“Compared to Bach, We All Suck”

“Compared to Bach, We All Suck”

I love writing about God’s creation, and how in Paul’s words, that “God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” However, there is always a moral quality to God’s revelation of himself in creation because he finishes that thought with, “so they are without excuse.” Nobody on judgment day will be able to complain to God that, “Well, there just wasn’t enough evidence that you exist!” The purpose of creation, rather, is that God’s creatures will worship him, rather than creation itself. How could we not worship one who is so magnificent in power and glory and creativity and genius that he could create everything in the universe out of nothing! Including Bach! And people who could enjoy Bach, like you and me! Not to mention, sound and rhythm and melody and harmony!

I was thinking these kinds of thoughts that are always rolling around in my head as I was listening to Rick Beato talk about Bach’s stunning creativity and virtuosity. And Beato is primarily a pop music guy, so I was very interested to hear what he had to say. It’s worth a listen if you not only want to be amazed by Bach, but by the God who created Bach! I made similar observations about an interview he did with Pat Metheny last year from whence the quote came that we are all unworthy compared to Bach. They get to the end of their ability to fully describe their amazement, and just can’t say anymore. The more is God! Beato does the same thing here.

At about minute 20 listening to some spritely piece by Bach, he starts grabbing and shaking his head, and says, “Wow!” He then continues, hands on his cheeks exclaiming, “The brain that can hold this music in it, the genius!” And there he is only talking about the pianists who have memorized the pieces and can play them with such feeling and artistic flair. He follows this with, “And, then there’s the guy that came up with them,” and he laughs, adding, “The guy who came up with this stuff, right, then there’s Bach!” He points out that the musicians just play the music, but Bach wrote all of it, and flummoxed he delares, “It’s just mind boggling that someone three hundred years ago could write things like this.”

I love the look on his face and the furrowed brows as he tries to comprehend what he clearly can’t find comprehensible. As he was saying all this, I yelled, “Rick, it’s God!” I asked the rhetorical question, “As amazing as Bach is, Rick, are you not far more amazed by the being who could create a Bach!” Not only that, but he gave this man the tools to be able to do something so amazing, including his mind, nervous system, ears, personality, etc.

Many times in his still young life, I’ve told our youngest son who is very much into music and a musician, that I feel sorry for those who think the music is just about the music. No! All things point to the Creator of those things, and only in understanding that can we truly enjoy them for what they are, no more, no less. Bach knew it was about much more than just his music, which is why he signed all his works, soli deo gloria, to God alone be the glory!

The Bee Nails It: ‘Why Do Good Things Happen At All?’ Asks Atheist Struggling With His Faith

The Bee Nails It: ‘Why Do Good Things Happen At All?’ Asks Atheist Struggling With His Faith

If I had to play a one-note Samba in apologetics it would be the consideration of the Alternative. In my last post I mentioned a Christian who advertised his “deconversion” on Facebook, and suggested he might want to put his new alternative faith on trial as much as he did Christianity. The Bee’s headline reveals something most most people, including Christians, have probably never considered: atheists are people of faith too! They are “believers” every bit as much as Christians. Unfortunately, while Christians are referred to  as “believers,” those who are not Christians are referred to as “unbelievers,” as if such at thing existed. In our modern secular culture this is a problem, as I will explain. Let’s see how the Bee explains our fictional atheist’s struggle:

Sources say that Marcus often says that he’s just a random collection of atoms and chemical reactions—that he’s just ‘dancing to his DNA’—but recently he just can’t seem to shake the idea that there’s more to his existence.

“What if it’s all a lie? What if atheism is just made up to make people feel smart and have a false sense of superiority?” Marcus cried out. “I mean obviously we’re just here by random chance, with no benevolent Being watching over us. But then again, why has a single good thing happened in anyone’s life—much less on a daily basis?”

(more…)

Have You Ever Tried to Kill a Fly?

Have You Ever Tried to Kill a Fly?

I’m not sure there is anything more annoying then a pesky fly, other than maybe a pesky mosquito. Recently one of those pesky flies somehow made its way into my office, and didn’t want to leave. Eventually, swatting it withy my hand wasn’t going to dissuade it from bothering me, so I pulled out the big stick, a rolled up newspaper. Numerous times as it landed I did my best to anticipate it’s next move, and slammed the newspaper where it was no longer. Finally I got it, but not completely. The injured fly did everything it could to flee from impending doom, but eventually the newspaper was too much, and it left the land of the living. I felt bad. I’d just taken a life, albeit an annoying one. It got me thinking of a conversation I had with a friend some time ago who asked me an unexpected question: Are you afraid of dying? Well, yes, I am, as a matter of fact. His response was stark: I’m not. I’ve wondered about that encounter ever since, and it came back to me as I watched the fly struggle for existence. (more…)

McCartney 3, 2, 1: Only God Can Explain Music!

McCartney 3, 2, 1: Only God Can Explain Music!

A few months back I wrote a piece with a similar title. The musician who helped make the argument without making an argument was Pat Metheny. I recently learned of an interview legendary producer (or so I’m told) Rick Ruben did with one of the two remaining Beatles, Paul McCartney, called McCartney 3, 2, 1. If you’re a Beatles’ fan, you will love it. I used to poo-poo nostalgia when I was younger even calling it the dialogue of the dead, but young stupid know-it-alls say such things. As I get older, and that is happening faster and faster, I find nostalgia, well, nostalgic! One definition of the word is a sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition. As such, nostalgia says something profoundly sad about the state of our fallen condition, even as it brings the joy of memories of times long past. (more…)

Are We Mere Matter? Logic and Mind Proves We Are Not

Are We Mere Matter? Logic and Mind Proves We Are Not

It’s amazing to me how many Christians in the 21st century live in a state of insecurity about their faith and the nature of reality. I’m not myself immune to the secular temptation that wafts unseen through the secular culture pushing material reality as the only reality. Mind you, I and very few other people believe that the universe and everything in it is somehow a product of mere matter and chance. Just ask anyone you come across if they believe that there is no God, and that the universe is a product of mere matter and chance, and 95 plus percent will say, no way! Yet most of them live as if God is absolutely irrelevant to their lives, practical atheists if you will. Yet we, if we’re honest, are tempted to live the same way. I know I am, which I why one of the verses most on my mind and lips and prayers is Paul’s declaration in Romans 1:20, that “God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Meditate on that, clearly seen, being understood from what has been made . . . . We just need to open our eyes! And we will know, God is. (more…)

Do You Want To See the Invisible God? Try This Thought Experiment

Do You Want To See the Invisible God? Try This Thought Experiment

Most mornings when I pray I find myself thanking God for revealing himself in creation, Scripture, and Christ. I think how futile existence is without God’s revealing himself to us. Without that revelation, the human race is like a blind man in a dark box groping around without any way out. Every which way he runs looking for an exit he only finds a hard, cold wall, so he looks and runs harder. The history of philosophy is a perfect picture of the endless futility inside the box, speculation built upon conjecture based on assumptions based on nothing but human reason or human senses. Such thinking will only take humanity as far as human reason and senses can go, which is far, but not outside the box. The brilliance of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle is a testament to just how far human thinking can take us, but soon descended into philosophies not nearly as brilliant, like Epicureanism, Stoicism, and Cynicism. Many other great thinkers came after, but without revelation it was all just a big intellectual food fight. (more…)