Last week, a legend died. John Glenn, the first man to orbit the earth in a space craft. He orbited three times. I sometimes wonder what it was like, to be the first and to see what he saw. Was he afraid of what might happen? Did he expect to not see his wife again(They were married a total of 73 years)? Did he have time to enjoy the sights? Or was he too busy fixing all that went wrong that flight? Would traveling around the earth change his view of the origins of the universe? There is a big debate between science and the Bible. After seeing space and the full earth, which side won in his mind? No matter the answer to my questions, John Glenn must have loved space, for he opted to fly again, when he was 77. He became the oldest man to enter space. Did I mention that he was a hero of mine?
John Glenn was a strong Presbyterian. His trips into space merely strengthen his already solid faith. He said: "To look out at this kind of creation and not believe in God is to me impossible." He did not believe that there was a contradiction between the Bible and science.
Other astronauts say the same thing. I've had the privilege to hear several astronauts and NASA engineers talk about their experiences. Most that I have met insist that space and creation validates the existence of God. They also claim that Christians don't have to fear science, for there is no disagreement.
Creation does show the existence of God. "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of his hands" (Psalm 19:1). Since God created the world, like any good artist, he left his signature all over it. Romans 1:20, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made." There are many who try to turn a blind eye at the existence of the evidence of God in creation. Unfortunately, to do this, they have to deny scientific laws and rules of logic.
Science and faith are not irreconcilable, for science shows the glory of God. The intricacy of the atom, the complications of the eye or the reproductive system, and others, all scream an intelligent designer. This world is so detailed, but it is limited. It needed an eternal, all-powerful, non-material Cause to have jump-started its existence. That Cause, that Intelligent Designer, is my God.
John Glenn tried to share his experiences with others and let them know that science strengthened his faith. Instead of shying away from science, may we embrace the story that it tells of our God. Instead of embracing science as against the way of God, let us use it to proclaim His glory.
On Monday, November 28, we read the brutal story of an eighteen year old college student who used his car and his knife to wreak havoc on the campus of Ohio State University. We don't know why this student chose to spend his Monday after Thanksgiving in this way. We don't know why he chose to seek to kill those students, teachers, and policemen. All we know is that he acted, and that his action is not alone.
He is now part of a statistic. A statistic which relates a story of school shootings, police killings, riots, and senseless murder. Week after week, for the past multiple years, with increasing frequency, our eyes have been bombarded with the stories of these atrocities. Many of us are confused. Some are angry. All are saddened by the wanton misuse of human life. We do not understand how someone could willingly do these things. These emotions often bring hopelessness.
When looking at the world, an observer might deduce that violence is getting more and more prevalent. Is this really true? I don't know. The author of Ecclesiastes wrote, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." The methods have changed over time as humanity moved from clubs, to swords, to arrows, to guns, to explosives, to whatever the next generation will invent. With the spread of information, we know more about each event that happens around the world, than any other generation knew. Is violence more prevalent, or do we just know more that is happening? I don't know.
What I do know is that violence, hatred, pain, anger, and hopelessness have been staples in humanity's existence since Adam and Eve left the garden. The perfection that was at the beginning was lost when sin entered the world. Relationships were broken. Miscommunications abounded. Jealousy grew. The broken emotions festered, and then boiled over as Cain committed the first murder, showing that humanity had the ability to take the life that God graciously had made. This is seen as the depth of man's depravity. That first murder was joined by a second and a third, and innumerable more. Because of broken relationships, humanity does not have the ability in themselves to break this cycle, to live in peace.
We seek peace, but that peace is no where to be found, because we seek it in the wrong places. We look to each other, hoping that some man or woman could teach us how better to live. Unfortunately, no teaching of humanity can change who we are or our brokenness. We look to someone or something to give peace to our situation, but there is no peace to be had. Before we can have peace in our world, we need peace in our hearts. Only one person can change us.
True peace is found in Christ. Israel sought a savior that would bring peace to their situation. They lived in the middle of violence and riots, under an oppressive, racist government that cared more about lining its pockets than actually helping the poor and weak. In the middle of this chaos, Christ came as the one who would usher in a new regime, one of love, care, and equality. One of peace. But he ushered in this regime by dying. And, before he died, he promised that we wouldn't have peace on this earth.
How does Christ bring peace?
Where is this peace?
As Christ was at the Last Supper, he said, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." While we live on this earth, we will be surrounded by trouble, because humanity is still suffering from sin and broken relationships. We have hope though. Christ promised that He has overcome the world, and one day that promise will be realized. He will come again and bring justice to those who have not followed Him. And, He will bring an eternity of peace to those who have trusted in Him.
Though we will keep getting more reports of violence, and though it feels like the world is spinning out of control, one day, in the Day of the Lord, we will finally have peace. This gives us hope in the midst of pain around us.