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Physics According to a Religion Major

By May 28, 20083 Comments

If you ever go to my facebook page, you’ll find I belong to a group called, “I Picked a Major I Like, and One Day I Will Probably Be Living in a Box.” The name of this group about sums up my dad’s sentiments when I told him I had decided to major in Religion.

And not only did I major in Religion, but I deliberately avoided all the classes that would have equipped me for high paying jobs. I hate math and science with an intensity that is beyond compare, so I opted out of taking math altogether (so long econ and stats!), and I took the minimum requirement of science classes (no pre-med for me!).

And what science classes did I take? Well one of them is affectionately referred to as “Rocks for Jocks.” I sat on the same row as the entire Duke basketball team, and I got an A without so much as breaking a sweat. Not exactly Organic Chemistry.

My parents probably thought I was actively trying NOT to get a job when I graduated.

Now the reason I am giving you all of this information is that I am about to make a statement that is blatantly scientifically inaccurate. Any person who’s taken even basic high school Physics knows that this statement is false. But I’m making this statement as a Religion major, not a Physics major, so I wanted to preface my words with that disclaimer. Now here it is:

The speed of sound is faster than the speed of light.

I stumbled upon this statement in a book I’ve recently been reading, and I think it’s brilliant. From a scientific standpoint, it makes no sense at all, but read in another light, the light of faith, it is a telling description of the Christian experience.

The book I am reading is entitled “Nine Marks of a Healthy Church” by Mark Dever, and in this particular passage he is talking about the centrality of Scripture. He is explaining that all of God’s teachings and promises are found within the Bible, so we must labor to keep God’s Word at the center of our faith.

What, then, does he mean by the above statement? After all, anyone who’s ever sat through a thunderstorm knows that you see the lightening before you hear the thunder. Scientifically speaking, the speed of light is faster than the speed of sound.

But that’s not what Dever was talking about. He was instead referring to a different kind of sound and light: the hearing of God’s promises (sound), and the witnessing of their fulfillment (light).

You see, God makes a lot of promises in the Bible, but it often takes awhile for us to see them. That is to say, we hear God’s promises before we see them come to pass. So according to God’s chronology, the speed of sound is oftentimes faster than the speed of light.

And we see this principle all throughout Scripture. God promises to make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, but he and Sarah are old in age before they have their first child. God promises the Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey, but it is decades before they get to see it. And God promises the Israelites a Messiah, but is is hundreds of years before Jesus enters the seen. And even then, he is not at all what they imagined.

Having said that, I want to encourage you with this reminder: Wherever you are in life right now, if you feel as though God has forgotten you, or nothing seems to be going right, remember that the speed of sound is faster than the speed of light. We can look in Scripture and find countless promises for God’s people, promises that were not fulfilled until long after their hearing, but they were nevertheless fulfilled.

So just because you haven’t seen the fulfillment of God’s promises for your life, family, job or ministry does not mean the fulfillment isn’t coming. If there’s one thing we can learn from the stories in the Bible, it’s that God ALWAYS makes good on His promises. He may take longer than we would prefer, but we can count on His faithfulness every time.

At least that’s my Religion Major take on things. But don’t take it from me–I might be living in a box one day.


  • Dawson says:

    BA in psy
    BA in religion
    MA in ethics

    As one that has walked the same path. Thanks for this post I needed to hear this truth.. and as one pondering the rent of boxes.. it is good to hear God still sees and will be faithful… no mater what my 401K says..

    seriously THANKS!!!!
    ps.. I think you one of the best bloggers I know… but I’m not a well read person..?

  • Anonymous says:

    AH YES… the left brain vs. right brain debate! Well, speaking from one who knows all about that I couldn’t agree with you more! I took Math 150 in college and got a “D”… for me “D” meant DONE!

    I also had to take ONE science, so I took astronomy… had an “F”, but mananged an “A” on my lab to help me pull my butt out of the gutter on that one.

    Enter in Leadership, Spanish, Newswriting, Public Speaking, Creative Writing… enter in A’s and B’s. I majored in Mass Communication at UNC Asheville and now after 8 years in ministry, I still have NO IDEA how I ended up here?

    Enter in our Father.

    It is so amazing how a box looks like a family of faith, isn’t it?

    While others are standing ON a soap box, I nestle snuggly into mine and I think the view is pretty darn good. I don’t need windows to see the light!

    Thanks for a great entry!

    Anne Steppe

  • Anonymous says:

    not only is your post awesome and encouraging (as always), but i find anne’s comment to be a great addition. i haven’t finished my degree yet, but i look forward to snuggling into my own box one day!

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