April 8, 2016

Cornucopia / Cynthia Dewes

There is a God, and deep inside we all recognize that

Cynthia DewesThere is a God, and God is not dead. I know this because someone a lot more powerful than anyone I know or could imagine has bailed me out so many times in life. The old philosophical proof of God’s existence, that God must be the power greater than any other, real or imagined, sounds about right to me.

Think about it. Beginning with nature, who else but God would or could come up with such stuff? For instance, when we view a glorious sunset in any season of the year, we see colors and arrangements beyond anything a human artist could come up with. And the godlike part of it is that it is there solely for our enjoyment, just in case we’re looking up. Now, scientists will present all kinds of practical reasons why this happens, but who dreamed up the idea in the first place? Or who made us able to appreciate the beauty of it?

Critics may claim that tornadoes and tsunamis and earthquakes are part of nature, too, and where is a God in these events? Well, there’s scientific reason behind them, too, as in purging or rearranging the planet so that it can continue to exist. God planned it that way. Inclement weather can stir up our arthritis, too, but it also provides cozy nesting opportunities in the middle of our busy lives. Just one of God’s little perks that accompany hard science.

Now, if all this sounds ickily sentimental that’s because sometimes it just is. Think of babies playing peek-a-boo or puppies cavorting together next to their mom. They are so cute! But whatever the case, it has to be God has planned it all this way.

Besides nature and darling babies, God has provided us with spouses and/or friends who enrich our lives every day. Often they’re people we’ve met by chance (we think), or because of our studies or work or organizations to which we belong. They share the same values and senses of humor, perhaps, or just offer supportive presences. In any case, they are given to us purely for our delight.

It seems that this kind of situation which we consider a random event happens so consistently that we begin to see a pattern. If we try to do the right thing and make decisions based on what we discern as God’s will, we often experience joy and success. To me, that is proof of God’s existence and God’s prime influence in our lives. We believe in God because, when we do, life makes sense.

Barbara Ehrenreich, who has written many fine books about social problems and other subjects, has come out with a new one titled Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth About Everything. As an atheist raised by atheistic parents, she never considered the idea of God being the arbiter of our welfare. But now the “hound of heaven,” as we say, has brought her to a new kind of respect for faith.

It seems to me she is following the natural human longing which, sooner or later, we all experience. With original sin, we apparently lost the ability to see God up close and personal. But we still know that God is here, waiting for us.

(Cynthia Dewes, a member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Greencastle, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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