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Archive for November, 2005

Firefly and Serenity

November 29th, 2005 4 comments

FireflyThanksgiving weekend Sal introduced me to Firefly, a wonderful Western/Sci-Fi/Cool tv series that, as per usual, Fox cancelled well before its time. Oddly, as I was writing this post, Instapundit just posted on his enthusiasm for Firefly. If Glenn Reynolds is on board, maybe we can start a revolution!

Firefly is the brainchild of Joss Whedon of Buffy and Angel fame, among (many) others (makes me think I should rethink those programs as I had pretty much just written them off…). We watched the first three episodes and I was immediately drawn in to its humor, wit, acting (the cast worked and played off each other extremely well), and cinematography (I really enjoyed the camera work a lot: from cool use of focus and zoom to well designed sets that allowed for well manuvered camera movements, all across to board!). Sally said she finished up the series and was pleased throughout (although the episodes written by Joss were the more enjoyable ones). Why does Fox do this to us? Why can’t they give us something? They put on so much crap, why can’t they at least give us one good show for every ten bad ones? Is that too much to ask?

Luckilly for fans, the DVD sales did well and Joss was able to make a feature film: Serenity - named after their ship. Thanks to Fox’s advertising of Firefly [/sarcasm], I had no understanding of what the movie was about, I didn’t even have an idea that the movie was based on a tv show. For those that missed the movie, the DVD will be out December 20th. Until then, definitely check out the complete Firefly series on DVD. Sal also pointed me to a great review of Serenity by Orson Scott Card.

It’s great.

I’m not going to say it’s the best science fiction movie, ever.

Oh, wait. Yes I am.

Let me put this another way. Those of you who know my work at all know about Ender’s Game. I jealously protected the movie rights to Ender’s Game so that it would not be filmed until it could be done right. I knew what kind of movie it had to be, and I tried to keep it away from directors, writers, and studios who would try to turn it into the kind of movie they think of as “sci-fi.”

This is the kind of movie that I have always intended Ender’s Game to be (though the plots are not at all similar).

And this is as good a movie as I always hoped Ender’s Game would be.

And I’ll tell you this right now: If Ender’s Game can’t be this kind of movie, and this good a movie, then I want it never to be made.

I’d rather just watch Serenity again.

Looking forward to seeing the rest of Firefly, seeing Serenity, and now, waiting for Ender’s Game to come out! Check this stuff out people!

Resources
Pursuing Holiness’ Open Trackback Tuesday!
IMDB: Firefly
IMDB: Serenity
A Firefly Wiki page - this is a cool site with lots of information
Wikipedia - Firefly
Orson Scott Card review of Serenity

-Matt Jones
????????? 'To Life!'

PS: We got our first snow up here in Vancouver!! It seemed to be pretty close to 2 inches. Fun times. :)

Categories: Daily Life Tags:

My First Blog

November 26th, 2005 5 comments

The original Instapundit? June, 1983:

Yes, that’s right, my first blog really started back in 1983. Well, maybe not, but that was when I officailly became a nerd. The first computer I used was one from the Apple ][ line and boy was it good times. I could make the turtle (a triangle) go up, down, right, and left. Oddly, years later my Physics 335 (Electric Circuits Laboratory II - Digital) class back at UW used the same processor (or some slight variation) as that lovely Apple to build our final project.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving, we are having our tomorrow (yes, we are an odd family). God bless.

Categories: Blogging, Daily Life Tags:

Calvin and Justification

November 24th, 2005 No comments


My life for the past few days… non-stop.

I am thankful it is Thanksgiving and I get to go home and see fmaily! This week has sucked and has therefore produced a sucky paper on John Calvin’s doctrine of justification for my Institutes of the Christian Religion class with Hans Boersma here at Regent. I think this is one of the crappier, yet longer, papers I have written. Feel free to read it and trash it or just completely ignore it. I am just so happy that it is over with… now I just have to focus on all the other crap I have to do… but I am going to go home for the weekend so I really don’t care!

Matt Jones: John Calvin’s doctrine of Justification (PDF format) or read “below the cut” for the unformatted/unnoted version.

JUSTIFICATION IN JOHN CALVINS 1559 EDITION OF INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION

MATTHEW JONES

REGENT COLLEGE
FALL 2005
THEO 715: SEMINAR: JOHN CALVINS INSTITUTES
PROFESSOR HANS BOERSMA

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which comes from God on the basis of faith.

A man who wishes to obtain Christs righteousness must abandon his own righteousness.

John Calvin wanted his theology to be a Biblical theology. His doctrine of justification is one that he supports Biblically throughout his Institutes as well as his other writings. This paper will take a look at Calvins understanding of justification and how righteousness, faith, and sanctification relate, it aims to show that his doctrine of justification as posited in the 1559 Institutes is well supported Biblically. His Biblical support leads to the pious life we are called to through a better understanding of faith, righteousness, justification, and sanctification.

JUSTIFICATION, SANCTIFICATION, AND REGENERATION
Before delving into Calvins Biblical support, it is important to have a clear definition of justification along with the related words: sanctification, regeneration, and righteousness. Definition and usage from both from the Bible and Calvin himself will be needed.

JUSTIFICATION IN THE BIBLE
The use of the Hebrew ????? (tsadaq), which means to be just or righteous, in the Old Testament was often used to describe some sort of relationship between man and God. Elihu felt justified before God in his anger towards Job , David knows that God is justified when he speaks , and Isaiah posed that the descendants of Israel will be justified in YHVH . In the Old Testament being justified and being righteous were one in the same.
Likewise, the New Testament will translate ??????? (dikaio?) as both to be righteous or justified where both imply rightness and innocence. Justification in the New Testament, again, appears to most often pertain to the relationship between man and God. Paul exemplifies this when he says He [God] poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Both righteous and just imply relationship and in essence, righteousness is an ethical quality imputed to human beings who stand in the right relationship to God through Christ. While we are still sinners, the imputation wipes us clean in our relationship. Calvin uses the word imputation to designate the way in which the believer is perfectly righteous. By imputation of righteousness he means both Gods pronouncing the believer righteous and Gods giving the believer actual community with the righteousness of Christ.

SANCTIFICATION AND REGENERATION IN THE BIBLE
Sanctification is not a word that is used until the New Testament and is usually used to describe a process of being made holy that is a result of some particular quality. I will especially note its connection to righteousness as that seems to be Calvins focus. Regeneration only appears twice in the New Testament and has similar meaning as sanctification in the sense that it deals with a process of change into something distinctly different from when the process started.

SANCTIFICATION AND REGENERATION IN CALVIN
For Calvin, sanctification and regeneration are similar terms but there is still a distinction. Sanctification is the process of being made holy whereas regeneration is being made new. It seems that for the Christian these are one in the same as we are being made new in Christ just as sanctification makes us more holy like Christ is holy. The understanding of justification will sometimes be connected with sanctification because both deal with our righteousness. Calvin, of course, appeals to Scripture as the warrant for the distinction between justification and sanctification: Yet Scripture, even thought it joins them, still lists them separately in order that Gods manifold grace may better appear to us. For Pauls statement is not redundant: that Christ was given to us for our righteousness and sanctification [1 Corinthains 1.30]. We are sanctified by Christs spirit to cultivate a pure life which is what regeneration is for Calvin. McGrath notes that on account of the believers union with Christ and not on account of his or her justification the believer begins the process of being made like Christ through regeneration. Calvin asserts that both justification and regeneration are the results of the believers union with Christ through faith. It is because of this that the two terms (sanctification and regeneration) can be used interchangeably. He also sees repentance as regeneration, whose sole end is to restore in us the image of God that had been disfigured and all but obliterated through Adams transgression. This fits naturally as sanctifications goal is our restoration which can only be supplied through faith in Christ.

JUSTIFICATION IN CALVIN
For the purpose of this paper, I will focus on Calvins use of justification. While Calvin places a great deal of importance on justification, he does not discuss it until nearly halfway through the Institutes so it appears to take a smaller role in his theology. While this may appear to be the case, Calvin deals with justification only after he has firmly established that we cannot merit our out righteousness and justification (and surely not salvation) and it is only after he has proved our depravity (you have neither a foundation on which to establish your salvation nor one on which to build piety toward God.) that he delves into justification. Calvin, for his part, not only did not divorce sanctification from justification he even dealt with the question of good works first, in order to avoid any misunderstandings on this score! Once the issue of works is dealt with and it is plain to see that we cannot merit our justification, Calvin looks at how we are justified by righteousness. He is said to be justified in Gods sight who is both reckoned righteous in Gods judgment and has been accepted on account of his righteousness. This definition of justification is fairly general and Calvin must explain what it would mean to be righteous in Gods judgment. Because of our inability to merit our own righteousness, Calvin uses faith to provide it for us. Justified by faith is he who, excluded from the righteousness of works, grasps the righteousness of Christ through faith, and clothed in it, appears in Gods sight not as a sinner but as a righteous man. Hence the reformation doctrine of sola fide: by faith alone. Total depravity did not mean that man was totally evil but that he was crippled by sin and that at the crucial point of turning to God he was totally unable to do so apart from Gods grace. It is this understanding of depravity that we can turn to faith in God who freely gives that grace.

JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH
Calvins mantra of justified by faith is certainly the key component of his doctrine of justification so a discussion of what faith entails is warranted.
Faith is necessarily faith in something or someone, a trusting response to something or someone we encounter. In this case our faith must be in God as we encounter him in his word: there is a permanent relationship between faith and the Word Yet Gods word inspires our trust only if it assure us of Gods mercy and goodness; and Gods mercy and goodness are given only in Christ. Hence faith is our response of trust in Gods benevolence toward us as revealed in the gospel message about Christ.
Our trust in Christ is our faith and through that faith we are made righteous and therefore justified. Mans faith, as he receives it from the Word, is the formal cause of justification Christ is the material cause of justification. This statement helps us keep in perspective what the human role is in justification. The righteousness man needs is found in Christ alone. Righteousness, Calvin teaches, is not communicated to man except by the gospel. The gospel of Christ clearly spells out faith as a necessity. Faith rests firmly in the clear knowledge of the salvation wrought by Christ. Though faith may not yet reign perfectly over the whole human being, even the small beginnings are sufficient for salvation. There should be no question in our minds of our salvation if we trust and therefore have faith in the salvific work of Christ. Through our faith, Christ imputes his righteousness to us so we are justified in the eyes of God and will become sanctified. Calvin always wants our faith to come to sanctification through Christ so as to increase in piety. Calvins pastoral soul and his theology were not two things apart, but different manifestations of his experience of the human relationship with God. The biblical faith must be put into words so that people can know and confess what they experience, so they can teach and minister to others. Sanctification was a natural following of faith and Calvin talked of that lifelong process by which the Christian life grows towards perfection through Jesus Christ because of a holiness (and piety) from within. Calvins concern for the pious life is even evident in his focus on justification by faith. Faith should lead to confidence in our salvation and good works should follow from our sanctification. This [faith] is the fulcrum of his theology: the sheer grace of God justifying and regenerating human beings. Calvins definition fits directly, for faith is a firm and certain knowledge of Gods benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit.

RIGHTEOUSNESS
Righteousness has already been mentioned above but it is important to have a clear understanding of how it fits in to justification for Calvin. A man who wishes to obtain Christs righteousness must abandon his own righteousness. As I have already shown, the depravity we are bound to makes it impossible for our works to make us righteous before Gods eyes. Only the work of Christ is righteous and pure so that work and righteousness is imputed to us by Christ because of our faith. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Because Christ imputes His righteousness to us, it becomes our own and we are therefore justified in Gods eyes. We can only be righteous by imputation in other words, it is our relationship with Christ, established by faith in the Gospel, which permits us to claim a share in Gods righteousness. Relationship over law is often the focus for the reformers.
Gods action is not exhausted in simply an external decree (a purely forensic declaration), but signifies the effective creation of a new reality through God. This new reality of the justified one, created by God, is not to be understood in terms of static ontology, but rather as a relational reality ie a reality which consists of nothing except that new relationship between God and man created by God, the content of which is, from the side of God, Lordship, and from the side of man, obedience.
Our righteousness is not something that is inherently in us, but something that is created anew in the gift of grace through faith. The doctrine of justification as Calvin delineates it is the story of the Creators restoration of the unrighteous and condemned creature to fullness of life in righteousness. This might seem to suggest that there is no room for human interaction, but this is not the case. While humans cannot merit their own work, justification still takes place in relationship and Calvin conceives of man as being intimately involved in justification, as terms like consors, communio, particeps, and participatio indicate that relationship.

BIBLICAL SUPPORT
It must be shown that Calvins theology of justification and his foundations in faith and righteousness are Biblical. A solid Biblical interpretation and understanding is crucial when forming theology that impacts the Christian life. Calvin was very aware that there is a permanent relationship between faith and the Word. The Word of God defines how we act out our faith and, as I have shown, faith is what leads to our imputed righteousness. Therefore proper understanding of the Word will lead to proper faith which leads to our justification.

GALATIANS
The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU. Calvins commentary uses this to compare the thought that without circumcision, a Christian was removed from the covenant with the Pauline explanation that even Abraham was blessed through faith and that is where the true family resides. Gods people are justified through their faith, not by keeping Torah.
Galatians 3.11 is also very clear that we are not justified by the Law but by righteousness in faith. Calvin suggests that Paul is excluding any form of works, regardless of title. Calvin also points to this passage as reason for separating faith and law because there must be separation of works and righteousness but works are required for law righteousness so law must be different from faith.
The law justifies him who fulfills all its precepts, while faith justifies those who are destitute of the merit of works, and who rely on Christ alone. To be justified by your own merit, and to be justified by the grace of another, are two schemes which cannot be reconciled: one of them must be overturned by the other. It is impossible, as fallen humans, to completely fulfill the law so we cannot be fully justified in following the law. That means we need additional justification through the grace of Christ. But, as Calvin argues, it is not reconcilable to be justified by both partially. Since we can never be fully justified by following the law, it is only logical that we will have to find our complete justification by faith in Christ.

ROMANS
What complicates the picture is the sinfulness, guilt, and corruption found in every human being, making it impossible for God to pronounce us righteous as we are. Romans is a key book that deals with our pronouncement as righteous due to Christs sacrifice directly. Who will bring a charge against Gods elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Calvin explains this as giving definition to justification: to justify means nothing else than to acquit of guilt him who was accused, as if his innocence were confirmed. It is here that we see that we truly are innocent because of the imputed righteousness of Christ. We cannot even be accused because He justifies us. This solidifies the certainty of salvation.
Calvin does broach the topic of faith alone knowing that there are many who attack sola fide. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. For Calvin this is incontrovertible support for faith alone as works are expressly excluded. To those that say man is justified by faith, but not faith alone, Calvin says Paul affirms in this passage that justification is so gratuitous, that he makes it quite evident, that it can by no means be associated with the merit of works. But a free gift of righteousness is not free if any sort of works are required. Romans 3.21 and 3.24 also give way to this interpretation. In Romans 3.21-4.25, Paul asserts that sufficiency of faith in Christ for salvation for all human beings. He argues, on the one hand, that Gods righteousness is distinct from the law, yet, on the other hand, that since the law and the prophets beat witness to it, it is not inconsistent with the law. Calvin sees it necessary to draw the distinction between law and righteousness while making sure they are consisted so as to remain in the tradition of the Old Testament.
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. Calvin interprets this passage as proof that Paul sees Abraham as being justified by faith and that when reward is made for works it is done out of debt, not of grace. Since we have been given our reward from Gods grace, it follows that our reward is not from debt due to works.
Romans 10.4-10 is also an important passage. Calvin on Paul: To render it evident how much at variance is the righteousness of faith and that of works, he now compares them; for by comparison the opposition between contrary things appears more clear. If we believe that Christ rose and died for us, we are called righteous.

HEBREWS
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Calvin notes that this passage indicates that faith is that which obtains us favor and not works. It is also not that the Spirit helps us along towards holiness (as some read this passage ) but that we are imputed free righteousness in our faithful seeking.
Calvin also uses the example of Abraham in Hebrews 6. According to Calvin, the example of Abraham proves that the grace of God can be received only by embracing the promise by faith and patiently cherishing it in the bosom of our hearts. The example of Abraham is used to show what faith that causes righteousness looks like. For Abraham, his living of faith in patience is what we are called to.

II CORINTHIANS
Calvin uses II Corinthians 5 to show that there is a direct relation between justification and forgiveness of sins. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. This is a rich passage that implies that 1) reconciliation and justification (not counting their trespasses) go hand in hand and 2) righteousness is to be had because we are reconciled to God.

JAMES
The most difficult passages for the reformers to deal with when it comes to justification by faith are to be found in the book of James, especially 2.14-26. What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? Calvin doesnt seem to want to tackle this head on. This is the same as though he had said, that we do not attain salvation by a frigid and bare knowledge of God, which all confess to be most true; for salvation comes to us by faith for this reason, because it joins us to God. Calvins commentary on James is probably one of his weaker arguments for justification by faith (probably because it is hard to avoid the works language in James). Calvins views of justification are thoroughly founded in Pauls theology and so he will read James through that lens.
Calvin assumes that scriptures cannot contradict scripture and rejects the idea that James proves or is even trying to prove that Abraham was justified (in the Pauline sense) by works. In establishing this position, Calvin presupposes the understandings of faith and justification that he derived from Paul and interprets Jamess statements in such a way as not to contradict that Pauline position.
It seems that Calvin tries to just pass over this section by saying that James does not use faith and justify in the same sense as Paul does. James uses it (justify) to mean the manifestation of righteousness by its effects before human beings. While Calvin does better than Luther on this issue, it seems that it could have been dealt with more fully. Calvin never tried pointing out that faith and works could not be separated any more than head could be separated from the light of the sun. Thus faith and works always go together, for where there is true faith there will always be good works. Calvin does affirm that good works will follow in sanctification; he just doesnt want to make any sort of direct connection to works and righteousness.

CONCLUSION
The result of Calvins doctrine of justification is a pious life guided by sanctification through the Holy Spirit. Calvins theology was fully Biblical (even if you disagree with his interpretation, this is hard to deny) and the reason he wanted it to be Biblical was to benefit the Christian life. Calvin was also a pastor and piety was extremely important to him. Calvin takes great steps to make sure his doctrine is supported by the Word of God so as to make us better Christians. It was be ignorant to suggest that justification by faith was posited to avoid works. It is quite the contrary. Because Christs righteousness has been imputed to us, we are made righteous in Gods eyes through faith which will then naturally lead to regeneration and sanctification. Sanctification is an ongoing process in the Christian life that, by its nature, will produce good works. Those good works, though, are not required by us to merit righteousness and salvation (because we cannot merit righteousness).
Sanctification is a gradual process. Some relics of sin remain in the righteous during the course of earthly life. Justification, on the other hand, takes place for once and for all and in a total manner. When it takes place, the justified may boldly appear in haven, as being invested with the purity of Christ. Justification provides the true foundation or the fertile soil out of which the true Christian life grows.
Calvin tells us to be secure in our salvation because we have faith and are therefore justified so we can therefore live the sanctified life, producing good fruit. It is because of Calvins Biblical foundation that he can encourage Christians to grow.

WORKS CITED

Battles, Ford Lewis. Interpreting John Calvin. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996.

Bray, Gerald. Justification: The Reformers and Recent New Testament Scholarship. Churchman 109 no 2 (1995): 102-126.

Calvin, John. Commentary on Galatians. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003.

_________. Commentary on Hebrews. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1999. Database on-line.

_________. Commentary on James. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1999. Database on-line.

_________. Commentary on Romans. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003.

_________. Institutes of the Christian Religion. 2 vols. John T. McNeill, ed. Ford Lewis Battles, trans. Louisville: Westminster, 1960.

Leith, John H. John Calvins Doctrine of the Christian Life. Louisville: Westminster / John Knox Press, 1989.

McGrath, Alister. Christian Theology: An Introduction. Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, 2001.

McKee, Elsie Anne, ed. John Calvin: Writings on Pastoral Piety. New York: Paulist Press, 2001.

Pitkin, Barbara. What Pure Eyes Could See: Calvins Doctrine of Faith in Its Exegetical Context. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Reid, W. Stanford. Justification by faith according to John Calvin. Westminster Theological Journal 42 no 2 (Spr 1980): 290-307.

Santmire, H. Paul. Justification in Calvins 1540 Romans Commentary. Church History 33 (S 1964): 294-313.

Thompson, William M. Viewing Justification Through Calvins Eyes: An Ecumenical Experiment. Theological Studies 57 (S 1996): 447-466.

Westerholm, Stephen. Perspectives Old and New on Paul: The Lutheran Paul and His Critics. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.

-Matt Jones
????????? 'To Life!'

Waiting in Line

November 20th, 2005 8 comments

This weekend was, of course, the opening of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire so I made the trek down to Seattle (who care about papers?) to catch the flick at the IMAX with some good friends. I really enjoyed the movie. Of course the left much out of the book but did well for the amount of time they had. The graveyard scene was one of my favorites in the book and I do wish they had done a bit more there. Much of the evening was spent in line just hanging out and I did appreciate Dan trying to put the moves on Stacey (his wife).


Dan being smooth.

And here are a few more pictures of us waiting in line (click an image for larger version and the gallery):













Fun times! Next comes Narnia!! I am really excited for that one! I also got to see my aunts today for lunch so that was cool because I hadn’t seen them in quite a while. Good weekend… not so much in the homework sense… but there is more to life than reading and writing, right? Right? Oh, and Erin told me about the Harry Potter Lexicon, by and for people with too much time on their hands. :) It is actually a really helpful site to help keep all the Potter stuff straight. Check it out.

-Matt Jones
????????? 'To Life!'

Categories: Daily Life, Movies Tags:

Space Saturday XII

November 18th, 2005 4 comments

Yes, it is only Friday, but it has been a few weeks since I have posted a Space Saturday and I will be gone this weekend, so there is no time like the present! This week I bring you another of my favoriate astronomy photos: Abell 1689.


Credit: NASA, N. Benitez (JHU), T. Broadhurst (The Hebrew University), H. Ford (JHU), M. Clampin (STScI), G. Hartig (STScI), G. Illingworth (UCO/Lick Observatory), the ACS Science Team and ESA

This is one of my favorite images for a few reasons (click for the larger version, it is incredible!). One is that it gives a good example of how expansive the universe is. This image is a mere 3.2 arcminutes, that is 5 hundredths of a degree, across (for comparison, the moon is about 30 arcminutes - that is, this image is about a tenth the apparent size of the moon). The actual distance across the image is 2 million light years at a distance of approximately 2.2 billion light years! The dots of light? Nearly all are entire galaxies. Abell 1689 is one of the more massive galaxy clusters discovered (named for George Abell’s catalogue of rich clusters of galaxies using the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey). The HST image was captured using its Advanced Camera for Surveys and was able to view the hundreds of galaxies in this small sliver and space.

The second reason I like this image is that it helps prove one of the predictions made by Einstein’s theory of general relativity: gravitational lensing. The image at left shows a detail of Abell 1689 with some faint arcs (actually partions of “Einstein rings“) that are actually caused by light from extremely distant galaxies (some 13 billion light years away) being bent by the massive galaxy cluster. The mass from the trillions of stars along with dark matter has caused the light to bend making the mass act like a lens (Einstein predicted that mass could warp space and therefore bend light). The third amazing thing that this photograph helps to prove is the existance of dark matter. The amount of mass from the galaxies (and the stars within) anly account for approximately 1% of the matter needed to bend the light as much as it does. Dark matter is extremely interesting and has large implications for cosmology, but that is a discussion for another day.

Visit my Space Saturday Archive for other cool astronomy pictures!

Resources
HubbleSite: Biggest ‘Zoom Lens’ in Space Takes Hubble Deeper into the Universe
HubbleSite: Images of Abel 1689
HubbleSite: Image of Abell 1689 Details
SpaceImages.com: Hubble Abell 1689 Photo
APOD: Abell 1689 Warps Space
APOD: Abell 2218: A Galaxy Cluster Lens
NASA: Goddard Space Flight Center: Gravitational Lensing
Wikipedia: Gravitational Lensing
Wikipedia: Dark Matter
HubbleSite: Dark Matter

-Matt Jones
????????? 'To Life!'

Categories: Blogging, Science Tags:

All Your Base Are Belong To Us

November 17th, 2005 5 comments

All your base are belong to us” is a cult net phrase that was poorly translated from a Japaneese video game that essentially meant “we have taken over your base (or empire).” In the light of that, I bring you Base.Google.

Google Base is

a place where you can easily submit all types of online and offline content that we’ll host and make searchable online. You can describe any item you post with attributes, which will help people find it when they search Google Base. In fact, based on the relevance of your items, they may also be included in the main Google search index and other Google products like Froogle, Google Base and Google Local.

It will be interesting to see how popular this becomes. It has the potential to become a massive database with massive amounts of searchable information that has never been available before. It also has the potential to be an overwhelming glob of data without any relevance to be found in searches. Try this search for recipies as an example. One that that is good is that you can search within search results as well so you can refine what you are looking for. I would say that Google Base is an extension of Google Search and can be used as a suppliment to standard searches and when looking for specific items. I suppose we will have to try it out to get a better feel for its capabilities. So check it out for more searching needs!

Resources:
Google Base
Google Base: About
Official Google Blog: First Base
ZDNet: Will Google Base be the world’s largest XML database?
ZDNet: Google Base creates a structured Web
Cnet News: Google gets to first base

-Matt Jones
????????? 'To Life!'

Categories: Blogging Tags: