Read Genesis 1:1-19; John 1: 1-5.
I studied science at university and taught, especially the biological sciences, at secondary and university level for a number of years. As mentioned earlier in my testimony I really got serious with God when I was 17 but was challenged by my growing knowledge in science and my Christian belief. After much meditation, thought and prayer I came to the conclusion that there was no conflict between the truth of science and the Christian faith; that the pursuit of knowledge in its purest form was actually the pursuit of truth. That science and mathematics in their purest form would reveal more of God as our creator. I have always felt that we should base our knowledge on the inspired word of God in the Bible but allow knowledge from other areas of scholarship to illuminate our understanding of God and the way in which He deals with us and His universe. This is especially true when we try to address the three important questions of life. Where have we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? The answer to such questions will govern our world-view. However, when considering knowledge from other subjects, especially science, it is important to distinguish rhetoric and opinion from real evidence.
We read in Gen.1:1 ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ But, possibly as a result of Dawkins published books, especially ‘The Blind Watchmaker’ and ‘The Selfish Gene’, and the publicity associated with them a recent survey discovered that only about one in two people in this country, although it varied with age group, believed that the Universe was created by a higher being. The other half considered that the universe, and all that is in it, just happened by accident and the chance interactions between matter. They believed this because they thought it was more scientific than to in invoke the need for a Creator God. For such people the biblical account of creation is more like a fairy story than a revelation of God. Of course for them God either does not exist or is not involved. They base their belief on science alone.
But is it true that true science disputes the existence of a Creator God?
Let us consider what scientists now say about the origin of the Universe. As Stephen Hawking has said: “Virtually every scientist now concedes that the universe and time itself had a beginning at some point in the past.” Scientists are now agreed that the universe began with an explosion that included light. Just as the Bible says in Gen.1:3 ‘ And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.’ The universe had a definite beginning and will have a definite end. It has been caused to exist by a cataclysmic explosion. Logically and ultimately the cause must be uncaused, timeless and immaterial – in fact God.
In the last few years astronomers and physicists have discovered some remarkable coincidences that makes our universe and our lives possible. For example: there is the so-called “cosmological constant,” which is the energy density of space. The number has to be balanced on a razors edge in order for the universe to exist. If it were larger by one part in a hundred million billion, billion, billion, billion galaxies and stars could never be formed if were smaller by the same amount the universe would have to collapse. To try to visualise this I want you to imagine you are in a space ship further out than the moon and you throw a dart at the earth and successfully hit a target that’s less than the width of a single atom. Scientists have discovered the same thing about the force of gravity and about the strong nuclear force that binds the nuclei of atoms together. If the nuclear force was decreased by one part in 10 thousand, billion, billion, billion, all we’d have in the universe would be hydrogen. No life would be possible. Lastly unless the number of electrons is equivalent to the number of protons to an accuracy of just one part in a trillion, trillion, trillion stars and therefore planets could never be formed.
It looks like the Universe is incredibly fine tuned for human life. Scientists embarrassingly call this the Anthropic Principle and they are struggling to know what to make of it. An article in an edition of the “New Scientist” some years ago states that ‘The Universe we live in seems to be a very unlikely place. Random processes and statistical fluctuations could easily have made it quite inhospitable to life’ It goes on to say: ‘Are we just lucky? Or is there some deep significance in the fact that we live in a universe that is just right for us?’ In his book ‘The Cosmic Blueprint’ the astronomer Prof. Paul Davies concludes that ‘the evidence for design is overwhelming.’
Astronomer George Greenstein says: “As we survey the evidence, the thought consistently arises that some supernatural agency must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled across scientific proof for the existence of a supreme being. Was it God who stepped in and so providentially created the Universe for our benefit?’’
So it would appear that there is scientific evidence, outside the Bible, that we live in a universe that has been created for purpose – to make our lives possible. So how can we relate this to what the Bible says about the origin of the universe? The origin of the universe required time, energy, space and matter but many physicists would now add also intelligence. All five of these are found in the Bible’s first ten words: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’. In the original Hebrew, the phrase translated ‘the heavens and the earth’ means everything that exists outside of God himself – and everything means exactly what it says, from galaxies to grains of sand, angels to asteroids, tigers to time, space to spiders, and light to the laws of physics. The Bible could hardly be more specific: it refers to ‘the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them’. It does not give us a detailed explanation of how creation took place, nor does it tell us precisely when it happened. Its main concern is to make it clear that the universe, including time, space and the laws of nature came into existence by divine command. God did not create because he had to, but because he chose to, and nothing in creation needs any justification beyond the fact that God willed it and brought it into being. What other reason could we demand when God is ‘exalted as head over all’ 1Chron.29:11 and ‘Wisdom and power are His’ Dan.2:20?
The universe exists to reflect the glory of its Maker, whose free, independent and sovereign will is the originating cause of all things. This explains why the laws of science are consistent throughout all of time and space. With no religious axe to grind, physicist Paul Davies, Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Adelaide, says, ‘It is hard to resist the impression that the present structure of the Universe, apparently so sensitive to minor alterations in numbers has been rather carefully thought out.’ The British scientist Sir John Houghton goes further: ‘The order and consistency we see in our science can be seen as reflecting orderliness and consistency in the character of God himself.’ Does it take any more faith to believe this than to believe that the amazing order, harmony and beauty we see in the natural world is a gigantic fluke, that life itself sprang into existence by chance, that logic is sheer luck and that the vast amount of information in living things, DNA, had no intelligent source?
C.S. Lewis concluded: ‘No philosophical theory that I have come across is a radical improvement on the words of Genesis, that “in the beginning God made heaven and earth”.’
May be Christian theology can now suggest to scientists that the Bible holds a clue as to what Stephen Hawking calls the ‘Theory of Everything’ explaining why the universe is exactly the way it is – if we discovered that says Hawking ‘…it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God.’ Recently I read that he has now given up the search. Professor Hawking, don’t give up searching for the answer is all around you, for God created everything, including you and me, and God is holding everything together by His love. That is indeed the mind of God. God’s love directed creativity explains why the universe is exactly the way it is. He knew and loved each one of us before the creation and he created a universe where we could live and have our being and ‘exalt him in the highest.’
He created us in our universe in love, so that we could have a loving relationship with him.
But what does all this mean for us today?
The Bible tells us that ‘God created man in his own image…’ Gen.1:27. This simple statement is profoundly relevant to our everyday lives. It explains precisely and uniquely why we can claim to have greater dignity than donkeys or dandelions. Francis Schaeffer hit the nail on the head when he said: ‘The Bible tells me who I am…suddenly I have value, and I understand how it is that I am different…A man is of great value not for some less basic reason but because of his origin.’
Our creation by the one who is ‘majestic in holiness’ Ex.15:11 explains why we have a sense of right and wrong. The Bible says even of those who reject God that the requirements of his holy law ‘are written on their hearts’ Rm.2:15. The conscience is ‘God’s calling card’, an inescapable reminder that we have a moral obligation to our Maker. This is why everybody whose thinking is straight knows that dishonesty, immorality, envy, greed and selfishness are wrong, and why their opposites are right.
Our creation by God relates directly to the value we place on other people. As Francis Schaeffer says, ‘If man is not made in the image of God, then nothing stands in the way of our humanity… Human life is cheapened.’ And I would add doomed. A world view that says we are all here as a result of an accident and mindless interactions of matter reduces us to atoms and molecules, leaving us free to treat each other in any way we choose in order to get what we want, from abortion on demand to euthanasia. If, on the other hand, we have been created by loving God who loves us, as the Bible says, then human life is sacred because it is sanctified and loved by God and therefore no matter what warts we or others bear we would treat each other in a way that reflects God’s love since we have been made in his likeness.
Where the present world is deluded into denying or ignoring a creator God it is faced with a multitude of unanswerable questions, such as: Why am I really here? We know we were created by God to exalt Him. What is the meaning of existence if I am just an accident? We know that we are wonderfully made in love and from love, and gain meaning from life through loving and trusting in that love. What is the point of striving for the future – death ends it all? We know that death is not the end since life is not an accident. Why care my neighbour I must get as much out of life for me while I can? No wonder there is an increase of depression, confusion, and despair in these sectors of mankind today.
A man who does not recognise a creator God in his life is denying himself the fullness of being for which he was intended. It was for this very reason that God sent Jesus to restore a right relationship with Him so that all who believe in him may know his love and salvation from a rebellious world and fulfil their destiny unto eternity.
Our creator God did not create us and then take no further interest in us. He is deeply interested in our lives and continues to create in us and through us. He not only ‘gives all men life and breath and everything else’ Acts 17:25, he ‘has compassion on all he has made’ Psm 145:9. Which is why He, because He is love, became incarnate in the body of Jesus who was crucified and resurrected in order to restore and redeem a relationship with Him which we messed up at some point in our history. What is more, to those who trust him he proves to be a ‘refuge and strength and ever-present help in trouble.’ Psm 46:1.
It is the testimony of millions of people over thousands of years that in times of pain, sorrow, loneliness, guilt, depression and confusion they have found that God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit to be a dynamic creative, liberating reality, bringing joy and peace where neither seemed possible. The time 12 years ago spent caring for my dying son certainly proved this to be the case.
If you find yourself in a spiritual desert feeling alone and without God, sorrowful, depressed or confused, or weighed down under the burden of guilt. Then believe both from the evidence of the Bible and recent developments in true science that you have a loving creator God, who is not only transcendent but immanent and available through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, who is yearning for you to receive his gifts of love, forgiveness and salvation, made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus, who is longing to create in you his peace and his joy so that through you he can create that peace and joy in the world around you. He is an ever present creative reality in your life and in my life. Let us really believe that and give the reality of our lives to him.