Sermons

Summary: God lays the foundation for all of life and godliness in Genesis.

Scripture Introduction

John Haldane pioneered work in genetics, and in 1952 received the Darwin Medal from the Royal Society. Other awards he received included the Huxley Memorial Medal of the Royal Anthropological Institute and the 1960 Kimber Award from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He was also a socialist and Marxist.

Ronald Knox was a well-known priest and contemporary of Haldane. In addition to his parish work, Knox (a brilliant classists) wrote detective novels, translated the Vulgate and several devotional writings into English, and was a friend of G. K. Chesterton. In 1926, during his regular BBC Radio show, Knox broadcast a pretended live report of a revolution sweeping through London. Some historians believe this was the idea behind H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.

Haldane and Knox met on an occasion and began to speak about the origins of the universe. Haldane did not believe in God and said that in a universe containing millions of planets it was inevitable that life would appear by chance on one of them. Knox answered: “Sir, if Scotland Yard found a body in your Saratoga trunk, would you tell them, ‘There are millions of trunks in the world – surely one of them must contain a dead body’? I think they still would want to know who put it there.”

Who put it there indeed? That question is before us as we consider “The Beginning of…the Universe.”

[Read: Genesis 1.1-2; 1.31-2.3; Isaiah 45.14-25. Pray.]

Introduction

One implant used by orthopaedic surgeons to repair severe fractures is placed inside the bone, then must be fixed with screws inserted from the outside. The surgeons cannot see the implant, so they use a portable x-ray machine during surgery to target the drilling for the screws. The process is difficult because after locating the holes, they must rotate the drill, guess the correct angle and drill “blind.” Sometimes the bit passes through the bone and implant; other times it misses, damaging one of the other.

As an engineer, I worked on a gear box to transfer the torque of the motor to a bit 90º rotated. We made the device from plastic, allowing the surgeon to watch the procedure live while he or she drilled through the bone and implant. We searched long for a material which could survive the extremes of orthopaedic surgery, but eventually we finished the design.

The project then went to production and soon the first 100 radiolucent gear boxes were made. They were beautiful! (One of the great rewards in engineering is seeing your design converted into actual products.) All that remained was the final manufacturing step – heat treatment. (When certain materials are cut or shaped, they can absorb significant material stress. Therefore, they are slowly warmed in a controlled environment to relax and dissipate the residual stresses.) One hundred devices went into the oven, and 100 pieces of shattered plastic (like the windshield of a wrecked car) came out. And the question asked was: “Whose fault is this?” Each drill was to sell for around $500 so management began to ask, “Who made the $50,000 mistake?”

I think this illustration helps explain some of the creation controversy. After the first production run, we had a large stack of expensive trash, even though the parts appeared (dimensionally) to match the engineering drawings. We also had sinners who not want responsibility for failure.

Likewise, we spend a pile of money on fossils and geological samples. Some of the bones seem different from animals alive today, and the rocks look old. And do not forget, there are sinful hearts which (according to Romans chapter one) do not want to take responsibility for worship of the Creator: “Maybe there is no God and we can live as we please.”

One other part of the drill story I should tell you. I did not want to be blamed for the problem either! So I telephoned the doctor we worked with and asked him to overnight something to me. The next morning I carried a Fed Ex package to the director of manufacturing and opened it on his desk. Inside was new data which reinterpreted the other “facts.” I did not change the blueprints. I did not fix the broken parts – they were forever ruined. But I had something which forced a new answer onto the broken parts. I had a working prototype. Made to the same blueprints, heat-treated to the same specifications, and, most importantly, used in 40 surgeries and, therefore, submitted to 40 rounds of high-temperature sterilization. Suddenly, eyes opened to what previously had been impossible – a manufacturing flaw!

There is, of course, a way of looking at the universe by which you see rocks a million years old and your neighbor as a mature monkey. But we have data here which opens eyes to a new interpretation of facts that a moment earlier answered to only one conclusion. If we look at the universe apart from its Creator, we will place something where God alone should be. Romans 1.25: “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” Thus the truth about the beginning of the universe corrects the lie, and in so doing, restores our souls and redeems our lives. Note, please, four implications from the truth about the Creator:

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