“who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain”

universeDidn’t think there was a plausible scientific theory other than that of evolution to the expansion of the universe? Think again! In my reading of Psalm 104 this morning, particularly the passage regarding the creation of the universe, the second verse states, ‘who stretches out the heavens like a curtain” Psalm 104:2; I’m reminded of Walt Brown’s great work and website concerning this. You might want to check it out: http://www.creationscience.com it’s all there. (Specifically the section: http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/FAQ13.html) deals with this ‘stretching of the heavens’.

I’ve got a copy of his book, a great big, beautifully illustrated bound volume, or, the entire book is available to read online. A must read! So, for all you scientifically minded, go for it!

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Finding a snowdrop in February in frost

We have my ninety-nine-year-old mother-in-law at home on hospice in her last passing days. She loves her flowers and each day my wife and sister-in-law pick her something fresh from the back garden and bring it to her and place it in a vase surrounding her bedside. I couldn’t but share the following beautiful poem, which I happened to find quite inadvertently. It’s not only so fitting for our situation but for the essence, promise and beauty of life itself.

 

Finding a snowdrop in February in frost

snowdrop

“I know not what among the grass thou art,
Thy nature, nor thy substance, fairest flower,
Nor what to other eyes thou hast of power
To send thine image through them to the heart;
But when I push the frosty leaves
And see thee hiding in thy wintry bower,
Thou growest up within me from that hour,
 And through the snow, I with the spring depart.

 I have no words. But fragrant is the breath,
Pale Beauty, of thy second life within.
There is a wind that cometh for thy death,
 But thou a life immortal dost begin,
Where, in one soul, which is thy heaven,
shall dwell Thy spirit, beautiful Unspeakable!”

--George MacDonald, Seaboard Parish, Vol. 
*I’ve titled the poem as it appears untitled as part of one of this stories.

‘A brave new world’ or new world to be braved?

–loosing the genie of artificial intelligence & its biblical implications

AII haven’t previously written on the subject of biblical prophecy as it can be such a controversial one and with such a vast array of what are mostly considered ‘conspiracy theories’ it is almost impossible to come to a rational consensus through which to view and discuss current events. But present developments have gotten to the point where I feel compelled to say something; at least to get others thinking.

***

A friend and I were discussing the present development and progress of AI (Artificial Intelligence), particularly in light of the recent launching of Sophia, a life-like robot developed by Hanson Robotics, who has since become a de-facto ambassador and liaison, between humans and AI entities. We are starting to see that now is a pivotal time for the world because with this launching the AI Revolution has been set in motion. Up till now; at least publicly, there has been this sort of independent development of AI around the world by a lot of governments, militaries, companies, etc., but now there is this coming together, this united tapping of AI into worldwide databanks so that the knowledge and capacities of robotic entities will surpass anything we have ever seen or known, thus ushering in a world that we’ve never known. It certainly is, I wouldn’t’ say, ‘a brave new world’ but perhaps ‘a new world to be braved’.

Once you start thinking seriously about AI several things become apparent. For instance, by default AI will be anti-God, it couldn’t be anything else. Since AI entities are solely intelligence without soul, God would merely be subset of intelligence. Christians and Christianity, along with all other religious faiths would simply compute as erroneous concepts held by some humans. They would have the intellectual knowledge of God, religion, and the religious but they would not have a soul that knowledge would affect. God would simply be a non-entity. They would by definition and default be anti-God.

One bible scholar; I can’t remember whom, described Satan as ‘a master intelligence devoid of morality’ and this is exactly what AI is and will be. It certainly is its father’s brainchild. I can imagine that as AI expands its knowledge almost infinitely in the form of robotic entities, that they will then look upon humans as an imperfect life form that is prone to frequent error and woefully inadequate to evolutionary progress and would either reject relationship and cooperation with human’s altogether (after all, to what advantage will such be for them—mankind will be unable to offer them anything further), or even more nefarious, would they not might want to destroy mankind all together, which some experts are even now warning of?

Now this is one big speculative leap and not something I’m asking others to necessarily believe, although it’s not without possibility; maybe this is why the Lord says of the final end of days, “Except those days be shortened there should no flesh be saved,” (Matthew 24:22), maybe it’s because AI will be eventually warring against humanity. It certainly is a possibility and one way in which that scripture might be fulfilled. After all, the Book of Revelation in speaking of the ‘image of the beast’ (the Antichrist: Revelation 13:15) says, And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

 The Bible simply explains that there is a spirit (or if you will, a ‘force’) at work in the ‘last time’, which by its very nature is opposed to God. This force will eventually be led by a final character known biblically as the Antichrist.

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. (1 John 2:18) and “this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1John 4:3)

Do people realize what’s coming down the pipeline? Have they given any thought to the ramifications and are they prepared for it? The very makeup and nature of humanity is rapidly being called into question and in very questionable ways.

AI 2Please note: I penned the following in Oct 26th of last year when Sophia, a robot developed by Hanson Robotics was first unveiled at a large IT forum in Saudi Arabia and conducted a series of interviews, some with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin:

I’m becoming totally convinced that the biblical ‘image of the beast’ will be a form of AI. I mean, think about it in the context of trans-humanism. You merge human consciousness with mechanized forms of AI and what takes place in affect?—you lose your soul, your uniqueness, your sole identity, you yield to a higher power, a higher intelligence, howbeit an artificial intelligence, and you are no longer just you, you become essentially subservient (perhaps controlled by), and are an extension of that intelligence. You receive almost unlimited knowledge and a level of intelligence never before known, (“ye shall be as gods knowing…”), but at a cost. It’s all a rather crude counterfeit; howbeit a technological wonder, a spiritual-physical hybrid counter reality, to that of being possessed by the Holy Spirit, living in that spirit and growing to know Him “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3)

[End of Article]

Standing on the shore of eternity

Note: Although I don’t write a lot of them, this is a poem I wrote in April which I felt echoes a synthesis of inner and outer experience at this point in my life.

wet sandI’m standing on the shore of eternity
Wet sand beneath my feet
Tides,
Ebbing and flowing
Touching shore
Waves,
Lapping
Ever nearer
Blurred horizon
Distant promise
Yet prove
Sure.

Mountains climbed
Valleys descended
Deserts wandered
Plains traversed
Waters forded.

Icy wind
Snowy blast
Arid heat
Fainting beat
Harvested past

Yet,
Confident
I Am
Knowing,
I’m upheld
By the same
Word
That frames
Eternity.

That,
As sure as I stand
Upon this shore
Vague horizons
Prove no more
I come to know
As I am known.

Heh Melchizedek

This is a poem that I played around with and wrote on a recent trip. It came in a kind of tempo ed rhythm. I’m intrigued with the scriptural accounts of Melchizedek, this otherworldly, pretty much inter-dimensional figure, as he appears to pop in and out of time.

MelchizedekHeh Melchizedek
What the heck
What’s that thing you got going?

Walking early in the pages
With the wisdom of the sages
Gifted the first-fruit wages
Are you the Bearer of ages?
You, who Abraham engages,

Roaming the land
A solitary Wayfaring Man
I don’t think it’s just a personal quest
Some kind of Holy attest
Peace and power to those you blessed

You cut a fine figure
Sans the de rigueur*
How are we to figure?

Coming out of nowhere
Or is it everywhere?
All this priestly affair!
I swear!
You, to whom it is to ever care.

Plodding down a lonely road
You stoop to lift and bear the load
Time & eternity can’t keep you out
No show of force, it’s a one-man rout
Grace divine returns its clout

 King of Salem Town
Checking out your ever realm
Bearing no rejected crown
Can’t keep a good man down
Made and Maker in thee are found
I bend the knee, As-Salaam.

* de rigueur- according to strict etiquette

Brenda -A Halloween scary story

mental retardation 3Whenever Halloween comes round I invariably think of Brenda. Her Halloween antic of that year has never ceased to provide me with hearty and endearing chuckles of remembrance.

Brenda was a close neighbor. It was Halloween night. Mom, Dad & us three kids; older sister, Karen, baby sister Wanda, and me; the extent of our family then, were gathered round the table eating dinner in the small company bungalow my parents rented from the logging outfit my dad worked for. The bungalow was one of several dozen like ones, all of which housed the families of our small community of company workers. Nestled in the wooded but logged off area at the mouth of the watershed that formed the extant of the company timber holdings, it was both workers accommodations and base of operations. Though well secluded, it was our daily world then, alive with the living.

Baby sister, Wanda, would have been probably pushing two. Cute as a button and equally as chubby with this little curl to the top of her head, she was seated in her high chair cheerily eating her dinner when in burst Brenda. Brenda wanted our family to be the first to see her in her Halloween costume.

And what a costume it was. She had chosen to dress as a hobo with the customary tattered shirt, overalls, and bundle stick; only in those days, the stereo-typical hobo was the Al Jolson ‘Mammy’-esque Negro of the early 1900s. And so to complete her attire she had taken a bottle cork which she had charred at the end of a fork over the cook stove and face painted herself with this blackened soot: Voila, a hobo, extraordinaire! And with her costume complete she had burst into our dinner gathering, loud, exuberant and emotional as ever.

The combination of hobo, extraordinaire, and natural exuberance proved too much for baby sister Wanda, who, having never seen the like, responded by jumping up in her chair as if she had been hit by an electric current and with such shrieks of utter terror; that it was all that mom could do to take her in her arms to rock and cuddle her to calm her down. Brenda meanwhile only succeeded in terrifying her more in her own efforts to reassure baby sister by trying to get her to recognize who she was by repeating, “It’s me, it’s me.” For the rest of us, it was truly one of those funny situations that you just crack- up over. I’ve never forgotten it.

I never, ever, saw Brenda mean, angry, or down. She had that uncanny ability to invite her infectious self into your world and make herself part of yours and you part of hers. She lived life in the moment and she was, well, what can I say: she was—Brenda.

Roughly about the same age as my older sister and me (we are a year-and-a-half apart) Brenda was mentally challenged or what we termed then as ‘retarded’. But it never seemed to matter; she was just one of us kids: I never ever remember there being a separation or distinction. She loved us and we loved her and we were all the better for it. She accepted you and let you know that she was emphatically there and she never hesitated to let you know that you were special in her life.

Another Brenda antic written indelibly in memory is her diving antics. Our community also had its own small lake just a stone’s throw from the front of both our adjoining yards. During the summer months Brenda lived in the water. She never tired of diving off what would have been maybe a 6—8’ diving board and she always wanted you to watch and participate in her dive. She’d called out, ‘So and so, watch this!’ and off she’d go. The only thing was that her dives were really belly flops. She never did seem to get the hang of actual diving.  And instead of a graceful headlong entry into the water, she’d whack the surface of the water with the familiar ‘belly-whack’ sound, briefly disappearing under the water only to reappear splashing, sputtering, and laughing, as if each belly-flop pushed a new round of laughter from her and was something to delight in. She was exuberance personified.

I can’t remember exactly how long we lived in that community but I do know that mom and dad were good friends with her parents. Somewhere in the middle of my grade school years we moved to a bigger town but still kept in touch and our families would visit each other occasionally. I haven’t seen her or her family for well over 40 years; I don’t even know if she’s still alive now or not, but I’ve never forgotten Brenda. She’s never once diminished from my life. Unlike many others who have come and gone in my life, she was able to write herself indelibly into mine and  remain
s part of me.

But Brenda’s story doesn’t end here because I think her, or someone just like her, is in a lot of people’s lives. And how is it a scary story besides the dreadful fright it gave to my baby sister? It’s really scary for the fact that in our modern desire for a perfect world there just may not be a place for Brenda & she, all alike, may well be relegated to just that: a story about somebody who once was, who once existed, swept from the pages of life. ‘Why’, say they, ‘let’s factor out these genetic mutations, prescreen her out; we desire babies just like our lives, designer lives, designer babies, that’s the story of our future. We’ll put a patent on them genes. We’ll make them ours or we’ll not make em.

I find it strange that in so an imperfect world as ours, full of the imperfect people we know ourselves to be, that we demand perfection in others. It’s as if such sought after perfection might perhaps assuage our own imperfect consciences. Do we really want to cast such a first stone?

As for Brenda & her peers, do we really want to factor them out? Odds are, I don’t think anyone could ever design a life as beautiful, as perfect as Brenda

*The photo included above isn’t an actual photo of Brenda but it sure reminds me of her.