Rediscovering Redemption

Chronicling the work of Redemption in the lives of Followers and Leaders. Articles, research and meditations from the writings of Dr. Joseph J. Bucci. Get blog updates by following Joe on Twitter @Re_Redemption

Joseph J. Bucci

I’m No Einstein? Well Maybe.

The God of the Universe and beyond is mighty and sovereign. Mary, the lowly young woman chosen to be the mother of the Redeemer of mankind, when stepping back to grasp the fullness of God’s plan and her part in it, proclaimed, “for the Mighty One has done great things for me– holy is His name!” (Luke 1:49, NIV). It is a privilege to be part of God’s sovereign plan to bless others; and many with humble spirits recognize this in hindsight after God crafts His amazing design through some of the most difficult circumstances of our short lives.

It is very easy in hindsight to identify God’s design once the final product is on display. But as the Great Potter (see Jeremiah 18 and Isaiah 29:16), often times things are turned upside down; and we cannot see the end from the beginning in the midst of our most difficult circumstances. That is how it was for Albert Einstein.

According to several sources (Davis, 2003; Küpper, 2014), Albert Einstein was born in Germany to a poor Jewish family. He received his education at home; and then at a Catholic school in Munich, Germany (Küpper, 2014). Several sources noted that Einstein did not perform well in school, somewhat due to the process of formal education at the time; but also due to his creative nature. He challenged prevailing theories and asked lots of questions which came against the structure of education that existed at that time (Davis, 2003; Küpper, 2014). He eventually left school and moved with his family to Italy. Later Einstein applied to attend a prestigious polytechnic school in Zurich two different times. The first time his results were insufficient and he needed remedial help (Küpper, 2014). Once he received a certificate he applied again to this school with the goal of becoming a teacher in math and physics (Küpper, 2014). He received his degree but was repeated turned down for assistantships at a number of universities. It seemed that no one wanted to hire Einstein as a junior professor or even to sign off on his doctoral thesis. He became frustrated and wasn’t even sure he would continue in teaching and research (Davis, 2003). He considered at one point a job in the insurance business to support his family.

Einstein could not find a teaching post after almost 2 years of searching. Finally with the help of a former classmate’s father, Einstein was able to get a job in Bern, Switzerland at the Federal Office for Intellectual Property – also known as the patent office. Einstein’s college friend Michael Besso worked at the office as well. they formed a weekly discussion club on science and philosophy jokingly named the Olympia Academy. While working in this role in to the Patent office, initially in a probationary position, Einstein worked on his research and his doctoral thesis (Küpper, 2014). After being turned down again for a position at the University of Bern, he was finally successful in obtaining a position to teach at the University level. Within seven years he would publish his first formal work on his Theory of Relativity, which investigates light deflection due to the gravitational fields of different planetary systems. By 1921, twelve years removed from his probationary job, this former “technical expert – third class” at the Bern Switzerland patent office would win the Nobel Prize for Physics (Küpper, 2014).

According to Michael Davis (2003), Einstein looked to the Lord of Heaven for inspiration and ideas (Davis, 2003, p.19). Davis quoted one Einstein biographer who seemed amazed when finding that Einstein himself said, “Ideas come from God. You cannot command the idea to come, it will come when it is good and ready” (Davis, 2003, p.19). Another biographer quoted one of Einstein’s most notable saying: “God does not throw the dice” (Küpper, 2014). Does this suggest that Einstein knew God or Christ? This is disputed by two sources. One, cited in the Washington Times (Ernst, 2015), declared that Einstein was no atheist, based on the contents of 27 letters which were auctioned off by a group called “Profiles in History” out of Los Angeles (Ernst, 2015). Another author, in reviewing these letters, says that all they prove is that Einstein was an Agnostic. One thing is for sure: Einstein’s life proved that God is sovereign, that His ways are above our ways, that the knowledge of His systems makes the complexity of the universe mind-blowing and not random; and that He alone will accomplish His purposes on earth, whether we choose to recognize this or not. Who else would enable a patent clerk to grow to become a Nobel prize winner?

After the 1986 Challenger disaster, when the Shuttle spaceship exploded in midair during the first minute of take-off, one news writer summarized the events of the disaster and the days following with the words he heard from a street preacher in Times Square. The writer recalled the preacher saying that “our lives are but a vapor,” referencing the letter of James, chapter 4, verse 14: “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14 NASB). It seems that in the original language, that Greek word translated “just” (gar) is a conjunction assigning reason, and could also be translated “even” or “assuredly” or “indeed.” Indeed, our lives are brief in form and substance here on earth. But we are part of an everlasting Kingdom; and our works on earth will establish our rewards in Heaven (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10 NIV). And even in disaster, the Challenger flight revealed important lessons which changed the course of science and of history; just as the life and work of Albert Einstein did. God has shown great kindness to us, in not only giving us opportunities for service, but preparing works for us to do in advance (Ephesians 2:10, NIV). God is able to do “immeasurably more” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV) through us to accomplish His purposes, more than we might ask or imagine. Only God can turn a patent clerk into one of the greatest scientific minds in history. We then can proclaim with the prophet Isaiah, that “you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand” (Isaiah 64:8). If God could do all of this through the life of a lowly patent clerk, imagine what He has in store for you!

Bibliography:
* Albert Einstein: The man behind the theories. (2008). Minneapolis, MN: Filiquarian.
* Davis, M. R. (2003). The Christian entrepreneur. Mobile, Ala.: Evergreen Press.
* Ernst, D. (2015, June 11). Albert Einstein was no atheist; 27 letters up for auction show ‘he believed in God’. The Washington Times. Retrieved February 13, 2016, from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/11/albert-einstein-was-no-atheist-27-letters-up-for-a/.
* Küpper, H. (2014). Einstein Biography. Retrieved February 13, 2016, from http://www.einstein-website.de/z_biography/biography.html.
* Mehta, H. (2015, June 14). Did Albert Einstein Believe in God or Not? Friendly Atheist Blog. Retrieved February 13, 2016, from http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/06/14/did-albert-einstein-believe-in-god-or-not/.

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Joseph J. Bucci

Biography link below: https://www.regent.edu/faculty/d-b-a-joseph-j-bucci/
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