Sheep and Wave-Particle Duality


Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. Kiss his Son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 2:10-12

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Genesis 1:1-3

The presence or absence of light seems pretty simplistic. With no conscious effort, we flip light switches on and off 24/7, as needed. But light is anything but simple. In fact, the nature of light has baffled the most brilliant scientists for decades. The conundrum lies in that light exhibits two seemingly different natures simultaneously. For lack of a single term to characterize it, light is said to have “wave-particle duality.” This means that light sometimes appears to behave like a propagating energy wave (with no mass). But then change the experimental set up, and as if on a whim, light taunts the watching and waiting investigators of the natural world by acting like a particulate. Particles typically have mass, but light does not. This paradox is vexing and perplexing enough that it can’t just be ignored. Terms that once seemed quite basic…”matter,” “energy,” “particle,” “wave”…now must be continually redefined to try to make sense of it. It’s kind of a big deal because the properties of light are key to understanding the cosmos. Every equation relating to general relativity (that I can remember from college physics, anyway) includes the constant “c,” which represents “the speed of light.” Yet at the beginning of the 21st century, we still lack illumination regarding exactly what this radical radiation is like. Fascinating though…in the ancient book of Genesis, even before the Sun could be seen in Earth’s sky (vs. 14-18), light already defined universal boundaries yet to be discovered.

And then, as I’ve mentioned before, there were creatures. And among them were sheep. Sheep do not know about the boundaries of the universe. It’s my understanding that they are not really that sure about how to find grass. This said, you may be insulted to learn that God often describes his followers as sheep. No one likes the idea of being helpless and dependent, even if they are. But when the frailty of the human condition becomes unavoidably apparent at a funeral, it is Psalm 23 that is commonly read to bring comfort. A psalm written from the perspective of a sheep, albeit a well-cared-for one. It is a well-known wellspring of words that flowed from the heart of God through David, a man who guided and protected the flock in his father’s pasture long before ruling the nation of Israel.

Admittedly, however, sheep do have one innate capability: voice recognition. Though spread out over wide expanses and mixed together with other herds, they know how to gather when they hear the distinct call of their Good Shepherd. In fact, a sheep might tell you that vision is overrated, for most threats come by night. Better to stay within earshot of the One with the staff that nudges strays, but whacks predators. Lots of animals can see in the daylight, but no matter what the commotion, only ovine ears accurately identify the specific voice signature that matters.

But beyond the typical sheep of the pasture, the Holy Scriptures are replete with references to the rather mysterious, other-worldly-sounding Lamb of God. The Lamb who opened not his mouth as he was led to the slaughter. Who died in submission to the will of the Father, though he had the authority to call upon legions of angels to rescue him. The Lamb who came to dwell among other sheep, but they knew him not. But this Lamb has yet another nature. You see, under the right conditions, he is quickly recognized as a Lion. Lambs may willingly submit to injustices, but lions take charge and call the shots. And this Lion sets things right, not with a wooden staff but with an iron scepter. (Psalm 2:9) You just can’t read the Bible for too long without coming to the conclusion that the Lamb of God who was slain is also the Lion of Judah who will reign.

How can two contrasting natures impossibly coexist? Herein lies the quandary of both theologians and physicists. Examination of unfolding changes in the space-time continuum are likely to elucidate these matters for both in short order.

Copyright © 2014. The Literate Lyoness.


Make your own tracks…Enjoy some retro reading from C.S Lewis’ “Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe”:

“Aslan is a lion–the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” 

And finally, just when you thought it was safe to listen to my music recommendations, take in some retro alternative rock tunes from AudioAdrenaline: “Mighty Good Leader” from Underdog, 1999.

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer

St. Patrick

The original cartoon for this contemporary icon of Saint Patrick was designed by Leona Phelps. Leona just turned 100 years old in January of this year, and I’m grateful to her for instilling in me an interest in the ancient icons of the Church. Click the image to read about the life and ministry of Saint Patrick.

There are many online resources that recount the perilous life of Saint Patrick and many versions of the Breastplate Prayer of Protection that bear his name. As he is the Patron Saint of Ireland, I thought it only proper to use this rendition from a Catholic site today.

Furthermore, I would encourage you to pray for the protection of those in the armed forces and law enforcement services who daily defend the freedoms of both nations and individuals, at great risk to themselves.

“I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.”

trackLeave your own tracks…For more modern protection praise, watch and listen to the very talented David Wesley perform “Whom Shall I Fear (The God of Angel Armies)” on YouTube. Like the Breastplate Prayer, the lyrics of this song capture the image of God’s protection on all sides.

Related scripture readings: Psalm 91 would probably be a closer match to the Breastplate Prayer, but I’m leaning toward Psalm 17 today.

The Triune Trifecta


Version of “Hospitality of Abraham” by Andrei Rublev. In Eastern Orthodoxy, the three angels represent the three “distinct and unconfused” persons of God that share a single eternal and divine essence. Click image for source info.

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31b) That’s some tough talk from the Apostle Paul. So who exactly is this God he is talking about, and what is he supposed to be doing for me? We don’t even need to leave the chapter to find out.

The Father has adopted us as beloved children and heirs. Keep in mind that if you are adopted, you were chosen. You were not taken in by chance or by accident. And for guilty sinners, it works out really well to be related to the Judge. Though he judges your misdeeds righteously, he has already arranged payment for all penalties you incur so that you can always stand legally justified. And he appoints Christ, the Lover of your Soul, to speak on your behalf when any accusations arise. (Romans 8:32-34) His arguments for you are so passionate and sweet that you are not only cleared of charges, but declared delightful as well.


Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all represented in this icon of the Baptism of Christ. Click here to learn more about the related Feast of Holy Theophany.
Click image for source info.

“My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine!
Now hear me while I pray, take all my guilt away,
O let me from this day be wholly Thine!”*

But though we look forward to a more permanent experience of the transcendent, we still must deal with the daily, and sometimes tragic, nature of our earthbound existence. You don’t have to live too long to learn that “life” is not the same as “Life.” And sheer existence can at times be unspeakably horrific. There are seasons that can beat us down in such a way that we not only lack answers, but we no longer have questions. But God does not break bruised reeds (Matthew 12:20), nor does he ask them to speak. Rather, he sends a Trauma Counselor to help us in our exhausted incoherance. “For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)

“While life’s dark maze I tread,
And griefs around me spread, be Thou my Guide;
Bid darkness turn to day, wipe sorrow’s tears away,
Nor let me ever stray from Thee aside.”*

According to Merriam-Webster, a trifecta is “a bet in which the person betting forecasts the first three finishers in a race in the correct order.” Three bets in one. According to Saint Paul, you can put your money (as well as your fleeting life and eternal soul) down on these Three. They are a trustworthy wager.

*Lyrics from “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” by Ray Palmer, 1830.

Copyright © 2014. The Literate Lyoness.

trackMake your own tracks…Carefully review all of Romans 8 to learn how this Triune Tag Team seamlessly integrates its activities to make both temporal and eternal provisions for Their own.

A Fair and Balanced Report on the Serpent: Part 2


Nehushtan was the Hebrew name given to the bronze serpent held up by Moses to bring healing.
Click the image for a better view.

Flip forward to the Book of Numbers, and we find snakes sneaking up on folks again. This time the entire nation of Israel is in transit, and frankly, in sin. So much sin that it’s about to come back and bite them. Literally. God sends snakes to bite them. It’s wholly unpleasant and the body count is rising. But then there is repentance, and a strange but efficacious cure is made available: look at the bronze snake on the pole and live. (Numbers 21:4-9)

I realize this is a very short snake story. Just a single paragraph in one of the least quoted books of the Bible. But as primitive and obscure as this story might seem, it foreshadows the most profound and fundamental of biblical messages. In fact, this earthly imagery prepares us for the overarching metanarrative of all Holy Scripture, and it reappears just prior to one of the most well known verses of all time:

John 3:14-17 (NIV)

14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Thousands of years later, God himself donned the skin of sinful mankind and was raised on a cross, the remedy for the malady of falleness and depravity for those who would see it. The cross was the pivot point upon which the redemption of all the world turned.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood, From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure; Save from wrath and make me pure.”

“Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die.”*

It now became evident that God had made a preemptive strike even before the foundation of the Earth. Though He had not created evil itself, He had created the potential for the inception of evil which stood before the world’s inhabitants in the form of a clearly visible tree with a clearly comprehensible commandment. For without at least one Law, there would have been no way to externalize what would fester within. And there could be no repentance without awareness of an infraction. (See Romans 5:12-21 for more detail.) Human beings would have then suffered the same eternal consequences of fallen angels with no recourse.

“Not the labor of my hands Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone.”*

Though mankind would indeed gain knowledge of both Good and Evil through their lost innocence, they would also potentially qualify for a benefits plan unavailable to fallen angels. A different system would be put in place this time — a system over which the more “angelic” angels would puzzle, yet rejoice. Indeed they would watch in wonder as the Holy One would reveal yet another facet of his character: that He was merciful and willing to suffer much to make his people aware of it. (Romans 11:32) For He who is incompletely comprehensible is likewise not completely incomprehensible. The glassy barrier now reflective, will one day become transparent. (I Corinthians 13:12)

So, don’t hold the whole Garden incident against the snakes in your backyard. God reclaimed and reframed this creature’s reputation by the fourth book of the Bible. At the same time, the Almighty not only crushed the true enemy’s head, but slapped him in the face as well. For ironically, Lucifer’s deceptive plot only served to advance God’s plan to enable men and women to become like Christ (1 John 3:2) — in a way, the very thing he falsely promised them in the beginning. How ’bout them apples?

*Lyrics from “Rock of Ages” by Au­gus­tus M. Top­la­dy, 1776.

Copyright © 2014. The Literate Lyoness.

trackMake your own tracks…Discuss what it means to be “shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves” as Jesus commanded his disciples in Matthew 10:16