The Third Way, 17: The Galileo Conundrum

“God is as near as your jugular vein.” The Quran

“Kiss the Son [God’s anointed One], lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way …” Psalm 2:12a

God is close and personal.  The Creator is not an anonymous ‘Force’ as per Star Wars, or an impersonal Super-Intellect as per the Deist formulation of some Enlightenment philosophes.  The whole creation points to the Creator’s personhood and personality.  His/Her incredibly imaginative and wondrously creative fingerprints are everywhere, as is His/Her presence and continuing intimate relationship with all that has been called into being.  Every bird and flower and insect, as well as every mammalian, amphibian, and reptilian individual of every species breathes and sings and shines out, “God made me unique and beautiful.”

The macro-evolutionists now strongly purport that the universe’s primal energies somehow have an ‘instinct’ to self-organize and cohere into ultimate self-awareness.  Yet for centuries we have been told the diametric opposite by their predecessors and even still by some current professors, to whit: the basic stuff of the universe is inanimate, undifferentiated, pure energy in its most basic form.  Hawking’s declaration of having no need of the ‘God hypothesis’ (still echoed by many other materialist dogmatists) to the contrary, his peers now endow the basic substance of the Cosmos with incarnational, self-affirming properties.  This is theology and philosophy, not science.  It is having your cake and eating it too, but not allowing it to suggest God.  We have been told over and over by these same guardians of ‘scientific doctrine,’ that Science and God are mutually exclusive.  If you want to be a credible scientist, ‘Thou shalt not bow to the Creator.’

Shades of dithering Hamlet in science!  Despite the abundant appeals of Lady Science to Prince Reason’s authority (or is it the other way around?), there are increasing numbers of courtiers across all the disciplines (although biologists and geologists seem most resistant) who are finding the inconsistency difficult to sustain.  Quietly, they are moving towards Galileo’s murmurs of, “And yet it moves.”  

Galileo was humiliated and silenced by the scientific reactionaries of his time (some, but not all, of whom happened to be theologians) after being condemned as a heretic and told to exile himself to a mountain retreat and refrain from publicly teaching or publishing for the rest of his life.  But he never retracted his basic observations that the earth orbits the sun while the moon orbits the earth and all the heavenly bodies are in motion at the same time.

The new reactionaries are the guardians of the tabernacle of the Enlightenment’s old-style “pure” science which reduces everything to mechanism operating according to laws and principles (even if they are now semantically demoted to mere “very strong probabilities”).  Their operative paradigms must not be challenged, especially when they may hint at something which was declared anathema 200-300 years ago.  Those found in ‘flagrante delicto’ backsliding towards the heresy of Design in creation are edging uncomfortably close to the views of the earliest modern scientists that the endeavour of science is to discover God and understand His ways through the ‘Book of Creation.’  Such retrogressors are rapidly shunted to the sidelines of academe’s backwaters where they can do the least harm if their expertise and credentials are too brilliant to completely efface.

There are indeed laws and principles involved in the study and understanding of creation (nature, if you prefer).  The Creator made it to work consistently, and made His/Her incarnated bridge-beings (you and me) to see and understand, at least to some degree, how it works.  The Creator is not capricious to the extent of just randomly changing the rules so that we can never make sense of what He/She has made and done and is still making and doing.  While change is a constant, there is order within change—which is incidentally what evolutionists have claimed since Darwin.  But the object of Darwin and those who enthusiastically leapt to adapt his paradigm was to get God out of the way of ‘progress’ once and for all. It is not as if the constancy of change or even natural selection at the micro level was unknown before Darwin reformulated it for the macro level minus God.  Aristotle, the greatest proto-scientist of antiquity, commented on it extensively, also saying the gods were not involved in any discernible way. 

The fog of misapprehension is in our senses, which have been enormously hobbled by the almost complete denial of one of their most essential number.  We are like grazing horses with head-hoods on who can see only the grass in front of their feet.  That hooded sense does not reside in the well-known five, but in what has usually been called the “spiritual nature.”  But as any notion of a spiritual nature has been relegated to the despised  province of “religion, superstition, and ignorant priest-craft,” by the Enlightened elite of the later 17th through present Centuries, it has been banned from social, political, economic, and scientific discourse, along with the Church, that supreme bastion of the Dark Ages.

Ancient wisdom has long known that, “Humanity cannot live on bread alone.”  Humans are not mere physical beings, but are the bridge between the ineffable and the “effable.”  Being made to be the bridge, they are made able to ‘sense’ it, to apprehend its presence, to feel it and, sometimes, even to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ it.  As the cliché says, “There is a lot more than meets the eye.”

This principle is true even within the ‘normal’ universe which our five physically rooted senses allow us to study via observation, reason, and logic.  By using our reasoning and that wonderful innate faculty of insatiable curiosity (another sense?) giving birth to technology, we have deduced that there are vast sensory ranges beyond our normal capacity to perceive: many more colours and sounds and types of energy, and on and on.  We can see and hear and smell and taste no more than a fraction of what is actually ‘out there.’  Some creatures see far more colours and nuances than we do, and others hear far beyond what our modest aural equipment allows.

Yet we arrogantly insist that no other orders of being beyond our ability to perceive can exist except as myth and legend or manipulative and power-motivated religious deception.  The inconsistency and arrogance involved in denying what until recent centuries has been considered a universal human experience and perception from remotest antiquity is breathtaking.

I am not advocating a return to superstition or a descent into credulous acceptance of anything ‘paranormal’ or ‘supernatural.’  I don’t doubt that many phenomena so classified may have analysable characteristics and even physical properties and measurable energies which we have so far not been able to capture.  But running away from mystery in fear and dogmatic rejection because we do not yet (or, as is far more likely, no longer) understand what we are and how these unaccountable phenomena occur within an orthodox, accepted framework will not make them go away or prevent myriads of people echoing Galileo’s “and yet it moves.”  And denying that there most probably are and always will be scientifically unsolvable mysteries about being and meaning will not make them disappear either, or offer any resolution to hungry hearts and famished souls.

The abundantly evident result of science’s procedural denial and dogmatically closed practice is that we have created a famine for real soul-food. Masses of people worldwide are attempting to fill the hunger with psychological, emotional, and spiritual junk-food—candy and fast-food for the mind, heart, and soul.  After all, that is what the adulation and demi-godhood of sports and entertainment celebrities is.  That is what the elevation of billionaire ‘success-gurus’ and political idols to super-hero status is.  Yet at every step we see that, as persons and in their personal lives, many, if not most, of our Herculean demi-gods are really quite unworthy of the elevation and esteem they are given.  That is why so many with empty lives seek reprieve in pleasure and the short-term pain-relief and long-term suicide of addictions of every kind, from substance abuse to pornography, to food and drink, to extreme thrill-seeking, to virtual-reality and fantasy.

We need stress relief and relaxation, but we have turned these basic needs into the main pursuits of life after we provide for our basic needs through work and endeavour.  As we look into the mirror and glimpse our thirsty souls behind the weary eyes looking back at us at the end of the day or the week, we perceive for a few moments how enmeshed we are in the dirty nitty-gritty, with no ultimate purpose in sight.  Even as we gaze a billion light years into the universe and marvel at its incredible size and paradoxical and irreducible complexity, we find an empty shell.  After all, it is nothing but an accident, another cosmic burp among endless cosmic burps, which this time in the ever-repeating cycle regurgitated this one-off “indigestible bit of pork-pie” as Scrooge put it.  And that in turn reduces you and me to accidental cosmic mini-burps.

Unless … there really is a Creator who, ‘once upon a time’ before there was anything except Him/Her, however that was/is/will be, decided to speak this whole incredible kaleidoscope and symphony into existence, for reasons that only He/She can ever fully know or understand. We need to begin to humbly puzzle out a little about our Creator being as close as our jugular vein and what “kissing the Son” may signify. We need to stay where we are and begin searching, not run away because we are addicted to being our own gods. 

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