Core Ideas of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Posts tagged ‘Stephen Hawking’

Genesis Without Sunglasses

TROPICAL SUNRISEYou don’t have to visit Africa or Australia to experience a different world.  Just return to the Book of Genesis and take off your sunglasses!  I’m serious!  The mysteries and the majesty of the first book in the Bible can stop you in your tracks and take your breath away- unless you insist on seeing everything through a set of colored lenses! Here’s what I’m talking about:

  • Some people visit Genesis to prove their faith.  They have points to make, details to argue, and skeptics to defeat, so they read this amazing book looking only for debate points.  It’s all about measuring the intensity of commitment.
  • Other people come to Genesis to discount it.  They are certain that scientific advances have left the accounts of creation in a shambles, but they still hunger for some reassurance from Scripture.  They want to respect the accounts of Genesis, just not believe them.

This year, go for a completely different experience: read Genesis just to see what God has to say.  Don’t worry about how long the days are; just concentrate on how big the Lord is!  Don’t be distracted by what Dawkins or Hawking might say.  Listen for a few minutes to what God says.

  • Read the very first verse; then stop and take a deep breath.  The heavens and the earth are all there and you’re only one verse in!  Be still and reflect on the spectacular content of just those ten words.
  • Then read the next verse and imagine what that might look like: a lonely planet submerged in water; and the Spirit of God cutting through the darkness and hovering just over the surface as he does his work.

Genesis devotes only two chapters to creation; fourteen to one period in the life of a young Hebrew named Joseph.  God is clearly not going to great lengths to tell us how the world was made or how mankind came to be.  Instead, he wants to tell us why.  I have been reading the first eleven chapters of Genesis over and over again for the last three months, trying to forget everything I ever heard and listen only to what God wants to say.  No exaggeration– I am awestruck like never before. I cannot stop thinking about it.

My challenge to my friends: in 2014, take off your shades and read the first eleven chapters of Genesis.  You might see the beginning of time like you’ve never seen in before!  Who knows, when the light comes on, you might even see God.

Lift up the Cross!

Bigger than the Bang!

One day this week, the Wall Street Journal reported the discovery of “the missing link.”  Somewhere in Africa, scientists had discovered an ancient deposit rich in bone fragments.  From all those fossils and shards, they were able to piece together a plausible skeleton with humanoid features and a tiny skull.  Was this really a primeval apeman or just an unlucky freak of nature?  Or was it simply misplaced bones accidentally glued together for a press conference display?   Speculation is fascinating but, frankly, we’ve heard it all before.

There’s a fundamental reason why most Americans and many scientists remain so skeptical of the current theories of our origins, but it’s not religious Fundamentalists. Even in a world where the Christian Faith did not exist, this particular question would still present nagging problems.  Thinking Americans want to know, “Where did the first Thing come from?”  As hard as Darwinists try to dismiss the question with condescending glances and semantics, it’s a problem that won’t die.

In his breakthrough book Cosmos, published in 1980, astronomer Carl Sagan opened with this sweeping statement: “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”  Many Christians criticized him at the time for espousing a secular religion.  They argued that it is a statement of faith to say that apart from the cosmos, nothing else ever will be.   But in fact, Dr. Sagan was stating a natural truth apparent even to atheists: it’s impossible for nothing to produce something. The laws of science insist that matter cannot be created or destroyed.  If there is no  substance or force outside the current universe, then any new thing that might ever turn up can only be a new form of something else already in existence.

Skeptics were delighted that a best-selling scientist had just publicly imagined a universe where God is not necessary.  Unfortunately, that celebrated first sentence only served to underscore the First Question.  If all the heavenly bodies of the universe are merely shrapnel from an exploding marble of densely packed matter, where did the marble come from?  I have no problem with the universe being forged in some Big Bang. (I believe that mega explosion was the voice of God calling out, “Let there be light!”) But if you don’t believe in a Creator, you’ve gotta tell me where those cosmic blasting caps came from.

The mythical missing link between apes and men only begs the question.  The indisputable puzzle piece that’s required here is the missing link between Nothing and Something.  Who created that?  Hitting a stone wall in their search for the original Non-Life Form  that gave birth to a Life Form, some well-known scientists were forced to conceive a theory called “panspermia.”  They hypothesized that the original seeds for life on Earth were planted here long ago by meteors or advanced creatures from other regions of space.  But even that fanciful notion is crushed by the weight of the First Question: Before you worry about how Life originated on that other planet deep in space, kindly explain where that First Thing came from.  How big was that original IED that was tripped to set the cosmos in place?  Who wired the Big Bang?

The Bible opens with Genesis 1:1 in territory where arrogant 21st Century biologists dare not tred. “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.”  Even with all the media hype, sophistry, and condescension surrounding the First Question, God’s Word remains the only answer on the table.

Lift up the Cross!

Dr. Hawking’s Broken Computer

A celebrated physicist and author made headlines earlier this week when he relegated Heaven to the same realm of fiction as Neverland, Narnia and the planet Krypton. “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail,” Dr. Stephen Hawking told an interviewer. “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers. That is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”   Although his books and articles have famously made reference to the design of the universe or “the mind of God,” those are simply Hawking’s metaphors for completely natural forces like evolution or spontaneous combustion.  He insists there can be no God.

I am under no illusion that my intelligence or comprehension of science could ever approach the intellectual wattage of Dr. Hawking’s brain, but even I can recognize circular reasoning when I hear it.  The  analogy of the human brain as a broken down computer begs the question.  Let’s ignore all human experience and concede that over several billion years, pieces of metal, plastic and silica randomly scattered all across the Earth could someone drift into the same general area, ingeniously assemble themselves, and become a highly evolved Macintosh Computer.  Even having positioned themselves correctly without the benefit of a designer or IT, the world’s first and only Mac would still amount to nothing more than a sleek but worthless machine.  Who would generate the electricity to power it?  Who would construct the outlet and plug it in?  And who would produce the software to actually enable it to operate and do work?

Granted, anything is possible if anything is possible.  But scientists insist we live in a universe with severe limits.  If a Coke bottle suddenly appears in a remote jungle somewhere in Zaire, only the most primitive cave man would suppose that it arose spontaneously from vines, quicksand and lizard blood.  Educated people reading about the discovery would instantly recognize the wayward soda bottle was designed by intelligent minds, produced in a factory, and dropped from a helicopter flying overhead. 

Dr. Hawking’s real fallacy is not his conclusion that a broken computer does not get shipped to Heaven.  You and I could agree.  Rather, his reasoning stumbles long before that  when he asks us to believe that zero + zero + zero = one trillion!  There has never been a computer that did not originate in a highly intelligent mind. Rocks happen when natural forces shatter boulders or wear away at mountains. The idea of flesh and blood laptops and smartphone self-generated over time through erosion, decay or  spontaneous combustion is just a fairy story for people afraid of God.

That’s so obvious it should not even require discussion.  Likewise, it’s apparent that arguing against Heaven is an example of the weakest logical position: a universal negative.  To say something might exist somewhere in the universe, you only need produce one nugget of evidence.  But to insist that something doesn’t exist in any condition in any place, you must prove it’s not found on the earth or our solar system; that it’s not found in the cosmos; that it’s not invisible to the eye; that it is actually subject to human measurement.  Arguing for the evolution of frogs from non-living matter is a pretty daunting task in itself.  Making the case that unconscious structures evolved over time into fully conscious, even self-conscious human beings, is an even greater stretch.  But dismissing Heaven altogether is a universal negative; impossible to prove and, therefore, silly to argue.

Romans 1:20-22 anticipates the blindness which afflicts some of our most brilliant minds in the realm of science today: “For since the creation of the world, His insisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God, nor were thankful; but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…”

Dr. Hawking feels so wise and self-assured that he can debate a universal negative.  The breathless voices of the media hail  him a visionary.  The Lord just calls him a fool.

Lift up the Cross!

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