‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:1-4).’
Professor Brian Cox has presented shows around the world with the aim of explaining to large audiences what is the current understanding about the origin and evolution of our solar system and the universe. The title of his shows is ‘Universal: Adventures in Space and Time’, and the advertising blurb says that Brian and his fellow podcaster, Robin Ince, offer ‘a fascinating insight into the workings of nature at the most fundamental level.’
Selina Altamonte says in an article at *Honeycombers that at an interview with Brian before the start of his Singapore show he was asked the question, “As a scientist, where do you find the sublime?”
He replied: “That’s the foundation of this show, actually. It may be an exaggeration, but I think the only interesting question is, ‘What does it mean to live a small, fragile and finite life in an infinite universe?’ What the show does is give an insight into the size and scale of the universe – and how physically insignificant we are in that universe. But also, I argue that as an intelligent civilisation, we may be quite rare in the universe – and therefore valuable.”
He went on to share a quote of the physicist Richard Feynman,“What, then, is the meaning of it all? What can we say to dispel the mystery of existence? If we take everything into account, not only what the ancients knew, but all of what we know today that they didn’t know, then I think that we must frankly admit that we do not know. But, in admitting this, we have probably found the open channel.”
With regard to, “What is the meaning of it all?” he said, “But I argue that meaning exists because we exist. I don’t think there’s any such thing as ‘global meaning’ – I think that meaning is local and emergent and temporary. But, let’s say that in the Milky Way Galaxy, Earth is the only planet with a civilisation on it – which is quite possible. I’d argue that from a biological perspective, that means that this planet is the only place where meaning exists in the Milky Way. And that, for me, is sublime.”
At the end of the interview he comes to the conclusion, “Earth – is extremely rare. If, as I think, that meaning is an emergent prophecy, the universe means nothing without life. And there might be very few places where there’s complex life, and therefore very few places where meaning exists. This is one of them.”
When you see the universe through the lenses of a telescope you observe the glorious creation of God. You see elements of His glory. The Psalmist states, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world (Psalm 19:1-4).’
This is sublime meaning. God created His universe to reveal Himself to mankind. This Psalm continues, ‘The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple (V. 7).’
John the Apostle points to the life-giving Creator, saying, ‘“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life (1 John 5:11, 12).”’
Brian asked the question, “What does it mean to live a small, fragile and finite life in an infinite universe?”
From the believer’s understanding, if there is no God and no eternal life, there is no real meaning to our present existence. The smallness and the fragility of life has its purpose; for we are made aware of the vastness of God, and of His eternal nature. We are given a glimpse of His kingdom yet come (Revelation 21:1, 2), and He has sealed us with the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13) – He who bears witness of our sure hope of eternal life with Him (Hebrews 6:19, 20).
Brian observed, “We may be quite rare in the universe – and therefore valuable.”
Biblically, the earth is singular, and it is unique. God made it (John 1:1-5), and He will sustain it for as long as He has predestined it to exist (Cf. 2 Peter 3:10). We are indeed, valuable; for God values us (Cf. 1 Peter 2:4) to the extent that He sent His Son to die on the cross (Romans 5:8) for those whom He loves. He rose from the dead so that we [believers], like Him shall rise from death to eternal life (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
Brian asked, “What can we say to dispel the mystery of existence?” He replied: “I think that we must frankly admit that we do not know.”
Life for him is a mystery, because it has not been revealed (Colossians 1:26) to him that God is real. God is Spirit (John 4:24), **all-knowing, all-powerful, and He exists everywhere. For those who know these truths, there is no mystery, because for them the Light (John 8:12) shines in the darkness. The One who made the universe (John 1:1-5) has been manifested (Ephesians 5:13, 14).He is the Son of God who came to earth to reveal the mystery of existence. Therefore there is now no mystery for those who believe. Christ has come, He has risen and He will return from heaven for His elect (Matthew 16:27).
‘Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since the world began but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith – to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen (Romans 16:23-27).’
**The Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence of God