Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Brilliance or Foolishness?

Named by Time Magazine as “Man of the Century,” one of the most celebrated Americans of the 20th century was in the news again recently. Although he passed from this world in 1955, Albert Einstein left a legacy as one of the greatest scientists of all time.

World famous for developing his theories of special and general relativity, he would go on to win the Nobel Prize. Despite his brilliant advances in science, however, Einstein himself was not happy with the implications of his conclusions.

In 1916 Einstein realized that if his theory of general relativity were true, it would mean that the universe was not eternal; it would have had a beginning—a fact which he later called, “irritating.” His world view called for an eternal universe that existed apart from divine intervention.

In an effort to alleviate this disconcerting problem, he tried to modify his theory to avoid an absolute beginning. His efforts failed, however, when in 1919 another cosmologist performed an experiment that confirmed conclusively that his original theory of general relativity was indeed correct. This second scientist, Arthur Eddington, was no happier than Einstein: “Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of nature is repugnant to me. . . . I should like to find a genuine loophole.”

This week a letter written by Einstein in 1954 is to be auctioned in London. In the letter he declared, “The word of God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.”

It is said that there is a fine line between genius and idiocy. The Bible affirms, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” We still benefit from the brilliance of Albert Einstein; it is a sad fact of history that he failed to appreciate the implications of his own research.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Lessons from a Rambunctious Chick

A new experience for our family is caring for 20 baby chicks, currently about ten days old. Utilizing advice from the experts, we constructed a circular, cardboard wall twelve-inches high to create an environment where the chicks can eat, drink, sleep, and be warmed by the heat lamp. Without the wall, the young birds might wonder off and die, unable to find their way back to the comfort and security of the heat lamp.

Yesterday morning I found that one of the chicks, as a result of rambunctious activity, had managed to get over the wall, finding itself cut off from the life-sustaining heat, water, and food. On the coldest day of its young life, the bird would have perished had I not discovered its predicament.

That experience reminded me of the role of the Law of God in the lives of humans. Knowing how we can best thrive and prosper in this world, God has revealed standards by which we should live. Frequently, however, we regard these laws as too confining, unnecessarily restrictive, and just plain burdensome.

We mistakenly think that bliss is to be found outside the “circle” of God’s Law. The reality is, however, that all who violate God’s standards will perish. In biblical language, “the wages of sin is death.”

The message of the Gospel is that God has extended His hand to save us in the person of His son, Jesus Christ. He bore our guilt when He died on the cross. For all who recognize their peril, turn from their disobedient ways, and trust the Savior, their sins are forgiven.

The chick I rescued didn’t welcome my assistance. It tried to escape my saving hand, oblivious to its perilous situation. Many humans likewise reject God’s offer of salvation, preferring instead their sin-dominated lifestyles. The Apostle Paul’s reply to a terrified prison warden still applies: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household.”