Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Quote of the Day: Nothing But Blind, Pitiless Indifference
Charles Darwin (19th cc. Naturalist)
"The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at the bottom, no design, no purpose, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference."
This bleak assessment of the wonderful universe in which we live was made by the 19th cc. naturalist Charles Darwin, publisher of the landmark book, On the Origin of Species.
Darwin attended a Church of England school, and at one point studied Anglican theology to become a clergyman. He believed in God as the first-cause of creation and as the ultimate lawgiver. However, the death of his daughter Annie in 1851 led to an abandonment of belief in God and he died, by his own admission, a skeptic.
Thus, we see interwoven into Charles Darwin's tragedy-filled life issues and arguments that are still with us today; the meaning (or non-meaning) of life; the teleological argument for the existence of God (the argument from design); the cosmological argument (God as first-cause); and theodicy (justifying God's ways), in particular as seen in the problem of evil.
In contrast to Charles Darwin's bleak assessment of the human condition, we have Jesus Christ, who claimed to know God and to enjoy a uniquely intimate relationship with him. By way of contrast, the reality that Jesus Christ experienced was one of design, purpose, illumination, and caring compassion. He reflected this caring compassion of the Creator-God by going about doing good, and healing those who were sick or oppressed.
Furthermore, Jesus said, "ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and the door shall be open unto you." It is this invitation, along with the belief that a universe created by God operated according to regular laws, that perhaps motivated scientists in Christian lands to seek to understand the material universe and develop the scientific method which has resulted in incalculable blessings to mankind.
In a sense, materialistic scientists continue to do this to this day, asking probing questions about the origins and development of the cosmos and of life, seeking new insights, new paradigms, etc. In doing this, they are in a sense fulfilling what Jesus Christ says man is supposed to do -- that we are created by design for a purpose, to be askers and seekers and knockers. How different this is to Charles Darwin's bleak assessment of a universe of blind, pitiless indifference, where whether man seeks or not is of utter indifference and inconsequence.
The apostle Paul put it this way --
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth.... From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." (Acts 17)
On life's most vital question, Charles Darwin missed the mark. Jesus Christ nailed it (even as we nailed him).
And that's the way the Ball bounces.
"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"