The man and the method

Our lives are remarkable. Well, you know how remarkable your life is. It’s astonishing, too, just because it is at all. I mean, that it’s possible. I lay on my back last night and watched  meteors brilliantly flare to nothingness against our sky. How excellent, I thought, our earth wrapped in its protective blanket.

There are so many things like that, peculiarities of temperature and composition; the vibrations of spheres and the amplitudes of waves, all of which perfectly coincide to make the universe possible – for us. The wizards of our day are impressed, too. For science, everything occurs in likelihoods: a thing becomes ‘true’ when it’s beyond likelihood it could be random. The superposition of so many congenial natural facts arrived together to provide a suitable home for us is way, way beyond the likelihood of ‘random.’

Scientists have a term for this. It’s called the ‘anthropic principle.’ Being human, they dispute what to make of it. There’s the ‘evolutionary’ camp, which observes all these finely tuned natural phenomena, then proclaims natural selection governed the adaptations which became life, and ultimately, us. There’s the less comfortable proposition: we already exist, and all these precision mysteries came into being – just for ourselves.

If you wrestle in this debate for a while, you’ll run into an argument over ‘free will.’ The evolutionists feel there’s no need for a larger intention behind our existence. The laws of nature describe what must be, and it simply is. Since nothing created us, there is nothing to dictate what we do next. The creationists, of course, believe we were made for a purpose, and we cannot avoid it.

I used to wonder about this, as a boy. If God is real, why not simply punish injustice? Why not allow me to perform miracles?

Then I thought, but how, then, could I believe in myself? If I applied my reason and made my experiments, and they were reliably true and I could trust them – what would it mean if some deity chose to hurl in an arbitrary thunderbolt? What ‘truth’ could I trust? How, indeed, would I be anything but a slave to God?

This is a genuine problem. If I believe, as I do, God loves us, and wants us to be free – how can I hope for a miracle? My freedom requires a world without God, where I can know with certainty the certain rules which apply to us all. If there is a God free to do as it chooses despite all my scientific calculations – how will the world ever be what I think it is?

And Jesus answered: ‘it won’t. Take a look!’



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