BITE-SIZE THEOLOGY (48) – Did the world happen at random?

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

– Rev José Mario O. Mandía

God is infinitely Intelligent, and also infinitely Loving. When He acts, He acts for a purpose which is in consonance with His infinite Wisdom, Knowledge and Love. That purpose is God’s own glory and man’s happiness. CCCC 53 (cf also CCC 293-294, 319) teaches us: “The world was created for the glory of God who wished to show forth and communicate his goodness, truth and beauty. The ultimate end of creation is that God, in Christ, might be ‘all in all’ (I Corinthians 15:28) for his glory and for our happiness. ‘The glory of God is man fully alive; moreover man’s life is the vision of God’ (Saint Irenaeus).”

When a little boy asked Pope Francis what God was doing before He created the world, the Holy Father explained that God was infinitely happy, infinitely loving. So we He wanted to share this happiness and love with others. That’s why He created us.

As the Catechism explained, God shows his truth, goodness and beauty in his creation.

CREATION IS TRUE, IT IS RATIONAL

Since creation has been conceived by God who is all-Wise, and created through His Word (Logos = reason), it is orderly, systematic, rational. The CCC 295 quotes the book of Wisdom (11:20) which says: “You have arranged all things by measure and number and weight.”

The existence of science proves that the world is rational. If it were not so, we would not be able to formulate scientific laws. If everything happened by chance and in a random way, there would be no room for science. On the other hand, if something is orderly, systematic, rational, then it can be studied and understood by our human mind. This is why history shows that Christianity brought about the development and progress of science, because Christianity teaches us that the world is not ruled by irrational forces. Our Faith tells us that God placed a certain order, a pattern or system in the world which our mind can discover and grasp and which we can make use of. On the other hand, when we deny the existence of a Wise Creator, it is so easy to fall into superstition. Christianity provides the right setting for scientific study; atheism breeds superstition.

CREATION IS GOOD

The book of Genesis (1:4,10,12,18,21,31) says: “And God saw that it was good … very good.”

Saint Josemaría Escrivá once preached (“Passionately Loving the World”): “There is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary things of every day. And it is up to each one of you to discover it.”

This point is not always obvious to us. When we see goodness in other people, when things go our way, it is easy to conclude: God is good. Faith tells us that God’s doings are good, even when things don’t go the way we planned. Everything that comes from God’s hands is good. What we need to cultivate is faith that helps us see beyond this material world, in order to discover the “divine something” hidden in the commonplace things of every day.

The problem arises when our definition of “good” is often limited to goods we can touch and enjoy here on earth. But God did not intend us to live this life forever. As far as God is concerned, “good” first of all refers to everything that will lead us back to our real home (cf CCC 305). This partially answers the question of why there is “evil.” This question will be answered later.

CREATION IS BEAUTIFUL

Beauty, according to Saint Thomas Aquinas, is what pleases us when we perceive it. God’s beauty is reflected in the things He created. When we contemplate nature, we are naturally led to the one who designed and made it. CCC (no 341) says: “The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man’s intellect and will.”

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