The Miraculous Book
You might have noticed in the news a few years ago that a famous British scientist called Stephen Hawking published a book called “The Grand Design” in which he claims that you don’t need God to explain the Universe.
As he insists that the Universe didn’t have a Designer, he probably should have called his book “The Grand Accident” rather than “The Grand Design".
Hawking first became famous about 20 years ago when he published a very popular book called “A Brief History of Time”. I bought a copy at the time and enjoyed reading it, although I couldn't agree with some of his more speculative conclusions.
A Christian scientist, Roy Peacock, wrote a response to “A Brief History of Time” called “A Brief History of Eternity” in which he presented a Christian critique and alternative.
Another thing that has caught people’s attention in the news is that Hawking is not only an eminent scientist, but he suffers from motor-neurone disease. He’s severely crippled and confined to a wheel chair.
In his new book, The Grand Design – Hawking says, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.”
Hawking's argument is clearly illogical when he says that the existence of gravity means the creation of the Universe was inevitable. Why did gravity exist in the first place? Who put it there? What was the creative force behind its birth?
Similarly, when Hawking claims, in support of his theory of spontaneous creation, “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.” The question must be: where did this blue touch paper come from? And who lit it, if not God?
Although Hawking is a famous physicist, he’s not such a good meta-physicist! If we want real answers, we must turn to the Bible – The Miraculous Book.
The Bible is a collection of 66 remarkable books that has a great beginning and a great ending.
The great beginning is the book called “Genesis”. Genesis is a Greek word meaning “birth” or “origin”.
The word “Genesis” was first used in an early Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint.
The great ending of the Bible is the book called “Revelation” or the “Apocalypse.” “Apocalypse” means “the lifting of the veil” or the revealing of something that had been hidden.
The first book in the Bible, Genesis starts at the beginning of time and the last book in the Bible, Revelation takes us right past the end of time.
As we will see later, some parts of the Bible also take us back to before the beginning of time!
Genesis is the book of beginnings:
- The beginning of Time, Space, Matter, Galaxies, Stars and Planets.
- The beginning of plants, living creatures, men and women.
- The beginning of sin, murder, war, disease, dishonesty, marriage, society, government, nations and languages.
- The beginning of the story of God’s dealings with the human race.
The first verse of the Bible says: In the beginning God --- created the heavens and the earth.
In the beginning - God. The Bible doesn’t try to prove there’s a God.
The Bible assumes that God exists - and has always existed; He has not had a beginning.
But Genesis clearly teaches that the heavens and the earth had a beginning.
The Bible teaches that God made time and space, and He made everything that exists inside time and space. One day God will end time and space.
The Bible teaches that God already existed before He made time and space.
God doesn’t need time or space for Himself – he made them for this Universe, He made them for us.
God is independent of time and space – that’s why He can see the future.
And that’s why so many Bible prophecies have already been fulfilled - and will be fulfilled in the future.
It’s interesting to note that the Bible’s teaching that the Universe had a beginning is confirmed by Einstein's space-time theorem of General Relativity. Like Genesis, the theory of General Relativity tells us that time and space and the universe had a beginning. They all started together.
If space and time didn’t begin until the Universe began, then the cause of the Universe must operate independently of time and space. This is exactly what the Bible teaches.
If you’ve ever read science fiction stories, you’ll know that they say that the only way space travellers can travel the vast distances between the stars is by travelling faster than light - at “warp speed” or in another “dimension.” This means that they temporarily become independent of our space and time dimensions, and enter a “time warp” or another dimension.
Of course, this is only fiction - people can’t do it and never have.
But God is really independent of space and time because He actually made them!
The fact that the Universe had a beginning, is evidence that there's something beyond the Universe. This really worries those scientists who don't want to believe in God.
They’d rather have a Universe that doesn’t have a beginning and doesn’t have a Creator - so they’ve invented several alternative theories to try to explain the universe.
Here are 3 of the more popular alternative theories of cosmology:
- The Steady State Theory – this is the theory that the Universe has always existed.
- The Oscillating Universe Theory – this is the theory that the universe has always existed but expands and collapses for ever.
- The Multiverse Theory – the idea that there are millions of Universes and ours is the one that happens to be right for human beings.
These theories, and other more speculative theories, are not taken too seriously by most scientists, as they’re not supported by evidence.
It's interesting to note that many Eastern religions including Hinduism, Buddhism and many New Age philosophies, are rooted in the doctrine of cosmic reincarnation or the Oscillating Universe. When the Oscillating Universe Theory was popular with scientists, some people said that the Hindu scriptures must be inspired by God and many people converted to Hindu or New Age religions.
Now, however, there's overwhelming scientific evidence for a beginning to the Universe. This supports the teaching of the Bible that the Universe had a beginning with an external cause.
Only the Bible teaches:
- Time is limited - it had a beginning and will have an end.
- God created everything in this Universe including time.
- God is capable of doing things outside of time.
- God is independent of time.
God's independence from time is shown clearly in the Bible:
One of God's names in the Bible is "I AM” because He always is. (Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58.) And we're told that "one day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day." (2 Peter 3:8). That means that God is independent of time.
Here is a Bible verse that says that Christ created time:
God … has in these last days spoken to us by His Son …, through whom also He made the worlds; (Hebrews 1:1, 2) Here the Greek word for “the worlds” is “aeons” which means “ages of time.” You’ll see this in the margin notes in many Bibles. So Christ created “the ages of time.”
If Christ created time, then the universe had a beginning - and we’re told about this beginning in Genesis 1.
Consider another interesting Bible verse:
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. (Heb 11:3)
Here also, “the worlds” is translated from the Greek work “Aeons” which means “Ages of time”. So here too, the Bible says that God created time. And here we’re also told that the Universe which we can see was made by God from things which we cannot see.
Now here are some Bible verses that tell us about things that God was doing before the beginning of time:
- (2 Tim 1:9) ... according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
- (Titus 1:2) in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,
- (1 Cor 2:7) But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,
Here are some Bible verses that tell us about things God did before the Kosmos began:
- (John 17:5) … “the glory I had with You before the world was.”
- (John 17:24) ... "You loved Me before the foundation of the world."
- (Eph 1:4) .. He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.
- (1 Pet 1:20) He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world.
The original Greek word for "world" in all of these Bible verses is “Kosmos” or "Cosmos." Many scholars believe that the Greek word “Kosmos” means the entire Universe. So God was doing things before the creation of our space-time Universe.
Here are some Bible verses that say that Jesus Christ created everything, including the entire Universe:
- (John 1:3) All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
- (Col 1:16) For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible ....
These days we know that a large part of the Universe is invisible. This includes atomic particles, radiation and various types of fields such as electric, magnetic and gravitational fields.
Scientists now think that over 90% of the universe may consist another class of invisible particles called dark matter.
Consider this verse in Paul's letter to the Colossian assembly:
(Col 1:17) All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
Note that this verse says that Jesus Christ is before all things. That means that the Lord Jesus existed before all things were created and was not created Himself.
All the way through the Bible there is evidence that the Bible is a message from the Creator of the Universe. Of course, this is not surprising, because the Bible actually claims to be God's book.
It refers to itself as the “Scriptures” and says that it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. It says in 2 Tim 3:16, All Scripture is God-breathed...
The Bible also claims to be “God’s Word” (Mark 7:13 and Hebrews 4:12).
If the Bible’s claim to be God’s Word is true, and all the evidence shows that it is, then the Bible must be taken very seriously – it’s our Maker’s Handbook.
Unfortunately, most of us only read the maker’s handbook when everything else fails!
When you talk about the heavens and earth that God has made, you need to use very big numbers! The Universe is really, really enormous.
Here are some interesting facts about the Universe:
- Our sun is only one of about a hundred thousand million stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy.
- The Milky Way galaxy is only one of about a million million galaxies in the observable Universe.
- There are probably even more galaxies in the parts of the Universe that we can’t detect or see with our instruments.
The Universe is so enormous that you might think that the One who created it is too big to bother about communicating with tiny creatures like us.
However, if God is powerful enough to make both the mighty Universe and the tiny Quark, then He's powerful enough to communicate with us.
And as He went to the trouble of creating the Universe and tailoring it to be exactly right for us humans to survive, it would seem unlikely that he would then just leave us alone.
Should the Bible influence our lives today?
The Bible says that God the great Creator sent the prophets and His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to give us a message from God. The Bible is on quite a different level from any other "holy" book. Its claims to be God’s revelation to us must be taken very seriously.
It’s as though God has written two books to tell us about Himself:
- The book called the Universe.
- The book called the Bible.
The two books agree with each other because they were both written by the same author.
Both books tell us about the same Creator God and His Creator Son.
I believe that the Bible is the message of God to the world; it is the manufacturer’s handbook for the human race.
For this reason we need the Bible in order to live complete lives. We must allow the Bible to influence our lives today.
Just as God made laws to govern the behaviour of the stars and the planets, so He made laws to help us live meaningful lives. If you ignore God's law of gravity, and jump out of an aeroplane without a parachute, you’ll probably have a painful landing.
In the same way, if we ignore God's laws for living in the Bible we’ll probably suffer lots of pain. For example, the consequences of ignoring God's laws for marriage and bringing up children could be pain, loneliness and delinquent children.
The Bible teaches that its truth applies to all of us, regardless of whether we believe it or not. The Bible is a special message to us from the God who created the Universe.
Can you be a real Christian without the Bible?
I don’t believe you can:
- The word “Christian” simply means “Christ Follower.”
- You can't follow Christ unless you know what He teaches.
- You can only know His teachings from the Bible.
The Bible makes it quite clear that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone.
Salvation is only for those who have believed what the Bible says about the Lord Jesus and trusted in Him alone for salvation.
That’s the message of the gospel!
Lindsay Smith, March 2015