Making a Universe: Why Bother?

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder’s craft.”
(Psalms 19:2)

Okay, so who is this message proclaimed to?

Us, apparently.

One of the ways we can learn about God is by noticing order and beauty in the universe. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 3132, 319)

St. Bonaventure said that the universe communicates God’s glory, St. Thomas Aquinas said that the Almighty creates because God is good and loving. (Catechism, 293)

I think they’re right.

God creates the universe, and humanity, because God loves us and wants to adopt us; all of us. It’s that simple. (Matthew 5:45; John 1:1214, 3:17; Romans 8:1417; Peter 1:34; Catechism, 1, 2730, 52, 1825, 1996)

Paying Attention

It’s not simple, too.

For one thing, neither of the Genesis creation narratives mentions angels. Not specifically, anyway. (Genesis 1:12, 3, 2, 42, 25)

Thomas Aquinas had something to say about that. (“Summa Theologica,” First Part, Question 61, via dhspriory.org)

Then there’s the possibility that we have neighbors; people with bodies, like us, but not human. Or maybe we don’t. Either way, as Walt Kelly’s Porky Pine said, “it’s a mighty sobering thought.” (December 2, 2016)

Some physicists say quantum mechanics makes more sense if we’re not, or not quite, living in the only universe.

Multiverse hypotheses, Schrödinger’s cat, and quantum gears are topics for another post.

We’ve learned a bit since the Psalms were written, about two dozen centuries back, give or take a quarter-millennium.

Living in a universe that’s immensely bigger and older than Ussher’s tidy little version of a Mesopotamian model upsets some folks.

I’m not among them. I figure part of my job is appreciating God’s creation: not telling the Almighty how it should work. (September 23, 2016)

No matter where we look, God’s creation is filled with beauty and wonders that we’re just beginning to understand.

Paying attention to God’s work can’t hurt an informed faith.

Truth cannot contradict truth, we’re supposed to be curious, and scientific discoveries are opportunities for greater admiration of God’s creation. (Catechism, 159, 214217, 283, 294, 341)

Everything and everyone ultimately points back to God. (1 Corinthians 15:2728; Catechism, 294)

I’ve talked about faith, reason, science, and getting a grip, before. Often. (January 27, 2017; December 23, 2016; October 28, 2016; July 29, 2016)

Developing a Sense of Scale

4 Indeed, before you the whole universe is as a grain from a balance, or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth.
“But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook the sins of men that they may repent.
“For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for what you hated, you would not have fashioned.
“And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you?”
(Wisdom 11:2225)

God isn’t merely big and strong. God is “…infinite … almighty and ineffable … infinitely greater than all his works….” (Catechism, 202, 300)

What we’re learning about the scale of this universe doesn’t, I think, make God ‘more infinite.’ But I think it adds emphasis to verses like these:

“When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place –
4What are humans that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them?
5Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor.”
(Psalms 8:46)

I also think remembering who and what we are is important. And that’s another topic.

More about faith and paying attention:

About Brian H. Gill

I'm a sixty-something married guy with six kids, four surviving, in a small central Minnesota town. I mostly write and make digital art. I'm only interested in three things: that which exists within the universe; that which exists beyond; and that which might exist.
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