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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Creation’s Hymn

By Scott Harrup
Sept. 25, 2011

It can sound like all-out war. Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and other atheist voices make headlines and pen best-sellers praising science and lambasting faith. Secular university professors take to task Christian students attending their science lectures, and faculty members who believe in intelligent design discover tenure to be illusive or impossible.

In response, some followers of Christ urge a “circle the wagons” approach to science. Concerned parents discourage their children’s interest in public school biology or chemistry classes because of the inevitable connections made with evolution. Science professionals in the church find their career choices viewed with suspicion. News items on groundbreaking technologies or cutting-edge discoveries receive an unenthusiastic reading.

And all the while, God’s Word would remind us, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1, NIV). For the Bible-believing Christian, every discovery about the cosmos is another opportunity to offer praise and to live with gratitude.

For the Bible-believing Christian, the matter is settled. Complex philosophical arguments for the existence of God are moot. His Word proclaims three key truths, truths that science rightly studied will never fail to endorse: God is, God loves, and God saves.

God is

“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).

Amateur astronomer Richard Hammar has built his astrophotography website,, around this passage’s central thesis. Hammar serves as legal counsel to the Assemblies of God, but also teaches astronomy at Evangel University in Springfield, Mo. NASA has published two of his images. 

“My attraction derives from my faith,” Hammar says. “I view each observing session with one of my telescopes as a form of worship. No one has expressed this perspective better than the Psalmist.”

An agnostic, and eventually an atheist, during his college years, Hammar experienced a life-changing conversion to Christianity toward the end of his undergraduate studies.

“I continue to empathize, and relate to, those who reject God,” he says. “I have been there. But I have found by far the greatest peace and fulfillment through my Christian faith.”

He adds, “I now know what Augustine meant when he said that one must believe in order to understand.”

“The first reaction to scientific discovery ought to be one of wonder and praise,” says Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, senior project scientist for NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

Wiseman grew up on an Arkansas farm enjoying late-night stargazing walks with her parents. She has served as an adult Sunday School teacher and lay speaker at her church and authored several essays relating astronomy and Christian faith.

“There are all kinds of questions about how to relate the Scriptures to what we are learning in science,” Wiseman says, “but the first response should be, ‘My God, You’re wonderful!’”

Is it any wonder God directed Abraham’s attention to the stars as a constant reminder of the blessing He would bring about through the ages (Genesis 15:5,6)? “Look up at the heavens and count the stars — if indeed you can count them,” God said to the patriarch.

The unaided human eye can distinguish a few thousand stars; one study released in 2010 estimates there are some 300 billion trillion stars. Abraham could barely discern the outline of God’s eternal bounty, but he responded in faith and God “credited it to him as righteousness.”

Where Wiseman, Hammar and others see God’s handiwork on a macrocosmic scale, Dr. Michael Tenneson, professor of biology at Evangel University, sees just as compelling evidence in nature’s microcosms.

“As we learn more about the regulation of cellular activities, we are finding more and more processes that are unexplainable from a natural origin,” Tenneson says. “The way DNA transmits its genetic code to cause changes in the function of the cell gives evidence of a Designer. A supernatural series of events originated life and these features inside all living things — I would call them molecular machines.”

Microscopic photography reveals the complexity of an insect’s eye, a snowflake’s intricate filigree, and virtually endless miles of blood vessels nourishing the human body. Our God is not just the Creator of the galaxies, but of the individual cell, molecule and atom.

Discoveries within nature’s smallest scale help to illuminate age-old scriptural truths. Nicodemus listened as Jesus spoke of the wind and new spiritual birth (John 3:7,8). Where Nicodemus might have thought about a breeze, today’s believer can ponder the almost incomprehensible 100 billion billion molecules in just a teaspoonful of air, each one of which is slamming into nearby molecules some 6 billion times a second.1

God loves

The Bible’s portrayal of God quickly moves beyond His divine acts of creation to show His divine motivation of love. No sooner does He create Adam and Eve than He blesses them (Genesis 1:28). Throughout Scripture, God’s love and provision for humanity come clearly into view. The concluding passages of Revelation assure us of a “new heaven and a new earth” where “he who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son” (Revelation 21:1,7).

This connection between God and people touches us individually. The psalmist David said, “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” (Psalm 139:13,14).

Pause for just a moment. Contemplate the earliest seconds of your life as you were sovereignly nurtured before your birth. How can anyone fail to respond in wonder and awe to the loving, divine touch that ushers each of us into life? How can anyone fail to recognize the value of every life?

“Human life is God’s sacred gift because we’re made in God’s image. Innocent human life is therefore not to be taken,” says Dr. Scott Rae, professor of Christian ethics at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif. “There’s a biblical obligation to protect the most vulnerable among us. Deep in the Old Testament, the prophets used the figures of speech of ‘the widow and the orphan’ for the most vulnerable among us. Today I think those figures have changed. I would suggest it is the unborn and the elderly that are the figures of speech we ought to use to describe the most vulnerable among us.”

Regardless of a researcher’s or research team’s worldview, the discerning Christian can find within current scientific findings mounting evidence of God’s care for His creation.

“God was intimately involved in creation on the grand scale to bring about an Earth that is habitable and prepared for our arrival,” says Tenneson.

“The largest numbers you see in nature are nothing compared to the probability of the fine-tuning of the universe,” says Steve Krstulovich, an Assemblies of God minister and a lead engineer at Fermilab in Batavia, Ill. “We’re talking zeros you can’t even imagine. How can you look somebody straight in the face and say, ‘Well, it just happened.’”

It didn’t just happen, as the Bible so clearly states. The apostle Paul made a compelling case for God’s existence and His love for humanity in Romans’ extended treatise.

“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).

Often, this verse is read as an undiluted accusation. “You have no excuse not to believe in God!” But Paul’s larger message is one of invitation. Romans carefully outlines our deep spiritual need and God’s plan through the ages to provide for us a Savior.

Remember Abraham and that starry night of promise? Paul connected Abraham’s faith with our own in a powerful portrait of God’s saving plan:

“[Abraham was] fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why ‘it was credited to him as righteousness.’ The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness — for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:21-25).

God saves

The next time you read a headline concerning some discovery on the microscopic or macroscopic scale, take a moment to reflect on the Gospel of John’s introductory remarks about Jesus Christ, the living Word:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4).

Whether it’s the impossibly small bottom and top quarks discovered at Fermilab in 1977 and 1995 respectively, or massive planets beyond our solar system identified with increasing frequency since 1992, all were created by our Lord and Savior.

What an amazing thought, to contemplate the infinitely powerful Son of God coming to Earth as a baby born of a virgin, growing up and experiencing the same life challenges common to us all, and then giving up His life on our behalf as the one true sacrifice for humanity’s sin.

Of course, the capstone of redemption’s story is not Jesus’ death, but His resurrection. Where secular science would reject this concept outright, a faith-centered view of science sees reminders of renewed life in today’s medical advances, perhaps none more telling than in organ transplantation.

Ask Kansas college student Tyler Groom about his heart transplant in 2008, and he readily affirms God’s intervention and his surgeons’ God-given skill in saving his life. (You can read Tyler’s story in the Nov. 21, 2010, Pentecostal Evangel.)

“It’s hard to know someone had to give up a life to save a life,” Groom says. “All my thanks goes to them and to God, that He would give me this extra chance.”

The gift of life in order to save lives — for eternity. This is the crux of the gospel. Jesus spoke of this gift on the same night He spoke to Nicodemus about the mystery of the new birth and ever-shifting winds. Many have described Christ’s words as the summary theme of the entire Bible.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16,17).

It’s a truth beyond the reach of the scientific method. But it’s a truth proven again and again in the transformed lives of countless science-minded Christians.

1. Brian L. Silver, The Ascent of Science (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 6-8.

SCOTT HARRUP is managing editor of the Pentecostal Evangel.

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