Meditations on ‘Focusing Faith’ : 4 : A Big Bang
Heb 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
If you are a Christian, at some point in your life there came a big bang. Your life was disturbed. It may have been very simply when a Sunday School teacher was teaching and you suddenly realised you had a need and you had to ask Jesus into your heart to be your friend. It may have been in your teenage years where you suddenly found yourself convicted that you were not the good person you thought you were, and even though you had made a commitment as a child you needed to make something much deeper, much more meaningful now. Both those descriptions, that are fairly common for Christians, describe my wife. Or perhaps you were in your twenties and somehow or other you heard the Gospel and realised that the speaker was describing your very inadequate life, a life that fell short in so many ways, and realised you and God were poles apart and that needed to change, and you bowed and prayed and surrendered to God and took Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. That again is fairly common for Christians, and that was me.
I remember a man I knew at work, late middle aged, a good friend but an atheist, and an out and out atheist who made fun of my beliefs. To cut a long story short he found himself sitting at the back of a half hour lunchtime Bible Study I was leading in the basement of our workplace and it just happened to be on John chapter 3, all about being ‘born again’. I don’t think I was at all persuasive but half an hour later this hardened atheist walked out a born-again Christian. What happened? A big bang! Something exploded his hardened beliefs of years, and the truth got to him and something in him said, ‘yes, this IS true,” and on the basis of that he committed his life to the Lord. Just like that.
What I have been describing is what theologians call ‘saving faith’, that inner urge that will not be satisfied until it has ‘sealed the deal’. How does it work? I believe it works first with a hungry heart. Second it works when that hungry heart is confronted with the truth of God’s word. Third it works when the Holy Spirit says to that person, “Yes, this is true. You know it is true. You know you have to respond to it. You’ll never be happy until you do.” Well it may not be those exact words but the sense will be there. It is what we call ‘conviction’. It is a sureness about something unseen, a strong hope about the future, and as we respond to it, it is what we call faith. There has to be the response to the word, to the truth, otherwise it isn’t faith, but when you came to Christ you had saving faith and it was helped by the Holy Spirit.
Now you may guess that I’ve also been setting you up to look again at our verse above, about believing that all things were made at God’s command. We believe this because the Bible says it – God spoke and everything came into being. We live in an interesting part of history where science has talked itself into a corner and is now feeling embarrassed. When I say ‘science’ I really mean modern scientists. A hundred years ago it was different to today. A hundred years ago I believe the general consensus was that the universe had existed for ever. That made no sense to us because our minds really can’t grasp the concept of ‘for ever’ but that’s where they left it.
Since then scientists have said, no, there are signs that the world is expanding and if you work backwards there must have been a time when there was a big bang and everything came into being. In fact we can work that out back to the second after it happened. We’re fairly sure about that. OK, supposing that is so, what was before the big bang. Well says this atheistic scientist, we don’t believe in any mythical being so it happened out of nothing. Pardon? Nothing? You mean ‘nothing nothing’ as Christian apologist Dr. Francis Schaeffer used to say? One moment there was absolutely nothing, no energy, no vacuum, not even a single molecule, and the next moment that was matter flying in all directions getting bigger and bigger and eventually turning into life-giving organisms to produce what we today call ‘life’? You ask me to believe that? Can you explain that? Well, no, but that’s where we’ve got to.
And they are embarrassed because they know that for centuries science has taught that for there to be ANY movement there has to first be a mover. For anything to happen, there first has to be an originating ‘something’ but if there was materially nothing (and a material world includes energy) then that ‘something’ had to be something other than the material world we know today. It does not prove God’s existence but it strongly challenges the atheistic scientific viewpoint which is in limbo at the present.
Do we need to squabble over how God did it? Seven days of revelation, seven periods of twenty four hours or seven eras? Don’t divide yourself from your brothers and sisters over something that cannot be proven, but rejoice in the fact that GOD made everything. For myself, the theory of evolution has so many holes in it that I am happy to leave people who do believe in unguided evolution in the same way I would leave flat-earth people – hang around long enough folks and one day you’ll stand before the Creator of all things and then you will KNOW – but of course that is a statement of faith!