Though science was never my strong suit (or study) in school, science fiction (and the astronomy that accompanied the spacey ends of sci-fi) was always of great interest. I even “collect” classic movies from the 50s including The Thing from another world (Matt Dillon of Gunsmoke version), Them (also starring Matt, aka James Arness before the cowboy hat), The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Deadly Mantis, The Giant Claw (cheesiest monster ever screened), and a few others. I even have a DVD wish list with a few more noted in case you ever want to buy me something.
Shifting gears…I remember the scientifically iron-clad, set-in-concrete, hard-and-fast, absolute statement that went something like “Matter can neither be created nor destroyed.” Before I rescind, rethink, and revisit this “absolute” theory…allow me to tie it to the fantasy. I’ve seen time and time again on both big and little screens matter being melted, powdered, atomized, and disintegrated. You may remember the ray that came from the robot’s faceplate in The Day the Earth Stood Still. Gor left a visible, if somewhat shadowy, pile of darkness behind when combating man or his weapons. Captain Kirk and crew, with phasers on full rather than set just to stun, seemed to vaporize what they hit as the opponent or rock turned to a sparkly nothingness. James Arness seemed to become simply a pile of cloth when caught in the mankind-saving arc of electricity near the North Pole. That reminded me of the fantasy (though not quite of the sci-fi genre) The Wizard of Oz which showed pure natural spring water by the bucketful melting a wicked witch into a heap of fabric – fortunately for memorabilia collectors, the broomstick survived (probably floated on the water molecules). Remember also that the lightsabers of Luke and papa Darth seemed to have the same effect on victims (when sliced, all that was left of Ben was his robe – though it is possible that Scotty beamed him “up” just before Vader’s saber cut into him) unlike the blasters which just left oozing holes of death. Some of these imaginary weapons seemed to destroy flesh and bone but not clothing. Other times there was “complete” disintegration. It depended on the script, the director’s whim, and the skill of the special effects guy (sorry for the gender stereotype).
Let us return for a moment, not to those “thrilling days of yesteryear” (apologies to the masked man and his Indian-friend Tonto – before that nomenclature for the latter became politically incorrect), but to the reality of the only time in all creation (pun intended) when the matter theory was violated. Early chapters of Genesis record that God created some things from nothing by merely speaking. Other times He chose to actually work with his hands to manufacture or place items. God spoke and light was (1:3); again He spoke and dry ground appeared (1:9); a third time He verbalized and vegetation and plants were everywhere (1:11).
Then there were the occasions on which the Creator seemed to want to actually “get His hands dirty” by not using full omniscience and omnipotence; rather, he chose to make “two great lights…and set them” in the sky (1:16-17). God’s greatest day’s work was when he “formed” man from dust and dirt (2:7). Then you might remember how he actually “planted” the garden (2:8) to create the Eden paradise for Adam and Eve (first surgical operation – rib transplanted for semi-cloning? Though she no doubt was lots better looking that her husband – 2:21-22).
It all reminds me of a statement from another course of study that I was never too fond of…mathematics. I remember hearing that if A = B then B = A. If we are made in His image and after His likeness, then not only are we like Him, but He is like us. Hmmm…
So, while we, made in God’s image and after His likeness, may wish at times to create something from nothing or by simply stating, “Let there be…” (You complete the wish.) we are limited to taking what He or His created have made available to us…we work from real matter to invent and construct. Only God can totally destroy matter…or create it from nothing.
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