As it mentions above, I’m reading Bill Bryson’s book, A Short History of Nearly Everything. More accurately, I’m listening to it on my iPod. In this case, the author is the reader and he’s great to listen to — he’s spent a large chunk of his adult life living in England, and you can hear it in his voice. He’s also a wonderful writer — clear and funny, wry without being absurd.
As the title says, he’s attempting to explain pretty much everything — how the universe came to be, our place in it, chemistry, biology, physics, etc. He focuses on many of the known and unknown scientists who made breakthrough discoveries. As he writes about what’s he’s trying to do:
This is a book about how it (the universe) happened. In particular how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since.
It’s all fascinating stuff. But then I can be a science geek (how many of you knew I was a biology major?), so I like it. He actually does a marvelous job of explaining it all and making it interesting (much better than I’m doing at the moment).
Of course, he comes at it from a non-Christian perspective, which has irritated me to no end in some places. Scientists go to great lengths to not involve God, but that oftens ends up meaning they say something like, “The bacteria developed the ability to …” or “In any case, the Earth decided enough was enough and began spewing forth molten lava” or my personal favorite so far, “Life just wants to be.”
Well sure, all those things happened, but in and of themselves, those things can’t happen. There has to be an external force or motivator. Call it intelligent design if you like. But it takes just as much faith to believe that all of the random forces in the universe conspired to bring us to this exact point today as it does to believe that God caused it all to happen. Bryson even makes the point several times that if this or that had happened just a bit differently, life would have ceased to exist or some other such catastrophe would have occurred. Would you rather that you and the universe and the laws that govern it were the result of random chance or purposeful intention?
“Life just wants to be.” Yes, because God wants it to be so. No other reason.