Sunday, 20 February 2011

What Really Counts

"Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but you have prepared a body for me....

I have come to do your will, o God,
as is written of me,
in the volume of the book".

Hebrews 10:5-7.

"We know that if this present body is destroyed,
we have a permanent body from God,
eternal, and from heaven,
and for this new body, we yearn,
that we might be truly clothed,
when mortality is swallowed, not by death,
but by everlasting life".

2 Corinthians 5:1-4.

I finally managed to get to see the final episodes of the short-lived but so wonderfully crafted TV series, Caprica, this week, and was certainly not disappointed. With true finesse, Ronald D Moore and his team lead us towards a sadly all-too-fast conclusion that marries so well into the prior splendor of the tale of (the re-imagined) Battlestar Galactica. I can only hope that future plans for yet another show (entitled Blood and Chrome) in the genre, come to fruition this year, and that this proves to be as engaging as it's prior stellar renditions.

What was so engaging about Caprica, particularly towards the end, was the issue of life and death, and life beyond death. A holographic 'heaven' is devised and offered by one sect of the monotheists for her martyrs, but the heroine, Zoe, who listens to the angels, knows this is wrong, so as her parents struggle to free her from cyber-space by devising a way for her to become human - to have a body - once again, she confronts the leader of this 'bodiless' contrivance of heaven in V-world and judges her and her creation as wrong - godless, because it denies the realities we all must face, and the hopes beyond these.

I could not help but consider the manner in which such issues impact upon us all.
Everything we know, we experience, is communicated to us through the means of our bodies.
If, at some point in our near future, we encounter the manner of virtual realms available in this show, these also will be possible via a connection to our physical selves. All of life, and the agony of death, occurs this way. The eternal order, as C S Lewis once noted, is about things being far more 'real', far more substantial, than we can see or understand in a our present, impoverished physicality, but it would be foolhardy to conclude then, that the physical is somehow a merely provisional or temporary situation... a 'make do' until the 'better' of incorporeal immortality arrives... that, like the faith of the errant monotheists in Caprica, is a surrender to Gnosticism.

The Scriptures tell us that the physical is good - very good, and even more important, made Holy (sanctified) by God Himself on the 7th day. We were made bodily, and Christ (as the Hebrews reference above shows) became so to redeem the heavens and the earth. This is why Paul teaches us that our future hope is encapsulated in our gaining a new body in the resurrection, for like Zoe trapped in V-world, we indeed see, as Paul states, that creation itself currently yearns for release from corruption and decay into its proper (original/renewed) glory. Only then can the true and full significance of the physical begin to be really seen, considered and enjoyed.

Caprica ends looking at the ramifications of seeking to work out the results of actual resurrection in a fallen world (the overture of war), and that also echoes so much of our current reality.

As I've noted so many times here, we truly need to think well on these matters... they bear on the deepest realities for us all.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

The Nitty Gritty....

What we truly come to value in life often originates from those "what if" moments...
'What if I could do this.... What if he or she feels the same... What if this were true?"...

I've spent the last few weeks working my way through the bulk of Stephen Meyer's very well researched work, 'The Signature in the Cell', which is seeking to make a case that the evidence for the view of our existence known as Intelligent Design is actually all around us, and our cracking of DNA and the complexity of related biological processes has now furnished that data.
It's a book that certainly brings on one of those deep 'what if' moments, not least because Meyer carefully unpacks the current approaches and ideas concerning how we got here, and then seeks to show that not only do such attempts produce very few answers, but that their underlying assumptions actually substantiate that we cannot be here by chance.

I have watched how the ID arguments have shaped-up over the last twenty years. Yes, there are plenty that would like us to out rightly ignore or dismiss them, but that tends to be because time isn't being spent considering the actual state of play now reached in the thorough manner Meyer does in this work. It's pretty heavy going in places, especially when the author delves deep into micro biology (I understand why... it just makes my head spin).
All of this allows him to reach a startling point about two-thirds of the way through this study-

Having shown why ID makes the best sense (even from research generated to show the complete opposite) he concludes:
"The specified information in the cell establishes the existence and past action of intelligent activity in the origin of life. Experience shows that large amounts of specified complexity or information (especially in codes and languages) invariably originate from an intelligent source".
Now that is a major consideration, because as so many working in this and other fields have noted, this is exactly the nature of the fundamental information found in all of life.

Philosophers, Scientists, Thinkers of all kinds, have for centuries looked upon the order and structure of the universe and pondered if this "speaks" of a mind at work - the masterpiece of the greatest artist. It could well be that in our very lifetime, the true 'fingerprint' of our maker has been seen for the first time, and that signature is encoded into every cell in our body...