The Wonder of God

One of the wildest aspects of Christian thought lies in the simple truth that God is everywhere. And if God is in fact everywhere, then God is in all things, and all things are in God
Since the scientific revolution of the fifteenth century, there has been an increasing tendency in Christianity to see God as separate from Creation. To the common view, it's no longer God sending the sun across the sky each day, but the Earth's rotation, and no longer God raining down blessings on our fields, but water precipitation. This has led to a wholly unnecessary gulf between science and religion, and results in a division of our "spiritual life" and  our daily lives.
According to this thought, God is fundamentally uninvolved. The universe is like a wind-up toy, left to go on its own, while God attends to—whatever. Once formed, natural laws work without any continued intelligence or consciousness, the true mindless governors of an inert and dumb universe.

The Bible on the Divine Presence:
In Christ were created all things in heaven and on earth
everything visible and everything invisible.... Before anything was created, he existed, and he holds all things in unity.—Col 1:15-17
...the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him.
2 Chr 2:6 
Who laid [the earth's] cornerstone
when all the stars of the morning were singing with joy,
and the Sons of God in chorus were chanting praise?...
Which is the way to the home of the light,
and where does darkness live?..
Who carves a channel for the downpour,
and hacks a way for rolling thunder?
What womb brings forth the ice,
and gives birth to the frost of heaven...?
Whose skill details every cloud
and tilts the flasks of heaven...?
Who makes provision for the raven
when his squabs cry out to God
and crane their necks in hunger?—Job 38:6-7,19,25,29,37,41
The heavens declare the glory of God,
the vault of heaven proclaims his handiwork;
day discourses of it to day,
night to night hands on the knowledge.—Ps 19:1-2
If I flew to the point of sunrise, or westward across the sea
your hand would still be guiding me, your right hand holding me.
Ps 139: 7-10
Through him all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through him. All that came to be had life in him and that life was the light of men, a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower.—Jn 1:2-5
The bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world...I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry.—Jn 6:33,36
In him we live, and move, and have our being.... "We are his offspring."—Acts 17:28 
For from him, and through him and to him are all things.—Rm 8:36
There is one God who is father of all, over all, through all and within all.—Eph 4:6
God is love, and anyone who lives in love, lives in God, and God in him.—1 Jn 4:16

But the truth is that science itself is shedding that view Science invites believers of all faiths to question who? what?, and why? At a deeper level 
Who sustains our continued survival through precipitation on our fields?
What does the constant rotation of the Earth on its axis mean to those of us who depend on it for life?
What is the source of the Big Bang, or First Cause? 
Why are we here?

For Christians, the answer is as simple as it is profound: God

The vibrant message from the Bible and lately even science is quite different.
The Bible states that the heavens are alive declaring the glory of God (Ps. 19).
Christ is the One who "holds all things together," (Col 1:17). Ever since the double-slit experiment which proved that even individual photons of light have awareness, even science recognizes that consciousness permeates the universe at the subatomic level. And a universe, in which not just plants, animals and humans, but subatomic particles, and the rocks and stars composed of them are also alive, is a universe which Christians should find familiar.
Jesus said that even if the crowd kept silent when he entered Jerusalem, the rocks and stones themselves would start to sing (Lk 19:40), and David described all heavenly bodies singing for joy. It seems that every part of the Universe is aware in some way of the immanent presence of God.
Another wonderful discovery of science was the cloud-chamber, which revealed that subatomic particles do not have an independent, continuous existence, but come in and out of existence billions of times every second. This has an important theological implication is that Creation did not end in the past, but is continually flowing forth. Countless times every second, every subatomic particle in the entire universe is being re-created.

God's questions to Job from the whirlwind no longer sound like metaphors— "Whose skill details every cloud, and tilts the flasks of heaven?" —but rather, a humble presentation of himself as the passionate and compassionate Sustainer of every aspect of Creation.

The Gospel of John reveals the "Cosmic Christ," that is, Christis identified not only as Jesus on earth, but as the whole creative and redemptive movement of God throughout space and time. Thus, Christ is the Word which brings everything into existence (1:2-3), the Light that enlightens all humanity, (1:9) the Bread of God that sustains all life, (6:33) and much more.
Most great truths of Christian faith, and perhaps most great truths, period, are expressed as paradox. God is completely One, and yet, Triune and Infinite. Jesus is fully and completely human, but fully divine, as well.

The Church proclaimed a panentheistic vision of the Trinity, developed from St. Paul's writing in Ephesians: "There is One God and Father from whom all things are, one Lord Jesus Christ through whom all things are, and one Holy Spirit in whom all things are." God is in all things, for they spring from him, and all things are in God, for they subsist in him, yet he transcends all as well as emanates in all.

Throughout the centuries, Christian have encountered God as both "unapproachable Light," and the "still, small voice" within, seeing the wild things of God in all things. The Christian meditation method called contemplative prayer, or contemplation, practiced by innumerable monks and nuns (and now laypeople) from the times of the Desert Fathers to the present, goes deep within the heart to meet God, ever-present within, though without thoughts, words, or images, because he is beyond them.

In his magnificent prayer, The Breastplate of St. Patrick (also called the Lorica) Patrick expresses a fervent awareness of the presence of God in heaven, in Christ, in nature, in faith, in history, in angels and saints. Patrick first "arises in the strength of" the Oneness and Threeness of God, and then immerses himself into the divine strength in the hosts of heaven, in faith, in servants of God, and in nature:

I arise today, through the strength of Heaven:
light of Sun, brilliance of Moon, splendor of Fire,
speed of Lightning, swiftness of Wind, depth of Sea,
stability of Earth, firmness of Rock.
God's presence in these qualities culminates in the Breastplate's soaring call to the universal presence of Christ:
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ in breadth, Christ in length, Christ in height,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

Another theological term which refers to God's penetration and permeation of the cosmos is "process theology," which emphasizes the divine Presence unfolding in the processes of this universe of space and time. As St. Paul said, of "groaning in one great act of giving birth," to reveal God's children (Rom 8:19-22).
Theosis and Incarnation show how intimately and lovingly God involves himself with the process of human life. And the Big Bang and hundreds of billions of galaxies flying through space show the grandeur of the process of God's creation.

All of this points to something inexpressible—it's important not to latch onto a particular theory of reality and miss the Reality itself. Yet the mind yearns to understand something of the dance of the God who is beyond all, and the manifest Creation. Meister Eckhart used the analogy of a drop of water (the Universe) in the ocean (God). The drop "is" ocean, has the qualities of ocean, and ocean permeates it. But the ocean is not a drop, and can never "depend" upon a drop.

God is in Creation because he is the very Ground of Being, and lovingly sustains it, not because he is it. We are the process, called to join God in all his work. We are not alone, but God is with us. In all things!  Amen!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love it when we share and encourage one another!! Thank you for joining me on my journey.

Promotional  Spotlight