Re: Sunday Dispatch
What does it mean that God “speaks” through creation?
Article excerpted from Theology: Think for Yourself What You Believe by The Navigators:
God speaking through creation or the natural world means that when we look up at the stars or gaze at a California hill covered with wildflowers, we see the fingerprints of God. The more we fix our eyes on the wonder of creation, the more we must conclude that these things could not make themselves. Both the intricate design of creation and the way the universe appears to be fine-tuned for life declare that this couldn’t happen by chance.
Consider the following: If the electromagnetic force in atoms were weakened by a mere 4 percent, then the sun would immediately explode (the diproton would have a bound state, which would increase the solar luminosity by a factor 1018). If it were stronger, there would be fewer stable atoms. If the protons were 0.2 percent heavier, they would decay into neutrons unable to hold on to electrons, so there would be no stable atoms around. If the proton-to-electron mass ratio were much smaller, there could be no stable stars, and if it were much larger, there could be no ordered structures such as crystals and DNA molecules.
God doesn’t just speak through the order and design we find in creation, but also through the jaw-dropping beauty that surrounds us. From something as mundane as a group of bright red cardinals sitting in a leaf-bare bush on a snowy Midwestern day, to the spectacular views of nebulae in distant corners of the galaxy beamed to earth by the Hubble Space Telescope creation doesn’t just tell us that a Creator exists, but that this Creator is an artist without peer. The feelings of awe that come over us as we watch the waves pound against the rocks at the beach or hold a newborn baby for the first time are in fact God speaking to us through his masterpiece. Psalm 19:1-4 puts it this way:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world. (NIV)
While the order and beauty of the universe appear to be rock-solid proofs of God’s existence to believers, unbelievers find many ways to explain them away. Physicist Max Tegmark writes extensively on the way our universe is fine-tuned for life, yet he doesn’t see this fine-tuning as evidence of a Creator. Rather, he sees it as further proof of the existence of parallel universes where such fine-tuning does not exist, and life is not possible. For him, the fact that we find ourselves in a universe teeming with life is no more of a miracle than checking into a hotel and being given a room with the same number as the year of your birth. Room 1985 exists because all the other rooms exist. In the same way, Tegmark believes an infinite number of universes exist where every possible combination of physical laws rule. Some have life while others cannot. Other scientists regard what we call beauty as nothing more than the end result of natural selection playing out over eons of time. Bright red cardinals sit in bushes on snowy days because red feathers made the males of the species more attractive to the females. That’s why this trait became dominant in cardinals — no further reason.
For those who see the hand of natural selection in the world rather than the fingerprints of God, beauty is purely in the eyes of the beholder. Believers may hear God’s revelation of himself through nature, but clearly, not everyone is listening.