October 19, 2016

God really is like Jesus

Here is an excerpt from the forthcoming book "God Is Like Jesus," by Jacob M. Wright. This excerpt was originally posted (without the picture) on Jacob's Facebook. To learn how you can help Jacob publish his new book, click here

The most defining difference between the Old and New Testament is that Jesus refines our understanding of the character of God. God is not the one who comes to steal, kill, or destroy, that’s the enemy; God comes to bring life (John 10:10). God does not accuse and condemn, that’s the enemy; God comes to heal and save (John 3:17). God does not demand the stoning of sinners, that’s the enemy; God enables them to live free of sin (John 8:11). God does not command the wholesale slaughter of enemies including their wives, children, and pets; he commands to love and forgive them, for in so doing we are like our Father. And if we don’t, Jesus says, we are no better than the pagans (Luke 6:27-36). God dies for his enemies and doesn’t count their sin against them and by doing so, reconciles them (2 Cor. 5:19).

Jesus Washing Peter's Feet (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

God is not a God of retributive justice, but a God of restorative justice (Matt. 12:15-21). God freely forgives (Luke 5:20, 7:48; Matt. 9:5) and desires mercy instead of demanding sacrifice (Matt. 9:13, 12:7), and he offers himself as a sacrifice to prove it. God does not demand blood to make peace with him, he gives his own blood to make peace with us. God is not the destroyer, nor does he hold the power of death over us, that is the enemy; God comes to destroy death, and to destroy the destroyer who holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14).

God does not send evil spirits to torment and deceive people (1 Samuel 16:14, 1 Kings 22:22), rather God casts evil spirits out (Matt., Mark, Luke, and John). God does not render the lepers and the sick as unclean and command for them to be abandoned to die outside the camp (Num. 5:2), but embraces the lepers unto healing (Matt., Mark, Luke, John). God does not want us to live in fear, but reveals a perfect love that casts out fear (1 John 4:18). God is not wrathfully destructive towards us, but is in hot pursuit of us to bring us out of our own self-destructive waywardness and back into his fold (Luke 15:1-7). God is not an angry abusive father prowling the city streets looking for his rebellious son to beat him senseless in his white-hot wrath, but a kind Father watching the road longing for one sign of his sons return so that he can run to him and embrace him and bring him back to the safety of his home (Luke 15:11-32). I might as well share that I am in tears right now as I write this. The Father loves us.

God’s intent is to free the oppressed, bring good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, heal the sick, and set the captive free (Luke 4:18). God is Abba, the Father of Lights, from whom all good things come, and there is no shadow of turning from this (James 1:17). God is light, and does not have a dark side (1 John 1:5). God comes to heal us of our sin disease (Matt. 9:12, Mark 2:17), and raise us up to the dignity of sons and daughters (1 John 3:1). God cries out our forgiveness while we murder him (Luke 23:34). God is Christlike, and in him there is no un-Chrislikeness at all. This and this alone can change our hearts of stone back into beating, throbbing hearts of love that manifest the image of the divine.

The writer of Hebrews said that all before Christ was a mere shadow of the reality (Hebrews 10:1). It's kind of hard to decipher the true form of something by looking at its shadow. You can get some stuff wrong. John makes the audacious claim that "No one has ever seen God", even though Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Isaiah, and Ezekial had all claimed to have seen God. But regardless of the dreams, visions, revelations, epiphanies, theophanies of these men in scripture that claimed to have seen God, John says that no one has ever seen God until they've seen Jesus. Jesus says, "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father." Jesus appeared and was the image of the invisible God, the exact representation of God’s being, the radiance of the Father’s glory, the Word made flesh, the fullness of God in bodily form.

So, if what is written by those who only saw a vague shadow contradicts the actual flesh and bones incarnation of God, then go with the latter. This is demonstrated in certain strands of the shadowy Old Testament. Whereas it was common for people in the Old Testament to slay enemies and say that God commanded them to do it, Jesus tells us that we are no better than the pagans if we do that, and reveals that if we love our enemies, then we are like our Father. When the Pharisees wanted to carry out what was written in their law of Moses to stone an adulteress, Jesus called them of their father the devil who was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). Interesting. When his disciples wanted to follow in Elijah's footsteps and call down fire on Christ-rejectors, Jesus rebuked them and said, "You know not what spirit you are of." (John 9:55) Interesting. When Peter rebukes Jesus concerning going to the cross because Peter believes the Messiah will establish his kingdom through violent subjugation, Jesus says, "Get behind me satan!" (Matt. 16:23) Interesting.

Jesus expressly names all which steals, kills, or destroys as not of his Abba, but only that which comes to give life. It is never okay to quote the Old Testament to endorse something that Jesus clearly forbids.

October 5, 2016

Christ, our worship leader

With this post we begin a review of Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace by James B. Torrance.

[Revised: 10/15/2016]

Though not a prolific writer like his brother Thomas F Torrance, James B Torrance (often referred to as JB), through a life-long career in university-level teaching, had a profound influence on, perhaps, thousands of students (who in turn influenced many others). In this way, JB made a significant and lasting contribution to the resurgence in our day of the ancient Nicene faith with its confession of an incarnational and Trinitarian theology. Key precepts of JB's teaching are set forth in his book, Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace. Here is a summary of its contents from IVP, the book's publisher:
James Torrance points us to the indispensable who of worship, the triune God of grace. Worship is the gift of participating through the Spirit in the incarnate Son's communion with the Father, writes Torrance. This book explodes the notion that the doctrine of the Trinity may be indispensable for the creed but remote from life and worship. Firmly rooted in Scripture and theology, alive with pastoral counsel and anecdote, Torrance's work shows us just why real trinitarian theology is the very fiber of Christian confession.
I've often quoted JB's book on this blog, and now I want to take a comprehensive look, beginning here with the introduction: The Place of Jesus Christ in Worship. JB notes that God, who "made all creatures for his glory... made men and women in his own image to be the priests of creation and to express on behalf of all creatures the praises of God." In this priestly role as followers of Jesus we are called to to "gather up the worship of all creation" (p. 13). But who among us is righteous and otherwise able enough for this lofty vocation? The answer is that there is but one human who is: the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ, our High Priest. JB comments: "The good news is that God comes to us in Jesus to stand in for us and bring to fulfillment his purposes of worship and communion" (p. 14).

In his vicarious humanity, and through his role as High Priest, Jesus stands in for us, worshipping the Father on our behalf, and on behalf of all creation. Jesus, the Source and Head of all created things (for he created the universe out of nothing, and by his power sustains it), sends the Spirit to form the church to be his body on earth, calling them to be "a royal priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices" in order to join him in his "great priestly work and ministry of intercession" (p. 14). JB summarizes these thoughts with this powerful statement:

Through what is referred to as the wonderful exchange, "Christ takes what is ours (our broken lives and unworthy prayers), sanctifies them, offers them without spot or wrinkle to the Father, and gives them back to us, that we might 'feed' upon him in thanksgiving" (p. 15). JB comments further:
Christian worship is... our participation through the Spirit in the Son's communion with the Father, in his vicarious life of worship and intercession. It is our response to our Father for all that he has done for us in Christ. It is our self-offering in body, mind and spirit, in response to the one true offering made for us in Christ, our response of gratitude (eucharistia) to God's grace (charis), our sharing by grace in the heavenly intercession of Christ. Therefore, anything we say about worship---the forms of worship, its practises and procedure---must be said in the light of him to whom it is a response. It must be said in the light of the gospel of grace. (p. 15)
JB challenges us to ask ourselves: Does our worship make the real presence of Christ transparent, or does it obscure his presence? Is it reflective of the triune God of grace, or is it reflective of "the contract God who has to be conditioned into being gracious by what we do" (p. 16)? JB reminds us that the author of Hebrews describes Jesus Christ as the one Leitourgos---the "leader of our worship" (Hebrews 8:2). As JB notes, the book of Hebrews contrasts Jesus' work as lead worshipper under the new covenant with that provided by Israel's priests under the old covenant, noting that Christ's form of worship "gathers up" the worship provided by Israel's worship and "replaces it."

Baptism of Jesus by I, Davezelenka,
used with permission via Wikimedia Commons
The worship Jesus provides us under the new covenant focuses on baptism and the Lord's Supper (the two sacraments of our faith). And because Christ's worship is our worship, his baptism is our baptism, and Christ's sacrifice is our sacrifice. Indeed, Jesus' own "righteousness is our righteousness apprehended by faith," and thus we understand that "the real agent of true worship is Jesus Christ" himself. Sadly, this truth is often overlooked (or obscured) in Christian circles. Why? Largely due to a neglect of "the continuing priesthood of Christ" (p. 17). JB comments:
We cannot have a true understanding of worship, prayer, baptism, and the Lord's Supper without a New Testament understanding of the priesthood of Christ. It is he who calls the church into being as a royal priesthood to participate by grace in his continuing ministry, lifting us by the Spirit into the very triune life of God in wonderful communion. (p. 18)
And so JB begins his book clearly establishing the foundation and the means of our worship in the person of Jesus Christ, who by the Spirt leads us in worshipping the Father. We'll see more about this Trnitarian, personalized shape of Christian worship as we proceed through the book.

September 27, 2016

Contingence, creation and redemption

This post concludes a series looking at key concepts in The Christian Frame of Mind by Thomas F. Torrance (TFT). To read other posts in the series, click a number: 123, 4.

[Revised: 10/4/2016]

Jesus Christ (fully God, fully human)
(public domain via Wikimedia Commons)
This series has examined a fundamental precept of TFT's theology---one derived from the Bible, affirmed by the Nicene faith of the early church Fathers, and confirmed in the natural sciences (quantum physics in particular). The precept is this: The order in the universe is contingent order, meaning that it has an intelligibility grounded in a source beyond itself. As scripture shows, and the early church taught, that Source is the Word (Logos) of God, who is both Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

The Creator become Redeemer

Scripture also reveals that to restore the order lost in the fall, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe became its Redeemer. The Word of God accomplished this re-ordering by adding our humanity to his divinity through the Incarnation and thus entering "the structured realities of our empirical existence in space and time" (p. 30).

Jesus, the eternal Word of God incarnate, did for us (and all the cosmos) what we could not do for ourselves. Amazing God, amazing grace---amazing and gloriously ordered universe!

An unfolding revelation

According to TFT, the unfolding of this stunning revelation concerning the history of the cosmos had the effect of "overthrowing Greek notions of the unreality of matter and the divine nature of the rational forms immanent in the world" thereby opening up "the way for the development of empirico-theoretical science as we now pursue it" (p. 31). Thus Jesus, the revelation of God to us in our flesh, showed us the way not only to more accurate theology, but also to more accurate science. That revelation has been unfolding in our awareness ever since, often through the efforts of Christians, who have conformed their thinking to the mind of Christ who is the Source of the order and intelligibility we observe in the universe. As TFT notes, "Such is the power of the human mind sympathetically attuned to the intrinsic rationality of the created universe (p. 39).

Key concepts: the Imago Dei ...

An understanding of the Incarnation of the Logos also opened to us a much deeper understanding of the nature of humanity as created in God's image (the imago Dei). The human person Jesus is himself "the Image and Reality of God." Through his incarnate person he is the "personalizing Person" by whom we, his brothers and sisters by grace, become "personalized persons who draw from him the true substance of their personal being both in relation to God and in relation to other humans" (p. 31).

... and Creatio ex nihilo

Thus we understand that the Incarnation was the great turning point in the history of humanity---indeed it was the re-Creation of humanity along with the rest of creation, thus helping us to understand the interrelation of Incarnation and CreationIndeed, this re-creation, which was accomplished through the Incarnation (and the rest of the "Christ event"), points us back in a most radical way to the original creation when God brought into being "all things, invisible as well as invisible, intangible as well as tangible, mental as well as physical, out of nothing." TFT then notes the earth-shattering impact of the biblical truth of creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing) on multiple realms of human knowledge:
All rational form immanent in nature, including the mind of man, was held to be created out of nothing, and therefore when regarded in itself to be transitory and evanescent and utterly dependent upon God for stability and continuity. On the other hand, the whole universe of created being was thought of as given an authentic reality and integrity of its own, and as endowed by God with a creaturely rational order grounded beyond itself in its own transcendent Rationality. This was the conception of the contingent nature of the creation, and its inherent rational order which was so impossible for dualist Greek or Roman thought to appreciate. Nevertheless it was this very doctrine that was radically to alter the logical structure of ancient culture, philosophy and science, and after many centuries of underground struggle with the classical paradigms of thought entrenched in the European mind to open the gates for the new world of our day. (pp. 31-32) 

God's mission in Christ: expressing his love, yielding his peace

TFT declares that God's own "Being is the ultimate ground of all contingent existence" and his "Love is the power of all contingent order" (p. 46). He then notes the outworking in Creation of these truths through the Incarnation:
Jesus Christ was not only the Incarnate Word or Logos of God through whom all things were made and given their rational order, but the direct embodiment of the eternal Love of God within the structured objectivities and intelligibilities of our spatio-temporal world. So far as the Christian doctrine of creation was concerned, this meant that the universe is to be understood as having been brought into existence through the free ungrudging act of God's immeasurable Love, and that it is to this very Love that we are to trace the ultimate power of order in the universe. (p. 32, emphasis added)
TFT thus understands God's mission to be an expression of his Love (his Being), accomplished in, through and by his incarnate Son. That mission was (and is) about the restoration (re-ordering) of order in our dis-ordered universe, a mission that is "vanquishing the dark forces of alienation, healing the tensions between visible and invisible, physical and spiritual realities, and reconciling all things to himself, thereby bringing peace to the entire creation" (p. 32). Hallelujah!

The way forward in theology, science and culture

TFT concludes his book noting that the way forward in developing and further integrating theology and science (with implications for all of culture) will be in the context of "contingence and redemption,"---a context that gives those who think with the mind of Christ an accurate grip on the true conception of humanity as we are in relation to the universe. Note these comment from TFT:
Christian theology must probe more deeply into the interconnection between the [contingent] order of creation and the order of redemption, in the hope of finding and developing the healing answers that are needed to cope with the problems before us... [viewing] all the life and activity of Jesus from his birth of the Virgin Mary to his resurrection from the dead, as the Incarnate Word and Love of God at work among us in order-bringing and order-renewing activity. The role of man reconciled to God in and through Jesus Christ, therefore must be viewed as one to be fulfilled, not only across the boundary of invisible and visible realities, but across the boundary of the order of redemption and the order of creation, where his destiny, under God, is to be a mediator of order. As I understand it, this is the task, more urgent and exciting than ever, in which theologians and scientists are called to engage today, and engage together, under the compelling claims of the Creator and Redeemer of the universe (p. 33). 
It is more and more apparent in the advance of our scientific knowledge to the limits of the contingent universe that some at least of the master-ideas with which we work have their source in the Judaeo-Christian doctrines of the One God and his creation of the universe, including space and time and all things visible and invisible, out of nothing, and of the contingent intelligibility and freedom of the creation as grounded in the unlimited freedom and transcendent rationality of God the Creator. The fact that these master-ideas (the unity of the universe, its contingent intelligibility, and its freedom or spontaneous order) daily assume significance in the basis of our scientific knowledge of the universe, means that modern scientific understanding of the universe is one in which Christian theology is increasingly at home. This is of enormous import for the inter-relations of theology and science, for theology today may be pursued only within the context of a world increasingly overarched by scientific exploration of the universe. However, it is also of enormous import for culture as a whole, because it is, I believe, through the bridge between science and theology that science itself can be included within a unified culture. (pp. 60-61)
 I end this series on TFT's book with a short prayer:
Come Holy Spirit, lead us all in thinking with the mind of the incarnate Word, the Logos of the universe, Jesus Christ. Amen.

September 20, 2016

Correlating theology and science

In this series we're looking at what Thomas F. Torrance (TFT) has to say in The Christian Frame of Mind concerning the integration of science and theology in light of the Incarnation of the Word of God. For other posts in the series, click a number: 1, 2, 3, 5.

             Note: this post was revised on 9/24/2016.

Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Last time we explored TFT's theologically- and scientifically-reasoned understanding that the order in the universe is contingent order, meaning that its "ground of being" lies outside itself. In this post we'll see how that concept has (in both theology and science) displaced the idea of a universe possessing non-contingent order---the viewpoint that dominated much of theology and science in the modern era.

The ascending viewpoint of contingent order

The concept of the universe possessing contingent order and thus being open and dynamic has been emerging in the natural sciences and in theology since at least the time of Einstein. In science the evidence bolstering this viewpoint came largely through breakthroughs in quantum physics. As the concept of contingent order ascended, it displaced the concept of non-contingent order and related concepts that gave shape to theology and science in the modern era. which began with the Enlightenment in the Middle Ages and lasted well into the 20th century (with vestiges still remaining in the post-modern era of today).

The descending viewpoint of non-contingent order

Ironically, in the modern era, theology and science (formerly united, with theology seen as "the queen of sciences"), pulled apart, even though in modernity they shared a commitment to the ideas (and ideals) of a non-contingent, closed, static and mechanistic universe. The impacts of that commitment were significant in both fields: Theology in modernity conceived of God as "outside" a closed and thus self-contained universe. From this perspective God is seen as aloof---a deistic deity who got the universe up and running then stepped aside. Science (in part following theology as modernity emerged) conceived of the universe as a closed, mechanistic and static one. With no need for a ground-of-being outside the closed system of the universe, science stopped looking, and generally repudiated those who did.

Outmoded mythologies fading away

In our still-emerging and morphing post-modern era, developments/discoveries in science, along with those in theology, have led to the emergence (one might say the "re-emergence") of the concept that the universe, which is dynamic and open, possesses contingent order. That concept is gradually overthrowing the concepts (what TFT refers to as the "mythologies") of modernity that see the universe as static, closed and mechanistic, delimited by non-contingent order (what TFT refers to as "inertial order "). TFT explains:
The theological and metaphysical concept of inertia... was taken up and built into the fabric of western classical science by Galileo, Descartes and Newton, when inertia, used as a kind of mathematical 'x' from which to make calculations about bodies in motion became mythologized into a kind of force. There is no doubt that inertia played a very important role in the remarkable elaboration of a coherent and consistent 'system of the word' within the static parameters of Euclidean geometry, which was very successful within its own limits. The end-result, however, was the damaging idea of the closed mechanistic universe, by which not only theology but all our western culture became seriously infected. The concept of inertia is still proving very difficult to dislodge, in spite of the work of Clerk Maxwell and Einstein, Bohr and Heisenberg, but this is due, in part at least, I believe, to the fact that the cultural framework of thought, within which scientific inquire and theory operate and are expressed, has been profoundly shaped by it. In this way inertia has itself acquired a hidden inertial force, in virtue of which it continues to obstruct the kind of open-textured scientific thinking required at the frontiers of knowledge. In face of this, Christian theology can only cry mea culpa [meaning, "my fault"], mea maxima culpa, for it was largely through its influence that modern classical science took this unfortunate path. (p. 25, emphasis added).
As TFT goes on to note, new developments in the natural sciences (quantum physics in particular) are requiring that we ask some new (and for some, quite troubling) questions:
Is there a range of reality that does not lie within the realm of what we call nature? Why is it that the rate of the expansion of the universe and the tight-knitted nuclear structure of matter seem to indicate that the physical laws which we have to formulate under the pressure of nature's inherent modes of order are so staggeringly improbable? Must we not now think of the order characterizing nature at all levels as radically contingent and as pointing to a rationality that extends indefinitely beyond it? Does the order of the created universe not depend after all upon a divine Creator and his will and order for the universe and its open-ended development? (p. 26)

Correlating theology and science

John Polkinghorne
TFT quotes physicist and Anglican theologian John Polkinghorne, who notes how the recognition of an open, contingent and intelligible universe provides new opportunity for the correlation of theology and science:
Behind the intelligibility of the universe, its openness to the investigation of science, there lies the fact of the Word of God. The Word is God's agent in creation, impressing his rationality upon the world. That same Word is also the light of men, giving us thereby access to the rationality that is in the world" (p. 26)
As TFT goes on to note, the point of connection between theology and science is the interrelation between "the kind of order that is disclosed through the Incarnation of the Word... and that which nature discloses to our scientific inquiries" (p. 26). Rightly understood, both the book of revelation (the written word of God) and the book of nature (which discloses the creative action of the living Word of God) speak of an intelligible, contingent universe.

In conforming their thinking to the reality of a universe that is both intelligible and contingent, science and theology have a basis to speak to one another concerning "the compelling claims of [that] reality... the order of how things actually are... [the] order that impregnates nature and pervades the whole universe." As TFT notes, that order for theologians "is correlated with the Word of God incarnate in Jesus Christ" (p. 26).

May we all, (theologians and scientists included), hear him speak!

To read more from TFT on the concept of contingent order, see his book, Divine and Contingent Order.

September 12, 2016

Contingent order in theology and science

In this series we're looking at what Thomas F. Torrance (TFT) has to say in The Christian Frame of Mind concerning the integration of science and theology in light of the Incarnation of the Word of God. For other posts in the series, click a number: 1, 2, 45.

Quarks spinning in a particle accelerator
(public domain via Wikimedia Commons)
As noted last time, by thinking with and through the mind of Christ, we are enabled to grasp the reality that the order we perceive in the cosmos is contingent order---order with a "controlling ground" beyond itself---order that is dependent on something (someone?) outside itself. As noted by TFT, thinking in this disciplined way yields important insights in both science and theology:
Science and theology are each dedicated in their own way, not only to clarifying and understanding order, but to achieving order... through relating actual order to the ultimate controlling ground of order from which all order proceeds. (pp. 16-17)
Let's look further at TFT's insights as they concern theology, then science.


Christian theology teaches us that God, who is love, is the source (ground) of the order in the created universe that we observe through science, and are told about, by revelation, in Holy Scripture. God, for love and by love, brought all that is outside himself into existence out of nothing (ex nihilo). Thus we understand that all that exists in creation is reliant upon the Creator God, and so in theology we refer to created reality being "contingent reality." Moreover we see (through science) and are told (by revelation) that this order is "intelligible order"---an intelligibility that is fundamental both to science and to theology. TFT comments:
God freely and ungrudgingly brought the world into being, giving it a genuine reality of its own though utterly differentiated from himself. Moreover he continues freely and ungrudgingly to sustain it in being through relations to himself, thereby constituting himself in his Love as its true determining end. God is the only One who is what he does and does what he is, so that the very Love that God eternally is in himself and in his relation to the universe he has made bears in a commanding ontological way upon it. That is the ultimate ground for its created order as well as its created being. (p. 17)
Because the order of the cosmos is intelligible, we are able to discern within the created order the presence of dis-order. Doing so helps us understand that through the incarnate Word of God (who united the created order with its Creator in his own person), God works within his creation to restore its foundational contingent order. Thus we relate the emerging order we see in the universe to the redemptive work of God---a work that lies at the very heart of the gospel message. TFT comments:
In the Christian Faith we look for a new order in which the damaged order, or the disorder that inexplicably arises in the world, will be healed through a creative reordering of existence as it is reconciled to its ultimate ground in the creative Love of God. (p. 18) 
At the heart of truly Christian theology is the concept of a contingent, intelligible order within creation. That concept is grounded in the truth that the Word of God in his eternal existence with the Father and Spirit, in love and for love (for God is love), created the universe and then through the Incarnation joined himself with it in order to restore its fundamental order. All this is by grace, for love, and for no other reason. The foundation (ground) of all that is, and is emerging---all this ordering and re-ordering is the activity of the Triune God of love and grace.


No less than true theology, true science (science connected to reality) is dedicated to and reliant upon the fundamental order of an intelligible universe. It has taken science millennia to see this order at both its macro and micro scales. Whereas science once thought the universe was trending toward disorder, it found, in the midst of disorder, an underlying ground of order. This insight emerged as science begin to see that the expanding universe is trending to greater levels of order, not to dissipation.

Science not only relies on the universe being orderly in making its observations, it does so in its work to attain order through its various technologies. As TFT notes, "in our engagement in scientific activity we respond to an ontological imperative, which we share with the whole universe of created reality in its constant expansion toward maximum order" (p. 19).

Increasingly, science is discovering what TFT refers to as "the ontic truth of things," which is the intrinsic order of the universe. Because this order is intelligible (rational), it is discoverable, if we allow the universe to speak to us in its language, on its terms. When we do, we find this intelligible order to be contingent---an order grounded in something outside itself. In that regard, as science studies the topic of time as an essential factor in physical law, it comes "face-to-face" with this contingency, or we might say with the universe's "ontological basis" of order outside (beyond) itself---its "ultimate ground of order," as it were. On this journey of discovery, science is having to "rethink physical laws in terms of their contingent relations to a stable ground of intelligibility beyond themselves" (p. 21).

These are exciting, mind-expanding developments in the natural sciences---particularly in the case of sub-atomic particle research where science has found that quanta (the very smallest particles in the physical universe) behave in truly baffling ways. According to TFT, it may be that physics has "found its limits," but in doing so has "gained a profound insight into the contingent nature of rational order which it cannot adequately grasp from its own restricted perspective, and where it needs help from beyond its own frontiers" (p. 22). TFT continues:
The more deeply scientific inquiry penetrates down to the rock-bottom structures of nature, such as quarks, which are not self-explainable, it seems to be putting its finger upon the very edge between being and nothing, existence and creation, establishing contact with a state of affairs the intelligibility of which calls for a sufficient reason beyond itself. That is to say, quantum theory has the effect of forcing out into the open the contingent nature of physical reality in such a way as to make a genuine doctrine of creation pertinent in its own field. (pp. 22-23)
TFT also notes that the discoveries of quantum physics in particular point to a direct relationship between the Incarnation and the Logos of creation by indicating that we must look beyond the created order to a "ground of being" that is contingent.

Wow, that's a lot to take in! So let's stop here, reminded as we go of the words of David:
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4 NRSV)