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Lessons From Creation

by Kevin Ford
Photo by Benjamin Voros on Unsplash
 

The Apostle Paul proposed an interesting challenge to the skeptics of his day.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made…..” (Romans 1:20).

In our modern scientific age many feel it has become harder to maintain faith in God. In fact, no previous age has been witness to so many demonstrations of God’s supreme power and creative genius. In past eras people wondered at the mystery of human conception and birth; we can now watch every minute stage of the incredible miracle of a human fetus being conceived and developing in its mother’s womb. What was once merely puzzling by its mystery is now awe-inspiring by its observance.

Biochemistry now reveals that what were once thought to be relatively simple processes, such as the clotting of blood or the forming of images on the human retina, are actually of mindboggling complexity.

Knowledge of itself need never lessen our sense of awe and wonder at the beauty that exists in our world. A trained musician with an understanding of sonata form and the principles of harmony can still be overwhelmed by a Beethoven symphony; a physicist with a thorough knowledge of the laws of refraction can still be moved by the beauty of a sunset.

Theologian C.S. Lewis, in discussing what can be known about God from His creation, wrote: “If we used the universe as our only clue, then I think we should have to conclude that He was a great artist (for the universe is a very beautiful place), but also that He is quite merciless and no friend to man (for the universe is a very dangerous and terrifying place” (Mere Christianity, p.35). If this seems a harsh judgment, remember that he used the phrase “our only clue.” If we consider the earth as an alternative clue, what we learn about God changes dramatically, for the “Blue Planet” is wonderfully designed as a home for mankind.

The list of amazing coincidences is impressive: the ideal distance from the sun, a 23-degree axis tilt (to provide changing seasons), an accompanying moon, whose gravitational pull stabilizes the rotation and inclination of the earth as well as creating tidal activity; an ozone layer to shield us from harmful solar rays; the list goes on and on. There is even the presence of a nearby giant planet (Jupiter) whose gravitation diverts the comets and asteroids which might otherwise endanger the earth. No wonder that even atheistic scientists now acknowledge that if only one of a thousand variables were lacking, life on earth would not exist.

“Taken one by one, these conditions already look like unlikely accidents. Taken together, they elevate the Blue Planet to the level of a probably unique phenomenon, a miracle of balance between a thousand variables which should never have come together”. L’actualité, Aug. 2001, p.25, emphasis ours).

For thousands of years, human beings have gazed up into the night sky with wonder, and seen in it the handiwork of a great Creator.

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You visit him” (Psalm 8: 3-4) NKJV.

We don’t know how much King David really understood of what he was seeing. It is unlikely that he realised the moon to be about one-fourth the diameter of Earth, or that one day men would walk on its surface. He may have imagined the stars to be small points of light only a few miles above the earth’s surface. Our increased understanding of the nature of the universe, however, should only give us an even greater awe for God’s creative power, for as the frontiers of knowledge move constantly outward, their discoveries only become more sensational.

Is it less or more impressive to learn that some of these “points of light” are so immense that if the giant star Antares were in the position of our sun, the earth’s orbit would be within its surface?

Some years ago, Margaret Geller and John Huchra, senior scientists at the Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, undertook an ambitious project to map a section of the universe. Using state-of-the-art technology, they were able to create a three-dimensional computer-generated image of more than a thousand galaxies, including our own Milky Way. The results were included on a recent public television program and showed, in Geller’s own words, “an astounding pattern.”

At the centre of the mapped region, over a distance of hundreds of millions of light-years, the galaxies form the outline of a “matchstick man”, a colossal humanoid figure with arms outstretched. Just imagine, the links of the matchstick figure are entire galaxies!

Just a remarkable coincidence?

Artists customarily sign a painting when it is completed. Was the universe itself signed off with an artistic flourish?

Jesus put the question to His disciples, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”.

For most of humanity, the answer will, sadly, be no; but for us - Christians with eyes to see and hearts to comprehend - there is surely no excuse.

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