Einstein’s Problem

Albert Einstein’s brilliant intellect ran him right into a brick wall. That is, as he studied the natural order of the created world, he sensed something marvelous and majestic. But his brilliance notwithstanding, he never figured out who or what that was.

I see a pattern but my imagination cannot picture the maker of that pattern. I see a clock, but I cannot envision the clockmaker. The human mind is unable to conceive of the four dimensions, so how can it conceive of a God before whom a thousand years and a thousand dimensions are one?

Einstein had deep within his heart, just like every human, a longing to know the Creator.

I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know his thoughts. The rest are details.

Ultimately, Einstein arrived at a tragic conclusion.

We know nothing about God at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. Possibly we shall know a little more than we do now, but the real nature of things, that we shall never know, never.

The truth is, if Albert Einstein had a thousand lifetimes to study the created world, he would still not know the “real nature of things.” This is the powerful teaching of Psalm 19, a psalm that C.S. Lewis once described as “possibly the greatest poem in all of world literature.”

The first six verses of the psalm describe the penetrating, yet silent, message of the heavens – basically, God exists, and He is very powerful – “The heavens declare the glory of God.” So powerful, in fact, that the blazing sun, emitting the equivalent energy of a billion atomic bombs each second, is merely His “handiwork” (literally “fingerwork”). His power is beyond our ability to comprehend!

But seeing the daily journey of the sun across the heavens is not quite enough to come to know this God in a personal way, to “know His thoughts.” As a matter of historical record, many people in David’s day mistakenly identified the sun itself as a god. Perhaps David was taking a little jab at these idolaters by describing their “god” as simply a little “fingerwork” of the true God.

The answer Einstein sought he never found in nature. I’ll talk about that answer next week from the rest of Psalm 19. Until then, when you feel the hot summer sun on your face, think about “fingerwork” and how marvelous the God we serve must really be. No matter what you’re facing in your life, is anything too hard for Him?

About Sam Harbin
I am the President of Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA as well as the Chair and Professor of Pastoral Theology.

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