The Heavens Declare
(with Mark Mittelberg)
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1
In his 1802 book, natural theology, William Paley said that if you were walking along a path and found a watch, you would immediately know that someone must have made it. A watch, which shows clear evidence of complexity and design, requires a watchmaker.
This was compelling rationale that pointed to an intuitive truth: wherever we find design, there must be a designer. This is commonly referred to as the teleological argument.
Two centuries later it’s still true. As Mark Mittelberg says, even today nobody picks up a watch on the beach and says, “Praise the cosmos! Just look at this wonderful creation that the forces of chance have tossed together.” Our friend Cliffe Knechtle adds, “If you think the watch needs a designer, just glance from the watch to your hand. It is far more complex, has far more moving parts, displays much more intricate design, and therefore demands a designer that much more.”
What many people don’t realize, however, is that this argument from design was presented long before the age of science. In fact, three thousand years ago, King David wrote in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” Haven’t you felt that? Haven’t you stood outside in the dark of night gazing at the amazing array of stars lighting up the sky—which are beyond counting and whose distance from us is unfathomable—and felt an overwhelming sense of the grandeur of creation and the greatness of the Creator? I certainly have.
It was this awareness, combined with the incredible complexity of the universe and the growing body of evidence related to its origins, that led prominent astronomer Robert Jastrow—who had long been an agnostic—to admit there must be a Creator.
He later wrote the book God and the Astronomers, in which he pointed to five lines of evidence that supported his conclusion: “the motions of the galaxies, the discovery of the primordial fireball, the laws of thermodynamics, the abundance of helium in the Universe, and the life story of the stars.” These, he said, point us back to “a biblical view of the origin of the world.”
No wonder the apostle Paul felt compelled to explain in Romans 1:20, “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
The heavens declare, yet are we listening? More than that, are we helping others hear what God is saying? We’re not here just to now God, but also to make him known.