God and the Whistling Train (page 1)
I love history. However, the history of the latest migrations to Australia are not that old. One place where that short history is reflected in detail is the Flinders ranges in southern Australia where you can go into the rather remarkable Wilpena Pound and read the stories of people that lived there.
In this context, my wife and I were in a town called Quorn in the North of South Australia. Quorn is in the Lower Flinders Ranges, south of the Wilpena Pound.
One of the fascinating places to visit in these old towns is the railway station. Quorn is an old railway town. Now the railway has shifted, and the station is only visited when the historical train society run their steam train trips towards Port Augusta through what is called the Pichi Richi pass. Every now and then there is a train from Quorn that will stop at the pass but continue on to Port Augusta; a major town south of Quorn. All goods, carried by trains from west coast to east coast of Australia pass through Port Augusta. To catch the train to Port Augusta and back again was the reason we were staying at Quorn.
Quorn is a small town and it is certainly easy to hear the whistle of the steam train as it enters the station. So I listened for the sound of a steam train coming into the station in readiness to take us on our trip. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear it. When we arrived at the station, we found there was no steam engine but a fairly old diesel engine. The engineers at the railway workshop had been unable to get the steam engine ready in time and had resorted to using the old diesel engine. Some people who were going on the trip with us became so upset that they withdrew. My wife and I decided to continue and enjoy the trip regardless of the engine. After all, diesel engines are now part of railway history.
It seems to me, that some people, get onto the Christian train only to find that it was being towed by the wrong engine. And they become dissatisfied with the Christian faith, and fade away, dissatisfied with God. There are others who have decided to keep on going despite the engine. A persistence that God rewards. I would like to make clear what kind of train is really pulling the Christian faith and what is in the carriages. There are times in my life when I have needed to ponder the carriages and the train. As an observer, you can only see passengers inside the train only if there is light within the carriages or when people are sitting close to the windows. So as the train goes by we can only ponder and wonder who or what is inside. In a similar way light needs to be shed on the message within the Christian scriptures; so we can understand what is in the Christian carriages.
I think that it is easy to misunderstand the nature of the Christian call and what God is providing. What I would like to do is to give some insight to the pictures that are given in the Scriptures to show exactly what happens when we believe.
The train picture is a very good analogy because in the process of discussing the pictures presented in this first three chapters we will see that each one is like a carriage, and in each carriage there are many different things, most of them, incredible in terms of the complexity and design.
As we look at the beginning of the bible I would like to explain a key issue that we must understand before we start. Science is only possible because the world was created by God an intelligent designer. The predictability of the creation is absolutely essential. In a random world that comes from nothing there is no predictability. So the laws of nature would not exist. As a result many have suggested that nature itself is the 67th book of the bible.
The Bible is a remarkable collection of writings; it has foreseen all the issues that people will raise in any proceedings against it. In this passage, what it says is that the world is such, that people should be encouraged to look towards God or for Him, but it is not the full representation of Him. Understanding that there is a designer does not give us a full comprehension of the character of that designer. The Bible gives an understanding of the character and the motives of the creator. So the point is this; the bible is the primary source and what we see in the world about us is the secondary source. The picture of God we see in the bible is embellished as we see the world about us. The bible is primary, and the world about us is secondary.
Romans 1:18-26 (NKJV) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonour their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up.