PAGES OF HUMAN HISTORY
Who among us has not gazed up into a cloudless sky at night and wonder – why are we here? What is our place in this universe? What is the purpose of life? What are we on Earth for? Is history merely a series of events whose total sum is meaningless? Or, is there a providential plan of which we are, however humbly, the agents? Is this life all there is, or is there something more?
If there is something more, how should awareness of that ‘something’ impact our lives? Are we missing a vital perspective when we review the pages of human history?
What is our destiny, and is that destiny inextricably linked with the existence of a divine being? Does God really exist? Is He real; does He live and if so, what is He like? Does He have a plan for us?
THE STORY OF CREATION
Skeptics over the ages have asked repeatedly, “if there is a God, why doesn’t He reveal himself?”
You may have sought answers to all these questions on your own journey through life. You may have read dozens of books and queried learned people of all stripes, each with their own views and conclusions. But what you may discover is that most clues can actually be found in the Holy Book starting with Genesis – the story of Creation.
Let’s examine these matters from the beginning of that story. The idea that the Universe exploded into being is often what scientists call the ‘Big Bang’, or literally – the moment of Creation. Curiously enough, this event is also the biblical explanation for the origin of the universe.
The first statement in the Bible is clear as to its (and our) origin: “In the begin ning God created the heavens and the earth.” Here, the Creator, estab lishes the premise for everything else that follows.
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WHAT LEARNED MEN SAY
Most of us feel unqualified to weigh the mysteries of the universe – that we would be wasting our time. But is that really true? After all, people have asked questions relating to their existence since the dawn of man’s history yet rarely have they been so well-expressed by some eminent scientists, historians and philosophers of our age. Here are a few.
Dr. Robert Jastrow is a founder and former Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is a former professor of astronomy and geology at Columbia University in New York. A learned individual, Jastrow doesn’t hesitate to speak his mind, particularly when it comes to discoveries that discomfit other fellow scientists and their not-too-objective reactions to such findings. Jastrow has even boldly noted that “… scientific discoveries and the Book of Genesis have much more in common than many of my colleagues are willing to admit.” This coming from a man who is a self-confessed agnostic.
A prolific science writer, particularly in the fields of astronomy, cosmology and space exploration, Jastrow explains that, “The astronomical proof of a Beginning places scientists in a rather awkward position, for they believe that every effect has a natural cause, and every event in the Universe can be explained by natural forces working in accordance with physical law. Yet science can find no force in nature that might account for the beginning of the Universe; and it can find no evidence that the Universe even existed before that moment.” To this, British astronomer E.A Milne adds, “We can make no proposition about the state of affairs in the beginning; in the Divine act of creation, God is unobserved and unwitnessed.”
Consider Job 38:4 which has the Creator saying, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.”
Jastrow and Milne are not alone in this observation. Albert Einstein also marveled at the order and harmony he and his fellow scientists observed throughout the universe. He noted that the religious feeling of the scientist “takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it all, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.” Imagine that, utterly insignificant.
Then, there is Paul Davies, a professor of mathematical physics at Australia’s University of Adelaide, who also has this to say on the subject of a Divine Being’s existence, “Through my scientific work I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as brute fact. There must, it seems to me, be a deeper level of explanation. Whether one wishes to call that deeper level ‘God’ is a matter of taste and definition. I believe that we human beings are built into the scheme of things in a very basic way.”
In his book ‘A Quest for God’ historian Paul Johnson observes, “The existence or non-existence of God is the most important question we humans are ever asked to answer. If God does exist, and if in consequence we are called to another life when this one ends, a momentous set of consequences follows, which should affect every day, every moment almost, of our earthly existence. Our life then becomes a mere preparation for eternity and must be conducted throughout with our future in mind.”
THE MIND OF GOD
British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, author of the best-seller – A Brief History of Time: From The Big Bang To Black Holes – and who is not religious in the normal sense considers too some of these vital questions: “We find ourselves in a bewildering world. We want to make sense of what we see around us and to ask: What is the nature of the universe? What is our place in it and where did it and we come from?”
Hawking further adds that, “If we do discover a complete theory that explains everything, it should in time be understandable in broad principles by every one, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why is it that we and the universe exist.”
Hawking then concludes” “If we find the answer to that, it would be the ulti mate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God.”