“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”
– Isaac Newton (“General Scholium,” in Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Isaac
A friend of mine recently asked if I took requests for my blog. At first I misunderstood what she meant, I thought, “sure, I’ll give you the web address for anyone who’d like to read…” Little did I know what a wonderful compliment she was about to offer me. She asked if I took requests to write about specific topics. I was floored; what an honor that she would trust me enough to ask and especially in light of the topic she asked that I speak to in my post. It is something that she and I have discussed at length. If you’ve read my last post you might remember that I’m not necessarily in the best “head space” at the moment. I’m pushing through some depression that stems from my learning to accept life with chronic illness. I was worried that this might not be a good time to write on this particular subject, however, it is probably the best time to do so. The topic involves sharing my faith and what better way to send the “blues” on their way than to ponder my relationship with God.
I’ll start with a small disclaimer. I realize that this particular topic will push buttons that are uncomfortable for many people. The opinions on this subject will be varied and extreme. I am open to feedback and comments as long as you are nice about it. I also ask that you remember that these are my beliefs that are borne from my life experiences. I will be sharing things that are dear to my heart and, while I respect all opinions and welcome them, just remember that this is a testament to my personal faith and relationship to God. I only ask that you respect my opinion as much as I will respect yours. I’m not going to try to change anyone’s view. I’m only interested in sharing my story of faith and understanding. I hope I can do this justice; I’m a bit nervous but… here goes.
If you are one of my regular readers you have probably guessed that I am a Christian. I make no apologies for it nor do I shy away from the fact that I have a deeply personal relationship with God and my Savior. I have also briefly mentioned that I am going to school and studying astrophysics. As you can imagine these two worlds often collide and that collision is not always a peaceful one. Many of the people I meet who are steeped in the scientific community cannot understand how I continue to see God in every aspect of what I am learning. On the other hand, those with whom I am religiously affiliated often gently chide me worrying that the more I learn about the workings of the universe the further I might stray from my faith. All I can say to both extremes is that nothing could be further from the truth!
It may sound trite, or possibly… impossible… The more I learn about the science and nature of the universe the more I see God in every nook and cranny. How can you study the inner workings of any science and miss the miracle of God’s artful and masterful hand in every part? You are probably wondering how I can reconcile these two seemingly irreconcilable worlds. For many, science and faith are mutually exclusive. For me, they are not. In fact I find that as my scientific knowledge increases so does my faith. I realize that much of this is my “choice” to see God in the details, but isn’t it also a “choice” to exclude him if you so prefer? As mentioned previously, I’m not out to change anyone’s mind on this point. I realize that ideals and fundamental beliefs are on the line here. Rather, I would just like to share why I “choose” to recognize God in all of his glory as I attempt to understand the “secrets of the universe” as it were.
I believe that I am a spirit housed in a mortal body. I love this quote from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin a French Jesuit Priest, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” I consider myself to be a divinely created spirit with a divinely created mortal body. You may be doubting how I can hold to this ideal considering how messed up my body is right now. It is easy for me because I know that, although divinely created, my body is a mortal tool in which my spirit is housed. This mortal house is prone to disease and will eventually wear out. My spirit however, is still whole despite the failings of my body. In fact my spirit can only grow stronger as I struggle. Again this is my choice. You will see this word a lot in the following paragraphs because I accept that with all circumstances in life we have the ability to choose how we will view, act, respond to, embrace etc… The point is, our ability to choose how we react to the varied situations we encounter in life remains intact no matter what we face.
“My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.”
– Albert Einstein
All too often we underestimate our divine potential for learning and growth. The “science” of studying the body is truly amazing to me. The more I learn about the inner workings of my physiology (which, by the way, is way too much TMI for me lately) the more I recognize the hand of God. I think of the strength of my heart, the fact that it beats on its own and the capacity of which is truly amazing. Even as my body fails I am thankful for the progression of modern medicine without which I would most certainly be dead by now. When a scientist, or more likely a team of scientists, arrives at a medical breakthrough I am of the mind that it is done with divine help. Whether that means we acknowledge God in the creation of our beautiful minds and the incredible thinking powers that we’ve been blessed with or we realize that He may have influenced the results through direct spiritual communication. There are no coincidences or accidents. This is how I “choose” to see it.
For example, having been present at the birth of my oldest, I was truly touched by the spirit to be a witness to one of the most miraculous events I’ve ever beheld. Science breaks down the process of a growing fetus to the production of body parts at the cellular level. The medical community talks of how our DNA programs these cells and tells them how they are to behave as a tiny infant is formed. As I saw Sean come into the world and heard his first cries I was overwhelmed by both the science of his creation and the divine hand by which he was born. I cannot separate the two. I choose to see my Father in Heaven as the ultimate scientist. I am of the belief that God acts within the laws of nature, well of course he does because he knows more about that nature than we can ever hope to learn in this lifetime. He knows how to manipulate and create what he desires with the tools and materials at his disposal. I choose to see him as the omniscient creator. Notice that the word omniscience, meaning infinite knowledge, uses the word “science” from the Latin word scientia, meaning knowledge. Why wouldn’t God use all of the scientific knowledge at his disposal to create all that we behold from the tiniest microbe to the vast universe?
Looking at Sean in those first moments after birth I could not deny the presence of the spirit as Heavenly Father touched my soul and confirmed to me that I was to be his mother. This impression is even more significant when you remember that we adopted Sean. He may not be my flesh and blood, he does not have my specific DNA, but that day I felt God’s presence as he impressed upon me that his soul and mine were meant to be united as mother and son. I had the same impression when I first laid eyes on my youngest, Alex. These experiences brought an appreciation of the Master’s hand in the divine creation of our mortal bodies. I choose to see both the science and the miracle because I consider God to be the most powerful and knowledgeable scientist there is.
As I study the cosmos I am even more touched by the spirit as it testifies to my soul of the existence of the ultimate physicist. Maybe I’ll makeup my own word here, why not? I choose to see God as an omniphysicist. (Micorsoft Word DOES NOT like that word, ha!) There is still so much about the creation of the universe and the current state of the heavens that is not fully understood by humankind. Physicists, with all of their facts and data, still cannot explain some of the most fundamental processes of how we came to be. For example, scientists are unable to reconcile the philosophical ideas between the Theory of Relativity and quantum mechanics.
I won’t bore you with the details but this is proof that even science cannot explain the cosmos. Once again, I choose to suppose that God fills in those “blanks”. And why not if you consider him the “omni-sceintist” as I do? Even if you choose to subscribe to the idea of the Big Bang Theory, why wouldn’t God be the ultimate orchestrator of that scientifically unexplained and, by the way, “improvable” event?
I look at the night sky and wonder at the beauty of the stars and think of how much I would love to explore the storms and stunning colors of the gas giants. I choose to see the Master’s hand in the creation of all things. I see pictures of the gas giants and I am in awe as my spirit yearns to know how Heavenly Father managed to create such intricate and exquisite splendor.
Ultimately it is your choice to either see God in all things or exclude him all together. For me, I cannot see the difference between one and the other. As I study the universe and the science that attempts to prove or disprove the many theories that exist, my faith in God increases. I see the expanse of space with the many worlds, planets, and stars and I cannot help but see a masterful architect behind it all. The beauty of all things around me is a testament to the existence of a Heavenly Father who, let’s face it, knows his stuff! In the creation of all things from the tiniest insect, to the largest or brightest stars, and finally to our very spiritually human existence, he is artful and loving. I “choose” to see all of these things as miraculous and divine creations. I know many will scoff at this statement but in my experience the sciences in their quest to prove all things, including the existence of God, only point to the fact that there is a God. Scientists may choose to say that God does not exist because… well, we just don’t know and it can’t be proven. However, I find it interesting that they will ascribe to many theories which also cannot ultimately be proven. That is their choice, mine is a different one.
There are too many times in my life in which I have experienced mighty miracles that cannot be explained away or scientifically proven. Yet I know they happened and I cannot deny the love that I have felt as I realize how very much God is aware of us and our circumstances. As I struggle to accept my human experiences my soul cries out to my God and my Savior for guidance, support, and comfort. I am never disappointed or left to struggle alone. In the darkest hours of night I have often been awakened by the brilliance of a full moon. As I gaze upon that heavenly view I CHOOSE to allow the spirit to soothe my aching heart. I hold tight to that knowledge for without it my spirit would wither and suffer. Instead I push the roots of my faith even deeper and as I study the workings and the science behind the beauty that surrounds me I see God in everything. I am happier for it, this is my choice. This scientist chooses to acknowledge the existence and presence of a loving Father in Heaven.