God helps Hawking find the media spotlight again

God is once again assisting British scientist Stephen Hawking to receive world-wide media publicity, even though Hawking is saying nothing new.

In an ‘exclusive’ interview in Britain’s Guardian newspaper on May 16, Hawking said there was ‘no heaven or afterlife… that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.’

The author of international best-seller A Brief History of Time admitted his views were influenced in part by his long fight with motor neurone disease.

‘I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components  fail.’

Hawking’s has moved from a position where belief in God was not necessarily at odds with a scientific understanding of the universe – as expressed in A Brief History of Time – to one where God no longer has a place in theories on the creation of the universe  – expressed in his 2010 book The Grand Design.

Baroness Susan Greenfield, one of England’s most distinguished scientists, said in response to Hawking’s (and other scientists’) comments on God: ‘Yes I am [worried]. Of course they can make whatever comments they like but when they assume, rather in a Taliban-like way, that they have all the answers then I do feel uncomfortable. I think that doesn’t necessarily do science a service.’

So before you throw away your Bible and consider yourself nothing more than a computer on legs, check out these responses to Stephen Hawking.

Stephen Hawking, God and the role of science by Alister McGrath
Science meets Religion site

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Jeffry leaves us far too quickly

One of the boys lingers after morning devotionsOne of the last times I saw Jeffry alive was as we gathered around a single candle flickering on the white tiled floor of the children’s home in Bali.

It was the first time that I had stayed overnight at the home and, although the home-parents had set me up in my own room with a fan, a blackout had left me too hot to sleep.

As I listened to the noises of the night – geckos, frogs, dogs, babies – it seemed only moments before I heard the sound of children and adults rising to share devotions.

As the children began to sing, I shuffled bleary eyed from my room and sat on the floor among them. We sang to Jesus, candle shining, and the tiles providing at least some coolness.

Jeffry was there, nurturing the candle as boys love to do, singing with the others his love for God.

Later that morning – it was still only about 7am – I enjoyed a specially procured breakfast of fried bananas and took photos of some of the kids as they headed off to school. Four other boys travelled on the back of motor bikes, but Jeffry rode his bicycle.

I had ridden his bike myself a day or two before. It was just before church at the children’s home and I was wearing my preacherly best, but caught up in the playfulness of children, hopped on the bike, riding up the lane, much to the amusement of the kids and arriving churchgoers.

Jeffry loved to call my daughter (Rebekah) bebek which means duck. She would ask for the names of animals to say back, and her attempts left Jeffry and the children rolling with laughter.  

A couple of days later I flew home but that little corner of Bali, down a back lane in Denpasar, is never far from my heart, or my family’s.

There was no candle, no white tiles, no smothering humidity when I got up yesterday morning, heading to make coffee and breakfast.

I noticed a text had arrived on my mobile. I opened it and read: ‘P please pray 4 Novi, motor bike accident young Jeffry died Novi in coma we r at hospital.’ Later we learned a drunk rider had collided with the two children.

My own sadness at this news cannot be compared with my daughter’s who has used almost every available holiday in the past few years to visit these children. We can only imagine the aching grief of those whose lives entwined with Jeffry every day.

It was many years ago when I sat in the room of a small boy as he died of AIDS, contracted from his mother. He had spoken of visions of Jesus coming to his room to speak with him. These memories tell me that Jesus is never outdone by tragedy.

Experiences like that, like this, remind us that every child is beautifully special and that somehow God, in his great love, makes provision even in the darkest hours. Our prayers and our presence are part of that provision, the reason we care, that we go.

One of Jeffry’s  ‘sisters’ at the home wrote, ‘everyone very sad , and also still not believe that Jeffry must go quickly…’

It is true, he has gone far too quickly for us, but he finds himself in a place where time, or tears, will never bother him again. Till we meet again…

Jesus’ heavenly appearance at Easter Show

 

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Utterance reported on Wednesday that the Royal Agricultural Society, organisers of Sydney Royal Easter Show had refused the Bible Society of NSW a stall on the basis that it was of a ‘religious nature’.

More than 200 volunteers and thousands of resources had been arranged for the Easter, All About Life stall that was to be linked to the recent Jesus, All About Life media campaign.

Fittingly, Jesus did make an appearance at the Show today about 1pm thanks to the heavenly intervention of a sky-writer.

With the sun as an exclamation mark, Jesus All About Life appeared brightly in white against a brilliant blue sky, easily visible at the show in Homebush Bay. The words spread broadly in the gusty wind covering the whole city.

They made quite an impression in Sydney’s inner west where I managed to take the photos above on my trusty Nokia E71 phone and also an Olympus MU9000. Of course, the mandatory buildings, telegraph wires and even an obliging plane accompanied my city pics.

It’s good to be reminded that even the day the Jesus was crucified is Good and is all about life! PH

Heavenly vision in practical issues

I am a first time reader of Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest and so it was a special moment when I came across the phrase in a daily reading that lends itself to the title of the collection:

If we do not run our belief about God into practical issues, it is all up with the vision God has given. The only way to be obedient to the heavenly vision is to give our utmost for God’s highest, and this can only be done by continually and resolutely recalling the vision. The test is the sixty seconds of every minute, and the sixty minutes of every hour, not our times of prayer and devotional meetings.’ March 11

What is it that God has shown you and to what extent has this vision leaked? Take a moment to recall it and then do something, even tiny, to put it into action. PH

Heaven is particular

“There isn’t a soul in the world whom Heaven doesn’t regard in a particular fashion. There isn’t a sigh or a word that Heaven fails to hear.” The angel Malchiah speaking in Anne Rice’s novel, Angel Time.

We are personal beings despite relentless forces to de-personalise us. We are ‘particular’ and are known by God in a particular (unique, personal, individual) way.

This gives us hope that our particular life and this particular day are known to an infinite God, intimately. PH