Sermon: A Smart Guy and the Bible
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A Smart Guy and the Bible
Is it true that all genuine scientists only accept atheism and evolution?
First Corinthians 1.18–2.16
By Don Ruhl
People commonly refer to Albert Einstein and his views on God to support belief in God. If Albert Einstein thought it or believe it, we conclude it must be true, after all look at how smart he was. However, what he meant by God differed greatly from what you mean when you refer to God. Einstein did not always speak well of the Bible.
However, there existed a man two centuries before Albert Einstein, on whose shoulders Einstein stood, who did believe in the God revealed in the pages of the Bible, and this man wrote much on the teachings of the Bible and on church history. Some would say he wrote more on religion than anything else. This well-known man believed that the God of the Bible created the heavens and the Earth, and that He continues to maintain natural laws, and that He holds the future in His hand.
The Famous Man We Know
He was born December 25, 1642 in England. By 1665, when he was 22, he received his bachelor’s degree. However, for the next 18 months, he could not continue his college work at Cambridge, because the plague was there. He went home, and it was during those 18 months, that made him famous to this day.
During those months, this Physicist, Mathematician, Astronomer, discovered the laws of optics, discovered that white light combines seven colors, discovered the laws of motion, discovered the universal law of gravitation, and invented a couple of forms of calculus. Remember he graduated with his bachelor’s when he was 22. During the next 18 to 24 months, he did those things!
Now, let me tell you what you probably do not know about this knight.
The Famous Man We Do Not Know
He published a work in Latin that we know by its short title, Principia. The first edition came out in 1687; the second edition came out in 1713 with an appendix; and the third edition came out in 1726 with the same appendix. In each case, he made corrections, as any author does with succeeding editions.
He titled the appendix General Scholium. What did it say? In just over 1400 words, he credited the God of the Bible with creation, of the heavens in particular. This knight of science wrote this short piece to refute the contention that [his] conception of an intervening God was weak. Therefore, he showed God’s hand in the universe and its laws. He wrote to deny the Trinity (We have points of disagreement). He believed that leaving God out was a dangerous view of the natural world, that God designed the beauty and order of our Solar System, that He is God of gods, that He is a personal God. His General Scholium shows someone who knew the Bible and knew the Author of the Bible, and it shows someone who wrote a great deal on Christianity.
You probably did not learn these things about him in school. That was intentional. His other religious writings were kept secret until…1936! Written in Latin and other languages, we have been translating these writings.
Now get this: He wrote 2.5 million words on religion and the Bible! At least that is what has been translated so far. That explains why people have kept this stuff secret. I watched a video of Bill Moyers interviewing Neil Tyson. The latter dismissed the belief of our physicist with saying that what he could not explain by natural laws, he attributed to God, what Neil Tyson called, “The God of the Gaps.” That is the charge that what we cannot explain, we Christians attribute to God. No, what we Christians and this knighted physicist do is attribute the explainable and the unexplainable to God. To give you an idea of how much 2.5 millions words are, in 1996, I started writing email devotionals. However, not until 2006 or 7, did I begin to put them into a document. Since that time I have written around 8,000 devotionals. If I printed them it would use 3,421 pages with 1,240,773 words. That does not include sermon and class material over the past 35 years. But I write for two devotionals to be delivered everyday. It takes some time. The first thing I do in the morning is read the Bible for those devotionals. Later in the day, I write the devotionals. However, I have spent much more time on sermons and classes, but I do not have a way of calculating how many words that includes. Do not get lost in the amount of my work; think of this astronomer writing 2.5 million words on religion. How much time and thought did that take? How many of his writings, and obviously conversations, did not make it into print? How did he have time to work on physics? No one can dismiss his belief in God as the Creator.
Be careful what you hear about anyone. Just consider how much there is to know about you. So it is with everyone you hear anything about. Therefore, keep in mind that the information you have for someone, does not represent fully who that person is or was. And how much on religion have you written? Yet, it is your life!
In the case of historical figures, keep in mind that some people use historical figures because they have great authority or influence, and so the one quoting might be giving you only part of the story. They may or may not do it intentionally.
Let every Christian remember that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to silence the wise of this world (1Co 1.18–2.16). It is because of this passage that I called Sir Isaac Newton, “A Smart Guy and the Bible,” in the title of my sermon. I could have called him a highly intelligent man or a brilliant physicist, but I did not want to exalt him over anyone. Yes, his contributions to science and physics span the centuries, yet, if He understood not the things of God, Newton was nothing. Hanging in his home is now this sign,
Nature and Nature’s Laws were hid in night,
God said, “Let NEWTON be,” and all was light.
Similar things have been said about Leonardo da Vinci and George Washington, and to the many people who love you, especially the Creator, we can also say such words.
The world needs people like Isaac Newton, because we all need knowledge and what he discovered and invented, benefits all of us, even as what you do benefits other people. On the possession of knowledge, King Solomon acknowledged that we all need it, “Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge, and he sins who hastens with his feet.” (Pro 19.2). Who can disagree with him? We all want to know something. However, the over exaltation of knowledge or the placing of knowledge above other virtues or taking knowledge alone causes a serious problem. Knowledge takes us on a journey. How does the journey end? Does it have to do with me, or with something else? Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies (1Co 8.1). What good is my knowledge, if I only use it to exalt myself over you? Look at those six words of Paul’s closely. They are built on something not revealed in them. We assume that the possession of knowledge and love is for the benefit of others. Is that not the relentless message of the Scriptures? We put God first, others second, and ourselves last.
Is that not how Jesus of Nazareth lived? His life was not about Himself. He lived for God and He lived for others. Of living for God, Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6.38). Of living for others, He said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10.45).
For living in that manner, where did His journey end? He now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven. That sounds like a good journey to me. Now listen to what He promises you, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev 3.21). Think of what He promised: As He sat on His Father’s throne, so we can sit on His throne. To whom did He make this promise? To him who overcomes! In the context of the Book of Revelation, which Isaac Newton studied probably more than other Books, that means: First, you have to follow Christ. Second, you will have something you have to overcome. Third, you can overcome it.
Finally, knowing that God created all things is good. We must not only know that God exists, and that God created everything, but God must know us. I take you back to First Corinthians 8, “But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him” (1Co 8.3). Paul shows the contrast I want to make, “But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God…” (Gal 4.9). Does God know you? Does Jesus know you? You do not want to hear these words of Jesus that He will say to some who claimed to know Him, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matt 7.23). Know Him by obeying Him! By obeying Him He will know you.