Volume. XX, No. 52
Sunday, 25 June 2006

From the pastors heart: Beyond matter

Lifting a finger is easy. What is far more difficult is to understand how our brain senses that it has moved.  New Scientist magazine on February 8, 2006 (issue 2537, page 18) reported: “For over a century, scientists have struggled to understand which parts of the nervous system allow the body to sense its own position in space. Now Simon Gandevia of the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues have devised a technique which clearly demonstrates that the brain only has to send a command to a limb to create the sensation of movement. Their discovery goes some way to resolving the enigma of whether motor commands or receptors in the skin, joints and muscles are more important for creating a feeling of movement.” It is a breakthrough to understand the relationship between the brain and the movements of other parts of the body. Everything seems to be physical.  Likewise, scientists have tried to understand everything objectively. Science is often defined as “systemised knowledge derived through experimentation, observation, and study.” Man tries to see everything through the prism of science, which belongs to physics, dealing with matters. However, we must understand what the British physicist, James Jeans, said, “We each live our mental life in a prison-house from which there is no escape. . . It is our body; and its only communication with the outer world is through our sense organs - eyes, ears, etc.  These form windows through which we can look out on to the outer world and acquire knowledge of it.”  However, if, as K. C. Cole says, the windows are cloudy, veiled by expectations, distorted by frames of reference, disturbed by our very attempts to look, what will happen to our lives, values, worldviews, and perspectives?  

God is Spirit, the Bible says. Spirit is in the realm of metaphysics. God is invisible; therefore, He cannot be seen. He is not touchable. Thus, science claims that there is no God.  Is it truly so? Does science have authority to determine the existence of God? Is it really possible to give the supreme place to science? One of the definitions of spirit is that it is “a fundamental, emotional and activating principle determining one's character.”  How does physics define emotion and character? Is it possible to talk about character through microscopic examinations under the name of science? Traditionally, there are five senses known to us (see, smell, touch, hear, and taste). All of them are related to parts of organs in our body. They are in the physical and material realm. Nowadays, people are talking about the sixth sense, or the eighth sense, and more senses. Let me list a few of so called negative senses known to us: (1) sense of fear, (2) sense of nervousness, (3) sense of rejection, (4) sense of reluctance, (5) sense of procrastination, (6) sense of justification/rationale, (7) sense of doubt, (8) sense of uncertainty, (9) sense of doom, or (10) sense of not-so-good-luck. I am sure that there are some chemists who are trying to explain away all our emotions to disembodied dances with molecules. They will say that all our noble thoughts are nothing but neurotransmitters blinking messages to each other inside of our brains.

How can science define morality, ethics, honesty, dishonesty, righteousness, unrighteousness, sin, good and bad behaviour, values, and many value-related terms?  If this world is only of material element, then I dare to say that human society cannot exist in peace and tranquility. It is no wonder that Kant believed that the natural state of the world was war. If there is nothing beyond matter, then we do not have arts and creative performances. In 1968, Ray Williams and Michael Payne founded HIH Insurance. Eventually, in 1996, the company’s name became HIH Winterthur. It acquired lots of companies both in Australia and globally. Then, the company collapsed. The demise of HIH was the largest corporate failure in Australian history. HIH liquidators estimated that the company collapsed with losses totaling up to $5.3 billion. A Royal Commission was established and an inquiry was made.  Former HIH director, Rodney Adler, was sentenced on 14 April 2005, after pleading guilty to four criminal charges including two counts of disseminating information knowing it was false, one count of obtaining money by false or misleading statements, one count of being intentionally dishonest and failing to discharge his duties as a director in good faith and in the best interests of the company.  I am not going to elaborate what he had done through stock market manipulation and disseminating false information. What I am pondering is that how could so many people believe such lies for so long. So many accountants, investors, regulators, and business journalists were completely deceived by him and his colleagues. One thing is sure. Lies and placebos do work.  How could they work, if there is nothing but matter?

It is an amusing thought that even top scientists believe in more than matter.  In fact, some of them urge their fellow scientists to have dreams.  Most scientists are dreamers at some level. Former NASA chief Dan Gordin scolded particle physicists for forgetting how to dream: “If we don’t dare to dream, we won’t find anything.” He said that dreams are “how the most exciting science happens.” If a man is only of matter, there is no dream, and there is no discovery. There were some dreamers who dreamed to send a rover to Mars and satellites into space. Though their dreams materialised, they dreamed first.  It was the work of the mind before the work of physics.  

Let me quote from K. C. Coles again: “Take the stuff we call empty space, for example.  The vacuum is a major player today in physics. It has shape. It has properties. It can freeze or melt. It has a history, and physicists think it has changed significantly over time. And yet, by definition, it’s nothing. Not energy, not matter. Just stuff. And what about mind? Is it matter? Clearly, the brain is composed of matter in the form of neutron and the atoms and molecules that make them up.  But just as clearly, there is something more involved.  After all, every atom in the average body is replaced every half dozen years or so.  What, then, is a person?  What and where are thoughts and memories to be found?  A concept like mind - as opposed to the physical brain - cannot be described as energy or matter alone” (Mind over Matter, 77).  

There is something beyond matter.  I wonder if you know about it.  Why don’t we begin to read the Bible and to find out what it is?  You and I better not trust in something that will perish.  All matter will perish.  Then, who are you?

Lovingly, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 51: What is forbidden in the second commandment? The second commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his word.

Please pray for health & God’s healing: Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev David Koo, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dns Edwin D’Mello & Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Raphael Ng’s father, Winston Selvanayagam, Thomas Tan, & John Tann; Sisters Kimmy Chong, Nary Li, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Aranka Rejtoe, Sally Teng, Susan Veradi, & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei, Mrs Sylvia White and others afflicted with viral illness. "But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord think upon me : thou art my help and my deliverer” (Ps 40:17a).

Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions - Khmer pastors & believers; Khmer Bible students studying at FEBC (S’pore); b) Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam; c) Pastors & believers in India & Pakistan; d) Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim & ministry in S’pore/Malaysia; e) Journey mercies - Bro Gabriel & Sis Grace Lee (Perth), Mr Checkie Mah (Syd), Sisters Tracy Ho (Melb/Adl), Marion Chan (Adl), Catherine Teng (China/Adl), and those who are travelling this week; e) High school & university students preparing for mid-year exams; f) B-P ministers & Churches all over the world.

Praise and Thank God for – a) AFG, Wed & YAF Bible Study Meetings; b) Journey mercies - Ps Ki, Sisters Sooi Chin Gong & Lydia Tan (Adl), Marion Chan (Melb), & Serene Wong (UK, Europe), Mr Chee Chong (Sydney); c) Ministry of Ps Ki in Calvary Jurong B-P Church (S’pore); d) Working Bees - yesterday.

Special Prayer for candidates for Baptism next Lord’s Day: Sisters Hui Wei Chua & Tracy Ho.

Special Item of Prayer: For the LORD to provide $11,805 for Pastor’s car.

RPGs for July-Sept 2006 available on literature table. Donation: $1. Please see Sis Purdee Yeo for Children’s RPGs.

Greetings for our 20th Anniversary from Calvary Pandan B-P Church (S’pore).

Looking ahead: Ladies Fellowship - Pre-BBK classes conducted by Ps Ki will be held on Saturdays, 8 & 18 July, from 9:30am to 3:00 pm. All are welcome to attend. Crèche and lunch provided.

Looking Ahead: YAF Retreat at Camp Aldinga, 13-15 July. Camp Theme: “Jesus, Our Ultimate Example”. For more details, please contact YAF committee.

Looking Ahead: Vacation Bible School, 17-21 July. Speaker: Bro Hai Seng Lim. Theme: “Story of Esther”. Missionary Story: “Chariots of Fire”. Helpers needed - please contact Dn D’Mello.

Looking Ahead: ACM at 7:30 pm on Sat, 12 Aug. All members expected to attend. Annual reports to Dn Edwin D’Mello by 9 July. Funding requests to Church Treasurer, Dn Yaw Chiew, by 2 July.



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