Friday, October 3, 2008

The Miracle of Creation?

Isn't nature beautiful? Complex, varied, awe-inspiring (in the true, non-cliche sense) and some say miraculous. How could we have the world we live in if something didn't make it, purposefully? My mom sees the existence of god in the world around her, as she has told me. Leaving aside the possibility that she includes the magnanimous behaviour of her friends and those "nice strangers" she meets each week at church, I assume she is mainly referring to the grandiosity of the natural world. Her garden growing, wildlife all around her, the vastness of the atlantic ocean, etc... Indeed, the workings of a living body are complex, so complex that most don't bother ever attempting to learn how they operate, beyond a conversational familiarity with the subject. Mountains are enormous. I certainly couldn't make a mountain out of a bunch of rocks and dirt. I couldn't dig out a big bowlful of earth and then fill it with water enough to equal the atlantic. Awesome is a good word to describe these and all the many other monumental natural "wonders" of the world. But I of course have a problem with the tacit assignment of supernatural origin to all of these wonders, that my mom and so many many people in this country so easily give away.
If god were the true creator of all that we see, then his Creation should be comprised of false fronts. The "miracle" of nature, should by definition, defy the laws of the natural world. God should have "made" everything to work exactly as it does, but without the various inner workings that science has slowly revealed over the last 1500 years or so. A human body that lives as ours do, but one with no bones, blood vessels, internal organs etc... would indeed be a miraculous thing. An oak tree that looks just like an oak tree, that does all the oak tree things, but is only a caricature of an oak tree, now that would be something of divine origin. But that is not what we have. Instead we have living bodies that exist according to particular protocols. Reproduction occurs according to duplicatory measures. Respiration occurs in a regulated manner, one that can be observed and described. Infact, the only way the word miracle could be used to describe the workings (or results) of nature is if there were no words other than miracle to use to describe what we see. By having other words to describe more accurately, these repeatedly observable processes, we eliminate "miracle" from the vocabulary. God's "creation" is capable of working all by itself, utilizing no supernatural means, only what it possesses naturally. This in itself is enough to discard any thought of a theistic origin to the world.
If there is no "creation", then what is left to argue for on the side of the existence of god. If "god" didn't create everything, which is one of the hallmarks of god's omnipotence, then what other reasons do we have to believe in such a being. Let's say, everyone agrees the earth was formed from the coagulation of cosmic "gases" comprised of the simplest elements, about 5 billion years ago. Let's just say that we all agree on that, which I know we don't, but let's just pretend likewe do for a moment. If we dismantle the idea that god mysteriously "created" the earth as we know it, through his godly methods, of which we will never be privy to, then in what capacity does god remain ALL-Powerful? If he is not the creator of the universe doesn' this take away some of his power? If some of his power is removed, then doesn't this mean he is not OMNIpotent. If there is something which he did not do, then that means something else did it. I suppose it would depend on what the something is that we are disucussing. Obviously, if we were talking about god having the power to make a pizza, and then we remove all reason to believe that god had ever made a pizza, then of course our conclusion couldn't be that god was incapable of making a pizza, just that he had never done so. But let's be clear, we are not discussing the origins of a tasty italian-american meal. This is the planet's existence here. If god did not create the planet, then we must come up with another explanation for it's existence. If the planet came into being as science has described, without the help of god, then in this grand case, it is prudent to conclude god's incapability in the arena of planet construction. For sure, if god had wanted us to know he existed, without a doubt, it would have been a much easier and more successful road hoed, if he had simply left ample, inscrutable and unassailable evidence that he alone created the earth. Since he did not do such a thing, it is entirely possible to dismantle the facade of god's planetary creationist powers. The way I see it, if the truth really were, god is the all powerful being that christians say he is, then he would have left in our minds, no room for doubt. Since we obviously have this capacity, and exercise it with a divinely morbid regularity, this must lead us to conclude that god's existence is not what the christians have packaged it as. Of course, not everyone is accepting of the scientific method's alternative explanation on the origin of our planet, but the fact remains that this alternative exists. So what if god is just this thing that is bigger than us, that we just know is out there? So what if he is? Who cares? And for what reason do they care if they indeed do? If the christian god is not god, then is the muslim or jewish god God? They really aren't that dissimilar, having originated from the same tradition, so what about the hindu god(s), the norse, native american, various african? None of these, offer explanations which are MORE credible, than that of the scientific explanation, to the origin of the earth. In order to be more credible, they each would have to explain things which science cannot, and do so in a way that is not childishly ignorant. They can not. What about those who say, religion is a means to live your life the best way possible? God is that which can help you to become a better person. The word god, for these people, is a crutch. It adds nothing explanatory to the discussion, but it does allow for retreat into safety, when the discomfort of bad decision-making becomes a bit too much. The idea that there is something directing them towards being good, absolves, ever-how indirectly, a person from having to accept full responsibility for all of their life-long decisions and actions. God is a crutch, that does nothing to illuminate more fully what we do not understand. It is high time we relinquish that which does not help, even if it seems like it does help.

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