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Abstract

Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

    

Vol.8: Science and Faith

PART  I

 

THE UNIVERSE:

DESIGNED FOR MAN?

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction
Chapter 1.    The Power of God as Creator
Chapter 2.    The Immensity of God's Handiwork
Chapter 3.    The Wisdom of God as Designer

 

Publication History:
1970  Doorway Paper No.35, published privately by Arthur C. Custance
1978  Part I in Science and Faith, vol.8 in The Doorway Papers Series by Zondervan Publishing Company
1997  Arthur Custance Online Library (HTML)
2001 2nd Online Edition (design revisions)


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INTRODUCTION

     THERE ARE times in history when calamities of such magnitude have overtaken whole societies that they suffer a kind of spiritual trauma from which it may take thousands of years to recover, if they recover at all. Perhaps the event which did most to undermine the Medieval world view was the Black Plague. It was not merely that an appalling number of people died under frightful conditions and in great agony; it was rather that the plague itself seemed totally indifferent to its victims. The righteous died with the wicked. Those who might have been expected to be given some divine protection by reason of their Christian piety or their nobility of character were struck down just as mercilessly as the most evil among men. The older view of the universe as being governed by a righteous and beneficent God who punished sinners and rewarded the righteous received a staggering blow. It left men wondering whether God is in His heaven at all, whether life has any transcendental meaning, and whether man is any more than just a pawn of a capricious fate. But men did recover some measure of peace and assurance in time for hope springs eternal. . . .
     The Second World War had a somewhat similar effect because so many millions of innocent people were uprooted or destroyed, people who were essentially harmless individuals and, in a tremendous number of cases, God-fearing and devout. Once again men began to ask whether God really is in His heaven and whether life really does have any transcendental meaning. Perhaps, after all, the universe is a giant accident and man totally insignificant, his fate being of no consequence except to himself.
     Viktor Frankl, a world-renowned psychiatrist of Vienna, found, after a very great number of interviews
with disturbed people since World War II, that whereas children tend to seek in life pleasure above all, and adolescents power, mature adults seem to feel a great need to find meaning in life than ever before.
(1)  And

1. Frankl, Viktor E., "Reductionism and Nihilism" in Beyond Reductionism, edited by Arthur KoestIer and J. R. Smythies, Hutchinson, London, 1969, in the discussion, p.414.         

pg.2  of  4  

there is no question that the search for meaning demands that the individual find in some way a satisfactory answer to the question of his own relationship to the universe, to eternity, to the sum of things and not just to his own little world of immediate experience.
     In Medieval times, whatever miseries may have marked the lot of the common man, it does seem that he enjoyed this at least, namely, that he possessed some sense of the meaning of life in transcendental terms that is to say, in terms of his relationship to God, his origin, his destiny and the meaning of the created order of which the earth seemed to be the central focus. Whereas his means, his resources, were pitifully small, his ends or goals though honoured more in the breach than in the fulfillment and often wrongly motivated were nevertheless reasonably clear and lifted him to some extent above his miserable circumstances.  They provided him with both a stimulus and a comfort. But today, as Sir Eric Ashby has pointed out, while we have tremendously improved our means we have almost completely lost sight of any worthwhile ends.
(2) Aldous Huxley observed sadly that modern education in our higher institutes of learning has become dedicated to providing improved means to unimproved ends. (3) We have reached a point where we spend our energies acquiring a first-class ticket on a train, the destination of which seems of little concern to us. It is more fun to travel than to arrive, and the only goal in life seems to be to travel in style.
     The question arises whether we can find ends without defining man's destiny: and we cannot define destinies without settling the prior question of origins. If man has been cast up accidentally as a by-product of purely materialistic forces in a universe which has no meaning or purpose except to burn itself out so that everything that charms or challenges will perish with it and all aspiration will be as though it had never been, then "nature" has played a tremendous and tragic joke upon us all and our strivings are ultimately meaningless. So the crucial question, really, is whether the universe does have meaning: and, in the final analysis, this meaning must be "meaning for man". Is it possible, then, to make sense out of such a gigantic display in terms of the time taken, the distances involved, and the inconceivable masses of material which compose it, to find in all this vastness that such a puny creature as man is the ultimate explanation?
     How did it all begin, and why? Where is it all tending, and to what end? Is man of consequence in this tremendous drama? Does the evidence provide us with adequate cues in cosmic terms sufficient to justify the conclusion that the universe is not a meaningless accident destined to burn itself out to no end, but a demonstration of the power and the wisdom of God and so designed as to convey this message to a creature
such as man is?

2. Ashby, Sir Eric, "Technological Humanism" in Nature, 10 March, 1956, p.443.
3. Huxley, Aldous: quoted by John Walsh in a note on Aldous Huxley, Science, vol.142, 1963, p.1446

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 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
                                          -- Genesis 1:1

The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.
                                             -- Psalm 19:1

By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth . . . and by Him all things hold together.
                                                       -- Colossians 1:16,17

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God,
so that things which are seen were not made from things which do appear.
                                                 -- Hebrews 11:3

Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of Thine hands:
they shall perish; but Thou remainest;
and they shall wax old as doth a garment: and as a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed.
                                                    -- Hebrews 1:10-12

The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with a fervent heat.
                                             -- II Peter 3:10

And  I saw a new heaven and a new earth:for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. 
                                                           --  Revelation 21:1       

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