The reader will find this article different from the predominantly philosophical and cosmological ideas in the other articles of this Website.
This article will demonstrate, among other things, that from the scientifically verified physical ‘beginning‘ of the Universe, one could arrive even through philosophical reasoning to the concept of its metaphysical Creator. In other words, these introductory words encompass the two major aims of this section, that is, it will demonstrate first, how to base the reason for a metaphysical faith in physical reality; and second, it will show that this philosophical understanding and acceptance of the ‘basis‘ through reason could also reinforce simultaneously an already existing faith.
This article is connected intimately with the previous article of ‘Faith and Reason’, in so far as that article (as in fact all previous articles) detailed numerous physical events in the Universe that qualify for the required ‘facts in reality’, upon which logical reasoning could reinforce an already existing religious faith.
Apart from the above reasoning, the free acceptance of a realistic belief in a Creator is basically a gift of God, and as epitomized by Pope Benedict the XVI, in the following:
‘Man is willed by God in a specific way… as a being that knows Him…as an existence that can think about Him in return…herein lies the center of belief in creation…herein also lies the reason why the moment of anthropogenesis cannot possibly be determined by palaeontology: anthropogenesis is the rise of the spirit, which cannot be excavated with a shovel…it does challenge the faith…to help man to understand himself…increasingly what he is: the being who is supposed to say ‘Thou’ to God in eternity.’
1) The Creation of Everything
2) About the Human Life
3) Confusion in the Mind
4) In His Reasonable Service
Creation and Evolution. – A Conference with Pope Benedict XVI.
The Ascent of Truth. – Thomas Merton.
New Proofs for the Existence of God. – Fr.R.J. Spitzer, SJ.
An Introduction to Philosophy. – Msgr.P.J.Glenn.
1) The Creation of Everything
‘The paradox is this: While some men hold, as a result of false reasoning, that religious faith is unacceptable, others reject the notion of faith by an act not of reason but of blind faith. Here is evidence of the supreme intellectual indigence of our civilisation: our very refusal to believe is based on faith.’ (St. John of the Cross.)
The idea that an already existing faith in the metaphysical Creator can be reinforced through philosophical logic, is a realistic philosophical process. This fact ought to be considered by the reader very seriously, as it is a vitally important quality of any true religious faith. This quality must satisfy both, the philosophical and theological requirement of a true faith, which may simultaneously satisfy skeptic adversaries as well. This requirement states categorically that:
‘A religious faith must have a basis in the physical reality‘, either through a verified Authority or an analogous Physical event in the reality. Otherwise, a faith without any such basis is a mere illusion and/or delusion. This section will outline first a pre-requisite basis, which is (selected arbitrarily for this exercise) the contingent properties of the physical Universe, upon which the subsequent philosophical reasoning will be demonstrated.
It is important at this stage to inculcate a clear idea in the reader’s mind about the complex properties of such a physical basis. The reader may finally connect intuitively his metaphysical faith in a Creator with the logically argued beginning of the Universe, i.e. the analogous ‘basis’ in the physical reality, through the philosophical concept of causation.
We will first provide therefore a brief, chronological description of the basis that is the splendorousreality of the physical Universe, through its ‘beginning’, its unfathomable complexities, unexplored intricacies, and its cosmologist adversaries. Finally, this basis (anchored in the physical reality), will be viewed through the philosophical concept of causality, which, through this newly acquired knowledgein reality, will hopefully reinforce the reader’s already existing faith in the metaphysical Creator.
The following detailing of the basis may appear laborious, nevertheless it is important for the deeper understanding of properties of both, the physical and metaphysical (that is ontological) bases for the subsequent reasoning.
These are some of the highlights of the above reality-based requirements:-
Scientifically significant events took place in 1917 and 1929, when Vesto Slipher and Edwin Hubble observed and demonstrated respectively, through the ‘red-shift’ law of receding objects, (slightly analogous to the Doppler effect), that distant galaxies are uniformly receding away from us, with speeds that are basically proportional to their distances from us. Latest calculations indicate that as a result, the diameter of the Observable Universe is enlarging at the rate of about 4.6 light years, per year; but we have no idea as yet about the cause of this phenomenon.
Scientists deduced from this verified fact, through ‘reverse-reasoning’, that the entire cosmic entity in the past must have come together at a physically singular, quasi-point-like entity. According to recent scientific theory, this ‘point’ represents the physical ‘beginning’ of the total Universe. This beginning at that singular point in time happened 13.75 billion years ago, (plus the recent expansion), and in spaceat 13.75 billion light years away, (plus the recent expansion), with a cataclysmic explosion, which is now referred to as the “Big Bang”.
The photons that we can still see as a near- uniform background glow over the entire night sky, is thought to be the after-effect of radiation from the initial Big Bang explosion, whose temperature is a constant 2.725K.; and it is referred to as the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR).
A note for those readers, who are interested in the concept of Entropy: Several Nobel prize winner scientists confirmed that while the Universe at the moment of Big Bang had its lowest state of entropy, they calculated that the CMBR represents its highest entropy, the future (so called ‘Heat-death’) thermal equilibrium of the Universe. Notwithstanding a few dissenting theories, these two states of entropy and the near-uniformity of CMBR appear to confirm once again that the physical beginning of the Universe happened indeed at the Big Bang.
Finally, the Universe underwent an evolutionary process from its beginning, 13.75 billion years ago, to its present age, and keeps on developing further for many more billions of years. Its final age will depend basically on the slow break-up of all galaxies, the primary population of the Universe; then the eventual maximum value of the universal entropy, which will be caused by the transformation (by radiation) of all sub-atomic particles into vibration (the ultimate, lowest state of all energies).
Hence, the estimated life span of the Universe is about [10 to the power of 10100 ] years, (a limitless number); some estimates are even larger. Life on Earth, however, would disappear way before the final, thermal expansion of the Sun covering good part of the planets, in about 4.5 billion years hence.
Scientists showed at first absolutely no interest in what might have happened before the beginning of the Big Bang. However, they indicated later on that, even if those events were outside their ‘scientific’ domain, they are now very much interested in whatever might have happened before the Big Bang, that is the metaphysical origin of the physical beginning,
This unexpected change of heart became evident only when through the concerted efforts of modern-day cosmologists and biologists, new, speculative theories began to appear in the popular media, backed by glossy pictures and technical looking diagrams. Although these ideas were the product of pure speculation, based on scientifically unverifiable assumptions, they were still presented as ‘facts’, such as, e.g. the question of creation has finally been ‘settled’; This admittedly caused great excitement especially to those, who never heard about such things before.
Such hypothetical, quasi-theories are, e.g.: The Infinite universe, Multiverse, Parallel worlds, the Cyclic universe, etc… However, all these ‘theories’ have one thing in common, that is they all attribute infinite properties to a contingent physical matter, or that matter will exists eternally since it self-generated itself from ‘nothing’ through ‘blind chance’. These authors apparently have overlooked the first principles of philosophy.
The authors of these hypothetical ideas claimed further and almost uniformly that their ideas were proven mathematically and as they being so ‘elegant’ and accurate they had to be true. They have forgotten that everything that is proven mathematically as being accurate, may not necessarily equate with truth.
The primary aim of this unexpected flood of duplicitous information was of course to undermine religion through disseminating a spurious ideology against the vaguest concept of a metaphysical creation; and it is to prove that the idea of a Creator has become redundant. The following will describe the detailed requirements for the philosophical basis of a realistic faith:-
The Aristotelian Philosophy states: ‘Whatever physical being would ever exist, it could only come into existence in one of the following two ways: either by itself or by an other being’. If it came into existence by itself, then it must be scientifically speaking, like a ‘perpetual motion’ (and contrary to the axiom of one can not give to itself what he hasn’t got).
On the other hand, if a physical being came into existence by an other physical being; then in this case it is called a ‘contingent’ being for two reasons, namely, first, because the cause for its existence isoutside itself; and second, as it had a physical beginning, it will also have an end. These basic principles will lead us through the following explanation to a deeper understanding of why it is a logical necessity to argue for a transcendental cause for the physical beginning of the Universe.
To start with, the reader is alerted to the following modern-day, adversarial theory, (which is also a belief), and gaining popularity by asserting that matter (i.e. the Universe itself), came into existence (at the Big Bang) entirely by itself, (by blind-chance) and from ‘nothing’.
‘They forgot that physical nothing is ‘nothing’; that is there is no such thing as physical nothing. To say anything else argues the most fundamental of contradictions. If therefore, there is a reasonable likelihood for a beginning of a physical something; and if ‘from nothing only comes nothing’, then philosophically logical that the Universe must have come from something of not physical reality but a transcendental cause that we call the Creator’. (R. Spitzer,)
Regardless of what scientists claim about their truly outstanding achievements of unraveling the physical ‘beginning’ all the way up to the Big Bang, philosophical logic would still be justified demanding a further answer to ‘why’ such a cosmic change, (such as coming into existence), did happen at all in the physical reality. The following philosophical analysis of this momentous question will exclude the illogical alternative ideas of any self-creation or chance-origin of the Universe.
Aristotle was the first philosopher to formulate the perennial concept of ‘causality’, in the ‘Theory of Actuality’ of his Metaphysics. Causality appears as self-evident truth in the physical reality, by saying: We do not have knowledge of a thing until we have grasped the truth in a self-evident answer of‘why’ an event did happen, that is to say, it is what was its true “First cause”. After this basic question, he defines four types of causes, which are Material-, Efficient-, Formal- and the Final cause.
One of these, the ‘Final Cause’ stands out by its importance, as it points in a transcendental way, to the aim or purpose of change; i.e.: ‘That for the sake of which a thing acts or what it is’. The essence of final cause is a philosophical inevitability, manifests itself as a universal ‘reason’ that cannot be contradicted by any other reason. As this is strictly a philosophical reflection on the observed facts ofphysical science, it does not have to rely on any religious consideration for its deeper understanding.
On the other hand, modern-day scientists wrongly conclude from their (truly admirable physical and biological) observations that ‘final causes’ have no place in their studies; and claim (as a quasi-dogma), that it is sufficient to consider by sciences only what is physically observable and measurable, within the causations relating to matter and motion.
This (un-scientific) ‘safe’ mental state ensures that scientists never should transgress their self-imposed physical ‘boundaries’, lest they stumble over inadvertently either the concept of an ‘uncaused First Cause’, called a metaphysical Creator, or the concept of a ‘Final Cause’, whom the Abrahamic religions refer to as their God.
The concept of causality therefore highlights already in introduction two major ideas, namely One: Physical scientists isolate themselves by virtue of their specific definition of the concept from any inadvertent arrival at a metaphysical Creator, that would cause contradiction with their belief inmaterialism. Hence, they made themselves perennial adversaries to both, Faith and Reason. Andtwo:
Causality is such a vitally important concept of the Aristotelian Philosophy that for its deeper understanding, through its essential properties and its practical applications, requires repeating them over and over again. According to Philosophy, every action (i.e. change) in the physical reality must have a physical beginning, which we call its observable First Cause, and it must have an end, which we call the Final Cause of an act, which is the effect.
The effect is also referred to as the ‘purpose’, for which (that is why) any cause i.e. an act of change is performed. Note that without an effect there is no cause to speak of. There can be several first and final causes in a causal series. However, any such series of causes and effects cannot be endless, because there is no infinite regress in physical nature.
The following is an extract from: ‘The Direction of Causation’, (Philosophical Review): ‘On a simpleregularity theory of causation, a cause is both necessary and sufficient for its effect in such a sense that it follows automatically that the effect is equally sufficient and necessary for its cause, and the onlydifference between the relation of cause to effect and that of effect to cause is that of temporal order: the cause precedes the effect’.
‘Given that two events are causally connected in a direct line with one another, whichever of the two comes first in time is called the cause. It, however, does not rule out the possibility of an effect occurring simultaneously with its cause.’ It also adds that, it could be at least conceivable in extra-special circumstances for a ‘backward causation’, that is an effect preceding its cause in time.
The concept of causal ‘connection‘, (essence of causality), is analogous to the concept of ‘energy‘ in so far as both are unobservable in action, except through their effect; the ‘connection‘ (but not the energy), is therefore deemed an unacceptable concept by science, irrespective of its consequent negative implication on the basic concept of causality itself.
Every intermediate cause in a series of causations (i.e.causal chain), produces its intermediateeffect. The first cause in a series of causations must result in its end of all its changes, whose effect could also lead to another similar series of causations, with their ultimate end, which is called again as itsFinal Cause.
However, as Philosophy describes, in the case of human beings, in addition to having physical aims (or purpose), we also have transcendental aims and desires, whose attainment would determine the essence of our First and Final Causes that could produce their objective end.
The objective end is therefore synonymous with the aim at or desire for the attainment of a certain abstract or physical ‘good’, which every human being strives to possess; while the action itself for attainment is the subjective end. We all strive to attain the ‘greatest good’, as St. Thomas Aquinas puts it, the “Summum Bonum”, (the Greatest Good); the difference is the direction in which we are looking.
The saints go in one way, criminals go the other way; and yet, both could attain their ‘greatest good‘ (of a kind), that which would either yield an irresistible attraction for union with our Creator, or attain only a temporal happiness respectively. Philosophy calls ideally the former metaphysical state of the human spirit the ‘crowning end of all human activity’.
We believe in a created world, ‘…. whose meaning is unfathomable to us, because we do not see the whole but are ourselves only parts of it. Belief in creation does not tell us what the meaning of the world is but only that there is one….To believe in creation means to understand, in faith, the world of becoming revealed through science as a meaningful world that comes from a creative mind.’ (‘Creation and Evolution’).
After having dealt with the brief theory of causality within the macrocosm, now we turn our attention to some finer details within the microcosm of the immensely complex effects of creation of the physical Universe, including its scientifically verified laws, uncertainties and imperfections:-
The following are just some of those verified physical facts that may require further explanations by a deeper cause outside themselves: e.g.: the First Cause of the Big Bang and the three fundamental Forces of Nature? The origins of energy and matter, the countless numbers of Laws of Nature. The origin and the transcendental properties of life, the origins of the DNA and RNA; the origin of the ‘two-gender’-based procreation? Why matter has gravitational force?
The necessity and property of ‘spin‘ and ‘chirality‘ of every sub-atomic physical particle, and as the quintessential signal for every biologically-produced molecule, which is non-existent in an ‘artificially’ produced life. Furthermore, an examination is called for the numerous, coincident cosmological ‘Large Numbers’; etc.
Finally, we could include here the mysterious properties of some ‘biological’ events, such as the “awesome predictability of the larks that have been singing the same five notes over thousands of years” (Bros. Andrew, S.J.); etc.
R. Spitzer demonstrates in his excellent book the extreme improbability of a ‘blind- chance’beginning of the Universe, (which reasoning applies necessarily to everything in it). His argument goes like this: ‘Standard Cosmological Model totally changed the ‘infinite’ evolutionary postulates, and reduced the total number of ‘tries’ in the Observable Universe to a very fine number; that is: [13.75 billion years of age (taken from the Big Bang) x 365 days x 24 hours x 60 minutes x 60 seconds x 1043 (reduction to minimum units of time, Planck Time) x 1053 kg.(of visible mass in the Observable Universe) x 108(reduction to minimum units of mass)].
‘This is approximately equal to: 10120 total possibilities for interaction of mass-energy expressed in minimum units of mass and time. This is a large, but very finite number. When it is compared with the enormous odds against a low-energy Universe emerging from the Big Bang, (that is 10 to the power of10123 to one – the Penrose number), it is absolutely miniscule. This comparatively small number of ‘total possible mass – energy interactions in the Universe for all time’ revealed the extreme improbability of high degrees of complexity arising out of the Universe by pure chance’.
He added that ‘this reasoning adduced among several eminent physicists the plausibility of a designing intelligence from the scientific evidence of contemporary physics’.
In a Universe that displays physical order and reason, some of the scientists also possess at least that much mental order and reason, through which they are capable of transgressing the physical boundaries of science, in search for the transcendental truth in everything, that hides in essence the metaphysical meaning and purpose of the physical Universe.
We found through philosophical reasoning that the only logical alternative to the scientifically incomplete explanations for the ‘beginning’ of the physical Universe, and with life in it, is the concept of a metaphysical creation. The reader would understand from this statement immediately that it confirms repeatedly the principal aim of this article that is a true faith can in deed be based in the physical reality.
This concept, however, made many scientists so uncomfortable that it prompted the earlier mentioned spurious publication of ideas about ‘infinite’ material worlds. Furthermore, this ideology of denials and doubts about anything metaphysical is so finely tuned in the modern scientific mind that not even an eminent scientist like Steven Weinberg (himself an atheist) was exempt from his colleagues’ criticism, when he declared: ‘The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless’. He was rebuked not for his denial, but for even suggesting that it ‘could have a point’.
‘In the corners of the media, where atheism’s charmless “brights” hang out, such as the Belief section of The Guardian’s Comment is Free’ Website, the daily onslaught on religion is tireless, often aimed at the section’s Editor for not being atheistic enough….Those who pop their heads up to argue that some accommodation between religion and science is possible, receive more abuse than the Pope himself….Why is this?
‘The answer is not the corny one that they ‘really’ do know there is God, and are just pretending not to. But I do sense that maintaining their position requires an act of will that they do ‘not want‘ to believe in God , and that is in need of regular renewal. The very idea of belief for them is immoral, and they fear that they might fall under its evil influence’. C. Longley. The Tablet. 4. May.
An other answer may be the Standard Scientific adage: Science equals atheism’. Let the following examples highlight further this adage, and the seemingly un-winnable uphill battle believers have to fight with atheist scientists.
People asked the eminent physicist Dr. Paul Davies recently at a meeting, what modern science new about the ‘origin’ of life? His answer was: ‘Science hasn’t a clue’.
While the ‘evolution’ of life has already been adequately demonstrated by science, there appears still a conspicuous silence about the ‘origin’ of life on Earth, with the exception of the world-renowned biologist Dr. Richard Dawkins.
However, the present state of scientific research (or lack of it), into the ‘origin ‘ of life, (which is a totally different problem from its evolution), is noticeable only through the occasional publications by courageous scientists, like Mr. Dawkins, who deal with metaphysical ideas (i. e. outside their expertise), rather than with the scientifically more acceptable entities and events in the physical reality.
We find now Mr. Dawkins, the truly ingenious among biologists, being caught up with the frustrating realisation that the problem of ‘origin’ of life is after all a metaphysical rather than a scientific problem, and it therefore appears beyond any scientific understanding.
However, owing to a spurious reason, Mr.Dawkins has already chosen to promulgating in world-wide publications his solution to the ‘origin’ problem. This solution is based on his personal, atheistic beliefs instead of admitting to the human intellectual limitations.
Thus, he appears ironically, once again a champion (of atheists) and in the fickle limelight of (scientific) popularity by having chosen yet an other problem and publicise its assumed solution, (that might again please the atheists), and which is scientifically incomprehensible without a religious faith.
This conundrum would certainly test anyone’s intellectual integrity to face his limitations and accept with dignity of a true scientist at least the possibility that a metaphysical truth may exist, where physical and biological sciences haven’t got a clue.
In opposition to the belief in creation, there are numerous and even militant unbelievers, of whom eminent British scientists stand out like the ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’, (not counting the other225 European scientists of the last 500 years). These crypto-agents of materialistic ideology, are self-confessed atheists, whose works are promulgated throughout the world with surprisingly scant opposition by the Christian Churches or by their faithful believers.
However, any anti-religious argument that uses scientific reasoning, (as they do), is in itself an ‘un-scientific’ act, and contrary to logic, because such arguments transgress the boundaries of science, (set by scientists themselves); that stipulates: “Science must only deal with physically observable and measurable entities and events”.
For an example of the widening conflict between science and religion, R. Spitzer described a public interview with Dr. Stephen Hawking, in which he mislead everyone inadvertently with his statement, that as the physical Universe came into existence entirely by itself and from nothing, there was nothing left for a Creator to do.
After having been prompted by objections, he further added that although this Universe created itself spontaneously and from ‘nothing’, it happened by the action of the ‘force of gravity’, outside of the cosmic-origin. However, he again omitted, as R. Spitzer argues, that ‘The law of gravity has a specific constant associated with it and specific characteristics, and it has specific effects on mass-energy. This is a very curious definition of ‘nothing’.’
Now, Spitzer continues: ‘If we rephrase Dr. Hawking’s statement in the above fashion, then he has clearly not explained why there is something rather than nothing. He has only explained that something comes from something, by describing the development of a functioning universe on the basis of laws such as gravity’.
‘Christian belief is that the Creator made the existence of both, the physical Universe and the transcendental forces and laws of nature which apply to it…. Historically, many Christian theologians, as well as non-Christian philosophers, have argued precisely the opposite of Hawking’s point: namely, that the laws of physics can only be ascribed to an infinite, intelligent and metaphysical Creator‘.(R. Spitzer.)
Hawking’s dismissal of God, Br. Consolmagno, S.J. argues, was based not only on his incorrect designation of physical laws as ‘nothing,’ but also on a failure to grasp the notion of God’s transcendence. The ‘god’ that Stephen Hawking doesn’t believe in, is one Christians don’t believe in either. God is not just another force in the Universe, alongside gravity or electricity;… Rather, God is the reason why existence itself exists.’ (Consolmagno).
The mystery is, according to R. Spitzer, that while the particular ‘god’ Professor Hawking was actually considering, at the same time he was attempting to dismiss. ‘In my view’, he concludes, ‘Dr. Hawking has not yet shown the ‘non-necessity’ (i.e.: contingency) of this cosmic reality; although he implies precisely just that by assuming the existence of a ‘beginning’ in his assertion about the universe coming from nothing.’
‘It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable people, and the proof is that it takes to convince even an unreasonable man.’ (A. Vilenkin).
2) About the Human Life
‘We try to find, but we find only the possibility of searching without end’. (St. Augustine.)
We start here with the cosmological aspects surrounding the arrival of biological life on Earth, whose early development is summarised below:
Before life appeared on Earth, all developing organic beings contained tiny particles of precious (i.e. rare chemical elements) metals that were formed in the beginning, (the Big Bang) of the Universe, 13.75billion years ago.
All other metals (heavier than Hydrogen and Helium) that were required by every such being, including humans, were formed in the nuclear fusion furnaces of rare Super-massive Stars, very early in the history of the Milky Way Galaxy. These metals were dispersed in the dying days of those stars, through their mighty “Supernova” explosions into the interstellar gas, to be picked up later on by developing young stars, like our Sun.
Earth began to evolve 4.5 billion years ago, (simultaneously with the Sun), it entrained by half a billion years later already sufficient metals, the building blocks for organic life to start to develop, principally as described by the Darwinian Theory of Evolution.
To complete the biological development process by nature, the arrival of the mysterious DNA molecule put an end with its non-random, genetically coded information system to the Darwinian random atomic interactions. The physicist Freeman Dyson remarked: ‘The more I examine the Universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the Universe in some sense must have known we were coming’.
There is one thing Darwin overlooked, that is since we possess heavy elements from the Big Bang and via the Supernovae, ‘we are literally made of stardust’. (Paul Davies.)
We turn our attention now closer to the conditions of cosmological origin of life: In introduction, the reader will appreciate that neither philosophy nor sciences can answer to this question. However, let us see what we can come up with when relying purely on physical considerations, (that is to say, we suspend momentarily the belief in a metaphysical creation of life). The following will describe some of thecosmological ideas about the evolution of life, and pointing out some confusion about certain adversarial ideologies.
It is known in general that the Observable Universe (i.e. the galaxies that we see in our telescopes) is not at the center of the larger Universe; (otherwise we would not be here to tell the story), because the epicenter of the Universe is occupied by a giant Black Hole. We also know that the Sun (our nearest star) is at the center of the Observable Universe. An other item that may be of some interest is that the stars we see in or telescopes are located in our Milky Way Galaxy, as the other stars in galaxies are too far away for us to see from the Earth.
The physical Universe demonstrates philosophical and scientific intelligibility of itself, and as having order, forces and laws of nature. There appears, however, some misunderstanding at this point about the physical development of life in the Universe, as if the available minimum time of 13.75 billion years, (present age of the universe), would not have been sufficiently long enough for its development, (so argue most adversarial scientists). While this perceived idea is contrary to our belief in an omnipotentCreator, as well as many cosmologists add that the available minimum time was indeed sufficient for development of life in the Universe.
It is worth mentioning at this point that an un-scientific hypothesis of ‘blind chance’ origin of biological life (anywhere in the Universe and/or on Earth), appeared, as if on cue, and in lieu of the alleged ‘insufficient’ time. This theory agrees surprisingly with an other unverified idea that the physical Universe began from ‘nothing’. The reason for this mutual ‘understanding’ appears to lie in the shared interest of both ideas that is to discredit the concept of a metaphysical Creator.
Note: The question of origin of life itself does not belong to the domains of physical science or biology, while philosophical reason can only tell us that life must come from life; and our belief is that life came into existence from the first Giver of life, the Creator.
The Darwinian theory of evolution is a scientific fact (at least its basic ideas), which does not principally oppose to our belief in a metaphysical creation, (except some of its interpretations that were based on Darwin’s ideas and were high-jacked by adversarial parties for their own agenda).
The major weakness of the theory lies, however, in the un-scientific claim that the biological transition among species just happened through a blind-chance and/or random process. These ideas are, however, keep changing to suit adversarial requirements; e.g. see Mr. Dawkins’ latest interpretations on the subject.
Furthermore, there is a philosophical question regarding the Darwinian evolutionary process, that is the blind- chance or random transition from a lower ‘quality’ of energy state of a living organism to ahigher quality energy state, against the ‘entropic law’.
Although, strictly speaking, entropy is only Boltzmann’s statistical law, and on that basis is entropy referring to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that the ‘quality’ of all radiating energies tend to degrade (‘roll’) irreversibly, and always from the higher energy state to a lower energy state (i.e. ‘downhill’). One may reflect on the cosmic end-result of entropy with regard to the so called ‘Heat- Death” of the Universe.
An other question arises from the Darwinian theory of evolution, that is from what was ‘blind’ (physical matter) before, nature has in its ‘blindness’ produced human mind, what is now not blind but possessing transcendental faculties of being able to reason, having free will, and who is ‘aware of being aware’. This mind is capable of transcending physical reality by forming ideas and judging abstract values; it is able to reasoning out the cosmic beginning, the laws and forces of nature, including the sub-atomic particles and the marvels of biological life itself. It can also recognise its place and purpose in the vastness of the cosmos.
On top of the above mentioned unscientific hypotheses about the Universe, many skeptic scientists‘believe’ that the development of life on Earth was a ‘stupendous chance’. One may ask: But life still had to develop from ‘something’, to which they say, that something was another ‘stupendous chance’. A final question: Is the human intellect, (the reasoning and the will), also a stupendous chance-product of a blind, material irrationality or a scientifically intelligible Universe that demands a metaphysicalCreator?
On reflection, just as the cosmological seeds of life (the heavy elements) had to overcome tremendous obstacles in their journey through vast expanses of inter-galactic space to reach their final destination, through the Sun to Earth, so did life itself had to struggle through millions of years within its biologicalevolution in a hostile environment on Earth.
Furthermore, when looking back on our human history of development, in spite of the seemingly endless tragedies caused by famine, disease, wars and natural disasters, we still observe from our early beginning throughout history a continued ascendance of the human spirit, ending in reasonably well ordered and civilised societies.
Alas, this upward evolution of the human spirit began an unexpected nosedive since the ‘enlightenment‘, but it became only pronounced in the past fifty years. This change manifested itself mainly through philosophical, moral and cultural upheaval, but primarily through the degradation of Christian values. It was referred to as the ‘post-modern’ era, where everything deemed ‘relative‘, (and/or doubtful), and the negation of anything ‘absolute’ formed the basis of this new cultural ideology.
3) Confusion in the Mind
“…for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you” (St. Augustine.)
The general decline of religious life and morals, the two major indicators of cultural change, becoming popular even among the so called believers today. Most Christians find it often inconvenient to keep engaged daily in religious thoughts. However, there are far more serious consequences to the world-wide moral decline, whose potential causes are varied, and some of them are briefly mentioned below:-
The two instincts drive us subconsciously towards the fulfillment of their respective goals; (and religious ideas are not one of them). It is true also that we lack often the will power or the desire to concentrate on religious ideas. The true reason for all this relaxed way of modern living lies often not in being busy or tired or sick or ignorant, but that there is no deep conviction, due to lack of an adequatebasis for a simple, but realistic faith.
In addition, we may not have a purpose in our life, which we could follow, hence our aimless life is like a rudderless ship and the possible reason for our disorientation and boredom. It is said that everyone ought to have an ultimate purpose in life, which would drive like a power generator towards the achievement of a final goal.
Life without a purpose resembles to what Bishop Fulton Sheen describes: “A sculptor after hacking and cutting away at a block of marble all day was asked, ‘What are you making?’ He said, ‘I really don’t know. I have no idea, I haven’t any plan”. The sad contradiction among us is the fact that while we are constantly working for the achievement of a certain purpose, and yet, some of us believe in no purpose in life at all.
‘Although God made you without your knowledge, He does not save you against your will’. (St. Augustine.)
The external environment that surrounds our daily life, provides an uninterrupted distraction through the incessant flow of banal information and entertainment. This life style, like magnet, secures ones’ undivided attention to the material world, and clutters the mind, lest a spiritual thought may enter.
‘So great is the blindness of men, who even glory in their blindness….For the corruptible body is a load upon the soul, and the earthly habitation presses down upon the mind, that muses upon many things.’ (St. Augustine.)
An other problem may be that some of us lack even the basic understanding of the tenets of our faith in their ‘updated’ form that would be commensurate with our adult intellectual capacity. It is a common practice in most trades and professions to update their Codes of practice and Standards of knowledge for the sake of safety and efficiency in progress, lest they fall behind. How could we live, let alone profess, a living faith that we ourselves don’t understand, because we don’t possess that knowledge in its updated form?
It is true also that we have learned parrot-fashion the basic tenets of our faith in our earlier years, and we have never been challenged up until we grew up and entered into the society. We find, however, that our faith being bombarded constantly by pretentious, malicious and at times by sincere adversaries.
A few of us, who are prepared to enter into an argument with adversaries in good faith, often display their pathetically infantile knowledge, which they learned many years ago; thus, they make inadvertently often the laughing stock of our faith and of themselves. It appears therefore, that through our ignorance, we, Christians, are often one of the contributors to spreading misleading information against our faith.
‘Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the spirit that is of God, that we may know the things that are given us of God.’ (St. Augustine.)
The most general reason for a religious indifference displayed by many of us, Christians, is the complete lack of faith in an infinite and yet personal, and loving Creator. Some of us may go to such extremes to avoid the accusing voice of conscience that they try reasoning away even the existenceof an infinite God.
A clarifying note for those attempting to argue against the idea of the ‘infinite’ : The philosophical dilemma is that it is impossible to prove philosophically for or against the existence of something that is ‘infinite’, because any such proof requires first to ‘know’ at least the essence of the attributes of ‘infinity’, what we are trying to prove or deny.
This, however, causes the second dilemma, because even if we could know those attributes (which we don’t), and define by those the concept of ‘infinite’, paradoxically, it would immediately ‘limit’ (i.e. change) the very essence of infinity down to a ‘finite’ something. Hence, we could never come to know the infinite with our limited human mind, in order to prove it or deny.
The proof for the existence or non-existence of an infinite God is therefore impossible through philosophy or science; we can only accept Him through a true faith; He can be ignored, but can never be denied.
This is what Carl Jung, the Swiss Psychologist, had to say about the importance of a religious outlook: ‘I have treated many hundreds of patients, the larger number being Protestants, a smaller number Jews and not more than five or six believing Catholics.
‘Among all my patients in the second half of my life there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he has lost that which the living religions of every age have given their followers and none of them has really been healed who did not regain his religious outlook.
‘I had found you our Creator, and your Word, who is God with you, and who is one God with you, through whom you created all things.’ (St. Augustine.)
Finally, it must be said, with great sadness, that the temporal failings by several ordained members, and others under the authority of the Church, brought grave disrepute on the Church in general, and on her faithful and saintly members in particular. These grave, sinful acts caused the tragic victims life-long health problems, even self-inflicted death; others left the Church in droves; and in genuine disappointment many of them lost even their faith.
Many, however, used this sad occasion only for an opportune excuse to desert their own faith and/or the Church. On the other hand, this bad news came as good news for the media as well as for the wavering disbelievers alike, and who were emboldened in their continual attacks on the Church.
‘And you began to accomplish in time the things predestined, so that you might reveal hidden things and put in place our disordered parts – for our sins were upon us, and we had departed from you….and your good Spirit… made firm the authority of your book.’ (St. Augustine.)
Let it be no excuse, and yet, it is a historical fact that a major influencing factor in the above catastrophic events coincided with an era, in the last forty years, of transformation from a formerly moral and ordered Western civilisation into a self-centered, hedonistic society; held together by a quasi-religion but without any absolute moral compass.
Thus we have arrived inevitably to the core problem, the so called ‘sexual-revolution’, whose tradition has been born out of the culture of this permissive life style. This metaphorical ‘fruit’ from the ‘forbidden tree’ has created a world-wide cultural change that is gradually permeated and paralysed like a contagious disease the entire civilised world, and spilling over irresistibly even into the most sacred and isolated places, wherever human beings existed.
The above events, which resulted in the general abandonment of any true faith, were further basedon two primarily ‘intellectual‘ pitfalls, in which mostly the youth are still being systematically educated. These are the skepticism and relativism.
In the first case, the post-modern man’s reasoning, in addition to his religious ignorance and insatiable desire for hedonistic material possessions, is often based on or influenced by skepticism. It is an age old doctrine of knowledge (or rather of ‘no-knowledge’); promoted originally by the Greek Sophists (‘the wise ones’). It is a type of idealism of a systematic doubt of truth that no one can know anything with ‘certainty’, and which permeates and influences our perception of the physical and transcendental reality.
“The aim of skeptical subjectivity is to place on our innate ‘wanting to know’ such limiting conditions that they could not adequately be satisfied. To be ‘certain’, they suggest, the best way is to abandon reason for believing in anything at all…..To know a thing with certitude we must have evidence that the evidence is ‘reliable’, and ‘that’ evidence also is reliable, etc. ad infinitum.
‘It appears that without self-evident truth, as philosophy and sciences demand, one may logically conclude that it would be simply impossible not only to know anything with certainty, but also even to doubt and deny anything with certainty. In other words, “…they ask us to accept their doctrine that it is certain that there is no certitude; they cannot speak with certainty, because they cannot express their doctrine without contradicting themselves at the same time by denying it’. (Glenn.)
The other, similarly important factor that could influence our reasoning and decision making, is the so called general relativism of truth. This is another type of idealism that replaces the disputes of skepticism in the interest of favourite, personal opinions and ideas. It tells us that nothing is absolute, and there is no objective truth, not because we doubt knowledge, as skeptics do, but because all truthis relative.
“This ideology presents the greatest obstacle to our general understanding, because we can get no further than the double-talk of truth ‘related to what?’ (i.e. to some interpretation). Relativists deny any absolute knowledge and values, because the individual person is the measure of truth and reason.
They promulgate clichéd ideas as that e.g. we prefer people with ‘advanced thinking’ or we give preference to people with ‘liberal views’ (or open mind); as if truth would not be absolute and it could be considered relative to anyone’s subjective viewpoint’ (Glenn). ‘If everyone sets his own watch to suit his ‘situation’, will there ever be a correct time?’ (Bishop Fulton Sheen.)
These two theories, the disbelief in knowledge and a disbelief in anything absolute, thus believing inanything, (like having a personal, adjustable compass), will constitute gradually the rock-bottom foundation for the emerging major cultural ideologies, the modernism with its post-modernist variety.
This concerted movement, which is promulgating the prevarication of the intellect through its perverse, materialistic and atheistic ideology, is a contributory cause to the present day moral decadence, (aided and abetted principally by the enthusiastic media), which decadence, if not stopped, will through a simple extrapolation, hasten the intellectual disintegration of the entire civilised society.
Note: When looking up Modernism and Post-modernism in Wikipedia, it introduces them with acaution: ‘Error-filled, fallacious, shows little understanding.’ One thinks that if both articles have 20lengthy subsections on the subjects, and written by experts, they ought to be reliable; but on the contrary, it indicates a general confusion specific to the ideologies themselves.
R. Scruton remarks in his excellent book of ‘Modern Philosophy’: ‘Since the main fear of a modernistis that he may be unwittingly left behind the times, he tends to affirm himself as resolutely ahead of them. Hence modernists have invented the inane label ‘post-modernism’ to define their latest position…A modernist needs always to define himself ‘against’ something, so that the very success of his enterprise threatens to undermine it…The least that can be said is that modernists will not enjoy this book, while post-modernists will probably hate it’.
He further adds: ‘Modernism is a misnomer, because it is anything but modern; as someone remarked, it is a synthesis of all heresies, which suggests old things. This ideology is none other than a philosophical viewpoint in a method of interpretation that everything is doubtful and relative; it is a system of criticism, a new way of interpreting and accounting for the old one’.
The hallmark of modernist (and post-modernist) ideology is hiding behind the cleverest idea of presenting their theories and axioms without any logical order or systematic arrangement, so as to appear as if their minds were genuinely in doubt or hesitation; (which they certainly did achieve). In reality, however, they are quite ‘certain’ of what they trying to achieve with their theories, and that is the spreading of uncertainty, relativism and confusion of the mind .
Thus, modernism, permeates today the entire civilised society through philosophy, education, arts, sciences and even religion. The general fallacy of modernism is that it suggests that everything that is modern is good; including agnosticism and materialism, despite of the sad fact that it spreads chaos, primarily in the minds of the impressionable youth, as it has become a fashionable ideology especially in places of higher learning. Hence, there is a radical incompatibility between the ideas of modernism and the teachings of the Catholic Church.
A concerned reader may ask, what is the most basic cause for all this world-wide decadence and moral disintegration, intellectual chaos, physical hardship, suffering and even death in human society? The answer lies in Adam, the first man, who had to show he deserved the divine gift of ‘liberty’, because by that act God intended to elevate him up to the level of the angels in human form, as we would have been.
However, a text written just before the Second Vatican Council does continue this way: ‘By his refusal to obey a divine command, Adam, as the first man, for his arrogance and pride, changed all that. He lost the original holiness he had received from God, not only for himself but for all humanity. As a result, human nature is deprived of original holiness, subject to ignorance, suffering, and even the domination of death; and acquired the inclination to rebel even against his own Creator.
‘Hence, we all share in the tragic stigma of Adam’s spiritual failing, through reversing the supremacy of reason with the blind instincts; and that is what we call ‘original sin’. It is true that baptism cancels original sin, but the tendency to moral disorder is not thus removed, just as the inclination to evil remains an object of moral struggle, through which every Christian must show himself as a soldier of Christ.’
St. Paul was the first to point out this same fact, which is not generally known that in the original plan of the Creator, before the fall of Adam, there was neither suffering, nor death. The original sin altered everything. However, in order to remedy our inherited spiritual failing, the loving God sent us our divine Redeemer, Jesus Christ, to show the only guaranteed ’way’, through our following in His life and suffering, and as a reward, we should arrive at the final purpose of our lives, the ‘true’ and greatest happiness (the ‘Summum Bonum’), found in our Creator.
‘For if by reason of the man’s offense death reigned through the one man, much more will they who receive the abundance of the grace and of the gift of justice reign in life through the one Jesus Christ’. (Romans 5:17)
4) In His Reasonable Service
‘Many… of my years had flown by since that ninetieth year, when by reading Cicero’s ‘Hortensius’ I was aroused to a zeal for wisdom. Yet, still I delayed to despise earthly happiness, and thus devote myself to that search…. But I, a most wretched youth,….had even sought chastity from you, and had said, Give me chastity and continence, but not yet! I feared that you would hear me quickly, and that quickly you would heal me…’ (St. Augustine.)
It has been found that in spite of the initial difficulties experienced in living a ‘practical’ Christian life, that demands constant vigilance in one’s thoughts, intentions and actions, becomes gradually easier after a certain spontaneity is acquired, (as in anything), through the development of a good habit (in mind and body), thus we may acquire with divine grace a living faith.
‘The Christian conception holds that man has been assigned a purpose ‘beyond’ his own nature. Thisfinal purpose is the supernatural vision of divine grace, which surpasses all human knowledge and happiness.’ (Cardinal Koenig).
Bishop Fulton Sheen had this favourite anecdote about his first encounter in heaven: ‘If I go to heaven, three things will surprise me: First, I will be surprised to see those whom I have never expected to be there. Second, I will be surprised that I did not see those I have expected to be there. And third, I will be most surprised to find myself there.’
‘Will eternity be anything like what I have seen, or what I have heard, or what I can imagine? No, eternity will be nothing like anything I have seen, heard or imagined. ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love Him.’ (Bishop Fulton Sheen.)
The ‘service’ that we offer to God should neither be done with half-hearted, nor done in senseless excess, but with a ‘reason’ based on a simple and elementary knowledge (the knowledge with the heart), of the loving God. This is what St. John of the Cross has to say about the quality of this knowledge: ‘Many followers of Christ may not have an elaborate knowledge by study;
‘And yet, there are Christians of ‘simple faith’, whose intuitive knowledge of God has reached profound depth, without ever having had an ability to express to others what they knew. There is nothing to prevent God from leading these souls from their primary intuition of the truth of faith into a deeper, though inexpressible, experience of the reality of those truths’.
‘I beseech you, therefore, brethren, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God: your reasonable service’. (Romans,12:1.) St. Thomas Aquinas based his principles on St. Paul’s quote as well as on the Aristotelian reason and balance, in the following words: ‘The quality of servicemust be guided by pure intentions. Reason brings with it order and moderation, whereby our exterior actions are ordered to interior virtues, all of which are directed to the growth of faith, hope and charity in our souls.
‘Our exterior acts are ordered of self-denial and prayers are means to a spiritual end, and not end in themselves. Therefore the rational use of means to an end demands that the means be in proportion to their end. But above all…,’ he concludes that ‘all of our sacrifices must be a ‘reasonable service‘.
We have learned that the bases of our faith is laid down in the Old Testament, where the creationof the physical world is described metaphorically, and the advent of a Saviour of mankind is promisedby the Prophets. The crown of the truly ‘grand design’ of creation is described in the New Testament, which is the fulfillment of the promise, pointing to the historical events of the physical birth, life, death and resurrection of our divine Saviour, Christ Jesus.
The Bible, therefore sets out our final purpose in life, which is an unconditional and reasonable service for the fulfillment of a divine plan that began with the Creation of the Universe with our life in it, our Redemption and the day of the Last Judgement, the only one of the promises that has not yet been fulfilled.
The quintessence of our service lies in the First Commandment given by our Redeemer: “Love one another like I have loved you…”; because on the last day we will not be required to give account of our piety, our riches or other worldly achievements, but how well we loved our neighbour, the helpless, the stranger and even our enemies. This is the only practical way through which we and the whole Church could serve God, (with the exception of contemplative life); anything else is only a slight of hand.
These ideas are summarised by Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, in his pastoral letter: “Catholic teaching develops over time, but it doesn’t fundamentally change; and Catholic life, in the end, is ordered to truth, not consensus or polling. Baptism is more than a Catholic tribal ritual. It matters – now and into eternity. And faith is not a religious clubhouse; it’s meant to be lived actively, consciously, radically. It has adult implications.
St. Paul reminds us, we have a duty to ‘speak the truth in love.’ ‘Truth unguided by mercy and love becomes a special kind of cruelty. Love unguided by a passion for truth about the nature of the human person, human relationships, and human dignity isn’t really ‘love’ at all – it’s a sly form of injustice and deceit.’
The 2nd Vatican Council offers a clearer guide for the faithful regarding the respect for the truth, but asserts at the same time that ‘…charity has its own priority, sometimes even above truth, and urging the Church to model itself more closely after Christ, who never imposed with any kind of violence the truth that he proclaimed’. (Fr. Orsy, S. J. Georgetown Univ.)
It is proper to mention here again the Jesuit Theologian Karl Rahner, who advocated for the ‘….redemption of all people of different faith, or of none’, and regarded them all as: ‘Anonymous Christians, who did not know they were’.
The present Pope Francis, (also a Jesuit), during one of his informal homily must have drawn on this same idea when saying: ‘Christ had redeemed the world’. He then .engaged in a conversation with himself, according to Vatican Radio, in which in the guise of a ‘questioner’ he protested: ‘Father? Even the atheists?’ Even them’, he said. Everyone‘. A word appeared 20 times in that homily. (The Tablet).
Finally, we pray to you, our Father, for your infinite mercy on our parents, who loved you by having handing down for us to practice your precious gift of the living faith, hope and Christian charity. The hope in a merciful Judge will shine, like a warm ray of light, through our hearts, as expressed eloquently by a Jesuit: ‘On the last Day, even Lucifer will stand up to sing the praises of the mercy of God’.
Reiterating to the primary intention of this article that was to enlighten the reader of how to reinforcehis already existing faith with philosophical logic; this mental act of reinforcing is based on a factualknowledge with reference to physical reality, which in our case is the divine creation of the material world, (as opposed to contradictory and illogical alternatives). In other words, our existing living faith would be infused (reinforced) with the reality-based, philosophical understanding of it.
Faith may be a quasi-third instinct in every human being; residing in its transcendental base, the depth of our conscience, even when one is fighting against it for spurious reasons. Under these conditions, we would appear spending more energy (and with less logic) in fighting it, than we could with less energy (and with more logic) in keeping it. Therefore, since faith is such an inestimably great gift of God, it is our primary responsibility to guard against ever loosing it, but reinforce it by whatever means possible. It is believed to be a basic condition, that without living faith no one could ever seriously engage in His reasonable service.
We can observe the biggest danger to faith that is lying around us daily is the undeniable fact thatatheism in general appears more attractive and fashionable than any religious faith. The believers are aware of it, the unbelievers promulgate it, and their faithful servants, the motivated media publish it; but of course they all do it for different reasons. The reader only has to look at the covers of the recent, so-called ‘pseudo-scientific’ publications, of whom many display prominently the name of God; but why?
Because, As Madeleine Bunting observed, it is an extraordinary publishing phenomenon – atheism sells. ‘Any young and aspiring philosopher, professional polemicist, a scientist trying to gain popularity or others with worries about their pension plan, must now be feverishly working on a book proposal…It’s a huge business’.
The science writer, Matt Ridley, recently commented that on any one day at Princeton he met no fewer than three intellectual ‘luminaries’ hard at work on their ‘God’ books. ‘Surely not since Victorian times has there been such a display of passionate religious fervor, and sustained debate about religious belief.’ (P.S.Williams. A Skeptic’s Guide to Atheism.)
In conclusion, since our aim is to follow Christ as described in the Bible, it is proper to identify the Bible itself: I have the “New Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible” from: Catholic Book Publishing Company-New York. The Old Testament is the Douay version; and The New Testament is the Confraternity Edition. Imprimatur by Francis Cardinal Spellman.14/09/1948. There are of course other equally approved and more modern publications as well.
‘I call upon you, my God, my mercy, who made me and did not forget me, although I forgot you. I call you into my soul, which you prepare to accept you by the longing that you breathe into it.’ (St. Augustine.)