Today’s psalm response, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God,” couldn’t better sum up the beautiful unseasonably warm weekend we had here in New England. On Sunday, I was up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, with their annual patchwork of colors beginning to emerge, and yesterday I was at the beach, its cold sand entreating me to enjoy the gift of almost 80 degrees in October, for those days do not come often. It doesn’t get much better than that around here – a bit of heaven on earth.
When I witness the beauty of creation, my thoughts always go to heaven. If the earth is a mere reflection of heaven, a mere shadow, can you imagine what heaven must be like? As a little child cries, “Look at me! Look at me!” the natural world points to the ingenious creativity of God!
A couple of years ago I took a course for catechists offered through Saint John’s Seminary in Boston. One day we were discussing the beginning part of the Creed “I believe in God.” The instructor pointed us to entry 50 in the Catechism, where it says, “By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works.” I had never heard that before, and I remember my thoughts stopping in their tracks, “What a bold statement!” Then it rolled over in my mind again and again, “Man can know of the existence of God with certainty by the observance of nature.” Wow!
Try asking the teenagers in your life if they agree with this statement. I daresay most of them would vacillate, and many would flat out disagree. They have been taught the “certainty” of Darwinian evolution from a very early age, which is, at its core atheistic: our existence in creation came about as a result of a random series of events – all an accident of nature. They learn this theory as fact from a very young age and are taught not to question it. In fact, if they do question it, they are ostracized as ignorant fools. So to avoid scorn, or simply to get an A on the test, they do not question its validity. As a homeschooling mom, I was appalled with how casually this theory is taught as fact. I distinctly remember when my children were little, picking up a book at the library, and the first line of the book stated, “Humans evolved from reptiles.” The limited study I’ve done leads me to question the science behind much of this theory, and here it is being fed to little minds who will never think to question it.
We’ve all see the picture of Java Man donning the cover of the 1998 reprint of Darwin’s Origin of Species. This represents how we evolved from apes into human beings. Are students taught that this is simply archaeologist Eugene Dubois’ rendition of what he thinks may have been our evolutionary progression based on his findings in Indonesia in 1891? And exactly what are those findings? A skull, a thigh bone, and 3 teeth. That’s right a skull, a thigh bone, and 3 teeth give us the “missing link” from ape to human. Huh?
Now call me crazy, and maybe I’m just naive, or I could just be uninformed, but this just doesn’t make sense. A criminal conviction in court needs more evidence. Reason demands more. This theory demands faith, and many blindly follow it, bowing to its science without questioning. Isn’t that the condemnation against religion, bowing to it without thought or question? (This is just one of many holes existing in the theory. There are many more which are beyond the scope of today’s writing.)
Now can you imagine if you had no faith foundation, no other point of view or lens from which to view the world and filter its contents? If your view is that your creation is nothing but an accident of nature, and you do not know that you are “fearfully wonderfully made,” (Ps 139:14) wouldn’t certain behaviors naturally follow? This worldview strips away the inherent dignity of each human person, giving rise to utilitarianism, selfishness, and the disposability of life. This generation, finds it very difficult to embrace the truth that they were purposely created by God at this point in time because God knew them, called them by name, and desired them to be in the world today.
St. Paul writes to the Romans in today’s first reading:
The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven
against every impiety and wickedness
of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
For what can be known about God is evident to them,
because God made it evident to them.
Ever since the creation of the world,
his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity
have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.
As a result, they have no excuse;
for although they knew God
they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.
Instead, they became vain in their reasoning,
and their senseless minds were darkened.
While claiming to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God
for the likeness of an image of mortal man
or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.
Therefore, God handed them over to impurity
through the lusts of their hearts
for the mutual degradation of their bodies.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie
and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen. (Rom 1:18-25)
St. Paul could very well be writing to us in 2011. Many do not see God around them. Many need help seeing him. As educators and mentors, we need to help others to see and embrace the uniqueness of their creation and God’s plan and purpose in it. We need to arm ourselves with the truth of faith and reason. Science is a very important component is this discussion, as is questioning. We must educate ourselves in order to help those around us answer their faith and science questions, so that unlike the Romans of Paul’s time, they will worship the creator, serve Him, and love Him and let Him love them back.
So today, I encourage you to pray to the Holy Spirit to guide you and show you how you can equip yourself to defend with both faith and reason that bold statement of the Catechism, “By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works.” (CCC #50) so that all will see the heavens proclaiming the glory of God.
St. Paul, pray for us! Anne
A good resource to learn more about this topic is The Case for the Creator by Lee Strobel.
One of my fave Nichole Nordeman songs that I sing loud and strong when creation wows me: My Offering