Probing the Secrets of the Universe

By David Engelsma

In an earlier issue of National Geographic, astronomer Bradford P. Smith writes, "This universe taunts us with mysteries. When did it begin? How will it end? What laws of nature governed its creation and evolution?...And be- cause we think that we might be able to understand the answers, that this universe might make sense, we are building ever more magnificent instruments to probe its secrets."

This year our students also hope to probe into nature’s mysteries with all the instruments at their command. Our students however already know the answers to the astronomer’s questions. They know how the universe began. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). They also know how it will end. "But the heavens and the earth, which are now by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (2 Peter 3:7). Christian school students pursue their search with the certainty that the universe is God’s creation and as such is orderly, knowable, and understandable to the extent the Lord blesses their efforts.

How sad it is that many scientists today continue to spend their time seeking answers to such questions. Surely their building of ever more magnificent instruments to probe and understand the secrets of the universe is doomed to fail as long as they persist in explaining its existence without the necessity of a Creator. The real problem is not that they know too little about the universe but rather that they know too much! Astronomers know that long before a man ever peered through a telescope, the universe has been repeating its insistent, inescapable message: "There is a Creator." "That which may be known of God," Paul wrote, "is manifest in them, for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead" (Romans 1:19 A 20). Whether or not they will admit it, every scientist, every atheist, everyone, hears and sees that message. This is how God is revealing Himself to our pagan, post-Christian society. God is not ignored because of a lack of communication. He is ignored because He is hated.

As society becomes more and more antagonistic to our Judeo-Christian beliefs, may we and our children become increasingly convinced and convicted of the truths of God’s Word, and seek faith and courage not to be intimidated from voicing our beliefs wherever and whenever we have opportunity. We need not be scientists with impregnable arguments to convince others of God’s existence. He is making Himself known through creation. God has already given notice all around. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is "no speech nor language where their voice is not heard" (Psalm 19:1-3). We need to remember that we are speaking to those who already know that there is a God, and who already know something of what that God expects of them. It may be that behind every denial of God’s revelation is a gnawing conscience and a desperate attempt to suppress that constant, everywhere present truth.

Today, living as we do in an age of "magnificent instruments," God’s voice in nature is only getting louder. May the sound motivate our students to press on in their studies and experience that "the universe, (which) is before our eyes as a most elegant book, wherein all creatures great and small are as so many characters leading us to contemplate the invisible things of God..."(Belgic Confession). Above all, as our students probe the secrets of His creation may the Lord "make Himself more fully known (to us) by His holy and divine Word; that is to say, as far as is necessary for us to know in this life, to His glory and our salvation" (Belgic Confession).