At the close of Matthew’s gospel we read of the women coming to the tomb of Jesus. There was a violent earthquake and an angel came down from heaven, “whose face was like lightning and his robe was as white as snow and he rolled the stone from the mouth of the tomb and sat on it”. The guards at the tomb were so terrified that “ they became as dead men”.
Pilate had given the priests orders to set a guard until the third day. This third day had to mean Tuesday (third day of the week) as it would hardly be worthy of a group of smart Jewish lawyers to set a guard until the third day because Jesus had said he would rise from the dead after three days - the usual interpretation would have the guards leave before the event was due to happen.
It is interesting to note that only some of the guards went and told the priests what had happened and then went on to collude with them in their attempt to misinform with a story about disciples stealing the body while they slept. The priests paid them well and promised to keep them out of trouble for this clear dereliction of duty. But making a deal with the devil is always a dodgy move. I doubt they got off with it. After what they had witnessed, it would be interesting to know what became of the guards who didn’t go back to the priests. Were their lives changed forever or were their hearts hardened?
Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb where he must surely have been decomposing, having been dead for three days in that hot climate. When the priests heard about it from their agents, their reaction was not to ask if this was a sign from God, who alone has the power to raise the dead, but a determination to suppress the story. Is this the hardened heart that the Bible speaks of?
The airline that I worked for sent me to USA on courses to learn about the new Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) )which were to take the place of navigators on long haul flights. Some years previously advances in communication systems had made radio officers redundant and many of these were retrained as navigators - that’s progress. The jumbo jets we were getting from Boeing had three such systems on board.
It was a fantastic piece of equipment and cost a fortune. The mechanical part looked a bit like a smallish football suspended in gimbals like a ship’s compass so that it could compensate for the plane’s pitching and rolling movements. It contained a rotating platform that had three gyroscopes, sensitive to motion in any direction and two accelerometers that could sense any acceleration forces.
Its computer had a memory made up of eighty thousand tiny ferrite, doughnut shaped, cores with five wires finely threaded through each. This is only 10 kilobytes but it could run, what the program listing called” a peek- a- boo routine” where the platform with the two horizontal accelerometers would be levelled up so that neither of them could sense the earth’s gravity (which is an acceleration force) thus levelling the platform before starting off. Then the gyros would tell the computer how much earth rotation they could feel – which was proportional to the latitude.
The pilot would key in his starting position and the way points that his flight plan dictated. It couldn’t work out his start longitude but if the start latitude he keyed in differed a fraction of a degree from what it had itself worked out then he would get a warning.
At the end of this alignment process the plane’s navigation system was ready for takeoff. Even during taxiing the position displayed would change as the computer kept account of every acceleration, worked out the speed and time taken.
Distances were calculated taking account of the curvature of the earth, even using a factor for the elliptical shape of the earth as it is not quite spherical.
All of this, with just ten kilobytes of writable memory. What a marvel!
It was built by a subsidiary of General Motors in Milwaukee but I believe Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had a part in the design. In the early seventies this was a wonder of design and was used in a slightly modified form for satellite launches from the Titan rockets.
Could you imagine such a program written in small incremental, random steps and without any goal or guidance; a program written by a monkey with a typewriter? it was plainly the work of some very smart folk. Yet an infinitely more complex machine, the human body, is supposed to have evolved as a result of numerous small changes made with no goal or guidance.
But we are made up of numerous interdependent systems of enormous complexity, made up of billions of cells that live, reproduce and then die after each being part of some great bodily subsystem – hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling, muscles for movement and bones for structure ,energy production and transport – we could go on. What about the reproductive system - you would have to evolve a male and a female and all the bits that make them special and right for the job? All by chance - no objectives just blind incremental stumbling. The super program to control all of this is in the fantastic DNA that has the recipe for every amino acid needed to form every protein and the order in which they are to be assembled. All so advanced that I doubt if any part has been fully explored. You could say that I knew a lot about that INS but nowhere near as much as the designers – I could change things that broke down and fix it but was never anywhere near being in the same league as the designers. So it is with our doctors, surgeons and scientists – not in the same league as THE DESIGNER.
Surely - when you see design you expect there to be a designer.
Could blind chance with no guidance or goals have produced the human body and brain?
The guards saw the angel and still denied it. They saw a man raised from the dead but only wanted to suppress the story and now we have those who see design but deny a designer. Is this the hardened heart?