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    The Cumulative Case FOR a Creator

 

The passages below are taken from Lee Strobel’s book, “The case for a Creator,” which was published in 2004 by Zondervan.

    

        www.leestrobel.com

 

The vast mysteries of the universe should only confirm our belief in the certainty of its Creator. I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science.

Werner von Braun, the father of space science1

 

Faith does not imply a closed, but an open mind. Quite the opposite of blindness, faith appreciates the vast spiritual realities that materialists overlook by getting trapped in the purely physical.

Sir John Templeton2

 

Standing boldly in front of the national media, his posture like a boxer ready to pounce, the cocky prosecutor shook his finger at five television cameras and taunted renowned defense attorney William F. Neal.

“I defy Mr. Neal,” he declared, “to stop that Pinto?” His words became a rally cry, challenging Neal to establish that a Ford Pinto containing three teenage girls had come to a halt on an Indiana high- way before being struck from behind by a Chevy van.

It was yet another moment of high drama in a ground-breaking criminal trial that had captivated the nation. In the first case of its kind in U.S. history, prosecutors blamed the girls’ deaths on the car’s manufacturer, charging Ford Motor Company with reckless homicide for allegedly designing a vehicle that was prone to explode in low- to moderate-speed rear crashes.

If the Pinto had been safe, the prosecutors contended, the three teenagers would have walked away virtually unscathed from the relatively minor collision. But, they said, because the car’s gas tank had been located in a vulnerable position, the car erupted in a fireball that consumed them all.

A pivotal issue was the severity of the crash. Neal maintained that the Pinto had been stopped on the highway and the van was traveling at fifty miles an hour. “No subcompact could have withstood the assault of the van in this case,” Neal told the jurors.

The prosecutor, however, countered that the Pinto had been moving in the same direction as the van, which meant the force of the impact would have been much less. Indeed, a few eyewitnesses testified the car had been in motion, though their accounts varied and during cross-examination Neal sought to raise doubts about the vantage points from which they saw the Pinto.

Then the prosecutor presented his star witness: the shaggy-haired, twenty-one-year-old driver of the van, who had not been criminally charged for the crash and was cooperating with the prosecution. He testified that the Pinto had been moving at fifteen to twenty miles an hour when they collided. Neal scoffed; pointing out that the distracted driver had only seen the Pinto for one-sixth of a second before hitting it. But the driver, who had five previous traffic convictions in three years, stuck to his story.

In the glare of the television cameras, the prosecutor was ebullient. Feeling confident in the thoroughness of his investigation and believing Neal could offer no contradictory testimony, he defiantly challenged Neal to make good on his promise that he would stop the Pinto.

Surprisingly, however, the prosecutor’s bravado was short-lived. A few days later, to the astonishment of the prosecution, Neal used both negative and positive evidence to accomplish what the prosecutor was convinced he could never do.

First, Neal undermined the testimony of the van’s driver. The physician who had treated him for minor injuries said the driver had admitted to him that the Pinto had been stopped. That was damaging enough for the prosecution.

Even more devastating, Neal then presented two surprise witnesses that police had somehow overlooked during their supposedly exhaustive investigation. Both were hospital workers who testified that the driver of the Pinto told them independently before her death that she had been stopped on U.S. Highway 133 when the van struck her car.

The prosecutor was stunned. In a flash, these two unforeseen witnesses changed the entire momentum of the trial. “Nobody knew --—anything about them,” the prosecutor sputtered. “They came out of blue.”

Outside the courtroom, Neal was ecstatic. “The prosecutor challenged us to stop that Pinto,” he said, stifling a chuckle. “Well, now we’ve stopped it twice.”

The once-confident prosecutor, now publicly embarrassed, found himself on the defensive as reporters pelted him with questions about why his investigation had failed to unearth these witnesses. Ultimately, after several judicial rulings further eroded the prosecutor’s case, jurors voted to acquit the automaker.

Neal’s performance, which I documented in my book Reckless Homicide, was among the most masterful I had ever seen in my years as a legal affairs journalist.3 His success was not the product of adroit legal maneuvering, clever arguments, or courtroom slight-of-hand. Plain and simple, it was old-fashioned, dogged detective work that uncovered the surprise witnesses. Defense investigators went beyond the obvious, posed questions that others weren’t asking, out-hustled police investigators, and followed the clues wherever they led.

Years later, I would understand exactly how the prosecutor felt that day. I was once full of confidence that Darwinism justified my atheism. I felt I had investigated the issue sufficiently, having studied biology, chemistry, geology, anthropology, and other sciences in school and having read books that reinforced my beliefs. No doubt about it--—natural selection acting on random variation had put God out of a job.

When Christians approached me about the evidence for their faith, I was as defiant as the combative prosecutor on the courthouse steps. The Origin of Species trumped the Bible. The critical thinking of scientists overpowered the wishful thinking of theists. To me, the case was closed.

But then, prompted by the positive changes in my wife after she became a follower of Jesus, I began to go beyond the obvious, to set aside my prejudices, to ask questions I had never posed before, and to pursue the clues of science and history wherever they led. Instead of letting naturalism limit my search, I opened myself to the full range of possibilities. And, frankly, I wasn’t prepared for what would happen.

Like the negative evidence that undermined the van’s driver in the Pinto case, the facts of science systematically eroded the foundation of Darwinism until it could no longer support the weight of my atheistic conclusions. Suddenly, the intellectual basis for my skepticism was collapsing.

That was disconcerting enough. But then--—like the surprise witnesses who suddenly shifted the momentum at the Indiana trial--— my wide-ranging research was building an unexpected affirmative case for the existence of a Creator.

Yes, I was stunned: yes. I felt like the wind was being knocked out of me; yes, it was unnerving to wrestle with the implications. But I had vowed to follow the facts regardless of the cost--—even at the cost of my own smug self-sufficiency.

 

A FRESH EXAMINATION OF THE EVIDENCE

I was reminded of the Pinto trial as I sat in my home office and glanced over at a shelf where my eye caught the book I had written on the case. As I started reminiscing about the unanticipated turnaround in that courtroom drama, my thoughts drifted to the emotions I felt on November 8, 1981.

It was on that day, after nearly two years of intensive research, that I sat alone in my room and wrote down the key evidence I had discovered during my original investigation into the credibility of Christianity. Much of it concerned the facts regarding the life, teachings, miracles, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, as I described in my book The Case for Christ, and the answers to the “Big Eight” objections to Christianity, as I recounted in The Case for Faith.

But also very important at the time were the corroborating scientific facts. Even though there was less evidence than is readily available today, there was still plenty upon which to reach a verdict. I can remember analyzing the scientific research and coming to the startling conclusion that the data of the physical world point powerfully toward the existence of a Creator.

What seemed impossible two years earlier now seemed not just possible, not just likely--—but obvious. Like the Pinto prosecutor. I was dismayed and disoriented--—and yet at the same time I felt confident and even strangely comforted by the conclusion.

Now, more than two decades later, having spent over a year reevaluating and updating the case for a Creator by interviewing experts on the latest scientific discoveries, I sat at my desk once more and mentally reviewed the most current evidence I had encountered.

I was amazed at how new findings in physics, astronomy, biochemistry, and other disciplines have added so much to the pool of scientific knowledge. As I considered the evidence afresh, I tried to honestly weigh which hypothesis--—Darwinism or Design--—best accounted for the most current data of science.

 

POSSIBILITY #1: THE DARWINISM HYPOTHESIS

To start with, I considered how the facts fit the hypothesis that all of life can be explained by the undirected, purely naturalistic processes of evolution. “Like all other scientific theories, Darwinian evolution must be continually compared with the evidence,” said biologist Jonathan Wells. “If it does not fit the evidence, it must be reevaluated or abandoned--—otherwise it is not science, but myth.”4

Looking at the doctrine of Darwinism, which undergirded my atheism for so many years, it didn’t take me long to conclude that it was simply too far-fetched to be credible. I realized that if I were to embrace Darwinism and its underlying premise of naturalism, I would have to believe that:

• Nothing produces everything

• Non-life produces life

• Randomness produces fine-tuning

• Chaos produces information

• Unconsciousness produces consciousness

• Non-reason produces reason

 

Based on this, I was forced to conclude that Darwinism would require a blind leap of faith that I was not willing to make. Simply put, ‘the central pillars of evolutionary theory quickly rotted away when exposed to scrutiny.

For example, naturalistic processes have utterly failed to explain how non-living chemicals could somehow self-assemble into the first living cell. Not only are there no viable theories, but none are on the horizon. Biochemist Klaus Dose, one of the leading origin-of-life experts, conceded: “At present all discussions on principle theories and experiments in the field either end in stalemate or in a confession of ignorance.”5

Science writer Robert Roy Britt cast the problem more colorfully: “Have you ever had one of those dreams where you try to run from a monster and your legs go round and round but you don’t get anywhere? The quest to understand the origin of life isn’t much different.”ô

Stephen C. Meyer pointed out in my interview that there are insurmountable hurdles involving the origin of biological information that simply cannot be resolved by more research and effort. In other words, origin-of-life scientists are not going to wake up from their nightmare. To me, this constitutes the Achilles’ heel of evolutionary theory. As biochemist Michael Denton observed, the idea that undirected processes could somehow turn dead chemicals into all the extraordinary complexity of living things is surely “no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth” of our times.7

In addition, the overall fossil record has stubbornly refused to confirm the grand claims of Darwinian transitions. Despite innumerable discoveries since Darwin’s day, “the intermediates have remained as elusive, as ever,” said Denton. Rather than harmonize into a consistent case for Darwin’s theory, the fossils are a discordant cacophony that cannot reasonably account for the monumental leaps Darwinism must make, for example, between fish and amphibians or amphibians and reptiles.

The most glaring deficiency of the fossil record is biology’s Big Bang, the Cambrian explosion. The majority—--or, according to some experts, all—--of the world’s forty phyla, the highest category in the animal kingdom, virtually sprang forth with unique body plans more than five hundred million years ago. The sudden appearance of these radically new life forms, devoid of prior transitions, has turned Darwin’s Tree of Life on its head.

Like the overconfident prosecutor in the Pinto case, Darwin predicted that new discoveries would explain away this quantum leap in biological complexity. In reality, they have only made matters worse. The excuse that the transitionary creatures were too soft or small to be fossilized withers under examination. Alternate theories, like Stephen Jay Gould’s “punctuated equilibrium,” dash themselves on the rocks of reason. Darwin’s assessment is still accurate more than a century and a half later: the Cambrian explosion is “inexplicable” under his hypothesis. This remains, in my opinion, a fatal shortcoming.

When I examined these and other deficiencies of Darwinism as objectively as I could, I became firmly convinced that evolution is a confirmed fact--—as long as it’s defined as the micro-evolutionary variations we see in the animal and plant world. Undeniably, a considerable amount of change and diversification has taken place overtime. However, there is simply insufficient evidence from which to draw the radical conclusion that large-scale, macro-evolutionary transitions have occurred.

As award-winning author Roger Lewin, a former editor with Science and New Scientist magazines, summarized a historic scientific conference on macroevolution: “The central question. . . was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomenon of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the position of some people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No.”9

In short, the amount of faith needed to maintain belief in the most sweeping and controversial claims of Darwinism far exceeded what I believed was reasonably warranted by the hard evidence of science. On top of that, naturalism has absolutely no credible explanation for how the universe came into being in the first place. This failure of the naturalistic and Darwinist ideas opened the door to considering the other hypothesis—--that both the universe and the life it contains are the product of an intelligent designer.

 

POSSIBILITY #2: THE DESIGN HYPOTHESIS

“A big, fundamental question, like belief in God (or disbelief), is not settled by a single argument,” said physicist-turned-theologian John Polkinghorne. “It’s too complicated for that. What one has to do is to consider lots of different issues and see whether or not the answers one gets add up to a total picture that makes sense.”10

That’s the approach I took in my investigation. I probed six different scientific disciplines to see whether they point toward or away from the existence of an intelligent designer.

When I opened my mind to the possibility of an explanation beyond naturalism, I found that the design hypothesis most clearly accounted for the evidence of science. The “explanatory power” of the design hypothesis outstripped every other theory. Consider some of the facts that were adduced in my investigation:

 

1. The Evidence of Cosmology

Thanks to scientific discoveries of the last fifty years, the ancient kalam cosmological argument has taken on a powerful and persuasive new force. As described by William Lane Craig, the argument is simple yet elegant: first, whatever begins to exist has a cause. Even renowned skeptic David Hume didn’t deny this first premise. In fact, atheist Quentin Smith’s contention that “we came from nothing, by nothing, and for nothing” seems intuitively absurd.

Second, the universe had a beginning. Based on the data, virtually all cosmologists now agree the universe began in the Big Bang at some specific point in the past. Craig stressed that even alternate theories for the origin of the universe require a beginning. For instance, Stephen Hawking’s use of “imaginary numbers” merely conceals the beginning point in his own model, which Hawking admits is not really a description of reality.

The conclusion then follows inexorably from the two premises: therefore, the universe has a cause. Even once-agnostic astronomer Robert Jastrow conceded the essential elements of Christianity and modern cosmology are the same: “The chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.”

 

2. The Evidence of Physics

One of the most striking discoveries of modern science has been that the laws and constants of physics unexpectedly conspire in an extraordinary way to make the universe habitable for life. For instance, said physicist-philosopher Robin Collins, gravity is fine-tuned to one part in a hundred million billion billion billion billion billion.

The cosmological constant, which represents the energy density of space, is as precise as throwing a dart from space and hitting a bulls-eye just a trillionth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter on Earth. One expert said there are more than thirty physical or cosmological parameters that require precise calibration in order to produce a universe that can sustain life.

Collins demonstrated that chance cannot reasonably account for this “anthropic principle” and that the most-discussed alternative--— that there are multiple universes--—lacks any evidential support and ultimately collapses upon the realization that these other worlds would owe their existence to a highly designed process.

This evidence was so powerful that it was instrumental in Patrick Glynn abandoning his atheism. “Today the concrete data point strongly in the direction of the God hypothesis,” he said. “It is the simplest and most obvious solution to the anthropic puzzle.”

 

3. The Evidence of Astronomy

Similar to the fine-tuning of physics, Earth’s position in the universe and its intricately choreographed geological and chemical processes work together with exquisite efficiency to create a safe place for humans to live.

For example, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez and science philosopher Jay Wesley Richards said it would take a star with the highly unusual properties of our sun--—the right mass, the right light, the right age, the right distance, the right orbit, the right galaxy, the right location--—to nurture living organisms on a circling planet. Numerous factors make our solar system and our location in the universe just right for a habitable environment.

What’s more, the exceptional conditions that make life possible also happen to make our planet strangely well-suited for viewing and analyzing the universe and our environment. All of this suggests our planet may be rare, if not unique, and that the Creator wanted us to be able to explore the cosmos.

“If the universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence,” said Harvard-educated astrophysicist John A. O’Keefe of NASA. “It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in.”

 

4. The Evidence of Biochemistry

Darwin said, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Biochemist Michael Behe has demonstrated exactly that through his description of “irreducibly complex” molecular machines.

These complicated, microscopic contraptions, such as cilia and bacterial flagella, are extremely unlikely to have been built piece-by-piece through Darwinian processes, because they had to be fully present in order to function. Other examples include the incredible system of transporting proteins within cells and the intricate process of blood-clotting.

More than just a devastating challenge to Darwinism, these amazing biological systems—--which far exceed the capacity of human technology—--point toward a transcendent Creator. “My conclusion,” said Behe, “can be summed up in a single word: design. I say that based on science. I believe that irreducibly complex systems are strong evidence of a purposeful, intentional design by an intelligent agent.”

Behe’s argument has proven impervious to challenges by skeptics. While obviously there will be future discoveries in biochemistry, Behe pointed out that they will not be able to negate the complexity that has already been discovered—--and which is best explained by a Creator.

 

5. The Evidence of Biological Information

The six-feet of DNA coiled inside every one of our body’s one hundred trillion cells contains a four-letter chemical alphabet that spells out precise assembly instructions for all the proteins from which our bodies are made. Cambridge-educated Stephen Meyer demonstrated that no hypothesis has come close to explaining how information got into biological matter by naturalistic means.

On the contrary, he said that whenever we find a sequential arrangement that’s complex and corresponds to an independent pattern or function, this kind of information is always the product of intelligence. “Books, computer codes, and DNA all have these two properties,” he said. “We know books and computer codes are designed by intelligence, and the presence of this type of information in DNA also implies an intelligent source.”

In addition, Meyer said the Cambrian explosion’s dazzling array of new life forms, which suddenly appeared fully formed in the fossil record, with no prior transitions, would have required the infusion of massive amounts of new biological information. “Information is the hallmark of mind,” said Meyer. “And purely from the evidence of genetics and biology, we can infer the existence of a mind that’s far greater than our own—--a conscious, purposeful, rational, intelligent designer who’s amazingly creative.”

 

6. The Evidence of Consciousness

Many scientists are concluding that the laws of chemistry and physics cannot explain our experience of consciousness. Professor J. P. Moreland defined consciousness as our introspection, sensations, thoughts, emotions, desires, beliefs, and free choices that make us alive and aware. The “soul” contains our consciousness and animates our body.

According to a researcher who showed that consciousness can continue after a person’s brain has stopped functioning, current scientific findings “would support the view that ‘mind,’ ‘consciousness,’ or the ‘soul’ is a separate entity from the brain.”

As Moreland said, “You can’t get something from nothing.” If the universe began with dead matter having no conscious, “how, then, do you get something totally different—--consciousness, living, thinking, feeling, believing creatures—--from materials that don’t have that?” But if everything started with the mind of God, he said, “we don’t have a problem with explaining the origin of our mind.”

Darwinist philosopher Michael Ruse candidly conceded that “no one, certainly not the Darwinian as such, seems to have any answer” to the consciousness issue. Nobel Prize—winning neurophysiologist John C. Eccles concluded from the evidence “that there is what we might call a supernatural origin of my unique self-conscious mind or my unique selfhood or soul.”

 

THE IDENTITY OF THE DESIGNER

As I reviewed the avalanche of information from my investigation, I found the evidence for an intelligent designer to be credible, cogent, and compelling. Actually, in my opinion the combination of the findings from cosmology and physics by themselves were sufficient to support the design hypothesis. All of the other data simply built an even more powerful cumulative case that ended up overwhelming my objections.

But who or what is this master Designer? Like playing a game of connect-the-dots, each one of the six scientific disciplines I investigated contributed clues to unmasking the identity of the Creator.

As Craig explained during our interview, the evidence of cosmology demonstrates that the cause of the universe must be an uncaused, beginningless, timeless, immaterial, personal being endowed with freedom of will and enormous power. In the area of physics, Collins established that the Creator is intelligent and has continued to be involved with his creation after the Big Bang.

The evidence of astronomy, showing that the Creator was incredibly precise in creating a livable habitat for the creatures he designed, logically implies that he has care and concern for them. Also, Gonzalez and Richards presented evidence that the Creator has built at least one purpose into his creatures—--to explore the world he has designed, and therefore to perhaps discover him through it.

Not only do biochemistry and the existence of biological information affirm the Creator’s activity after the Big Bang, but they also show he’s incredibly creative. Evidence for consciousness, as Moreland said, helps establish that the Creator is rational, gives us a basis for understanding his omnipresence, and even suggests that life after death is credible.

This is not a picture of the god of deism, who supposedly formed the universe hut then abandoned it. As Meyer explained in my first interview with him, the abundant evidence for the Creator’s continued activity in the universe after the initial creation event discredits deism as a credible possibility.

Pantheism, the idea that the Creator and universe are co-existent, also falls short of accounting for the evidence, because it cannot explain how the universe came into existence. After all, if the pantheistic god didn’t exist prior to the physical universe, then it would not be capable of bringing the universe into being.

Also, Craig explained how the scientific principle of Ockham’s razor shaves away the multiple gods of polytheism, leaving us with a single Creator. In addition, the personal nature of the Creator argues against the impersonal divine force that’s at the center of some New Age religions.

In contrast, however, the portrait of the Creator that emerges from the scientific data is uncannily consistent with the description of the God whose identity is spelled out in the pages of the Bible.

Creator? “In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.”11

Unique? “You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.”12

Uncaused and timeless? “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”13

Immaterial? “God is spirit.”14

Personal? “I am God A1mighty.”15

Freedom of will? “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”16

Intelligent and rational? “How many are your works, 0 Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”17

Enormously powerful? “The Lord is... great in power.”18

Creative? “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”19

Caring? “The earth is full of his unfailing love.”20

Omnipresent? “The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you.”21

Has given humankind purpose? “For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible,.., everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.”22

Provides for life after death? “He will swallow up death forever”23

 

As the apostle Paul wrote two millennia ago: “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 [that is, his creation], so that men are without excuse.”24

The question of whether these qualities might also describe the [deities of any other world religions became moot once I added the evidence that I discovered through the study of ancient history and archaeology.

As I described in my book The Case for Christ—--a summary of which is included as an appendix to this book—--the convincing evidence establishes the essential reliability of the New Testament, demonstrates the fulfillment of ancient prophecies in the life of Jesus of Nazareth against all odds, and supports Jesus’ resurrection as being an actual event that occurred in time and space. Indeed, his return from the dead is an unprecedented and supernatural feat that authenticated his claim to being the one-and-only Son of God.

To me, the range, the variety, the depth, and the breathtaking persuasive power of the evidence from both science and history affirmed the credibility of Christianity to the degree that my doubts were simply washed away.

Unlike Darwinism, where my faith would have to swim upstream against the strong current of evidence flowing the other way, putting my trust in the God of the Bible was nothing less than the most rational and natural decision I could make. I was merely permitting the torrent of facts to carry me along to their most logical conclusion. (273-285)

 

 

YOU WERE DESIGNED FOR DISCOVERY

Though Viggo Olsen has a stronger science background than I do, there were definite similarities in the way we both approached the issue of faith and science. We read books, we asked questions, we tracked down leads, and we pursued the evidence regardless of where it was taking us. We investigated systematically and enthusiastically, as if our lives depended on it.

And in the end, our lives, our attitudes, our philosophies, our worldviews, our priorities, and our relationships were revolutionized—--for the better.

If you’re a spiritual skeptic or seeker, I hope you’ll resolve to investigate the evidence for yourself. Actually, Olsen’s three-pronged approach would provide a good outline to follow:

• First, is there a God who created the universe?

• Second, did God reveal himself to humankind through the Bible or other sacred scriptures?

• Third, is Jesus the Son of God—--deity united with humanity--—and can he help us as he claimed?

 

You’ll soon find that the universe is governed by both physical laws and spiritual laws. The physical laws point us toward the Creator; the spiritual laws tell us how we can know him personally, both today and forever.

After all, he’s not just the Creator in a broad sense; he’s your creator. You were made to relate to him in a vibrant, dynamic, and intimate way. And if you seek him wholeheartedly, he promises to provide all the clues you need to find him.25 In fact, you may even have sensed as you’ve been reading this book that he’s already pursuing you in a subtle but very real way.

You were, as the research by Gonzalez and Richards suggests, designed for discovery—--and the greatest discovery of your life awaits you. So I hope you’ll pursue scientific knowledge, but that you won’t stop there. Don’t let its allure become a destination; instead, allow it to guide you beyond itself to the incredible implications it offers for your life and eternity.

My suggestion is this: take a few quiet moments to soak in these closing words, so eloquently expressed by Alister McGrath, and let them become an impetus toward your adventure of a lifetime:

Many have found that the awesome sight of the star-studded heavens evoke a sense of wonder, an awareness of transcendence, that is charged with spiritual significance. Yet the distant shimmering of stars does not itself create this sense of longing; it merely exposes what is already there. They are catalysts for our spiritual insights, revealing our emptiness and compelling us to ask whether and how this void might be filled.

Might our true origins and destiny somehow lie beyond those stars? Might there not be a homeland, from which we are presently exiled and to which we secretly long to return? Might not our accumulation of discontentment and disillusionment with our present existence be a pointer to another land where our true destiny lies and which is able to make its presence felt now in this haunting way?

Suppose that this is not where we are meant to be but that a better land is at hand? We don’t belong here. We have somehow lost our way. Would not this make our present existence both strange and splendid? Strange, because it is not where our true destiny lies; splendid, because it points ahead to where that real hope might be found. The beauty of the night skies or a glorious sunset are important pointers to the origins and the ultimate fulfillment of our heart’s deepest desires. But if we mistake the signpost for what is signposted, we will attach our hopes and longings to lesser goals, which cannot finally quench our thirst for meaning.26 (291-292)

 

Notes

1. Quoted in Cal Thomas, “Gone Bananas.” World (September 7, 2002).

2. John M. Templeton, The Humble Approach, 115.

3. See: Lee Strobel, Reckless Homicide: Ford’s Pinto Trial (Sound Bend, Ind.: And Books, 1980).

4. Jonathan Wells, Icons of Evolution, 5.

5. Klaus Dose, “The Origin of Life: More Questions than Answers,” Interdisciplinary Science Review 13 (1998).

6. Robert Roy Britt, “The Year’s Top Ten Space Mysteries,” available at www.msnbc.com/news/85l9l9.asp?vts=l22820022235 (accessed December 28, 2002).

7. Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, 358.

8. Ibid., 162.

9. Roger Lewin, “Evolutionary Theory Under Fire,” Science 210 (November 1980).

10. John Polkinghorne, Quarks, Chaos, and Christianity (New York: Crossroad, 1994), 25.

11. Psalm 102:25

12. Deuteronomy 4:35

13. Psalm 90:2

14. John 4:24

15. Genesis 17:1. According to theologian Millard J. Erickson, “God is personal. He is an individual being, with self-consciousness and will, capable of feeling, choosing, and having a reciprocal relationship with other personal and social beings.” Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1985), 269.

16. Genesis 1:3

17. Psalm 104:24

18. Nahum 1:3

19. Psalm 139:13—14

20. Psalm 33:5

21. 1 Kings 8:27

22.  Colossians 1:16 (The Message)

23. Isaiah 25:8

24. Romans 1:20

25. God said in Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

26. Alister McGrath, Glimpsing the Face of God, 51,53.

  

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