𝐓𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐃𝐚𝐲 – 𝐑𝐞𝐯 𝐍𝐢𝐜𝐤 𝐁𝐫𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐝
𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙃𝙚𝙖𝙫𝙚𝙣𝙨 𝘿𝙚𝙘𝙡𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙂𝙡𝙤𝙧𝙮 𝙤𝙛 𝙂𝙤𝙙
Last Friday evening BBC2 broadcast a documentary on the Hubble Space Telescope which included some of the most fantastic images of deep space. Within the first couple of minutes the programme quoted Edwin Hubble (1889 – 1953) as saying, “We do not know why we were born into the world, but we can try to find out what sort of world it is.”
We all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to scientists across countless disciplines for all their work and the benefits it has brought to humanity. But with great respect to Mr Hubble, he made a fundamental error in the above quotation. We do know why we were born into the world, but that answer is one science can’t provide. When we are asking profound questions which begin with, “Why?” we have to turn to the Bible.
“𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙝𝙮 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙔𝙤𝙪, 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙇𝙤𝙧𝙙 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙂𝙤𝙙, 𝙩𝙤 𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙚𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙜𝙡𝙤𝙧𝙮 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙝𝙤𝙣𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙥𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙧, 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙨, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙗𝙮 𝙔𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙚𝙭𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙.” (Revelation 4:11) We were born into this world by God’s will and specific act of creation. Now that we are here, our purpose is well-defined by the Westminster Shorter Catechism. It is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
When we “𝙡𝙤𝙤𝙠 𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙫𝙚𝙣𝙨” we can affirm they are the work of “𝙂𝙤𝙙’𝙨 𝙛𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙚𝙧𝙨.” When we look at the “𝙢𝙤𝙤𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙨” we can be awestruck that they were “𝙨𝙚𝙩 𝙞𝙣 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙚” by God. (Psalm 8:3)
If we want to know why earth has a sun and moon, and why there are stars, we need to consult Genesis. God said, “𝙇𝙚𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙢 𝙗𝙚 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙨𝙞𝙜𝙣𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙨𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙤𝙣𝙨, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙙𝙖𝙮𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙨, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙡𝙚𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙢 𝙗𝙚 𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙚𝙭𝙥𝙖𝙣𝙨𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙫𝙚𝙣𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙜𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙪𝙥𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙝.” (Genesis 1:15-16)
So today’s first conclusion is that in the created universe we behold the glory of the Creator and can be enthralled by the size, design, functionality and energy of the universe.
But there’s something greater. On this Sunday which the Book of Common Prayer calls Easter II, the Christian Church is still particularly celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is where we behold the glory of God in salvation. We trace through the Bible God’s promise of a coming Saviour. We celebrate His incarnation and virgin birth. We marvel at the teaching and miracles recorded in the Gospels. We shudder at His betrayal, and the kangaroo courts which condemned Him to crucifixion. We see His dead body temporarily laid to rest in a borrowed tomb. And then, particularly on Easter Day, we celebrate the conquering of sin and death and hell and the opening of the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers as our Lord Jesus Christ rose triumphantly from the dead.
Here’s a perfect summary of the Gospel as written in John 3:16, “𝙂𝙤𝙙 𝙨𝙤 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙, 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙃𝙚 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙃𝙞𝙨 𝙤𝙣𝙡𝙮 𝙎𝙤𝙣, 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙬𝙝𝙤𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙗𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙃𝙞𝙢 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙝, 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙚𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙡𝙞𝙛𝙚.”
Look at this verse and see two impossibilities. A person cannot believe and perish, neither can one not believe and have eternal life. Let these negatives affirm the two Gospel truths: believe in Jesus and enjoy eternal life or reject Him and perish eternally.
But what would a scientist say about the resurrection? He could do no better than to begin with Acts 1:3. “𝙅𝙚𝙨𝙪𝙨 𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙃𝙞𝙢𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙛 𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙫𝙚 … 𝙖𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙃𝙞𝙨 𝙨𝙪𝙛𝙛𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙢𝙮 𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙤𝙛𝙨.” A scientist needs but one “proof” to establish a theory. In God’s grace Jesus has left us “many proofs” of His resurrection. You’ll find them chiefly in the final chapters of the Gospel, but they spread onward and resurrection affirmations infuse the rest of the New Testament. Here’s just one example. Jesus said, “𝙄 𝙙𝙞𝙚𝙙, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙗𝙚𝙝𝙤𝙡𝙙 𝙄 𝙖𝙢 𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚.” (Revelation 1:18)
So today’s second conclusion is greater than the first one given above. We do see the glory of God in creation, but His greater glory is revealed in salvation.
Great God of wonders! All Thy ways
Display the attributes divine:
But Countless acts of pardoning grace
Beyond Thy other wonders shine.
(Samuel Davies, 1723 – 1761)
“𝙒𝙝𝙤 𝙞𝙨 𝙖 𝙂𝙤𝙙 𝙡𝙞𝙠𝙚 𝙔𝙤𝙪, 𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙙𝙤𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙦𝙪𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙥𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙨𝙜𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣?”