I shared some thoughts with you last week on the Obama farewell and next week I’ll discuss the Trump phenomenon which begins on Friday, January 20.
But today, I’d like to leave the larger world for a moment to share some personal thoughts. Two weeks ago, I made a change in life that many of you can relate to, but I’d never before experienced. I would describe that life alteration as “seeing through a glass darkly.”
Shirley and I recently enjoyed a day at the eighth largest fair in the world–The Puyallup Fair. Located in Puyallup, Washington, thirty miles south of Seattle, the “Western Washington Fair” sports a delightful twenty acres filled with carnival rides, animal shows and displays, a rodeo, stadium concerts, and numerous buildings filled with art, hobbies, flowers, and every consumer good imaginable (all at unbeatable fair prices!)
We “ate our way” through the Fair enjoying corn-on-the-cob, elephant ears, smoothies, ice cream swirls, and famous country scones. It was a memorable day filled with delicious sights and sounds and many reminders of our illustrious western history and way of life.
But I also learned something else at the Fair. I was reminded of two spectacular lies that were told to the Baby Boom Generation in the 60s and 70s that haunt us to this day:
- The lie of creation without a Creator (evolution), and
- the lie of love without God (lust).
We, as a generation, are still reeling from the impact of those untruths.
First, the lie of evolution.
This subject was on my mind because of some reading I’ve done recently on a new evolutionary book. Written by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, Grand Design is the latest atheistic attempt to explain the origins of the world through the lens of godless evolution. In the book, Hawking and Mlodinow brazenly state:
“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”
Really? The universe just creates itself? Like gravity?
Grand Nonsense would be a more fitting title.
Back to Puyallup. How can you attend a fair of this type and not be struck by the wonder of God’s design on earth? As we walked around the hundreds of displays at the Puyallup Fair, we were amazed by both the incredible beauty of God’s creation as seen in the animal and plant worlds, and also in the unique creativity of human beings.
Watching the draft horses do their amazing stunts, seeing the hundreds of different species of foul and poultry–and gazing upon one of our favorites–a mother pig feeding her eleven little piglets–all these sights scream at the top of their lungs that a marvelous Designer made these things after their own kind. There is no other plausible explanation.
Macro-evolution says that time plus matter plus chance equals life as we know it. After seeing the glorious varieties of plants and animals at the Fair, that idea seems preposteous. Time plus matter plus chance equals dust–nothing more. It takes a very skilled Creator to shape elements and chemicals into the array of animal and plant life that our eyes feasted on.
And then there is the matter of man’s creation. Evolution also says that time plus matter plus chance equals you. A friend of mine summarizes this amazing process as “from goo to you by way of the zoo.”
No way. Human culture is amazing–from writing, to painting, to sculturing (even with chainsaws), to inventing products and tools (on sale everywhere at the Fair), to music, language, and invention–the creativness of man has no equal. No animals create tools or culture. Only man–made in God’s image–carries that unique spark.
No–if you look at the Fair with clear eyes, you must breathtakingly admire God’s glorious creation in the animal and plant worlds and also marvel at man’s unique creative abilities due to being made in the image of God.
My generation–the Baby Boom Generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) was raised on the lie of evolution. We were the first generation that accepted its erroneous conclusions in our textbooks and later, acted like animals in our individual lives.
Yet, every aspect of the Fair refuted that lie at every turn. God made the world and he made each one of us. We are responsible and accountible to him. We should worship him for what he’s made and do our part to create culture that benefits others and glorifies his name.
Then there is the lie about love.
One of the shows that Shirley and I watched at the Fair was a tribute to the Beatles by a group called Imagine. (I consented to listen to them to humor Shirley.) The “Fab Four” impersonators wore sixties suits, spoke with British accents (sounded fake to me) and really did look a lot like John, Paul, George, and Ringo. They were excellent musicians. During their ninety minute performance, they rattled off about twenty past Beatles hits.
It was very instructive to watch the crowd. Most of them were Boomers like us who were raised on this stuff. (I actually saw the Beatles in person in Seattle in 1964 when I was eleven years old. All I remember was their bright green suits.) There were also younger people in the crowd. Throughout the cascade of familiar songs, you could see the mouths of our generation singing along and enjoying the nostalgia of years gone by.
At the end of the performance, I was reflecting on the power of music. Even though I hadn’t heard most of these Beatles tunes for over forty years, I realized that I and an entire generation could remember every word to every song. Wow! Talk about power to affect the mind.
Then I started thinking about the actual words we had heard in the 60s. Most of the Beatles songs were about two themes–love ( i.e. I Wanna Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, Please Please Me etc.) and a smaller group about relationship break ups (i.e. Ticket to Ride, Yesterday etc.).
The closer I listened to the lyrics, the more I realized that the words were not really about “love” as the Bible defines it–pure, self-sacrificing devotion to another person. Rather, the words described sexual attraction or lust for another person.
Love and lust are very different things. Love leads to lifetime commitment. Lust leads to break-ups.
I remembered reading a sad biography of John Lennon some years ago. It chronicled his well-known sexual promiscuity, deep involvement in drug addiction, broken marriage with Cynthia (she came home one day to find John in a drug stupor and in bed with Yoko Ono) and his generally debauched life. The book also described the quartet’s first foray to Hamburg, Germany in 1960 where they frequented prostitutes, and John, Paul, and Ringo gleefully watched as George lost his virginity with a stripper.
The Beatles sang about lust, not godly love. Our generation bought the message and dove into the “free love” scene hook, line, and sinker. Our carnal, selfish pursuit of “love” brought the same consequences of broken marriages and numerous relational break-ups.
As I looked around the aging crowd, I wondered how many had been poisoned by these lyrics that led to the ruin of their marriages or the break-up of numerous relationships. The Beatles taught us a lie and we fell for it. Its results have been staggering in the life of the American nation.
But the song that spoke most deeply to me may have been the Beatles “autobiography tune.” It was called Nowhere Man. Here are some of the words to jog your memory:
He’s a real nowhere man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
Doesn’t have a point of view,
Knows not where he’s going to,
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere Man please listen,
You don’t know what you’re missing,
Nowhere Man,the world is at your command!
He’s as blind as he can be,
Just sees what he wants to see,
Nowhere Man can you see me at all?
The words above point to the world the Beatles and many others gave us in our youth. They took us “nowhere” where we couldn’t see our own “blindness” and empty pursuit of lustful pleasure.
“Isn’t he a bit like you and me?”
The Beatles were Nowhere Men that influenced a Nowhere Generation. How sad.
The lie of evolution and the lie of human lust are very similar. One says you can have creation and culture without God–and the other says you can have love and relationships without God. The Baby Boom found out the hard way that these ideas are painfully false.
Fortunately, many of the Baby Boom generation are finding their way home. At the conclusion to our evening, Shirley and I visited a booth that displayed hundreds of hats. All were emblazened with messages like “I Love Jesus,” “God is My Co-Pilot,” and the one that I purchased, “Jesus is My Rock.” The owner told us he had sold eighteen hundred of them.
A Nowhere Generation can be transformed into a generation that loves and serves Jesus Christ.
That’s what I learned at the Fair.