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Jul 24, 2016

The Gravity of God

Today I was reminded of one of my beliefs. Christians, Jews and Theists in general not only believe in the existence of God, but also believe this Supreme Being has a constant set of characteristic and attributes. He is what defines morality, goodness, and truth. Such things are universal and do not change.
This almost instantly reminded me of the laws of physics. Specifically, I thought of gravity. Do we ever fear suddenly floating off the ground, that something thrown won't come down or that the Moon will crash into the Earth because gravity changes its mind? Of course not. Most would say those notions are silly. Why? Because gravity is real and constant.
However, what may surprise some is that science cannot prove gravity exists. Even with our advanced understanding of subatomic particles, we still have no source to explain the unseen force we call gravity. Yet, we insist it exists. Why?
The quickest answer is we observe its effects and record the data empirically to discover consistent results. We then represent it analytically with math - and tada, it's a proof. Or so we tell ourselves. Remember in science everything is a theory - and even a near infinite amount of data supporting a theory means almost nothing to one condition that disproves it. But yet, we are convinced because there hasn't been a problem with the math for gravity...mostly.
So, why do we believe in the existence and power of an invisible force called gravity, but many question that an invisible entity such as God does not. After all, there is evidence, recorded empirically even for God's presence. Yet, questions like why do bad things happen or could God really create Hell plague us and seem to many like problematic data which disproves the theory of God.
However, there are no recorded data issues with Law of Gravity; all things fall to the ground at a constant rate...mostly...except for feathers, snowflakes, leaves, and things suspended from a parachute. Do feathers disprove gravity? No, of course not, but we have to understand more laws of physics to understand why recording this evidence is an exception to the constant we observe. Once realizing how air-resistance works, we go back to saying gravity is real.
Another place gravity consistency becomes an issue is in what is called the n-Body problem. This is a mathematical process for predicting the individual motions of a group of celestial objects interacting with each other gravitationally. The issues arrive when one doesn't know how many objects there are, which can cause the calculations to be off. Yet, a bad calculation doesn't cause a scientist to question whether gravity is wrong; he concludes there must be more bodies out there than originally known. He assumes more variables exist than are known. (It is curious we don't do that with miscalculations about God.)
Another thing about an n-Body simulation is as each new object gets added to the equation the math to understand things accurately becomes exponentially more difficult. For example, without a calculator or computer, it takes around an hour to do the math for a calculation when N=2 (or there are only two bodies). However, up that to twelve objects, and manually calculations may take more than three days to reach the correct answer.
Apply this idea to the evidence of God. There are 7-billion free-willed bodies on this earth, all whom have interactions affecting and influencing others. Even in a fully-deterministic universe, the number of variables would make it impossible for any human brain to reasonably figure or even closely predict the results. And we don't understand enough of the other factors (like air-resistance to gravity) that cause our observations about God to seem inconsistent. Thus, even when trying to quantify and qualify the evidence of a Supreme Being, it is something beyond our human ability.
But just because is beyond our power to understand or analyze, does not mean it is not real. Things exist that don't make sense, can't be proved, even beyond our comprehension, and yet we accept them all the time. Gravity for example. For even these laws of physics, the ones we observe, record empirically, translate analytically but cannot truly prove, perhaps have to be taken on faith - a very confident faith, nonetheless.
Once we conclude that God is real and that He is constant, there is at least more thing where gravity correlates to God (or better, God's grace). If we recall, Galileo climbed the Tower of Pisa and dropped two cannonballs of different weights. He, observed...that all bodies are are treated the same by gravity.
When we consider the Law of Gravity and God's grace are both constant and do not change, then we realize no matter how heavy an object or how bad a person, the constant, the promise is the same for an object that is lighter or a person with fewer sins. That's how God's grace works. In God's eyes, the occasionally-pottymouthed philanthropist and the serial murderer are the same. His grace saves each equally.
That's a constant I like to remember.

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