Insight on the News
“Before the Big Bang”?
● “Time” magazine recently considered the subject “In the Beginning: God and Science” for its regular “Time Essay.” The “Essay” observes that the “hostile distinction between religion and science has softened in the last third of the 20th century” because of “what appears to be an agreement between religion and science about certain facts concerning the creation of the universe.” “Time” notes that increasing evidence seeming to support the sudden beginning of the universe in a so-called “Big Bang” “sounds very much like the story that the Old Testament has been telling all along.”
The “Essay” goes on to point out that some scientists are fighting this conclusion, and one astronomer contends: “It is accidental if some things agree in detail.” However, the director of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies admits that this conclusion “bothers science because it clashes with scientific religion—the religion of cause and effect, the belief that every effect has a cause. Now we find that the biggest effect of all, the birth of the universe, violates this article of faith. . . . what came before the Big Bang is the most interesting question of all.”
● Discussing recent earthquakes, the Italian journal “II Piccolo” observed: “Our generation lives in a dangerous period of high seismic activity, as statistics show. In fact, during a period of 1,059 years (from 856 to 1914) reliable sources list only 24 major earthquakes causing 1,973,000 deaths. However, if we compare this figure to the partially complete list of recent disasters, we find that 1,600,000 persons have died in only 63 years, as a result of 43 earthquakes which occurred from 1915 to 1978.”
Of course, such an increase in seismic activity is no surprise to those familiar with Bible prophecy. Jesus Christ predicted that “earthquakes in one place after another” would be among events during the “generation” that marks “the conclusion of the system of things” on earth.—Matt. 24:3, 7, 32-35.
How Long Can Cells Live?
● Many scientists believe that human body cells have a so-called “genetic clock” that controls their life-span so that they will divide only a limited number of times before this process stops and they die out. However, Professor Eugene Bell and his associates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology disagree. “Our experiments indicate that there is no intrinsic genetic program for cell aging,” he wrote. “I think that organisms age because of interactions with their environment.” In fact, notes the report in “Medical Tribune,” “Given proper conditions, [Prof. Bell] speculated, normal cells could live indefinitely outside the body.”
The Bible reveals that such “proper conditions” will prevail in “a new earth,” that is, among a new society of people on earth. The environment for body cells will then be such that “death will be no more.”—Rev. 21:1-5.
“Common Sense” in Argentina
● When the Argentine Supreme Court recently ruled that two schoolchildren expelled for not saluting the flag should be readmitted, the “Buenos Aires Herald” commented: “The argument of the Supreme Court Justices is simply commonsense; . . . It is surprising that despite the official concern about Argentina’s image abroad, one of the world’s major religious groups, which enjoys freedom of worship in all truly civilized countries, has been subjected to so much harassment. One of the reasons, perhaps, is the failure to understand that Jehovah’s Witnesses are still admirable citizens even though their religious convictions have thrown them into conflict with the authorities. Most countries manage to avoid any conflict with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. . . . both Britain and the U.S., along with other pluralistic democracies, do not measure a person’s patriotism on the basis of respect for formalities. A citizen’s respect for his country must be matched by the state’s respect for the rights of the individual for true patriotism to flower. Implanted nationalism is not the same thing at all.”—Mar. 18, 1979.