Lesson 25- The Mind of God and Natural Law
I hope that your head is not spinning from my discussion of the Second Law of Thermodynamic and how it might be related to the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. I know that most of us have never thought about how Jesus is related to the basic laws of the universe because we are more inclined to think of Him in religious terms and that is why our major focus is His presence in church. As a result, some of us have separated Him from all the other areas of life, which, if you think about it, doesnt make much sense. How can we separate the Word the created the universe from the creation? His fingerprints have to be all over it and all of its laws have to be a reflection of His thoughts processes and personality. This is obviously what Einstein meant when he said that "all he ever wanted to do was to understand the mind of God." He knew intuitively that the laws of the universe, which he spent his life trying to understand, had to be a reflection of the mind that created them.
It has always amazed me how, during most of my Catholic school education, so few of my teachers, even those who were religious, ever mention the role that Gods Logic, Jesus, played in all of the areas of human study. To most of my teachers it seemed that Jesus and the Godhead were only present in the religion and philosophy courses. Maybe, this is the basic flaw in our Catholic schools approach to education. Just as we have limited God to one day out of seven, we have also limited God to one or two subjects out of many.
Thus, our children and we are familiar with the pious Jesus whose face appears on Holy Cards but we are not so familiar with the Logos who created the universe from whom all the laws governing it came. If we were we would make a lot more connections between our religion beliefs and all the wonders of the universe that are constantly being unveiled by science. We would start to see what Albert Einstein saw when he said:
"The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting Itself as a higher Wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties (mind and senses) can understand only in their most primitive forms- this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness. My religion consists of the humble admiration of the illimitable superior Spirit who reveals Himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God." ... "All I ever wanted to do was to understand the mind of God."
Of course, that Higher Wisdom that Einstein is talking about is the Word or Logos which St. John said was in the beginning who created all things. And, of course, we know, or we should know, that the Higher Wisdom which is "blowing" Einsteins mind is Jesus Christ. Its too bad that so many of us who claim to be His followers and members of His Church dont seem to have the same wonderment and awe that this Jewish scientist had. Maybe it because our perspective is too narrow while his was more encompassing.
Its not that the Church wasnt aware of Jesus omnipresence in the Creation and its laws. The official philosophy of the Church is Natural Law, and in earlier talks, I spoke of the philosophical environment which existed in those first centuries when the Church was trying to establish itself as a major historical force. They talked philosophy like we talk sports and, thus, they knew what St. John meant when he wrote: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God ... That is why Justin, an early Christian who lived around 115 A.D., could say that everyone who followed rational thought was a Christian whether he knew it or not. He knew that Jesus was the Logos or Logic that was the basis of our rationality and that the rational laws that ruled the universe were a product of His mind and power. So anyone, who like Einstein, who sought to know the Truth which governed the universe was a Christ-seeker or follower of Christ. Thus, to understand the universe was to understand Jesus and that meant that no matter where we looked or no matter where we walked, we were on holy ground.
In fact, the universe could be compared to a holographic picture which, I once read, is taken with a laser and can be placed on a glass plate. If the glass plate is smashed into hundreds of pieces and any piece, no matter how small, is picked up and has a laser beam shone through it, the whole picture will reappear. In other words, the pieces are part of the whole and whole is contained in any of the pieces. If the universe, whose laws allows something like this to exist, is itself a holographic picture, then, if we understood the universe, we would understand the smallest atom and ourselves and if we understood the smallest atom or ourselves, we would understand the entire universe. I believe it was Sebastian Temple, a poet and songwriter, who once said, "Man is the macrocosm, microscopically expressed." Put into less poetic terms, it means that we are but smaller versions of the universe and to understand one is to understand the other. Its mind boggling, isnt it?
The universe, the physicists tell us is based on mathematics and, since mathematics is the specialty of the logical left side of our brains, then Gods Logos, Jesus, must be the greatest mathematician. By the same token, since mathematics is one of the purest forms of logic, then He must be the greatest logician. And since logic is the basis for all laws, then He must be the greatest lawmaker. And since the purpose of law is to create order and justice, then He must be the greatest judge. And since governments are created to make, judge, and enforce laws which are necessary for social order and justice, then He must be the source of all government or, as one of our songs puts it, the King of Kings. Music, which is a right hemisphere activity, is based on mathematics which is a left hemisphere function. Pythagorus, a Greek philosopher, said that the mathematical relationships of the universe were so harmonious that they reflected a musical composition. In fact, the relationship between music and math is so intimate that Beethoven, who was deaf, was able to write masterpieces that he could never hear simply by understanding the mathematical relationships between sound vibrations. So Gods Logos, the greatest mathematician, must also be the greatest musician. And dancing is merely music put to motion, so He must be the greatest dancer. In fact, one of our hymns refers to Him as the Lord of the Dance. And, since Logic is the basis for all of our science, and that is why they generally end with LOGY, then Gods Logos must be the greatest scientist. And, since technology is simply the application of logic and the laws of science to the problems of life, then Jesus is the greatest engineer or technician.
This being the case, if we want to know how Jesus impacts our lives, just imagine what would disappear if the Logos or Light of Reason were removed from our world. There goes math, music, dance, language, government, laws, justice, engineering, science and all the marvels of civilization. Helen Keller, the only person that I know of who remembers how the world was before the Light of Reason in her was activated through the development of language in the left hemisphere of her brain put it this way.
"The pain and disappointment I have endured (learning to speak clearly) are incalculable; but they are a price worth paying for the joy I have in being able to keep this living bond between the outer world and myself. As I learned to talk and to put feeling into what I said, I sense more and more the miracle of all time and eternity- the reality of thought! Thought, out of which are wrought books, philosophies, sciences, civilizations, and the joy and the woe of the human race! Even as if the lonely blind man who has traveled many years in midnight gloom should suddenly stumble upon the sun and all the glories of the sunlit world, so it was with me when the light of understanding flooded my mind, and I realized that words were precious symbols of knowledge, thought, and happiness."
To this we should all respond with a resounding "Thank you, Jesus!!!" If we dont, then it is because our concept of Jesus is too narrow. It is interesting to note, that the Secular Humanist who led the French Revolution tried to eliminate Christianity and replace the worship of God with the worship of Human Reason. They even built a statue to represent it and gave it the type of homage that one reserves for a god. Their motto became "There is no god to save Mankind; Mankind must save itself."
The irony of it all is that they rejected Christianity to worship Jesus because there is no such thing as Human Reason. What we call Human Reason, the Church calls the Divine Spark, because it is simply the presence of the Divine Logos which St. John said is found in every human being. Eliminate that presence from our being and we are simply animals with non-reflective, amoral, impulsive brains locked in a subjective world of "empty thought" or Gehenna. Obviously, the revolutionaries during the French Revolution must not have understood what the early Christians did. They thought that there was a conflict between God and Reason, between religion and science. And, maybe the reason they didnt see the connection is because, by that time, too many Christians had forgotten the connection. Maybe by that time, the narrowing of Jesus to His Presence in church had already taken place and the creator of the universe had been separated from the rest of His creation. That is why, at the beginning of these series of talks, I stated that one of my major goals was to get Jesus out of church and place Him back into the total creation. Where can we find Him? Everywhere and anywhere. As St. Paul says in Philippians 4:8 :
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
There are times when I hear great music, or see great art either in pictures or drama that I am brought to tears by the thought that if this is what mere humans are capable of doing with their limited talents and understanding, imagine what God, the source of all these miracles, must be able to do. However, there are other miracles that are all around us that those who have the eyes to see and the ears to here are able to appreciate.
Years ago, on a Sunday afternoon, I visited the building site where a new school, which was to replace my school, was being built. At that time, it was simply steel girders covered by an outer shell of concrete but I wanted to see its general layout. As I was walking through the site, I met a man with a camera and a hardhat who was climbing through the internal skeleton of the building taking pictures. At first, I thought that he might be an engineer or inspector who was making a pictorial record of the construction. However, he informed me that he was one of the construction workers who had decided to come down on his day off to take pictures of the angles formed by the girders in the building. "This building," he said, "has beautiful angles." I was blown away by his comment. What did he see and what was he experiencing that I couldnt see or experience? These were steel girders to me but they were an aesthetic experience to him. Then I remembered what the philosopher Shopenhauer had once said. Architecture is frozen music. I wish that I had the sensitivity to fully understand and appreciate what that really means. It was obvious that this construction worker had eyes to see and ears to hear something that my dull faculties could not but it impressed me that at least there were some people who did and I wondered how many other miracles there were that escaped our observation because of our lack of sensitivity. I was like Einstein when he said, "To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting Itself as a higher Wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties (mind and senses) can understand only in their most primitive forms- this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness."
It was this same Einstein who said that whenever he was evaluating either one of his own theories or someone elses theory of the universe that his final test was "Is it beautiful?" If the theory wasn't beautiful, he said, then he knew that it wasnt true. In other words, logic, by itself, was not enough. There had to be an internal harmony that was almost musical in nature that created in the observer an aesthetic experience. This is interesting when we compare it to what modern brain research is discovering about our brains. The right lobe, which is artistic, is concerned with form while the left lobe, which is logical, is concerned with function. Thus the two brains are form and function. Form relates to "how a thing looks" while function relates to "how a thing works" and nature often reflects the blending of these two aspects of reality. The flowers beautiful form blends with its functional need to attract insects who play an important role in the flowers reproduction by carrying pollen from one flower to another. We, of course, play a similar game when manufacturers make products that not only perform a valuable function but also are appealing to our eyes and the most impressive product are those in which the function and the form blend together in total unity. For example, the beauty of the lines of an aerodynamic car blends with its efficiency by reducing wind resistance. We are most like God when we create things that contain this delicate balance between "form and function", between the "right lobe" and the "left lobe." It is then that we, like God at the moment of creation, exclaim, "It is good!" and our spirit soars. In other words, God is the source of everything that is good and whenever we see a reflection of this goodness in the creation in touches something deep within us.
Now, if God is so pervasive and present in everything that we experience, why is it that we have reduced Him to religion, which the secular modern world is constantly eliminating from all the important areas which concern us. I have nothing against the pious Jesus and I am as devotional as most Catholics. However, the pious Jesus is not the total picture and because of this, our students fail to see His power, grandeur, and omnipresence in everything that we do. Where we ever taught about the Jesus of Biology, or Psychology, or Chemistry, or Math, or Science or Music. Yet, if He is really the Wisdom that the Father used to create all things, then every one of these areas, and more, are a reflection of His mind and Wisdom. Our approach to all areas of knowledge should be that of Einstein when said, "All I ever wanted to do was to understand the mind of God." He understood what a lot of modern Christians dont seem to understand, that is, that the entire universe reflects the mind of the Creator and the more we seek to understand the natural laws which govern it, the more we will understand the mind of God; and the more we will understand Jesus.
Part of the problem, as I have mentioned is that we have trouble dealing with the hard side of God as reflected in the natural world through the laws Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest, and thus we emphasize His love and mercy but forget His judgment. We forget that Jesus once said that the stakes involved in salvation are so high that "if you right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; if your right hand offends you, cut it off." If we really believed that the stakes were this serious we would take a lot firmer hand with our children, and ourselves when we start to ignore God and start to sleep around with the world.
As I ended my last program, I was talking about one of these natural laws, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which is also known as the Law of Entropy. This natural law says that the universe is entropic because it is running down towards chaos. In other words, it is disintegrating because it is moving from levels of higher organization to levels of lower organization and it will eventually return to chaos. Now, disintegration is the philosophical definition for death while integration is the philosophical name for life. Thus, the physical world, which is moving back toward chaos, is dying. However, life, civilization, and the spiritual world, which are running upwards towards higher levels of organization, are negentropic because they are constantly integrating into themselves newer and newer elements of reality. In other words, they are growing and developing and are constantly being reborn onto higher plateaus of existence. This would not be possible unless someone or something was constantly inputting energy into them which made it possible for them to swim upwards against the entropic current which is dragging everything else down. For example, in class I have often compared civilization to a giant rock being rolled up a steep hill. So long as people who belong to it keep applying enough pressure to keep it from rolling back, they will maintain the civilization at the level that they inherited. If they are able to apply even more pressure, they could push it a notch higher. However, if they make the mistake of taking it for granted and decide to sit down and relax, then the rock representing their civilization will come rolling down the hill and crush them. Thus, there is a constant battle going on between the forces of entropy and the forces of negentropy, between darkness and light, between chaos and order, between those who are pro-death and disintegration and those who are pro-life and integration. Since Jesus who, being the Logic of God, is the great organizer, then it is obvious that He is the leader of the forces of life as He struggles ever upwards against the entropic forces led by the devil, which is simply LIVED spelled backwards. Those who through negentropic behavior help to maintain and further life by inputting their energies into constructive action are the forces of Light, while those who through their entropic behavior tear down the conditions for life through their destructive behavior are the forces of Darkness. It may be that the most important thing in our lives is the attitude which we have at the moment of death. Are we following Jesus by struggling against the entropic forces of disintegration or are we part of those forces. Are we the workers who are out in the fields working when the master arrives or are we the ones who have laid down to rest under a shady tree? At the moment of our death, were we working to build the Kingdom of God or were we occupying our time with the many amusements and distractions that the world can offer? We are born in Gehenna, the place of "empty thought" and our whole life is the struggle to climb out of it by following the Truth through the exercise of the Logos or Logic within us.
From this we might conclude that salvation is a disposition or attitude rather than an accomplished fact because we are all at different levels when it come to understanding the Truth and throughout our lives, as we seek to increase our understanding by pondering Gods laws day and night, it takes us farther and father out of the Kingdom of Mental Darkness in which we were born. When we die, the important thing is not so much how far we are down the road of Truth so much as whether we are on the road.
Our pursuit of Truth is the story of a finite mind seeking an infinite Truth and logic says that we will never fully contain it. It will always be just beyond our grasp and, according to St. Thomas, thats the beauty of it. The more we know, there more there is to know and we will never exhaust the awesomeness of God. How else would it be possible to spend eternity praising Him unless each revelation of His infinite nature strikes a renewed sense of awe in us and our spirits spontaneous responds to the revelation by saying "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of Your Glory..." So, even the Good Thief, who had spent his life on the road that led to darkness was able to turn it around at the last minute when, by acknowledging his own sinfulness and Jesus innocence, he was told by Jesus that he would enter paradise that day. Obviously, its never too late to follow the Truth. All it takes is a change of heart. And the moment that it changes there arises in us a hunger for Wisdom and Knowledge that take us from a circular world of existence to a linear world of development.
Animals, because of their non-reflective brains, were made to exist and thus their lives could be symbolized by a circle indicating lives based on instinctual patterns which are repeated blindly over and over again. However, human beings, having reflective brains made in the image and likeness of the Creator, were made to develop and their lives could be best symbolized by a line that was moving from an Alpha to an Omega. St. Thomas expresses this thought in his Summa Theologica when he writes:
In the Darkness (of ignorance, doubt, and uncertainty) beyond the world, we can begin to know the world and ourselves, though we see through the eyes of Another, (who is God). We begin to understand that Man was not made to pace out his life behind the prison walls of nature but to walk in the arms of God on a road that nature could never build.
St. Thomas is simply saying the same thing as Albert Einstein who wanted to see the universe through the eyes of God.
St. Thomas continues: Life must be lived, even by those who cannot find the courage to face it. In the living of it, every mind must meet the problem of mystery, (which is our inability to know the Truth completely). To some men, this will be a joyous challenge, that so much can be known and truth not be exhausted; that so much is still to be known; that Truth is an ocean not to be contained in the pool of a human mind. To others, this is a humiliation hard to accept, for it shows the limits of our proud minds. In the living of life, every mind must face the unyielding rock of reality; of a Truth that does not bend to our whims or fancy; of the rule that measure the life and mind of Man.
Here St. Thomas speaks to the problem of Pride versus Humility. Adam and Eves Original Sin was pride because they wanted to be God and therefore assumed a position that closed them down to the infusion of Gods Truth and graces. Mary, on the other hand, assumed the position of humility and, being "full of grace", became impregnated with His Holy Spirit of Truth and gave birth to Wisdom. In other words, Truth comes from the mind of God and is objective and it is against Gods purposes and standards that it must be measure. Truth does not come from the mind of human beings nor can it be measured against the subjective purposes and standards of the misguided feelings of our flesh. We discover truth; we dont create it.
St. Thomas concludes: "In the living of life, every human heart must face the day to day decisions, or rather moment to moment choices of heaven or hell. Before every human heart that has ever beat out its life, the dare of goals as high as God Himself was tossed down to be accepted or to be fled from in terror.
God has said so little (through Scripture and Revelation) and yet what He has said has so much meaning for our living. To have said more would mean less of reverence by God for the splendor of His image in us.
Our knowing and loving, He insists, must be our own: the Truth ours because we have accepted it; the love ours because we have given it. We are made in His image. Our Maker will be the last to smudge that image in the name of security, or by way of easing the hazards (or dangers) of the nobility of Man."
St. Ireneas, striking a similar note, once said that "the glory of God is Man fully alive."
In other words, we were not made to exist. We were made to develop and that is why we have rational, reflective brains which are capable of seeking, knocking, questioning, evaluating, and deciding objectively what is true and what is false. This ability is the Divine Spark within us. It is the Logos. It is Jesus within which is able to set us free from the Kingdom of Mental Darkness.
But if the purpose of human life is to develop, then that means that life is a process of change and growth because anyone who stands still and keeps repeating the same patterns over and over again is choosing an animalistic life of existence. Thinking that what they already know is the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth", they have given up the quest for a deeper understanding of God and His creation. But, as St. Thomas said, In the living of life, every human heart must face the day to day decisions, or rather moment to moment choices of heaven or hell. Before every human heart that has ever beat out its life, the dare of goals as high as God Himself was tossed down to be accepted or to be fled from in terror."
If heaven is the pursuit of the infinite and hell is the acceptance of the finite, then every circle, no matter how large or how small, is a hell in which the finite being has accepted a finite answer to the infinite questions in his soul. He has accepted that which is less than the Infinite God and, by doing so, has accepted a false god. Those who are heavenly bound are the seekers and the knocker who have discovered that every answer only raises more and deeper questions and behind every door that is opened lies a multitude of doors yet to be opened. God is full of surprises and that is what makes Him so interesting.
If life is a pursuit, then life is a line, and if life is a line then it is always extending itself by moving another inch towards some infinite goal. This means that to live life fully, one must always be ready to grow, and to grow one must be prepared to release the old to move on to the new, and to release the old to move on to the new, one has to be open to repentance and reform because repentance is an admission that one is "missing the mark" and reform means to "change or make over." In other words, unless one is born again and again and again, he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Well, I see that my time is up. Heres Dom