Windows of Vision

The remarkable ways creation—God’s and ours—allows us to see what we cannot visually see. /

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Cor. 13:12, KJV)

Inside a book my son owns about how things work, there is a picture of a radio telescope. At first blush, the idea of taking astronomical pictures with radio waves seems far-fetched, and yet today this is a standard instrument used to peruse the heavens in search of its secrets.

There are numerous methods of observation afforded by the Creator. Many involve the measurement of some aspect of electromagnetic (EM) radiation. Take, for example, how we can enjoy the beauty of a flower’s color, texture, and delicate shape. The complexity of the physics and psycho-physics may seem staggering, but consider: Without our usually being aware of it, perceiving a rose is the result of the spectral wavelength diversity of its different material reflectances, which our eye-brain system exploits to give us color vision. Thus the impression of the beautiful hue of a pink rose is due to the spectral distribution of reflected sunlight off of the petals, transmitted through air, detected by the spectrally tuned receptors in our eyes, and interpreted by our brains and minds.

In 1 Corinthians 13:12, Paul mentions the imperfections of our current observations of spiritual reality, using an analogy of looking into a physical mirror. It was none other than Isaac Newton who invented the first reflective telescope, which uses a mirror instead of a lens to focus light. In the case of either a reflecting or refracting telescope, the mirror and lens diameters are actually one of the fundamental limits to the effective resolution and sensitivity, which is why astronomers love big telescopes.

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Also in this Issue

Issue 15 / February 5, 2015
  1. Editors’ Note
  2. The Ultimate Law of the Universe: Grace

    The paradox is that we fulfill it by letting go. /

  3. Poetic Justice at the Red Sea

    A scholar explains what happened at the great biblical event. /

  4. A Jar of Buttons

    ‘from the floor of the Sea of Mending’ /

  5. Wonder on the Web

    Links to amazing stuff

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