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Catching up with God

posted Aug 10, 2015, 9:09 AM by Kelly Griffin   [ updated Aug 10, 2015, 9:11 AM ]
Cambridge, Massachusetts, home of Harvard and MIT is an IQ mecca!  So one day a couple approached the express checkout line at the supermarket with significantly more than the 12-item limit. The skeptical cashier surveyed the overload and asked, “So, are you from Harvard and can’t count, or from MIT and can’t read?” She saw some limitations in human wisdom.

Many don’t. Whereas God has long maintained, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10), a modern update might read, “The enlightened mind is the beginning of wisdom.” But while I greatly respect human wisdom, God’s must be infinitely greater. In fact, a case can be made that human wisdom is forever trying to catch up to where God has always been.

Human wisdom has spent a lot of time just counting stars. Two centuries before Christ, Greek philosophers counted 1022 stars. Four hundred years later, Ptolemy claimed there were 1056. It wasn’t until Galileo held his newly invented telescope up to his eyes that those numbers became suspect. Meanwhile, God wrote His assessment 600 years before Christ: “As the host of heaven cannot be numbered” (Jeremiah 33:22). People were just catching up to where God has always been.

As late as the time of Columbus, some feared he might sail right off the edge of the earth. Yet 2700 years ago God described “the circle of the earth” (Isaiah 40:22). It was no surprise to God when archaeologists in the 19th and 20th century found, contrary to popular opinion, that there really was a Hittite civilization, a co-regent in Babylon named Belshazzar and a Roman prefect named Pontius Pilate. God had written about them hundreds of years before.

Fifty years ago, a strong case was still being made by human wisdom for an eternal universe. Today, there is almost universal acceptance that the universe had a beginning. We’re catching up to what God has always known. The problem now is to explain how something came from nothing! Human wisdom has no clue. God has always known: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

How about the origin of life? Not long ago Dr. Francis Collins, co-director of the Human Genome Project, made a presentation where he showed two magnificent pictures of colorful designs on screen –like great, intricate jigsaw puzzles with pieces neatly fit together. The first, he explained, was the Rose window from the York Minster Cathedral in York, England. The second, which was even more complex and beautiful – was a cross-section of human DNA. His point? If design was required for the first, then the second screams design.

The discovery that each microscopic strand of DNA is comprised of a four-letter genetic code which provides computer-like storage of more than 3 billion pieces of information, held in various proteins and nucleic acids raises huge questions as to how such complex information could possibly have arisen from some “primordial soup” as a result of some unexplained cosmic accident. Such speculation violates all known laws of chemistry and physics. But long ago God claimed to have created all living creatures “according to their kind” complete with genetic code. We’re just catching up.

So, if God has always known all there is to know about our physical universe, wouldn’t wisdom dictate listening to what He says about an afterlife? When He says, “It is appointed to man once to die and after that the judgment,” doesn’t it seem wise to investigate how to prepare for that? The astronomer, Johannes Kepler said concerning his scientific discoveries: “I was merely thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” The truth is all extensions of human wisdom are just playing catch-up to God. So 
doesn’t it make sense to start with Him and what He has already revealed? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” 

Dave McNeff is pastor of the First Congregational Church of Eaton (

Published in The Tribune on June 27th, 2015.