Pilgrim’s Keyboard

March 17, 2009

Can We Know …

Filed under: Bruce — pilgrimskeyboard @ 5:18 pm

I recently read a very good article – “The Universe Factory:  Do astronomers attempt to peer into the mind of a creator?” by Gordon Reade [reade@stanford.edu], (Sky & Telescope, March 2009, p. 88).

I thought the article was done in good taste. The thrust of the article seems to be as to why astronomers, both in the past and those of today, devote much of their working lives to studying the heavens above. In particular the author mentioned Isaac Newton from the past and the present-day astronomers, though not mentioning anyone by name. All-in-all the article was honest and not a slamming (except for perhaps the opening remarks about the theologian & the atheist) of those whose religious beliefs guided those of history’s past and even still today guide some intellectual eyes upward toward the heavens in asking questions. His contrast between these two groups (theological and scientific) was gracious.

In ending his article Reade wrote:

Psalm 19 begins, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” I don’t know if that’s true of not, because I have no idea who or what God is. I don’t think anyone does.  But I do know that astronomy is a pursuit that compels us to examine the nature of our reality. I think it’s time well spent.

Reade’s statement, “[that] I have no idea who or what God is. I don’t think anyone does” caught my attention. As a Christian, I have to ask, do I believe that statement? My answer would have to be no – for the Bible declares to us that we can know.  

The Bible is very plain in Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

Thus: “Who is God?”  God is our Creator. For me to declare otherwise, would be to say I do not believe that the Bible is God’s word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Second, “What God is?” – From the Bible we learn that “God is a Spirit and those who worship Him must  worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).

Lastly, how do we know for sure that we can know Him? – The Bible declares concerning our God and Creator, that He is revealed to us through His Son (John 14:7-11). “[Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God … for by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist (Colossians 1:15-17); (cf. Romans 11:33-36).

Can we know? Yes! – “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1ff).

If I may play off of Gordon Reade’s final words in his excellent article, as for him: “… astronomy is a pursuit that compels us to examine the nature of our reality.” So too, I must say: Studying the Bible “is a pursuit that compels us to examine the nature of our reality.”  Alas, we both end in agreement, “I think it’s time well spent.”




  1. Interesting blog, I’ll try and spread the word.

    Comment by wonker — March 17, 2009 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

  2. I have always had a love for science, and astronomy in particular. I think that Mr. Reade should spend a little more time studying the writings of Newton and not just his conclusions. It was a relentless pursuit to understand the workings of God that compelled Newton.

    I love this quote:

    “When confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious. For me that means Protestant Christianity, to which I was introduced as a child and which has withstood the tests of a lifetime. But religion is a great backyard for doing science. In the words of Psalm 19, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” Thus scientific research is a worshipful act in that it reveals the wonders of God’s creation.”
    -Arthur L. Schawlow, Nobel Laureate (Physics, 1981).

    Thanks Bruce!

    Comment by Digital Publius — March 20, 2009 @ 1:06 pm | Reply

  3. Those who know the creator of all tend to be fascinated with the heavens because it reminds us of how vast and wise our God is. Those who don’t know Him may be fascinated just because they like a good mystery. This was a good article.

    Comment by Cindy — March 23, 2009 @ 9:54 am | Reply

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