3 Posts from My Friends

Robert Letham points out that it is rather ironic that it was a council (Vatican I, 1870) that declared the doctrine of papal infallibility. Given the historic tensions between councils and popes, it’s a little curious in itself. But as one commentator put it, “the Pope needed a council to pronounce infallibly that he never needed it!”

Given that the Trinity is incomprehensible, there are limits to our understanding, and I regularly have students ask how far they should go.  That has always struck me as an odd question.  Incomprehensibility is not a reason to stop exploring and meditating, but the opposite.

Because God is incomprehensible, He fascinates, and whatever fascinates draws us forward, draws us ever beyond the limits we thought were there.

The Deification of Time : The Start of All Time : + The Ignored Retraction

However improbable we regard this event, or any of the steps which it involves, given enough time it will almost certainly happen at least once. And for life as we know it…once may be enough.
Time is in fact the hero of the plot. The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time the “impossible” becomes the possible, the possible probable, and the probably virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles.

–George Wald, “The Origin of Life”, Scientific American, August 1954

In response:

Although stimulating, this article probably represents one of the very few times in his professional life when Wald has been wrong. Examine his main thesis and see. Can we really form a biological cell by waiting for chance combinations of organic compounds? Harold Morowitz, in his book Energy Flow and Biology, computed that merely to create a bacterium would require more time than the Universe might ever see if chance combinations of its molecules were the only driving force.

–C. Folsome, “Life: Origin and Evolution, Scientific American Special Publication, 1979