“Only one thing must be remembered: there is no effect without a cause, and there is no lawlessness in creation… The basic laws of the universe are simple, but because our senses are limited, we can’t grasp them. There is a pattern in creation.” ~Albert Einstein
You’ve probably heard the joke about the man of faith who’s village was being deluged by a terrible flood. He made it to the roof of his home and then prayed to the heavens… “God, please save me.”
Soon, some men came by with a ladder and asked him to come with them. He refused, saying he was waiting for God to save him. The waters climbed higher. A boat came by and the man was asked to get in. He refused. Finally he was surrounded by flood waters, and a helicopter came. He refused again, saying “I’m waiting for God to save me.”
Finally the flood waters carry away his home, he falls in the water and drowns. He wakes up, finding himself in heaven, with God smiling at him. “God!” he says, “Where were you? I called and called for you to save me! Why didn’t you come?”
God chuckles, “You fool. I sent some men with a ladder, then a boat, and finally a helicopter. Why didn’t you go with them?”
This story provides a nice analogy, I think, for voices in Science that have “answered the prayers” of Creationists, but to which most haven’t listened. The first and most important of these voices was Albert Einstein, who’s description of a “cosmic religion” is perfectly in tune with the idea that we live in a magnificent Cosmos, governed by very specific natural laws. That the Universe is no accident, it is indeed a finely tuned creation.
Just one problem with Einstein’s view- and probably the reason most Creationists ignore him- he did’t believe that the stories of the bible, written over 2000 years ago, are literal truth. They contain wisdom, but are not the words of God, or ultimate knowledge, in Einstein’s opinion. As he put it, “I began to suspect everything I was taught. I no longer believed in the known God of the Bible, but rather in the mysterious God expressed in nature.”
For those who believe in God, Einstein advised us to use the methods of science to carefully study the creation that surrounds us. Not that science alone has all the answers. He said:
“If we want to improve the world we cannot do it with scientific knowledge but with ideals. Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Gandhi have done more for humanity than science has done. We must begin with the heart of man—with his conscience—and the values of conscience can only be manifested by selfless service to mankind.
Religion and science go together. As I’ve said before, science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind. They are interdependent and have a common goal—the search for truth. Hence it is absurd for religion to proscribe Galileo or Darwin or other scientists. And it is equally absurd when scientists say that there is no God. The real scientist has faith, which does not mean that he must subscribe to a creed.”
As Einstein saw it, we live in a Creative Universe, governed by natural laws, which we cannot understand through either spiritual (or scientific) knowledge alone. Far greater than any books or theories is this mysterious Creation that surrounds us, a great Tree of Life that has brought all of us into being.
Over the last half a century many people have come to share and expand on Einstein’s fusion of spiritual and scientific views. A similar perspective can be found in the emerging fields of Deep Ecology, Creation Spirituality, Systems Science, Quantum Physics and Spiritual Ecology.
People of deep faith such as Thomas Merton, Matthew Fox and Brother David Steindl-Rast have embraced the new view of Nature provided by science, a view that is perfectly in tune with human spirituality. All it takes is a willingness to question handed-down beliefs, and then open ourselves to the living wisdom of the Universe that surrounds (and lives within) us.
“The only true joy on earth is to escape from the prison of our own false self, and enter by love into union with the Life who dwells and sings within the essence of every creature and in the core of our own souls.” ~Thomas Merton
“The kingdom of heaven is inside you and it is outside you. God’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people do not see it.” ~The Gospel of Thomas
“An epiphany enables you to sense creation not as something completed, but as constantly becoming, evolving, ascending. This transports you from a place where there is nothing new to a place where there is nothing old, where everything renews itself, where heaven and earth rejoice as at the moment of creation.” ~Abraham Isaac Kook (Jewish Mystic)
“God is not some person outside ourselves or away from the Universe. He pervades everything… He abides in our hearts and is nearer to us than the nails on our fingers.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
“See simplicity in the complicated, seek greatness in small things. In the Universe, the difficult things are done ss if they were easy.” ~Lao Tsu
“From the age of twelve I began to suspect authority and distrust teachers. I learned mostly at home, first from my uncle and then from a student who came to eat with us once a week. He would give me books on physics and astronomy.
The more I read, the more puzzled I was by the order of the universe and the disorder of the human mind, by the scientists who didn’t agree on the how, the when, or the why of creation.
Then one day this student brought me Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Reading Kant, I began to suspect everything I was taught. I no longer believed in the known God of the Bible, but rather in the mysterious God expressed in nature.
The basic laws of the universe are simple, but because our senses are limited, we can’t grasp them. There is a pattern in creation.
If we look at this tree outside whose roots search beneath the pavement for water, or a flower which sends its sweet smell to the pollinating bees, or even our own selves and the inner forces that drive us to act, we can see that we all dance to a mysterious tune, and the piper who plays this melody from an inscrutable distance—whatever name we give him—Creative Force, or God—escapes all book knowledge.
Science is never finished because the human mind only uses a small portion of its capacity, and man’s exploration of his world is also limited.
Creation may be spiritual in origin, but that doesn’t mean that everything created is spiritual. How can I explain such things to you? Let us accept the world is a mystery. Nature is neither solely material nor entirely spiritual.
Man, too, is more than flesh and blood; otherwise, no religions would have been possible. Behind each cause is still another cause; the end or the beginning of all causes has yet to be found. Yet, only one thing must be remembered: there is no effect without a cause, and there is no lawlessness in creation.” ~How Einstein Saw the World
* Glimpses of a Creative Living Universe * Spiritual Wisdom – Recognizing the Sacred in Our World * Shifting Paradigms: Aligning with the Wisdom of Nature * Yūgen (幽玄) – Deep Awareness of the Universe * Systems Thinking – Seeing How Everything is Connected * How We Participate in the Creative Life of the Universe *