Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Finding Awe (and God) in Evolution

So, I just posted to Facebook this fun little Buzzfeed article, featuring a series of Creationists holding up questions which, in theory, challenge Evolution and/or promote Creationism. Most of these are pretty weak--if there are good arguments to support the Biblical account of creation, I'm pretty sure that pointing to Lucy is not one of them. Fine.

I was tempted to go through and answer each one ("Yes." "No." "No, but I'm not sure what you think that proves."), but that seemed kind of snarky, even for me. And, maybe more to the point, it also seemed like a lot of work. So, I decided to just amuse myself with my answers in my head.

But, I just have to say something about #20 (and, it kinda applies to #5, and maybe a couple of others, too). It reads:
How can you look at the world and not believe Someone Created/thought of it? It's Amazing!!!
Let me ask you: in all honesty, which is more deeply, profoundly amazing? That an all-powerful Being created the world as we see it? Or that, without any intervention, this world created itself?

I mean, if there really is an all-powerful, active, independent God*, then creating the world, in all of its complicated beauty, wasn't the least bit difficult. Sure, the world seems awfully complicated to us. But, to God? Making it must have been no more difficult than a card trick. Right? But, if all of that beautiful complexity evolved through its own process, becoming what it is naturally, fluidly, independently? That is pretty darn amazing, isn't it? Awe inspiring, even.

* which, by the way, the Bible never really claims that there is. It might be worth remembering that.

I once learned (I think this is still the current thinking, but even if it's not, the point will stand) that the universe exists upon an unbelievably fine balancing point. Certain forces, and possibly the amount of matter in the universe, are so finely in balance that the smallest change to any of them could have made reality as we know it impossible. Some have pointed to that as more evidence of the existence of an active Creator.

But, again, setting up the world with such a fine balance might be many things, but it isn't the least bit difficult to God. Why would we be amazed that God could do that, when God can, we're told, do anything?

But, to know that the universe somehow unfolded and evolved into this, without the guiding hand of an all-powerful Being, that everything that we know--everything--exists only because of a knife-edge dance played out on every level from the sub-atomic to the cosmic, that our lives and everything we hold dear are, in some sense, a minor nudge away from non-existence? That fills me with awe. That fills me with the wondrous, scary feeling of being not just in the presence of, but of being within, some One who/that I can never, never understand.

I look at the world, and I most definitely believe that no One created/thought of it. At least, not in anything like a literal sense. And, you know what?

That is amazing. That is awesome. That, my anonymous friend on Buzzfeed, is what it truly feels like to stand in the presence of God.

Baruch atah adonai, eloheinu melech ha-olam, oseh ma'aseh v'reishit. Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, the Source of Creation.

1 comment:

Brian Lumadue said...

Your post reminds me of Francis S. Collins, head of the Human Genome Project. He grew up as an atheist. But his experiences as a doctor who helped unravel one of the most complex structures in the universe, our own DNA, led him to another conclusion. "It also became clear to me that science, despite its unquestioned powers in unraveling the mysteries of the natural world, would get me no further in resolving the question of God. If God exists, then He must be outside the natural world, and therefore the tools of science are not the right ones to learn about Him." From his book "The Language of God", which I highly recommend.

Excellent post Rabbi!