Friday, May 25, 2012

Light and Dark

I found a walking route that keeps me winding among shady roads for almost an hour. This is important because Charlotte is incredibly close to the sun right now. It must be. Something must have shifted because it was really hot yesterday. My winter walking routes have large stretches where no trees block the sun. This is important because I am part iguana, and find my body temperature doesn't seem to internally regulate well. So in the winter I sit on sunlit rocks and bask so that I am able to move again, and in the summer, I slither from one shady patch to another. It is actually an old walking route that I had forgotten about. I used to do it when we first moved here, in fact, I used to walk quite a bit further along that route. Oh what a difference twenty years make to your energy level!

The dogs are not eager to walk with me in this heat. They lie with melted bones dripping off the edge of the couch.
"Walk!?" I said in my cheeriest voice.
They both just squeezed their eyes more tightly together. I even snapped a leash on and tugged but they planted their feet against the cushions and groaned. They know when the sun is too brutal for man or beast. So I went alone, weaving between the patches of sun.

Light and dark. Isn't dark just the absence of light, as one man suggested to me to explain why he doesn't believe in the Devil. He said he thought of God as light, and all goodness. The darkness was the absence of God, and resulted in what we call evil. But he spoke of it as though that darkness was passive. Evil was not something that pursued and tried to haul us in, like the Biblical devil. Evil is just what resulted when God was not there. I agree in part. I do think evil results when God is not there, but I don't think it is a passive nonentity as my friend does. In reality, that symbol doesn't quite work. Light is certainly active, but my understanding from my years and years of *not* being a physicist is that darkness is NOT just a passive absence of light. A black hole, the most sinister dark spots of the universe absorbs all light that has the misfortune to approach it. At a frightening, soul-sucking pace, light, along with all nearby matter, gets sucked into its vortex, unable to escape. That to me is a better vision of the Devil.

Black Holes are terrifying. Trust me, you do NOT want to fall into a black hole. Below is an excerpt I copied from a NASA site about black holes:

"If you fall into a black hole, you’re doomed. Sure, once you fall in you can never get back out, but it turns out you’ll probably be dead before you get there.
The gravity you feel from an object gets stronger the closer you get. As you approach a stellar-mass black hole feet-first, the force of gravity on your feet can be thousands of times
stronger than the force on your head! This has the effect of stretching you, pulling you apart like taffy. Tongue-in-cheek, scientists call this “spaghettification.” By the time you reach the black hole,
you’ll be a thin stream of matter many miles long. It probably won’t hurt though: even falling from thousands of kilometers away, the entire gory episode will be over in a few milliseconds.
You may not even make it that far. Some black holes greedily gobble down matter, stealing it from an orbiting companion star or, in the case of supermassive black holes, from surrounding gas clouds. As
the matter falls in, it piles up into a disk just outside the hole. Orbiting at huge speeds, the matter in this accretion disk gets extremely hot—even reaching millions of degrees. It will spew out radiation, in par-
ticular high-energy X-rays. Long before the black hole could rip you apart you’d be fried by the light.
But suppose you somehow manage to survive the trip in. What strange things await you on your way down into forever?
Once you pass the point where the escape velocity is faster than light, you can’t get out. This region is called the event horizon. That’s because no information
from inside can escape, so any event inside is forever be-
yond our horizon.
If the black hole is rotating, chaos awaits you inside. It’s a maelstrom as infalling matter turns back on the incoming stream, crashing into you like water churning at the bottom of a waterfall. At the very core of the black hole the seething matter finally collapses all the way down to a point. When that happens, our math (and intuition) fail us. It’s as if the matter has disappeared from the Universe, but its mass is still there. At the singularity, space and time as we know them come
to an end."

Man, it that isn't as close a description of hell as we can conjure up in the known universe, I don't know what is. So, I disagree with my friend. Darkness is not just the passive absence of light. Darkness is an active destroyer of light at the macro level, and in my mind, the Heavens themselves warn us to avoid the darkness, in fact to flee from it.

1 Peter 5: 8-11
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

-save a dog-

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