Deeper questions are at play. Oxford theologian Richard Swinbourne writes, “It is extraordinary that there should exist anything at all. Surely the most natural state of affairs is simply nothing: no universe, no God, nothing. But there is something.”9 Notions like the “Big Bang” and natural selection and evolution explain how the mechanism of change might take place, but they do not explain how existence springs from nothing. The old man in Marilynne Robinson’s wonderful novel Gilead muses, “Existence seems to me now the most remarkable thing that could ever be imagined.”10
The real trick isn’t changing one thing into another thing. The real trick is creating something out of absolutely nothing.
A group of scientists decided that human beings had come a long way and no longer needed God. They picked one scientist to go and tell God that they did not need him anymore. The scientist went to him and said, “God, we can make it on our own. We know how life started. We know the secret. We know how to clone it. We know how to duplicate it. We can do it without you.”
God listened patiently and said, “All right. What do you say we have a man-making contest?”
The scientist said, “Okay, great. We’ll do it.”
God said, “Now we’re going to do it just the way I did back in the old days with Adam.”
The scientist said, “Sure, no problem.” He reached down and grabbed a handful of dirt, and God said, “No, no, no. You go get your own dirt.”
That’s the trick.
Talking about something that changes into something else and how long it takes for something to change into something else— that’s not what most cries out for explanation. The trick is how do you get from nothing to something, and why is there something? We all want to know. — John Ortberg
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