Summary: We may not agree on the details of how life came about, but hopefully we agree on Who and Why.
“I Believe-A Sermon Series on the Apostles’ Creed
“Designer Genes” (”Maker of Heaven and Earth”) -Pastor Bob Leroe, Cliftondale Congregational Church, Saugus, Massachusetts
Newsweek magazine ran an article about the controversy over Creation vs. Evolution. In response, a letter to the editor offered this observation: “While physicists are probing and deciphering the secrets of the universe, a higher question yet remains: why does the universe exist?” This is most important; we may argue over how things came to be, but there remains a greater question—why things came to be.
If our world is the result of chance; in other words, if life came about by accident, then life is devoid of meaning. This is the central teaching of the book of Ecclesiastes—if there is no Creator, and if life is simply the result of random molecules happening to mix and form life, then our existence is pointless, meaningless, and we are trapped in the chaos of an insignificant, futile life. Sounds pitiful? It is. For anyone who rejects belief in God as Creator, the only logical outcome is despair.
Let’s take this scenario one step further: If there is no Creator of heaven and earth, it matters not how we live. Without purpose (causality), there can be no basis for values or ethics. Any rules or laws we devise become arbitrary, without moral authority to back them up. If life is an accident, how we treat others and the planet no longer matters. There’s no way to determine whether we should help an elderly person across the street, or run them over in our car. If there is no purpose for life, then we’re free to “do our own thing”. The motto of our times has become: “Question Authority and Challenge Everything”.
Let’s apply this to medical ethics. We question the morality of genetic engineering, of cloning, of surrogate mothers, of abortion and euthanasia. As Christians, we claim that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and how we treat them matters. We believe all human life is sacred. But if life is merely an accident, the only question regarding any medical procedure or experiment is: “If it can be done, why not?” Not “should we do this?” but “can we do this?”
This past week I heard expressed on Talk Radio moral outrage over an alleged White House leak regarding a CIA Operative, and outrage over local blue laws in Boston forcing bars to close at 2 am. What could these 2 issues possibly have in common?
The matter is one of morality. If we assume there is an external, absolute standard, then it matters what we believe and how we live. If not—if life is just a cosmic accident, than nothing matters, and anarchy is OK—it’s all we have left. We lose any basis for human law other than maintaining order. If “right and wrong” are true concepts, then we should seek divine guidance to determine how to govern. We can learn whether compromising national security or allowing unrestricted access to bars is OK or not. If there is no Creator, then anything is permissible, and morality is just an outdated mistake. Even our thoughts are accidents--they are the result of a chance movement of atoms. Sound depressing? There is an alternative view…
In the opening pages of the Bible, we are confronted with God speaking the world into being. From nothingness came order; but it didn’t “just happen”. In Creation we see the triumph of God over the forces of chaos. The author of Hebrews states, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (11:3).
Human dignity and worth rides on whether God is the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Without a Creator, we are nothing more than smart animals. History shows how godless people have used and abused others. Scripture tells us that we are fashioned in God’s image, that we have a genetic mark of divinity on us. We innately know that we possess souls, that life is more than mere existence; we have purpose because God is causing us to grow and is preparing us for a life beyond this life. But if there is no Creator, then any thoughts regarding the value of human life are nonsense, wishful thinking. How did our complex genetic code originate? Creationists believe in “designer genes”.
We who believe in Creation have a reason to respect the sanctity of human life; we have a reason to love and respect others. For example…
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin served as Commanding General of the 20th Maine during the Civil War, renowned for his heroism at Gettysburg. He attended seminary to be a Congregational minister, but instead became a professor at Bowdoin College. Chamberlin volunteered to serve in the Union Army largely over the issue of slavery, which he called the worst cause ever fought for: “Slavery and freedom cannot live together”. He said that when he saw another human being, regardless of race, he saw the spark of divinity within.