In March of 2014, as reported on the British Broadcasting Corporation, Dr. Pierre-Thomas Brun, a French physicist researching at the EPFL, a federal institute of technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, delivered a remarkable presentation about the actual physics and mathematical equations that clearly explain how a cowboy twirls a rope (also called a lasso or lariat).
Dr. Brun’s presentation was to the American Physical Society which includes in its mission statement the desire to… “Be the leading voice for physics and an authoritative source of physics information for the advancement of physics and the benefit of humanity.”
Bottom line: breaking the physics and mathematical codes for rope twirling is a big deal. I don’t rightly know how the physics behind a cowboy’s lariat loop will benefit humanity, but it’s got to be more beneficial than the physics behind thermo-nuclear or biochemical warfare, or any number of similar studies!
Cowboys and the laws of physics
Here’s the key point. There are mathematical laws of physics that enable the cowboy to twirl his giant loops. The rope-twirler has got to be a “good” cowboy because he works hard to “obey” those laws. If he didn’t, his loop would lag and drag on the ground, and he’d never master the challenging “Texas Skip.”
That the laws of physics do exist demands answers to why and how?
Modern education is uncomfortable with those questions. And Charles Darwin, if he was still alive, could explain why they’re uncomfortable, thanks to his theory (not a law) of evolution. So could Frederick Nietzsche, the late 19th century philosopher who made popular the saying, “God is dead.” Under the influence of these and other influential atheistic thinkers, modern education does not want to think that physical laws were created by God.
The cowboy and the code of the West
As popularized in print and film, the “real” cowboy believed in and obeyed the law. Cowboys who didn’t were called outlaws. Living as a law-abiding cowboy was to live by the “code of the West.”
When you shift from laws that govern how a rope twirls, to laws that govern human behavior, you’ve shifted from physical to societal, and then ultimately, to spiritual law. That takes you from the code of the West to the code—or law—of God!
How do you reason from law to lawgiver?
Let’s start with something we know—the origin of societal law. Take a classic cowboy state like Montana whose laws originate in Helena, the state capital. The laws are created by the state legislature—part of the state government which also enforces them through its judicial branch. Even though human laws are imperfect and imperfectly enforced, the logic of the law-making process is clear.
Now consider the “unknown”—the origin and force of the laws of physics. Like the existence of state laws, physical laws require there to be a lawgiver and sustainer—one who is more powerful than the universe. The more we learn about deep space and all its galaxies, the more we see it governed by the same laws of physics we live by. Thus, the only logical conclusion for the existence of the laws of physics is the true Lawgiver, the God of the Bible.
From physical laws to spiritual laws
Man studies and uses the laws of physics—which God made. And man is driven to make societal laws (imperfect as they may be) to govern human behavior—or, morality. So it’s supremely logical to reckon that God not only created the physical laws, but more importantly, the perfect spiritual laws that govern mankind’s behavior—our relationships with each other and with God, in essence, true, spiritual morality.
You can understand why God’s morality grieves some people. It’s because human nature resents guilt feelings—and, we are all guilty. We live in a society largely based on sin (which sadly explains our world today). Notice this: the Bible states that “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4 1 John 3:4Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
American King James Version×, King James Version). And it also involves you and me because “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
American King James Version×). Yet there is a way forward.
White hats and riding into the sunset
In early western films the good cowboys wore white hats and rode off into the sunset. That symbolized the ongoing adventure of doing right and standing for justice. The Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy were two classic, screen “cowboy” examples back in the day. There’s a lesson here: God would have us all become “good cowboys” whether we twirl ropes or not.
First, we must prove God exists—and “law demands a Lawgiver” is one of the primary proofs. Then we recognize how we’ve personally fallen short of God’s law and begin to change our ways—that’s called repentance in the Bible. Finally, someone must stand for justice—and Jesus Christ did that for us. Through His death and resurrection He paid the penalty for our sins and opened the door into the magnificent, eternal Kingdom of God—and that’s like riding into the sunset, only infinitely better!