Table of Contents
Vol.8: Science and Faith
DESIGNED FOR MAN?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1. The
Power of God as Creator
Chapter 2. The
Immensity of God's Handiwork
Chapter 3. The
Wisdom of God as Designer
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)
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
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
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
In the beginning God created the heavens and
The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament
showeth His handiwork.
Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation
of the earth; and the heavens are the work of Thine hands:
By Him were all things created, that are in heaven,
and that are in the earth . . . and by Him all things hold together.
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
-- Hebrews 11:3
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.
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.
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