Weekly Bible Devotional
“Finding God in the Waves: Einstein’s God”
August 21, 2022
Scripture: Romans 11:33-36
33 O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways!
34 ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counsellor?’
35 ‘Or who has given a gift to him,
to receive a gift in return?’
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory for ever. Amen.
Notes on the Text:
In writing this letter to the followers of Jesus in Rome, the Apostle Paul was trying to deal with the root causes of the problems in their midst which would have required their old worldviews be changed. Even though the Apostle Paul had never visited the church in Rome, he felt an obligation to write to them because he had heard about their internal conflicts. Earlier on, the Emperor Claudius expelled most of the Jews out of Rome including the Jews who were followers of Jesus. After his death, the Jews were permitted to return to Rome. The problem arose when the Gentile Christians did not want to share leadership with their Jewish Christian brothers and sisters. They also had disagreements about the type of foods they should eat. Many of the Gentile Christians believed that they had replaced the Jewish people in terms of their covenant relationship with God. They thought that the coming of Christ had replaced all the events of the past from Torah to covenant (Unfortunately replacement theories are not new!!!). Jesus, in their view, had replaced the teachings of Moses and the prophets. What was especially sad about this kind of theology was its clear prejudice against the Jews which was so closely aligned with the mentality of the Roman Empire. The Jews were seen as a threat in Rome because they refused to worship the emperor. They also refused the imperial cult which declared the emperor as the son of God and the savior of the world. They saw that kind of theology as a justification for the Roman systems of dominations and oppression. The Roman emperors had promoted an imperial theology that proclaimed divine approval and affirmation of their social and political structures. That is why Paul was reminding the followers of Jesus in Rome that their ultimate allegiance should be to God’s love in the world and not to any political or taxation system. The people of the church in Rome needed to change their mindsets and goals from the popular culture around them. They also needed to be reminded that faith evolves and changes. The ways of exclusion and “us” vs. “them” attitudes were being transformed and people needed to open their hearts to a new way. Paul even tackled a very tough issue, namely, the redemption of the Jews who refused the way of Jesus. He called on the followers of Jesus to trust in God’s redemption even when it contradicted what they had previously thought and believed.
This week I invite to consider the importance of staying open to new revelation for the health of our faith and our continual growth. New discoveries in science always expand people’s understanding of how the world works. The same is true of new revelations. They help us to grow in faith. Much like Einstein shattered the world of science with his relativity theory, we have to remember that new revelations are always possible. For two centuries, common sense saw Newton’s gravity as the norm. But Einstein got new insights that challenged the old models. What is interesting today is that scientists are continuing to work on this, and the discovery of Black Holes is changing our understanding of the laws of physics in the universe. We can learn from the world of science the importance of always being open to new ways.
The words of Paul according to Romans 11:33-36 are powerful reminders for us that faith is about trusting God to guide us beyond where we are today to become more loving. Staying open to new revelations and wisdom is essential for our journey of faith to continue to grow in our love. Our world is always in need of God’s higher wisdom. God is speaking to us today through the incredible discoveries in science about the origins and patterns of the universe. Are we willing to grow with it? Are we willing to let go of the old patterns and the dualistic language that goes with it?
We are invited to be inspired by the words of Paul and to follow in the footsteps of our ancestor in faith by learning to stay open and allowing God’s mystery to continue to help us grow and trust. Science and its new discoveries can become doorways to greater connection to God’s world. The Apostle Paul gives us permission and encouragement to continue to evolve by recognizing that our knowledge is always limited and yet our relationship with God is always evolving. Instead of getting lured to believe in replacement theories and thinking that we have a monopoly on the truth, we are invited to stay open to allow God to expand our horizons and ways of love.
“A Prayer for Openness” by Joyce Rupp:
1. Touch your fingertips to your forehead, saying:
Open my mind to remember your presence.
2. Touch your fingertips to your mouth, saying:
Open my mouth to speak your wisdom.
3. Touch your fingertips to your heart, saying:
Open my heart to extend your love.
4. Hold both hands out, open, palms up, saying:
Open my hands to serve you generously.
5. Holding arms wide open, saying:
Open my whole being to you.
Make a deep bow to the loving presence in you.
We welcome you, Door to the Sacred.
You stand at the door of our hearts and offer us the joy of your constant companionship. . . We welcome you, Door to the Sacred.
You stand at the door of our heart and offer us merciful forgiveness for our failings. . . We welcome you, Door to the Sacred.
You stand at the door of our heart and offer us the ability to welcome more of our authentic self. . . We welcome you, Door to the Sacred.
You stand at the door of our heart and offer us inherent wisdom to guide our way. . . We welcome you, Door to the Sacred.
You stand at the door of our heart and offer us strength to walk with our struggles. . . We welcome you, Door to the Sacred.
You stand at the door of our heart and offer us unconditional love. . . We welcome you, Door to the Sacred.
You stand at the door of our heart and offer us the gift of mystery. . . We welcome you, Door to the Sacred.
You stand at the door of our heart and call us to go inward to the unknown and the unnamed, to seek our home in you. . . We welcome you, Door to the Sacred. Amen.