The passage above is a fascinating one, especially if we remove it from its historical point in time. At the time the Israelites were given these words, this passage would have bespoken the infinite wonder of God by elucidating how they couldn’t understand how He had designed His creation. At the time, it evoked awesome reverence. We have to realize that this scripture was inspired by the Holy Spirit and written so that we, millennia after it was first inscribed, could hear these words for ourselves. Why is this important, especially for our particular moment in historical time?
We do now know the path of the wind and we now understand how the body is formed in the mother’s womb….
The first successful weather satellite was TIROS-1. It was launched by NASA on April 1, 1960. TIROS was the frontrunner to most of the Earth-observing satellites NASA and NOAA subsequently have launched. These satellites accomplish some very particular assignments. Consider the following quote from Wikipedia:
Visible-light images from weather satellites during local daylight hours are easy to interpret even by the average person; clouds, cloud systems such as fronts and tropical storms, lakes, forests, mountains, snow ice, fires, and pollution such as smoke, smog, dust and haze are readily apparent. Even wind can be determined by cloud patterns, alignments and movement from successive photos. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weather_satellite)
We also have been able to peer into the body using ultrasound machines and, like the weather satellite, that technology is well less than a century old. The ultrasound machine was first used as a medical tool on the human body in the late 1940s. The computer technology to enhance ultrasound imagery was introduced in 1979 by Samuel H. Maslak. We’ve become even more detailed at peering into the human body during full function since then. Instead of just understanding the internal body in motion, we now can observe how the body thinks. Technologies such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) allow scientists and doctors to peer into the brain as it processes thoughts and actions. While ultrasound already allows us to see how the bones are formed in the womb, PET and fMRI technology uncover how the brain functions during formation and action.
Why is this important? How is this relevant to a verse written millennia prior to this moment in time? If we take this verse in Ecclesiastes and add in the logic that, “If A=B and B=C, then A=C,” then we can rewrite the verse in the following manner:
Just as you now know the path of the wind, and how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you now understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
Now, before I continue, I did not say that because of these technologies we understand God. That is a mystery that science, academics and religion will never discover. He is omnipotent and omnipresent – He cannot be fully known by man. Thankfully, as we have seen in the book, relationship and participation in His storyline open us up to deeper revelation. Yet we can now, at this moment in time, most fully understand the “work” of God. And (carefully analyzing the phrasing from our verse above) we can understand God, as the “Maker of all things,” with our greatest historical clarity.
Because of the historical clarity of science.
Wait a minute: as science has progressed, its naturalistic ambassadors appear to refute God with more and more certainty. In fact, shoving all ideological presuppositions aside, the exact opposite has occurred. For science is a study of reaction. We use our research tools to determine the cause and effect after any action has been committed. What we observe after those moments of action is called science. The more advanced our technologies, the closer the time between action and reaction merges. Let me give you an example with tobacco smoking. For centuries, science has been able to determine through autopsies that the devastated black lungs of a smoker are the direct result of his habitual smoking habit. Forty years ago, we could create an internal snapshot of the lungs through an X-ray machine and show a living man how cigarettes had impacted his body over the length of his habit.
Twenty years ago, we could see how cigarette smoke entered the body and observe its immediate effects on the lungs and other organs. Ten years or so ago, we uncovered how at the moment the first puff of smoke enters the mouth, nicotine enters the brain, causing the brain to release the neurotransmitters dopamine, acetylcholine and glutamate across the brain’s synaptic pathways, creating a sense of euphoria and physiologically accelerating the addiction process. From the first inhalation, the body is pushing toward addiction and thereby leading the body toward cancer, emphysema, heart disease and stroke. As I already have stated in previous chapters, we now can see how these outcomes are the deliberate intent of these actions.
Instead of just knowing that smoking kills, we now can expose the strategies of the process.
In the same manner, we now can mine new and relevant depths to God’s post-fall law declarations and many of the statements made by Christ. We now can even deeper understand why Jesus said, “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” because of how the brain reacts at the moment of visual arousal. We can see why Paul would declare that a war rages within his members, because of how the brain builds up and strengthens synaptic pathways based on the pleasurable aspect of certain actions. We have new revelation into Jesus’ statement, “Be slow to anger,” because we can see in real time the effects of anger on the heart, brain and other organs.
We can see how promiscuous sex among young people deliberately leads to cervical cancer, based on how sperm imprint themselves into the human body. We can see that through drug usage such as meth, the body lowers dopamine levels in the brain after the first intake, and from that moment forward, the only thing that once again leads back to normal, healthy dopamine levels is… meth. We can see how charity and selflessness lead to better brain chemistry, increase mood and function and promote organ health.
We now can see that God’s creations, such as fruits, vegetables and fish are not only beneficial for sustaining life, but also that the natural compounds and enzymes in many foods immediately benefit areas of the brain, heart, lungs and eyes. We can see that these same foods are important for skin and follicle health. We can see that fish oils such as Omega 3 accelerate learning and brain function and health. The examples go on and on. You just need to know how to look.
Bottom line, we can now understand more of the work of God, because we now have the technologies to understand how He created us (“the Maker of all things”) to function from the moment of any action.
This is what God was attempting to do through that small nomadic nation of Israel. The rest of the world wasn’t going to come to an understanding of Him through the initial actions of the Israelites, but through the consequential reactions that were to follow. The beneficial consequences of their actions were to expose the ways of God, and then God Himself, to the rest of the world.
As we see in scripture, the Israelites failed. But we don’t have to.
I hope as you have read this book, you have gained a deeper understanding of the criticality of this hour in the vast span of history. This final chapter is meant to solidify that discovery. As believers at this moment in linear time, we have an incredible opportunity and an immense responsibility. Our job is not to prove our worldview, or lord it over others. Our mandate is to understand the magnitude of what we have been given (the Biblical Worldview and all its promises); how immense and loving our Creator God truly is; whom we are to partner with (God, Christ, His Spirit and other believers); and to whom our focus and love should be showered upon (humanity).
I’ll leave you with one final set of verses. The first verse carries massive significance for me. So much so, that I attempted (and failed) to build an organization around the declaration.
Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase. (Dan. 12:3-4, NASB)
What an amazing passage verse 3 is! It is an ultimate moment of the salvation of many through those with “insight.” As Christ would say, it occurs through those who have ears that can “hear” and eyes that can “see.” For years I relished in this verse. Then on a trip down to Brazil with a pastor friend of mine, I spent time with our host pastor’s father, a very wise man. Though he knew little English and I knew less Portuguese, we did our best to communicate. As we attempted to talk I shared with him this verse. With wisdom in his eyes, he looked back at me and said, “But verse 3 is contingent on verse 4.” I had read less of verse 4, so I grabbed my bible and read. The words shot through me like a taser:
… [A]nd knowledge will increase.
In verse 3, Daniel was given a prophetic declaration of a time to come, a moment that he could not realize, that for him, must be “sealed up in a book.” Why? In Daniel’s day, knowledge hadn’t reached the level necessary for these revelations. Science hadn’t caught up yet. The works of God could not be better known, because we couldn’t understand how God had “fashioned” us. We can in this hour.
Verse 3 wasn’t Daniel’s hour, but it just may be ours.
I hope this book has inspired you to see the wondrous magnitude of the worldview you possess. These discovers aren’t just meant for you to internalize. It’s now time for you to carry these revelations forward. To not only see the factuality of your worldview, but also the responsibility it carries. The tools are available, the landscape is ready and the fields are ripe for “harvest.” Let us become the generation spoken of in Daniel 12:3 by understanding the magnitude of our Daniel 12:4 moment.