liThe Miracle of Planet Earth-3"
by Desmond Ford
The most amazing thing about the universe is that we can comprehend it-thanks to the marvel of the human mind. The same mind that learns from God's creatures also has a conscience.
'.'Conscience is a powerful evidence that God is just and immortality in Christ is real.
Mystery of Mind The mind, the marvel of the human mind! There's no computer like the human mind. There is no machine of any kind like the human mind. We don't understand how it works.
No surgeon has ever opened up a cranium and said, "Eureka! I've found it. A thought!" No brain opened by a severe accident reveals consciousness.
How is it something that has no spatial quality (the mind) can result in some- thing with a spatial quality (the body or other objects) being moved? A teenager in an automobile has a thought. He or she moves her foot and presses the accelerator. Thousands of pounds of Buick go hurtling along the road. That which has no geographical volume makes that which has geographical volume move. No one knows how. No one knows why. Think of the mys- tery of the human mind.
The most interesting thing about our universe is that itis comprehensible. Why should it be? Why should it be that something bal-
anced here on my shoulders can make adequate sense out of what is going on out there enough for me to live and func- tion?
How can we explain the relationship between this com- puter, the human brain, and out there? If thinking is only itching, it wouldn't make any sensible sense.
Odds Against Chance Life Fred Hoyle, the great astronomer, was an atheist but he changed his mind. He and a Buddhist scien- tist studied the chances that life could come about by chance. They prepared the statistics and predicted the odds were 1 X 10287, or one multiplied by ten to the power
of 287. Now, that runs into many, many trillions. (A lowly 1012 can get us into the trillions.) It will keep you up all night putting all the zeroes after the one.
Those are the chances of getting one protein molecule by chance. But it takes 234 of those 1 X 10287 molecules to make the lowest form of life!
We are a miracle in and of ourselves. The liver has 500 functions, a thou- sand enzymes. The body has a million types of antibodies.
Mysteries of the Natural World Think of the natural world of which we are a part.
Think of migration. Often, when I walk with a friend of mine on Sabbath afternoon, he talks about which birds are about to move here or move there. The mystery of migra- tion.
Think of the salmon. You know the marvel of the salmon. They come in from the ocean to spawn and return upriver to where they were born. They struggle against tides and currents, and against waterfalls. They stay only on a certain side of the river. They stay on that side where the tributary in which they were born will be found.
If you put the salmon in another tributary than the one where they were born, they fight against the current until they get back to the very place where they were born. Even after they've been a thousand miles out to sea. Who told them?
Eels With eels, it's the opposite.
The salmon-the male salmon-digs a hole under water in the tributary of the fresh water for spawning. But the eels go to the Sargasso Sea. From Europe, that's thousands of miles. From America, more like a thousand.
Yet you never find a European eel in American waters or an American eel in European waters. And because of the greater distance from Europe, European eels are mature by an extra year so they'll be fit to travel that extra mileage.
The eels go to the Sargasso Sea and the female lays mil- lions of eggs. One female, millions of eggs. (Imagine if the human race were that fertile!) The male drops his sperm over the top of them. When the eels are born, what do they do? They go back to the coast from which their parents came, European or American. Who told them?
Ants Think of the ants.
Ants are divided into different groups of functionality. There are hunters that go out from the nest, or hill, to scav-
enge all dead ani- mal material, and bring it in. There are farmers, or agricul- turists, among the ants. They care for green growing things near the nests.
Those that fasci- nate me the most are the herders, or pas- toralists, who have their own herds and flocks. These ants care for aphids, those little insects that suck and suck on anything green. The herder ant comes to the little aphid on the green leaf, and it's sucking all the juice it can out of the leaf. This way it prepares hon- eydew.
The ant rubs the back of the aphid with its antennae and the aphid releases a tiny globule of honeydew. If you and I scraped all day and night, the aphid wouldn't give us a thing. We would starve.
But the ant does it just the right way with its antennae, just the right way. When it has milked that aphid, it goes on to another one. It does more than that.
The ants have nurseries for the aphids. When the sea- sons pass, and baby aphids are born, the ants take them down into the ant nest. They keep moving them so that they are in the perfect humidity and temperature. Those ants are great nursemaids.
They also prepare cowsheds. When the aphids are suck- ing on the leaves, they are sometimes exposed and attacked by enemies. So the ants build cowsheds over the aphid colonies out there on the vegetation and put guards at the entrance.
We all feel that we'd do better if we had a bigger brain. What if we had a brain the size of an ant's brain? How do the ants do it?
God the Teacher Now, my friends, think of these things. Who taught the salmon how to get home after having traveled thousands of miles at sea? Who taught the eel where in the world to go? Who taught the ants to be pastoralists, to have flocks and herds, cowsheds and nurseries? Who taught them?
God is exalted in his power, Who is a teacher like him? (Job 36:22)
Brain Police The best thing about the brain I've not yet mentioned. The brain has a police officer.
In the United Kingdom the police use truncheons. In America, the police use heavier weapons. We have a police- man in the brain, but it's not heavily armed like an army. It's called conscience.
The conscience cannot altogether be of our own contriv-
ing, because it doesn't go along with our wishes and desires. If we do·something that doesn't sing a sweet song, the con- science stabs us and says, "You shouldn't have done that." That's the police officer of conscience.
There's no dodging "ought." If you talk to atheists, they'll tell you, "Well, you oughtn't to talk about such things." You can't get out of "ought" that easily. Ought is in every cell of our brain. And why is that good news? I'll tell you. If we have a sense of right, it is because our Creator is altogether right.
Conscience Says God Is Just The conscience is therefore a clue to understanding the great question that we all have: "Why is there so much injustice?"
Recently, I heard that a lifelong friend of mine just died. I knew her from childhood; she was my age. A beautiful, generous, kind, upright young lady. Yes, I still think of her as young, even though she was my age. Now she's gone. Why?
We all have this question. Why? Why mine? Why her? Why this one and not that one? Why?
Police-officer conscience assures us that our Creator, the providential Supervisor of the universe, is just. He is right- eous.
Guaranteed Immortality That fact guarantees immortality-because belief in another life is a corollary of the existence of God. Why was the uni- verse set going in the first place? Was it to develop character? But what is the good of developing character if after people have fought their way through rivers of blood and jumped through hoops of fire, God just blots them out?
Bruce Barton says: If you were God, would you form your children,
give them a conviction that right is right, that life is sig- nificant, tell them to live for the right even if it hurts all the time-and then when they have done it, crush them? Of course not. Immortality is a corollary to the existence of God. And
natural revelation tells us that.
Night and Morning The Psalmist says:
Weeping may remain for a night but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)
Why? Because the womb of morning is a promise of the resur- rection.
Things seem extremely bad at nighttime. We've all tossed and turned at night. Problems are so huge and insurmountable at night. When the morning comes, however, and the sun rises and you begin to hear birds chirp and you know it's breakfast time, things appear quite different. Night is a symbol of death and morning a symbol of res- urrection.
Theme of Nature
This is not an isolated fact in nature. Nature's full of this theme. Every grain that dies in the soil tells us about death and resurrection. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds" (John 12:24).
The cells of the body are constantly dying and being renewed. The moon fades away to nothing and suddenly is reborn.
Metamorphosis and Resurrection In Australia, we have a kind of cicada that stays under- ground for 17 years. One day you're walking through the bush and you hear a horrible clatter and racket! You know the cicadas have come up. This is the crop from those that went down 17 years ago. After 17 years they've come up to fill the bush with a cacophony of life and vitality. After being buried for 17 years!