The Parish of Burchetts Green

The Rev'd Keith Nicholls writes

Rev Keith

Your more than a chance event

Spring is here, or at least it should be, and by the time you read this article summer will in theory have arrived. Musing over this took me back to a summer fete/garden party in the vicarage garden of my previous parish.

'Cdunck, cdunck, cdunck oooooh!' The sound that edioed around the garden party, as three baldies dressed in monk's habits pretended to be a fruit machine. Oooooh! meant that you'd lost... I'm sure there was a different noise if you won, but I never heard it.

A cosmic fruit machine?

For many people it seems, life, the world and everything is like playing a cosmic fruit machine. The militant atheist Richard Dawkins scoffs at the very idea that there may be purpose or design to what we discover in the world. For Dawkins, we are the product of pure chance, the random outcome of the cdunck, cdunck, cdunck of millions of years of Darwin ian processes. And to the cdunck, cdunck, cdunck the oooooh! must inevitably follow - our lives are totally meaningless, without consequence, of no more significance than a coal scuttle.

Not that Dawkins lives this way of course, quite the reverse: he pursues his atheist polemic with vigour, vehemence and increasing vitriol against anyone with the temerity to oppose him. Why is he bothered? The giant fruit machine knows nothing of morality, beauty, personality or truth.

Surely Dawkins, the man who wrote, 'Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered ... has no purpose in mind'  

couldn't believe that what he thinks matters? Yet Dawkins appears to do so.

Few doubt that evolution plays some role in the biological diversity that we see, but contrary to popular belief, the fossil record does not unequivocally support the idea that different species evolved from a common parent.

Zoologist Mark Ridley comments: 'The fossil record of change within single evolutionary lineages is very poor.' As for life emerging spontaneously from 'primeval soup', the probability is infinitesimally small. Contrary to popular perception, modern science does not require us to believe that the universe and the amazingly complex life seen on earth was the solely the product of chance and natural selection.

Created for a purpose

In marked contrast to futility of the cosmic fruit machine, Christians believe in a God who has revealed his purposes for us. Far from Dawkins' cdunck, cdunck, cdunck oooooh! God has a resounding 'yes' for each and every one of us.

St Paul says: 'In Christ we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ ... he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in every thing and everyone.' (Ephesians l:ll The Message).

We are not meaningless, we are not the product of pure chance - God has a unique purpose for everyone. I hope that you will have a great summer ... assuming it ever arrives!