Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Create and Make in Us ...

I have been enjoying the series 'Wonders of the Universe', presented by the annoyingly cool Brian Cox [once a rocker, now a professor - and he still looks like he is 20 years old]. I have no formal scientific education but I think that my pragmatic learning style allows me an instinctive grasp of physics and chemistry. In short, I understand intuitively that all life is founded on structures and processes, that effects have causes that are attributable to other events and that every thing has its order. This programme appeals to me at that level and while I take most of what Prof Cox says at face value, it sort of makes sense in a way I can't quite put my finger on. 

In the last episode that I watched, a factor of our existence that I have always sensed and accepted was explained - that nothing new exists under the Sun. I have no issue with the idea that as human beings we are are a sort of re-shuffle of elements, not new in any way - in the physical sense. The cells that make us up existed elsewhere before they were caused to be part of us. I find that rather interesting - that my nose may have been part of the right foot of a tyrannosaurus or a meteor hurtling through the abyss. As a Christian, I have absolutely no problem with this at all. 

Lest you have not noticed, for Christians it is Lent. The prayer that we (Church of England types) use, the Collect for Lent has already been a subject of discussion here - and today I attend to another bit. "Create and make in us new and contrite hearts". Well, I am only thinking about the first half of that, as the title of this post might suggest. Keep up!

Brian Cox explained the 'science creation'. He did so well and I believed every word. That the gold in my wedding ring was formed only in the heat of dying stars because the quarks that make up the atoms that make up the elements cannot cook at a cooler temperature - I am happy with that. Brian Cox will, I am sure, be relieved to know that. However, there was the inevitable gap. Where did the quarks, the atoms, the elements, the amino acids, the stars and the heavens - where did they come from. How did it all start. 

Quark - from Star Trek. Not Brian Cox.
I believe that God is the only Creator. It says so in my creeds - but this programme applied a logic and a science to that. The building blocks of life, these little bits that join up in temperatures that would singe your eyebrows - they had to be created. Logic demands it. Logic also demands that there had to be a reason why the Big Bang happened, the moment where life was born as we know it. Logic demands that if this were not the case, the whole of history and all of the natural order is nothing more than one huge fluke. I am not sure that even the most robust atheist scientist would hold to that theory. Our Scriptures have applied a poetic approach to all of this born in part of a profound lack of the science that we now know - but it works. The account of the Creation, the acknowledgment that every single fragment of every single quark was fashioned in the hands of God, and that life has simply been a re-ordering of them through time - it holds good. What science cannot offer (to my knowledge) is a non-God account of the breath of life that we all receive - how if this is a huge fluke, why I am me and you are you, both of us loved and known by God. 


  1. "Logic also demands that there had to be a reason why the Big Bang happened, the moment where life was born as we know it. Logic demands that if this were not the case, the whole of history and all of the natural order is nothing more than one huge fluke..."

    I think for ‘logic’ you can only really read ‘faith’ – there is no logical reason to be bring logic into this theory. There is the heartfelt need to believe ‘surely I was created’ ‘surely, I matter?’ ‘Surely humanity is more than an insignificant mote in the vastness of time and space?’ But that isn’t ‘logic’ – it is the age old desire for purpose and meaning – at best; or at worst, wishful thinking.

    I agree, science and religion can sing from the same hymnsheet, but I watched Brian Cox (whom, I’m sorry to say, appears more nerdy than cool in my eyes) and found no ‘evidence’ to extrapolate ‘Genesis is true’ or even ‘there must be a creator’ from the program... But sometimes, putting ‘God’ in the equation raises more questions than it answers...

    Thanks for this:


  2. Nice post, but I'm not sure this is necessarily right. God behind consciousness is just another "god of the gaps". It's a phenomenon that science could potentially explain, and is edging towards. God is the god of the immense potential of the whole universe - consciousness as just a part of that wonder - or he's nothing. I'll jump with the "all", but I can see why people would jump with "nothing".

  3. In an earlier episode the professor pointed out that if you got rid of all the space between the particles that make up the atoms in the bodies of every person on our planet then the resultant mass would be no bigger than a small pebble that he showed us. But the singularity out of which the Big Bang exploded was far smaller than this pebble. If everything in the universe has always existed in some form how did it all fit into the original singularity?

  4. Peter - thank you for your comment. As regards the words 'faith' and 'logic' I agree with you. I used logic as it appeals to the non-religious. I have faith in the things to which I ascribed logic, but those who may read this who regard logic as an argument of successive argument would find the notion of faith distracting. I as for being created and ergo mattering is a matter of logic and faith to me too. Were I a fluke, i wouldn't matter at all, and why would I? And I pray always that God creates more questions than answers. Answers close, questions open!

  5. Gary - ditto. I think you want to go further than my own mind and approach to life will allow me to go, but I see no flaw in your argument. For me, God grants us the us-ness of ourselves - the bits he can hold in relationship. Whether or not God cares that I have brown eyes and a big nose, I don't know. What I believe is that God cares what I might think about that. I too can see why people would reject this all outright - it is potent and big stuff!

  6. MP - ditto. Fair point. I missed that bit - will re-watch and ponder. Science coming undone? Well, there's a thought to warm the Dawkins cockles.

    Thanks all!

  7. The phrase, "That's where our understanding of the laws of nature breaks down," sounds suspiciously similar to, "God works in mysterious ways." :-)

  8. Brian Cox is an Oldham boy (went to my school, in fact) and is therefore, obviously, all good.

    I believe in the Big Bang Theory because people like Brian Cox, who is just a little bit cleverer than I am, are currently telling me that it probably happened, and that's good enough, really. As for why the Big Bang happened as it did and when it did - I think maybe God might have had a hand in that. Simple.

    Dawkins who?

  9. There are plenty of scientists of Brian Cox's intelligence who are not so certain as he is about the Big Bang. In fact, the physics breaking down problem can be mathematically avoided if other scenarios such as a bouncing universe or a clash with another brane are considered. The point being that finding the right expert to believe is not easy for the uninformed like ourselves and your Oldham hypothesis, although beautiful in its simplicity, may not stand up to too much scientific enquiry :-)

  10. I ceased to be a scientist (and then only a simple chemist, none of this quarky stuff in my day) many a year ago and now I leave scientific enquiry to those competent to undertake it. Interesting, of course, but brain-ache inducing. Now faith, on the other hand.....



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