Hey, Calvary Fremont –
Welcome to the Universe. It all began about 14 billion years ago: the matter, space, and energy of our entire universe was contained in a space one-trillionth the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Where exactly this tiny all-containing entity came from, we don’t know. But it burst forth, and within a trillionth of a second, gravity and quantum mechanics were already at odds and four distinct forces— atomic energy, gravity, radioactive decay, and electromagnetism—were already at play.
In 2000 the Hayden Planetarium of New York City offered an exhibit called Passport to the Universe, which puts our relation to time and space in the universe into perspective. It shows us that we humans are carbon-rich specks on a pale blue dot in a vast galaxy, and that life on Earth has only been around for the slightest fraction of the universe’s lifetime. In fact, if the universe’s life were a calendar year, human history would only begin in the final seconds of 11:59 PM on December 31.
One Ivy League university professor asked to collaborate with the Planetarium in order to investigate the psychological effects of the exhibit on the public. He found that the majority of the public were depressed by the exhibit, and he himself confided that it was the most demoralizing experience of his life.
The professor’s perspective is shaped by ego and an inflated view of humanity’s importance in the grand scheme of things. This is understandable, given how society tends to elevate humanity, and assign it a significance that transcends the natural order. But it is precisely this, that humanity has a position within the great cosmic chain of being, a role to play, neither more or less vital than that of climates, plants, or animals, that we have a sense of significance. We are intimately connected to the universe.
The above summary is from a service I subscribe to called Thinkr. The four paragraphs above are Key Insights from “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” by Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Note what was stated above. The more intimately connected to the universe you are, the more you realize that you are no more significant than a dandelion or a dog. Your purpose is the same as a catfish or a carnation. You mean nothing more to the universe than a hairball coughed up by a cat – you both have a role to play. As Ingrid Newkirk, president of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said in Washingtonian magazine: “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. They’re all mammals.” Meaning – there’s no difference in value between them. The fact that this would demoralize you only shows that you have an inflated view of humanity’s importance in the grand scheme of things. Silly you.
How different from the declared conclusions of science are the stated assumptions of the Bible. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…And God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.’” From an impersonal process to a personal being, the accounts couldn’t be more different. God created men and women in His image. Humans bear the image of God, not that of rats, pigs, and dogs. The more intimately connected to the universe you are you realize that you have no significance. The more intimately connected you are to God you realize the value God places upon us in that He sent His only Son to take the judgment of sin upon Himself that we might have eternal life.
Existentialism is a fruitless philosophy springing from the barren sands of impersonal science. Since there is no inherent meaning and purpose to life – no God-given meaning and purpose – you must make it up yourself. You don’t discover meaning and purpose – you invent it. Intellectual consistency with the assured findings of science, will bring you to a place of personal emptiness and meaninglessness. Who can live without meaning and purpose? And since the universe doesn’t give us meaning and purpose, we’ll make it up ourselves. That is the existential task. Thus, you have your truth and have my truth. Except it’s not truth, it’s preference.
Where you begin will largely determine where you end. In the beginning all the matter, space, and energy of our entire universe was contained in a space one-trillionth the size of the period at the end of this sentence. The end of this beginning leads people to existential despair. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The end of this beginning leads people to eternal hope. Atheistic, impersonal science will drain your soul of all its vital juices. Christ came that we might have life, and that more abundantly.
I didn’t read the book, that’s why I subscribe to Thinkr. It provides a summary of thousands of books. What I appreciate about the author, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the author of “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.” is his intellectual clarity and honesty. He doesn’t try to pull meaning out of a hat. In the grand scheme of things, we have no more meaning and significance than plankton. This does not play well at a funeral. The comfort of Christ rings out for all. “I am the Resurrection and the Life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.”
Be blessed and stay healthy and follow Jesus – Pastor Tim