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A divine declaration

But the heavens need some help to reveal the divine Creator

-Mark Harwood-

“The heavens declare the glory of God” pronounces the Psalmist, “the skies proclaim the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1). Few of us have not been in awe of the stunning beauty of the clear night sky with its myriad points of light showing a subtle diversity of colours and intensities ranging from brilliant to imperceptible. Faithfully predictable, the heavenly bodies have guided mariners, indicated the seasons, served as timepieces and fascinated astronomers for centuries.

But do the skies proclaim the work of His hands in ways other than their sheer beauty? After all, we are told these days that the whole of creation can be accounted for in terms of unguided random processes over mind-numbingly vast spans of time. Can such beauty be accounted for through randomness? It is not until we turn our astronomical instruments to the heavens to measure their physical characteristics that we are confronted with the unmistakable signs of design and not the anticipated evidence of randomness.

We discover the galaxies seem to be arranged such that they are at a series of equi-spaced preferred distances away from us and the same pattern is observed in every direction we look. The simplest explanation is that the majority of galaxies lie on the surfaces of concentric spherical shells, with the Milky Way galaxy, our home, at or near the centre. Hardly the stuff of random explosions in the cosmos! A Divine hand has “stretched out the heavens” and arranged the galaxies in an unmistakable pattern which declares the glory of the Creator.

Driven by the belief that we are the results of random accidents, evolutionary scientists have been searching the heavens for signs of extraterrestrial life. After all, they reason, if life evolved on earth, why not elsewhere in the vastness of the universe? The search for planets outside of our solar system capable of supporting life has thus far revealed an extraordinary variety of planetary systems which orbit other stars in other parts of the Milky Way galaxy.

“A Divine hand has ‘stretched out the heavens’ and arranged the galaxies in an unmistakable pattern.”

Many of these are wild inhospitable places with Jupiter-sized planets hurtling around their stars in a matter of days or terrestrial planets tidally locked to their stars, searingly hot on one side and frozen on the other, quite unsuitable for life. None of the planetary systems discovered to date have a planet cosseted in a safe friendly environment and capable of supporting life such as our earth in its ideal location in the solar system. An earth-sized planet inside the habitable zone of a sun-like star has yet to be discovered. Our solar neighbourhood bears all the hallmarks of having been optimally designed for life on earth! The uniqueness of our planet and its neighbourhood declare the glory of the Creator.

When we turn our gaze to the wonders of living things, we are confronted with the most staggering complexity which confounds the comprehension of man. Once thought to be an amorphous blob, the living cell is like a vast complex city with communication networks, transportation systems, factories and assembly lines, an energy supply system – and the list goes on.

But unlike a city, the living cell is capable of reproduction, a process that is governed by the unfathomable complexity of the coded instructions written on the DNA molecule. These instructions control the assembly and function of every biological component in the cell, including the very machines which read the code on the DNA, but these machines themselves cannot be assembled until the code is read—a closed cycle defying naturalistic explanations for its origin.

“When we turn our gaze to the wonders of living things, we are confronted with the most staggering complexity which confounds the comprehension of man.”

Moreover, the multi-dimensional coded information written on the DNA molecule is not a function of the
physics and chemistry of the base pairs. Just as the information imparted by the letters printed on a page is not the
product of the ink and paper, but rather is the product of the mind of the author of the text, so too the information coded on the DNA is not a product of the physics and chemistry of the DNA molecules, but rather is the product of the mind of the Author of the coded instructions inscribed thereon. The incredible complexity, beauty and variety of living organisms, all reproducing after their own kind, are testimony to the glory of the Creator.

Brilliant nature documentaries captivate our imagination through stunning photography with none so spectacular perhaps as those presented by Sir David Attenborough. “Why don’t you give credit to Almighty God?” Attenborough was once asked, to which he replied: “When creationists talk about God creating … they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sun flowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, [a worm] that’s going to make him blind. And [I ask them] ‘Are you telling me that the God you believe in … created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child’s eyeball? Because that doesn’t seem to me to coincide with a God who’s full of mercy’.”

Attenborough makes a good point. Although he is wrong about the life cycle of the worm, which can live in other places than human eyeballs, he rightly observes that the natural world, along with spectacular beauty and incredible intricacy, also reveals a world full of suffering and death. Does this aspect of creation reveal the glory of the Creator—the all-powerful, all-knowing, loving God as revealed in Scriptures?

The dilemma of ‘natural evil’, as it is often called, highlights the need for a direct and special revelation from God as to His true nature and this is what we find in His word, the Bible. The natural world is in a fallen state, having been cursed as a result of Adam and Eve’s rebellion in the garden. Consequently, the natural world cannot be a 67th book of the Bible, as some have posited, with equal revelatory power as God’s special revelation of Himself in the other 66. Although Romans 1:20 tells us that God’s eternal power and divine nature can be discerned from nature so that man is without excuse, nature has been marred by sin and is in bondage to decay (Romans 8:21) which prevents it from perfectly revealing the true character of God.

“The dilemma of ‘natural evil’ highlights the need for a direct revelation from God as to His true nature – the Bible.”

It is only when we understand the Genesis account of creation to be actual sober history and not myth or allegory that we can make sense of why the world is the way it is and, most importantly, why God came to this earth in human form to redeem fallen man.

Hebrews 1:3 tells us: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” Yes, the creation does reveal the glory of the Creator, but only in part. Full understanding can only come from Scriptures and only then when the reader has encountered the person of Jesus, the perfect manifestation of the Father’s glory.

Dr Mark Harwood is a scientist who works with Creation Ministries International

First Published Autumn 2014 edition

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