Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A Simulation of Exponential Growth and Decay of Population of Lilies in a Pond

The following link simulates the population growth and decay of three organisms. Try to make a system where all three organisms could live in a harmony without interference.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Life, a progress game

Extra Credits - Idle Games - How Games Scratch Yo…:

There is this game called idle games, but it is also known by another name, which I prefer: progress game. I came to know this game from a coworker of mine and I found the idea hilarious and amusing. Months passes by without such game cross my consciousness. Then comes this extra credit episode, one of the YouTube channel I'm subscribed to. In the mean time, I have been mediating the book of Solomon called Ecclesiastes.

Through all these I came to a conclusion. The same conclusion of many that Solomon reached. But I would phrase it in way that resonate more to me than the archaic phrase 'chasing after the wind'. Life is a progress game.

We are just hardwired to see numbers go up. We just came up with more sophisticated bar. Success, money, honor, glory, sex, offspring, power, love, fame. For some reason, I looked down at those metrics and told my self. I'm beyond that. My metrics are more sophisticated. My bars are less easily quantifiable, and less likely to be recognized as goals. I derived haught and snob from my sense of uniqueness and exclusivity. I value legacy. For legacy are stories, which I value too, written with my life as a pen and my decisions as it's ink. How profound I though to myself. But it is, like any other thing, just a bar.

So life is just a progress game. We live our life to see some obscure set of quantities goes up. But that's just it. We just like to see numbers go up. But if one had the slightest illusion like mine, that a legacy could remain, an impact might last, consider the words of the teacher: "I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun." NIV

Thursday, 18 December 2014


I took this picture in a sharehouse where I live during the weekdays. In the guest few weeks, it escaped me. Then I realized, there is a hole on the left side of the sink. Only after few seconds I realized. It is meant for a hot water tap.
Now put this in context. This happens in Indonesia, a place with only two seasons: wet summer and dry summer. Hot water system is not a necessity. Even middle up houses lack that. When a house have the luxury of heated water, most often it is only installed as an isolated system attached only to showers and nothing else. There is only an infinitesimal amount of reason to have a heated tap, which then begs the question: How could this basin be installed here in the first place?
It takes a very long series of unlikeliness, from having such item being chosen for purchase, up until the availability of it in stores in the first place. It is these oddities that never cease to amuse me in this country of mine.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Revelation, the act.

There are many ways that God uses to reveal himself to us. I would like to extend the meaning of the verb reveal here; more than just information, for me, to reveal is to manifest one's existence.

First and foremost, God revealed himself to the creation, through his creation, the act, the design, among many other things. The psalmist wrote: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." (Psalm 19:1 NIV). In accordance, an apostle also wrote: "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made." (Romans 1:20 NIV)

After the creation, God might have spoken to us face to face as implied in the Genesis chapter three narrative, depending on interpretation. Regardless, there was a significant degree of directness never experienced by living humans after the fall, save Jesus. So in the garden in Eden, God revealed himself to us, as in to disclose, in all his holiness, majesty and glory. However, that mode of revelation is not applicable to us anymore. Instead, God spoke to select few humans, closely resembling prophetic manners:

  • Cain (Genesis 4:3)
  • Noah (Genesis 6:13)
  • The Patriarch, beginning with Abram. (Genesis 12:1)
  • Moses, Ballaam, Samuel and the prophets.
  • Aaron, Eli and the priests
  • The apostles
(God indeed spoke to Jesus, more than just in prophetic manner though he is a prophet. But the list only contain creations.)

All these things, and others, are recorded in the bible. Beyond creation and prophecy, God also reveals through visions (Genesis 15:1), dreams (Genesis 20:3), conscience (Romans 2:15) and other personal experiences. Nevertheless, the bible is special in its place as a form of revelation. It is inerrant, infallible and even parts of it is sufficient for salvation (Acts 8:26-40).

When it comes to the sufficiency of the scripture, I always ask, sufficient for what? Sufficient for salvation, definitely. Sufficient for our curiosity, definitely not. As often coined, the bible is neither a science book nor a history book. Most importantly, it never claimed itself as either.

Through all the mean above and combined with gifts such as reason, more things could be revealed to us, just like how it has been done to the church fathers: Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin and hopefully, Michael Patton. Their writings, just like the bible, just like all other revelations, are valid and useful. And yet, they are not sufficient source of revelation, not inerrant, not infallible, cannot contradict the scripture, they have limited authority and are not to be the ultimate source of revelation.

I believe that is what sola scriptura means.


The post could be found at:

Monday, 10 March 2014

Chapter 6: Doubting the bible

19 And he struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they looked upon the ark of the Lord. He struck seventy men of them, and the people mourned because the Lord had struck the people with a great blow.

1 Samuel 6:19 Most Hebrew manuscripts struck of the people seventy men, fifty thousand men.

Intrigued by the footnote, I checked various commentaries, including the interlinear Bible, regarding the numbers. What I then discovered was a great debate with conflicting and irreconcilable views. It is obvious to both sides that the number seventy, fifty thousand, is an amount too great to be left without any explanations. However, scholars throughout the ages faces this issue in varying ways.

Most modern translation, like the one quoted above, simply brush the number fifty thousand aside as another copy error. Yet there are others who insist on the correctness of the number fifty thousand and provides differing explanations. However, to me, there is a greater question mind: is it possible that the Bible I am currently capable of accessing, aggregated through many non-primary sources and translated, contains fundamental, non-trivial, theological errors? Although I do believe sincerely that the Bible is infallible, I don't respect Bible translations and the current version of the Bible that we have now to the same degree.

After some pondering, I remembered a passage from the Bible:

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian[a] eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
    and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
    Who can speak of his descendants?
    For his life was taken from the earth.”[b]
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” [37] [c] 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.
Acts 8 NIV

For those who have never read Isaiah, it is one of the obscure book of the Bible that gets quoted often, but never finished by casual reader. And this is a time when even no book of the new testament is even written yet. But yet, he was saved through that obscure passage with the help of Philippi.

Now I would like to argue this way. Whatever pieces of the Bible we have at our hand, be it incomplete, full of errors and inaccurately translated, it will be made sufficient. With bountiful grace, God will send his spirits, his people, for all the knowledge and understanding you need, not only for your own salvation, but also for your evangelism.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Jubilee is a prophecy

And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. (Leviticus 25:10 ESV)

Most of modern people live off their salaries. They have a job and they earn their living from their employment. In ancient Israel however, most Israelis have lands and they earned their living from what they grow on it. Every once in a while, some might get poor and forced to sell their lands. Once they are without land, they don't have any means to make any good amount of money for themselves in the long run. It is like someone without education and working experience in today's world.

Now, every fifty year, in the year of Jubilee, all Israelites are to return all lands to their original owner. According to leviticus, there is no such thing as land purchase in Israel (with few exceptions). Only renting until Jubilee. The same case also apply to all Israelite bondman and slaves. They are all to be released in Jubilee and leviticus advised that prices are calculated with Jubilee in mind.

At first, I could make no sense behind this weird economic system. Only after a while I realized that the big idea is to embed social justice in the law. And for quite a while, that is all I could think about.

Suddenly, it struck me. Jubilee, like all the laws regarding sacrifices and burnt offering, are an object lesson. They are a shadow of things to come, a prophecy. Just like it is written in a letter for the Hebrews: "1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." (Hebrew 10  ESV)

The Jubilee are more than just a way for God to attest his ownership over the land of Israel and the Israelites whom he brought out of Egypt. Just like sacrifices are reminder of sins, this Jubilee were a reminder for the Israelites that there will be a true Jubilee when all of your their debts. Not the one towards their brothers and neighbours, but their debts to God upon their life from their sins, will be annulled and they be indebted no more. That the their true home, not the mere land of Canaan, but the former garden of Eden, the new Jerusalem on Zion, will be theirs once more. They can go home because they are not slaves of sins and death. 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Chapter 15: The Genocidal Wrath

Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ (1 Samuel 15:2-3 ESV)

Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; wage war against them until you have wiped them out.’ Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?” (1 Samuel 15:17-19 NIV)

'Holy genocide' has not always been an oxymoron throughout history. This, and a number of other archaic concepts has baffled many modern bible readers. Reading the narrative, one might think that God is a little bit cruel for punishing Saul because he failed to carry out such outlandish instructions to God's full satisfaction. If you think I am avoiding the elephant in the room, you are right. I'm dealing with it later. If you don't know what the elephant in a room is. It is an idiom.

Anger will summon the will for annihilation of the inciter in the beholder. And that is true for many beings including Gods, both Hebrew and Greek, men, animals and giants. Yes, giants. Naval Marshal General Isoroku Yamamoto was attributed to the quote "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant" after Pearl Harbor. The same with the proverb regarding treatment of animals: "You must never tickle a sleeping dragon!" Here is another more modern and relevant example: Forgetting instead of forgiving people that hurt us. This is done not only because forgetting is easier than forgiving, but also because it is also more feasible than murder.

Even in first of Samuel, the protagonist, if you allow me, also display this trait of obliterating anger. Further down in chapter 25, David, angered by Nabal of Carmel said: "May God deal with me [David], be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him[Nabal]!” The only reason Nabal household avoided demise was because Abigail, Nabal's wife, intervened.

It is interesting that in Abigail's plea, she said: "When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself." It is true that murderous intent will sprung inside of us as we rage. And that is because we are made in His image. But the Bible advises that not just because the intent is godly, we are to pursue it; for in deuteronomy, it is written of the Lord "Vengeance is mine." So that's fine if you have murderous intent while you are angry, but the proper reaction is actually forgiveness, not acting on it. This rule doesn't apply to one faithful reader of this blog though. His initial is YHWH.

One last example is of angry people is Saul. In chapter 22, Saul was angry with Ahimelek because he gave David "bread and a sword and inquiring of God for him, so that he [David] has rebelled against me[Saul] and lies in wait for me, as he does today?”" The consequences is, as you can guess, a genocide. "The king then ordered Doeg, 'You go and strike the priests down.' So Doeg, the Edomite, went and struck them down. That day he killed 85 men who wore linen aprons. He also killed the people of Nob with his sword. Nob was a town where priests lived. Doeg killed its men and women. He killed its children and babies. He also destroyed its cattle, donkeys and sheep."

Doeg, just like Saul, understood perfectly that revenge is a dish best served steaming hot from the oven, and in generous servings. So when God, through Samuel, commanded Saul regarding the holy genocide, there is not a question, whatsoever, that there were anything lacking from the instruction. Relative to their culture, such order is neither strangely cruel, nor uncommon. Understanding this, we could see what the author is trying to say: Saul has failed to obey.

Relative, is the elephant in the room. In these days, genocide is something that is more than just frowned upon, especially after the holocaust. Most modern bible readers have developed a sense of right and wrong, good and bad, independent of the scripture. And from humanistic moral compass, the genocide of the Amalekites was, inhumane, immoral, bad, and wrong. It doesn't fit the new-testament-father-figure God that is love.

Now I have no imagination that what I am going to write is the definitive answer, nor that it solves the paradox. The only thing I can offer is a new perspective on the genocidal wrath of a loving god.

I would like to tackle this issue by asking ourselves a question: what is the default? Well, the easy answer is that the Amalekites shouldn't have to die. Not only them, no one should die, everyone should live life forever, just like how Eden was before the fall. And that is perfectly true, but something went wrong. Humanity fell into sin, which wage is death.

Now then let me twist the question a little bit. Given that humanity fell into sin, again, what is the default? The answer is the extinction of the human race. The big question shifts from: why was Amalekites annihilated? To: Why is was it only Amalekites, Sodom, Gomorrah, Jericho, and few others, that was annihilated, and not the Israelites and the rest of the world as well? 

The answer is that God loves the world so much that he gave his one and only son as a retribution for the sin of the world that it might not perish. Let me take you to a detour for a moment. I believe you have ever feel anger in your life. Abusive parents and teachers, backstabbing friends and betrayers, unfairness of this world. Violent criminals to frauders, ponzi schemers and swindlers, cheating spouses, rapist and child molesters. Authorities abusing their powers, wars, terrorist, poverty, climate changes and 'good' people doing nothing. Whatever tick your nerves, if you hold on to that gut burning feeling just for a second, that is exactly how God feels towards you and the rest of the world. This is what mercy means, that God is holding his genocidal wrath and only then we could grasp the idea that only by grace we are alive.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

1 Samuel 16: I love my God of Dramatic Suspense

The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” (1 Samuel 16:1 ESV)

The more I read the bible, the more I realize that the Lord our God has a number of quirky habits. One is that he loves two things, among many others. They are: us, humans; and dramatic suspense. For example, in the above verse, God could very easily have said this instead: "for I have provided for myself a king from David, his youngest son." However, for the sake of justice, beauty, love, mercy, holiness and his own glory, all at the same time, he chose to purposely withhold this piece of vital information instead, creating a suspenseful dramatic tension. It is like the last few minutes of an episode in a TV series.

And it is not just in this specific chapter, nor in the writings of Samuel. In fact, its ubiquitousness throughout the protocanonical books (which I have not finished reading as of now) convince me that it is indeed a motive. We can find it Genesis 3:15 "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”" In that verse, two of the most practical and relevant information for humankind are missing. 1. Which offspring? 2. When will it happen? It took around four thousand years, according to some estimates, for anyone to know that it is Jesus the Christ, son of Mary, that will bruise the serpent's head. On top of that, we still don't know when.

To bring it even further, it could be inferred that all prophecies are creating dramatic tensions. Now, scholars have come up with a plethora of explanations of why would God use this plot device upon us. The most common one goes like this: that we may rely upon him on each and every step in our life. If we know everything from the beginning, we would rely on him less along the way, at least in terms of knowledge and decision making. I guess that could be true (although to me, it sounds like what an insecure girlfriend would do).

But for me, when I read this verse, the most important detail for me personally is not the answer to: Why does God play favoritism with this particular trope. Instead, it is the discovery that my chosen Lord, which conveniently happened to be God, is the God of Dramatic Suspense; among other things like the universe and ancient Israel. I do honestly find this habit of God to be cute and adorable, although some people might find it bratty and annoying. But nevertheless, I choose to love my God, however cheeky he might be, although in this case it is easy.

When it comes to other discoveries, like his jealous tendency (Exodus 20:5) and genocidal burst (1 Samuel 15:3), something the present me is not comfortable with, I still choose to love him regardless. Because "he first loved us" (1 John 4:9).

Tuesday, 21 January 2014


Let's start with a story. A cell group in my church decided a straight forward, no drama bible reading program. Everyone in the cell group would read the same bible chapter everyday. Not the same chapter again and again, everyday, but the same chapter would be read by everyone. And on the next cell group meeting, everyone would have read the same seven consecutive bible chapter. Let's just hope its not Psalm 119.

Before we knew it, interesting things began to happen. People started understanding and analyzing the bible in a different way as each person offered their own petit narrative reading based on their experiences. Numerous new perspectives and outlooks were opened. The verses, scrutinized; novel questions asked; and revelations descended.

Soon after, the pastor began to implement the same reading program in every cell group and my group have chosen the First of Samuel.

In this blog you can find those inspiration that I found while reading the bible with my cell group, and maybe other random stuff. Thanks for reading.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Chapter 4: God matters

Reading the old testament, one might be led to believe that the ancient Israelites got so many things wrong about God. In a sense that's true. But they got a number of things right as well.

Let's start from what they got wrong. These people thought they can manipulate God. "And when the people came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it[a] may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” " (1 Samuel 4:3 ESV) According to their line of thoughts, if they could bring God to the front line, in the face of danger, they could summon his favourable interference. They believe that God will take action if they put God's honour and glory at stake. They treated the ark as a sort of amulet. They saw religious practices as puppet strings that could move the hand of God as they saw fit. How mistaken.

The scripture recorded the impact "So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell. And the ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died." (1 Samuel 4:10-11 ESV). However, as we see later in the narrative, though God's ark was captured, God let not his glory be desecrated. " They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.” For there was a deathly panic throughout the whole city. The hand of God was very heavy there." (1 Samuel 5:11 ESV) In whatever city the ark was placed in, be it Ashdod, Gath or Ekron, calamities befell upon the Philistines. From the shattering of Dagon statue, to the numerous death, epidemic tumour and the plague of rats, the Philistines realises that though they might win against the Israelites, selling the men as slaves (1 Samuel 4:9), their victory  over the Israelites could serve as no testament against their might over Israelites' God.

In the era of relative abundance, less and lesser Christians, especially in developed nations, perceive God as a source of material blessing. As our needs shift from the physiological to the psychological-spiritual spectrum, modern Christians long for solace and comfort for the soul from the divine. In our spiritual encounter, we strife to be genuine and true in our feelings and motivations to develop a real and holistic relationship with God. Following the permeation of post modernistic and critical theorist ideas such as reflexivity from the liberal arts, the degree of honesty in Christian writings is on a steady increase.

However, there are things that the ancient Israelites got right that is also missing in today society. That is that God matters. Many terrible things came to Eli the priest that day. "He who brought the news answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great defeat among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.” " (1 Samuel 4:17 ESV) Among the three articles in the news: the great defeat and slaughter in the front line, the prophetic fulfilment of his sons untimely death and the captured ark. It is the final one that hit Eli the hardest. " As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years." (1 Samuel 4:18 ESV)

A very similar narrative is also presented through Eli's daughter in law experience where she named her own newborn " ... child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed[b] from Israel! ... for the ark of God has been captured.” " (1 Samuel 4:22 ESV). The Israelites, though their worship lacked sincerity since they loved not their God, though they are egoistic and materialistic self-lovers who indulged themselves upon injustice without a shred of care and mercy over the underprivileged, though they dared to think that their outward superficial religious practices could appease and bend the Lord's will to their whim, they knew fully well that if, if their God, the creator of heaven and earth and their contents, were to depart from them, all hope is lost.

When the ark of the covenant, symbolizing the presence of God, was captured, the whole Israelites, just like Eli and his daughter in law, fell into despair. Their sole and ultimate protection and protector had gone. There was nothing on the land, from Dan to Beersheba, that had the power to halt the advances of Philistines or any other threats against Israel. The days of the tribes of Jacob were counted. Soon, they would be slaughtered; survivors would be chained into captivity; the land, desolate; and Israel, no more.

Such regards of God has lost its place in today's world. When the direct influence of God over the matter of life and death seems unapparent, we tend to lose focus on the idea of eternal life and eternal damnation. Unlike the ancient Israelites, we tend to perceive God as a very nifty spiritual accessories for our soul and not a foundational core column. If anything, First of Samuel, chapter four, reminds me that God matters.