In 2014, Eric Hedin, an assistant professor of physics at Ball State University, promoted the idea to his students that the complex and intricate balance in nature reflects an intelligent design as opposed to a random series of accidental events. The president of the university ruled that such teaching wasn’t a scientific discipline and had no place in academia, an opinion widely shared in the academic community. Hedin once taught a course entitled “The Boundaries of Science,” which was later canceled.
Regardless of academic positions on the subject, reflections on creation, purpose and intelligence beyond our own are important to all of us. We must ask the questions, “Are we alone?” “Is there anyone else out there?” “Is the human race simply the result of eons of random chance on this third planet from the sun?” “Have millions of years of random chance and survival of the fittest resulted in, well, ‘us?’” Or are we created in the divine image of the Creator?
We consider ourselves intelligent. We can solve problems. We can manipulate the natural laws of physics to make them work for us resulting in mechanical and electronic machines that magnify our strength and accelerate our speed. We can ponder ourselves and our own existence. We can imagine things as they could be.
We’re quickly making strides in our own creation of artificial intelligence and the design of robotic machinery that perform complex tasks. We already have cars that can drive themselves. Information technology is taking us into realms reserved for the writers of science fiction. “Data,” the popular android on Star Trek, may not be so far-fetched after all.
So, whenever we finally create Data and others like him, what will the androids think? Will they sit around and discuss whether they were the result of random coincidence, concluding that they have no accountability or connection to the humans that created them? (Seeds for another science fiction epic?)
The Bible is quite clear regarding our own origin. The Psalmist says, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret.” (Psalm 139:13-15).
Something beyond science resonates within us when we stand in awe on the rim of the Grand Canyon; when we behold the beauty of a sunset splashing the sky with crimson, purple and gold; and when we walk by the sea listening to the waves crashing on the shore. Only worship will satisfy the emptiness within. The realization that we’re part of a grand design in the mind of God calls us to accountability and fills us with meaning, purpose and peace.