Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Parking Lot Ponderings

Serendipity or Epiphany

So as I sit here in a parking lot waiting for Elaine to emerge from the doctor's office, I've been contemplating the stuff I am seeing; cars, grass, trees, people, concrete, buildings, lamp posts, birds, bicycles, clouds... hmmmmm... just your normal "waiting in the parking lot scenery."

Don't know if it is serendipity, an epiphany or just weird thinking, but three concepts keep flowing together.
  1. Interrelationships and the Trinity
  2. Design versus Chaos
  3. Assumptions and Faith
Somehow I think there's a larger writing in what I'm about to jot down, but that will have to wait for a later time. Perhaps there is another ebook lurking somewhere in these thoughts.

Let me briefly summarize each of the concepts.

(1) Interrelationships and the Trinity:

Everything out there is somehow related to many of the others, and all fit together to create the big picture. Living things and the non-living coexist in an almost symbiotic relationship. For instance, man and car... one without the other is useless or minimized.

Just about everything I observe has an academic study created around it. From rocks to ripples in the lawn sprinkler puddle. From birds to the aerodynamics of flight, we write textbooks or Wikipedia posts to learn more about almost everything.

I see everything out there because of the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum we call "light," and that leads me to muse on the phrase "God is light..." Obviously an analogy, but certainly apt and inclusive of being alive.

From there my brain indulged in the simplicitic awesomness of Einstein's profound E = mc2, which basically encompasses the entirety of existance. Energy, matter and light are interrelated and infuse in some way or another everything in existance.

My wonderment went to this question; do you suppose that simple equation is analagous to the Trinity? Could "m" (matter) be equivalent to Jesus (God in human form), c (the speed of light) symbolic of God, even as He hinted, and E (energy) illustrative of the transcendent power of the Holy Spirit?

Just say'n, you know.

(2) Design versus Chaos:

Looking out through my car windshield, everything not natural was obviously designed. Everything. All designed for a purpose and a place. Things as simple as the curved slope of a concrete sidewalk to the atomic-level microchips controlling our metal steeds. All designed. And all designed by someone... a designer.

Leaving the macroscopic, even if complicated, the transition to the infinitessimal celluar and atomic structure of all things alive, design is intuitive. That is if we dare be politically incorrect enough to deviate from the evolutionary hypothesis. At the infinite level of stars and galaxies one might first assume total chaos. Yet in that which is massive beyond belief.:.. it works!

We could look up the names of those engineers who designed our favorite automobile or video game. And guess what, many of us know the Name of the One who is the ultimate designer. Don't believe me? You could look it up.

(3) Assumptions and Faith:

I've addressed this in other writings, but three bastions of scientific revolution based their entire theories on foundational, a-priori assumptions.

Neils Bohr: Stable electron orbits exist
Max Planck: Electromagnetic energy is quantized
Albert Einstein: The speed of light in free space is a constant

Do you get it? Each of them ASSUMED a beginning point from which they built their theories.

It intrigues, even irritates me, that science people live nicely with blatant assumptions but get mentally and emotionally bent out of shape when a Bible believer uses the concept of FAITH. I happen to be pretty much a literalist when it comes to Bible stuff, and the verse, "he who comes to God must ASSUME He exists."

I'm totally okay with that.


  1. It is interesting to think that many theories were based solely on assumptions. I guess there truly is no real difference between assumptions and faith. When we have faith in God and when we have faith that he will do great things in our lives we assume that he is real and we assume that he has the power to change our lives. I personally also believe that everything in our world was designed by God even the most chaotic things in our world have a purpose that was meaningfully crafted by God himself.

  2. Wow Professor Hitchcock, that was so good! What particularly stood out to me was your point that E=mc2 could be interchangeable with the Trinity. Without Einstein's equation, life wouldn't be what we know today. As Christians, we apply the same thinking to God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit; without Him, life would look so different and would have no meaning. Einstein's equation reveals that physical matter cannot be separated from light, and John 5:19 states, "Jesus gave them this answer: Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also." I would like to think that Jesus actually revealed that equation to Einstein. ;)

  3. Professor Hitchcock, I enjoyed reading your thoughts! I too, find myself lost in the thought-world when in the car. Some of my best revelations take place there.

    I love your response to everything in the world being interrelated! It is so easy to let each day pass by thinking that we are in this alone. However, just in one day we rely on so many different people and things.

    You commented on the fact that people will google just about anything they are curious about. It makes me wonder, how many of those searches are related to the Bible or God. We, as humans, thirst for knowledge. But it feels that this thirst stops when it comes to all things Christ (in secular worlds).

    Your thought on being able to see everything because of light and God being the light was amazing! I have never thought about it in that way. Thank you for the eye-opening thought.

    It will be interesting to "do life" now as I think about all the things that interrelate with each other. I think it will make me more thankful!

  4. Professor Hitchcock,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. You portrayed information in a new and different way in which I really liked reading about. I really enjoyed what you had to say about interrelationships and the trinity. The equation E=Mc2 was an intelligent way of presenting the trinity & I think truly explains how God has created so much intelligence beyond our imagination.

    What you had to say about design & challenging us to know the name of the designer of something that we really enjoy was inspiring.

    I think we often just live off of our own assumptions. But the example presented in your post about these scientists proposing their own assumptions about what they believe. It is crazy to think that they believe they can just say something they want to be true, but deny the real truth of God.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts that will allow me to look at things that interrelate with each other and it will challenge me to look at things differently.

  5. Professor Hitchcock,

    I think the most profound aspect about these thoughts is that they are "just your normal waiting in the parking lot thoughts". It's in some of the most mundane realities of our lives where we feel our relationship with Christ growing.

    Your assumption regarding E=MC^2 is a very compelling one. I love the creativity behind such a comparison between the trinity and a foundational physics equation. Because it is something that resonates with me extremely but also something that I had never thought of previously (even in the slightest).

    It seems as though our greatest "epiphanies" may seem underwhelming in our own heads but as soon as we put pen to paper (or hands to the keyboard) our abstract thoughts turn into clear realities. When you mention the assumptions of faith, I feel it is so ironic that scientific assumptions shouldn't coexist with faith assumptions.

    These words truly trigger an introspective state for me,
    Thank you for your thoughts professor

  6. Professor Hitchcock,

    I really enjoyed reading through your thoughts! the first thing that stood out to me was what you wrote about Design vs chaos. I have traveled the world and seen some of the most amazing sights with non believers and for the life of me I cannot wrap my head around their notion that there isn't an ultimate designer. I was even talking with a friend on the beaches of Portugal who said that they believe that God designed it but that God has bigger things to worry about than her life. That also astounds me because human life is a part of creation and can be more complicated and important.

    1. I have the same reaction to this part. I've traveled a lot and seeing countries that have such intricate and beautiful designs that I never thought were possible. But right away I thought of looking at the idea of God and his design through aspects even of life. The design of the human body and the level of complication attempt to create a human being is almost unfathomable. To see that God has plans for even the smallest animals to the design of the world is pretty cool.

  7. Professor Hitchcock,

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts on serendipity and epiphany. I connected particularily with your thoughts on examples of the trinity being everywhere. I often look at things like movies and television shows and connect them with that as well. One example of this in Harry Potter. While this might not be a great example of a Christian concept, there is a special meaning behind the three gifts given to the three brothers in the last movie. I always looked at those gifts working together in a unique way but also being capable of worth on their own. It's interesting to look at the trinity in different ways than most people would.

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  9. Professor Hitchcock,

    I agree that interrelationships are the foundation of all life and we can see connections to all relationships. It is truly profound to see how we are all interconnected and rely on each other, whether it be a big or small ways. Even looking at the holy Trinity and how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are united in one is a beautiful symbol of an interrelationship that relies on each other in a significant and supportive way.

    The design of everything in life is always a fascinating topic to ponder. The intricacies of everyday life is so intimate that it makes me think that there has to be a creator and that all of this did not just pop up out of thin air. There is a balance between all creation and that comes into play due to the incredible design of the universe.

    The topic of assumptions is always interesting since, like you mentioned, some people will make assumptions in order to believe in something but then criticize others on their leaps of faith. I think any amount of beliefs, whether scientific or spiritual, will make someone have assumptions about certain things, but those bits of faith are what make us human and cause us to go beyond ourselves in order to make sense of life.

  10. Something that always stuns me is the design of our world. To believe that there could simply be design or creation with no designer/ creator is absolutely ignorant. One of my favorite things to do is drive up the mountain, park my car, and just walk around, absorbing all that surrounds me. I can physically feel the presence of God when I'm standing alone, in silence, in the midst of His creation.

    I love what you said about e=mc2 being a symbol for the trinity. God works in mysterious ways, and everything that makes up our existence is God-breathed. I also love what you said about nonbelievers/ scientists who get all bent out of shape about faith. It's no less absurd of an idea that Jesus is the son of God than the idea that the sun is in the center of the solar system. At that time, no one knew the truth due to the lack of technology. As with faith, no one is around from that time to tell us the truth, nor can we send God an email inquiring. No matter what the concept, we rely on faith. People get nervous because faith in Christ is a blind faith, but there's a quote I heard a while ago that has always stuck with me-- wouldn't you rather reach the end having believed in God and find out there is no God, than to live your life as if there is no God only to find out there is? Like YEAH! I wish everyone could see from that perspective.

  11. Hi Professor Hitchcock!
    I loved what you said about everything being related. I once led a small group of junior high girls at a winter camp. During discussion I told them that I didn’t believe in coincidences. They asked me what I meant and I told them that God orchestrates every single thing for his purpose. It’s no coincidence that the same Bible verse keeps popping up in your life, God wants you to learn from it. It’s no coincidence that you keep running into the same person in the grocery store, God wants you to fellowship with him. It’s no coincidence that you and a stranger ordered the same drink at Starbucks, God wants you to talk to her. God even wanted to teach you something in the silence of sitting and waiting in the parking lot, Professor. The rest of the camp my girls went around saying, “There are no coincidences, only God-incidences!” I love looking back and recognizing the ways God has been working in people’s lives. This is the main way I see him move in my life.

    1. Wow, Jordyn! Great observation and thoughts! I also believe in the idea that there is no such thing as coincidences and I think that is why I resonated so much with the section on design.

      Everything on this earth has been created by something, and there are even secondary and tertiary creations that all, in some way, come from the Creator. What a wonderful thought, that God has set everything in this Universe in motion for our delight that we might bring Him glory!

      Thank you for sharing your musings Professor, and for your thoughts, Jordyn. I love getting to see how personally involved God is in our everyday lives!

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  13. I have always found it interesting how the trinity, and the characteristics of God are reflected in his creation, and also the creations of humans. If you think about most things that are useful in our world most of them are dependent on a creator in order to work properly. Where would the iphone be without Steve Jobs? Where would the car be without Henry Ford? Throughout the earth there is so much complexity in how ecosystems work, and how different natural processes work, that for me it is impossible to look at it all and say that it just came to be one day. I think God created us to be creators of things ourselves and I think his plan was for us to recognize that the ability to create things is a gift that was given to us by our own creator, so that we could use it as a means to point people towards him.

  14. Professor Hitchcock,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your parking lot ponderings. The point that especially stood out to me was your point about assumptions and faith. I had never really thought about the fact that science and faith are both based off of assumptions, but it is so true! Scientists are so quick to try and argue that what they know has been proven to be true, but it is really just theory based off of assumptions. So if they can assume things to be true of the world, why can they not assume things to be true of God? This is kind of frustrating to me because I feel like Christians are looked down upon by scientists because what they believe is not quantifiable or able to be scientifically proven. But now I am realizing there is really nothing that is scientific fact as pretty much everything we know is based off of assumptions.

  15. Professor Hitchcock,

    Your thoughts were so interesting to read. The part that spoke to me the most was how you compared the physics of the simple yet complex equation of e=mc^2 to the beauty and complexity of the trinity. How because Jesus become matter it created the Holy Spirit to be present everywhere. It is cool to put an equation behind that crazy spiritual moment that happened with the ripping of the curtain.

    This also reminded me of a thought I heard from one my professors in high school. It is based off evolution, but when you talked about the car it made me remember this. How if you tear a car completely apart and put it on a sheet and begin to toss the sheet in the air--how eventually the car will put itself together again and start on its on based on the evolutionary theory. But how could science EVER prove that? Therefore, many scientists viewpoints are based purely on faith as well.

  16. Professor Hitchcock,
    I loved the point you made, saying: "Just about everything I observe has an academic study created around it. From rocks to ripples in the lawn sprinkler puddle. From birds to the aerodynamics of flight, we write textbooks or Wikipedia posts to learn more about almost everything."
    I see that too. I like the idea that we learn from what God created, seeing things in such a nuanced way that they can be recreated by man. We all take turns playing God when creating, experimenting, and advancing technologically. Our creation is inspired by divine creation, which I find to be inspiring. We take what we know and were given and roll with it, making it more specific to meet our desires.

  17. Professor Hitchcock,

    I agree with you on the assumptions and faith portion! I, too, find myself thinking about the fact that people get so bent out of shape when we talk about how we have faith in God even though we cannot physically see him, when in fact a lot of things in life are that way. I think a lot of it has to do with pride. These scientists take pride in their findings, and of course they are okay with having assumptions because they created those assumptions. I think it is hard for a lot of people to let go of what they cannot fully comprehend, and put full trust into something they cannot see, especially the almighty God. I think it may be easier for them to create their science around certain assumptions, because their theory will make sense based on those assumptions. They get something out of it. Maybe they think they do not get something out of basing their life around the assumption there is a God. However, I do not see it as an assumption. Yes, I do think we definitely need faith to be believers, but I also believe there is a lot of evidence God exists.

  18. Professor Hitchcock,

    I really enjoyed reading your post and what you had to say regarding these three concepts. The one that really stood out to me and caused me to think differently was the first concept, interrelationships and the Trinity. I had never put much thought into the relationship of everything and how it fits together. I liked what you said about living things and nonliving things coexist in almost symbiotic relationship. Comparing the fact that we see everything because of the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum called “light” to “God is light” really opened my mind. I thin the way you used the equation E-mc2 to represent the Trinity was so pretty perfect and something I would have never thought of. But now that you mentioned it I think it is an accurate representation and a really interesting way to view the Trinity.

  19. I think it's so important to look deeper into the concept behind things, even in little moments like sitting in a parking lot. The concept of design versus chaos really stuck out to me and is something that I think about often. Even though material items were created, ulitmately those creators were designed and intricately knit by a larger Creator. This same Creator gave us the ocean, mountains, nature, our own bodies. That blows my mind. When I look out especially onto vast mountain ranges I wonder how the same Creator who built those, also created me. It's an emotional and empowering feeling but it also calls a high responsibility onto our lives that I feel I need to live out. Thank you for you words and for making us process and think out side the box as usual!

  20. Professor Hitchcock,
    Normally when reading post from other professors, I get lost in their thoughts and get confused on what they are trying to exactly say. Having your points numbered out and kept to the point made it so easy for me to follow. I love your point about E=MC2. I was brought up in a Christian family where I was taught you can relate everything back to God. While learning science and math (in general) it is easy to forget that you can relate it back to God besides thinking 'oh yeah, he created it'. You point about assumptions also resonates with me. I don't understand how people are able to think that everything was created at random, nobody questions how a phone was created or how a tree was planted, we know someone created or planted it. Why is it then so hard to believe that God created the world for a purpose?

    1. Hi Morgan! I agree, a post like this which simplifies the main points is so helpful. I, unlike you, have not grown up relating everything back to God and this post was such a cool reminder, as the entire class was. Thinking through the truth that God created math and science and our ability to understand it is cool. I would like to attempt to think through why or how people believe the world and what makes it up is random. I think that it many ways it is easier to just say it's random. It is easy to say "I don't know the answer and there probably is not one" and just move on with our lives. Once we admit or recognize there is something bigger at play, God, it becomes quite convicting. Once we admit God is responsible for the world, creation, and our own lives - we have no choice but to believe it all. This idea roots from the CC Lewis quote, "Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. " We either have to say its all wrong, or believe all of it. It's a huge deal deal to admit God is real and responsible for creation, a truth that is heavy and also amazing and wonderful to believers.

  21. Professor Hitchcock,
    It is interesting how we all live life every single day. Many of us have sat in our car in a parking lot and stared out the window. It was interesting to see your own thoughts as you did something so ordinary.
    I learned in Biology class that even people who have never heard about God can see Him through his creation. This makes me question how people could think He does not exist when they look at the world, and when they see that this world is so small in comparison to the entire universe that we are a part of. How can people think that this beautiful and perfect creation came from nothing? I am not a big fan of video games but one of the video games I have played a long time is the Sims. I did not know who created it, I just assumed someone created it. It is interesting how anything materialistic is assumed to have been created by a person, yet when it comes to the earth itself and all the living and nonliving things that make up the world, we do not think there was a creator?

  22. Professor Hitchcock,
    I as well have found myself in similar situations where I look at my surroundings and my thoughts drift me to thinking about the intricate world that God so intentionally pieced together. I think your thoughts on E= Mc2 are so interesting on how you fund a correlation to the trinity. Isn't it fascinating when we start to associate common day findings (maybe E=Mc2 is not too common for everybody) and start to see them through a Christian lens. I had to do an article for one of my other classes about how modern American Evangelicals have neglected to exercise the Christian mind in all areas of life. If we approach science with a Christian perspective, we can influence the way others perceive Christianity as well.

    It is so intriguing to hear about your thoughts on science and how you frame it. Thank you for challenging us to see God's hand in every area of our world.

    1. This post is written by Julie Poladian. It for some reason will not sign into my Google account.