Genesis 22:17a

“That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; (Genesis 22:17a)

Atheist scientist Dr. Richard Dawkins suggests that children should be encouraged to have a sense of awe at the wonders of science. My problem with that statement is where the awe is directed.

I have always been in awe of the universe. When I was a small boy, my father would spend hours with me, with a small telescope, or a pair of binoculars, looking upwards in the night sky at the stars and planets. When I learned to read, I quickly devoured books about astronomy. The more I knew, the more I loved the sky.

It is estimated that there are 1022 stars in the universe. That is a 1 with 22 zeroes after it. Interestingly, a typical beach has about the same number of grains of sand. And it is both these concepts that God gave to Abraham as He blessed him and explained to him the purpose of his descendants. “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore.” (Genesis 22:17)

And therein lies the problem with Dawkins’ statement. His idea of awe is one which is impressed by the universe, or by the cell, or whatever one is studying. God’s direction to the study of the stars or the sand is to give us a sense of awe in Him. It is the Creator, and not the creation, which is to be the focus of our awe.  

Prayer: We praise Your Name, Lord God, and stand in awe of Your creation as we worship You, the Creator of all things and Redeemer of our souls. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: Taylor, P.F. (2007), Truth, Lies, and Science Education (Leominster, UK: Day One Publications), p. 36. Image: Paranel Observatory, CC BY-SA 4.0 International.

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