31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Wis 11:22-12-2; 2Th 1:11-2:2; Lk 19:1-10
The opening sentence of our First Reading was, “Before the Lord the whole universe is as a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth.” When one considers just how vast our universe is, it really is quite mind-boggling. Another amazing thing is how intricately designed our universe is. You may get the impression sometimes that science and faith are opposed to each other. But it’s actually quite the opposite. A good example is what is referred to as the “fine-tuning” of the universe to make life possible.
My brother Chuck introduced me to Fr. Spitzer’s 7 Essential Modules on Crediblecatholic.com. The second module talks about evidence of God from science. Slide 39 of the second module begins the presentation on evidence for a Creator from the fine-tuning of the universe. It goes on to discuss things like entropy and gravity and other universal constants. Many of these are so unbelievably precise, some so much that a change of far less than a trillionth of 1% would be catastrophic for life. Their numerical values are so insanely precise that to think that they could have happened by chance is not being intellectually honest. The best explanation is that something akin to our definition of God was guiding the design of our universe.
Albert Einstein wrote, “Certain it is that a . . . rationality and intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a higher order . . . This firm belief . . . of a superior mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God.”
Stephen Hawking wrote, “The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.”
When asked if the properties of a single atom, carbon, could have happened by pure chance, astronomer Fred Hoyle said, “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.”
To illustrate his point, Hoyle went on to say, “A junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing 747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there? (The odds are) so small as to be negligible, even if a tornado were to blow through enough junkyards to fill the whole universe.”
Many physicists—like Fred Hoyle—believe that only a “super-calculating, super-intellect,” like God, could cause the universe.
Astronomer Royal of Great Britain, Sir Martin Rees wrote, “Wherever physicists look, they see examples of fine tuning.”
And David Deutsch, physicist at the University of Oxford, wrote, “If anyone claims not to be surprised by the special features the universe has, he is hiding his head in the sand. These special features are surprising and unlikely.”
Physicist Paul Davies weighed in with, “There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all . . . it seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the universe. The impression of design is overwhelming.”
Of course God isn’t going to tamper with our free will. He won’t force us to believe in him. He wants it to be a free choice. But he certainly sprinkles plenty of crumbs of evidence in our path. It’s as if as we walk along he’s jumping out from behind every bush saying, “Here I am! Believe in me. See how much I care about you!”
Psalm 19 puts it beautifully, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God and the firmament shows forth the work of his hands. Day unto day takes up the story, and night unto night makes known the message.”
And the God we believe in is not a distant, cold, unfeeling, impersonal God. He ardently desires to be in a personal relationship with each one of us. Our First Reading goes on to say, “For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made . . . you spare all things, because they are yours, O Lord and lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things! Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little, warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing, that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O Lord!”
If we allow ourselves to be seduced by it all, we cannot help by cry out with the refrain of our Responsorial Psalm, “I will praise your name forever, my king and my God!”