What happens when faith and science converge? Can those two things coexist, or do faith and science collide? Furthermore, can we be scientifically certain that God, the Creator of the universe, has a redemptive plan for the world?
Those are tough questions. And today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll will tackle these issues as he brings another message in the series called Growing Deep in the Critical. We're glad you joined us, and we know you'll have a whole new respect for the flawless world that God created, and the way that faith and science remain in harmony. Philosophers can be terribly confusing. What they call deep and profound, we often feel is sort of dull and vague.
One wag put it best. Philosophers are people who talk about things they don't understand, but they make it sound like it's your fault. Well, not always. Sometimes they are amazingly on target.
In fact, they have a way on occasion of saying something so succinctly that you can't think of a better way to put it. Like the age-old axiom, wherever there is a thing, there must have been a preceding thought. And where there is a thought, there must have been a thinker. Take the place where you sit right now.
Just look around. It reflects thought. Someone had in mind that someday in the future you'd be sitting there. And whatever his title or whatever his training or hers, the goal in mind was to somehow cause you to feel comfort and to be more relaxed where you're sitting. And so there was planned a design that would make it possible for you to sit where you're sitting and for you to enjoy the setting in which you find yourself.
The thing that you enjoy is the seat that you're sitting in. And as you look around, it reflects thought, which since there was thought, there had to be a thinker. Or take a walk with me out into the outdoors and let's look at some cars.
Let's find a new one. And while you're standing there admiring the beauty and the sparkle of that new automobile, let's imagine my walking up to you and saying, you know there are folks who believe that this car is the result of someone's design, but I know differently. Let me tell you what really happened. Many, many centuries ago, iron and glass and rubber and plastic and fabric and leather and wires came up out of the ground. And each substance fastened itself in the right place to another substance and holes evolved just at the right places. And then bolts suddenly, not suddenly, it took a long time, found themselves threaded. And there were nuts that were also threaded to match the threaded bolts and gradually everything sort of screwed up tightly in place. And amazingly, the upholstery sort of wove itself together and by and by there were seats in front and back.
You see these towers? They became round over the years and they found themselves the right size metal wheels and they sort of popped on. And they filled themselves with air and it began to roll down the street. And one day, many, many years ago, centuries really, some people were walking and they found one of these things under a tree. And somebody looked at it and thought, how amazing, let's call it an automobile.
And you know what? These little automobiles have an amazing way every year of changing to meet the demands of the public. That's really called auto-mutations. And in the process of time, each year they began to become more and more adept to where we live. Right about now, you would want to disengage yourself from my presence, wouldn't you?
You probably would like to call my wife and ask if I've been feeling well lately. I would be called a lunatic if I believe that auto's evolved. The auto is the thing and it reflects thought. And for there to have been thought given to the design of the automobile, then there must have been a thinker. The amazing thing about all of this is multiply that by hundreds and hundreds of times and you find yourself in touch with the universe, which God said he made. In fact, he was bold enough to say in the first sentence of the Bible, he created the heavens and the earth. Only ten words in the opening sentence of our Bible, representing only seven words in the Hebrew Bible, and yet that sentence has become a watershed of controversy. Because people far more brilliant than we have cultivated the idea that really it wasn't created, it was the result of, and then we're off into the theories and imaginations of man. And they believe that so firmly that skeptical scholars, when they are read Genesis 1 verse 1, respond as one, I quote, the verse may be characterized as a veritable treasure house of myths. And a reputable geologist, another man of letters, responds, the statement is a joke, an absolute impossibility. Now why?
Why? Why would bright minds, why would brilliant men and women who have paid their dues in the educational circles of our world, come to the creation of a world and ultimately, verse 27, the creation of mankind and reject it? After all, there are people of research and scholarship and facts. They'll tell you they don't believe in blind chance.
They don't accept such things. Things have a reason. And wherever there is a reason, there must have been a reasoner. But when they come to the universe and mankind who fills it, it's just too much. It can't be created.
Why? Well, I think perhaps it's simply too simple. Secondly, it requires in their minds the belief in a thinker, a supreme being greater than they, and it is a leap in the dark, as it were, too great a chance to embrace such a thought. But it's at that very point I find those who deny creation so illogical. The existence of our world and mankind defies all mathematical calculations of chance. This was driven home to me in a book entitled Man Does Not Stand Alone.
A. Cressy Morrison wrote the book, noted scientist and former president of the New York Academy of Sciences. In it he gives a marvelous illustration to talk about the mathematical calculations of chance involved in a universe like ours. And I quote, If I were to take ten pennies and mark each one with a number, one to ten, and place them in your pocket, I would ask you to give your pocket a good shake. If I were to reach in and pull out penny number one, I'd have a one in ten chance of doing so. I'd put the penny back and for me to reach in your pocket and draw out penny number two, I would have a chance in a hundred. Putting the penny back, if I were to reach in and draw out penny number three, my chances would jump from one to one to a thousand, one in a thousand. If I were able to continue doing the same in successive order right up to number nine, do you know what my chance would be by the time I got to number ten and pulled it out of your pocket?
One in ten billion. If I did it you would say, the game is fixed. My answer, you're right and so is creation.
It's fixed. Now my interest isn't in defending creation, my interest is simply in declaring the creation of man. Reading it from what the scripture says, going far back into the misty flats of those earliest hours of time, we come to that epical moment when God, having made all the other things in their kind, made mankind. You have your Bible open to Genesis 1, you will see a repeated phrase. Verse 11, after their kind. Verse 12, after their kind. Again, verse 21, after their kind. 24, after their kind. And 25 mentions twice, after their kind, after its kind.
Meaning what? Meaning according to each individual species, in keeping with each distinct kinds of flesh, or types of material, or matter. In other words, in God's mind there were categories created. These great chunks of creation are spelled out in quick order in Genesis 1, and each one has a distinctive about it, it's according to its kind. The fowls of the air, and the fish of the sea, and the beasts of the field.
Each one according to its kind. In fact, 1 Corinthians 15 says that very thing when according to its kind it was created. Hold your place right here in Genesis and look at 1 Corinthians 15 verse 39. It's terribly important that you look at this verse, comparing it with Genesis 1. 1 Corinthians 15, 39.
We'll look back and forth on a couple of occasions, so hold both places. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and there is another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another flesh of fish. It's a different texture, it's a different makeup, it's a different kind, it's a different species, and you can't mix them together and maintain a position on creation. Not only the Old Testament stating it, but the New Testament reaffirming it, in spite of the theories you have imbibed in your education.
Each one has its own kind. Now verse 45, 1 Corinthians 15. So also it is written, the first man, ha protos anthropos. The first in the category of mankind, ha protos anthropos.
The first in mankind species. The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam, that would be Christ, became a life-giving spirit.
Now, back to Genesis 1. Look at verse 26, he's created all the other things, and now he comes to that epical moment when he creates mankind. Then God said, by the way it's very interesting in the philosophical axiom I quoted earlier, it works in reverse order here, first is the thinker, and God said, that's the thinker. Here's the thought, let us make man in our image, you see the Godhead speaking with one another. Our image, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, that's the thought.
Verse 27 is the thing God created man. Interestingly, where there is a thing, there must have been a preceding thought, and where there is a thought, there must have been a thinker. In this case, the thing is man.
Forgive me, but for the illustration, we're things for a moment. The thing is mankind, because there was a thought from God who said, let us make man in our image. In other words, the man will be unlike anything I have created. No other created being has a heart to love me. No other created being has a mind to know me.
No other created being has a volition to obey me. No other creation has a destiny of eternity like this creature will have. We'll make him distinct, he will have the Imago Dei, the image of God stamped on him. There will be a capacity within this creature to love and know and obey me. And so, the thinker acted, and he created mankind. I noticed some things about this creation that seem important even to today. First, I observed that mankind is unique because this species is the only one created in God's image.
After God's likeness. Second, I noticed that this mankind species is superior. No other creature was told to rule over anything. Verse 26, however, states, let mankind rule, rava, to trample down, to dominate, to master, to prevail over. Those are strong words.
This creature will dominate the world in which he finds himself. It isn't wrong to go to the moon, it's wrong not to. It isn't wrong to use the resources of this world, it's wrong not to. Not to abuse, but to use.
It isn't wrong to take charge of the creatures that live on this world, not to abuse them, but to control them, it's wrong not to. Mankind is commanded to rule over the world in which he is placed. It goes all the way back to Genesis 1, 26. And it's repeated again in 1, 28. After the fact, verse 28 says, God blessed them.
Look carefully. He blessed them and he said to them, be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. And again he repeats, subdue it. And rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. And here was man told to reproduce and told to rule, in fact chapter 2 verse 15, he's told to keep a garden, beautiful.
The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. Work isn't a curse. Work is that which was created in a context of innocence. Now the anxiety of dealing with people is a curse.
The sweat that comes to our brows because of the wrongdoing of others and our own selves, that's the curse. But in a context before there was ever sin, work was created. The earliest occupation was landscaping. It was horticulture work.
It was to make the garden, to keep the garden beautiful, to maintain it, to cultivate it. And man was given one negative command. Now that's amazing. Listening to the liberals today you would think that God is absolutely out to lunch. I mean unfair, brutal if he comes down on man.
He's continually negative it seems, not so. He had one negative command. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil that was in the garden, verse 17. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat. For in the day you eat from it you will surely die. Interesting how the Hebrew words it, dying you will die.
I suppose we could make that walk on all fours if we pushed it. Dying spiritually the moment you eat you will begin to die physically. Would Adam and Eve live forever had they not taken of the tree?
Yes indeed. And because they took of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they introduced to this world of ours death and all that precedes it in the way of disease. But this was a non-negotiable command, don't eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Chapter 3 is familiar to most Bible students. Certainly it is as it relates to the temptation in the garden and its culmination is at verse 6.
Look at chapter 3 of Genesis, verse 6. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, now look carefully, she took from its fruit and ate. And she gave also to her husband with her and he ate. Circle the words she took from its fruit and ate and her husband with her ate.
That's where the trouble began. Now until then there was innocence coursing through the blood stream of mankind. There was a constant communion with their creator. There was the blessing and delight of walks with God, of the joy of his presence.
There was an other person awareness and there was no self involved. But at this moment depravity entered the human blood stream. Depravity intercepted innocence and maintains its control over our minds which are now veiled and clouded, our emotions which are fragile, our wills which are rebellious. Instead of loving God, we fight with him. Instead of believing what he says, we reject his truth. Instead of wanting to do what he would have us do, we delight in doing what we want to do and instead of facing it, we cover it up. It all goes back to this first scene.
Let me show you. Verse 7, then when? Immediately after they had eaten, then the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew that they were naked.
Now I think that's an amazing thing. I think it's amazing because it implies up until then they did not know which is the truth. They did not realize that they were existing without clothing. They lived in perfect innocence. They enjoyed the delights and intimacies of marriage. They enjoyed an innocent nakedness in the presence of one another, totally comfortable, totally at ease, totally secure until now. And immediately after eating from the fruit, they became, get this, self-conscious for the first time. And realizing their nakedness, they did the most natural human thing one can do. They covered up. Verse 7, they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings, but their hiding isn't over. It's just begun. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. I love that phrase. He's coming down the trail to meet with his creations, but he doesn't find man and woman.
Why? Because the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Notice something. As a result of becoming self-conscious, there was an immediate cover-up and then there was a hiding from the Creator. It still goes on today.
The scene is different, but the principles are the same. And the Lord God called and said to the man, Where are you? I don't know why, but people have the strange idea that God really didn't know where they were. Sort of like, Adam, where are you?
Come on. He knew where they were. His question implies, why are you where you are? What are you doing there? You never hide from me. And before Adam answers, look at what he says.
Where are you? Well, Adam does respond, I heard the sound of you in the garden and I was afraid. That's a new one. Because I was naked. That's another new one. I, I.
He hadn't talked like that before. So I hid myself. God answers, who told you you were naked? Seems so strange to us today because we've never known innocence. Are you aware when you're naked?
I hope to shout. You know every button that's missing. You know every zipper that won't stay zipped. You know every hole in your pants or in your shirt. You are consciously and constantly aware of the zipper and the button and the hole. Every time you're in public, you can't think of anything but the ripped pants or the hole in the shirt.
Or the torn zipper or the button that's pulled loose. Why? Because we are self-conscious creatures. Part of growing deep in the Christian life includes understanding our depravity, our self-conscious condition as Chuck puts it. You're listening to Insight for Living and Chuck Swindoll's message from Creation to Corruption. You can probably guess from the way the message concluded today that there is much more teaching ahead.
To learn more about this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. Several years ago, Chuck said something in one of his messages that has become widely quoted. He was preaching about the virtue of developing a godly perspective. In his message about attitudes, Chuck said, I'm convinced that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react. Chuck went on to say that all of us are on a journey.
But when it comes right down to it, we're the only ones who can choose how we'll react to what life throws at us. Chuck's book will help you determine your choice. And you can be among the first to own a copy by getting in touch with us today.
Chuck's new book is called Life is 10% What Happens to You and 90% How You React. To purchase a copy right now, go to insight.org slash store. You can also call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Bear in mind that Insight for Living is a nonprofit ministry solely supported by voluntary contributions from listeners. And your gift, no matter the size, truly makes a difference in providing these daily visits with Chuck. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, the number is 800-772-8888. You can also give a contribution online at insight.org slash donate. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us again next time when Chuck Swindoll continues his hallmark series called Growing Deep in the Christian Life.
Right here on Insight for Living. The preceding message from creation to corruption was copyrighted in 1985, 1987, 2005 and 2011. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2011 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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