“All the earth shall bow down before you, O God.” (Introit. Ps 65.4) Christian teachers of science often remark how their pupil are surprised that they can accept both science and the Christian faith. In fact, the scientific order of the magnificent universe that we inhabit is itself a powerful argument for the existence of God.
The Church, following St Paul (Rom 1.20), teaches that we can know the existence of God with certainty by the natural light of human reason from the things that He has made. This important doctrine of the knowability of God was defined at the first Vatican Council and repeated word for word at the second Vatican Council.
It is true that a demonstration of the knowability of God may not be sufficient to bring someone to faith, and people often come to God through personal experience or through the good example of others. Even so, it is not irrelevant to talk about how God can be known with certainty from science because many people think that faith is irrational or contrary to science. This popular and widely publicised view has certainly undermined the path to faith for many, especially the young. They can be ridiculed for their faith by those who say it is a fairy tale.
That is why it is especially important in our own time that we are able to show that our faith is not contrary to human reason and scientific knowledge. The laws and constants that scientists have discovered by hard intellectual work, were operating long before any human people existed. To suggest that they just happened to be there is not rational but a retreat from reason. The existence of a supreme “Mind” who created the universe in all its wonder is far more reasonable. We speak of this “Mind”, this person who created, when we talk of the Logos or Word of God who became flesh.
Our faith takes us further, of course than the rational conviction that there must be a supreme being. From what God has revealed to us, we know that He who created all things is personal, and actually loves us. He invites us to friendship with Him and to the glory of eternal life when we shall see Him face to face. In this life, when we study or even hear about scientific discovery or the amazing universe that we live in, it gives us one more cause to wonder and praise God.
Sermon preached by Fr Finigan at St Austin and St Gregory, Margate, 2nd Sunday of the Year. 18 January 2015.