Dogma for the Diaper Crowd

Not long ago, a friend of mine picked up a picture book for her young son about the well-known Berenstain Bears. In this book, the Bear family invites young readers on a nature walk. After a few pages, they are struck by a startling slogan, sprawled across the page: Nature is "all that IS, or WAS, or EVER WILL BE." Where did this strange credo come from? The words are borrowed from the late science popularizer Carl Sagan, host of the famous PBS show "Cosmos." Sagan's trademark phrase was: "The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be." Sagan was echoing the classic Christian liturgy- "Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be." Sagan was offering nothing less than a religion of naturalism-where nature takes the place of God as the ultimate and eternal reality. What Sagan did for adults, the Berenstain Bears are doing for youngsters-introducing them to the religion of naturalism. Yet, ironically, the most recent scientific discoveries actually contradict naturalism. Take the big bang theory. For centuries, the scientific evidence seemed to suggest that matter was eternal-without beginning or end. Then, just thirty years ago, several lines of evidence came together indicating that matter is not eternal after all--that the physical universe exploded into existence at a definite point in time. And if the universe popped into existence, then something-or Someone--outside the universe must have brought it into existence. Science itself points to a transcendent Creator. Even more striking, science is turning up evidence that the universe was designed for a purpose. Take the position of Earth: If it were even slightly closer to the sun, all water would be scorched away and life would be impossible. On the other hand, if the Earth were only slightly farther away from the sun, all water would freeze and there would be nothing but barren deserts. Or consider the force of gravity. If it were only slightly stronger, the universe would have collapsed back in on itself shortly after the big bang. If gravity were only slightly weaker, the universe would have expanded far too quickly for stars and galaxies to form. Why is the force of gravity just right for our universe to form? No one knows. There's no physical cause to explain it. Is it just coincidence? Or was the universe designed this way for a purpose? Cosmologists are discovering that the slightest tinkering with the values of the fundamental forces of physics would have resulted in a universe where life was impossible. It looks more and more like the best explanation for the exquisitely balanced structure of the universe is that someone intended it to be that way. If you're a parent or teacher, make sure you read your children's books-and that you can help them answer the challenge of naturalism. Nature is NOT all there is or was or ever will be. Science itself is turning up evidence that the universe had a beginning, and that came from the hand of God for a purpose.


Chuck Colson



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