The hardened heart

‭ ‬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?‬

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