so it came up with this lovely scent?

Have a lovely holiday Jim.

simon said...

I think the only reason why people go "on" about jesus is- many are looking for a perfect relationship.

Now, that does not exist.. but we search for it as friends, lovers, husbands, wives.

So if we create a "bench mark" then we can have a perfect relationship with something that does not exist, but imagined & we all feel better. We can simplify the model by having a devil who created all the bad bits, and a god who created all the good bits.

So we crave a perfect life in a perfect environment and a perfect relationship

However there is no after life.. none what so ever.

So, we have one life- to make the most of, and its here on this planet. and tomorrow the sun will rise and people will be born and die. some in terrible circumstances and not by choice....

So make the most of it- enjoy those things around you- both good and bad. live life to the full, because this is no dress rehearsal for something else.

I do not mean to be disrespectful Don and luther, but you do not sound too educated in the field of science, and in answer to your question

No.. the Lilac did not choose- its called natural selection- those that had the lesser scent died out, leaving the ones with the better scent...and so on....

Its the same for humans- we evolved by natural selection. the lesser die out....

Ted M. Gossard said...

Simon -and for Maalie, also,
What if we crave for something because it's in our DNA? And I do believe I've read somewhere that it my be possible to alter our genetic code somehow, by our actions, or this may happen in certain environments.

What Don and Triston are scoffing at is evolution itself, but they'll answer you on that, of course. But I say that even if evolution is true, that does not mean there is no god behind it. And certain scientists and scientific endeavor could end up forever trying to uncover the final meaning of things, yet find it impossible, because of the very nature of science, which is ever open ended. Science by its very nature can never ever be final.

But just what if there's something final just beyond science, in a realm either science has not yet discovered, or can discover? This reminds me of the passage in Scripture about "the things hidden" versus "the things revealed". In that context the things revealed are in Scripture itself, and the things hidden remain in in God. But one might also conjecture that the things revealed include what Christians call God's general revelation in nature. While the things hidden are those things that are outside the realm of human investigation. For Christians what is revealed includes Scripture in the beginning to the ending of the Story of God. Not that nothing in Scripture can't hold to the weight of investigation, I think of Jesus's resurrection and the aftermath given in Acts. I refer here to meaning and purpose which we believe can never be found apart from that.

So that the beauty of the appearance and scent of the flower, does indeed point to something more than meets the eye. Yet something which is instinctive to the human heart. To know a beauty and love which knows no bounds.

And you might know, Simon, both you and Maalie, the Christian belief of perfection is not static, but dynamic. It unfolds, we believe as becoming a natural expression of who we are in human community as partakers in something of the reality of the Trinitarian community or the God who is love. Something of the mystical and spiritual which cannot be buried as we see in the case of the Soviet atheistic rule. So that it begins now, and finds beauty coming out of what is ugly, life coming out of death, through Jesus and his life given for us.

For me the most important part of who I am is in relation to God. So I think in terms of God all the time. From the moment I awaken, to the time I'm drifting off (or the several times a day of doing that, actually). I find all of life relates to that. That is the source from which I endeavor to live. And it's in Jesus Christ. That is where creation finds what is needed in the resurrection unto new creation, in Jesus.

donsands said...

"..those that had the lesser scent died out, leaving the ones with the better scent..."

Why not have a good scent to begin with? Or suppose all flowers had no scent in the begining, could they then develope a scent?

You're right about my ignorance in science.
But I'm simply looking at this rationally I think.

You have an earth that came from whatever, and the next thing you know in a billion years you have people moving about a place that just happened.
That's great faith to me, to believe Humans evolved somehow from a planet that just happened by luck to end up where it is, with a moon, just where it it, and the Sun just where it is. ASnd even Mars, and everything really; all the trillions time trillions of stars.

I see a Maker. You see this all came out of Nothing, which is impossible Simon.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Don and company,
Here's something on this from mainstream science, by a Paul Davies, who is criticized by Dawkins. A bit tedious, but quite interesting and not that long. Interestingly Augustine is a key figure along the way.

simon said...

nothing is impossible Don.

You make valid points Ted!

lorenzothellama said...

I don't know Simon. I can think of a few things that are pretty well impossible!

Ted M. Gossard said...

I think Davies leaves the door open to the validity of faith, and religion. And Dawkins wants to close that door, and I think in large part Dawkins refuses to see any possibility of faith's validity.

My take for now. But it is interesting reading from Davies, and I'm sure with most of it, Dawkins would agree.

donsands said...

"nothing is impossible Don."

I agree with Llama.

It is absolutely impossible to get something from nothing. If you have nothing, then there will always be nothing.

I read through Paul Davies, and he said some interesting things I thought. Thanks Ted.

Deb said...

What a beautiful day it turned out to be for the wedding! Too, what a lovely photogenic couple! But the best thing of all is that the share a mutual faith in and love for our Lord Jesus Christ!!

Litl-Luther said...

"I have the whole weight of the modern peer-reviewed scientific literature on my pan of the scales; you have a two-thousand year old tome..."

Maalie, I have the tome and the tomb, but most importantly, He who walked out alive from the tomb and of whom (and by whom) the tome was written. ...but you have the peer-review community (all of whom were created by He who walked from that tomb). It's no contest really!

On another note: I can't believe the suite they gave us here at Pattaya Park Beach Resort. We are on the 12th floor facing the ocean with a panoramic view of the ocean (from both balconies; there are two!!). The suite is huge (the biggest I've ever had). It is 1490 sq. ft. ( I walked it off). Two bedrooms and living room, all oversized. There is a perfect view of the ocean right from the bed or from the living room. Three AC units cool this place. Two frigs; two full baths. And we only paid about $75 a night!! I don't know why they upgraded us to such a massive suite, but I'm not complaining!

...and when I gaze out at the breathtaking ocean from the master suite balcony, all I can see is a Creator. It's not by chance.

simon said...

whilst people stave in the street below??

Litl-Luther said...

Simon: I haven't seen anyone turning to narrow pieces of wood or reciting a stanza from a poem or song, if that is what you meant by "whilst people 'stave' in the street below". Perhaps you meant 'starve'? But I haven't seen that either. This is quite a developed, westernized place.

You are an obnoxious cuss, aren't you?!

Ted M. Gossard said...

I wrote a post on "the problem of evil" this morning.

That's my Deb, by the way!

Ted M. Gossard said...

I got here to work and ended up editing that post on the problem of evil more.

But for over here, the answer we Christians rest on essentially is found in Jesus. And from him the lives we are to live out in this world, the gospel we are to proclaim, as well as God's kingdom come in him and the impact that's to make on the world.

simon said...


yes I am very obnoxious

Litl-Luther said...

Me too, Simon. Me too. :-)