Does Man Have Any Need of God?
ON JULY 20, 1969, as tens of millions of persons watched on television, two men stepped from their spacecraft onto the moon’s surface. It was a crowning technological achievement.
Surely this marvelous feat of traveling about 240,000 miles in space demonstrated man’s intelligence and ingenuity. And some may observe, ‘It was accomplished without any need of God.’
But was it really? How did man get to the moon?
Knowledge of Laws Required
Years of preparation were involved, yes, centuries. How so? World Book Encyclopedia observes:
“In the early 1600’s, Johannes Kepler, a German scientist, developed the laws of planetary motion that describe the orbits of bodies in space. Today, these laws are used to determine the orbits of artificial satellites and to plan the flights of spacecraft.
“In 1687, Sir Isaac Newton published his ‘Laws of Motion,’ which used Kepler’s work as a base. Newton’s laws, like Kepler’s, form a cornerstone of spaceflight planning.”
Kepler and Newton did not make the above-mentioned laws. They simply discovered them, or provided an explanation of their operation. But why is space flight dependent on these laws?
It is because bodies in space adhere strictly to them. Thus when man understands these laws, he can determine by mathematical calculations where a particular body in space will be at a given time. Such calculations are made possible by the orderly, consistent movement of heavenly bodies.
The moon, for example, speeds along in an ever-predictable orbit around the earth at an average of 2,300 miles per hour. It makes one trip around the earth every 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds. Similarly, the earth hurtles around the sun at some 66,600 miles per hour. It completes one trip around the sun every 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 9.54 seconds.
Thus in flights to the moon, man on the earth aims his spacecraft at a point in space 165,000 miles ahead of the orbiting moon. By various calculations man knows that the moon is certain to be at that spot at the predetermined time. And if the spacecraft is provided proper direction and power it will be at that spot too, making a moon landing possible.
Origin of Law and Order
What is responsible for the precision movements of heavenly bodies that make space flight possible? Have you ever given this thought? The first American astronaut to orbit the earth, John Glenn, was moved to exclaim:
“It is the orderliness of the whole universe about us . . . galaxies millions of light-years across, all traveling in prescribed orbits in relation to one another.
“Could this have just happened? Was it an accident that a bunch of flotsam and jetsam suddenly started making these orbits of its own accord? I can’t believe that. . . . Some Power put all this into orbit and keeps it there.”
Space scientist Dr. Wernher Von Braun also was impressed by “the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe.” He explained:
“Manned space flight is an amazing achievement. But it has opened for us thus far only a tiny door for viewing the awesome reaches of space. Our outlook through this peephole at the vast mysteries of the universe only confirms our belief in its creator.”
Yes, a vast complex of heavenly bodies governed by fantastic mathematical precision has been discovered in space. A professor of mathematics from the University of Cambridge, P. Dirac, wrote in the Scientific American: “One could perhaps describe the situation by saying that God is a mathematician of a very high order, and He used very advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.”
Is it not obvious that the laws responsible for such orderly movement of the earth, moon and stars had to have a Lawgiver? Without the existence of these laws, space travel would be impossible because the heavenly bodies would be in chaos! Is it not apparent, then, that without God, who created and upholds these laws, man’s moon landings would also be impossible?
But is man dependent on God only when traveling in space?
Recently, glowing reports have been telling of the so-called “Green Revolution” that has been brought about by man’s development of “wonder” wheats and “miracle” rice varieties. Thus, some authorities say that, through man’s ingenuity, plenty of food will be provided earth’s growing population.
But can man be credited with providing this food? Is its growth, in fact, dependent on his efforts and technology?
Actually the so-called “miracle” grains were not created by man. It was simply by selective breeding of existing types of wheat and rice that more productive varieties were developed. True, man worked hard to plant and water the seed, and then toiled to harvest its fruitage. But man did not make it grow, did he? No, the plants make the food.
They do this by means of the remarkable process known as photosynthesis. Several years ago a professor of biology, Frits W. Went, wrote about it:
“In terms of energy, there is nothing to compare with it: It makes green plants grow—all green plants, all over the world . . . And in terms of tonnage its production makes man’s industries seem trifling. Every year the world’s steel mills turn out 350 million tons of steel, the world’s cement factories 325 million tons of cement. The world’s green plants, however, produce 150 billion tons of sugar every year.”
So can you see why photosynthesis has been called “the most important single chemical process in the world”? All life on earth in one way or another depends on it! But what is responsible for photosynthesis? Could it have just happened by itself?
It is well known what green plants use to make food—carbon dioxide from the air, water from the soil and light from the sun. These all penetrate to the interior of plant cells, where the remarkable substance called chlorophyll exists. The stage is now set for the amazing process of photosynthesis. Science News Letter explains:
“It is here that the ‘deities’ perform their miracle. Sunlight provides energy for the great chemical change, and chlorophyll acts as the ‘switchboard’ that controls the reaction. Under the influence of these two, the carbon dioxide and water now combine to create the basis of all food, a simple sugar.” Using this sugar, green plants also make more complex carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and vitamins.
Why does the above science magazine say the ‘deities’ perform this remarkable transformation? It is because only a supreme intelligence could conceive and create such an amazing process. It is “a process that no one yet has been able to reproduce in a test tube,” explains Professor Went.
In fact, not only is photosynthesis beyond man’s ability to duplicate, he does not even understand how it works! Science writer John Pfeiffer said: “Researchers often allude to the photosynthesis reactions as ‘the black box’—indicating that they know what goes in and what comes out but are not sure about everything that goes on inside.”
Surely it is inconceivable to believe that such a complex process, one beyond human comprehension, could have happened by chance. A powerful ‘Deity’ was indeed responsible! Is it not obvious that we are dependent upon him for our food supply?
Interdependent Web of Life
Did you know that photosynthesis also provides us life-sustaining oxygen? When plant cells break apart water molecules composed of hydrogen and oxygen, they utilize the hydrogen in making food, and expel oxygen as waste. But man takes in the oxygen. He needs it to live.
On the other hand, plants are dependent on the energy-producing process within our body cells. How so? Because carbon dioxide is produced as a waste product in this energy-making process of man and animals. And green plants need this carbon dioxide to carry on photosynthesis, which is the source of all earth’s food!
Truly, life is dependent on the astonishing carbon-dioxide–oxygen exchange between living things! Should it somehow be disrupted, man would die off the earth.
But man is also dependent upon many other marvelous processes that are continuously going on around him. The lowly earthworm, for example, makes fertile soil. In a year, it is estimated, earthworms in an acre of land may pass through their bodies ten tons of earth, building up life-sustaining topsoil that plants need in order to grow.
Also, without honeybees that fertilize flowers, “many fruits and vegetables would die,” explains an encyclopedia. Everywhere one looks on earth there is a complex web of relationships that cooperate marvelously. Is it not apparent that we are dependent upon God for life?—Acts 14:16, 17.
Origin of Life
Yet some persons may question whether we really need God for life. They may say: “I have seen newspaper headlines proclaiming, ‘LIFE CREATED IN THE TEST TUBE.’” Is it true that man has created life?
No, it is not. All man has done is make a few substances that are components of substances that make up the basic unit of life, the living cell. Scientists have only produced in their laboratories molecules such as amino acids, made up at most of a few atoms. But there may be thousands of amino acids in a single protein composed of millions of atoms! And yet a living cell has hundreds of proteins, as well as other complex substances!
The living cell is indeed a mystery of complexity. J. A. V. Butler explained in his recent book The Life Process: “Even the simplest complete organisms we know of today are almost unbelievably complex. It is difficult to visualize the steps by which they may have originated.” Thus the 1971 Encyclopedia Americana notes: “Scientists are far from being able to synthesize life in the laboratory.”
It is obvious that a living cell is so complex that scientists are unable to come close to making one, and, yet, man and other multicelled living creatures are far more complex than single-cell organisms.
The Producing of a Human
A single fertilized cell in a woman develops according to an orderly plan into a human baby. “It is, quite simply, a miracle,” said Newsweek, October 25, 1965, adding: “No technique can pinpoint the momentous time of conception. No scientist can tell what wondrous forces then take over to develop the organs and myriad nerve networks of a human embryo.”
In the tiny original fertilized cell are found all the instructions and know-how to create a full-grown person! These instructions, if spelled out in English, would require several twenty-four-volume sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica! And yet each succeeding one of the billions of cells the body produces contains all these instructions!
Somehow, however, all other instructions within each cell are suppressed, except the ones which that particular cell requires for its specialized development. Thus some become muscle cells, others nerve cells, still others bone cells, and so forth. Then these hundreds of different types of cells are organized by some amazing directive force into a human baby so wonderfully constructed that it staggers imagination.
The complexity of a human is perhaps best appreciated by noting how intricate are even lowly animals. Pointing, for example, to the marvels of the ant, computer-scientist Dr. Warren S. McCullock said: “Actually, computers are clumsy, stupid beasts . . . They haven’t the brains of a retarded ant.” Also, Natural History observed: “The nervous system of a single starfish, with all its various nerve ganglia and fibers, is more complex than London’s telephone exchange.”
Does not the amazing complexity of lowly ants and starfish emphasize the magnificence of God’s creation of the much superior human organism? Why, the human nervous system records some 100 million sensations a second, its eyes take perfectly coordinated motion pictures in three-dimensional color, its liver carries on hundreds of life-sustaining chemical conversions, and its many other organs perform similarly amazing functions! Do you not agree with the Bible writer who exclaimed, “in a fear-inspiring way I am wonderfully made”?—Ps. 139:14.
Hence, we cannot escape the conclusion that we are now as dependent upon God for life and the processes that sustain life as man has ever been. God’s marvelous creations indeed win admiration because of their order and perfection.
On the other hand, human affairs are so disorderly and imperfect! There are suffering, distress and wickedness practically everywhere. ‘Why?’ you may ask. ‘Why does God not do something about these things? Does his permission of wickedness indicate that he does not care, or that he has forgotten man?’
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Man’s space travel depends on the laws governing movements of heavenly bodies. Who is the originator of these laws?
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Light from the sun, carbon dioxide from the air and water from soil combine miraculously to produce food for man
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Humans and animals take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide; plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Man did not devise that cycle
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‘The making of a baby is quite simply a miracle. No scientist can understand the wondrous forces involved’