The Loss of Reality from the Distant Lights

On the fourth day of creation God set the Sun and Moon in the sky. Placed millions of miles from the Earth, the Sun did more than allow life to exist on the planet; it allowed time to be measured in seconds and seasons.

The distance between Earth and Sun changes throughout the year bringing warmer and colder weather, and the rotation of the Earth produces evolving shadows from the sunlight which enables people to tell time. As the seasons and time of day change, our views of the world around us also change. One minute the item before us may be almost black. The next it could be purple, followed by blue and red then brown. Our senses take in the natural world, and its constant evolution.

The mountains of Las Vegas at 6:16, 6:20, 6:23, 6:29 and 6:45am
(photos: First.One.Through)

The moon and stars also enable mankind to chart its path during the night. The various natural sources of light enable people know where they stand in time and place.

Man’s Ever-Encroaching Light and Lit Content

Man was able to harness and control some of nature’s light in developing and using torches and lanterns over thousands of years. However, it was in 1878 with the creation of the first light bulb that mankind began to change the essence of how we see the natural world.

It its first decades of existence, light bulbs illuminated its immediate surroundings. The light bulb first lit up a circumference of several feet and then, as the power grew, it illuminated even larger areas. But in 1927, the very nature of man’s light changed, as it also became the focus of attention with the creation of the television. No longer was man’s light used only to appreciate the natural world; it was used as a replacement to the natural world. Man’s light became embedded with its own truth.

For decades, that source of light and content remained roughly eight to ten feet from our eyes. That abridged space still afforded our eyes the ability to incorporate some other items in our peripheral vision. But the distance would continue to shrink over time, as would our incorporation of the natural world.

The first computers came to corporations in the 1960’s and individuals began to acquire them in the 1980’s and 1990’s, bringing the lit screens just two to four feet from our eyes. The distance would shrink again in the 21st century, as smartphones with luminous screens were welcomed into the hands of the masses, shrinking the space between our eyes and the screens to just one to two feet. Now, with the advent of virtual reality goggles, all space has disappeared.

AT&T’s vision for new virtual reality games based on its DC characters

The distance which had afforded us the space to see God’s creations has been eliminated. The natural world is shut out in favor of man-made reality.

Man’s Reality: The Destruction of Time and of Man

For centuries, mankind did not only use the sunlight to tell the time of day, it understood the nature of how the world changed based on the sunlight.

In the 1890’s French artist Claude Monet painted a series of paintings of the Rouen Cathedral at different times of day. While the subject of the church’s facade remained constant, Monet changed the color scheme based on the lighting of the sun. In doing so, each work of art was inherently time-stamped. A viewer understood whether the painting of the church was from the morning, during the day or at sunset, based on the palette of colors.

In the 1960’s, pop artist Roy Lichtenstein recreated the Monet series in his own style.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Rouen Cathedral series at The Broad
(photo: First.One.Through)

The various colors used by Monet designed to show the cathedral under different lighting conditions in moments of time was replaced by Lichtenstein into uniform sets of color. Lichtenstein’s yellow Rouen no longer conveyed daytime, his red was not sunset and his navy could not be considered night. The pop artist eliminated the element of time, as color was just meant as color, available in any and all shades.

Lichtenstein’s style also replaced Monet’s varied and emotional brushstrokes with machine-like circles. While he painted the artworks by hand, Lichtenstein gave his artwork a poster-like, mass produced cold feeling.

In just 70 years, man migrated from personal, emotional expressions of how sunlight influenced the world around us, to art which minimized both time and man’s own unique creativity.

The “Triumph” of Man’s/ Computer’s Virtual Reality

Until roughly 2008, the use of the internet ran roughly along working hours as people logged into their computers at work. However, with the ubiquity of connected cellphones and tablets, data consumption during the morning and evening hours – all of the way until 11:00pm – has now matched, and in some cases surpassed, data usage at work. People are consuming video content during all of their waking hours, and doing it at closer and closer distances to their eyes.

Technology is eliminating the physical space which enables us to absorb God’s natural world, as we allow ourselves to be ensnared by man’s manufactured reality. While the circling sun let us know that time moved on, the digital lights blind us of those same lost moments.

The sad loss of reality afforded by God’s distant lights will be rapped in the future by an avatar during a cinematic sequence in a virtual reality game. And alas, the masses will never understand the reference, as they parry the poetry to pursue additional precious points.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Hidden Side of the Moon

The Relationship of Man and Beast

The Descendants of Noah

The Journeys of Abraham and Ownership of the Holy Land

The Jewish Holy Land

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The Descendants of Noah

After God destroyed most of the world in the flood, He promised that He would never use water to destroy all living things again. After that covenant, the three sons of Noah – Shem, Cham and Japheth – embarked on settling the world anew:

שְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה אֵ֖לֶּה בְּנֵי־נֹ֑חַ וּמֵאֵ֖לֶּה נָֽפְצָ֥ה כָל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃

These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole world branched out. (Genesis 9:19)

Genesis 10 relayed the descendants of the three sons and early bibles sought to educate people where each of those children settled by including maps inside the bound volumes. The most famous of these was one completed by a Benedectine Monk named Arias Montanus in the 16th century.

Benedict Arias Montanus Sacrae Geographiae Tabulam ex Antiquissimorum Cultor (1571)

Benito Arias Montanus (1527-1598) was born in Spain and entered the priesthood around 1559 where he gained a reputation as an important biblical scholar. In 1568, he was commissioned by King Phillip II to supervise a new polygot (multi-language) bible which would become part of the king’s scholarly volumes on the bible. This work was to replace the first “Royal Bible” completed by the Escorial Library in 1514.

Written in Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Syriac, and printed in Antwerp between 1569 and 1573, the polygot bible caused a stir. Montanus was reported to the Spanish Inquisition for purportedly giving preference to the Jewish rabbinic reading of the scriptures. His trial lasted several years and the Inquisition was finally convinced by the biblical scholar Juan de Mariane that Montanus’s interpretation of the text did not contradict Catholic dogma, acquitting him in 1580.

Montanus’s world map above shows the descendants of Shem, Cham and Japheth in Hebrew and Latin. Japeth’s sons are listed in the center of the map in Roman numerals; Shem’s sons are listed on the right side and indexed with numbers, while Cham’s sons are indexed with letters.

Japhet’s sons are portrayed as covering Europe. Sepharad is located in modern Spain, Sarphat is placed in France and Yavan in Greece – just like the modern Hebrew names for those countries. The lone exception is Madai who is placed in modern Iran. Biblical scholars consider Madai to be connected to the ancient Persian people of Medes.

Cham’s sons are placed throughout the Middle East and Africa, stretching from modern Iran to Morocco and Kenya. Mizrayim and Pelishtim are both located in northern Egypt, while Canaan is found in modern Jordan.

The children of Shem, from whom Abraham and the Jewish people are descended, were placed on the map from eastern Europe, Iraq and Kuwait eastward over China and Russia with a land bridge to the Americas. In a fascinating placement, Montanus placed Ophir both in modern-day California and Peru. It is a curious placement because Ophir was the city from which King Solomon imported gold to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 10:11). While it was known at this time that the Aztecs in Mexico had considerable gold, gold was not discovered in California for another 275 years.


The descendants of Noah scattered over the planet as described in Genesis 11:31, “according to their families, their languages, their lands and their nations.” They are part of the opening of the bible, before the text narrows its focus to the foundation of the Jewish people relocating from modern Iraq to modern Israel in the story of the Jewish patriarch, Abraham. Much like the nations of the world, the Jews would establish their nation in their land with their own language as descendants of their families’ ancestors of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Relationship of Man and Beast

The Journeys of Abraham and Ownership of the Holy Land

Abraham’s Hospitality: Lessons for Jews and Arabs

The Jewish Holy Land

Ruth, The Completed Jew

Kohelet, An Ode to Abel

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The Hidden Side of the Moon

The weekly Torah reading of the first chapter of Genesis, Bereishit, always occurs during the week of a new moon. The coupling seems to contain a hidden message.

On the fourth creation day, God made the sun, moon and stars (Genesis 1:14-18)

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים יְהִ֤י מְאֹרֹת֙ בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם לְהַבְדִּ֕יל בֵּ֥ין הַיּ֖וֹם וּבֵ֣ין הַלָּ֑יְלָה וְהָי֤וּ לְאֹתֹת֙ וּלְמ֣וֹעֲדִ֔ים וּלְיָמִ֖ים וְשָׁנִֽים׃

God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate day from night; they shall serve as signs for the set times—the days and the years;

וְהָי֤וּ לִמְאוֹרֹת֙ בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם לְהָאִ֖יר עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃

and they serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth.” And it was so.

וַיַּ֣עַשׂ אֱלֹהִ֔ים אֶת־שְׁנֵ֥י הַמְּאֹרֹ֖ת הַגְּדֹלִ֑ים אֶת־הַמָּא֤וֹר הַגָּדֹל֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַיּ֔וֹם וְאֶת־הַמָּא֤וֹר הַקָּטֹן֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַלַּ֔יְלָה וְאֵ֖ת הַכּוֹכָבִֽים׃

God made the two great lights, the greater light to dominate the day and the lesser light to dominate the night, and the stars.

וַיִּתֵּ֥ן אֹתָ֛ם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם לְהָאִ֖יר עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃

And God set them in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth,

וְלִמְשֹׁל֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם וּבַלַּ֔יְלָה וּֽלֲהַבְדִּ֔יל בֵּ֥ין הָא֖וֹר וּבֵ֣ין הַחֹ֑שֶׁךְ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃

to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that this was good.”

The “two great lights” refer to the Sun and the Moon that dominate Earth’s sky during the day and night. Each serves as a source of light to “shine upon the earth,” and as a way of separating “light from darkness” which had been mixed together earlier in creation. While the Sun remains a fixed source of light always dominating the daytime, the Moon’s light comes and goes over the course of a month, generating – or more accurately “reflecting” – light during the night. The Moon’s dominance ebbs and flows.

The changing nature of the Moon’s light is directly related to its position in the sky relative to the Earth and Sun. When the Earth is between the Sun and Moon, the full light of the Sun reflects back on the Earth displaying itself as a “Full Moon.” However, when the Moon is between the Sun and Earth, no light reflects off the Moon’s surface that is visible to Earth. From the perspective of Earth, the moon is completely dark, known as the “New Moon.”

The Moon itself does not spin. It has one side that always faces Earth known as the “near side” and the other side known as the “far side.” Some people call the far side the “dark side,” but this is inaccurate. As described above, the Moon’s light and dark sides change throughout the month. A more appropriate definition for the far side would be the “hidden side.”

So while God created the “greater light” as a fixed item to always dominate the daytime sky which people could see every day and from all sides throughout the year, He created a lesser light that would have a varying amount of light during the night, and a hidden side that could never be seen from Earth.

Man’s Moon for Signs and Holidays

The Sun was established for “the days and years,” permanent and marked regardless of the introduction of man at the sixth day of creation. The Earth’s vegetation and animals need the Sun as much as Man; the Sun was a gift to everything on Earth. But the Moon was different. The Moon was for לְאֹתֹת֙ וּלְמ֣וֹעֲדִ֔ים, for “signs and holidays.” It was specially designed for mankind.

In Exodus 12:1-2, God gave a commandment to the Jewish people:

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֣ה וְאֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֔ן בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם לֵאמֹֽר׃

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:

הַחֹ֧דֶשׁ הַזֶּ֛ה לָכֶ֖ם רֹ֣אשׁ חֳדָשִׁ֑ים רִאשׁ֥וֹן הוּא֙ לָכֶ֔ם לְחָדְשֵׁ֖י הַשָּׁנָֽה׃

This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.

Rabbis learned from the superfluous words of “for you” that it was for the leaders of the Jewish people to declare when a new month actually began. People set the beginning of the month and consequently, when all Jewish holidays would fall out, such as Passover and Sukkot. The Bible foreshadowed in Genesis 1 that the Jews would use the lunar calendar for their months and holidays. To this day, Jews around the world do not only enjoy the light of the moon, but also track and celebrate the darkening phase to mark each month and set the calendar.

Are there other messages to be learned about the Moon?

Total Solar Eclipse
(photo by Ari Mendelow, August 21, 2017)

Man’s Role with the Near and Hidden

The Bible does not discuss the nature of the Moon having a single Earth-facing side and another hidden side. It strictly relates to the Moon’s qualities regarding light. God encourages man to use the changing night sky of the Moon and stars to chart holidays and perhaps navigation. The changing nature of the light sources were meant to serve as useful tools.

Yet there are items that are unseen by Man in the night, such as the far side of the Moon. Did God want these hidden items to be discovered and used as well? Were the hidden mysteries of space something for mankind to discover?

Some rabbis have opined that the answer is no. They note that King David sang in Psalms 115:16

הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם שָׁ֭מַיִם לַיהוָ֑ה וְ֝הָאָ֗רֶץ נָתַ֥ן לִבְנֵי־אָדָֽם׃

The heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth He gave over to man.

Some rabbis have condemned space travel on this basis. They note that Jews have been punished for space travel, including Judith Resnik, the first Jewish American in space who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, and Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli in space who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

But many others feel differently. God is clear when things are forbidden to man.

God set clear boundaries once He set Adam in the Garden of Eden. He made two trees in the garden which were declared off-limits for Man. If God did not want Mankind to explore and discover the hidden items in his creation, He would have spelled it out.

Chapter 1 of Genesis laid out the days of creation of the world and provided a foreshadowing of Man before his creation in noting the importance of the Moon. Perhaps God’s directing Man to look up to the Moon meant much more than simply observing its light.

First Man and The Hidden

While Genesis recorded the world’s first person, the new movie First Man describes the first man on the Moon. The movie captures the excitement of discovery of a new world, seen but untouched.

There is another part of the story as it relates to astronaut Michael Collins who navigated the Columbia command module while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were on the Moon. As the pair were on the near side of the Moon for 22 hours, Collins orbited the Moon, navigating the module around the far side of the Moon. He was there for roughly 47 minutes all alone – without his fellow astronauts beside him in the module, and without the ability to communicate with mission control on Earth while on the far side. His only companion was the mysterious side of the Moon, while he was hidden from mankind. Since Adam, there was probably never a human more alone than Michael Collins for those 47 minutes.


God created the world, giving a special role for mankind to play regarding the Moon, even as He placed the first man in a protected corner of Earth. It would take thousands of years for another man to be first on that special celestial body.

Discovering God’s creations is often noted for the thrilling moments of engagement like walking on the Moon, but it can also be found in quiet moments, such as seeing God’s hidden mysteries. Hopefully the great explorations will continue.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Right Stuff, Then and Now

The Longest Touchdown

The Relationship of Man and Beast

Totalities

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Obama’s Foreign Policy

Summary: Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Both liberal and conservative commentators had a lot to say after US President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union address in January 2015.  They were not positive.

The liberals attacked their president as being divorced from reality.  They highlighted several areas:

  • Iran continues towards nuclear weapons despite assurances to the contrary
  • Islamic State takes over Iraq after Obama calls them “JV” and claims that US forces have stopped their advance
  • Yemen falls despite Obama recent assurances
  • Assad controls Syria after Obama’s claim of helping moderate opposition forces (so marginal, can it be called true?)
  • Russia gets a mere slap on the wrist for invading Ukraine and taking over Crimea despite treaties with Ukraine

Conservatives have often berated Obama for practicing a policy which coddled enemies and rebuked allies:

  • Continued snubbing of ally Israel, particularly the Prime Minister Netanyahu (calling him “chicken*hit”, not meeting with him, walking out on him…)
  • Not showing up for unity rally in Paris after terrorist attacks (one of the only major western allies to not send anyone)
  • Refusing to help ally Canada with approving the Keystone pipeline
  • Pulling all troops out of Iraq after thousands of American forces died, to let the country fall into a terrorist haven

Here is a music video early in the Obama presidency which showed these paths started from the earliest days of his presidency (music by Genesis):


Sources:

Liberals attack Obama “asleep at the switch“: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxsyVO23G38

Mainstream media saying Obama “not close to reality“”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FcQE32_HSU

Criticism for snubbing Paris rally: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yt5xqO0FgI