Last night my wife and I watched The Wonders of the Universe, presented by the ever smiling, smooth-talking ever-so-lovable Professor Brian Cox. Not a dour looking middle-aged gentleman with a moustache and in a grey suit, as one could imagine a professor to look like, but a youthful looking chap, some fifteen years my junior, and casually dressed to the extent that some diehards would call "scruffy" for his profession.
We enjoyed his one-hour long presentation. But as the programme progressed, I began to feel low, depressed. And Cox himself actually admitted that this part of his presentation would depress his audience.
For he spoke about the great age of the Universe, about 13 billion years old, and the coming death of the Universe as each star dies after burning up all of its fuel. This including our Sun, which when its fuel, which is Hydrogen, runs out, would then grow to a Red Giant, then shrink to a White Dwarf and eventually explode into a dust cloud.
And that is the fate of every star in the Universe. The brighter stars would die first, as they burn fuel at a much faster rate than the red dwarfs.
But over trillions, trillions and trillions of years into the future, only a few red dwarfs remain, as they were the slowest to burn their fuel reserves. But even they will turn into white dwarfs and explode into gas clouds and as the clouds disperse, the whole Universe will become a utter black void, without any source of light and heat, as eventually every single atom in the entire Universe becomes non-existent.
He even demonstrated this theory of the second law of thermodynamics by standing next to a rusting hull of a ship beached many years earlier. Gradually the hull was being eroded away and will, over time, disappear altogether, as the second law requires, as every matter deteriorates from order to disorder. The same applies to the Universe.
This morning on Radio 2, I heard presenter Chris Evans quip that life was purposeless, for we are all doomed, after watching the same programme the evening before.
And this is the final fruition of great intellects such as Charles Lyell, Jean Baptiste Lamark, Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and now Brian Cox. All of these guys, five British, one French and one American, either denied the existence of God or presented an alternative to Divine Creation in the name of Science. And the end result, a feeling of a depressing sense of purposelessness, acknowledged both by Cox and Evans.
And this sort of atheistic knowledge has swept across the Western World mainly from this nation, from where this knowledge had its origin from Lyell and Darwin respectively.
Does it matter?
Yes, I think it does. The thought of a dying Universe where eventually every star will fizzle out like a fading ember, to me at least, robs all sense of worth and purpose of living. We are reduced to a mass of atoms arranged into molecules by chance over millions of years of evolution. Having faith in God was nothing but an evolutionary hiccup, maybe to help with our survival as a species, but now, according to Dawkins and Harris, it's high time to throw all this into the dustbin and move on. Divine Creation is just a fairy tale. And the cause of a tremendous waste of hard labour endured by many generations.
After all, for example, because the Pyramids of Egypt were a burying place for the kings to enter the afterlife, they were of a religious significance and therefore a waste of time and energy in their construction, ditto with the giant statues of Buddha.
But more touching, would have been the birth, growth and history of the nation of Israel, and eventually its capital, Jerusalem. Totally purposeless would have been a need of a burial cave that would stand as a sentinel to testify that the land of Canaan was given to the children of Israel by divine decree.
It would mean that it matters not a jot whether the Palestinians succeed in pushing Israel into the sea, and grab back Jerusalem and return it to its status of a provincial city under the administration of the Islam capital of Mecca. But the fact that this had always been the wishes of the Palestinians, backed by the United Nations, along with superpowers such as Russia, as with all Arab nations. Thus Jerusalem has become a cup of trembling, and one day whose right to possess that city will be the cause of the greatest war fought by the nations, threatening the extinction of the entire human race. For what purpose? Religion? Something now proved pointless by science?
And again, if we are here because of an evolutionary stroke of luck in a slowly dying Universe, what purpose was the Crucifixion of Christ, and the Church he said he would build. From the churches comes the teaching that by having faith in the death and Resurrection of Christ, one's soul will be saved by having all sins forgiven, and to love and serve God and each other, to show compassion to the less fortunate, to give more freely, to do good to those in need and most important: to have a sense of purpose - which is to spend eternity thoroughly partaking and enjoying the love that has always shone so brightly between Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the three persons of a Trinitarian God! And to enjoy it in a re-created Universe and a world so astoundingly beautiful, that it is totally impossible to imagine it.
With this faith comes the assurance that as long as God keeps his Covenant with Israel, the Earth will never be destroyed. And he has also assured us that he will only break his covenant with Israel if we successfully achieved the impossibility of counting every star in the Universe, or cause the day and the night from following each other (that is, to stop the Earth from rotating) or even boring a hole down to the core of the Earth, literally. As for the great war over Jerusalem still future from this point in time, God will intervene before mankind is wiped out, and the Son of God will claim his throne of his father David in Jerusalem.
With all this in mind, I recall one particular evening at my bachelor pad some years ago. A member of the Bracknell Community Church (back then it was Bracknell Baptist Church) who himself was a graduate, came to visit me with a question:
Why are we here?
Without hesitation I quoted Revelation 4:11
For thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
For thy pleasure. It's a beautiful reason, and one given only in the Authorised version of the Bible. (All other versions use the word "will" instead of "pleasure".)
The visitor was stunned. He then explained that great minds have written volumes in attempting to explain why we are here, and I did it in a single stroke.
No, the Bible did.
Here we have it. Faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and trusting the Bible as authority has and always will spare me from the depressive sense of purposeless and doom propounded by the likes of Brian Cox and his ilk.