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In John Piper’s new book Think, he quotes Charles Misner, a scientific specialist in general relative theory, concerning Einstein:
I do see the design of the universe as essentially a religious question. That is, one should have some kind of respect and awe for the whole business . . . It’s very magnificent and shouldn’t be taken for granted. In fact, I believe that is why Einstein had so little use for organized religion, although he strikes me as a basically very religious man. He must have looked at what the preachers said about God and felt that they were blaspheming. He had seen much more majesty than they had ever imagined, and they were just not talking about the real thing. My guess is that he simply felt that religions he’d run across did not have proper respect . . . for the author of the universe (194).
Scientists know that light travels at the speed of 5.87 trillion miles a year. They also know the galaxy of which our solar system is a part is about 100,000 light-years in diameter-about 587 thousand trillion miles. It is one of about a million such galaxies in the optical range of our most powerful telescopes. In our galaxy there are about one hundred billion stars. The sun is one of them, a modest star burning at about 6,000 degrees centigrade on the surface and traveling in an orbit at 155 miles per second, which means it will take about two hundred million years to complete a revolution around the galaxy.
Scientists know these things. Einstein was awed by them. He felt something like this: “If there is a personal God, as the Christians say, who spoke this universe into being, then there is a certain respect and reverence and wonder and dread that would have to come through when we talk about him. And certainly we would be talking about him all the time since he is the most important reality.” You can feel the force of this when you hear God say in Isaiah 40:25-26 (NIV):
“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these [stars]? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing (194-195).
Piper’s points here make me wonder if I have become too familiar with God to remain in awe of Him. The Words recorded in Scripture must be more than mere words on a page; they must be timeless truths which reveal our God’s identity. In other words, we must view them as God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16-17). One would think a greater knowledge of God would necessarily produce a greater awe, but this is not always the case. For Christians to truly be in awe of God, we must have a correct understanding of how small we are compared to God, and we must also respond correctly to the truth of God. The correct response to all God says in His Word and all God says through His creation is awe and reverence. In other words, in our response to the greatness of God, does He constantly dominate our thoughts, communication, etc., and does our body language, actions, demeanor, etc. reveal our awe of God? Or, have we become so familiar with God that we’re no longer in awe of Him? If so, let us repent and tremble! Run to the crucified and resurrected Christ, God the Son incarnate, the only hope to reconcile you to this awesome God (John 14:6)!
How will you respond?