Editor's Note: This is chapter 5 of a book titled Maker of the Morning by Al Cornell, RR1, Box 346B, Muscoda, WI. 53573. He is a wildlife technician with the DNR.
Loren Eiseley wrote of many of the unique characteristics of mankind. One of those is expressed in his statement, "...behind all that is evident to our senses is veiled the insubstantial [lacking material nature--ac] deity that only man, of all earth's creatures, has had the power either to perceive or to project into nature." Notice that Eiseley's statement is so broad as to include God existing or just being imagined by man. Yet, he has identified a noteworthy, unique characteristic of mankind. Since we are human, this perception of Deity cannot be ignored.
Ernst Haeckel, following in wake of Charles Darwin's writings in 1877 arrogantly penned, "With this simple argument the mystery of the universe is explained, the Deity annulled and a new era of infinite knowledge ushered in." Some still desire to pass off the thought of God's existence that quickly. After all, Sigmund Freud supposed that any religious feelings were a carry-over from childhood. Yet, these attempts to dismiss theism are continually rebuffed by the universe itself.
Scientists rise up to declare the profound complexity of a universe, not so easily glossed over as Haeckel had hoped. Steven Jay Gould writes, "I sense how rich and complex it is out there, and what a tiny, tiny part any of us have been able to understand."
Isaac Newton declared, "I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
If science has revealed one message more loudly than any other since the days of Newton, that message is an expression of the amazing vastness of the unknown. Deity annulled? Hardly. The amazing universe has inspired awe from our most renowned scientists. Albert Einstein said, "A conviction akin to religious feeling of the rationality or intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a high order."
Astronomer Giles wrote, "...no one seems to expect to know all about astronomy after a single course in college. Yet, I am continually amazed at those who expect God to be somehow less intricate and awesome than the universe and who demand complete answers to all questions regarding God during an hour's lecture...."
The scientific method has added immensely to the volumes of human knowledge. We have discovered more than past generations imagined there existed to be discovered. Yet, with most discovery comes a recognition of more unanswered questions. The intricacies of the universe are so mind boggling that scientists struggle to express what has been found. J. B. S. Haldane said, "My suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."
While we can only speculate about what humanity may be able to synthesize in the future, chemist John A. Buehler drew this line on human creative potential, "...we recognize God as Lawgiver....I postulate that man will never make a universal law of nature. Man can only discover the laws that already exist." In the book of Job (38:12), we find the question posed, "Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, and caused the dawn to know its place?" The laws of nature stand as another evidence of God's existence.
The God of this universe is a God we can find. A Psalm (42:1) paints this word picture of seeking God: "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee, O God." Paul, in Acts 17, speaks to some of trying to find God and then points out that, "He is not far from each of us; for in Him we live and move and exist."
One becomes more and more impressed with God's power as he or she perceives more of the immense universe. It then becomes easier to sense God's pervasive presence, even in things as small as earth or atoms.
There is a God, and His creation stands as testimony. The things we discern with our senses can build a deep faith. From another Psalm (65:8) we read, "And they who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Thy signs; Thou dost make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy."
The universe spreads before our senses, ever revealing greater intricacy and grandeur than imagined by the preceding generation. The chasm to the spiritual realm remains, to science, as uncrossable as ever. Physicist Sir Arthur Eddington penned, "One can no more analyze great imponderables by use of the scientific method than he can extract the square root of a sonnet." Yet, the increased knowledge of a complex cosmos stands as an ever stronger witness to a Maker.
Nineteenth century poet, James Russell Lowell wrote, "...behind the dim unknown Standeth God within the shadow, Keeping watch above His own."
I recall playing hide-and-seek with a young child. The child was quickly bored with hiding and very excited about being found. There is a passage of Scripture that reminds me of that game. "I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ÔHere am I, here am I'" (Isaiah 65:1). Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "I conceive a man as always spoken to from behind, and unable to turn his head to see the speaker." That was his concept of what I've called the chasm. However, by looking ahead, one can see what God has touched and perceive the invisible attributes.