It’s physically impossible to read everything dealing with Christian thought but I do like to check out those things which claims to explain or challenge the Christian view of the world. Over the past several years TIME magazine has posed some pretty profound questions for the religious and irreligious alike; such as How Did Life Begin?,1 dealing with the age of the universe and how it was “created” or formed. Which naturally leads to questions as to the fate of the universe2 and how it will end?3 Alongside these intriguing questions then is the basic one of: What Does Science Tell Us About God? 4 (As opposed to using science to “dismiss” Him), and the more contentious one: Is the structure of the universe divinely engineered?
Any honest assessment of scientific research causes us to admit that our understanding of the universe is constantly changing; thus the theories intended to explain it’s origins are constantly challenged (by the scientific community), altered or discarded. This creates a dilemma for many as new discoveries in physics, cosmology and biology make the universe more understandable while opening up new unexplainable areas to scrutiny. Again raising the question: Does the ability to explain and understand certain aspects of “creation” undermine religious faith or reinforce it? The ancient writer of Psalms understood that, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4 While Paul asserted that, “…what may be known about God is plain… because God has made it plain… 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, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 Or as Johann Kepler, founder of physical astronomy maintained; studying the world and its processes is really, “Thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”5
One fairly constant hypothesis concerning the birth of the universe among the many conflicting possibilities and changing ideas is that of cosmic inflection, which postulates that just after the universe was born all of space went into overdrive, expanding outward with incredible force and speed – appropriately called the big bang theory. But even if this one aspect of our beginning were true, it doesn’t answer the question of: Where did the building blocks of life come from? Having the material components conducive to life still doesn’t create that life. Some believe the chemical building blocks from which evolution got its start must have been pre-existent in the primordial soup that covered the earth or were introduced into the mix through meteor showers. But even if that were possible, how did non-living molecules bond – in just the right sequences – to create that spark of self-sustaining life from non-living material?
The most promising test tube experiments which “seem” to “possibly” support the theory of random gathering of molecules into potential life-creating forces (energized by lightning strikes at precisely the same places the chemical compounds were gathered), were carried out under the best of conditions; pre-selected and brought together at the most advantageous times in the best possible concentrations – artificially manipulated to give the best possible chance of success. All this in an attempt to force a result matching a pre-conceived notion rather than observing the natural arrangement and configuration of these compounds.
In spite of this effort to promote the “natural” creation of life, the resulting material – according to Dr. Joyce of the Scripps Research Institute – never achieved a state of being “alive.” “Magical as it seems, it cannot replicate without a steady supply of pre-fabricated proteins. To qualify as living, a molecule would need to have the ability to reproduce without outside help.” (emphasis mine) Prompting reporter Madeline Nash to contend, “Some people will always hold to the belief that it’s a divine spark, not clever chemistry, that brings matter to life, and for all their fancy equipment, scientists have yet to produce anything in a test tube that would shake a fundamentalists faith.”6 And while true, that’s not the point; for until scientists can produce something from nothing or even something from previously unaligned compounds, they only prove that life is unique, its creation shrouded in mystery – its fragility and tenacity amazing and incomprehensible. “Indeed, the more scientists learn about it, the more extraordinary it seems.” (Nash)
Proponents of the big bang or expanding universe theory, (used to explain both the galaxies’ start and future collapse), hypothesize that the entire visible universe grew from a speck far smaller than a protein to a nugget the size of a grapefruit almost instantaneously; gathering surrounding material into it’s core and condensing it under tremendous pressure – being driven by a force characterized as “dark energy” – an imagined energy source needed to drive their theory. Finally exploding outward, the matter of the entire universe contained in this nugget came into being from almost nowhere in next to no time. The future collapse of this process reverting the universe back to its original featureless, infinitely large void. (Which sounds a lot like Genesis 1:1-3) Which if anything reinforces my belief in the God of creation as the vast complexity and variety of life powerfully argues for intelligent design and thus an intelligent designer. The principles used to devise and maintain the world naturally leading us to “discover” Him as well.
1How Did Life Begin? TIME Magazine, Madeline Nash reporting
2When Did The Universe Begin? TIME Magazine, co-written by Michael Lemonick and Madeline Nash
3How the Universe Will End - TIME Magazine, contributed by Michael D. Lemonick
4What Does Science Tell Us About God? TIME Magazine, from Robert Wright, editor of New Republic
5 Kepler’s quote taken from “Men of Science – Men of God”, an introductory study of many of the founding fathers of modern scientific disciplines; featuring 101Godly scientists for consideration; authored by Henry M. Morris
6 See 1
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