Creation—Accidental? or Designed?

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” —Revelation 4:11

THEISTS, atheists, and agnostics have long wrestled with the question whether the universe is the handiwork of a wise and powerful intelligent creator or the spontaneous result of impersonal, natural forces that happened to come into conjunction at a propitious moment in time. The theists, of course, as the word suggests, believe in the existence of a personal God as the Creator and supreme Ruler of the universe. The atheists deny the existence of God and therefore hold that the universe could not have been created by any such nonexistent being, while the agnostics fall somewhere in between—they say they do not know.

In an article appearing in the New York Times Magazine (June 25, 1978) under the heading “Have Astronomers Found God?” Robert Jastrow, a highly respected astronomer and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, recently commented on the strange new findings of astronomy which seem to prove that the universe had a beginning at a specific point in time. While making it clear that he holds to the position of the agnostic, he is prompted to ask the question, “Was the creative agent one of the familiar forces of physics, or was it, as the Bible says, ‘Thine all-powerful hand that creates the world out of formless matter?’”

He continues: “We can never tell whether the hand of God was at work in the moment of creation—for a careful study of the stars has proved, as well as anything can be proved in science, that the universe came into being 20 billion years ago in a cataclysmic explosion. In the searing heat of that first moment, all the evidence needed for a scientific study of the cause of the great explosion was melted down and destroyed. This is the crux of the new story of Genesis. It has been familiar for years as the ‘big-bang’ theory.”

But down through the ages all those who trusted in the Lord God never doubted who is the Author of creation. The Bible itself states that it was God who created, not only this tiny globe on which we live, but the entire universe.

In the very first words of the Book of Genesis we are told that it was God who formed this Planet Earth. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”—Gen. 1:1,2

Then follows a remarkable account of the manner in which God prepared the earth for man’s habitation, and, finally, the creation of man himself. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish [fill] the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”—Gen. 1:26-28

When God said, “Let us make man in our image,” he was speaking to the Logos, the very first product of his creative power and the one through whom, at the Father’s direction, all else in the entire universe was subsequently made.

John the Revelator wrote, “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” (Rev. 3:14) We read in John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word [Logos, Jesus in his prehuman existence], and the Word [Logos] was with the God, and a god was the Word [Logos]. The same was in the beginning with the God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:1-3, see Diaglott interlinear) Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Corinth, “To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”—I Cor. 8:6

Again, speaking of Jesus, who acted by the authority of the Almighty in the great creative work, Paul says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” (Col. 1:16,17) Again, in the same vein, Paul wrote of “God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.”—Eph. 3:9

Thus the Bible plainly states that the entire universe, including this lovely Planet Earth on which we are privileged to exist, is the work of an intelligent and mighty Being, even the Lord God himself.

But doubts about the creation of the universe persist in the minds of men. For ages upon ages men have been peering into the heavens to find God. Not long ago, on returning to earth from a trip into space, Russian cosmonauts reported, facetiously, that they saw no signs of God.

While men have long and vainly tried to find God in the distant heavens with their scientific instruments, they have ignored the abundant visible evidence of his existence that can easily be seen on every hand. Concerning man’s inability to see God, the Apostle Paul said: “That which may be known of God is manifest [to] 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 [deity]; so that they are without excuse.”—Rom. 1:19,20 (compare RSV)

On another occasion Paul denounced the sacrifices which were proposed to be offered to false gods by the heathen at Lystra, and he besought the people to “turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein. … Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”—Acts 14:15-17

To the humble, trusting believer God is everywhere manifested in his mighty works, which demonstrate his unfathomable wisdom and power, though he is so often unperceived by the wise and the learned. The simple shepherd David looked into the heavens and was well-nigh overwhelmed by the order and glory and majesty and power of the Creator there revealed. He sang: “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth! … When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established; what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?” (Ps. 8:1,3, RSV) Although these marvelous things are unseen and unappreciated by so many of the learned, David said God’s “glory above the heaven is chanted by the mouths of babes and infants.”—Ps. 8:2, RSV

But skepticism about the Bible’s authorship and reliability is not new. For a long time higher critics of the Bible insisted that no such person as Abraham ever lived, that the stories told about him in the Bible were merely allegories, or fairy tales. Today, however, it is most reassuring to learn that archeologists are discovering one after another of the ancient landmarks mentioned in the sacred Word, confirming and establishing its reliability and truth.

In recent decades clay tablets by the thousands have been dug up in Mari, in Mesopotamia, confirming the existence of the progenitors of Abraham. “Names of Abraham’s forefathers emerge from these dark ages as names of cities in northwest Mesopotamia,” says The Bible as History, pp. 51,52. “They lie in Padan-Aram, the plain of Aram, in the center of which plain lies Haran. … Haran, the home of Abraham, father of the patriarchs, the birthplace of the Hebrew people, is here for the first time historically attested, for contemporary texts refer to it.”

Thus the information found on the clay tablets unearthed in the kingdom of Mari is found to produce indisputable evidence that the accounts of the patriarchs which are presented in the Bible are not merely legends. They are true, historical records of God’s dealings with his chosen people.

The early pages of the Bible also describe a great flood which came upon the earth, in preparation for which Noah constructed an ark. This event, too, has been held by critics of the Bible to be a myth. However, the late Professor Palmer Hall Langdon, of the Institute of Metals, London, upon his return from extensive work in Mesopotamia in 1929, described his finding of a great “flood deposit” at a considerable depth, and of the layers below it which contained relics of the civilization which thrived there before the flood deposit was laid down.

Also, near the city of Ur in Mesopotamia, an earlier expedition in 1923 under the leadership of Sir Charles Leonard Woolley discovered similar evidence of a great flood which had deposited a ten-foot layer of mud. Beneath this they found ancient rubbish and potsherds, giving evidence of human habitation that had been covered over by the layer of mud which was such as would be deposited by a flood like that described in the Bible as having taken place in Noah’s day.

In many other ways the statements of the Bible are being substantiated by archeology. King Solomon’s copper mines, whose actual existence was long doubted by skeptics and which were one of the sources of his great riches, have been discovered in Ezion-Geber. Cities which the Bible records as having been built by Solomon—Megiddo, Hazor, and Gezer—long lost sight of, buried beneath the rubble of succeeding generations and covered over by the shifting sands, have been brought to light and verified.

The ancient city of Jericho has been uncovered by archeologists, and a careful examination of the position of the ruins of its walls indicates that they were indeed breached in such a manner as would permit entrance into the city by the attacking Israelites.

Many important cities mentioned in the Book of Joshua, which records Joshua’s exploits in the conquest of Canaan, have been unearthed by the archeologists, among them Debir: “And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir, and fought against it.” (Josh. 10:38) We also read in Joshua: “The Lord delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel.” (Josh. 10:32) Archeologists have found and definitely identified the ruins of Lachish. Joshua was buried in “Timnath-serah which is in Mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.” (Josh. 24:30) This city has also been located and identified.

There is much said in the Old Testament concerning the corrupt heathen religious worship and practices which prevailed in Canaan when the Israelites entered the land. Time and again the Israelites fell victim to the false gods, whose false religions are described by God as “the abominations of the heathen.”—II Kings 21:1,2

While the false and sensual rites associated with these heathen religions are vaguely mentioned in the Bible, the terrible details are omitted. But these come clearly to light in discoveries made by archeologists. The Bible record of these false gods and the sensual rites which accompanied their worship is thus clearly verified by the findings of archeologists, and this gives further proof of the reliability of Holy Scriptures, including its statements regarding the Creator and the creation of the universe.

The Bible’s record of the uprooting of the ten tribes of Israel from Samaria is abundantly confirmed by numerous tablets found in the ruins of Sargon’s castle, and in the great library of Nineveh, which ancient city was founded by Nimrod and was unearthed by the British archeologist Henry Layard about the middle of the nineteenth century. Thus when we read in the Bible of Nimrod’s building a city, or of Jonah’s going to Nineveh, or of Assyria’s conquest of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, we are not reading fairy tales but accurate historical records, of which the chosen people of God themselves became a part.

The Bible also testifies to its own authenticity by the fulfillment of its own recorded prophecies. Many of these related to Jesus. His place of birth was prophesied (Mic. 5:2); the time of his ministry (Dan. 9:25,26); the manner of his birth (Isa. 7:14); his rejection by the Jews (Isa. 53:3); his entry into Jerusalem (Zech. 9:9); his betrayal for thirty pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12); his silence when accused (Isa. 53:7); his being given gall and vinegar (Ps. 69:21); lots cast for his coat (Ps. 22:18); his bones not broken (Ps. 34:20); his resurrection (Ps. 16:10). These and other previously recorded prophecies concerning Jesus were all fulfilled at his first advent.

Among other things the Bible also prophesied about 1,600 years before the event that the Lord would scatter his disobedient children of Israel to the far corners of the earth. (Deut. 28:64,65) This foretold scattering took place in A.D. 70, when Jerusalem was destroyed by the armies of Rome and the Jews were dispersed.

But the Lord God had also promised that he would subsequently regather his people to the land he had given to them. One of these promises was recorded by the Prophet Ezekiel about the fifth century B.C.: “Thus saith the Lord God; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.” (Ezek. 11:17) A similar promise was recorded about the same time by the Prophet Jeremiah: “For, lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord; and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.” (Jer. 30:3) We who are alive today have been privileged to see the literal fulfillment of this remarkable prophecy of the gathering of the Jews out of the nations into which they had been driven and their return to the land of Palestine despite unimaginable suffering and opposition.

Skeptics may continue to doubt, deny, and dispute the authorship of the Bible; but they cannot refute or erase from the pages of history that which must be evident to every reasonable person—that only an all-wise, all-powerful, and all-knowing intelligent Being could have foretold these remarkable events and caused them to be recorded in his Holy Word and then brought them to pass in the life of the tiny nation of Israel. Surely, the fulfillment of Bible prophecy alone should be sufficient to convince reasonable men as to the authorship of this Book and to induce faith in God’s claim to being the Creator of the universe.

And all our God-given senses unitedly proclaim and confirm that everything within us and around us is the product of a higher intelligence. How could an accidental, undirected, unintelligent, impersonal “big bang” create life? How could it endow man with mentality, with the power of choice—to do or not to do? How create countless species of beings, animate and inanimate? How instill instinct into living creatures, great and small, to preserve their own lives?

How could it give to flying creatures the ability to find their way across the trackless oceans? How could a big bang produce the fragile beauty of the orchid, the lovely fragrance of the rose, the enthralling song of the mocking bird? How instruct the robin to seek its mate, to build a nest, to sing?

How did it endow man with the ability to arrange and to enjoy the enchanting strains of lovely music, to appreciate the majesty and awesomeness of a star-and-moonlit night, of the morning sun breaking over distant hills, or to marvel at the color and form of an ever-changing sunset?

How could a mindless, unfeeling, mechanical big bang in twenty billion times twenty billion years ever have produced in the heart of a human being the joy of hearing a child’s happy laughter, of watching a lovely cloud change form against an azure sky, of catching the pungent smell of smoke from an outdoor fire, of listening to the music of a rushing woodland brook or the sound of a wave breaking on a sandy beach or a cooling breeze in the trees?

It is all so inexplicable, so unreasonable, in the concept of a big bang! But how simple, how reasonable, and how beautiful all becomes when we listen to God’s own account of the creation of the universe as it is set forth in those sublime opening chapters of the Book of Genesis and confirmed in equally eloquent chapters of the Book of Job!

It is taking the world’s scientists a long time to find God and to learn of his marvelous creative power and the manner in which the universe was formed, if at long last they are indeed doing so. Humble, believing students of God’s Word have long known him and marveled at his incomprehensible power as manifested on every hand. In every day of our lives and in every facet of our existence, in everything we see, hear, touch, smell, or taste, we are confronted with the inescapable fact that behind it all is a wise and powerful Supreme Intelligent Creator. The fact that we, his humble human creation, possess the power to reason and to choose, to devise and plan, to accept or reject, is positive proof that the Creator of these lowly human creatures is himself an intelligent Being, possessing all these qualities in infinite degree.

During this present Gospel Age the great God and Creator of the universe graciously and specially reveals himself and his wonderful plan of salvation for mankind to Jesus’ footstep followers. But these things may only be spiritually discerned, Paul tells us. And how true we find this to be! For if the visible, mind-satisfying, heart-warming, and faith-strengthening natural evidence of God which is so apparent on every hand is insufficient to convince material-minded man of the simple fact of the Creator’s existence, surely he will be unable to discern the far more glorious spiritual evidences of God that are to be found in his Holy Word.

The wonderful things concerning God’s matchless love for his fallen human creatures, his plan for restoring them to the perfection that was lost in Adam, of granting them an opportunity to gain everlasting life on this wonderful Planet Earth under the rulership of Christ’s righteous kingdom, of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus are truly seen and comprehended and cherished only by Jesus’ faithful followers of this present Gospel Age, who have been called to walk in his steps.

To the wise of this world this is all a mystery. They do not know that God is not to be discovered with the most powerful of telescopes. They do not know that he is to be found near at hand, by the light of his Word shining into humble, receptive hearts through the instrument and power of his Holy Spirit.

Paul said it all so well in his letter to the church at Corinth:

“We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. … But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”—I Cor. 2:7-14

During this present age it is only the people of God who truly know him, trust him, and strive to serve him. To these he has graciously revealed himself through his precious Word of truth. But in due time, when Christ’s kingdom is established and earth’s sleeping billions are brought forth from the graves, all mankind will come to know God. There will be no need to search the skies to find God, although to the discerning eye he is gloriously evident there in his wonderful creative works. But in the coming millennial day the eyes of understanding of all will be opened to discern him—everywhere, and in everything.

“They shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 31:34) All the resurrected world of mankind will then learn of his mighty power, his perfect wisdom, and his unfailing justice. And best of all, they will learn of his matchless, infinite love for his fallen human creatures, through the gift of his only begotten Son, through whom all may gain everlasting life by obedience to the righteous laws of Christ’s kingdom. We pray, and we believe, that glorious, long-awaited for day is not far distant!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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