I recently read a book by Lawrence Krauss and another book by Richard Dawkins and they both quoted Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar who died in 1995. Back in 1994 on the tenth anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s death, I wrote Dr. Chandrasekhar a letter but never heard back from him. (A portion of that letter is below).


Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
Native name சுப்பிரமணியன் சந்திரசேகர்
Born 19 October 1910
Lahore, Punjab, British India (now in Pakistan)
Died 21 August 1995 (aged 84)
Chicago, United States
Residence United States, India
Citizenship United States, India
Fields Astrophysics
Institutions University of Chicago
Ballistic Research Laboratory
University of Cambridge
Alma mater
Thesis Polytropic distributions (1933)
Doctoral advisor Ralph H. Fowler
Arthur Eddington
Doctoral students
Known for
Notable awards

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, FRS[1] (Listeni/ˌʌndrəˈʃkər/; 19 October 1910 – 21 August 1995),[2] was an Indian American astrophysicist who was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics with William A. Fowler “for his theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars”. His mathematical treatment of stellar evolution yielded many of the best current theoretical models of the later evolutionary stages of massive stars and black holes.[3][4] The Chandrasekhar limit is named after him.

Chandrasekhar worked on a wide variety of astrophysical problems in his lifetime, contributing to the contemporary understanding of stellar structure, white dwarves, stellar dynamics, radiative transfer, the quantum theory of the hydrogen anion, hydrodynamic and hydromagnetic stability, turbulence, equilibrium and the stability of ellipsoidal figures of equilibrium, general relativity, mathematical theory of black holes and theory of colliding gravitational waves.[5] At the University of Cambridge, he developed a theoretical model explaining the structure of white dwarf stars that took into account the relativistic variation of mass with the velocities of electrons that comprise their degenerate matter. He showed that the mass of a white dwarf could not exceed 1.44 times that of the Sun – the Chandrasekhar limit. Chandrasekhar revised the models of stellar dynamics first outlined by Jan Oort and others by considering the effects of fluctuating gravitational fields within the Milky Way on stars rotating about the galactic centre. His solution to this complex dynamical problem involved a set of twenty partial differential equations, describing a new quantity he termed ‘dynamical friction’, which has the dual effects of decelerating the star and helping to stabilize clusters of stars. Chandrasekhar extended this analysis to the interstellar medium, showing that clouds of galactic gas and dust are distributed very unevenly.

Chandrasekhar studied at Presidency College, Madras (now Chennai) and the University of Cambridge. He spent most of his career at the University of Chicago, spending some time in its Yerkes Observatory, and serving as editor of The Astrophysical Journal from 1952 to 1971. He served on the University of Chicago faculty from 1937 until his death in 1995 at the age of 84.

Chandrasekhar married Lalitha Doraiswamy in September 1936. He had met her as a fellow student at Presidency College, Madras.

Chandrasekhar was the nephew of Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930.

He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1953.

Early life and education[edit]

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Chandrasekhar was born on 19 October 1910 in Lahore, Punjab, British India in a Tamil family, to Sitalakshmi (1891–1931) and Chandrasekhara Subrahmanya (1885–1960)[6] who was posted in Lahore as Deputy Auditor General of the Northwestern Railways at the time of Chandrasekhar’s birth. He was the eldest of their four sons and the third of their ten children. His paternal uncle was the Indian physicist and Nobel laureate C. V. Raman. His mother was devoted to intellectual pursuits, had translated Henrik Ibsen‘s A Doll’s House into Tamil and is credited with arousing Chandra’s intellectual curiosity at an early age.

Chandrasekhar was tutored at home initially through middle school and later attended the Hindu High School, Triplicane, Madras during the years 1922–25. Subsequently, he studied at Presidency College, Madras from 1925 to 1930, writing his first paper, “The Compton Scattering and the New Statistics“, in 1929 upon inspiration from a lecture by Arnold Sommerfeld and obtaining his bachelor’s degree, B.Sc. (Hon.), in physics in June 1930. In July 1930, Chandrasekhar was awarded a Government of India scholarship to pursue graduate studies at the University of Cambridge, where he was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, secured by Professor R. H. Fowler with whom he communicated his first paper. During his travels to England, Chandrasekhar spent his time working out the statistical mechanics of the degenerate electron gas in white dwarf stars, providing relativistic corrections to Fowler’s previous work (see Legacy below).

In his first year at Cambridge, as a research student of Fowler, Chandrasekhar spent his time calculating mean opacities and applying his results to the construction of an improved model for the limiting mass of the degenerate star. At the meetings of the Royal Astronomical Society, he met Professor E. A. Milne. At the invitation of Max Born he spent the summer of 1931, his second year of post-graduate studies, at Born’s institute at Göttingen, working on opacities, atomic absorption coefficients, and model stellar photospheres. On the advice of Prof. P. A. M. Dirac, he spent his final year of graduate studies at the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen, where he met Prof. Niels Bohr.

After receiving a bronze medal for his work on degenerate stars, in the summer of 1933, Chandrasekhar was awarded his PhD degree at Cambridge with a thesis among his four papers on rotating self-gravitating polytropes, and the following October, he was elected to a Prize Fellowship at Trinity College for the period 1933–1937.

During this time, Chandrasekhar made acquaintance with British physicist Sir Arthur Eddington. In an infamous encounter in 1935, Eddington publicly ridiculed the concept of the Chandrasekhar limit. Although Eddington would later be proved wrong, this encounter caused Chandra to contemplate employment outside the UK. Later in life, on multiple occasions, Chandra expressed the view that Eddington’s behavior was in part racially motivated.[7]

Career and research[edit]

Early career[edit]

In January 1937, Chandrasekhar was recruited to the University of Chicago faculty as Assistant Professor by Dr. Otto Struve and President Robert Maynard Hutchins. He was to remain at the university for his entire career, becoming Morton D. Hull Distinguished Service Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics in 1952 and attaining emeritus status in 1985. Famously, Chandrasekhar declined many offers from other universities, including one to succeed Henry Norris Russell, the preeminent American astronomer, as director of the Princeton University Observatory.

Chandrasekhar did some work at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, which was run by the University of Chicago. After the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research (LASR) was built by NASA in 1966 at the University, Chandrasekhar occupied one of the four corner offices on the second floor. (The other corners housed John A. Simpson, Peter Meyer, and Eugene N. Parker.) Chandrasekhar lived at 4800 Lake Shore Drive after the high-rise apartment complex was built in the late 1960s, and later at 5550 Dorchester Building.

During World War II, Chandrasekhar worked at the Ballistic Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. While there, he worked on problems of ballistics; for example, two reports from 1943 were titled, On the decay of plane shock waves and The normal reflection of a blast wave.[5] Chandrasekhar’s expertise in hydrodynamics led Robert Oppenheimer to invite him to join the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, but delays in the processing of his security clearance prevented him from contributing to the project. It has been rumored however that he was called to discuss and visit the Calutron project and was the individual responsible for suggesting that young women be used to operate the calutrons as they would do so more efficiently than the male scientists assigned to the task. Chandraskhar had used top performing female high school students from Williams Bay, Lake Geneva, Elkhorn and Burlington, Wisconsin to calculate immensely difficult mathematical equations entirely by long hand, and found that their abilities and vigilance were unparalleled. He then applied this first-hand knowledge with the talents of local “hillbilly high school girls” to speed up the slow-moving centrifugal Calutron project. This in turn allowed the enriched radioactive materials to be completed on time, in order to fashion the atomic weapons ultimately used to end the war. Without these raw materials, developed at the Y-12 National Security Complex these weapons never would have been tested or dropped on Japan.

Philosophy of systematization[edit]

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

He wrote that his scientific research was motivated by his desire to participate in the progress of different subjects in science to the best of his ability, and that the prime motive underlying his work was systematization. “What a scientist tries to do essentially is to select a certain domain, a certain aspect, or a certain detail, and see if that takes its appropriate place in a general scheme which has form and coherence; and, if not, to seek further information which would help him to do that.” [8] Chandrasekhar developed a unique style of mastering several fields of physics and astrophysics; consequently, his working life can be divided into distinct periods. He would exhaustively study a specific area, publish several papers in it and then write a book summarizing the major concepts in the field. He would then move on to another field for the next decade and repeat the pattern. Thus he studied stellar structure, including the theory of white dwarfs, during the years 1929 to 1939, and subsequently focused on stellar dynamics, theory of Brownian motion from 1939 to 1943. Next, he concentrated on the theory of radiative transfer and the quantum theory of the negative ion of hydrogen from 1943 to 1950. This was followed by sustained work on hydrodynamic and hydromagnetic stability from 1950 to 1961. In the 1960s, he studied the equilibrium and the stability of ellipsoidal figures of equilibrium, and also general relativity. During the period, 1971 to 1983 he studied the mathematical theory of black holes, and, finally, during the late 80s, he worked on the theory of colliding gravitational waves.[5]

Work with students[edit]

Chandra worked closely with his students and expressed pride in the fact that over a 50-year period (from roughly 1930 to 1980), the average age of his co-author collaborators had remained the same, at around 30. He insisted that students address him as “Chandrasekhar” until they received their Ph.D. degree, after which time they (as other colleagues) were encouraged to address him as “Chandra”.

Other activities[edit]

From 1952 to 1971 Chandrasekhar was editor of The Astrophysical Journal.[9] During the years 1990 to 1995, Chandrasekhar worked on a project devoted to explaining the detailed geometric arguments in Sir Isaac Newton‘s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica using the language and methods of ordinary calculus. The effort resulted in the book Newton’s Principia for the Common Reader, published in 1995. Chandrasekhar was an honorary member of the International Academy of Science.[citation needed]



  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1958) [1939]. An Introduction to the Study of Stellar Structure. New York: Dover. ISBN 0-486-60413-6.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (2005) [1942]. Principles of Stellar Dynamics. New York: Dover. ISBN 0-486-44273-X.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1947). Heywood, Robert B., ed. The Works of the Mind:The Scientist. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 159–179. OCLC 752682744.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1960) [1950]. Radiative Transfer. New York: Dover. ISBN 0-486-60590-6.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1975) [1960]. Plasma Physics. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-10084-7.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1981) [1961]. Hydrodynamic and Hydromagnetic Stability. New York: Dover. ISBN 0-486-64071-X.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1987) [1969]. Ellipsoidal Figures of Equilibrium. New York: Dover. ISBN 0-486-65258-0.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1998) [1983]. The Mathematical Theory of Black Holes. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-850370-9.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1983) [1983]. Eddington: The Most Distinguished Astrophysicist of His Time. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521257466.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1990) [1987]. Truth and Beauty. Aesthetics and Motivations in Science. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-10087-1.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1995). Newton’s Principia for the Common Reader. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-851744-0.


  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1943). Stochastic Problems in Physics and Astronomy. Reviews of modern physics.
  • Spiegel, E.A. (2011) [1954]. The Theory of Turbulence : Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar’s 1954 Lectures. Netherlands: Springer. ISBN 978-94-007-0117-5.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1983). On Stars, their evolution and their stability, Noble lecture. Stockholm: Noble Foundation.


Chandrasekhar had published around 380 papers[10] in his life time. He wrote his first paper in 1928 when he was still an undergraduate student and last paper was in 1995. The University of Chicago Press published the papers of Chandrasekhar in six volumes.

  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1989). Selected Papers, Vol 1, Stellar structure and stellar atmospheres. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226100890.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1989). Selected Papers, Vol 2, Radiative transfer and negative ion of hydrogen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226100920.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1989). Selected Papers, Vol 3, Stochastic, statistical and hydromagnetic problems in Physics and Astronomy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226100944.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1989). Selected Papers, Vol 4, Plasma Physics, Hydrodynamic and Hydromagnetic stability, and applications of the Tensor-Virial theorem. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226100975.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1990). Selected Papers, Vol 5, Relativistic Astrophysics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226100982.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1991). Selected Papers, Vol 6, The Mathematical Theory of Black Holes and of Colliding Plane Waves. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226101019.

Awards, honours and legacy[edit]

Chandra receiving Nobel Prize(1983)

Chandra receiving National Medal of Science from President Lyndon B. Johnson(1966)

Nobel prize[edit]

Professor Chandrasekhar was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for his studies on the physical processes important to the structure and evolution of stars. Chandrasekhar accepted this honor, but was upset the citation mentioned only his earliest work, seeing it as a denigration of a lifetime’s achievement. He shared it with William A. Fowler.

Other awards[edit]

An exhibition on life and works of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was held at Science City, Kolkata, on January, 2011.


Chandrasekhar’s most notable work was the astrophysical Chandrasekhar limit. The limit describes the maximum mass of a white dwarf star, ~1.44 solar masses, or equivalently, the minimum mass which must be exceeded for a star to ultimately collapse into a neutron star or black hole (following a supernova). The limit was first calculated by Chandrasekhar in 1930 during his maiden voyage from India to Cambridge, England for his graduate studies. In 1999, NASA named the third of its four “Great Observatories” after Chandrasekhar. This followed a naming contest which attracted 6,000 entries from fifty states and sixty-one countries. The Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on 23 July 1999. The Chandrasekhar number, an important dimensionless number of magnetohydrodynamics, is named after him. The asteroid 1958 Chandra is also named after Chandrasekhar. American astronomer Carl Sagan, who studied Mathematics under Chandrasekhar, at the University of Chicago, praised him in the book The Demon-Haunted World: “I discovered what true mathematical elegance is from Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.”

Chandrasekhar guided 50 students to their PhDs.[citation needed].

After his death, his widow Mrs. Lalitha Chandrasekhar made a gift of his Nobel Prize money to the University of Chicago towards the establishment of the Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar Memorial Fellowship. First awarded in the year 2000, each year, this fellowship is given to an outstanding applicant to graduate school in the Ph.D. programs of the Department of Physics or the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Chandrasekhar died of a sudden heart attack at the University of Chicago Hospital in 1995, and was survived by his wife, Lalitha Chandrasekhar, who died on 2 September 2013 at the age of 102.[18] In the Biographical Memoirs of the Fellows of the Royal Society of London, R. J. Tayler wrote: “Chandrasekhar was a classical applied mathematician whose research was primarily applied in astronomy and whose like will probably never be seen again.”[1]


Once when involved in a discussion about the Gita, Chandrashekhar said, “I should like to preface my remarks with a personal statement in order that my later remarks will not be misunderstood. I consider myself an atheist.”[19]

This was also confirmed many times in his other talks.[20]

In an interview with Kevin Krisciunas at the University of Chicago, on 6 October 1987, Chandrasekhar commented: “Of course, he (Otto Struve) knew I was an atheist, and he never brought up the subject with me”.[21]


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Tayler, R. J. (1996). “Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. 19 October 1910 – 21 August 1995”. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 42: 80–26. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1996.0006.
  2. Jump up^ Bio-Chandrasekhar
  3. Jump up^ Vishveshwara, C.V. (25 April 2000). “Leaves from an unwritten diary: S. Chandrasekhar, Reminiscences and Reflections” (PDF). Current Science. 78 (8): 1025–1033. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  4. Jump up^ Horgan, J. (1994) Profile: Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar—Confronting the Final Limit, Scientific American 270(3), 32–33.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c O’Connor, J. J.; Robertson, E. F. “Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar”. Biographies. School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews, Scotland. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  6. Jump up^ Chandrasekhar, S. 1983. Autobiography Nobel Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden.
  7. Jump up^ K.C. Wali, “Chandrasekhar vs. Eddington: An Unanticipated Confrontation”, Physics Today, vol. 35, no. 10, pp. 33–40 (October, 1982)
  8. Jump up^ The Works of the Mind, p.176, edited by Robert B. Heywood, University of Chicago Press, 1947.
  9. Jump up^ Helmut A. Abt (1 December 1995). “Obituary – Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan”. Astrophysical Journal. 454: 551. Bibcode:1995ApJ…454..551A. doi:10.1086/176507.
  10. Jump up^ “Publications by S. Chandrasekhar” (PDF). Indian Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  11. Jump up^ “Grants, Prizes and Awards”. American Astronomical Society. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  12. Jump up^ “Past Winners of the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal”. Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  13. Jump up^ “Winners of the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society”. Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  14. Jump up^ “Past Recipients of the Rumford Prize”. American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  15. Jump up^ National Science Foundation – The President’s National Medal of Science
  16. Jump up^ “Henry Draper Medal”. National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  17. Jump up^ “Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar Memorial Fellowship”.
  18. Jump up^ “Nobel laureate’s wife Lalitha Chandrasekhar dies at 102”. The Hindu. 2013-09-07. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
  19. Jump up^ S. Chandrasekhar: the man behind the legend, Kameshwar C. Wali. Imperial College Press (1 January 1997) ISBN 978-1860940385
  20. Jump up^ Kameshwar C. Wali (1991). Chandra: A Biography of Chandrasekhar. University of Chicago Press. p. 304. ISBN 9780226870557. SC: I am not religious in any sense; in fact, I consider myself an atheist.
  21. Jump up^ “Interview with Dr. S. Chandrasekhar”. American Institute of Physics.

Further reading[edit]

  • Miller, Arthur I. (2005). Empire of the Stars: Friendship, Obsession, and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-618-34151-X.
  • Srinivasan, G., ed. (1997). From White Dwarfs to Black Holes: The Legacy of S. Chandrasekhar. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-76996-8.
  • Wali, Kameshwar C. (1991). Chandra: A Biography of S. Chandrasekhar. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-87054-5.
  • Wali, Kameshwar C., ed. (1997). Chandrasekhar: The Man Behind the Legend – Chandra Remembered. London: imperial College Press. ISBN 1-86094-038-2.
  • Wignesan, T., ed. (2004). The Man who Dwarfed the Stars. The Asianists’ Asia. ISSN 1298-0358.
  • Venkataraman, G. (1992). Chandrasekhar and His Limit. Hyderabad,India: Universities Press. ISBN 81-7371-035-X.
  • Saikia, D J.; et al., eds. (2011). Fluid flows to Black Holes. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Ptd Ltd. ISBN 981-4299-57-X.
  • Kameshwar, C Wali, ed. (2001). A Quest For Perspectives. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Ptd Ltd. ISBN 1-86094-201-6.
  • Kameshwar, C Wali, ed. (1997). A Man Behind the Legend. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Ptd Ltd. ISBN 1-86094-038-2.
  • Kameshwar, C Wali, ed. (2011). A Scientific Autobiography: S Chandrasekhar. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Ptd Ltd. ISBN 981-4299-57-X.

External links[edit]



Portion of my 5-15-94 letter to Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

On May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I attempted to send a letter to almost every living Nobel Prize winner and I believe  Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was probably among that group and here is a portion of that letter below:

I have enclosed a cassette tape by Adrian Rogers and it includes  a story about  Charles Darwin‘s journey from  the position of theistic evolution to agnosticism. Here are the four bridges that Adrian Rogers says evolutionists can’t cross in the CD  “Four Bridges that the Evolutionist Cannot Cross.” 1. The Origin of Life and the law of biogenesis. 2. The Fixity of the Species. 3.The Second Law of Thermodynamics. 4. The Non-Physical Properties Found in Creation.  

Evolution Fact of Fiction Adrian Rogers (same message I put on cassette tape back in 1994)

Uploaded on Nov 13, 2011

The Theory of Evolution Destroyed!!


Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.

In the first 3 minutes of the cassette tape is the hit song “Dust in the Wind.” Below I have given you some key points  Francis Schaeffer makes about the experiment that Solomon undertakes in the book of Ecclesiastes to find satisfaction by  looking into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

Schaeffer noted that Solomon took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.”

Here the first 7 verses of Ecclesiastes followed by Schaeffer’s commentary on it:

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.  

Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it.  Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.

Solomon doesn’t place man outside of the cycle. Man doesn’t escape the cycle. Man is in the cycle. Birth and death and youth and old age.

There is no doubt in my mind that Solomon had the same experience in his life that I had as a younger man (at the age of 18 in 1930). I remember standing by the sea and the moon arose and it was copper and beauty. Then the moon did not look like a flat dish but a globe or a sphere since it was close to the horizon. One could feel the global shape of the earth too. Then it occurred to me that I could contemplate the interplay of the spheres and I was exalted because I thought I can look upon them with all their power, might, and size, but they could contempt nothing. Then came upon me a horror of great darkness because it suddenly occurred to me that although I could contemplate them and they could contemplate nothing yet they would continue to turn in ongoing cycles when I saw no more forever and I was crushed.

Watching the film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? in 1979 impacted my life greatly

Francis Schaeffer in the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

Francis and Edith Schaeffer



Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Schaeffer noted that Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “ Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had and that “all was meaningless UNDER THE SUN,” and looking ABOVE THE SUN was the only option.  I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that.

Livgren wrote, “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Both Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981.  Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. Hope is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

Featured artist is John Feodorov

John Feodorov

John Feodorov was born in 1960 in Los Angeles, of mixed Native-American and Euro-American descent. Brought up both in the suburbs of Los Angeles and on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, Feodorov early experienced the cultural differences between his dual heritages. He also observed the stereotypes present in American culture at large, where Native Americans were idealized as the living embodiment of spirituality by New Age consumerists. His work addresses this clichéd modern archetype through a humorous interjection of “sacred” items into recognizable consumer products.

His kitschy Totem Teddy series, for instance, added masks and totemic markings to stuffed toy bears accompanied by booklets declaring the bears to “meet the spiritual needs of consumers of all ages!” He has said: “A major theme in my work is the way Native Americans are still being portrayed, stereotyped, and studied in contemporary America. I’ve read that the Navajo Nation is the most-studied group of people on Earth. I don’t know whether to be proud or disgusted.”

Feodorov mixes this analytical critique with installations and sculptural objects that are often whimsical, fantastic, and mythical, creating a new and sometimes genuine sense of the sacred—a sacredness for modern, fractured times. Feodorov holds a BFA in drawing and painting from California State University at Long Beach. He is also a musician and headlines the band Skinwalkers. He lives in Seattle.

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______________   George Harrison Swears & Insults Paul and Yoko Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds- The Beatles The Beatles:   I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 51 THE BEATLES (Part C, List of those on cover of Stg.Pepper’s ) (Feature on artist Raqib Shaw )

  The Beatles in a press conference after their Return from the USA Uploaded on Nov 29, 2010 The Beatles in a press conference after their Return from the USA. The Beatles:   I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 50 THE BEATLES (Part B, The Psychedelic Music of the Beatles) (Feature on artist Peter Blake )

__________________   Beatles 1966 Last interview I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking and writing about them and their impact on the culture of the 1960’s. In this […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 49 THE BEATLES (Part A, The Meaning of Stg. Pepper’s Cover) (Feature on artist Mika Tajima)

_______________ The Beatles documentary || A Long and Winding Road || Episode 5 (This video discusses Stg. Pepper’s creation I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking and writing about […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 48 “BLOW UP” by Michelangelo Antonioni makes Philosophic Statement (Feature on artist Nancy Holt)

_______________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: _____________________ I have included the 27 minute  episode THE AGE OF NONREASON by Francis Schaeffer. In that video Schaeffer noted,  ” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.” How Should […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 47 Woody Allen and Professor Levy and the death of “Optimistic Humanism” from the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS Plus Charles Darwin’s comments too!!! (Feature on artist Rodney Graham)

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 ___________________________________ Today I will answer the simple question: IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE AN OPTIMISTIC SECULAR HUMANIST THAT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOD OR AN AFTERLIFE? This question has been around for a long time and you can go back to the 19th century and read this same […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 46 Friedrich Nietzsche (Featured artist is Thomas Schütte)

____________________________________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: __________ Francis Schaeffer has written extensively on art and culture spanning the last 2000years and here are some posts I have done on this subject before : Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” , episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence”, episode 8 […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 45 Woody Allen “Reason is Dead” (Feature on artists Allora & Calzadilla )

Love and Death [Woody Allen] – What if there is no God? [PL] ___________ _______________ How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason) #02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer 10 Worldview and Truth Two Minute Warning: How Then Should We Live?: Francis Schaeffer at 100 Francis Schaeffer […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 44 The Book of Genesis (Featured artist is Trey McCarley )

___________________________________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: ____________________________ Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race?) Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical flow of Truth & History (intro) Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of History & Truth (1) Dr. Francis Schaeffer […]



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