Whence and Wherefore by Zev Zahavy
The Cosmological Destiny of Man Scientifically and Philosophically Considered. An Analysis Relating to "In the Centre of Immensities" by Sir Bernard Lovell
Now that man is a bona fide space traveler, it appears to be a propitious time to call for a new chapter in the enduring search for ultimate truths.
The technological record of human progress from the ancient period of a Sumerian bronze age to the current era of complex, multinational, computerized societies is a magnificent tribute to the impressive ingenuity of the human intellect. Man may justifiably take pride in his vast array of technological triumphs.
Certainly, the human specimen has traversed a long, rugged road since the early days of the ox-drawn plow and that prosaic lethargic era when simple mathematics were inscribed in fundamental ideograms upon cuneiform tablets. Today, man spans oceans and continents in a few short hours; communicates with the speed of light; harnesses the nuclear might of the unseen atom; prepares to visit neighboring planets; and charts the course of stellar phenomena at distant outposts of his universe.
Nevertheless, there is something radically amiss. Man’s vainglory is tempered by the sordid fact that his society teeters perilously on the brink of perdition and ruination.
It is a pathetic situation. Is this a logical reward for more than five thousand years of patient searching and suffering? Must civilization emerge as nothing more than a cruel, self-inflicted hoax?
Of what value is the stunning record of technological triumphs if, consequently, the human soul languishes in a more harrowing nebulosity of existentialist despair? Why must the psyche of twentieth-century man endure the pangs of depressing anguish? Why does it seem that many more individuals are finding life futile and meaningless?
Judging from a general assessment of the present, and endeavoring a simple prognosis for the future, man’s experiment with a radically secular society has proved to be a dismal failure. The secular life has spawned a brutally amoral milieu. Human freedom has been translated into a cunning device for fiendish dominion and ruthless guile. One is tempted to conclude that species Homo sapiens is fast reverting back to the degrading rank of a savage beast.
Whereas God was once the chief inspiration for decent living, today brazen souls snidely allude to the Divine One’s demise. There is a diabolical ulterior motive behind the attempt to exclude God from appearing in the human picture. By publishing God’s obituary, man hopes to emerge as the uncontested supreme entity in the universe. With God out of the way, man believes that he is free to pamper his every conceit and caprice.
But how long can man hide from God, and how successfully can man fare in the parole of his own recognizance? Can man prod his own Freudian superego to formulate the necessary humanist recipe for a safe and sane society if all he has to fall back on is his ferocious id? Can man truly hope to guarantee his survival in a civilization that declares that God is obsolete? In the contemporary secularist environment that man has fashioned, and that predominantly ignores the divine presence, is man more secure–or is he more vulnerable to self-extinction?
We are living at a time when the existentialist plight of man is at a critical stage. The arsenals are overflowing with sophisticated weaponry that could very well wipe civilization from the face of the globe. The possibility of wholesale decimation is a real threat to the coming generations. Yet, the truth of the matter is that man does not want to be expunged from his little’ home in the solar system. Can man deter the ominous threat of an Armageddon?
If ever there was a time for serious introspection, it is now. If ever there was a time for a healing of breaches and a binding-up of fratricidal wounds, it is now. If ever there was a time for people of differing nationalities and cultures to extend a handclasp of sincere amity and harmony, it is now.
However, lest we succumb to the lure of futile idyllic dreams and utopian visions, let us consider a more realistic appraisal of the situation at hand. The scoundrels who presently abound in this world of ours are not going to relinquish their positions of power merely for the sake of serving the cause of world tranquility. Millions of innocents sadly must look forward to continued periods of inequity, hardship, and suffering. The present perpetrators of devilish designs will be succeeded by newer breeds of their ilk, and they will continue to impose upon the innocent multitude the venomous pattern of malicious hatred and falsehood, along-with its practice of arbitrary discrimination and evil persecution.
Is it futile, then, to hope that the masses of people of good conscience everywhere may learn to pool their talents in the interest of human survival? If the common good is thwarted because of narrowly divisive national lines, perhaps in a world fast becoming increasingly interdependent, an endeavor should be made at least to develop a common camaraderie along humanistic lines.
Why should not the scientist and the theist walk side by side in service of an existentially impoverished humanity? After all, both are simultaneously pledged to the task of aiding mankind. Their partnership in pursuit of this humanitarian ideal will afford a much needed ray of hope for the future of civilization. The scientist and the theist do tread the same path toward a search for ultimate truth, although they operate on different levels of investigation.
It is in the hope that a new harmony may prevail between science and theology that prompted the writing of this book. There is reason to believe that modern science and. modern theistic existentialism may develop into the leading cooperative components of a revitalized contemporary civilization. Assuming that knowledge is power, the combined might of both these disciplines should be enormous. The raging battle for the control of man’s mind is the most crucial struggle in our contemporary era. There is a lesson to be learned from the fastidious sponsors of evil. They resolutely exploit the full force of perverse propaganda with all the power at their command. Therefore, we must recognize the need to speak out, and we dare not remain silent. Unfortunately, however, the theistic existentialist position has been woefully inexpressive, and little has been done to counteract the specious sophistry of current insidious spokesmen. It is sad, because although the pronouncements of the purveyors of evil are widespread, their ulterior motive is narrowly egocentric and self-serving. Surely, the time is at hand when the clear voice of sincere seekers of truth must resound throughout the world unto all the inhabitants thereof.
Given the factual elucidations of science in harmonious coordination with profound theistic concepts, a new found partnership may develop that will have no rival in the search for ultimate truth. More than ever, modern man thirsts for the wellspring of truth. Science and theology share alike an earnest dedication to the principles of truth and knowledge. Together, they may reawaken the dormant spirit of man and infuse his newly inspired soul with a sense of valid purpose. Life may gain a fresh impetus to reflect valid meaning for the human situation.
In line with such a design, this modest work proceeds to offer an analysis of the cosmic drama in two sections. Part one unveils the first act, and the curtain rises to present an enlightened diagnosis of the cosmological problem. This analysis comes from the pen of the world-renowned scientist and distinguished scholar, Sir Bernard Lovell, who has gained wide respect as Professor of Radio Astronomy and Director of the Experimental Station, Nuffield Radio Laboratories, Jodrell Bank, under the auspices of the University of Manchester in Cheshire, England. The essay, “In the Centre of Immensities,” was first presented by Sir Bernard Lovell in August 1975, in Guildford Cathedral as his Presidential Address to the British Association, and it was reprinted in a shortened form in the New York Times Magazine on November 16, 1975, under the title “Whence.”
The British Association for the Advancement of Science was organized in 1831 to give a more systematic direction to scientific inquiry, and “to promote the intercourse of the cultivators of science with one another and with foreign philosophers.” Accordingly, “Wherefore,” which forms the second part of this work, indulges in a theistic exposition reflecting modern existentialist principles, and since it is authored by an American professor of the City University of New York, it should qualify, from the British Association’s point of view, as the product of a “foreign philosopher.”
A note of deep gratitude is extended to the esteemed and respected scholar Sir Bernard Lovell, for granting permission to publish his superlative essay, which inclines toward the view that the essence of modern man derives from his primeval source in stellar space. The exploration of this theme from a scientific direction is accomplished with thoughtful insight and consummate skill.
As we proceed to the task of further enucleation, and after completing a brief journey through the portals of current scientific observation and judgment as outlined in the first section, we arrive at the second division of our work, which examines the grand cosmic drama in the domain of “Wherefore” and beyond.
It is felt in the “Wherefore” analysis that a consistently logical scientist should be able to harmonize theistic doctrines and scientific facts with dispassionate equanimity; and even as the new wave of space-age science progresses, it should not be unsettling to witness the blossoming of a hardy strain of resolute theistic scientists who may handily succeed the egregious atheistic breed of the twentieth century.
On the basis of this assumption, we may anticipate the time when the fad of atheism will commence to wane, and in its stead, the universal acknowledgement of God will become a sine qua non for future generations. It matters little what man concludes in eras of illogical fancies. God remains ever invincible, and He must inevitably emerge as the total victor. This concept, certainly, is hardly new, but its reaffirmation in the light of current atheistic trends that have produced a marked convolution of existentialist and psychological ego-deification, makes such a project an essential task for our age.
Long ago, wise King Solomon asserted that there is nothing new under the sun. It should not surprise us, therefore, to discern that the essence of the plot of the unfolding cosmic spectacle is quite succinctly reflected in the simple declaration of a dedicated prophet, whose word from the ancient past re-echo with urgent persistency today: “And God shall be sovereign over all the earth; in that day, God shall be one, and His name one.” (Zechariah 14:9)