Good Heavens!  The Human Side of Astronomy
Our Special Place in the Cosmos

Our Special Place in the Cosmos

November 26, 2022

If contemporary astrophysics and cosmology has demonstrated anything conclusively about the nature of our universe it is 
 (1) We have a very special and unique place here on earth to observe and learn more about the universe and 
 (2) It requires intelligent agents to create even the simplest models of our universe or other theoretical universes. 

In short, despite what popularizers of science tell us, we are indeed significant in the cosmos and there is an intelligent being behind and beyond the cosmos.  As Christians, we know that the Creator of the cosmos Himself came down to us in the Person of His Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. All things came into being through Him, but sinful humanity did not recognize or know Him. 

Can man invent a universe and live in it? Can we live as though our lives are really insignificant? The simple answer to both questions is no. 

On this episode of Good Heavens! Wayne and Dan discuss two basic problems with modern cosmology: 
 (1) Creating theoretical universes and 
 (2) Declaring human beings to be cosmically insignificant. 

Some thoughtful resources to strengthen and encourage you on these topics. 

A new video by Dan called "Fine Tuning is Dangerous"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqdvgQ2mrpk

Dan's interview with Steven C. Meyer, author of The Return of the God Hypothesis (Two Parts). 
https://goodheavens.podbean.com/e/return-of-the-god-hypothesis-part-1-with-stephen-c-meyer/
https://goodheavens.podbean.com/e/return-of-the-god-hypothesis-part-2-with-stephen-c-meyer/

Dan's interview with Dr. Luke Barnes, coauthor of A Fortunate Universe
https://goodheavens.podbean.com/e/a-conversation-with-dr-luke-barnes/

Book: Cosmology without God?
https://www.amazon.com/Cosmology-Without-God-Problematic-Theology/dp/1532636849/

James Walker's interview with former high-ranking scientologist Mike Render (Two Parts)
https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/jwalker55293/episodes/2022-11-06T23_00_00-08_00
https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/jwalker55293/episodes/2022-11-13T23_00_00-08_00

Original presentation from Dr. Sean Carroll, "God is not a Good Theory"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ew_cNONhhKI

 

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

The Biblical Book of Job - Part 2

The Biblical Book of Job - Part 2

November 4, 2022

The book of Job in the Old Testament tells of a prosperous man who was very good who lost much of what he owned and had 10 children die in one day.  Then he was struck with a terrible illness.  The book includes lengthy discussions between Job and his friends and tells of the gnawing questions and frustration Job experienced.  Job also contains the longest quoted passage of God speaking in the Bible, which ranges from high to low in creation.   

How does the beauty and majesty of the heavens and of creation fit in with our sorrows, doubts, and suffering? What were Behemoth and Leviathan? Wayne and Dan continue exploring the wisdom and wonders of the book of Job. May it be a blessing and encouragement to you. 

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

The Biblical Book of Job - Part 1

The Biblical Book of Job - Part 1

October 27, 2022

The book of Job in the Old Testament tells of a prosperous man who was very good who lost much of what he owned and had 10 children die in one day.  Then he was struck with a terrible illness.  The book includes lengthy discussions between Job and his friends and tells of the gnawing questions and frustration Job experienced.  Job also contains the longest quoted passage of God speaking in the Bible, which ranges from high to low in creation.  Was Job a real person?  What was God's answer to Job?  What did his friends think of Job in his suffering? 

How does the beauty and majesty of the heavens and of creation fit in with our sorrows, doubts, and suffering? While Wayne and Dan certainly don't propose to have all the answers, in this episode and in part two, they wrestle with the message of the Book of Job in hopes it can be an encouragement to you. 

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

See Jupiter and Meteor Showers Soon!

See Jupiter and Meteor Showers Soon!

September 24, 2022

A short episode about seeing Jupiter this Monday, September 26th and a little background about meteor showers you can see this fall and how you can enjoy these declarations of God's glory. 

Meteor Shower Schedule Fall 2022 

Image of Jupiter is from the James Webb Space Telescope (NASA/ESA/CSA). 

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

Hrum Hoom! Treebeard and a Telescope

Hrum Hoom! Treebeard and a Telescope

September 5, 2022

The "science" of the universe is daunting for most of us, in fact, quite literally in not a few ways, it's "over our heads"! 

Recently, the new James Webb Space Telescope has revealed some pretty spectacular never-before-seen vistas of some of the deepest regions of the universe. On this episode Wayne and Dan try to break some of it down and how we think it points to the glory of God. 

A careful reading of Scripture leaves one with the impression that God intended that everyone not only know about the cosmos, but that He created it for His glory. 

Big science spends billions of dollars annually to gaze more intently upon the resplendent handiwork of God, but increasingly make little or no mention of God when discoursing about the laws, mechanics, and elements of the universe. 

It's something akin to going to an art museum and looking past the beauty and symmetry of the art itself and instead focus more intently on what the painting or sculpture is made of. Knowing, for example, what elements comprise the paint in Van Gogh's Starry Night or what from what sort of stone Michelangelo's David is made tells us nothing about why Starry Night or David exists in the first place. What are those things? 

They are the handiwork and intimate expressions of the artists.

The heavens is no less an expression of God's glory. In the beginning, it was Jesus as the Master Craftsman, creating the cosmos (Gen. 1-2, John 1, Prov. 8; Col. 1; Heb. 1). . 

So what does Treebeard (maybe you're asking who or what is Treebeard?) have to do with the James Webb Space Telescope? You'll have to listen to find out! 

We here at Good Heavens! try to show you the human side of astronomy and how we as believers can revel in the wonders of the heavens and how that can encourage and strengthen our faith. We try to talk about the big science in understandable and accessible ways and offer some thoughts about how what is "above our heads" can be translated for our encouragement here on earth. 

We hope this special episode will encourage you. 

Here is a link to Wayne's accompanying article for this episode. https://creationanswers.net/answersblog/2022/08/25/images-from-the-james-webb-space-telescope/

Below are links to three scientific papers about the new James Webb Telescope images:

Mysterious red galaxies
https://arxiv.org/pdf/2208.00132.pdf

'Normal' looking galaxies less than 250 million years before the Big Bang?
https://arxiv.org/pdf/2208.00986.pdf

"Panic! At the Disks . . ." On distant galaxy shapes
https://arxiv.org/pdf/2207.09428.pdf

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

God of the Big Bang - Part 3 with Dr. Leslie Wickman

God of the Big Bang - Part 3 with Dr. Leslie Wickman

August 29, 2022

When we see a math problem in a text book or on a chalk or dry-erase board, we assume (quite rightly) it was written there by an intelligent agent. But when physicists discover the universe to be filled with mathematical laws, the implications are not a little disquieting, especially if one does not believe God exists. 

If God does not exist, from where do these laws come? Why is the universe intelligible? Why do our mathematics work so efficiently and elegantly in describing the universe? 

Modern science has few answers. But since we have only ever observed mathematics and laws emanating from intelligent agents, it is abductively reasonable to conclude that such laws and numbers of the cosmos ultimately originate from the mind of an intelligent Creator. And this is precisely what Scripture has been telling us for millennia. God's invisible attributes are clearly seen throughout the universe, so that we are all without excuse. 

On our final installment of our series with Christian and astrophysicist Dr. Leslie Wickman, we delve into the wonders of the laws of physics and talk a little about how important it is for us, believer or skeptic, to get ourselves out of the way and adopt a posture of epistemic humility when talking about things that are quite literally "above our heads"! So come and see! 

From Leslie's page at Azusa Pacific: 

Leslie Wickman is a research scientist, engineering consultant, author, and inspirational speaker. For more than a decade, Wickman was an engineer for Lockheed Martin, where she worked on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station Programs, receiving commendations from NASA for her contributions and being designated as Lockheed’s Corporate Astronomer

Leslie's Book God of the Big Bang 

Leslie's original article featured on CNN. 

Watchman Fellowship's Atheist and Christian Book Club. Join us this coming October as we further discuss God of the Big Bang with Leslie live!

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

 
 
 
God of the Big Bang - Part 2 with Dr. Leslie Wickman

God of the Big Bang - Part 2 with Dr. Leslie Wickman

August 22, 2022

"Everything that begins to exist has a cause." 

So begins the classical argument for God's existence known as the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Contemporary sciences of the heavens have, at least for the time being, confirmed that the universe we currently inhabit did indeed have a beginning. 

But what caused our universe to come into existence? The secular literature on the origin of the universe mentions God only in passing, or often merely to claim that theists are arguing about a god of the gaps. But if God did not create the cosmos, what did? When you read through the contemporary theories, they start to sound not a little like "invisible attributes" of God. Whatever created the universe in a naturalistic worldview has to be powerful beyond description, employing laws of physics heretofore unknown to man (as the current laws known by scientists 'break down' at the beginning), beyond space, beyond time, not made of anything physical or material, and either infinite or eternal. 

On part two of our discussion with Christian and astrophysicist Dr. Leslie Wickman, Dan explores some of these questions in more detail. Whatever you may think of the Big Bang, it certainly can be a point of discussion upon which you can build a conversation with your skeptic or atheist friends.  

From Leslie's website at Azusa Pacific.  

Leslie Wickman is a research scientist, engineering consultant, author, and inspirational speaker. For more than a decade, Wickman was an engineer for Lockheed Martin, where she worked on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station Programs, receiving commendations from NASA for her contributions and being designated as Lockheed’s Corporate astronomer.

Leslie's Book God of the Big Bang 

Leslie's original article featured on CNN. 

Watchman Fellowship's Atheist and Christian Book Club. Join us this coming October as we further discuss God of the Big Bang with Leslie live!

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

’God of the Big Bang’ Part 1 with Dr. Leslie Wickman

’God of the Big Bang’ Part 1 with Dr. Leslie Wickman

August 15, 2022

The Bible describes Jesus as "the Lion of the tribe of Judah." God asked Job if he can hunt the prey for the lion, suggesting that it is God Himself who does the "hunting." And in the Gospels, Jesus calls His disciples to "come" as He will teach them to be "fishers of men." 

Our God is a Hunter and a Fisherman. C.S. Lewis described Jesus as the "Hound of Heaven" who unrelentingly came after the skeptical literary scholar over the course of many years. 

And in Lewis' beloved classic The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Lewis created the character of Aslan the Lion, a "suppositional" representation of Jesus in another world. In Narnia, the Beavers tell the children that Aslan isn't "safe but he's good." 

Indeed God does not guarantee our personal and physical safety in this world, but He is good and bids us to trust Him no matter our circumstances. 

Both Jesus and His creation are in many ways "not safe" but they are good; good beyond what we can finally comprehend. As Joseph says to his brothers maltreatment of him that eventually enigmatically lead to Joseph being second in command over the Egyptian empire, "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." 

On the next three episodes of Good Heavens! Dan speaks with Christian and astrophysicist Dr. Leslie Wickman about her faith and how she sees God in the finely-tuned details of God's universe. 

It is our aim at Good Heavens! to find common ground among all believers in relation to our faith in Christ and what contemporary science tells us about creation. We believe there are things to learn from a wide variety of different perspectives. We try to present thoughtful and faithful believers presenting their different points of view that will hopefully encourage you to seek out these issues more deeply for yourself.  

From Leslie's page at Azusa Pacific:  

Leslie Wickman is a research scientist, engineering consultant, author, and inspirational speaker. For more than a decade, Wickman was an engineer for Lockheed Martin, where she worked on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station Programs, receiving commendations from NASA for her contributions and being designated as Lockheed’s Corporate Astronaut

Leslie's Book God of the Big Bang 

Leslie's original article featured on CNN.  

Watchman Fellowship's Atheist and Christian Book Club. Join us this coming October as we further discuss God of the Big Bang with Leslie live!

 

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

Evolution and Alien Life (Part 2)

Evolution and Alien Life (Part 2)

July 25, 2022

While the search for extraterrestrial intelligence outside of our planet and solar system has not turned up a single bit of evidence, since the mid 20th century, there has been an increasing number of people claiming to have been abducted by aliens. Are these abduction stories just the byproduct of watching too many science fiction shows? Is there life out there in the cosmos, intelligent aliens who have figured out interstellar travel and have come to Earth to abduct people? Are alien abduction stories just fantastical tales told by individuals simply seeking attention or is there really something to them? 

Is the idea of alien life, especially intelligent alien life, really science or just science fiction?

Whether it is Darwin's theory of evolution and natural selection, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or a terrifying encounter with alien beings in one's bedroom late at night, one thing is clear, there is an inherent opposition to God in all of it, even open doorways to the demonic realm and the occult. 

Here on part two Wayne and Dan discuss the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and the nature of alien abduction stories. 

Check out our other episodes on extraterrestrials, comet abiogenesis, UFO's, and ancient aliens.

Watchman Fellowship Profiles on Alien Cults:

Heaven's Gate
https://www.watchman.org/profiles/pdf/heavensgateprofile.pdf

The Raelians
https://www.watchman.org/profiles/pdf/raelianprofile.pdf

Articles from UFO researcher Gary Bates
https://creation.com/did-god-create-life-on-other-planets

https://creation.com/et-needed-evolution

Wayne's Review of Gary Bates' book Alien Intrusion
https://creationanswers.net/answersblog/2012/08/11/the-alien-deception/

Our very talented narrator (and singer) Annemarie Smuts from South Africa:
https://annismuts.wixsite.com/listen2ava

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

Evolution and Alien Life (Part 1)

Evolution and Alien Life (Part 1)

July 18, 2022

We have all probably wondered at some point if there is life in the universe outside of Earth. Our ability to land probes on distant worlds and send satellites outside our solar system, coupled with the over 5,000 exoplanets discovered since the early 2000s have inspired scientists to speculate more seriously about the possibility of extraterrestrial life. 

But even more fundamental than space probes, satellites and exoplanets in influencing many to consider the existence of life elsewhere in the cosmos is Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and natural selection in addition to the speculative field of abiogenesis (the study of the origin of life). If life arose and developed "naturally" here on Earth, apart from God creating life, then it is claimed, it seems reasonable to conclude, given the vastness of the cosmos itself, that life may have spontaneously arisen on many other planets. 

But is the idea of alien life, especially intelligent alien life, really science or just science fiction? 

Here on part one Wayne and Dan discuss some of the characteristics of what is known as a planetary habitable zone as well as how Darwin's evolutionary ideas have inspired science's quest to find extraterrestrial life. 

Check out our other episodes on extraterrestrials, comet abiogenesis, UFO's, and ancient aliens.


Watchman Fellowship Profiles on Alien Cults:

Heaven's Gate

https://www.watchman.org/profiles/pdf/heavensgateprofile.pdf

The Raelians

https://www.watchman.org/profiles/pdf/raelianprofile.pdf

Articles from UFO researcher Gary Bates

https://creation.com/did-god-create-life-on-other-planets

https://creation.com/et-needed-evolution

Wayne's Review of Gary Bates' book Alien Intrusion

https://creationanswers.net/answersblog/2012/08/11/the-alien-deception/

Our very talented narrator (and singer) Annemarie Smuts from South Africa:

https://annismuts.wixsite.com/listen2ava

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

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