We too seldom study or enjoy the books of the Apocrypha, and it deprives us of some worthy counsel. I thought of that this morning while reading the portion of the Wisdom of Solomon shown below. It reminded me of some friends so stuck in a Newtonian universe that they simply will not admit to any event that cannot be explained by the ordinary standards of cause and effect as they understand them. At the same time, I’ve read a few pieces by respected scientists who admit that they are awed by the mysterious fecundity of nature but are unable to atribute it to anything other than random chance as a first cause. They are, I believe, still stuck with Newton in a way. Chance and randomness are, after all, just additional forms of cause and effect that can be measured, analysed and, in some ways, predicted. Maybe it’s just that nobody wants to get tagged as a creationist out of what, fear maybe?
Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to scientist theologians such as John Polkinghorne who are not out to prove anything, but just want to rejoice in the delight of seeing God’s hand at work in so many new, wonderful and mysterious ways. For them, and for me, questions such as Intelligent Design are all but irrelevant. Whatever evolutionary forces may be at work, and whatever moments of random good luck may happen, are but brief sparkles in the life of the universe that amaze and delight us. Whatever new knowledge we gain is, in truth, not much more that a timid wading up to our ankles in the gentle surf on the shores of an eternal ocean of unknowable depth.
For your reading pleasure, an excerpt from Wisdom:
For all people who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know the one who exists, nor did they recognize the artisan while paying heed to his works; but they supposed that either fire or wind or swift air, or the circle of the stars, or turbulent water, or the luminaries of heaven were the gods that rule the world. If through delight in the beauty of these things people assumed them to be gods, let them know how much better than these is their Lord, for the author of beauty created them. And if people were amazed at their power and working, let them perceive from them how much more powerful is the one who formed them. For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator. Yet these people are little to be blamed, for perhaps they go astray while seeking God and desiring to find him. For while they live among his works, they keep searching, and they trust in what they see, because the things that are seen are beautiful. Yet again, not even they are to be excused; for if they had the power to know so much that they could investigate the world, how did they fail to find sooner the Lord of these things? (Wisdom 13.1-9)