A certain number of comments that come over the transom here at the blog never see the light of day. Perhaps they are unnecessarily hateful, contain profanities, or are personal attacks on other commenters, clergy or other public figures.
One such comment came recently which I did not post for just about all the reasons I just listed. Among his profanity-laden words, was a sneering denunciation of God as “your magical sky-fairy” (sic). Our combative commenter, and self described consumer of “brave science,” may be surprised one day to meet our true and living God who is in fact no little “sky-fairy” but is Deus Omnipotens (God All Powerful).
It is a strange and remarkable thing to me how, in this age of discovery, where we have discovered such magnificent realities that show a universe steeped in order and unbelievable size, that increasing numbers of people want to hold that the whole thing is just dumbly there. In other words, to increasing numbers today, the obvious order of the universe is accidental; we human beings are simply the result of random, blind, and unguided mutations; all the order of creation we can plainly observe, and the sophisticated interdependent systems which give rise to complex life, are all just accidental. We are asked to believe by some that all this obvious order, an order that no one can miss, somehow leapt together, unguided and accidentally, from a primordial dust and soup; that from disorder, came order. Yes, and, although things tend to fall apart and go back to their basic components (the Law of Entropy), nevertheless, in this case, we must believe that in a somehow random and accidental way, things actually moved from disorder to order, all their own, even though, as some insist, no outside force, energy or intelligence acted on them.
To me this sort of belief requires more “faith” than simply to believe that a higher and intelligent being (whom we call God) both created and introduced the order that is so obvious in the universe and in this world, not to mention our bodies, down to the smallest cells and atoms. And to be sure, the atheist/secularist notion of random, unguided, accidental order is a belief, for its conclusion is outside of what science can study or demonstrate. For all the denunciation by many atheists of Philosophy, Theology and Metaphysics, those who deny God’s role in creation are not making a scientific claim, they are staking out a philosophical, theological and metaphysical claim and asking others to believe it. To me, such a “belief” in the random, unguided, and accidental existence of things, in the face of such overwhelming and consistent order is unreasonable in the extreme.
The whole universe shouts Order! Consistency! Intelligibility! Our bodies, and every delicately functioning system on this planet all echo back the refrain: Order! Consistency! Intelligibility! And while I cannot, and do not, ask a scientist to specifically affirm the Biblical and Christian God and our whole Catholic Theological tradition by science, the existence of consistent order in the universe and in the world is plainly obvious, and serves as the basis of the whole scientific method. For if things were truly random, and not orderly, intelligible, or predictable, science could not brook theories, test results, or verify them. No experiment would turn out similar results if everything acted randomly. The scientific method presupposes order and consistency within a verifiable range. Thus while science need not draw conclusions as to how this order came about, it is wholly inappropriate, as certain scientists have done, to be dismissive of believers who conclude from order that someone ordered it so.
Yes, what a glorious and magnificent thing creation is. And to this believer it loudly proclaims God who made it.
There is a beautiful hymn that I have seldom heard sung in Catholic Parishes, that takes up the voice of creation, especially that part of creation we call the stars (firmament) and the planets. The hymn is a gloss on Psalm 19, and, to me, it is a minor masterpiece of English poetry. It was written by Joseph Addison in 1712.
It comes from a time before skeptical agnosticism and hostility to the very notion, (let alone existence), of God had taken deep root in our culture. And, frankly, it also comes from a more sober time that was able to accept the plainly obvious fact that creation is ordered, and therefore was ordered by someone in a purposeful and intelligent manner. That someone we believers call God.
Consider the beautiful words of this song and its reasoned conclusion that, as Psalm 19 notes, creation shouts its Creator.
The spacious firmament on high,
with all the blue ethereal sky,
and spangled heavens, a shining frame,
their great Original proclaim.
The unwearied sun from day to day
does his Creator’s power display;
and publishes to every land
the work of an almighty hand.
Soon as the evening shades prevail,
the moon takes up the wondrous tale,
and nightly to the listening earth
repeats the story of her birth:
whilst all the stars that round her burn,
and all the planets in their turn,
confirm the tidings, as they roll
and spread the truth from pole to pole.
What though in solemn silence all
move round the dark terrestrial ball?
What though no real voice nor sound
amid their radiant orbs be found?
In reason’s ear they all rejoice,
and utter forth a glorious voice;
for ever singing as they shine,
“The hand that made us is divine.”
Yes, the hand that made us is divine, and He has done a marvelous thing!
Here is a sung version of this wonderful song: